The best Ranger feats in DnD 5e are those that complement their playstyle and base class features well. Rangers are excellent at both ranged and melee combat, and have a small suite of known spells to add to their utility in a fight.
Rangers are also talented outside of combat, able to learn additional languages and gain expertise in two skills, usually favoring Stealth and Perception as the group’s natural scout. Then there’s the divide between ranged Rangers, who typically wield a hand crossbow, and melee Rangers, who usually favor finesse weapons, like a rapier and shield, or two light weapons, like shortswords or scimitars.
But, most of all, Rangers need to maximize their main ability (Dexterity) before even considering getting feats (in most cases). It’s essential to their AC and damage output. Beyond that, getting Wisdom to 14 (+2 modifier) or 16 (+3) is also essential for Rangers who plan on using spells that force saving throws.
With all these factors in mind, I’ve broken down the 11 best Ranger feats into three categories, depending on your playstyle.
DnD 5e Best Ranger Feats (Ranged Attacker)
1) Crossbow Expert
Ignore the loading quality of crossbows, don’t have attack disadvantage on ranged attack rolls when a hostile creature is within 5 feet, and can make a bonus action attack with a hand crossbow after taking the Attack action with a one handed weapon (including that same hand crossbow).
Together with Extra Attack, this allows a Ranger to make three attacks per turn with their hand crossbow, making it the premier weapon of choice for ranged Ranger character builds. Three attacks mean three opportunities to trigger Hunter’s Mark damage (3d6, 10.5 average) or Favored Foe (3d4, 7.5 average).
Plus, being able to attack without disadvantage against adjacent creatures makes playing a ranged Ranger so much easier; you don’t need to worry about swapping for a melee weapon to deal with that threat first, using Disengage to get away, or just eating an opportunity attack.
Attacking at long range doesn’t impose attack disadvantage, ignore half (+2 AC) and three-quarters (+5 AC) cover, and can take -5 penalty to ranged attack roll for +10 damage if the attack hits.
Sharpshooter allows you to attack with your hand crossbow at up to 120 feet instead of being limited to 30 feet, a huge increase that’ll help keep your Ranger much safer. Ignoring cover is also great, especially if your DM uses it often and you’re up against ranged enemies frequently.
But the real star of the show is the +10 damage buff, which represents a massive buff to your DPR (damage per round). Getting around the -5 attack penalty can be tricky, but if you’re attacking low AC targets anyway, you should be fine. And a ranged Ranger will always have the Archery fighting style, so there’s +2 to your attack bonus right there, permanently. Throw in the Bless spell for another +1d4, and you’re golden.
There’s a strong case for taking Sharpshooter before Crossbow Expert if your DM uses cover often, your party often finds itself fighting in large spaces, and you’re up against foes without impressive ACs. Otherwise, I prefer taking CBE first (after maxing out Dexterity to 20, of course).
Either way, your ranged character isn’t optimally built until you have both of these feats, which essentially allow you to ignore all the disadvantages of ranged weapons while maximizing their effectiveness.
DnD 5e Best Ranger Feats (Dexterity-based Melee Attacker)
4) Gift of the Chromatic Dragon
Bonus action to add 1d4 elemental damage to your attacks for 1 minute, usable once per day, and the ability to use a reaction to gain resistance (half-damage) from acid, cold, fire, lightning, or poison damage, usable (proficiency bonus) times per day.
The bonus damage is fine, and even better if you’re making multiple attacks per turn (which makes this feat also viable for ranged Rangers, as it pairs well with Crossbow Expert).
But the ability to cut incoming elemental damage in half is why we’re really interested in this feat. It’s essentially Absorb Elements, but without the need to expend a spell slot.
5) Defensive Duelist
While wielding a finesse weapon, can use a reaction to add your proficiency bonus to your AC whenever you’re hit, possibly causing the attack to miss.
This is a sizable AC bonus (+3 at level 8, increasing to +4 at level 9) that will make your light or medium armor-wearing Ranger much, much tankier. It’s basically as good as the Shield spell (one of 5e’s most overpowered spells), but with infinite uses.
6) Gift of the Metallic Dragon
Learn Cure Wounds and can cast it once a day without expending a spell slot, and can add your proficiency bonus to yours or an ally within 5 feet’s AC as a reaction (usable (proficiency bonus) times per day).
Like Defensive Duelist, this makes you much tankier. Unlike Defensive Duelist, it can also help an ally out, but is limited in its number of uses per day. Cure Wounds is a solid out-of-combat heal, so that’s a nice perk as well.
DnD 5e Best Ranger Feats (Utility)
7) Fey Touched
+1 Wisdom, learn Misty Step (2nd-level spell, teleport up to 30 feet as a bonus action), and a 1st-level Divination or Enchantment spell of your choice. Both spells are castable once per day without expending a spell slot, or more if you do.
A half ASI in Wisdom is great if it boosts your modifier (and therefore your spell save DC). Misty Step is a very good spell for escaping danger and getting into a better position, and a spell like Bless (+1d4 on attack rolls and saving throws for 1 minute on 3 allies) is great to add to your kit.
Plus, Rangers have so few known spells and spell slots that getting +2 spells of each is a big boost to your overall utility and staying power.
8) Resilient (Constitution)
+1 Constitution and proficiency on Constitution saving throws.
Plus, there are a number of powerful enemy abilities/spells that force Con saves, so being able to resist these more often will help keep you alive and free from negative conditions.
And if you’re sitting at an odd-numbered Constitution ability score, boosting your modifier with this feat will also increase your hit points by +1 per level, further increasing your beefiness.
DnD 5e Best Ranger Feats (Strength-based Melee Attacker)
Note that these feats are only worthwhile if you’re a Strength-based Ranger. Moving away from finesse weapons means you won’t be able to use Dexterity for attack/damage modifiers.
9) Great Weapon Master
After landing a critical hit or killing a creature, can make a bonus action melee weapon attack, and can take -5 penalty on a heavy weapon attack for +10 damage if it hits.
This is the premier damage-increasing feat for melee attackers in DnD 5e, both for making more attacks and for getting those attacks to hit harder. And getting over the -5 penalty is much easier for melee characters than ranged ones using Sharpshooter; if someone in your party can knock the target prone, you’ve basically negated it with attack advantage.
10) Polearm Master
Can make a d4 bonus action attack after attacking with a polearm, and creatures provoke an opportunity attack when they enter your reach.
Again, more attacks are always a good thing, especially for Rangers and their Hunter’s Mark trigger. And more opportunity attacks are an excellent thing, especially when you’re using a weapon with 10-foot reach.
Pair this with the Sentinel feat for even more shenanigans, freezing foes in their place before they can approach you, or preventing them from leaving your reach to go after your backline.
11) Dual Wielder
+1 AC while wielding melee weapons in each hand, can use two-weapon fighting with non-light one handed melee weapons, and can draw/stow two weapons per turn.
The AC bonus gets you half of what you’d get with a shield, and the same as if you boosted your Dexterity by +2, making you more defensively sound as a dual-wielding Ranger.
The ability to use non-light weapons increases your damage per weapon by an average of 1 (d6 to d8).
And the final bullet is mostly handwaved by DMs anyway, but if your DM is a real stickler for the rules, then it’s kinda essential for your character to fight effectively in round 1 of combat.
Overall, along with the two-weapon fighting style, Dual Wielder makes your dual-wielding Ranger much more effective.
Good Ranger Feats Runners-up
These feats are neat and can be fun on a Ranger, 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 nifty and would be cool in your campaign or for your specific character concept.
Skill Expert. +1 ability score of your choice, +1 skill proficiency, and expertise (double proficiency bonus) in one skill you’re proficient in. A floating +1 ASI is great for bringing your Wisdom or Constitution up if they’re currently at an odd number, and getting expertise in Stealth or Perception is a great idea, depending on your role in the party.
Magic Initiate. +2 cantrips and +1 1st-level spell from any full spellcaster’s spell list (castable once per day without using a spell slot), using their spellcasting ability as your modifier (so, as a Ranger, you’d want to pick Cleric or Druid to use Wisdom). Getting access to utility cantrips can give Rangers more to do out of combat, and more free spell casts is always welcome on a class with so few slots and spell options.
Shadow Touched. +1 Wisdom, Invisibility spell, and a 1st-level Illusion or Necromancy spell, both castable once per day without using a spell slot, or more if you do. Exactly like Fey Touched, and great for the same reasons. Invisibility is better for scouting and setting up an advantaged first attack in a round, so if you like that utility more than Misty Step, go for Shadow Touched.
Ritual Caster. Gain ritual casting, learn two 1st-level ritual spells, and can learn any new ritual spells you find in spell scrolls or wizard’s spellbooks. This not only frees up your spell slots on your own Ranger spells with ritual tags, but also grants two new spells instantaneously and the potential for more down the road. This is really handy if you want more out-of-combat utility spells
Piercer. +1 Dexterity, can reroll damage die on piercing attack damage rolls, and if you critical hit with piercing damage, you can roll +1 damage die. Decent damage boost for any ranged Ranger, as all bows/crossbows deal piercing damage.
Alert. +5 initiative, can’t be surprised, and unseen attackers don’t have attack advantage against you. Thematically fits the Ranger class really well, and certain subclasses/multiclass combos (like Gloomstalker/Assassin) love to go as early as possible in combat.
Mobile. +10 movement, Dashing in difficult terrain doesn’t slow you, and when you melee attack a creature, you don’t provoke opportunity attacks from them. Good for Dex-based melee Rangers who like to skirmish, dipping in and out of the fight.
Elven Accuracy (Elf or Half-elf only). +1 Dexterity or Wisdom, and can reroll Dexterity-based attack rolls you have advantage on. A good half-ASI and damage booster if you can reliably have advantage often in combat (it’s “triple advantage”).
Lucky. Can reroll 3d20 per day, including attack rolls against you. Technically good on any character in DnD 5e, but boring as heck.