In Star Wars, Obi-Wan Kenobi describes the lightsaber as an elegant weapon of a more civilized age. In many ways, the lightsaber is the extension of its wielder. Each Jedi was responsible for the construction of their own lightsaber, and the lightsaber's kyber crystal, which powered the blade, only developed a color after it bonded with a particular Padawan. While a majority of lightsabers were green or blue (for Jedi) or red (in the case of Sith and other dark Force users), customization of the weapon was clearly allowed, as illustrated by Yoda's smaller blade that reflects his small stature or the Wookiee Padawan Gungi's lightsaber which had a wooden handle. Lightsabers could have greater customization than simple size or aesthetic modifications, and these more complicated features could also reflect the user in various ways.
This list examines canon lightsabers only; while lightsabers from Star Wars Legends may be referenced, they were not given entries. Additionally, this is not a ranking of lightsabers' wielders or their fighting abilities. Instead, this list is meant to highlight innovative, unique, or otherwise important weapons that Force wielders have utilized over the course of the Star Wars canon. While lightsabers reflect their users in many subtle and not-so-subtle ways, there is a clear distinction when comparing blades and comparing combatants. The ranking is not meant to measure the worth of the Force-wielder, but instead is focused on the blade specifically.
From a galaxy far, far away, here are the 15 Best Lightsabers in Star Wars Canon.
15 Luke's Lightsaber
Luke Skywalker's green lightsaber was a revelation in The Return of the Jedi (1983), and it acted as a clear marker of time. Between The Empire Strikes Back (1980) and Jedi, Luke had taken time to build his own lightsaber after losing his father's blade (along with his hand) on Cloud City. Luke modelled this blade off of Obi-Wan Kenobi's lightsaber. Without a mentor or master, Luke used the Force to guide him, gathering the pieces that he would need over time, and only finding the final pieces necessary after landing on Tatooine to face Jabba the Hutt and travelling to Obi-Wan Kenobi's hut.
The blade is a simple and elegant design, similar to Obi-Wan's third lightsaber. But what makes Luke Skywalker's lightsaber extraordinary is its construction; as a self-trained Jedi, Luke built his own blade with very little instruction. This blade, like so many lost before it, was a weapon of a Jedi Knight. The blade became an emblem not only of his personal growth and skill as a Force wielder, but also of his status as a Jedi. As Luke says in defiance to Emperor Palpatine - "I am a Jedi, like my father before me." Luke demonstrates that the greatest power that a lightsaber can hold is choosing not to strike.
14 Kanan's detachable lightsaber
Kanan Jarrus lived in a troubled time, when being a Jedi Knight was a death sentence from the Galactic Empire. Kanan was just a Padawan when Order 66 was enacted and the Great Jedi Purge was carried out by the Clone Troopers. So, Kanan went into hiding, and his customized lightsaber went into hiding with him. Since anything that could be recognized as a lightsaber would tip off Imperial forces to the fact that Kanan was a Jedi, his lightsaber was adapted to the times that he lived in.
Kanan's lightsaber could be broken into two parts. When separated, the two parts did not resemble the ancient weapon, and Kanan could move undetected by enemies. When put together, the pieces create a brilliant blue lightsaber. Kanan's lightsaber had other customized features as well, including an adjustable blade length and a low-power setting for friendly sparring with his Padawan, Ezra Bridger.
13 Jedi Temple Guard lightsaber pike
During the height of the Republic, Jedi Temple Guards were chosen from the ranks of the Jedi to protect the Jedi Temple on Coruscant; unlike other Jedi, they wore masks and long robes to completely conceal their identity and mute their personal emotions. They were also known for wielding special lightsaber pikes, unique to their protector role.
The pikes of the Jedi Temple Guards give off two blades, like a double-bladed lightsaber. However, the handle of the pikes is larger and thicker, and the blades that are emitted at each end are also thicker than a normal lightsaber blade. The pikes are a distinctive yellow, a color that so far in the canon Star Wars universe is unique to the Jedi Temple Guards. Before the Star Wars canon reboot, yellow lightsabers were associated with the Jedi Sentinels in the video game Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic and its sequel.
12 Count Dooku's lightsaber
Count Dooku, one of Darth Sidious's Sith apprentices who helped to orchestrate the Clone War as the leader of the Separatist faction, was known as a great and skillful duelist. Dooku, who is played by Christopher Lee in Attack of the Clones (2002) and Revenge of the Sith (2005), showed that he was capable of fighting the strongest Jedi, including Master Yoda and Obi-Wan Kenobi. During his first encounter with Anakin Skywalker, he even cut off the then-Padawan's right hand.
Dooku's lightsaber, which in the tradition of many Sith blades glowed red, had a special curved hilt. The Star Wars official Databank notes that the unique handle enhanced Dooku's abilties in combat, improving his technique and dexterity. Dooku specialized in Makashi, the second form of the seven kinds of lightsaber combat. Makashi focuses on economy of energy, with the wielder choosing elegant and precise movements in order to disarm or defeat their opponent. Dooku's blade was optimized for this style of combat. The form enhanced the craft, just as the craft dictated the form.
11 Mace Windu's lightsaber
A vast majority of Jedi who belonged to the Jedi Order wielded lightsabers that were either blue or green. Mace Windu, however, had a striking amethyst-purple blade, which seemed to reflect his strong personality as well as indicate his status on the Jedi Council. Windu is a noted lightsaber duelist, who was a master of all forms of lightsaber combat, and specialized in Juyo, or Form Seven, which focuses on the offensive in combat.
Windu's lightsaber helps him stand out in a battle, and seems to be a warning call to enemies far and near - surprisingly, its "behind the scenes" origin story resonates with this idea. Samuel L. Jackson, who played Mace Windu in the prequel trilogy, approached director George Lucas and requested a purple lightsaber for his character so that his character could be identified in large battle sequences from far away. Jackson has also said that the words "bad motherfucker" are written on the lightsaber handle, which he kept after the production.
10 Tera Sinube's Sabercane
The ancient Cosian Jedi Master Tera Sinube might seem deceptively weak to the casual observer; however, the elderly Jedi not only defies his age, he uses it to his advantage, making his opponents underestimate his abilities. Sinube used his immense knowledge and detective skills to assist then-Padawan Ahsoka Tano find her stolen lightsaber among the denizens of the Coruscant underworld.
Sinube's lightsaber captures this element of his personality. It turns out that he carries his lightsaber blade hidden in plain sight on his person always, concealed withint his cane. In combat, Sinube can use the element of surprise and gain the upper hand by choosing when and where to reveal his weapon, a pale blue blade. The cane sheath, too, can be used as a nonlethal weapon to knock out an opponent, which is an option that Sinube utilizes in order to apprehend the lightsaber thief Cassie Cryar and return Ahsoka's lightsaber.
9 Kylo Ren's lightsaber
Kylo Ren's crossguarded lightsaber stirred some positive and negative reactions from Star Wars fans when it debuted in the trailer and other promotional material for J. J. Abrams' Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015). It generated enough of a debate that talk show host Stephen Colbert had a whole segment where he explained in detail his theory on how the blade's crossguards were powered by the same kyber crystal as the main blade. Despite some skeptics, this lightsaber blade helped to revitalize the Star Wars fanbase.
The Visual Dictionary aligned with Colbert's fan theory, expanding on it and explaining the blade's properties in greater detail. As it turns out, the vents were necessary structurally to dispel excess heat, since the weapon was constructed with a damaged kyber crystal. Ren built the weapon himself, modelling off of an antique design. The lightsaber's crackling red blade emulates both Ren's power and his own emotional intensity and instability.
8 Darth Maul's lightsaber
Darth Maul's double-bladed lightsaber marked the first of its kind to be seen on screen when it appeared in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace (1999). In Star Wars Legends, Exar Kun's double-bladed lightsaber first appeared in Tales of the Jedi: Dark Lords of the Sith in 1994. A number of creative and unique lightsaber designs have appeared in the Star Wars universe, but the fan enthusiasm around Maul's character and lightsaber was in many ways a catalyst to encourage special lightsaber designs.
Darth Maul's lightsaber had a long handle with separate controls for each crimson blade, making it so that one or both blades could be activated at any given time. When Maul's lightsaber was cut in half, the remaining blade was still fully functional. The book Star Wars in 100 Scenes (which, given its 2014 release date, is considered Star Wars canon) notes that the lightsaber is based off of a Zhaboka, a weapon traditional to Maul's species, the Zabrak. Other double-bladed lightsabers, then, in our universe and in the universe of Star Wars, are indebted to Darth Maul.
7 Pong Krell's lightsabers
Pong Krell takes Darth Maul's lightsaber and doubles it. Krell, a Jedi General in the Clone Wars, used two double-bladed lightsabers, which have greater than average thickness and length due to his own enormous size. Each lightsaber handle could be folded in half when stored, allowing it to be easily attached to Krell's belt. The lightsaber could also be activated when folded if Krell chose to only activate a single blade.
Pong Krell was revealed to be a Separatist spy who was purposefully ordering Clone troopers into reckless situations; when the troopers learned this, they in turn fought against Krell. During the battle, Krell's abilities with his lightsabers were displayed. The four blades allowed him to block numerous blaster shots from all sides while using his second set of arms in combat. While a dual set of double-bladed lightsabers would not work for all Force-users, Krell's combo was clearly developed for him personally, and the result is deadly.
6 The Grand Inquisitor's lightsaber
The Grand Inquisitor's lightsaber was multi-faceted in its modes and abilities, which made it a deadly tool in his hunt to find and exterminate the remaining Jedi who had avoided the onslaught of Order 66. The lightsaber could be a single blade with a crescent-shaped guard; a second blade could also be activated so that the weapon was reminiscent of Darth Maul's iconic lightsaber.
However, the Grand Inquisitor had another trick up his sleeve, and his weapon had an additional feature. This mode could be activated to create a full-circle around the handle, so that the two lightsaber blades could mechanically rotate around, creating a weapon that circled 360 degrees around the wielder's hands. This automated mode was an effective technique either for deflecting incoming blaster shots or simply to create an advancing deadly field. The rotating blades could also be used to propel the user into the air as a means of transportation. Other Inquisitors under the Grand Inquisitor's command used similar blades.
5 Asajj Ventress's locking lightsabers
Asajj Ventress was the apprentice of Count Dooku until he betrayed and tried to kill her. She later became a bounty hunter, and even teamed with the Jedi Quinlan Vos in order to take down her former master. While Ventress used multiple lightsabers over her lifetime, she wielded a pair of interlocking red lightsabers from her conversion to the Dark Side of the Force until they were stolen from her by Barriss Offee.
Asajj Ventress's locking lightsabers could be used either as separate pieces that were shaped similarly to her master Count Dooku's handle or could be attached to replicate Darth Maul's double-bladed lightsaber. In this way, Ventress's weapons were able to capture the best of both designs, and she could choose and transition between them depending on what any given situation called for. Because of the combination of designs, the two blades created a unique "S"-shaped handle when they were attached.
The darksaber is a weapon of mysterious origin and power - while the Jedi Order apparently are responsible for the black blade's construction, the Mandalorians forcefully took it at some point. Then, it found its way into the hands of Pre Vizsla, the leader of the Mandalorian faction called the Death Watch. After betraying and killing Pre Vizsla, Darth Maul also took and wielded the blade. Based on the most recent trailer for Star Wars: Rebels, Sabine Wren will take a turn with the darksaber, although how she gets ahold of the blade is unknown.
The darksaber has a metal guard on its handle and a long thin blade that is reminiscent of a katana, although the end curves rather than ending in a sharp point. The source of its unique color is unknown. What is known is that throughout its history, it has been a weapon that people were willing to die to obtain.
3 Ezra Bridger's Lightsaber
Ezra Bridger's lightsaber was constructed after he found a kyber crystal at the Jedi Temple on Lothal. The Padawan of Kanan Jarrus had an unusual training, because it took place during the reign of the Galactic Empire when the Jedi Order was all but extinct. However, despite the fact that being a Jedi brought with it a death sentence from Imperial forces, Bridger was able to construct his own lightsaber from pieces gathered by his fellow rebels.
Bridger's lightsaber has a unique design, but its ragtag origins does not mean that it is weaker or lacking in special features. In fact, the weapon includes a built-in stun-gun in its hilt. A versatile weapon, this lightsaber has served its owner well in a variety of situations. Unfortunately, the weapon was destroyed by Darth Vader on Malachor; Bridger builds another lightsaber which will be used in the upcoming season three of Star Wars Rebels (2014).
2 Ahsoka Tano's white lightsabers
Ahsoka Tano is known for her preference of the "Shien" or Form V lightsaber style, which includes a reverse-grip of the blade. During the time of Star Wars Rebels, after Tano has left the Jedi Order, she wields two lightsaber blades using a reverse-grip. The lightsabers have slightly curved handles and two brilliant white blades; one of the lightsaber blades is "shoto" style and features a shorter than normal blade length.
Dave Filoni said in an interview that the creative team of Rebels chose white as the unconventional choice for Tano's blades because it was a visual way of distinguishing her; Tano is neither a member of the Jedi Order or a Dark Side Force user, and her white blades help to show her neutral affiliation. Her lightsabers capture not only her own personal preferences when it comes to fighting, customized to enhance her natural abilities, but they also reflect her personality. They are truly an extension of Ahsoka herself.
1 Anakin Skywalker's lightsaber
Star Wars is a generational saga, and no single item has embodies this idea better than the lightsaber of Anakin Skywalker. This lightsaber was wielded before Anakin fell to the temptation of the Dark Side and became Darth Vader; it was gifted to his son, Luke Skywalker, by Obi-Wan Kenobi, and was used by the young Force-sensitive trainee when he faced Darth Vader on Cloud City. Luke lost his father's lightsaber at the same time that he learned the true identity of Darth Vader, and the weapon was seemingly lost forever. It resurfaced in the castle of Maz Kanata, and was given to Rey. In the final moments of The Force Awakens, Rey presents Luke with the weapon of his father once again.
Anakin Skywalker's lightsaber is a key piece of the story of Star Wars, and its longevity and centrality cannot be ignored. It illustrates how a lightsaber can have many lives and many users - including Han Solo on Hoth or Finn on Takodana. Without Anakin's lightsaber being in the right place at the right time, the heroes of Star Wars would be stranded or dead, and its importance only seems to be multipled as we wait for its return in Episode VIII.
Do you think that we missed out on a truly great lightsaber? Start a discussion in the comments!