- Lightsabers in the Star Wars universe are highly coveted for their elegant design and symbolic significance, representing hope and terror across the galaxy.
- The mechanical construction of lightsabers is straightforward, but their power comes from the rare kyber crystal inside, making them more like a current of power than a traditional sword.
- There are various types of lightsabers, each with unique characteristics and abilities, such as the dual-phase lightsaber, training lightsaber, and crossguard lightsaber used by Darth Vader, Jedi Younglings, and Kylo Ren respectively.
In the Star Wars universe, all lightsabers are highly coveted weapons for several reasons. When Luke Skywalker first held Anakin’s lightsaber, Obi-Wan Kenobi told him it was “an elegant weapon for a more civilized time.” Ever since then, the lightsaber has been a symbol of Star Wars – the brilliant blues and greens have been an expression of hope, while the blood–red hues of the Sith lightsabers have sparked terror across the galaxy. Elegant they may be, but the lightsaber is far from simple.
The mechanical construction of a lightsaber is relatively straightforward, but its power comes from the rare kyber crystal contained within. According to various projects from Star Wars canon, wielding a lightsaber is less like holding a sword than it is directing a current of power. This bond between the Jedi and the lightsaber explains why specific blades have become venerated. Over the years, many lightsaber types – and specific lightsaber combat forms – have been seen in canon. From the lightsabers of the original trilogy and the rest of the Skywalker Saga to some adapted from Legends, here is every canon lightsaber model in Star Wars.
16 The Standard Lightsaber
The classic lightsaber used by countless prequel era Jedi
The most famous lightsaber type is the standard blade. This is the stance used by the likes of Luke, Anakin, and Rey Skywalker to name but a few. George Lucas chose to give Jedi lightsabers in part because he knew swords have historically been seen as ritualistic objects, imbued with mystical significance, or used as proof of birthright.
This history makes the passing of Anakin’s lightsaber to his son Luke particularly important and explains why Kylo Ren was so outraged to see his grandfather’s blade in the hands of Rey. As the kyber crystal does the hard work of focusing the plasma, even non-Jedi can use all lightsabers – but only a Force user can operate them to their full potential. Similarly, single-bladed lightsabers can be constructed from almost anything; Aayla Secura used a blade made of durasteel designed for durability, while Rey’s new lightsaber from Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker’s ending was constructed in part from her old staff as a sign of her character growth.
Some lightsabers have bent hilts, helping to improve the design for dueling; some have different nozzles to give the blade a slightly different shape; and, of course, lightsabers come in all sorts of different sizes. All lightsabers are in some way or another reflections of their respective users down to Star Wars’ many lightsaber colors. In the past, Jedi frequently adorned their lightsabers with embellishments and beautiful patterns, and many were continually adapted in part due to changes in galactic fashion, a practice that can be traced back to Star Wars‘ High Republic Era. Most of these variants are found with single blades but can be attributed to others too.
15 Dual-Phase Lightsaber
An unusual lightsaber type used by Darth Vader
Darth Vader was proficient with all lightsabers, but he personally wielded the unusual and highly versatile dual-phase model. Considered a relic of an older, more violent time, the dual-phase lightsaber possesses two kyber crystals. At the flick of a switch, Vader can rotate the kyber crystals into a new alignment to change the length of his blade. This can be useful in taking an opponent by surprise, although the different lengths require different combat techniques – meaning only a true master of combat should attempt to use a dual-phase lightsaber. Though all lightsabers are dangerous, the dual-phase lightsaber might be the most dangerous to users with minimal connection with the Force.
14 Training Lightsaber
Used by Jedi Master Yoda when training Younglings
The Star Wars prequel trilogy included a scene in which a group of Younglings were shown training with lightsabers. It’s important to understand these were not ordinary lightsabers, but rather ones designed for training. These blades are shorter than a typical lightsaber, designed to fit in young hands, and their energy is set to low intensity to prevent injury. According to Lucasfilm’s book Star Wars: The Lightsaber Collection, a solid hit will still deliver a shock that temporarily numbs muscles.
13 The Protosaber
A mysterious lightsaber that may predate the Jedi Order
The Vader Immortal VR game featured an intriguing weapon called the protosaber. It was far more ornate than most lightsabers, featuring corkscrew prongs twisting around the base of its blue energy blade and a fan-like structure connecting the crossguard to the hilt. The kyber crystal was actually exposed, mounted on an ignition ring of some kind that presumably testifies to the extreme age of this Force relic.
12 Shoto Blades
Ahsoka’s second blade is a shoto
The Jedi Ahsoka Tano’s two lightsabers include what is known as a shoto blade. This kind of shorter lightsaber is typically used by a more aggressive Jedi warrior, and Star Wars: The Clone Wars showrunner Dave Filoni intended this to indicate Anakin’s influence upon Ahsoka. She traditionally held the Shoto blade in her off-hand, and it made her a fierce combatant. Sourcebooks have mentioned a further sub-type of the Shoto called a “Guard Shoto.” This features an additional hilt set at a 90-degree angle, helping the Jedi transition smoothly from attack to defense.
11 Double-Bladed Lightsabers
Darth Maul’s iconic weapon made Star Wars history
When Darth Maul made his first appearance in Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace, he used a weapon like nothing fans had ever seen before. This double-bladed lightsaber has an extra long hilt and apparently incorporates multiple kyber crystals. According to Star Wars: The Lightsaber Collection, Maul discovered how to make this by poring over ancient Sith records.
An unusual lightsaber seen in a Rise of Skywalker vision
This unusual type of double-bladed lightsaber is also called a switchblade. Here, the two blades can be folded up so they are side-by-side, or switched down into the traditional double-bladed configuration. This was introduced in Star Wars: The Clone Wars, with a switchblade used by treacherous Jedi Master Pong Krell. A live-action version was finally seen in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, wielded by a dark vision of Rey. Interestingly, the brief scene showed how a switchblade could be used quite effectively in a duel as Dark Rey used it to trap Rey’s weapon between hers, which could have easily led to Rey’s disarmament.
9 Lightsaber Pikes
The weapons favored by the Jedi Temple guards
Not to be confused with double-bladed lightsabers, the lightsaber pike is seen in Star Wars animations such as Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels. It was used by the temple guards at Coruscant, and the yellow lightsaber blades are symbolic of the eternal flame of the Jedi Order, and the vigilance of its protectors. There were single-bladed variants of the lightsaber pike, with Luke Skywalker discovering one in the comics and another available at Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.
8 Crossguard Lightsabers
Kylo Ren’s iconic lightsaber blade
The crossguard lightsaber is an interesting design incorporating three blades. Kylo Ren used an unstable crossguard lightsaber, and he quite enjoyed the sinister crackling emitted by the blade. Another variant of the crossguard lightsaber has been seen in the High Republic Era, wielded by Stellan Gios. This appears to be a refinement of the older crossguard design Kylo Ren developed, with physical quillons to control and direct the energy streams at the sides. These quills point forward toward the emitter when the saber is not in use, and the weapon rests in a specially designed holster.
As seen in the High Republic Era, the crossguard lightsaber was very popular when the Jedi were at the peak of their power. Many High Republic Jedi have been revealed as crossguard wielders. Similarly, the recent video game Star Wars Jedi: Survivor introduced the crossguard variation as a stance Cal Kestis can use during combat. The stance was utilized in-game as a more power-based stance, with heavy, crushing blows being used to break opponents’ defenses.
7 The Inquisitors’ Lightsabers
The Jedi-hunting Inquisitors, Darth Vader’s agents, were introduced in Star Wars Rebels. They wielded unusual and distinctive lightsabers, which they could actually spin as a sort of helicopter, as seen in Obi-Wan Kenobi. The spinning can grant a tactical advantage in any lightsaber duel, and the sight of spinning lightsaber blades can be highly intimidating – useful for a variety of Inquisitor work. The Eighth Brother’s saber incorporated additional buzz-saw teeth that give him a further edge in both combat and intimidation.
6 The Great Lightsaber
Baylan Shin’s lightsaber appears to be a Great Lightsaber
The Great Lightsaber is an unusual lightsaber type mentioned in the Star Wars: Force & Destiny sourcebook Knights of Fate. These are oversized lightsabers built for use by beings who have large, powerful frames; they have heavier hilts and more powerful blades, meaning strikes carry much more kinetic force than is usually the case. Baylan Skoll in Ahsoka appears to use a Great Lightsaber, with the lightsaber droid Huyang claiming this is the only one he’s seen in 500 years.
5 The Lightfoil
A slim lightsaber blade used for dueling
The lightfoil is another unusual lightsaber type, and it’s possible this weapon is used by Shin in Ahsoka. Lightfoils are smaller, slimmer blades designed for dueling, and it’s believed the first lightfoils were created by the Sith roughly 5,000 years ago. They’re rapier-like, perfect for swift duels.
4 Lightsaber Whip
A classic weapon from Legends, the lightsaber whip is now official canon
In Star Wars: The High Republic, the lightsaber whip from the old Expanded Universe made a comeback. Strongly associated with the Nightsisters of Dathomir, the lightsaber whip is an unusual weapon that the Jedi are uncomfortable with. Jedi Knight Vernestra “Vern” Rwoh nonetheless constructed one at the guidance of the Force. At the hands of a master, the lightsaber whip might be the most versatile out of the different blade types.
3 The Darksaber
The Darksaber is one of a kind
The rare Darksaber in The Mandalorian is a unique lightsaber, created a thousand years ago by Tarre Vizsla, the first Mandalorian to join the Jedi Knights. Although the weapon is clearly related to the typical lightsaber, its energy blade is a strange, shimmering black – one that is flat rather than cylindrical, giving the Darksaber a distinctive appearance. Whoever holds the Darksaber is believed to have the right to declare themselves ruler of the Mandalorians.
Curiously, the Darksaber’s weight and efficiency in combat largely depend on the mental and emotional state of the user. Apart from just Force mastery, the Darksaber can be properly wielded through sheer willpower, which is how Moff Gideon was able to swing it freely. As of the ending of The Mandalorian season 3, the Darksaber was destroyed, begging the question of whether it will be reforged in the future of Star Wars.
2 Ezra’s Unique Lightsaber
Ezra Bridger created a lightsaber Obi-Wan would have considered most uncivilized
In Star Wars Rebels, Ezra Bridger constructed one of the most remarkable lightsaber designs seen to date. Jedi had always built lightsabers using whatever they had in hand, and in Ezra’s case, he fashioned his lightsaber using his blaster. Powered by a blue kyber crystal, this allowed Ezra to alternate between blaster shots and the traditional melee weapon that is a lightsaber. In truth, it was more a testimony to Ezra’s doubt in his own skills, and after it was destroyed by Darth Vader, he replaced it with a standard, single-bladed lightsaber.
1 The Lightspear
The lightspear has never been seen
Apparently, the ancient Sith used another type of lightsaber, known as a lightspear. This was never seen in the Expanded Universe and has only once been mentioned in canon – in Charles Soule’s Light of the Jedi. The Sith lightspear in the High Republic has never been described in any detail, so nothing is yet known about this design. Hopefully, it won’t be long before the lightspear reappears alongside a deeper explanation about its specific differences as a lightsaber variation in the Star Wars galaxy.