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Best bow enchantments in Minecraft 1.20 (Java edition)

Bows are extremely useful in Minecraft, but having the proper enchantments on yours can give you the edge in a fight.

Best Bow Enchantments In Minecraft 1.19 (java Edition)

Since its release all the way back in 2011, Minecraft has seen quite a few major and minor updates. And while most of these updates have been focused on improving the world itself or adding new structures, Mojang has managed to sneak quite a few updates in for bows and other weapons in the game.

Bows, swords, and axes have all changed quite a bit as weapons, with the introduction of weapon charge-ups and the axe dealing damage, it's always essential to stay on top of the latest mechanics. But anybody can learn the mechanics in the game, what will really give you an edge over your friends in Minecraft is what enchantments you have on your weapons.

Over the last few patches, the game has introduced three new biomes, new mobs, and a dangerous new enemy that makes it absolutely essential for you to be on top of your enchanting game.

What are enchantments in Minecraft?

In simple words, enchantments are buffs that you apply to your weapons, armor, or tools to make them more efficient. Enchantments can provide a variety of upgrades to your weapons, with the most common being making them last longer or making them better at their job.

Along with there being some general enchantments like Unbreaking or Efficiency, there are also item-specific enchantments like Sharpness, Power, Punch, or Loyalty. Building upon that, these enchantments also have tiers to them. Unbreaking has ranks ranging from Unbreaking I to Unbreaking III, and most other enchantments also follow the same pattern.

How to enchant in Minecraft?

Enchanting in Minecraft can be tricky to figure out, but it's simple enough to do once you get it. To start enchanting in Minecraft, there are three simple requirements.

An enchanting table surrounded by bookshelves in Minecraft
An enchanting table surrounded by bookshelves in Minecraft.
  1. You need an enchanting table. This can be made using four Obsidian blocks, two Diamonds, and a book. To make the table, you have to open up the crafting menu through a crafting table and place the above-mentioned items in the following order:
    • 1st row: Empty, Book, Empty
    • 2nd row: Diamond, Obsidian, Diamond
    • 3rd row: Obsidian, Obsidian, Obsidian

    Crafting recipe for the enchantment table.

  2. Once you have acquired a crafting table, the next requirement is to get some Lapis Lazuli. Lapis can be found at the same level as Diamonds when mining but is significantly easier to find and is much less rare. Every enchantment you get will set you back one Lapis Lazuli. You can find Lapiz Lazuli as an exposed ore anywhere between Y=64 to Y=-64.
    The Ore Distribution graph was shared by Mojang for version 1.18, but it is still applicable to version 1.20+.
  3. The final requirement to actually start enchanting is XP. You need at least 30 levels to have the most powerful enchants equipped on your weapons.

In addition to the above requirements, it is also important that you have an adequate amount of bookshelves placed around the enchanting table in a square to ensure that you are getting the most powerful enchants. You need at least 15 bookshelves around your enchantment table to get the max level enchantments.

Best bow enchantments in Minecraft

As of the 1.20 update, there are seven enchantments in Minecraft that can be applied to a bow. This does not include enchantments that are shared between crossbows and bows.

Enchanting a bow is simple. All you need is a bow and all the requirements that we just went through above for enchanting. Once you have all these things, you can interact with the enchanting table, place the bow and Lapis Lazuli on the table, and select the enchantments you want from the options that show up.

The best possible enchanted bow in Minecraft 1.19
The best possible enchanted bow in Minecraft 1.20

Tip: If your preferred enchantments aren't available in the table, you can use the table to get a low-level enchantment on a book, this will cycle the enchantments for your bow, and any other items you want to enchant.

Here are all the bow enchantments available in Minecraft, in order of how useful they are and which ones you should try to get.

  1. Power
  2. Unbreaking
  3. Flame
  4. Punch
  5. Infinity
  6. Mending
  7. Curse of the Vanishing

1. Power

Power is the first enchantment that you should aim to get on your Bow in Minecraft. In the same way that it is essential for a sword to have Sharpness, it is absolutely necessary for a bow to have Power.

A Power V book in Minecraft.
A Power V book in Minecraft.

Given that there is only one variation of the bow in Minecraft, the Power enchantment is the only way to actually increase the damage that the bow does in every shot. Every tier of the Power enchantment increases the damage of a bow by 25%, which means that the total increase for Power V will be 150%.

Here is a quick breakdown of the damage a bow deals with every tier of the Power enchantment:

  1. Power 0: 3 Hearts
  2. Power I: 3.75 Hearts
  3. Power II: 4.5 Hearts
  4. Power III: 5.25 Hearts
  5. Power IV: 6 Hearts
  6. Power V: 6.75 Hearts

2. Unbreaking

Once you have enchanted your bow with Power (ideally Power V), the next step in your mind should be to get Unbreaking on the same bow. Our tutorial on how to combine enchantments in Minecraft is at the end of this guide.

An Unbreaking III book in Minecraft.
An Unbreaking III book in Minecraft.

Given the fact that there is only one version of the bow in the game, the wood bow is both the strongest and weakest variation. But even then, a full durability bow doesn't last quite as long, and you really don't want to lose the bow you spent so long enchanting. It is for this reason that Unbreaking is absolutely essential on any weapon or tool, and especially on the bow.

Unlike Power, Unbreaking has only 3 tiers. And even then, those three tiers work in the same incremental way that Power and other enchantments. Every time you fire an arrow from the bow, you take away one durability point from its total of 384 points. On the other hand, Unbreaking gives the bow a total of 1536 durability points.

This is how the tiers of Unbreaking work on a bow:

  1. Unbreaking 0: 384 Durability
  2. Unbreaking I: 768 Durability
  3. Unbreaking II: 1152 Durability
  4. Unbreaking III: 1536 Durability

3. Flame

As the name suggests, Flame is a fire-based enchantment in Minecraft that is capable of setting your opponents (or anybody you hit with an arrow) on fire. It is the bow equivalent of the sword enchantment called Fire Aspect and is extremely useful in both PvP and at night when you are out hunting monsters.

A Flame book in Minecraft
A Flame book in Minecraft.

Flame, unlike the previous two enchantments we just talked about, does not have any tiers to it. This means that no matter what, a player or entity affected by Flame will always burn for 5 seconds and will be dealt 2,5 hearts of damage per flame tick. (these stats are for players without armor and fire resistance)

Flame also has other uses except for distracting players during combat by setting them on fire. Flame can also affect mobs and TNT, and can also be used to light candles if a flaming arrow passes over them or lands near them. Additionally, if you shoot a food-dropping mob with a Flame bow, the food item it usually drops will now be cooked.

4. Punch

Following along the theme of enchantments that come straight from Minecraft's other weapons and just have different names when applied to a bow is Punch. And if you can't already guess it, Punch has the exact same effect on your arrows that Knockback has on your sword and axe.

A Punch II book in Minecraft
A Punch II book in Minecraft.

When an opposing player or mob is hit by an arrow released from a Punch bow, they will be knocked back approximately 2 blocks. It is noteworthy that Punch doesn't take away from any of the other enchantment effects, which means that you could potentially shoot an arrow with the effects from Power, Punch, and Flame, all in one.

Like the other enchantments we have mentioned so far (except Flame), Punch also has a tier system and actually has two levels. Punch I will knock an opponent back 2 blocks while Punch II will knock an opponent back 4 blocks.

5. Infinity

Infinity is a bow-only attachment that can't be found anywhere else in the game and is extremely rare to get. This particular enchantment also shares a slot with the next enchantment on the list, Mending. This means that you can only have one of these two equipped on a single bow.

An Infinity book in Minecraft.
An Infinity book in Minecraft.

Out of these two, we personally recommend that you invest in Infinity. Why? Infinity provides you with unlimited ammo for your bow. The only pre-requisite is that you should have at least one arrow in your inventory. Infinity makes it so that one arrow is never used up, no matter how many arrows you shoot from your bow.

So, if you're on an SMP server with a lot of other players, or engaging in multiplayer battles with your friends, Infinity is a must-have on your bow.

6. Mending

Mending is singlehandedly the rarest enchantment in Minecraft. It can be applied to any item, but cannot be obtained from a crafting table and needs to either be traded with a villager or fished out of the ocean.

And while you may initially think that the effort isn't with it, you'll stop once you find out what it does. Mending allows your items to be repaired using XP. So whenever you kill a mob or another player, or mine Redstone, the XP from it, instead of going to your XP bar, will go to the item that has Mending on it and repair it.

We highly recommend Mending for all you solo players out there, facing the endless Minecraft nights by yourself. Mending is especially useful on bows because while items such as armor and swords can be repaired using ingots from the original material, the same doesn't hold true for a bow. Bows cannot be manually repaired, so using Mending to make your OP bow last forever is the way to go.

7. Curse of the Vanishing

Curse of the Vanishing is what the modern-day kids would refer to as a meme-enchantment. That being said, we personally believe that it may have some niche-specific uses. Curse of the Vanishing makes it so that if a player is using a bow with this enchantment on it, and the player is killed, the bow will not drop to the ground. Instead, the bow will just vanish and be lost forever.

A Curse of Vanishing book in Minecraft.
A Curse of Vanishing book in Minecraft.

While this may seem counter-productive in solo survival modes, the enchantment could prove fairly useful in a multiplayer SMP lobby. Curse of the Vanishing is a good way to ensure that any enemy players do not get your insanely powerful bow and use it against you.

How to stack enchantments on a bow?

Stacking enchantments in Minecraft can be tricky, but is more often than not the easiest way to get a high-tier version of an enchantment. To stack and combine enchantments, you will need an anvil and a lot of XP levels.

Once you have both of these, you will need two iterations of the same enchantment, on either two of the same item, or on a book and the item you want to put it on. After this, you will put the book and the item into the anvil, and then combine the enchantments onto the item itself.

For example, if you have a Power I book and a Power I enchanted bow, you can use an anvil to turn them into a Power II bow. After this, you can combine that Power II bow with a Power II book to make a Power III bow.

Power II Bow and a Power II Enchanted Book combined using an Anvil to give a Power III Bow.

You can also do this for enchantments that can be on items together such as Power and Punch. For example, you can combine a Punch II book with your Power III bow to make a bow that has both Punch II and Power III on it.

Punch II and Power III books combined using an Anvil.

It is also worth noting that the order in which you apply enchantments on your gear in Minecraft changes how much XP you spend on your enchantments. It is best to do it optimally which can be done by using a Minecraft Enchantment Ordering Tool online. It shows you the order you must enchant your gear to spend less XP.

You first choose your gear from the drop-down menu, and then choose your required enchantments. After that, it will calculate thousands of possible combination to give you the most optimal order you must enchant your gear to spend the least amount of XP.

Optimal enchantment order given after choosing the desired enchantments for a bow.

Frequently Asked Questions?

Do bow enchantments stack in Minecraft?

Yes, armor enchantments in Minecraft stack. Each stack increases the efficiency of the stacked enchantment.

Why can’t I put enchantments on my bow in Minecraft?

Make sure you are trying to put echantments on correctly. You can use an enchanting table, which costs experience points and lapis lazuli, but this only works for unenchanted items. Other options include using an anvil to combine an enchanted book with an item or to combine two items with different enchantments into a single item with both enchantments. A librarian villager can also enchant books in exchange for emeralds.

How many enchantments can bow have in Minecraft?

Each item can have every compatible enchantment, but the maximum number varies based on how they are applied. If enchantments are added one by one using books, you can apply up to 6 before the cost becomes prohibitive due to the escalating work penalty. If each book contains two enchantments, up to 12 can be added.

What Minecraft armor enchantments cannot go together?

Certain enchantments in Minecraft cannot be combined. For instance, the enchantments 'Fire Protection', 'Blast Protection', 'Protection', and 'Projectile Protection' are mutually exclusive, so they can't coexist on the same piece of armor. Other incompatible pairs include 'Depth Strider' and 'Frost Walker' as well as 'Infinity' and 'Mending'.

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Arsal Sher

Arsal Sher // Articles: 25

Just an average videogame enthusiast who loves to share his passion with the world. The only grass I've touched in the past year has been the virtual kind.
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