The 3 Easiest Merit Badges That You Can Earn in 2021

At some point, every scout has wondered which merit badges they could earn most easily. I know I have. There are so many bad lists out there that I’ve decided to determine, once and for all, the 3 easiest merit badges that any scout can earn from home in less than a day. 🙂

What are the easiest merit badges? The easiest merit badges are those that you’re already working on in your everyday life. For instance, if you already have a dog, the pets merit badge would be a no-brainer. The 3 simplest merit badges that any scout can earn are Art, Fingerprinting and Photography. These badges require few supplies and can be quickly completed in an afternoon.

In this article, I’ll give you a brief description of the 3 easiest merit badges that any scout can earn, plus my #1 tip for finding the best merit badges for you. I’ve written a complete guide for each of the badges and outlined all the tools you’ll need to complete each requirement. After reading this article, be sure to check out the full guides for more detail! Let’s get started.

You might also be interested in my guide ranking the difficulty of every Eagle-required badge (Merit Badge worksheet answers included). You can check it out by clicking the link here!

The Easiest Merit Badges For Any Scout To Earn

There are a lot of bad lists out there on what the, supposedly, easiest merit badges are. No, basketry is not easy — you need to make three baskets! Maybe it’s easy at summer camp, but imagine weaving three baskets at home.

In my list, we’re going to be looking at merit badges which are both inexpensive and can be completed in an afternoon. These rely on tools that people generally have around their house or can easily purchase for under $20 total. Do you have a phone with a camera on it? Great! That’s pretty much all you need for this first badge.

1. Photography

Ahh, the merit badge for everyone who has ever used Instagram. Earning the photography merit badge used to be a bit more difficult before everyone started walking around with a camera (cellphone) in their pocket. Now, in spite of requiring a cyber chip to complete (link is my guide to earning your Cyber Chip), this merit badge can literally be earned by anyone in under two hours!

The photography merit badge requires some basic knowledge of working a camera and framing a photograph. There are a few technical terms that you’ll need to be ready to explain to your counselor. However, most of this merit badge can be completed just by taking pictures of things.

Because I’m such a nice guy, I’ve written for you a complete guide on how to earn the photography merit badge while only using your cell phone and Instagram (or some other photo-editing application). We’ll go step-by-step through each of the requirements and make you a photography merit badge aficionado in no time!

2. Art

“Painting is easy when you don’t know how, but very difficult when you do.”

Edgar Degas, French Impressionist artist.

In our case, the art merit badge is easy to earn one way or the other! This one’s a bit more heavy on the tools, so before starting make sure you have at least four of the following:

(If you need to buy any of these mediums at a good value, click the links above to be directed to Amazon. I will earn a small commission from your purchase, at no additional cost to you, which will be used to support ScoutSmarts! Thank you. 🙂 )

Since you probably already have a pen, pencil, and computer, you’ll have the choice of one more medium with which to create art!

In completing this badge, you’ll need to understand a few elements of art and do a couple of drawings. This is actually a really fun one though, so I would recommend enjoying the process. Seriously, after doing this merit badge, I gave my artwork to friends and family, and they loved it.

The art merit badge also requires that you visit a museum, art exhibit, art gallery, co-op, or artist workshop. Many of these have free admission, so ask your counselor for their recommendations. As always, for additional help on understanding and answering these badge requirements, check out my complete guide to earning the art merit badge.

3. Fingerprinting

If for some reason you haven’t earned the fingerprinting merit badge at any summer camps or troop events, this may be the quickest badge of your life. Heck, I would recommend even going one step further and buying a large pack of fingerprinting cards to teach this badge to your entire troop in an afternoon. You’d be a hero — the fingerprinting requirements are so easy!

All that you need to earn this badge at home is tape, a pencil, and a fingerprinting card. These cards get cheaper in bulk, so you can get 3 for $5 or 25 for $10. Hence, my previous recommendation for teaching this badge to your troop.

There are only five requirements for this badge, and four of those requirements are knowledge-based. As it’s so simple, teaching fingerprinting is a great way to build rapport with younger scouts and help them to earn their first badge. Here’s my complete guide to help you learn and even teach the fingerprinting merit badge! 

Finding The Easiest Merit Badge For You

In Scouting, there’s often a debate about which merit badges are the easiest. Personally, I think that the difficulty of a merit badge is mainly based on the situation that you’re earning it in. While you can go to Summer camp for a week and easily come home with ten new merit badges, this wouldn’t be possible if you tried to work on the badges yourself without the resources that the camp offers.

Therefore, I firmly believe that the easiest merit badges for you will be the ones that you’re already working on. What does this mean? This means that if you already have a collection, a pet, or some sort of hobby, use that as an opportunity to earn the associated merit badge! 

My #1 tip for finding your next easy merit badge is to ask the older scouts which badges they’ve already earned. If you both do similar school activities (very likely) and have shared interests, they’ll be able to point out badges they’ve earned that you may be unknowingly already working on!

Before starting any merit badge, be sure to review every single requirement. Some badges may seem simple until you find that one section where you’ll need to put in months of work. Other badges will have lots of requirements, but actually be very easy to complete. By reviewing each badge beforehand and keeping these tips in mind, you’ll never need to worry about earning another non-eagle required merit badge again.


Although there’s a time and place for easy merit badges, remember that Scouting is a journey and that putting in the work is what makes it worthwhile in the end. Try to avoid the trap of getting merit badges for the sake of getting merit badges, and instead, use these experiences to find something that you’re truly interested in.

Easy badges like these are great for teaching younger scouts or can be quickly earned alone. By completing these types of badges, scouts can build the confidence necessary to tackle more difficult Eagle-required ones. Merit badges are an excellent opportunity to work together with other scouts. By using these tips and learning from the rest of your troop, eventually, every merit badge that you earn will feel easy.

I hope you’ve found my list helpful. If you haven’t already, remember to check out the complete guides to each of these badges by following the links in each section. If you liked this article, share it with your scout mates so that you can earn these badges together! Hoping you have 3 new merit badges very soon. 🙂


I'm constantly writing new content because I believe in Scouts like you! Thanks so much for reading, and for making our world a better place. Until next time, I'm wishing you all the best on your journey to Eagle and beyond!

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