All 'Fallout 4' Settlements, Ranked
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All 'Fallout 4' Settlements, Ranked

Jun 01, 2023

Fallout 4 is having a renaissance and I couldn’t be happier about it. My love for that game runs deep. It’s funny and exciting … but most importantly (for me, at least) it lets you rebuild the ruined world you find yourself in. Or some of it at least! Yep, by utilizing the game’s settlement system, you can create patches of glorious green in the desolate yellow wasteland.

Now personally, I use mods in order to get the most out of my settlements. Homemaker and Creative Clutter are two of my faves. You don’t have to, of course, but I recommend it! The base game has enough to get you started but mods really add to the experience.

But of course, you can’t do any of that until you know where to build. Here’s a guide to every settlement location in the game, ranked from worst to best, and what you can expect from them. Don’t forget to build doghouses for Dogmeat (or any other dogs you stumble across) in whichever ones you choose!

You can get Home Plate by purchasing it from Geneva in Diamond City. It has a great location (right in the middle of the market) but it’s rather small and pokey and you can’t bring other settlers to live there. Plus, you can’t harvest food for yourself, since it’s just one building. Good for use as a player base, though!

This is another player base, and you can get it by playing through the “Automatron” DLC and completing the quest “Restoring Order.” You can’t plant food or summon settlers here either, but it is full of robots and other cool stuff.

Whether or not you decide to claim this settlement will probably largely depend on how you feel about the Brotherhood of Steel. If you become their enemy, no Boston Airport for you. But if you become their ally, you can build yourself a base there. You won’t be able to plant crops, build water purifiers, or invite other settlers to the airport though.

You have all the settlement options (food, water, settlers) in Jamaica Plain but there’s not a huge amount you can do with it, unfortunately. Mostly because you only actually get a small section of it to build on, rather than the whole thing, and in that section, there’s not much apart from a big building missing some walls.

A boathouse full of corpses! Hooray! Unfortunately, even after you claim this as a settlement the corpses can still randomly pop back into view which is very frustrating. You can get a mod to scrap them, but still. At least there’s a lot of water and a cooking station nearby?

Well, the views here are nice, but that doesn’t change the fact that this settlement gives you one broken cottage and that’s pretty much it. Me, I expanded this area with the Conquest mod to give me more land to build on.

Another teeny tiny settlement where you have to get creative if you want to get anything salvageable out of it. Most people, including me, choose to build upwards rather than outwards and create a floating settlement between the walls.

Croup Manor is just one building and unfortunately all it really has is a basement full of ghouls and a depressing backstory. But kill all the ghouls and Croup Manor is yours. It’s a bit of a fixer-upper, to say the least, but good if you like a challenge.

This settlement is basically a big greenhouse, which is great if you want to get your mutfruit-farming game on. But watch out for the hostile Super Mutants who live nearby!

This isn’t a bad settlement, but you may be disappointed to realize that you can’t scrap the ugly-looking shack at Tenpines Bluff without using mods. Still, as the Fallout franchise frequently teaches, looks aren’t everything.

This settlement is full of paranoid Synth-haters who have been known to kidnap and kill innocent travelers. But it has a cat and a robot who gives you lemonade, so it’s all good. You can’t really do much with the tiny houses however (and the fact that they all look like they should have two floors but don’t always annoyed me.)

Outpost Zimonja is rather small in width but you can build up to 12 stories there, which makes it the ideal location for those who like high-up living. Clear out Boomer and his Raiders in order to take it for yourself.

This walled and easily defensible settlement is a great source of caps, but I personally found it tricky to build many new things here. Best to build upwards around the tower, I reckon, although you can’t build very high, which is a bit disappointing.

This is a grim-looking factory by the water, but it comes with lots of land that you can use to build new things. It also comes with its own settlers: the Warwick family and their farmhands Bill and Cedric. You need to do their side quest before you can start using the settlement.

A settlement inhabited by a grumpy old woman named Phyllis. You have to go through her tragic side quest in order to unlock the settlement, which is a great one for water purifiers and fun to build on. Or you could just kill her, of course, if you’re that way inclined.

This is one of four settlements you can claim in the DLC land of Far Harbor. Do the quest given to you by Cassie Dalton and you’ll be able to claim the farm for yourself. The buildings are all ruined, but maybe you can rebuild them?

This farm is underneath what used to be the Boston Expressway, and you can actually build up on there if you want to. Finch Farm has one of the highest build limits in the game. (Make sure you have lots of railings so your settlers don’t fall off!)

Rather disappointingly, the Nuka-World DLC only came with one settlement, this one. It does give you a fairly substantial piece of land to work with, though, and a nice view of King Cola’s Castle if you’re into that sort of thing.

Kingsport Lighthouse has, well, a lighthouse, and that immediately bumps it high up the list in terms of aesthetics. There are some radioactive barrels around, but you can scrap them easily and get to work creating whatever you wish. I built a hospital!

Another Far Harbor DLC settlement. (So watch out for those Fog Crawlers.) Once you’ve scrapped all the junk here you should have quite a lot of good land to build on. There’s even a sheltered area that works very well as a marketplace.

This settlement doesn’t look like much, and the weather is miserable like everywhere else in Far Harbor, but you get lots of land to build on and lots of wood to build with. Oh, and it also has its own resident cannibal, until you kill him. (Or you could let him live and continue to eat people, I’m not the boss of you.)

Murkwater looks terrible when you first encounter it. It seems tiny, it’s dark, and there’s a horrible Mirelurk Queen there. But the good news is, you can build upwards! I constructed a whole castle-like establishment there and I’m SO PROUD of it.

Oberland Station is another settlement that forces you to get creative. I always keep the broken station box and build around it to create something truly unique.

This Far Harbor location looks a bit gloomy but it has much more build space than you might realize at first glance. It’s not just one cabin, you see, it’s a whole island! And as for Longfellow himself, you can recruit him as a companion.

Time to create your own beach paradise! Well, as close as you can get on Fallout, anyway. A child and two parents live here but (as is the case with all of Fallout) you can’t kill the child. Not that you would want to anyway … right?

County Crossing is unfortunately sandwiched between various dangerous areas but I had enormous fun with it. There’s a lot of land available so I created a living area with the Snap N’ Build mod!

This settlement is filled with charming robots attending to their greenhouse, but it’s also another area where you can build on the overpass above. Why not invite some humans to mingle with the bots and give them human houses up on the road?

A good area to build a variety of small buildings on. Two kids live here, which might explain the rope swing in the middle of the settlement. Sadly, you can’t swing on it, I tried.

An all-ghoul tarberry farm built in an old swimming pool! This settlement is famous in-game, you might hear people talk about it before you even encounter it. It’s the only tarberry farm you can get, so you’ll definitely want to claim it. But don’t kill the ghouls! They’ve been through enough!

Isn’t it everyone’s secret dream to live in a drive-in movie theater? You can achieve that dream by taking this big settlement near Sanctuary Hills. Sadly, you can’t actually use it as a movie theater. If you could, it’ll be #1 on this list without question.

This was probably a lovely area before those feral ghouls showed up. Kill them and Sunshine Tidings is yours. It’s one of my favorite settlements in the game, there’s lots of space plus a Mr Handy bot with the terrific name of Professor Goodfeels.

This is a nice little settlement on its own, but to be honest it’s so high up on the list because this is where you meet DOGMEAT! The best dog in gaming hangs out here, just down the road from Sanctuary, waiting to meet you. And you can turn all of Red Rocket into a massive dog playground for him if you want.

This humble farm next to Red Rocket has, perhaps surprisingly, the tallest build limit in the game. You can create a 20-storey building here if you feel like it! Abernathy Farm is also home to the Abernathy family, and Connie Abernathy serves as a vendor. She’s one of only a handful of people in the game who sell shipments of cloth.

Team up with the Minutemen and wipe out the Mirklurks at the Castle, and then it becomes your very own settlement. The Castle is one of my favorites because it’s already a fully-built building and you can just decorate it to your taste!

Personally, I don’t enjoy Vault building as much as I like creating buildings on land, but running a Vault is very fun indeed once you get the hang of it. And luckily, you don’t have to perform horrific experiments on whoever turns up to live there.

You start the game in Sanctuary Hills and it’s a charming little suburb. Then you return to it after your encounter in the Vault and … oh dear. Sanctuary Hills is a wasteland. But it’s a wasteland you can fix! Some people use a mod to put Sanctuary back to how it was, but others work with what they have and create something new.

The biggest build area in the entire game! Spectacle Island is full of so much potential. I used mods (Aki’s Colorful Trees is a favorite) to put countless trees on mine but you can do pretty much whatever you want here. Watch out for the Mirelurks and enjoy!

(featured image: Bethesda Game Studios

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Sarah Barrett (she/her) is a freelance writer with The Mary Sue who has been working in journalism since 2014. She loves to write about movies, even the bad ones. (Especially the bad ones.) The Raimi Spider-Man trilogy and the Star Wars prequels changed her life in many interesting ways. She lives in one of the very, very few good parts of England.