A list of the best World of Warcraft addons based on hundreds of hours of gameplay and testing!
Choosing the right addons in World of Warcraft can be a tricky proposition. There are literally hundreds to choose from, and some no longer work in 2023. In this article, I want to share my list of the best World of Warcraft (WoW) addons that comes from hundreds of hours of personal testing and gameplay.
I put together this list with the retail version of the game (Dragonflight) in mind. For a Classic version check out my Best Addons for WotLK Classic article.
We’ll take a closer look at each addon in a moment, but here is the full list of the best WoW addons for now:
- Shadowed Unit Frames
- Threat Plates
- Deadly Boss Mods (DBM)
- Details! Damage Meter
- World Quest Tracker
- ALL THE THINGS
- Minimap Button Bag
Hang tight until the end of the article because I’ve included several honorable mention addons that narrowly missed the list. Before we dive into each addon’s details, I want to explain why these were chosen as the best addons.
Why are these the best WoW addons?
Everyone and their dog has an opinion on what WoW addons you should be using. So, why should you trust my list compared to anyone else?
In short, I have played World of Warcraft for over 15 years now and have tested dozens, if not more than a hundred addons along the way. I know which addons I can’t live without and those which seem to cause more problems than they are worth.
On top of that, I have done several in-depth comparisons of addons like the ones I did to find the best action bar and the best nameplate addon. I love keeping my user interface lightweight, minimal, and informative, and my recommendations below reflect that.
How to install addons
If this is your first time using addons, you will need to learn how to install them. Luckily, the process is easy if you use an addon manager like WowUp.
All you need to do is download the addon manager from the link above and install it. From there, simply click on “Get Addons” at the top and then click to install the ones you want.
If you need a more detailed guide, you can check out my guide to installing addons which is updated for 2023.
Best World of Warcraft (WoW) Addons in 2023
Without further ado, let’s jump into the best WoW addons of 2023. This list is based on my tests of dozens of addons across hundreds of hours of gameplay.
Let’s jump in and look at one of the most popular WoW addons… ElvUI.
Why do so many players love ElvUI? The reason is simple. ElvUI is a complete replacement of the default Blizzard UI, and it works well in 2023.
ElvUI replaces the bulky artwork and large icons with a sleek-looking interface. So, if you are looking for a single, easy-to-use addon to transform the appearance of your game, I would start with ElvUI.
The best way to install ElvUI is through the WowUp addon manager. You won’t find it in the Overwolf/CurseForge app since ElvUI is developed and maintained outside the CurseForge addon library. If you don’t want to use WowUp, you can install ElvUI by downloading it from Tukui.org and placing it in your addon folder.
If you choose not to use ElvUI, you can switch out specific elements of your UI with other addons. The advantage of this is that you gain control of each UI component and will likely end up with something a little more lightweight. However, it can take a bit of setup time to get things looking the way you want.
Instead of installing ElvUI, you can replace the 5 major UI elements with the following addons.
- Action bars — Dominos
- MiniMap — SexyMap
- Unit Frames — Shadowed Unit Frames
- Bags — Bagnon
- Nameplates — Threat Plates
Let’s take a closer look at each of these components, starting with Dominos.
If you are looking for a solid action bar addon alternative to ElvUI, I would definitely recommend Dominos. It includes the same features you’ll find in ElvUI and a few additional ones like “one bar mode.” This feature keeps your UI clean by allowing you to click and cycle through various progress bars like reputation, experience, and honor.
I also like that it is super easy to set up and is very lightweight. I recently ran some tests and compared Dominos to ElvUI and Bartender4. In my tests, I found that Dominos used 100 times fewer CPU resources than ElvUI (5.54 ms/s vs. 0.05 ms/s) and far less than Bartender4 (2.71 ms/s vs. 0.05 ms/s)!
You can read the full comparison in my Best Action Bar Addon Guide.
Once you install Dominos, you can get started customizing your layout by left-clicking its minimap icon. This will turn configuration mode on and allow you to move your bars to where you want.
To customize each bar further, you just need to right-click on the bar while you are in configuration mode and move the sliders. Super easy!
If you want more help to get started, you can also check out my complete Dominos guide below.
Alternatives: Bartender 4, ElvUI
Full Guide: How to use the Dominos addon
If you want to spice up your minimap, you should check out SexyMap. It comes with many built-in styles and animations and even allows you to move the map to wherever you want.
You can also use SexyMap to change the shape of your minimap and customize what buttons show up around the edge. If you want things to look cleaner, you can set up SexyMap to hide your calendar until you hover over it.
Simple. Sexy. Perfect.
Another major component of your World of Warcraft UI is your unit frames. The frames appear in the top left by default and give you very little ability to customize them.
With an addon like shadowed unit frames, you can change everything from the height of the bars to the font used. You can even adjust how names and health percents show up, improving your awareness in combat.
Unit frame addons’ only downside is that they take some work to set up.
To get started with shadowed unit frames, you’ll want to install it and then type /suf in chat. Once the settings open, you can click on the “General” option in the left menu and then uncheck the “lock frames” option to begin moving things around.
If you see some bars that you don’t want, you can turn them off under the “Enabled Units” menu. Once you have the ones you want, you can begin setting the size and appearance with the “Unit Configuration” menus.
To speed things up, you can go to Unit Configuration > Global and check the boxes for the frames you are using. This will make your life easier by applying size and appearance changes across all the frames instead of modifying them one at a time.
Alternatives: Z-Perl, ElvUI, RUF
Now that we have your action bars, minimap, and unit frames looking good, it’s time to polish up your bags. The best and most popular bag addon is called bagnon, and it is great.
With bagnon, you can adjust the number of rows and columns in your bag, customize the colors, and tell bagnon when you want your bags to show automatically. You can click on the cogwheel next to the red X in the top right to change those settings.
If you need more help getting started, I have a complete guide for bagnon linked below.
Alternatives: ElvUI, AdiBags, ArkInventory
Full Guide: How to use Bagnon
I am a huge believer in getting a good nameplate addon. Whether you enjoy raiding, mythic+, or arena, a good nameplate addon can make you a better player.
How can it make you a better player?
Simple. The default nameplates lack a lot of important information that is needed to make split-second decisions during combat. With an addon like Threat Plates, you gain a lot of additional information and the ability to make valuable customizations to your plates.
I think Threat Plates is the best nameplate addon because it allows for customization and is easy to set up. Plater, a nameplate addon alternative to Threat Plates, is also a good choice, but it takes more work to set up. For that reason, I recommend you try out Threat Plates if you are just getting started and looking for something powerful.
I also have a complete guide to Threat Plates linked below if you need any help setting things up.
Alternatives: ElvUI, Plater, KuiNameplates, TidyPlates, NeatPlates
Full Guide: How to use Threat Plates
No matter how well you set up your action bars, it seems like there are always more spells and toys than you have space for.
This is where Opie comes in.
Instead of placing every toy and important item in your action bar, you can create an Opie ring. This allows you to hold down a keybind of your choosing (like Alt + G) to show a slew of items or spells. From there, simply move your mouse in the appropriate direction and then let go of the keybind.
The way you set up rings is pretty much endless. If you want to get really fancy, you can even nest rings inside other rings.
HandyNotes is another addon that I can’t live without. With all the treasure chests and rare creatures spread throughout the World of Warcraft, I find that I often need help to find them. And also, I don’t want to break the flow of playing the game by Googling item locations while I’m trying to play.
HandyNotes makes it easy to see the location of special mobs or items in the world by adding icons to your map. You will also want to download the HandyNotes: Dragonflight addon to get the most out of it.
Hovering over the icons will show additional information about how to find the mob or treasure, which has saved me hundreds of times. If you are using a coordinate addon like TomTom, you can also click on the icons to set waypoints, so finding that last shard is Bastion is way easier.
Speaking of TomTom…
Alternatives: TomCat’s Tours
TomTom is another must-have addon for open-world exploration and navigation. Like the GPS with the same name, TomTom is an addon that provides directions to make your life easier. You can set destinations, or waypoints, by clicking on the map or with commands entered into chat (like /tway Nagrand 45 50).
Once you set a waypoint, an arrow will appear and show you how many yards you have until your destination and an estimated travel time.
Setting waypoints is extremely easy when paired with an addon like HandyNotes. However, in some cases, you’ll want to set waypoints for destinations that aren’t shown in HandyNotes. In that case, you can set it on the map, or you can copy TomTom commands straight from sites like WowHead!
If you need help using TomTom, make sure to check out my complete guide below.
Full Guide: How to use TomTom coordinates
If you plan on doing mythic+ or raiding, you will absolutely want a boss mod. These addons are excellent tools for PvE content because they provide you with warnings and timers for dangerous abilities.
There are two major boss mod addons, Deadly Boss Mods (or DBM for short) and Bigwigs. I have used both and personally prefer DBM, but Bigwigs is also great.
The major difference between the two is their approach to warnings. DBM is a little more in your face with its use of sounds that tell you what to do (run away, hide, etc…). Bigwigs is much more subtle, so it depends on what you are looking for.
If you want more details on using Deadly Boss Mods, check out my complete guide below.
Alternatives: BigWigs Bossmods/Littlewigs
Full Guide: How to use Deadly Boss Mods (DBM)
While we are talking about absolutely must-have addons, I can’t forget to mention WeakAuras. This bad boy is an amazingly powerful addon that you will want no matter what content you are into.
WeakAuras is powerful because it allows you to take information from the game and display it with custom graphics. You can use it to remind you of important cooldowns or nag you when you are missing a food buff. The sky is the limit.
If creating WeakAuras sounds intimidating, luckily, you can find a collection of auras shared by community members on wago.io. You can search by category or through the search bar at the top of the page.
Once you find the one you want, you just need to copy the import string and import it through the WeakAuras options menu (type /wa then click import at the top of the window).
Alternatives: TellMeWhen, Raven
Another heavyweight in the addon corner is Details! Damage Meter. As the name implies, Details is a combat meter addon that lets you see how much damage or healing you and your group are doling out.
You can also use it to track dozens of other things like deaths, interrupts, and really any combat-related information. There are other similar addons out there, but I personally like Details!
Alternatives: Recount, Skada
GTFO stands for exactly what you think it would stand for… “get the f$@! out.” And while the name may not seem all that inviting, the addon is guaranteed to help you play better if you tend to stand in fire or pools of poison.
The idea of GTFO is straightforward; when you are standing in something, it will play a loud siren noise at you. Sure it is a bit heavy-handed, but it works wonders and may save you from watching the next boss kill from the ground.
Choosing the right gear for your character can be tricky at times, especially if you are trying to maximize the best stats for your class and spec. Many newer players mistakenly think that taking the highest item level gear is always the best choice, but sometimes the math says otherwise.
Fortunately, you can install the Pawn addon to do the heavy lifting and math on different stats for you.
It works by loading what it calls “stat weights.” Stats that are better for your class and spec are given more weight to select the best piece of gear. For most players, the default stat weights that come with Pawn will be enough.
However, you can take Pawn to the next level by generating character-specific stat weights through a simulation on the Raidbots website.
The default map UI for world quests is terrible. If you want to know what rewards are available, you have to hover over the bubble for each world quest. This can waste a lot of time, especially if you are only looking to earn one type of reward (gold, anima, etc…).
Luckily, you can install World Quest Tracker to add visuals that show what rewards you can earn. No more hovering to see quest rewards! Instead of circles with exclamation points, you’ll see an icon for the reward you will earn for completing the quest.
You can also use World Quest Tracker to sort and filter quests. If you want to focus on quests that only have a few hours left, you can select that option from the “Time Left” menu on the bottom left side of your map. You can also look at statistics for how many quests you have completed across all your characters and the total rewards you have earned!
At this point, I have gotten so used to World Quest Tracker I can’t imagine playing without it!
Alternatives: World Quests List
While we’re looking at quest addons, let’s talk about BtWQuests. This is an addon I recently came across, and I am so glad I did!
BtWQuests is a dungeon-journal-style addon that shows every major quest chain in the game. After installing it, you will see a blue book icon near your minimap. When you open it, you will see a grid with a block for each questline.
Selecting one will open up a tree view that walks through every quest required to complete the chain. Hovering over a quest will tell you the prerequisites for getting started, and you can click on it to create a TomTom waypoint!
If you are a completionist, loremaster, or looking to unlock allied races, you will definitely want to try out BtWQuests! As an important note, make sure you also download the BtwQuests sub-addon for the expansion you are playing (like BtwQuests: Dragonflight).
If you are looking for another simple addon that makes a massive difference in how the game feels, look no further than OmniCC. More than any other addon, this is one that I notice when it is missing from my UI.
Because OmniCC adds text to your abilities so you know how long they have left to cooldown. Before I started using OmniCC, I would slam an ability thinking it was ready just to get the dreaded “That ability is not ready yet” warning. The default UI that shows the slightly shaded area left for the cooldown just isn’t enough visual cue for me.
There is no setup required for OmniCC, just install it and stop wasting your time hitting abilities that are on cooldown.
A lot of end-game content revolves around killing rares every day to collect currency or farm reputation. Unfortunately, the default UI doesn’t always do a good job of notifying you when rares are up nearby. You end up spending time flying or riding around toggling between the world map and whatever quest you are working on.
With the RareScanner addon, a popup window and sound will notify you when a rare is up near you. To make things even easier, you can click on the popup window to target the rare!
It is a simple addon, but it makes rare farming much easier!
Alternatives: SilverDragon – Rare Scanner, NPCScan
You may have noticed a trend to this point in the list. Many default World of Warcraft UI elements lack important information and functionality that make the game feel better to play.
One of the most glaring shortcomings of the default UI is the auction house. Posting and shopping for items is a pain and feels very clunky. That is why I recommend getting an auction house addon like Auctionator.
Auctionator takes the default UI and adds additional tabs to make buying, selling, canceling, and every auction house function easier. It is also straightforward to install and start using.
If you are looking for an even more robust auction house addon, you could also check out TradeSkillMaster (TSM). While TSM is probably the best auction house addon, it also has an incredibly steep learning curve and many tools that are overkill for the average player.
However, if you are planning to try to make gold from AH flipping, definitely check out TSM.
I should probably issue a trigger warning for completionists on this addon. As someone who likes to collect everything in a game, ALL THE THINGS is downright addictive.
The idea is simple, ALL THE THINGS (ATT) shows you a list of every achievement, questline, transmog piece, and every other collectible in the game. I find myself wanting to log in and play just to check things off my list in the addon.
As a fair warning, ATT can use quite a bit of system resources to run, particularly when entering new zones and the list updates. That isn’t surprising since it looks at every collectible in the game and checks if you have already collected each.
So… if you are playing on a system with a low amount of RAM, you may have to be careful with this addon.
Now that you’ve downloaded a handful of new addons, it’s time to make sure those minimap icons stay nice and organized. To do this, you just need to download MinimapButtonBag.
MinimapButtonBag replaces the cluttered ring of icons with a single button that can be expanded on click. I love this addon and am so grateful that I don’t have to slide icons around anymore to find my calendar or group finder shortcut!
Check out my complete guide below if you need more help setting MinimapButtonbag up.
Full Guide: How to use MinimapButtonBag
In addition to the best addons I listed above, I have a few other favorites that narrowly missed the list. Some of these addons are a bit niche. They are focused on a specific type of gameplay, so I figured they belonged in honorable mentions.
- Azeroth Pilot Reloaded — Great addon that guides you through the questing process to level new characters fast.
- Addon Usage — I use this all the time to measure the impact of addons on my FPS. Addons that use more CPU cause you to drop frames and lag.
- Angry Keystones — Great quality of life addon for players who do a lot of mythic+.
- GroupfinderFlags — Tells you what country players are from in the group finder, reducing the chance of latency and disconnecting mythic+ runs.
- Hekili — Rotation helper that recommends what spells to cast. Helpful for newer players or classes you don’t play often.
- Kaliel’s Tracker — Replacement for default quest log on the side of the screen. Gives more customization options and filters.
- Mythic Dungeon Tools — Maps and routes for mythic+ dungeons.
- OmniCD — Tracks party member cooldowns. Really helpful for healing in mythic plus.
- Premade Groups Filter — This allows you to filter the group finder to groups that meet specific criteria.
- Rarity — Great addon for collectors who want to track attempts at rare mount drops.
- QE Dungeon Tips — Adds mob and boss abilities/tips to your tooltip for dungeons.
And there you have it, the best World of Warcraft addons in 2023! Leave a comment and let me know what you think of the addons and any I should consider adding to the list.
Thanks for reading!