20 BEST Minecraft Shaders (2023)

Shader packs add a whole new dimension to Minecraft. Here are our favorite picks.

Dylan Crosbie
Dylan Crosbie - Minecraft Expert
22 Min Read

If you’re starting to grow bored of Minecraft and it’s the same old look while you wait for Minecraft 1.20, you should try Minecraft shaders. Shaders add a new feel to the game, making everything more lifelike and immersive.

While they don’t affect gameplay, you’ll still be able to explore your Minecraft world with a new POV. They’re similar to texture packs. However, they only affect aspects such as lighting and shadows.

Here are 20 of the best Minecraft shaders you can find on the internet.

Our Top 5 Minecraft Shaders Picks

  1. BSL Shaders – Overall best shader pack
  2. Sildurs Vibrant Shaders – Most customizable
  3. SEUS Shaders – Best natural lighting adjustments
  4. Lagless Shaders – Shader pack that doesn’t affect your frame rate
  5. Complementary Shaders – Best lightweight-to-quality ratio


BSL Shaders

BSL Shader header
Image Via CurseForge

Download BSL Shaders

BSL shaders is a shader pack that you’ll find on almost every shader’s list. It’s highly recommended among the Minecraft community and has a massive fanbase. In fact, many of the top Minecraft players use BSL as their preferred shaders.

BSL changes everything in the game, enhancing your field depth, shadows, lighting, and water reflections. It also allows players to customize most of its settings, perfect if you want anything unique to your game.

BSL has a recommended graphics card of an NVIDIA GeForce GTX750 or better. However, BSL is surprisingly lightweight – using only a few resources to bring a massive improvement to the game’s graphics. As a result, you won’t have to worry about your FPS dropping drastically.


Sildurs Vibrant Shaders

Sildurs Shader Header
Image Via CurseForge

Download Sildurs Vibrant Shaders

Sildurs are the most customizable Minecraft shaders out there. With multiple versions ranging from Lite to Extreme, there’s a pack perfect for your operating system.

It’s easy to get lost in the settings of this shader as you play around with each effect. While this can help create the perfect look, it can take up much of your time.

If you opt for low-end performance versions like Lite, the shaders pack will barely affect your FPS. On the other hand, Sildurs is one of the best lightweight packs, giving you a cinematic bang for its low-performance toll.


SEUS Shaders

SEUS header
Image Via Sonic Ether

Download SEUS Shaders

SEUS Shaders is one of the oldest Minecraft Shader packs. While that might sound like it’s outdated, it means the opposite. SEUS shaders have had ample time to develop into one of the best shaders – coming 4th on our list.

The most significant feature of this pack is its beautiful adjustments to the natural lighting of the game. Not only does it enhance sun rays, but it darkens shadows for a realistic experience. Of course, the light and shadow enhancements apply to water, too – for those who prefer living under the waves.


Lagless Shaders

Lagless Shaders header
Image Via Minecraftshaders

Download Lagless Shaders

Lagless Shaders is precisely what it says – a shader pack that doesn’t affect your FPS. In addition, it’s a texture pack that works on all systems. So if you can run Minecraft, you can run Lagless Shaders.

It adds new graphics to Minecraft – still keeping a classic look that no other Shader on this list achieves. In addition, it adds new textures without sacrificing the vibrant and relaxing feel of Minecraft.


Complementary Shaders

Complementary header image
Image Via Minecraft Shaders

Download Complementary Shaders

Complementary Shaders is a shader pack aiming to improve everything – building on other shaders. For example, this Minecraft Shader pack is based on BSL and attempts to fix things the developers have left out. For example, CS aims to improve most shaders’ performance, gameplay, beauty, and compatibility.

The best part? It’s a lightweight shader pack that doesn’t sacrifice its quality. It can run on any GPU or system, works with Minecraft mods, and doesn’t use excessive effects.


Continuum Shaders

Image Via Minecraft Shaders

Download Continuum Shaders

Continuum is one of the best shader backs out there. It puts emphasis on smooth and realistic lighting like no other. However, its fatal flaw is its optimisation isn’t as great as other shader packs on our list. To get the most out of this Minecraft 1.19 shaders, you’ll need to use Sodium and IrisShaders to optimise performance.

And even then, you’ll need a powerful computer for the best experience. It all boils down to the fact that the shader pack is stunning but is the opposite of lightweight. If you’re looking for gorgeous screenshots, go ahead and try Continuum. However, it’s not a shader pack you’d want to run while playing survival Minecraft.


Werrus Shaders

Image Via pcminecraft-mods

Download Werrus Shaders Shaders

If you’ve been craving a natural revamp of Minecraft, Werrus Shaders relooks at those flat floating clouds and pale sky. It pays attention to lights and shadows, giving the entire world a more incredible depth. Clouds that pass before the sun now cast rolling shadows across the landscape while torches flicker down in the caves.

Werrus Shaders is perfect for players looking for a better lighting experience without changing the entire feel of Minecraft.


MakeUp – Ultra Fast Shaders

Make-Up Ultra Fast Header
Image Via CurseForge

Download MakeUp – Ultra Fast Shaders

This Minecraft Shader pack was designed with quality and performance in mind. First, you can build the shader that suits you and your computer. Then, by selecting the effects you want to apply to your game, you can decide the system resources you’ll use.

Optional effects include:

  • Shadows
  • Depth of field
  • Temporary anti-aliasing
  • Improved ambient occlusion
  • Chromatic aberration
  • Motion blur
  • Volumetric clouds
  • Volumetric light
  • Reflections
  • Waving plants

Lastly, according to the CurseForge page, you can choose the pack’s color scheme.


KUDA Shaders

KUDA Header Image
Image Via wminecraft

Download KUDA Shaders

KUDA is a Minecraft Shader pack that will blow your socks off with its light and shadow effects. The developers have completely revamped the lighting effects within the game to bring a dynamic world to your screen. It’s also interesting to note that KUDA shaders use code from BSL, which was provided by the BSL developer.

Other lighting effects include thunderstorm fog color, better sunlight and smooth day/night cycles.

Lastly, there is a downside to this pack. Night time is pitch black in these shaders, so you might need to play around with your settings to get some brightness back.


Naelego’s Cel Shaders

Naelego’s Cel shaders header image
Image Via MinecraftForum

Download Naelego’s Cel Shaders

Naelego’s Cel shaders are for those players that aren’t bothered about a realistic shaders pack. Instead, the pack completely revamps Minecraft’s look, smoothing out blocks and adding bold outlines.

This pack reminds us of early game graphics and takes us down memory lane. The shader pack has recently been trending across social media platforms and deserves recognition.

We highly recommend these Minecraft shaders if you want a new feel to Minecraft’s style.


SORA Shaders

Image Via Minecraftshader

Download SORA Shaders

Inspired by ProjectLUMA, Sora Shaders takes popular elements and tweaks them for increased performance, lighting, and shadows. As a result, it’s a subtle pack that doesn’t overwhelm players with intense graphics or atmospheric visuals.

One unique feature of SORA Shaders is the color profiles you can edit under video settings. So if you’re not keen on the original color scheme, feel free to change things.


Vanilla Plus Shader

Image Via CurseForge

Download Vanilla Plus Shader

This shader pack is what it’s called: Vanilla Minecraft, but better. It was designed off the backs of nostalgic shader packs such as SEUS v08 and Chocapic, taking them one step further. Taking default Minecraft, Vanilla Plus Shaders adds dynamic shadows, volumetric clouds, and lens flares.

Additionally, you’ll notice motion blur, bloom, and godrays throughout your world. The shader pack also offers resource pack support and temporal anti-aliasing.


AstraLex Shaders

Astralex header
Image Via Minecraftshaders

Download AstraLex Shaders

AstraLex Shaders is yet another shader pack set out to improve BSL shaders. To do so, it combines BSL and Complementary shaders together to bring you a new dynamic world.

Some unique features to these Minecraft shaders include a new End Portal and colored eyes for mobs. The new eye colors apply to Spiders, Endearment and the Dragon. In addition, rainbows will appear after rainstorms which are a nice touch. Lastly, we need to mention the heat haze effects when in the Desert, Mesa or Nether biomes!

The shader also smooths out some textures like tree leaves and thickens the outline of blocks. This bold line effect adds a cartoon-like feel to the game that is not overwhelming.


RedHat Shaders

Image Via Minecraftshaders

Download RedHat Shaders

With over 500,000 downloads, RedHat Shaders is becoming popular in 2023. While the shader pack doesn’t aim to outshine all other texture packs, the creators have achieved a cinematic feel that players have come to love. The pack features godrays, shadows, underwater light absorptions, and reflections.

Lens flares, field depth, grain, and a vinaigrette option all add to the cinematic feel that the pack delivers with ease. Lastly, we loved how new animations, including shining lanterns and rustling foliage, can be found throughout the pack.


Beyond Belief Shaders

Beyond Belief Shader Header
Image Via CurseForge

Download Beyond Belief Shaders

With a clear medieval tint to the game, Beyond Belief is perfect for any player with a historical building style. Beyond Belief was built upon Sonic Either and has stunning graphics.

While grass and plants don’t wave in the wind, the shader pack has breathtaking water effects. Waves ripple across the water surface, creating a sea view that no other shader pack on this list has.


Super Duper Vanilla Shaders

Super Duper Vanilla Shaders

Download Super Duper Vanilla Shaders

This Minecraft dungeon-esque shader pack is great for adventurers and builders alike. Currently, it has an Optifine release, but it seems it will soon be available for Iris.

The shader pack brings smooth lighting transitions and blow effects that won’t overwhelm you. Not to mention that these same lighting and shadow effects create a stunning ambience in forests and villages.

There have been some complaints from AMD users when it comes to performance. However, this depends on your computer’s available resources and specs.


Cybox Shaders

Image Via Minecraftshaders

Download Cybox Shaders

What caught our eye with Cybox Shaders is its attention to reflections. Different blocks will reflect shadows and light depending on the material. Even wooden planks have a low sheen, while iron blocks are more polished. Other improvements that the shaders offer are improved lighting and shadows, water reflection, and transparency.

There are four quality options that players can choose from, according to your PC’s CPU. The option to adjust the quality makes this shader pack more accessible to Minecraft players with low-end computers.


Nostalgia Shaders

Nostalgia Shaders
Image Via rre36.com

Download Nostalgia Shaders

This pack is lightweight and subtle based on earlier Minecraft shaders (hence the name). While it doesn’t offer players extreme customisation, the base pack is developed so that little tinkering is needed to get an excellent Minecraft experience. Nostalgia is perfect for those looking for a pack to enhance their gameplay that won’t cause their PC to bomb out.


Ebin Shaders

Ebin Shaders
Image Via Minecraft Shader

Download Ebin Shaders

To upgrade animations, Ebin shaders create a realistic environment with refined and stunning graphics. With attention to each environment, it’s a shader that leaves no texture untouched. While subtle, you’ll feel the difference in the game. As a lightweight shader, it was developed to optimise graphics and coding. As a result, it favours realism in the environment and atmosphere of the game.


Kappa Shaders

Kappa Shaders Image
Image Via Shaderpacks.net

Download Kappa Shaders

Last on our list is Kappa Shaders. It may be placed on the 20th rank, but it’s still an aesthetic that stands out to us.

It’s a redesign of the authentic Minecraft look with a realistic take. The pack is especially great for explorers and adventurers. However, we haven’t noticed anything special about this pack that the other packs on this list don’t include. Due to this reason, we’ve listed Kappa Shaders as 20th on our list.

But that doesn’t mean it’s not a great Minecraft shader, and we can’t recommend it enough.

What Are Minecraft Shaders?

Minecraft shaders add a new dimension to the classic game we all know and love. These packs add different graphics to Minecraft, which changes how everything looks. For example, they can change how items look, how the water looks and make leaves sway. In addition, there are often more realistic shadows, sun reflections, leaves and more particles.

They really add a new cinematic take on the blocks that we’ve come to know. Many Minecraft creators use shaders to make their content more appealing. Here at WhatIfGaming, we also use shaders when capturing game content for our articles.

The only drawback to shaders is that some require a powerful CPU or graphics card. These massive shader packs can take a toll on your computer – causing your game to lag immensely. Therefore, ensuring that your computer can run the shaders pack you’ve chosen is a good idea.

Lastly, Minecraft shaders can be paired with texture packs that complement each other.

How to Install Shaders in Minecraft?

Installing Minecraft Shaders works the same as installing Minecraft mods. For example, mods need mod loaders such as Fabric or Forge. The same is said for Minecraft Shaders. Instead, you’ll use a tool like Optifine or Iris. 

Optifine can be used with or without Forge and offers some nifty features like increased frame rates, zoom, and, most importantly, allows shaders to run. So naturally, the first step would be to install Optifine

Step 1: To install Optifine, download the file from the official site and run the installer. Once the installer is finished, a new version of Minecraft will appear on your Minecraft launcher. 

Minecraft Optifine

Step 2: Run the new version of Minecraft, allowing the new version to download. If you just want to play with Optifine, you can stop the process here. However, to install shaders, there are a few more steps. 

Step 3: Download the shader pack using the link provided in this article. Then, drag the file into the shader packs folder in your Minecraft installation file. To do this, open Minecraft and head to the game menu. Then, navigate to the Video Settings tab. 

Options Menu Optifine Minecraft

From there, select “shaders” and then “shaders Folder.” 

Shaders Menu Minecraft
Shaders Menu Minecraft

Once the shader file is in the folder, the pack is installed and ready to go!

Minecraft Shaders FAQ

Understanding how shaders work isn’t as complex as it may seem. Regardless, there are tons of questions from the Minecraft community regarding shaders. Here are our answers to the most frequently asked Minecraft Shaders questions.

Do Shaders Affect GPU or CPU?

In some instances, Minecraft shaders affect both the GPU and the CPU, depending on their aspects. For example, a shader back will use GPU, just like regular Minecraft. However, the difference is that a shader pack uses more GPU to generate more complex pictures.

On the other hand, if the shader pack aims to enhance the game’s lighting experience, you may find it affecting your CPU. This is because lighting rendering requires more background processes which the CPU calculates.

What is the Most Realistic Minecraft Shader?

When it comes to the most realistic shader, we need to consider both graphics and optimisation. In our opinion, the best realistic shaders back are tied between BSL and Seus Shaders.

Both have beautiful graphics that will make your jaw drop. In addition, they won’t cause your computer to crash unless you have a low-end model.

Can You Use Two Shaders at Once?

The short answer is no; you can’t run more than one Minecraft shader at a time. However, changing between shaders is not difficult if you’re using mods like Optifine.

Optifine is a mod that not only allows shaders to work but also includes its own fixes, such as increased frame rates. The best part is that you don’t need to use Forge, as it can be used with or without Forge.

Follow these quick steps to install different shaders using Optifine:

  • After downloading the shader pack, drag the installation file to the Shader packs folder in your Minecraft installation file.
  • To do so, go to the options section in Minecraft (with Optifine installed), then head to video settings > Shaders > shaders folder.
  • Once the shader file has been moved, it’s installed and ready to go.

To swap shaders, remove the file and add a new shaders file to the folder.

Final Thoughts

You’ll find that most Minecraft shaders add new dynamic lighting effects, change water visuals and more. But, at the end of the day, it’s entirely up to you which shader pack you choose.

Each pack has a unique look, so even if it doesn’t have special features, you’ll see something new every time. Additionally, using shaders to explore new Minecraft seeds creates a cinematic journey that’s breathtaking.

We’d love to know your favorite pack so tell us in the comments below.

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By Dylan Crosbie Minecraft Expert
Dylan is an avid Open World and Strategy game fan. His favorite content to cover include Minecraft and The Sims. His gaming interests along with his journalistic background, allows him to bring the best gaming content to your screens.
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