Alright, lightsabers are cool. We like them. You like them. And we all wish colorful rainbow laser swords were a real thing. But the basic mono-bladed lightsaber can get kind of stale and played-out. Surely people can get a bit more creative with their lightsabers? By creative, we mean a little more than just colors. But really though, how many weird, wacky lightsabers made their way into Star Wars? What kind of lightsabers are there to choose from?*
*As an aside, we may miss a few of the more obscure lightsabers, especially ones from the expanded universe that have since been declared non-canon by Mickey Mouse.
And speaking of lightsabers: What Do Lightsaber Colors Mean?
What Kinds of Lightsabers Are There?
1. The Original Lightsaber | The Protosaber
Fun fact, lightsabers used to have the Star Wars equivalent of car batteries strapped to them. So early wielders of our favorite laser swords actually had to wear this weird box attached with a wire to their saber of choice. They were known as protosabers, probably because they took the word “prototype” and mushed it together with the word “lightsaber.”
At some point, there was (at least) one Jedi who went on a nostalgia trip. They went ahead and took the iconic, modern lightsaber, and strapped the good old battery pack to it. Apparently this variant of the protosaber would “overcharge” its blade for short periods of time. Because apparently, a laser sword that can cut through walls needs more power.
Oh, also it was called the retrosaber–nobody should be surprised by that.
And before you ask, yes, it was possible for a protosaber to cut its own cord. There’s a reason Jedi stopped using them.
2. Crossguard Lightsaber
In canon, Kylo Ren’s lightsaber has a crossguard because its kyber crystal (basically the thing that makes a lightsaber blade) is cracked. Because of the damage, his saber needs to “vent” energy out the sides. This is also the justification for his lightsaber blade being all crackly.
Kylo Ren’s lightsaber gained a lot of notoriety because everyone made fun of it when it was first revealed like 4 years ago. Yeah, that movie is 4 years old. It didn’t really help that Kylo Ren was basically an angsty teenager pretending to be Darth Vader.
If you know a thing or two about swords, Kylo Ren’s lightsaber actually has a very distinct advantage against the standard lightsaber variant. There’s a reason a lot of medieval swords have crossguards. Namely because they worked.
They were designed to catch other blades, as well as protecting your hands from sword-users from running their blade down yours. Given how many hands get cut off in Star Wars movies, protecting your hands with extra lightsaber bits seems like a really good idea.
As an aside, a crossguard lightsaber was seen briefly in one of the Disney animated shows. It’s also made a fair share of appearances in the expanded universe.
3. Curved-Hilt Lightsaber
This one is probably most recognizable as the kind of lightsaber Count Dooku used. The idea was to have a more angled neutral grip to the blade to confuse opponents and facilitate one-handed dueling.
Practically speaking, it would make the lightsaber feel more like a fencing foil or something.
4. The Darksaber
Hey, the edgy katana-looking lightsaber is back. Created and idolized by the Mandalorians, the Darksaber is one-of-a-kind and has yet to be seen in the movies. It has made its appearance in the canon animated Star Wars TV shows, though.
Further Reading: What Are the Mandalorians?
5. Double-Bladed Lightsabers
Alright, even though The Phantom Menace was high-key not a great watch, we can all agree that time Darth Maul ignited his second lightsaber blade was really cool. It helps that “Duel of the Fates” is such an iconic piece as well.
Since The Phantom Menace, the double-bladed lightsaber has made a lot of appearances in Star Wars media, like Jedi: Fallen Order, and even that time Darth Maul came back in the animated shows.
6. Double-Bladed Spinning Lightsaber
Well, everyone needs a weird lightsaber gimmick, we guess. This weird deal is also referred to as the “Inquisitor Lightsaber,” used by the Empire’s inquisitors. The blades basically sat on a ring that spun around, which, to us, looks as ridiculous as it sounds.
As if it couldn’t get even more ridiculous, the spinning lightsaber could be used to fly like a helicopter-type deal.
Yes that also looks as ridiculous as it sounds.
7. Hinged Lightsaber
You might recognize this one from the Rise of Skywalker trailer, which shows a hooded Rey pull out a lightsaber–that then unfolds to show a second blade. Kinda weird, but it’s a thing, it’s flashy we suppose.
It did make appearances in the animated Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels, so don’t say it was the first time anyone had seen one, though.
8. Cane Lightsaber
It’s a lightsaber that’s also a cane. That’s kinda it, it’s not very exciting.
9. Lightsaber Shoto / Great Lightsaber
Alright, simply put, it’s a smaller lightsaber with a shorter blade. It was normally used in the one’s off hand, not unlike a parrying dagger.
Alternatively, shorter lightsaber users would use this saber as well. You probably immediately thought of Yoda. Yeah, he used one.
On the opposite end of the spectrum were great lightsabers. Basically really long sabers, not unlike those medieval bastard swords. Alternatively, it was referred to as a “lightclub.” Which makes little sense to us, because lightsabers are by definition not blunt weapons. You know, because of the saber part of the name.
Further Reading: What Species is Yoda?
10. Dual-Phase Lightsaber
This was iconically used by Darth Vader once he became a Sith Lord. Its gimmick was its ability to change its length; Vader used a dual-phase saber to compensate for how awkward moving around was in his robot body. No surprise, it was really uncomfortable and he didn’t like the robot body at all.
11. Guard Shoto Lightsaber
Ever heard of or seen tonfas used? That’s what these are. That’s it.
Alright, this one is weird. It’s a lightsaber whose blade is channeled dark side energy. Apparently it was so powerful its creators had issues using it. The forcesaber would sway them to the dark side of the Force or something like that. Imagine using a sword that’s literally just made of evil. Because that’s kind of what this is.
13. Light Foil
According to Star Wars lore, these were supposedly pioneered by early Sith. The light foil was largely dropped in later Star Wars canon; it was really just a one-handed, thin lightsaber.
14. Lightsaber Pike
Wielded primarily by Jedi Temple Guards, lightsaber pikes were staff looking lightsabers with blades coming out of both ends. The Sith designed lightsaber pikes had one blade.
15. Light Whip
Yes, it’s a whip. Yes, it cuts through everything like a lightsaber. No, we don’t know how you would use this without cutting yourself into ribbons.
16. Lightsaber Rifle
This literally makes no sense to us, but it was used in a series of comics as a weapon against Darth Vader. No, seriously, that would be like us handing you a sword but calling it a riflesword.
Anyway, the lightsaber rifle is basically a gun that shoots lightsabers. You load lightsabers into it and when you pull the trigger it shoots a big laser beam. It could be fired 5 times before the loaded saber would melt and be unusable.
Doesn’t Star Wars already have laser guns?
Need more Star Wars in your life? Here’s a quiz about how many lines there are in the movies.