Want to expand your The Sims 4 experience beyond the base game, but not sure which packs to get? We're here to help.
Since the game's launch in 2014, there have been nearly 50 packs released across three different tiers of price points (we're not including Kits here). We've played with every single one of them, and can give our verdict on which ones you should consider checking out.
This piece is split into three sections: Expansion Packs, Game Packs, and Stuff Packs.
Our Kits recommendations are covered in a separate article, which you can check out here.
The last update on this was made in November 2023, a couple of weeks before the release of the game's 15th expansion For Rent. We will be adding the new pack, which comes with landlord gameplay and the ability to create apartments on your lots, to our ranking sometime in December.
Best Sims 4 Expansion Packs, Ranked
Expansion Packs are the most expensive tier of downloadable content, and unsurprisingly have the most features and items included. For the vast majority of Expansion Packs, you also get a new fully fleshed-out world that complements the theme.
Priced at £34.99 in the UK and $39.99 in the US, these packs generally come with significant new gameplay that dramatically alters the way you play the game.
14 Expansion Packs have been released at the time of writing.
14. The Sims 4 Get to Work
Get to Work introduces some new career options for your Sims, with the added twist being that you can follow them around at work – from treating patients as a doctor to investigating crimes as a detective. Unfortunately, controlling Sims while they're working becomes repetitive rather quickly.
The other major additions – running a retail business and meeting or playing as aliens – are interesting ideas that could have been implemented better.
13. The Sims 4 Get Famous
This is an expansion that will land with players who are on board with the concept and perhaps miss with others.
The idea of gaining celebrity status and fans is executed well, with an acting career plus a perks tree that allows Sims to take slightly different paths to stardom. There's also a new world heavily inspired by Hollywood and Los Angeles. But there isn't much here if that stuff doesn't interest you.
It's nice to see Maxis exploring new themes and ideas, and for the most part, Eco Lifestyle is a success. Having to consider your neighbourhood's Eco Footprint is a fresh twist to the gameplay, and Evergreen Harbor is a great world. The best part is how the core features, such as the Neighborhood Action Plans, come together to make your neighbourhood feel connected.
We just wish that the benefits and downsides of your Eco Footprint had a more significant impact on gameplay. The moods of the Sims do change slightly, but otherwise the effects are largely cosmetic.
An expansion worth considering for those who find the idea of farming and cottagecore appealing, Cottage Living puts a spin on the standard gameplay by letting Sims essentially live off the land and raise animals such as cows and chickens. It's pretty satisfying, particularly when combined with an optional challenge that requires having actual ingredients on hand to cook a meal.
Henford-on-Bagley heavily romanticises the English countryside, so how you feel about the world will depend on how charmed you are by its direction. Aesthetically it's pleasing, but beyond that, the neighbourhoods struggle to stand out or do much that's ambitious.
This expansion adds, not surprisingly, university life to the game, and it's decently fleshed out. There's a lot to like in here – from the greater emphasis on time management as your Sim tries to balance studying with maintaining a social life, to objectives such as coursework and exams feeling somewhat meaningful as they contribute towards the final degree.
Another highlight is the selection of clothing items, with an excellent range of current everyday wear. It's just a shame that the world itself lacks personality, especially when compared to the ones seen in other expansions.
9. The Sims 4 City Living
The metropolitan world of San Myshuno is City Living's selling point. If you want to rent small apartments and enjoy the bustle of the city (including experiencing cultural festivals and hanging out at karaoke bars) instead of owning a house in the suburbs, this is the expansion to consider.
An underrated part of the pack is the addition of more diverse food which can be bought at stalls or cooked at home, with Sims able to use chopsticks for some dishes.
Family Simmers, rejoice. Teen Sims get much-needed expanded gameplay, as for the first time in the series, players can follow their Sims as they attend classes and get into trouble at Copperdale High. A good amount of features help to capture the teen experience, and new locations such as a theme park and a thrift and bubble tea store combo offer decent hangout spots.
There is admittedly a lack of polish and hopefully the bugs will be ironed out over time. But this expansion successfully breathes life into the often-overlooked teen life stage, making it a worthwhile release.
So much effort went into the horses — from the impressive range of customisation options to the quality of the animations — and the result is that horses have been done justice with this expansion. Horse lovers, or anyone into pet-themed gameplay, will likely be very happy with how they have turned out.
Taking care of and bonding with horses is one of the more fulfilling experiences we've personally had with the game in a while.
Nectar-making and Chestnut Ridge are nice additions, though the heavy focus on horses does mean that you might not find much to your liking here if they aren't your thing.
Inspired by Polynesian culture, Sulani is one of the best worlds in the game and offers a different style of gameplay. While suburban life can often be dominated by the micromanagement of your Sims, the island world presents a more relaxing and carefree vibe that encourages you to soak in your surroundings.
Sulani works because it evokes a real sense of place, from the beaches and waterfalls to the residents' traditions and festivals. The only thing that we feel falls a little short is how the mermaids' life state fails to make much of a lasting impact.
5. The Sims 4: Get Together
The amount of content is arguably a little on the light side particularly when compared to some of the later packs, but what's in here really stands out and enhances the game in several ways, particularly if socialising is a big part of your Sims' experience.
The Clubs feature is a terrific way of arranging get-togethers and mingling with friends and neighbours, while DJ and dancing skills provide more options for nights out. And then there's the European-inspired Windenburg, a truly beautiful scenic world that is a joy to play in.
Growing Together's headline features are less showy than those in other expansions, but the impact they have on family-focused gameplay is very pronounced. New mechanics like family dynamics and social compatibility make interactions and relationships between Sims more nuanced and varied, while milestones help to celebrate a Sim's lifetime.
The infants' life stage is also significantly fleshed out with this pack.
Though there's debate on whether there's enough justification for some aspects to be locked behind a new, paid expansion, the content itself is worth experiencing and evolves large parts of the core gameplay in a satisfying way.
The majority of the game's worlds are based on American or European locations, so it's a huge breath of fresh air to have a world like the Japanese-inspired Mt Komorebi, a place that is vibrant and feels alive.
The snow activities might get most of the attention – rock climbing is a particular highlight that makes the world feel bigger in scope – but onsen bathhouses, hiking routes outside of town (including through a bamboo forest), and hot pot are just some of the many other things that make this expansion really stand out.
The inclusion of an option for Sims to take their shoes off in the house is here too and long overdue, although we feel this should have been added as a base game feature.
2. The Sims 4 Cats & Dogs
Those who aren't into pets should probably consider other expansions, but for lovers of cats or dogs, this is close to an essential pack. As the name suggests, the add-on lets you customise feline and canine friends for your household, from their breed (of which there is an impressive number to choose from) to their personalities and accessories.
Cats and dogs are adorable in the game, helped by the number of different ways Sims can interact and bond with their pets. There are other features in this pack too, such as the world of Brindleton Bay and the option to run a veterinary clinic, but becoming a pet owner is easily the main draw here.
1. The Sims 4 Seasons
Essential. While all of the other packs are somewhat dependent on whether you're on board with the concept and how it complements your playstyle, this is the only expansion that we consider a must-have for all players. Seasons dramatically enhances the core of the game, and we can't imagine playing without it.
The calendar feature is a game-changer for The Sims 4, as the addition of the four seasons (with weather, temperatures, and seasonal events) brings a greater sense of time progression and realism to the experience. Hot and cold weather outfits are crucial for Sims to cope with heatwaves and sub-zero temperatures, while families and friends can gather to celebrate annual holidays together.
On top of that, the gardening career is a nice bonus and offers Sims the option to work from home as they look after plants all year around. If there's one single expansion to get out of the lot, it's this one.
Best Sims 4 Game Packs, Ranked
Game Packs are the second most expensive tier of downloadable content, and often contain a decent chunk of content that includes new gameplay features and items.
At £17.49 in the UK and $19.99 in the US, they are half the price of the full Expansion Packs so manage your expectations accordingly. But the best Game Packs offer superb value and can enhance your game in significant ways.
12 Game Packs have been released at the time of writing.
This may appeal to those looking to fulfil their Star Wars fantasies, but most other players might be disappointed to find a pack that's largely self-contained instead of content which adds to the overall sandbox experience. A weak narrative and dull missions don't help.
11. The Sims 4 Dine Out
Conceptually, this sounds like a no-brainer – restaurants should be perfect for socialising and dates, and being able to run an establishment is not a bad idea. But it's a shame that the restaurants here are often far too glitchy and frustrating to enjoy.
10. The Sims 4 Jungle Adventure
We have mixed feelings on this one. The Latin-inspired Selvadorada is a terrific vacation world to explore, with multiple visits required to experience everything including Selvadorada's culture and customs. But this is undermined by colonialist vibes from being able to find and steal treasures for yourself.
9. The Sims 4 Outdoor Retreat
Targeted at fans who want camping in the game, Outdoor Retreat comes with a decent nature-themed destination world and some pleasing ways for Sims to pass the time, from sitting by campfires to collecting insects and herbs. We just wish there was a little more content.
When it first launched, this weddings-themed pack was a broken mess, riddled with bugs and immersion-breaking jank. It was impossible to hold any sort of wedding ceremony or event that ran smoothly. Following a large backlash from fans, a substantial patch was released to address many of the issues. We can confirm that the pack is in a more playable state now, and have changed its placement to reflect that.
Planning the perfect wedding has its rewards from a storytelling perspective, but despite the bug fixes, the pack still feels a little unpolished in places – and some may find the high levels of micromanagement a little awkward. The Mediterranean-inspired world of Tartosa is lovely, though.
7. The Sims 4 StrangerVille
It's not for everyone, but StrangerVille is a narrative-focused pack that's actually pretty interesting. Seemingly inspired by Netflix's Stranger Things, this add-on sees your Sim tasked with investigating and solving a conspiracy-themed mystery in a rural desert town.
For many Simmers who love building, this is an ideal pack that expands on interior design in the game. The interior decorator career lets your Sim take on home makeover jobs for clients, while the range of furnishing items included is the best yet in a Game Pack. However, this pack doesn't provide much value for those who aren't building enthusiasts, and a few bugs do slightly hamper the experience.
5. The Sims 4 Realm of Magic
If you want magic in your game, this is the pack for you. Realm of Magic introduces spellcasters who can do everything from casting spells with their wands to flying on broomsticks and brewing potions in cauldrons. Well put-together and a blast to play.
4. The Sims 4 Spa Day
This underrated pack may not be the most glamorous out of all of them, but it's one that we've gotten so much use out of. Saunas, massages, meditation, and especially yoga are superb new ways for Sims to unwind, plus there's a terrific selection of clothing and objects that help to really sell the theme.
September 2021's update added further content to the pack at no extra cost – including manicures, pedicures, facial masks, and new aspirations – cementing Spa Day's place as one of our favourite Game Packs.
3. The Sims 4 Vampires
The top three are, in our opinion, a cut above the rest, and this is the one to consider if you want something a little unconventional. Vampires are incredibly fun to play, boasting fresh ways to interact with other characters (including mind control), while an impressive skill tree lets you customise powers and weaknesses to make your undead Sim unique.
Vampires also offer an alternative playstyle, as they have different everyday needs compared to your average Sim – from staying out of sunlight to deciding whether to feed on humans or, if you want to tame your thirst, eat plasma fruit.
When it comes to which is the best occult in the game, there's not much that actually separates vampires and werewolves and it will be down to personal preference. While vampires, we would argue, have more interesting abilities and weaknesses and are more fun by themselves, there's a lot more interesting supporting content for werewolves – such as the town of Moonwood Mill and its accompanying lore – that helps this occult flourish and feel grounded in the game's universe.
As an overall package, Werewolves is one of the more complete Game Packs out there. The Create-a-Sim for werewolf forms is impressive, the abilities and temperaments provide different ways to build werewolves for gameplay and storytelling, and there is plenty to explore and discover in the new world.
1. The Sims 4 Parenthood
Essential for family players. Whether you prefer this pack or occult-based content like Vampires or Werewolves will depend on your personal taste, but Parenthood is a must-have for fans who lean towards realism and especially family gameplay and raising children.
Parenting becomes a big deal here, as the way a Sim raises and disciplines their kids – in areas such as manners, responsibility, and empathy – affects their behaviour and personality growing up, helping to form who they are when they turn into adults.
It's an engaging and rewarding system, which is complemented by smaller features and activities such as school projects and private journals.
Best Sims 4 Stuff Packs, Ranked
Stuff Packs were the cheapest tier of downloadable content until early 2021, when Kits were introduced.
Costing £9.99 in the UK and $9.99 in the US, packs in this category have evolved over the years. From 2014 to 2017, they generally consisted of little more than clothing and objects that revolve around a certain theme (ranging from 'Luxury Party' to 'Toddler').
The more recent Stuff Packs become more ambitious, with more gameplay features being included to better justify the price.
19 Stuff Packs have been released at the time of writing. We will only rank the top six.
We feel the other 13 packs are fairly similar – slight in content (you will get superior value from just about any Expansion or Game Pack), but you may get mileage out of them if the specific theme appeals.
Great for builders in particular. Inspired by the popular tiny house challenge, this pack rewards Sims who live in small houses with some neat perks. It also comes with some fantastic clothing and objects that should fit with most households.
5. The Sims 4 Bowling Night
If you're looking for a new social venue, then consider adding a bowling alley to your world. Sims can hang out with friends while levelling up their Bowling skills and improving their game.
Home Chef Hustle is proof that Stuff Packs still have their place in the game. This 2023 pack, released after a Stuff Packs drought of nearly three years, centres on the home chef experience and the trifecta of CAS, Build, and gameplay work together to provide an enjoyable time.
The highlight is the new gameplay items, with the waffle maker, countertop pizza oven, and stand mixer overlapping with each other to make cooking a more fleshed-out and dynamic activity.
For supernatural fans, Paranormal contains a surprising amount of content considering the price point. Much of the focus revolves around living with spectres in haunted houses, but there's also a freelance paranormal investigator career, a Medium skill, the return of Bonehilda, a useable séance table, and some terrific and thematically fitting objects that all combine for a cohesive spooky experience.
It's always great to get a new hobby for Sims to do, but what's even better is how fleshed out the knitting activity is. As Sims increase their skill, they're able to make anything from beanies and socks to poufs and toys. These items are locked in Create-a-Sim and Build modes until the Sim has made them in-game, which makes knitting feel like it matters.
1. The Sims 4 Laundry Day
Some may think the idea of laundry is too mundane. But we love how the addition of being able to use washing machines and tumble dryers enhances everyday life, and we love how Sims positively react when putting on fresh, clean clothes. The extra slice-of-life gameplay is oddly satisfying and brings an extra level of immersion, to the point where we rarely play without the laundry feature.
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