The best Barbarian feats in DnD 5e are those that complement their playstyle and base class features well. Barbarians are naturally tanky, high-risk, high-reward melee warriors who prefer to be in the thick of battle, dishing out pain while absorbing damage for their party.
Barbarians’ staple class feature is Rage, which gives advantage on Strength checks/saves, resistance to nonmagical damage, and additional damage to melee weapon attacks for 1 minute as long as you take damage or make an attack each turn, while removing the ability to cast spells. This means Barbarians are incentivized to be melee bruisers who attack and/or are attacked every turn of combat.
And Reckless Attack allows you to get attack advantage on one attack in exchange for being attacked with advantage for the round, giving Barbarians the greatest chance of consistently landing critical hits among any class in 5e.
With those as the base class features, there’s a lot to unpack when considering which feat(s) to get. But my ultimate word of advice: max out your Strength to 20 before getting any feats. Half-ASI feats that give +1 Strength are fine if you’re sitting at an odd-numbered Strength score, but otherwise, prioritize ASIs above all else. Constitution is your second most important ability, but as long as you’re at 16 Con, you can start considering feats instead of ASIs.
With all these factors in mind, I’ve broken down the 7 best Barbarian feats into three categories, depending on your playstyle.
DnD 5e Best Barbarian Feats (Damage)
1) Great Weapon Master
Can make a melee weapon bonus action attack after killing a creature or landing a critical hit, and can take a -5 penalty to an attack roll with a heavy melee weapon for +10 damage if the attack lands.
Great Weapon Master is hands-down the best feat for Barbarians, who already get more out of attacking with a heavy, two-handed weapon than any other class in DnD 5e. The -5 attack roll penalty can easily be negated by using Reckless Attack (attack advantage is worth roughly a +4-5 attack bonus) every turn of combat.
Not to mention that Reckless Attack also means Barbarians land critical hits more often than any other class, so you’ll trigger the bonus action attack often as well. Sure, the turn you Rage will eat up your bonus action, but Rage typically happens on round one, leaving you free to use this attack on every other round of combat.
Plus, with that +10 damage bonus, you’ll be landing a lot of killing blows even without landing a critical hit, opening up another common avenue to the bonus action attack. Oh, and you get to add your Rage bonus damage to that extra attack as well, tacking on even more consistent damage per round for your Barbarian character.
2) Polearm Master
After attacking with a glaive, halberd, quarterstaff, or spear, you can make a bonus action attack that deals 1d4 + attack modifier damage, and creatures provoke an opportunity attack when they enter the reach of your polearm.
After GWM, Polearm Master offers the biggest damage boost for Barbarians. Again, making more bonus action attacks means more damage output, even if the weapon damage die is much lower than a normal two-handed weapon attack.
And since you make the bonus action attack AFTER attacking, you can wait to see if you kill a creature or land a critical hit; if you do, opt for the Great Weapon Master bonus action attack instead.
On top of this excellent route to consistently making more attack rolls, which means more attacks that get to add your Rage damage, as well as landing more crits (pairing well with Barbarian’s Brutal Critical feature).
Use a halberd or glaive to benefit from both GWM and PM at the same time (heavy weapons that count for Polearm Master).
+1 Strength or Constitution, can move a creature you hit with a bludgeoning weapon 5 feet, and landing a critical hit causes attacks against that target to have advantage until the start of your next turn.
A half-ASI is useful if you’re sitting at an odd-numbered Strength or Constitution score currently, so you can work Crusher without hurting your ability score progression. And Crusher adding a rider effect to each critical hit you land means you’ll be buffing the rest of your party’s damage for a full round of combat fairly often (including your own damage, since you get also get a bonus action attack after critting if you have GWM).
However, note that you can’t combine GWM, PM, and Crusher, since no polearms deal bludgeoning damage. Instead, you’ll want to use a maul as your weapon and take Cruhser INSTEAD of Polearm Master (after taking Great Weapon Master).
Finally, Crusher’s bonus effect of pushing a creature you hit with a bludgeoning weapon is pretty useful, especially when paired with hazardous terrain caused by spells like Spirit Guardians, Spike Growth, Web, and Moonbeam, which immediately trigger damage when a creature touches them for the first time on a turn. Or just shoving enemies off cliffs, into lava, and what have you.
DnD 5e Best Barbarian Feats (Tank)
Hitting a creature with an opportunity attack drops its speed to 0 for the turn, you ignore the Disengage action, and when a creature within 5 feet attacks a target other than you, you can use your reaction to make a melee attack against that creature.
Sentinel is the feat that makes tanking possible in 5e; otherwise, foes can just run away from you with little penalty other than some possible opportunity attack damage. With Sentinel, enemies you hit will be frozen in place when an OA lands, keeping them beside you and targeting you (just what you want as a tank).
And if foolish foes standing beside you continue to attack someone other than you, you get a free attack on them anyway — it’s a win-win, whether they run or try to keep attacking your allies.
Not to mention that Sentinel pairs extremely well with Polearm Master — with both feats, when an enemy ENTERS your reach, you can freeze them in place with a successful opportunity attack. And if you’re using a 10-foot reach weapon, you can stop a melee enemy in its tracks before it’s even able to attack you. If you really want to go nuts, you can even make your character a Bugbear for +5 reach and an insane 15-foot reach with those polearms.
If you’re looking for big-time battlefield control more than damage, the Polearm Master/Sentinel combination can take precedence over Great Weapon Master.
5) Resilient (Wisdom)
+1 Wisdom and proficiency in Wisdom saving throws. Barbarians are notorious for having poor mental ability scores, which means that some of 5e’s most debilitating effects (a dragon’s Frightful Presence, a revenant’s Vengeful Glare, a spellcaster’s Hold Person or Hypnotic Pattern, etc.) that rely on Wisdom saves will regularly remove a Barbarian from a fight for several rounds.
Getting to add your proficiency bonus to Wis saves significantly reduces the odds of this happening, which keeps your Barbarian in the fight longer (and prevents your Rage from ending early as a result).
In a weird way, this defensive feat is actually a big offensive boon, since dealing 0 damage from failing a Wis save is a huge loss in your party’s DPR.
Still, I recommend maximizing your Strength score and getting GWM before this feat, since Wisdom saves aren’t a part of every fight in 5e, but swinging your weapon as hard as possible is.
6) Gift of the Chromatic Dragon
Can use a bonus action once a day to give your weapon attacks +1d4 elemental damage for one minute and can use a reaction (proficiency bonus) times per day to give yourself resistance (half damage) from incoming acid, cold, fire, lightning, or poison damage.
The damage bonus is fine, but we’re much more interested in the Reactive Resistance element of this feat. Barbarians are already good at reducing physical damage and succeeding on physical saving throws. Being able to cut incoming spell/elemental damage in half several times a day just rounds out their defensive capabilities, making you very hard to kill.
DnD 5e Best Barbarian Feats (Utility)
7) Skill Expert (Athletics)
+1 ability score of your choice, +1 skill proficiency, and +1 expertise in a skill (double proficiency bonus).
Picking Athletics as your skill expertise means that you’ll be the most reliable party member for shoving and grappling foes. You already have advantage on Strength checks while Raging, so this means you’ll basically never fail to shove or grapple successfully.
And that’s a powerful way to play a Barbarian, especially if you have a melee-heavy party. Melee attacks have advantage on prone creatures, and grappled creatures can’t stand from being prone (since their movement is 0). So, if you can shove/grapple on your first turn, all your allies will have attack advantage on that creature until it dies. The silly creature might even waste an action trying to break free of the grapple, which it’ll almost never succeed on.
The +1 skill proficiency is also welcome (although you should’ve started the game with proficiency in Athletics already), and the +1 ability score improvement to an ability of your choice is good at any level, just to bring an odd-numbered ability to an even number to increase the modifier.
Good Barbarian Feats Runners-up
These feats are neat and can be fun on a Barbarian, but I don’t think they’re “optimal.” That said, they’re worth considering if they suit your character’s backstory, role in the party, or you just think they’re nify and would be cool in your campaign.
Durable. +1 Constitution and the minimum hit points you gain from using a Hit Die equal twice your Constitution modifier. +1 Con is fine, but the guarantee of healing a decent amount during every short rest means your party won’t have to waste spell slots and other resources to keep you alive for the adventuring day. And since your HP pool is the de facto limiting factor in how long your party can keep fighting, this is a big deal. Still, this is a lower priority feat than the ones listed above, unless your DM really puts your party’s resources to the rest and seriously throttles your ability to take rests.
Gift of the Gem Dragon. +1 Int, Wis, or Cha and can use a reaction (proficiency bonus) times per day when you take damage from a creature within 10 feet, pushing a creature 10 feet away and dealing 2d8 force damage if they fail, or half damage and no push if they succeed. You’re going to be attacked a lot; having a way to deal damage when that happens and control the battlefield a bit in the process is a welcome addition to the Barbarian kit.
Lucky. Can reroll 3d20 per day, including attack rolls against you. Technically good on any character in DnD 5e, but boring as heck.
Orcish Fury. Half-orc specific racial feat that gives +1 Strength or Constitution, can add an extra damage die on a weapon hit once per rest, and can use your reaction to make a weapon attack immediately after using Relentless Endurance. More ability score increases that fit Barbarians perfectly, more damage a few times a day, and more weapon attacks (albeit only when you’re brought to 0 hit points). All good stuff if your character is a Half-orc (which, by the way, is a great choice of race for any Barbarian, what with their Savage Attacks boosting your critical hit damage).