fallout 4 salvage time generator

Fallout 4: How to get serious about salvage

Crafting is a more essential part of Fallout 4 than many fans were expecting prior to the game's release, and though that aspect of the game is technically optional, it also represents a surprisingly deep and entertaining part of the Wasteland experience. The problem of course is that maintaining a steady supply of salvage, especially for some of the rarer resources like nuclear material and fiber optics, can be a challenge. Even mundane items like screws and adhesive can hold back a settlement or your gear if you aren't vigilant and lucky.

To help you get serious about your post-apocalyptic scavenging we've compiled a series of tips and tricks so you'll never be short of the turrets and super glue you need to defend your settlements and yourself. 

Build your character for Success

Knowing how to build yourself to maximize salvage is important early on, so  if you plan to do a lot of salvaging and building you should make a sprint for these perks right off the bat.

Local Leader: The first rank of this allows you to chain different settlements together, making it possible to access your salvage and gear from every workshop you have linked. Additionally resources such as water and food will be shared across supply lines, keeping folks happier even at your more desolate settlements. The second rank of this opens up the ability to create workshops and trading posts which will help you grow your caps as well as your salvage.

Strong Back: What you carry determines how often you have to return to town so if you often find yourself dropping valuable materials, consider investing in Strength and pouring a few points into this perk. In addition to increased carry weight you'll eventually be able to sprint while overencumbered, and later even fast travel across the waste with a mountain worth of salvage strapped to your shoulders.

Scrapper: This perk allows you to get the most out of any armor or weapons you salvage, starting with uncommon items like copper and screws and moving up to rare items like nuclear material and circuitry with the second rank.

Nuclear Physicist: If you're not willing to invest in Strength for things like Strong Back, consider boosting your armor to do the heavy lifting for you. Tiers of this perk increase the duration that fusion cores last, making it possible to get the most out of your power armor. If you dump some of your heaviest junk near the entrance to a building you can come back later to pick it up with your power armor. In large clusters of buildings in dangerous territory it's possible to perform massive supply runs from the safety of your walking tank.

Know What you Need

Almost as soon as you hit sanctuary it's important to stop by the workshop and familiarize yourself with exactly what components to keep an eye on for your playstyle. If you don't plan on building a large settlement you can skip the bulk of things that contain wood and steel. You'll still want to grab a few pieces if you plan on modding your weapons or power armor, but junk containing these items is extremely easy to find and you can usually get all you'll need just by salvaging trees and mailboxes in any settlements you unlock.

Make yourself a list starting with the things that are absolutely essential to what you need, and working down to filler or things you just plan to sell. I usually put gears, screws, and oil at the very top of my list and select the option to tag these items for search so I'll always know what to grab. Luckily most of the things you'll find lying around contain exactly what you'd expect, so if you need gears keep your eyes peeled for anything with moving parts. Oil is going to be in anything petroleum-based, and wood, steel, and plastic follow the same logic.

Don't be afraid to go a little bit klepto if you plan on doing a lot of building or modding. Grab anything and everything that looks useful and sort out what you don't need once you fill your inventory. If you create a character with a reasonable strength and mod all your gear to have extra pockets you'll be able to carry a massive supply of junk back to your settlements for all your fantastical creations.

As far as rare salvage goes, no matter your playstyle you're going to want to keep your eyes peeled for any item that contains things like nuclear material, crystal, ballistic fiber, fiber optics, circuitry, gold, silver, acid, and antiseptic.

The Essentials

Here's a list of some of the most essential materials and some of the best ways to find them.


You'll find these in almost anything with moving parts, but things like adjustable wrenches and desk fans are extremely common and will net you quite a bit of steel and screws as well, so grab any you see scattered among the many desolate office buildings across the wastes. Keep a special eye out for typewriters, cameras, and anything that has something to do with the Giddy-up Buttercup toys. These items are a little bit more rare, but they come jam packed with gears and a variety of other useful salvage to boot.


Fairly straightforward, grab any gas cans or anything that mentions the word oil, but also make sure to keep your eyes carefully peeled for any kind of flip lighters spread around. Those items can be small and hard to see but for a tiny weight value they'll net you a full unit of oil and often some gold, silver, or steel to go along with it.

Gold and Silver

You'll get plenty of these precious metals looting around bodies and old houses. Make sure to raid any feral ghouls you drop while you're out adventuring because they usually have a variety of pocket watches, brushes, lockets, and dinnerware that you can loot with relative ease. These are usually low weight and are good for both selling to merchants and as a decent supply of valuable springs, and they often come in both silver and gold varieties.


One of the more elusive items on the list. Grab any batteries or anything that seems remotely caustic, be sure to check any and all janitorial closets for Abraxo Cleaner which contains both acid and antiseptic. It's fairly common if you're willing to toss enough mops around looking for it.

Nuclear Material

One of the rarest materials in the game, and also essential for a number of high-tier weapon mods, workshops, and some of the beefiest armor. You'll find the bulk of this salvage from biometric scanners which you'll only find occasionally spread around the wastes. Be sure to loot any and all mechanized enemies, especially turrets, will often have biometric scanners to determine friend from foe. Fortunately a lot of large raider camps and old industrial buildings have security on-hand that makes looting at least a small amount of nuclear material easily manageable.

Fiber Optics

As an added bonus to looting biometric scanners for Nuclear Material, they also contain fiber optics, an extremely rare material used for building almost any energy weapon mod or some of the high-tier turrets. In addition to biometric scanners grab any microscopes you find in abandoned labs or research facilities and you should be sitting pretty.

Ballistic Fiber

In addition to being fantastically rare this material is essential to nearly all high-tier armor mods, so stock up early by picking up any military grade duct tape and absolutely every military ammo bag you can find.

The secret of adhesive

Adhesive is frustratingly difficult to find considering how often you need it, but luckily there's a relatively simple way to get your hands on a huge supply of adhesive for next to nothing besides a little investment in your settlements. 

If you take the time to plant a decent farm in any of your settlements you'll be able to grow the ingredients for adhesive yourself. Plant corn, mutfruit, and a pile of potatoes. Harvest them whenever they're ripe, and then combine them with some purified water at a cooking station to make Vegetable Starch, which can be salvaged for five adhesive. It takes three of each veggie for every one purified water, but if you harvest every time you come back to store items or other salvage you'll be rolling in sticky adhesive in no time.

Do you have any favorite salvage or crafting tips? Let us know in the comments.