The lightsaber is, without a doubt, the coolest piece of science fiction weaponry ever conceived. If only we could have been there when George Lucas asked himself the question, “Hey, you know what would make a sword even better? If it were made of lasers!” And as the signature weapon of the Star Wars franchise, the lightsaber has seen a variety of interpretations. First came the cornucopia of different colors, from blue and green to purple, but also changes in length, hilt, and even number of blades. The lightsaber is a versatile weapon in that regard.
With the arrival of the prequels, the Clone Wars, and now the sequel trilogy, there’s more people running around with lightsabers than there ever have been. So the natural question becomes, which one is the best? Out of all the lightsabers in the franchise, which would the prospective Jedi or Sith want hanging off their belt when worse came to worse. That is the question we’ve set out to answer. After scouring through as much Star Wars media as we could, we’ve made up this list of twenty five lightsabers from across the franchise’s history and arranged them from weakest to strongest.
A caveat before we continue though. We’ve made up this list based only on the lightsabers themselves. If it seems like some are higher or lower than they should be, that’s why. A great warrior can make excellent use of a sub-par weapon, but a perfect blade will not help the useless warrior.
With that said, here are the 25 Star Wars Lightsabers from Weakest to Most Powerful, Officially Ranked.
25 Jedi Temple Guard Lightsaber Pike
At first glance, the lightsaber pike seems to have a lot going for it. It’s a double-bladed weapon, much like Darth Maul’s famous saber. The blades have a distinct yellow color, the only ones with that color in the canon. And they’re only wielded by the Jedi Temple Guards, the most skilled and dedicated Jedi fighters.
But in practice, this lightsaber looks more intimidating than it is. The blades are weaker than a normal lightsaber’s, most often used for combat training. The guards are never shown fighting with them either, only restraining prisoners and protecting crowds. Leaves something to be desired.
24 Inquisitor Lightsaber
The problem with the Inquisitor lightsaber is that it was made to look frightening, not functional. Wielded by the Imperial Inquisitors, Dark Side Jedi hunters, it was certainly good at that. The two red blades spun around a central ring, creating a buzzsaw effect. The Inquisitors could also use them as makeshift helicopters if that wasn’t enough.
But this thing is just impractical. If an Inquisitor isn’t careful, they could chop their own hand off by accident. The central ring of the design offered a juicy target for disarming or slicing the lightsaber apart. Bad design all around.
23 General Grievous’ Collection
There’s an old debate about which is better, quantity over quality. General Grievous appears to favor the former. The droid general has made a habit of stealing the lightsabers of every Jedi he slays. He doesn’t just take them as trophies either. Thanks to Count Dooku, he’s been trained in Jedi fighting arts and his cyborg body allows him to pull off some insane moves.
But quality might have served him better than quantity. Grievous’ random assortment of sabers have proved no match against Jedi with lightsabers they’ve built and had years of experience with. He needs a better collection.
22 Tera Sinube’s Lightsaber Cane
It’s a cliché in a lot of old adventure stories. The seemingly feeble old gentleman who needs a cane is actually secret powerful. And the cane is part of the reason why, because there’s a sword hidden in the handle. Star Wars cribs from a lot of those stories, so of course the swordcane trope is in there.
And while powerful might be a stretch, Jedi Master Tera Sinube’s got the gentleman part down. That’s part of the reason for the un-Jedi deception of his lightsaber cane. He’ll try a peaceful solution first before whipping out the saber.
21 Yoda’s Short Saber
No pun intended. The most unique thing about Yoda’s lightsaber is that it’s technically a dagger more than a sword. Sabers like this are called Shoto-style sabers in-universe and most Jedi use them as compliments to their regular weapons. The smaller size, shorter blade, and compact nature made them good weapons for defense or dual-wielding.
But the smaller size made it perfect for the tiny Yoda. He made good use of it to, able to hold his own against bigger opponents like Count Dooku or Darth Sidious. Sadly, The Emperor destroyed Yoda’s lightsaber after he usurped control of the galaxy.
20 Kanan Jarrus’ Collapsible Lightsaber
Being a Jedi during the Empire stunk. Just ask Kanan Jarrus from Star Wars: Rebels. His master was slain during Order 66 and he had to go into hiding to protect himself. A lightsaber would be a dead giveaway that he was a Jedi but Kanan found a clever solution.
He separated his lightsaber into two pieces, hiding one and keeping the other on his belt. All he needed was screw the top on and he’s got a lightsaber. That’s the flaw though, having your lightsaber in two pieces can be a liability. What if he loses one?
19 Obi-Wan’s Last Lightsaber
Everybody’s most memed Jedi Master actually had a couple of lightsabers over the course of his life. We’ve chosen his last saber, the one he wielded during the Clone Wars and into the years of the Empire, because it was the one that lasted longest for Obi-Wan. It’s the saber that dueled Darth Vader for the first time. It’s the saber that defeated Darth Maul.
It’s the saber that works best when you have the high ground. But most importantly, this lightsaber had its legacy carried on. Luke Skywalker based the construction of his green saber on his old master’s.
18 Qui-Gon’s Lightsaber
Simple is the name of the game with Qui-Gon Jinn’s lightsaber. Just a black grip with a red button to turn it on. No fuss, no muss. But in a way, that fits the Jedi Master who wielded it. Qui-Gon was a Jedi fundamentalist, looking to get back to the Order’s roots. It makes sense that he wouldn’t go for something fancy.
But Liam Neeson’s story of how he chose his character’s lightsaber is the opposite. He described George Lucas coming to set on Episode One with a gilded box and asking him to pick one of the lightsabers inside.
17 Luke Skywalker’s Green Lightsaber
Luke Skywalker’s second lightsaber might be just as iconic as his first. When he activated it during Return of the Jedi, it was the first time audiences got to see a green-bladed lightsaber. That’s cool enough, but it’s all the more impressive considering he built it out of spare parts.
Luke found some instructions in Obi-Wan’s old hut about building a lightsaber. But we’re ranking it so low because of its role in creating Kylo Ren. Had Luke not activated this lightsaber in a moment of weakness, scaring his nephew, the Star Wars galaxy would be a much safer place.
16 Pong Krell’s Twin Double-Bladed Sabers
Okay, a double-bladed lightsaber is reasonable. But having two of them seems like overkill. But then again when you have four arms like this alien Jedi Master, maybe you need the blades to match. Pong Krell’s double-bladed sabers were unique for folding in the middle to clip to his belt. They could still be activated while folded.
His belt was where they often stayed too, because he let his clone troopers do most of the fighting. It wasn’t until Pong Krell turned traitor and attacked his own men that we saw how effective he was with his numerous blades.
15 Maris Brood’s Lightsaber Tonfa
Though it now only exists in Legends material, we have to give a shout-out to this wholly unique lightsaber variant. Thanks to a perpendicular hilt, it’s the perfect weapon for defending against other lightsabers. The blades guard the wielder’s forearms and can be used as a regular sword if need be.
Maris Brood, the Jedi Padawan and only known user of this particular weapon, upped her lightsaber tonfa’s defense even higher by building the hilts from Phrik, a lightsaber-resistant metal. That advantage came in handy the two times she faced Darth Vader’s secret apprentice Starkiller in battle.
14 Savage Oppress’ Double-Bladed Lightsaber
Sith appear to be more fond of double-bladed lightsabers than the Jedi do. It might explain why Darth Maul’s brother Savage Oppress also wields the same distinctive weapon. But the brother’s sabers do have some important differences.
The design of Savage’s weapon takes more after his former master Count Dooku’s lightsaber, with guards around the blade emitters. Its ignition sound is one of a kind too, sounding like the roar of a jungle cat. Fitting for the character’s barely restrained fury and animalistic attacks. Even Savage’s usage is different, more like a spear or halberd than his brother’s bo staff.
13 Lumiya’s Lightwhip
Star Wars Legends inspired many wild, one-off lightsaber variants. The lightwhip of the original Marvel Star Wars comics was one of the more memorable and one fans wouldn’t mind seeing a return. Forged from Mandalorian Iron and based on ancient Sith weapons, the lightwhip didn’t work quite how you think. It wasn’t just a floppy lightsaber.
The whip did have braided extensions that when activated, crackled with contained plasma like a standard saber. Only Jedi trained in a special two-sword style could match it in battle. This was the weapon of choice of Lumiya, another of Vader’s secret apprentices.
12 Darth Sidious’ Twin Gold Lightsabers
Darth Sidious, aka Emperor Palpatine, never really had a reason to pull out his two lightsabers often. Showing them off would reveal him as a Sith Lord after all. But as a man of wealth and taste, his lightsabers had to be stylish. And his twin gold sabers are stylish as all get out.
That’s thanks to the metallic sheen of the electrum finish. Sidious didn’t just add this to be fancy though. Only high-ranking Jedi get electrum finished lightsabers, so he added it to spite them. It’s the same reason they’re made of indestructible Phrik metal.
11 Anakin/Luke/Rey’s Lightsaber
The Star Wars equivalent of Excalibur. There’s a reason we’ve put this iconic lightsaber smack in the middle of our list. It’s because this might be the most important and least impressive weapon in the whole series. It has no fancy tricks or gimmicks. As lightsabers go, it’s pretty average.
But its legacy makes it important. This lightsaber was present for over 70 years of the most important events in the galaxy. Its wielders carry the future and history of the Jedi on their shoulders. This saber is surprisingly durable too, only being destroyed during a Force tug-of-war between two prodigies.
10 Asajj Ventress’ Dual Curved Hilt Lightsabers
Gifted to her by Count Dooku, Asajj Ventress’ twin lightsabers combine a number of different variations together. They’re collapsible. The two sabers can be joined at the ends to form a doubled-blade lightsaber. In the doubled-bladed form, they can be spun around for both defense and offense.
Both the hilts are curved as well, giving the sabers an elegant look. Dooku probably insisted on that to match his own curved saber. This combination of different saber types works for Ventress, gaining their strengths and none of their weaknesses. Just like the assassin herself, their versatility keeps her enemies off guard.
9 Ezra Bridger’s Blaster Saber
Jedi tend to be pretty traditional about their lightsabers. Well Ezra Bridger of Star Wars Rebels isn’t a traditional Jedi. Building his own lightsaber out of spare parts, he managed to fix some glaring issues with the weapon. His saber has a guard for his fingers first of all. Extra protection is always a good thing. But it can also be switched into a blaster.
Yes, it’s a lightsaber gunblade. There were two reasons for this. One, it just offered more options in combat. Two, it helped disguise Ezra’s identity as a Jedi from the Empire. A clever lighsaber all around.
8 Ahsoka’s Twin White Lightsabers
Anakin Skywalker’s former apprentice used many lightsabers during her time as a Jedi, but her white sabers are her most recognized weapon. These were the weapons Ahsoka used during the formation of the Rebel Alliance and her final duel against Darth Vader. There’s a story behind them too.
Ahsoka made these herself after retrieving the kyber crystals from an Imperial Inquisitor. Originally red, she had to purify the crystals of all the hate and Dark Side energy that had been poured into them before building new sabers. The color is deliberate too. White shows she is neither Jedi or Sith.
7 Dooku's Curved Hilt Lightsaber
We’re not sure why, but it seems like many of the Prequel Era villains got uniquely designed lightsabers. Count Dooku’s curved hilt saber may appear the simplest, but is unique in its own way. See, it’s actually a lightsaber built for dueling.
Dooku built his saber based on old Jedi designs. He made it be wielded one—handed, unlike most sabers. The curved hilt also gives Dooku a stronger grip and greater control over his weapon. Its shape favors his more elegant and sweeping attack style. While he built it as a Jedi, he held onto it after becoming a Sith.
6 Kit Fisto’s Underwater Lightsaber
People have long wondered what happens when a lightsaber touches water. Would the water turn into steam? Would a lightsaber even work underwater? The answer is yes, sort of. A Jedi Master of aquatic origin, Kit Fisto modified his own lightsaber for just this reason.
An underwater lightsaber needs two kyber crystals instead of one. Combined with a special blade emitter, the lightsaber can be ignited underwater without any difficulty. Doing so also gives it a cool bubbling lava lamp effect. In case you’re wondering, yes, it works totally fine above water too.
5 Mace Windu’s Purple Lightsaber
Everything cool about Mace Windu’s lightsaber comes from his actor, Samuel L. Jackson. Jackson specifically requested a unique lightsaber color so that he could be distinguished in the big crowd scenes. When George Lucas asked what color he wanted, Jackson said purple.
But the props team went even further with his saber. Mace’s lightsaber has an electrum finish, a cool metallic sheen that, in-universe, only the highest-ranking Jedi can add to their sabers. It also has “BMF” stamped on the bottom. “BMF” stands for “Bad Mother******” and is a reference to Jackson’s role in Pulp Fiction.
4 Darth Vader’s Lightsaber
As the first red lightsaber shown in Star Wars, Darth Vader’s lightsaber holds a special place in the franchise. Its heavy and industrial design fits its wielder like a glove. But ever wonder why it’s red? Turns out, the Dark Lord did that himself. Red kyber crystals aren’t natural.
They have to be turned that color in a process called bleeding. That’s when a Sith takes a crystal they’ve stolen from a Jedi’s saber and focus all of their hatred and anger into it. Vader has plenty of anger, and it might be why he’s so attached to his lightsaber.
3 Kylo Ren’s Crossguard Lightsaber
Plenty of people made jokes about Kylo Ren’s lightsaber when the Episode VII trailer dropped. The last bad guy had two blades, so this new guy’s got three? But there is actually a reason for the two mini-blades that light up the crossguard.
Kylo Ren modeled his saber on an ancient design, but like most things, he screwed up. His saber’s crytal is cracked and the blade is too powerful. The two on the side help vent the excess energy. Plus, as Finn learned the hard way, those two little blades can still hurt. A brutal weapon for a brutal man.
2 Darth Maul’s Double-Bladed Lightsaber
Now here’s something we call iconic. When Darth Maul showed up with the series’ first double-bladed lightsaber, we knew Star Wars would never be the same. The double-bladed lightsaber in combination with actor Ray Park’s impressive martial arts elevated saber duels to new heights.
But the weapon itself is interesting in its own way. Like many dual-blades that followed, it seems like two lightsabers fused together at the middle. That’s how Maul can keep using half of it after its been sliced apart. It was surprisingly durable too. After years of neglect, Maul was still vicious with his half saber.
1 The Darksaber
Mandalorian Jedi are rare. In fact, there’s only been one, Tarre Vizsla. But his lightsaber is almost sacred to his people. Called the Darksaber due to its shining black blade, it’s been a symbol of Mandalorian leadership for thousands of years. Ever since the Mandalorians stole it from the Jedi.
Despite its age and archaic technology though, it’s more than a match for any modern saber. The plasma blade itself is unique. Its thin and sharp on one edge, like a katana, and comes to a point. The Darksaber has changed hands many times, but few were worthy of it.