Best Minecraft shaders for version 1.20 (2024)

Best Minecraft shaders for version 1.20 (1)

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Whether you're new or just looking for an upgrade, Minecraft shaders are the second fastest way to upgrade the look of Minecraft's voxel worlds—following right after a brand new Minecraft texture pack. Any time my builds start to feel boring and humdrum, or if a dipstick finds my inspiration reserves empty, setting up and turning on some dazzling new shaders and staring up into the god rays is sure to get me pumped and ready to build. Fortunately, I'm here to get you set up with the very best Minecraft shaders there are. And just like everything else in Minecraft's highly moddable cube-world, installing them is nice and simple.

Best of Minecraft

Best Minecraft shaders for version 1.20 (2)

Minecraft update: What's new?
Minecraft skins: New looks
Minecraft mods: Beyond vanilla
Minecraft shaders: Spotlight
Minecraft seeds: Fresh new worlds
Minecraft texture packs: Pixelated
Minecraft servers: Online worlds
Minecraft commands:All cheats

Before you start browsing and making your picks, here are the general prerequisites for installing Minecraft shaders you need to know: Right off, these currently only work with the Java Edition of Minecraft. Since these days all players have both versions of the game, that shouldn't be a big problem. If you do find yourself stuck with Bedrock Edition, you'll want to take a peek at Minecraft RTX for your chance for pretty shading.

All of these shader packs also require that you first install a graphics mod called Optifine (or, in a couple cases, one called Iris). If this is all old news to you, carry on. If you need a quick explainer on installing Optifine and individual shader packs, head down to the bottom of the page.

As another quick aside, most of these shader packs offer tons of customization options (the speed that water animates, the amount of ambient fog, or the exact RGB values of lighting for each time of day). If you know what you're about, you can do a lot with any of these shaders, so I'll be focusing on how they look and feel to those who just want to install and play right away.

The best Minecraft Shaders

What are the best Minecraft shaders in 2023?

Sildur's Vibrant Shaders, SEUS Renewed, and BSL Shaders are the best Minecraft shaders right now. So far, both BSL shaders and Sildur's Vibrant Shaders are both updated to work with 1.20, but but SEUS Renewed is further behind.

You can read more about our top Minecraft shader picks down below along with several other really great options.

Sildur's Shaders

Best Minecraft shaders for version 1.20 (3)

Best Minecraft shaders for version 1.20 (4)

Download from: Curseforge

If you want your Minecraft world to look gorgeous right this second, don't even keep scrolling. Sildur's shaders look amazing right out of the box with bright colors, soft shadows, god rays, and everything else you'd want, whether it's your first time installing shaders for Minecraft or you're coming back to see what's hot.

Sildur does recommend using Iris (explained below), but as of 2024 the Vibrant shaders also look great through Optifine with no immediate settings changes needed. For those without quite as much a powerhouse PC, the Sildur's Enhanced Default shaders will soup up your game with shadows and god rays without straining your machine.

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BSL Shaders

Best Minecraft shaders for version 1.20 (5)

Best Minecraft shaders for version 1.20 (6)

Download from: BSL's website

BSL is my personal favorite shader pack. I prefer its softer look to Sildur's super powerful colors. It's great for build screenshots and easy on the eyes while playing. BSL is still getting regular fixes and updates as of 2024, so you can be sure this one will stay relevant for a while to come. BSL works well for me with a fresh install, but you can find solutions to common questions and issues in BSL's FAQ section.

SEUS Renewed

Best Minecraft shaders for version 1.20 (7)

Best Minecraft shaders for version 1.20 (8)

Download from: Sonic Ether's website

SEUS shaders are a long time favorite for Minecraft players and for good reason. Sonic Ether's shader pack is bright and clear by default, and not quite as color saturated as Sildur's. SEUS has a great realistic feel with crisp days and dark nights.

Tip: If everything on the ground looks weirdly shadowy, open your Options > Video Settings > Shaders and make sure Normal Map is toggled on.

Complementary Shaders

Best Minecraft shaders for version 1.20 (9)

Download from: Curseforge

Complementary is based on BSL shaders, and its creator says it aims to "provide you with the most issueless experience possible." True enough, I didn't feel the need to tweak any of Complementary settings. You can spot that it has a realistic vibe, maybe even more so than SEUS.

Chocapic's Shaders

Best Minecraft shaders for version 1.20 (10)

Best Minecraft shaders for version 1.20 (11)

Download from: Curseforge

Chocapic's shaders attempt to maintain high quality even at low settings and comes with different files for Low, Medium, High, Extreme, and Ultra. I'm using the Medium pack in my screenshots, and you can spot that it does still look great but doesn't have as intense lighting effects on torches as some of the above options, for instance.

Tip: If you're seeing a wild amount of bright white light in the sky, go to Options > Video Settings > Details and toggle clouds off.

Project LUMA

Best Minecraft shaders for version 1.20 (12)

Best Minecraft shaders for version 1.20 (13)

Download from: Curseforge

Project LUMA is the successor to formerly popular shader pack KUDA, which says its aim is "playing Minecraft without the effects distracting you from the gameplay." I felt this most in how clear LUMA plays while underwater or in the rain. Other shader packs heap on a lot of atmosphere and fog effects for a moodier underwater experience but LUMA maintains a lot of clarity. If you enjoy playing underwater, this may be the way to go. LUMA hasn't been updated since 2019 but still plays well in 2024.

Sora Shaders

Best Minecraft shaders for version 1.20 (14)

Download from: Curseforge

The Sora shader pack bills itself as another gameplay focused pack that isn't super high contrast. You can definitely get that feel in this screenshot, which has brighter shadows than other popular packs. Sora also advertises its many color profile settings, which you can toggle between really easily in its settings to get a different look.

Vanilla Plus

Best Minecraft shaders for version 1.20 (15)

Best Minecraft shaders for version 1.20 (16)

Download from: Curseforge

Vanilla Plus is a pack that really pares the shader experience down to shadows and god rays. No realistic clouds or water here. This is vanilla Minecraft but just slightly prettier. The bonus is that the fewer effects are much easier on your machine than some of these shader packs. PC gamers without fancy rigs deserve a beautiful mining experience too. If you're up to it, Vanilla Plus does have a "Fancy" profile in its settings that includes pretty, reflective water.

How to install Minecraft shaders

How to install Minecraft shaders

Fortunately, installing shaders is pretty easy these days. Almost all of these packs require the graphics mod Optifine, which you can download from its website. Some recommend a newer mod called Iris instead, but right now most of these packs don't support Iris.

  • In your Minecraft launcher, run the version of Minecraft you're planning to play at least once.
  • Download the corresponding version from Optifine's site.
  • Double-click the .jar file, which will automatically install Optifine.
  • Back in your launcher, select "Optifine" as the installation you'd like to play.
  • In your Minecraft menu, select Options > Video Settings > Shaders > Shaders Folder
  • Alternatively, you can find this folder manually at C:\Users\[Yourname]\AppData\Roaming\.minecraft\shaderpacks
  • Put the .zip file shader pack you've downloaded into this "shaderpacks" folder
  • Select any of your added shader packs from the Shaders menu

You don't often need to worry about version compatibility for the shaderpacks you're using. Although new game versions may sometimes introduce issues, you're more bound by the version of Optifine you're using, which fortunately usually updates quite quickly after major Minecraft version changes.

Best Minecraft shaders for version 1.20 (17)

Lauren Morton

Associate Editor

Lauren started writing for PC Gamer as a freelancer in 2017 while chasing the Dark Souls fashion police and accepted her role as Associate Editor in 2021, now serving as the self-appointed chief cozy games enjoyer. She originally started her career in game development and is still fascinated by how games tick in the modding and speedrunning scenes. She likes long books, longer RPGs, has strong feelings about farmlife sims, and can't stop playing co-op crafting games.

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Best Minecraft shaders for version 1.20 (2024)


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