Elite Dangerous Shield Class and Rating Guide

Elite Dangerous Shield Class and Rating Guide by jdvbelle

We tested the effect of a sheild’s class and rating, as well the effect the number of pip’s assigned to SYS has on the shields.

We tested this by firing a C1 fixed beam laser at the shield, and timing how long it took to take the shield down. We also found and made use of a bug which can be used to give the percentage strength difference of a shield outfitting change.

Ship inherent value

When buying a ship, there is a listed shield rating. This is a linear measure of how much damage a sheild can take when outfitted at the optimal mass (which is listed for each shield).


  • A D rated shield is 7.5% stronger than an E rated sheild of the same class.
  • A C rated sheild is 15% stronger than an E rated sheild of the same class.
  • A B rated sheild is 22.5% stronger than an E rated sheild of the same class.
  • An A rated sheild is 30% stronger than an E rated sheild of the same class.

Higher rated sheilds of the same class also draw more power, but all have the same optimal and maximum mass.


A higher class sheild will have a higher optimal mass and a higher power draw. It does not change the shield capacity, except by how the optimal mass changes the sheild capacity.

Optimal Mass

This is the most complicated stat, and most of this information is educated guesswork. The optimal mass has little effect below or around the optimal mass (dropping a Type 9 sheild from class 5 to class 4 only had around a 3% sheild cost, and dropping an Asp sheild from class 6 to class 5 (50t over the optimum mass) only had around a 6% cost), but at some point drops off steeply (dropping an Asp sheild from class 5 to class 4 had about a 45% cost).


Edit: it seems we drew the attention of the devs. Apparently this is not working as intended and is liable to change.

This was the most surprising result. we found that:

  • 1 pip to shields allows the sheilds to absorb around 1% more damage.
  • 2 pips to sheilds allows the sheilds to absorb around 8% more damage.
  • 3 pips to sheilds allows the sheilds to absorb around 37% more damage.
  • 4 pips to sheilds allows the sheilds to absorb around 150% more damage.

This makes one to two pips in shields fairly useless (except for recharging the SYS capacitor), while 4 pips make your shield around 2.5 times stronger.

We also observed no significant difference on the charge rate of shields with more or less pips assigned (unless the SYS capacitor runs dry).

Further Data

If anyone wants to look at some of the raw data, is can be found on this spreadsheet (warning: messy).

Edit: Bodenz has released a video here explaing , as part of the series of videos started here.

Edit: thanks to Krindus, I now have an easy method for one player to test relative shield strength:

Thn time how long takes from when it starts charging (the spining pips around it) to when it comes back online (to half strength). The times for the two shields will be proportional to the strength of the shield. This must be done with a power distributer capable of always keeping power in the SYS capaitor during charge,

If you do this, post your results here for more data – maybe someone can figure out the equations govening this.

Edit: thanks to Yanaran for testing his anaconda’s shield strength under various shield configurations.

Edit: after some analysis on my part and that of Yanaran, I’ve found that the shield capacity of ship is:

Shield Strength (in MJ) = [Ship Shield Rating] * [0.53821 * erf([1.0228] * [Shield Optimal Hull Mass] / [Ship Hull Mass] – 0.66391) – 0.0588 * [Number of Rating Levels Below A] + 0.56377]

Where Erf is the error function, and the ship hull mass is its hull mass, not its current mass.

I will make a simple post later comparin the shield sizes for all ships.

Edit: I made a spreadsheet in which you can directly compare the shield strength of various ships/configurations here. Picture version here.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.