The best Minecraft shaders can be difficult to narrow down when there are tons available in the modding community. This can make settling on one—or even a few—feel difficult. That’s why we’ve found you the 20 best Minecraft shaders you can find in 2021:
20 Best Minecraft Shaders
1. BSL Shaders
The BSL shader pack upgrades your graphics to a movie-visual level. It provides everything you might find in a high-quality AAA game. This includes incredible depth of field, warm and welcoming atmosphere, and realistic water that blends well with Minecraft’s blocky design. Moreover, it offers a cool world curvature feature for a more unique-looking feel.
While you might think that something this photo-realistic takes up a lot of RAM, it doesn’t sacrifice a lot of frame rate. Of course, you might need a good enough setup to let it run at 60fps.
2. Chocapic13’s Shaders
Vibrant yet simple with a photo-realistic feel — it’s no wonder that Chocapic shaders are among the classics in the Minecraft modding community. The visuals feel awe-inspiring and captivating as if you’re watching a movie. Perhaps it’s the gentle flow of the leaves or the serene water waves that invoke this feeling. Then again, there’s also the warm and inviting lighting that makes you feel at peace despite the world’s lurking dangers.
3. Complementary Shaders
Unlike BSL or Chocapic, the Complementary shader pack doesn’t give off a picturesque feel. In fact, it rides off of BSL’s original idea but makes things more optimized for performance. It also allows for similar customization options like the world curvature feature. Visually, it does take cues from BSL and tries to maintain the same quality but in a lightweight package. If you like the beauty of BSL but have a less powerful PC, this is one mod you should certainly check out.
4. Continuum Shaders
The Continuum shader pack boosts your game with realistic graphics without going overboard. That’s because, unlike BSL or Chocapic, it doesn’t go crazy on hazy or intense lighting. Instead, the world still feels realistic but with more muted undertones and natural lighting.
Unfortunately, it isn’t the best Minecraft shader pack if you’re looking for something lightweight. That’s because it eats up a lot of resources and requires a pretty powerful rig.
Not all the best Minecraft shaders go for a highly realistic aesthetic. Sometimes, the best Minecraft shaders just stay true to Minecraft’s visual style and merely add minor visual upgrades. With the Ebin Minecraft shader pack, you’ll get just that.
Upon downloading the mod, you’ll find that things still look similar to the original Minecraft. However, the little details change and have more depth to them without heavily altering the art. All of these small changes contribute to Ebin’s aesthetic that many Minecraft players love. Unfortunately, it is a little resource-intensive, so you’ll need a powerful rig.
6. KUDA Shaders
The next pack on our list is the KUDA shader pack. Like Ebin, it doesn’t turn your whole game into something photorealistic but merely adds little changes to the visuals. These include more natural lighting, deeper sun rays, and better depth of field.
All of these provide a more picture-perfect feel and soft visual lighting without losing Minecraft’s signature style. Above all, it’s not heavy on resources so you’ll have no problems running it.
7. Lagless Shaders
The Lagless shader pack upgrades your visuals with attention paid to the finer details. It adds small details like brighter colors, improved textures, and better lighting. These may seem minuscule, but they collectively add up. Most importantly, making the changes small means this shader pack doesn’t take a lot of resources to run. Hence, your gameplay should feel as smooth as butter even if you have a less powerful rig.
8. MrMeepz Shader
If all you want is to make Minecraft feel warm and welcoming, then MrMeepz shaders are the best choice. It adds some of the most important elements to make this happen: warm, orange sunlight and serene water waves.
Additionally, the MrMeepz shader pack also prioritizes a cloudless sky so it always creates that warm feeling. Best of all, it’s not high-end at all so you’ll have no trouble with gameplay on a lower-end computer.
9. Naelego’s Cel Shaders
Are you a fan of the cartoony, cel-shaded aesthetic? If so, then Naelego’s Cel Shaders is one mod pack you don’t want to miss. Not only does it apply bolder colors to the assets, but it also adds outlines everywhere. You’ll instantly feel like you’re in a comic book world if you apply this to your game. However, make sure that you have a powerful setup, especially if you’re looking to use this in creative mode.
10. Nostalgia Shader Pack
Lightweight, subtle, but extremely effective, the Nostalgia Shader Pack certainly lives up to its name. It overlays the world with a very unaggressive graphical filter akin to the first shaders from the 2010s. The Story Mode Style with adjusted cloud settings is particularly appealing and brings out the best this pack can offer.
11. Oceano Shaders
It’s no secret that the waters of Minecraft could use a facelift. That’s what the Oceano Shader Pack targets, especially if you’re after the best possible look for the world’s seas. Furthermore, there’s a hint of personality to it that doesn’t overdo the realism aspect. The only problem is how bizarre the shader looks on smaller ponds or lakes, although it’s pretty negligible.
12. ProjectLUMA Shaders
ProjectLUMA nails what most regular shaders can’t achieve. That is to add a sense of realism to the world without sacrificing liveliness and vivid colors. With ProjectLUMA, you’ll immediately notice that colors pop a lot more, with vibrant oranges and greens everywhere. It’s certainly a breath of fresh air compared to shaders attempting realism but sacrificing a sense of life. ProjectLUMA is both lively and serene, perfect for providing relaxing vibes in a world full of danger.
13. RudoPlays Shader
RudoPlays is one of the best Minecraft shaders that introduces graphical changes to enhance every single asset. Light rays and lens flares are coming from the sun and crisp details lie everywhere in the greenery. While the water doesn’t reflect as much as other shaders, we still find it beautiful and well-suited for the pack. Overall, RudoPlays provides better visuals to Minecraft’s vanilla world that’s cohesive and immersive.
14. Seus Shaders (Sonic Ether’s Unbelievable Shaders)
Sonic Ether’s Unbelievable Shaders, or Seus shaders for short, are usually the beginner player’s shader pack of choice and we can easily see why. The visuals are clean and clear but also strikingly deep and beautiful. It certainly isn’t as loud as other shaders, but that’s part of its charm.
Moreover, it works very well while moving which, surprisingly, isn’t always a given in Minecraft shaders. However, it doesn’t have as many customization features as other shader packs. Although we don’t think you’ll need it given that Seus looks stunning right from the get-go.
15. SFLP Shaders
Shaders for Low-End PCs, or SFLP, is a pack that does exactly what its name says. It’s ideal for you if you run Minecraft on a low-end PC. Hence, you can download it without worrying about lag or frame drops. However, that doesn’t mean it completely sacrifices quality because it does enhance the world. There are very welcome lighting changes and visual changes akin to a stripped-down version of Chocapic’s shader pack. All in all, it’s a decent shader if you’re low on resources.
16. Sildur’s Vibrant Shaders
If vivid colors and a vibrant landscape are your main goals, there’s no better shader pack than Sildur’s Vibrant Shaders. This pack enhances the sun’s appearance with bright yellows mixed with orange, purples, and blues. This gives the rest of the world a bright orange tinge that’s just subtle enough not to be overpowering. Best of all, Sildurs shaders are lightweight and extremely customizable, with various versions suited for all types of rigs.
17. Sora Shaders
Minecraft has a distinct feel and atmosphere that gives off a more cartoony vibe. However, you may not like to stick to it and thus seek a change of pace. That’s why the Sora Shader pack has been a fan favorite since it came out.
Not only does it provide stunning skyboxes, subtle lighting, and beautiful graphical enhancements, it also changes the overall mood. It gives off a more serious vibe than the playful vanilla version of Minecraft. In fact, some might even say it looks like an entirely different game.
18. Sushi Shader
Shiny, reflective waters, bold and vibrant colors, and crisp details—these are the qualities that Sushi Shader provides. However, while you might find these qualities in a photo-realistic shader, Sushi Shader doesn’t sacrifice Minecraft’s playful aesthetic.
Its personality still clearly shines through but with added detail and graphical improvements that make things pop more. You’ll find that even the realistic touches such as water refraction and transparent shadows still fit very well.
19. Too Many Effects (TME) Shaders
The best Minecraft shaders can certainly go for the simplistic route, but that doesn’t mean they’re limited to only that. In fact, the Too Many Effects or TME shader pack embodies that well. This pack has a plethora of effects — some your PC might not handle — ready to beautify your Minecraft world. The star of the show is most certainly the enhancements to surfaces and reflections. However, the rest of the pack’s effects still add a lot to the world.
20. Vanilla Plus Shaders
If you like vanilla Minecraft and only want a few minor adjustments, the Vanilla Plus Shaders is certainly worth considering. As the name implies, it provides you with subtle enhancements and higher-quality graphics without altering the vanilla aesthetic too much. With it, you’ll find yourself in a very familiar environment but with everything just looking much better than before. Honestly, this should be how Minecraft looks right out of the gate, but there’s no helping that.
How to Install Minecraft Shaders
Shaders are installed the same way as regular mods. However, if you’re unfamiliar with the process, you can just follow these easy steps:
- Install the Minecraft Optifine software according to your Minecraft version
- Download the best Minecraft shaders you like from our list
- Put the ZIP folder/s you download into this location: %appdata%\.minecraft\shaderpacks
- Launch Minecraft
- Head to Video Settings and click on Shaders and choose the shader you want
With that, you can use the best Minecraft shaders to improve your gameplay anytime.
Final Word on the Best Minecraft Shaders
Minecraft is a great game with a distinct, blocky style that anyone can recognize. However, the art style can, admittedly, feel a little boring after playing it for a while. That’s why people constantly look for the best Minecraft shaders they can find. Thanks to the modding community, you have shader packs of all kinds, from extremely realistic shaders to distinctly stylized ones. Regardless of which style you want, there’s sure to be one out there for you. You just have to know where to look.