Of all the magical artifacts, objects and weapons introduced to us in J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World, the most sought after and iconic has to be the magic wand. Flying through the air on a broomstick sounds exhilarating and a Remembrall would certainly come in handy, but nothing comes close to the insane number of uses, both in combat and everyday life, of a trusty wand.
Taking the concept of a magical wooden stick and injecting it with life and history, every wand Rowling wrote about has a story, imbued with the powers of magical creatures Harry encounters in his adventures. Hairs of unicorns, feathers of phoenixes and dragon heartstrings at their cores, most of the characters we meet buy their wands from Ollivander, the famed wand maker who hunts and harvests from most of the fantastic beasts himself.
The wand chooses the wizard, of course, so it only makes sense that the most powerful witches and warlocks possess the most powerful wands. Don’t be fooled that the simple muttering of an incantation wields the same results – some characters have abilities that most wizards could only dream of.
Here are 20 Harry Potter Wands, Ranked from Weakest to Strongest.
20 Neville Longbottom's Wand
Despite Neville’s sudden heroic turn to bravery in The Deathly Hallows, his magical abilities have, unfortunately, never flourished. Joining Dumbledore’s Army certainly gave him some much needed confidence, but until then, all of the series’ hilarious blunders seemed to involve Neville in some way.
Brave and loyal until the last moment, Neville’s most iconic scene, in which he beheads Voldemort’s snake Nagini is awesome, but his wand skills during the Battle of Hogwarts left a lot to be desired.
Made from elegant cherry wood and unicorn hair, this is in fact Neville’s second wand after his first was broken in the Department of Mysteries.
Though his second wand must have been powerful enough to keep him alive and not be destroyed during the epic final battle, his best combat skills were clearly swordplay, delivering the final blow to Voldemort’s last Horcrux with the sword of Godric Gryffindor.
19 Cedric Diggory's Wand
Hogwarts’ most popular student, Cedric was a reasonably accomplished wizard who was elected as the school’s champion for the Triwizard Tournament in The Goblet of Fire. Handsome and charming, underneath the gleam of popularity Diggory was a loyal Hufflepuff at heart who helped Harry when one of the tournament’s clues had him stumped.
A final year student, Cedric’s wand was skilful enough to see him through to the final task, but his real skill was with a broom.
A formidable adversary for Harry, Cedric was Hufflepuff’s Captain and Seeker, even giving the Boy Who Lived a run for his money in the third year championships. Another unicorn hair core, Cedric’s wand would have been powerful enough to see him through his N.E.W.T.s with flying colours, before he was sadly taken out by Peter Pettigrew without so much as a Protective Charm.
18 Fleur Delacour's Wand
Another Triwizard Champion, Fleur’s wand is more notable for its rarity than power. Not covered by the books, Bill Weasley’s French wife Fleur is in fact a quarter Veela, a species that takes the form of beautiful women but can shift into hideous monsters when angered.
Fleur’s slick rosewood wand contains Veela hair at its core, a unique ingredient that no other wand in the series possesses.
However, it’s clear that the wand’s abilities needed some persuasion as, despite its proficiency in charms, Delacour performed the worst in each of the three Triwizard tasks.
Her performance in later chapters more than made up for her lack of skill during her final year at Beauxbatons, however. Surviving both the covert mission to smuggle Harry Potter out of Privet Drive and the Battle of Hogwarts, the Ministry of Magic awarded her with medals of bravery for her crucial role in Voldemort’s defeat.
17 Dolores Umbridge's Wand
A scarier villain than Voldemort played wickedly by Imelda Staunton, Dolores Umbridge becomes a sinister threat to Harry and his friends in The Order of the Phoenix, frightening anyone who’s ever experienced an authority figure abusing their power.
With a surprisingly short wand of eight inches, it was nevertheless very capable of difficult and nonverbal magic.
Her teaching was assisted by the flick of a wand that would right lines of magical theory on the chalkboard. She was also proficient in the Dark Arts, an area of magic that only a witch who was as powerful as she was evil can master.
Her biggest achievement was the Black Quill, which she actually invented. Forced to be used by Harry, the quill is a complex torturing device that cuts the words it writes into the hand of the user. Only the most insidious of witches could have thought of something so twisted.
16 Viktor Krum's Wand
Only four years older than Harry in The Goblet of Fire, Viktor Krum was already representing his home country of Bulgaria in the Quidditch World Cup when he was eighteen years old. Famously catching the snitch to end the match on his own terms, Bulgaria managed to lose against Ireland despite his Seeking skills.
Despite being a Quidditch prodigy, Krum was also an accomplished wizard under the tutelage of Boris Karkaroff at Durmstrang Institute, which taught its students magic beyond the capabilities of pupils at Hogwarts and Beauxbaton.
Using unconventional yet successful methods to complete the Triwizard tasks (who could forget Krum with the head of a shark?), Durmstrang students, with an ex-Death Eater as their headmaster, were trained as formidable duellers – a practice unsuccessfully attempted by Gilderoy Lockhart – and users of the Dark Arts.
15 Ron Weasley's Wand
Before Harry’s best friend became a famous and skilful wizard in his own right, he of course had to struggle through second year with a wand that had been splintered in two by the Womping Willow and hastily taped back together. This led to some disastrous attempts at spells, and the wand wouldn’t rank anywhere on a list of the most powerful.
Ironically, Ron’s second wand was made of willow, with a unicorn tail hair at its centre, that seemed to have served the youngest Weasley boy far better at Hogwarts.
After the pressure to exceed the achievements of his older brothers wore off, his magical confidence grew enormously.
By his fifth year, Ron was able to conjure a fully-formed Patronus, a feat only manageable by the most advanced wizards and survived several battles with Dark Wizards at Harry’s side. He also exceeded expectations in all of his exams, despite a shaky first few years at Hogwarts.
14 Draco Malfoy's Wand
Harry’s worst enemy, until Voldemort’s resurrection, Draco Malfoy is the wizard equivalent of the entitled private school boy. Coming from one of the wealthiest wizarding families in Britain, Malfoy is the spawn of Dark Wizards and pure-blood supremacists and boy, does it show.
Eventually switching allegiances after the Battle of Hogwarts, Draco was considered a competent enough wizard to be indoctrinated into the Death Eaters to complete tasks for Voldemort as a spy at Hogwarts.
Though his duelling skills were lacking, he was nonetheless powerful enough to master some aspects of the Dark Arts.
Despite his cowardice, Draco was proficient at several wizarding skills. Most talented at potions (perhaps due to some favouritism from Professor Snape), Malfoy excelled at Transfiguration, as well as reaching a higher level of Occlumency, the ability to shield one’s mind, than Harry.
13 Ollivander's Wand
Described as the best wandmaker in Britain, Mr Ollivander is the leading scholar in wandlore and supplies almost all of the characters in the series with their wands. Discovering that different wand cores led to different temperaments, before Ollivander began his career wizards would forge their own wands, often leading to messy results.
It makes sense, then, that the country’s leader in wandmaking would be a powerful wizard and in possession of a powerful wand, himself.
Wielding a sturdy, 12 ¾ inch wand with a centre of dragon heartstring, his wand is a rarely seen yet formidable instrument.
Choosing study over combat, Ollivander’s wisdom and skills in magical knowledge rival even that of Albus Dumbledore. Possessing an eidetic memory, the wandmaker is able to recall the details of every wand he has ever sold and is also able to use any wand he chooses with the same proficiency.
12 Harry Potter's Wand
Who would have thought that the nephew of a simple Muggle family from Surrey would have grown up into such an accomplished wizard? Since he first arrived at the steps of Number 4, Privet Drive, Harry was destined for great things and a great wand.
Never excelling in his school subjects, Harry’s skill as a wizard shined in the heat of battle. Despite his duelling classes in The Chamber of Secrets under the misguided tutoring of Gilderoy Lockhart, Harry developed into a fierce combatant, and managed to defeat several Dark Wizards.
What makes Harry’s wand special is its core of Phoenix feather, which came from the same bird as Lord Voldemort’s wand.
A detriment at times, it also gives Harry an occasional advantage when the clashing of his Disarming Spell with Voldemort’s Killing Curse forms Priori Incantatum, and allows Harry a brief meeting with the echoes of his parents.
11 Molly Weasley's Wand
The mother of seven children and the husband of a lowly employee for the Misuse of Muggle Artefacts Office, Molly needed a stern temperament and a durable wand to keep up with all the chaos that must have occurred in the early years at the Burrow.
Although the statistics of her wand aren’t confirmed, Molly was highly skilled in household spells, even managing to somehow break Gamp’s Law of Elemental Transfiguration by conjuring food (probably by using a highly complex Summoning Charm), and was also a remarkable healer after the Battle of Hogwarts and Harry’s excursion from Privet Drive.
Most notable, however, was her defeat of Bellatrix Lestrange, Voldemort’s most trusted and powerful Death Eater.
Never considered as a skilful duellist, when her daughter, Ginny, was threatened, she was able to defeat Bellatrix with a few simple flicks of her risk.
10 Hermione Granger's Wand
“The brightest witch of her age,” Hermione Granger earned top marks in all her wand-based subjects at Hogwarts and was always the first to master a new spell. A keen bookworm, despite having Muggle-born parents, Hermione had studied and practised several spells before she had even started her first year.
Her dragon heartstring wand had mastered the Body-Bind Curse and levitation by only its first year of use, and by Hermione’s fifth year she was able to conjure a powerful Patronus, which took the form of an otter.
What makes Hermione such a talented witch was her creativity in combat, as well as her knack for Protective and Concealment Charms.
Rather than concentrating on the use of one spell, her wand was nimble enough to handle a fast array of charms and curses. She could also conjure multiple shielding charms simultaneously and make her bag exponentially bigger on the inside.
9 Sirius Black's Wand
Harry Potter’s long lost godfather and best friend of Harry and James Potter, Black was framed for a murder he didn’t commit, and spent twelve long years in Azkaban under the watchful eye of hideous, soul-sucking Dementors.
What stopped him going insane for all those years was his uncanny ability to transform into a large, black dog, a magical skill learned also learned by his friends James and Peter Pettigrew to assist Remus Lupin with his painful transformations into a werewolf at every full moon.
Harnessing this advanced magical ability at the age of fifteen, it takes a highly skilled wizard to be able to perform such a feat.
The only other Animagus we know of is Professor McGonagall, although Rita Skeeter was able to shift into a beetle to get the latest scoops. Though he was eventually killed in battle, Sirius was also a worthy opponent in any duel.
8 Remus Lupin's Wamd
Another close friend of James Potter’s, along with Peter Pettigrew, who eventually betrayed the Potters to Voldemort, the four Hogwarts students comprised the Marauders, four friends who cause more trouble than Fred and George put together.
Although his lycanthropic condition made him one of the most unpredictable wizards fighting on the side of good, Lupin usually had a wolfsbane potion handy to temporarily quell the symptoms for a night.
His condition never stopped him being one of the craftiest wizards of his generation.
During his school years, Remus and his friends developed the Marauders’ Map, a highly complex magical artefact that displays the names and whereabouts of everyone in Hogwarts. He was also able to choose whether or not to make his Patronus corporeal, a feat only achieved by a wizard or witch at the very top of their game.
7 Professor Flitwick's Wand
Once assumed to be half elf, the Head of Ravenclaw and Charms teacher at Hogwarts is actually of goblin ancestry, but don’t let his short stature fool you. Flitwick is not only one of the school’s most intelligent tutors, he is also a skilled and talented wizard.
Not only has he shown talent in a wide array of complicated spells, Flitwick was a former champion duellist.
Despite his age, he was able to defeat a number of Death Eaters during the Battle of Hogwarts, including Anton Dolohov, who had previously murdered both Alistair Moody and Remus Lupin.
His Defence Against the Dark Arts skills were also paramount to the final battle. Leading the battle’s initial defences, Flitwick conjured shield charms, concealment and protective spells that only Voldemort himself was powerful enough to break through, evidence of his superiority as a wizard.
6 Bellatrix Lestrange's Wand
A woman who thrives on evil and torture, Lestrange’s villainy doesn’t hit as close to home as the autocratic Dolores Umbridge, but she remained Voldemort’s most powerful and trusted Death Eater until her death at the hands of Molly Weasley.
Under the tutelage of the Dark Lord himself, Bellatrix claimed to be adept at dark magic that Harry could only dream of, laughing off his weak attempt at torturing her. Proficient in non-verbal, destructive magic, she was able to decimate the Great Hall in a matter of minutes without uttering a word, a feat saved for the most advanced witches and wizards.
A mistress of the Dark Arts, she showed a particular affection for the Cruciatas Curse, the third Unforgivable Curse that inflicts unimaginable torture on its victim.
Her cursing ability was so efficient, she was able to torture Neville Longbottom’s parents until they were driven insane.
5 Professor McGonagall's Wand
One of the finest and most intelligent witches of her age, McGonagall took residence at Hogwarts as its Transfiguration professor, one of the most complex magical disciplines, and one that only the most highly advanced students were able to master.
An Animagus, like three of the four Marauders, she was able to transform into a tabby cat with just a moment’s notice, just one of her many talents with Transfiguration.
She was also a highly skilled duellist, holding her own against Professor Snape at the start of the Battle of Hogwarts.
The clearest indication of her powers as a witch was her contribution to Hogwarts’ defences, for which she was able to Transfigure every suit of armor in the school to protect its boundaries, a skill far beyond the abilities of most witches and wizards. She was able to do something similar in The Sorcerer’s Stone, which she protected with an enchanted chess game.
4 Professor Snape's Wand
The sinister Potions teacher with a hidden past, the Head of Slytherin House made Gryffindor students’ seven years at Hogwarts a living hell with his strict and biased teaching. Doting on Slytherins like Draco Malfoy, Snape professed to despise know-it-alls like Hermione Granger.
A former Death Eater, Snape was skilled in both the Dark Arts and the methods of protection from them.
His real talents were in potion making, which required a wizarding intuition that few wizards possessed to reach the art’s most advanced levels.
In addition to alchemy and dark magic, Snape was also gifted at both Occlumency and Legilimency, the ability to protect one’s mind, and read others. His history of shielding his thoughts from Voldemort, considered the Wizarding World’s greatest Legilimens, ranks his skills of Defence Against the Dark Arts as some of the most powerful.
3 Gellert Grindelwald's Wand
Before Lord Voldemort started the Second Wizarding War, the dark wizard to come closest to magical domination was Grindelwald, a student at Durmstrang student and former close friend of Albus Dumbledore, before a duel resulted in the passing of Albus’ sister.
Even before he got his hands on the Elder Wand, Grindelwald was an extremely powerful wizard.
Known as one of Durmstrang’s most brilliant students, the student took advantage of the school’s lenience towards the Dark Arts and became proficient in all manner of magical practises.
His duelling skills were rivalled only by Albus Dumbledore, and his extended impersonation of Percival Graves is a sign of immense talent in Transfiguration. So skilled was he in the Dark Arts, he was eventually expelled from Durmstrang for experimenting with dark spells on his fellow students.
2 Lord Voldemort's Wand
Formerly known as Tom Riddle, the Dark Lord Voldemort reined over the Wizarding World with immense power until his defeat at the Battle of Hogwarts.
Before he stole the Elder Wand from Dumbledore’s grave, his own wand of Yew and Phoenix feather shared a link with Harry’s, though his was far more powerful.
From an extremely young age, Tom Riddle was already skilled in non-verbal magic, having the ability to move objects, set things alight and command people to perform tasks for him without saying a word, a skill that some wizards still find trouble mastering well into adulthood.
An inventor of a number of spells, Voldemort in the book was shown as the only wizard able to fly, as well as commanding an army of Inferi (corpses raised from the dead) and the only known person to have created multiple Horcruxes, an object of dark magic that protects its creator from death.
1 The Elder Wand
Originally just a legend, the Elder Wand was said to have been created by Death itself as the first of the Deathly Hallows for Antioch Peverell, who requested the most powerful wand in existence. It is said that whoever reunites the wand with the other two Hallows, The Cloak of Invisibility and the Resurrection Stone, would become the Master of Death.
At its core is the hair of a Thestral, a rare substance from a creature that can only be seen by a wizard who has witnessed death first hand.
A potent and complex ingredient for wand making, what makes the wand’s possessor so powerful is their acceptance of death.
Its most well-known owner is Albus Dumbledore, though it was previously wielded by Grindewald and, briefly, by Lord Voldemort. Dumbledore became known as the world’s most powerful wizard, and was a rare owner of the wand who used it for good.
Any powerful wands we've missed? Let us know!