Setting out to get one of the best lightsabers in the galaxy feels like a right of passage for Star Wars fans of any age, but there are many things to consider before you buy. While many of us fondly remember our first pop-up plastic toy, it may not surprise you to know that some of the best lightsabers are better used as displayed props and therefore unsuitable for dancing around the yard and smacking any unsuspecting trees...ahem, stormtroopers with.
As so many of us have grown alongside the original trilogy, and then the sequels and prequel movies that followed, a market for highly detailed replicas and roleplay accessories have emerged for adult fans. Some of the best lightsabers are ’combat ready’, while others are designed to sit pretty in a display cabinet or mounted on a wall.
That isn’t to say there aren’t plentiful children’s lightsabers available for your little Jedis and Sith Lords. Star Wars has a long-standing partnership with Hasbro, one of the best known and trusted manufacturers of toys since the 1960s, and since the media giant Disney purchased the rights to the sci-fi epic in 2012, officially licensed Star Wars merchandise has been available at Disney retail stores across the world.
In fact, Disney has gone a step further than just selling toy sabers in its theme park shops. It’s created an immersive experience with the Galaxy’s Edge area of Disney World Orlando, in which you visit Savi’s Workshop and build a plasma blade of your very own from scratch. This is a pricey, interactive affair and will set you back $219 (plus tax), but you get to keep your lightsaber, and there’s really nothing else that compares to assembling your very own, personalized lightsaber.
There’s a pretty hefty price bump from the plastic, extending toys we all remember up to the incredible custom builds you can find online these days, so to make things easier we’ve assembled a collection of our favorite replicas, kits, and unofficial saber swords for you to seek out.
Best official lightsabers
1. Galaxy’s Edge Darth Vader Legacy Lightsaber
Without a doubt, one of the most iconic lightsabers that come to mind when you think of Star Wars is probably that of the nefarious Darth Vader. This Legacy edition model is an officially licensed Disney replica and can be used alongside a lightsaber blade purchased at the Galaxy’s Edge park.
The fact that the blade isn’t included alongside the hilt is a hindrance for anyone outside of the US. However, you can find blades second-hand on sites like eBay if you want this displayed in all its ruby-red glory, rather than perched neatly on its display case.
Griping aside, this is one of the best officially licensed replica lightsabers to ever hit the market and it’s a cut above the usual pop-up plastic toys you find down the toy aisle of Walmart. It’s better used as a displayed prop, but it does feature fantastic light and sound effects and comes with a recommended age rating of 8+, making it perfect for swinging around for kids and grown ups alike.
2. The Black Series Luke Skywalker Force FX Lightsaber
Luke Skywalker’s lightsaber is well recognized throughout the franchise, which is unsurprising given not only did it belong to the first protagonist of the original trilogy, but it was also one of the first lightsabers to ever appear on screen. The Black Series is a range design by Hasbro that offers a more accurate replica of the on-screen props, while still being officially branded as a children’s toy, so this model can be played with and used in duels.
Doing so will reveal lighting and sound effects when clashed against a surface, and while this is far from what enthusiasts would call ‘dueling quality,’ you can smack it around without having to worry too much about snapping anything.
Still, it’s far from cheap, so it’s understandable that collectors prefer to keep this as a mounted display prop, and while it’s based on Luke’s blade from Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, it isn’t a 100% accurate replica of the original which may bother perfectionists.
3. The Black Series Supreme Leader Kylo Ren Force FX Elite Lightsaber
Love them or hate them, the sequel trilogy introduced a new generation to the Star Wars universe, and with it a new villain in the form of Kylo Ren. His iconic, medieval-inspired lightsaber is characterized in the movies with crackling sound effects to represent the unstable kyber crystal housed within, something that’s beautifully replicated within this faithful prop toy.
You’re getting 80 LEDs for bright lighting, a real metal hilt, and the ability to switch between Battle FX for combat sounds and Molten FX to simulate you melting the environment with the blade when you press it against a surface, as seen when wielded by Kylo in the franchise.
You get a collectors stand in the box if you want to keep this displayed on a desk, but it can withstand being swung around as long as you’re not being too rough with it. Outside of extremely expensive small-batch replicas, this version of the Supreme Leader’s lightsaber is considered to be one of the best officially licensed products available on the market.
4. Hasbro Darth Vader FX Lightsaber
This 2-in-1 from Hasbro is great for fans of Anakin Skywalker, with a fun feature that changes the lighting effects between blue and red to represent the chosen one’s transition to the dark side. It’s fairly durable as this is intended as a toy first and a replica second, but while it can take some smacking against soft surfaces and swinging, it isn’t ideal for the roleplay community.
Equally, it’s not brilliant for collectors as it isn’t a completely accurate replica of Anakin’s lightsaber. However, it is perfect for everyday fans of the series, and those LED lights look fantastic when mounted against a wall or used as part of a cosplay or Halloween costume.
The batteries are a pain to change over, and it’s still expensive for what is essentially a fancy kids’ toy, but the price is actually one of the most ‘affordable’ we’ve seen for an officially licensed replica of this quality.
5. Galaxy’s Edge Rey Skywalker Legacy Lightsaber
Yet another win for the official Legacy replicas created by Disney, Rey Skywalker’s lightsaber hilt has been faithfully recreated from a mix of plastic and metal, and is ready to be displayed in your home. You can turn this into a working replica if paired with the blades sold at Galaxy’s Edge (this frustratingly isn’t sold with one) to see the bright yellow LEDs spark to life.
It does thankfully come with a display case that doubles as storage, though we dread to think anyone would keep something this great sealed away in a box. It isn’t robust enough to duel with, but swinging it around will play film-realistic sound effects, so you can picture yourself as the brave heroine of the sequel movies.
On that note, there are other versions of Rey’s blade available in the official Legacy line, but as those are variations of Luke and Leia’s lightsabers. Instead, this is the model that Rey built herself using a yellow kyber crystal (hence the yellow LEDs) and is the final lightsaber seen in the Skywalker series of movies.
Best toy lightsabers
1. Hasbro Bladebuilders Kylo Ren Lightsaber
It isn’t easy for everyone to visit Galaxy’s Edge to build their own lightsaber, but luckily there are easier and more affordable options for smaller kids. The Bladebuilders series from Hasbro allows you to swap different pieces around, creating a customized toy that can be switched between other models within the series. This toy is based on Kylo Ren’s blade from the sequel trilogy and simulates classic light and sound effects from the films when you swing it around.
Unlike the collector’s replicas above, this is instead designed to be used as part of a Halloween costume or play fighting, and so it can take a substantial beating (provided a child is the one smacking it around). The red plastic pops up to extend the blade out and comes in a unique texture that resembles the crackling, distorted plasma seen on screen.
2. Hasbro Mandalorian Darksaber
The movies aren’t the only Star Wars media to have captured our hearts, with the Emmy award-winning Clone Wars series proving an especially popular watch for both children and adults alike (check out our list of the best Star Wars: The Clone Wars episodes). The Darksaber first appeared in this animated series and has since gone on to feature in The Mandalorian, a live-action series on Disney+, so while this particular blade has never made it onto the big screen, it’s a very iconic and recognizable lightsaber for Star Wars enthusiasts.
Suitable for ages 4+, you get the usual light and sound effects from swinging it around, though it isn’t as bright as the more standard designs. Still, it can withstand some light dueling and works well as a costume accessory, toy, or decorative prop.
3. Official Disney Yoda Lightsaber
If you’re not a super fan then it can be pretty difficult to distinguish which of the common blue and green colored lightsabers belong to what character, but if you’re buying for a small child then this could be a benefit more than a hindrance. This officially licensed Disney lightsaber is styled after Yoda’s blade, but for kids who just want a recognizable lightsaber to swish around. Thankfully, you can easily locate this model in Disney stores and on websites like Amazon.
It doesn’t have the usual pop-up style that many other toy lightsabers have, but that gives it a bit more structure for being inevitably whacked against things, and you still have some decent sound effects when the blade is in motion.
It’s far from perfect as it’s not ideal as a collector’s replica, and the lights look dull when compared to other toy sabers on the market, but for an officially licensed toy, it’s an affordable purchase that your kids will adore.
4. Hasbro Bladebuilders Jedi Master Lightsaber
The fact that a lightsaber is unique to its wielder is something that runs deep in Star Wars lore, and while the experience of making your very own at Disney World sounds fantastic, it’s also a pricey affair. A much cheaper alternative is the Jedi Master Bladebuilders Lightsaber from Hasbro, a kit that lets you switch between several styles of hilt, blade, and angles to create a fully playable toy.
It’s still on the expensive side for a kids’ toy, and those small parts could go missing if they’re not looked after, but this is a breath of fresh air from the pop-up toys or solid blades often seen on the shelves. You can also use them with other lightsabers in the Bladebuilders range, giving you a spectrum of customization.
This lightsaber can take a decent beating for a modular toy, and you also get movie-accurate sound and light effects that'll make for memorable battle moments. Unfortunately, this does require six batteries to run which is a lot more than any of the other lightsaber models out there.
5. Official Star Wars Electronic Lightsaber (Rey)
It’s refreshing to see action toys equipped with female voice lines, and with this official Disney lightsaber being modeled on the version Rey uses in the sequel trilogy, you can hear phrases said by the young heroine throughout the movies.
With it resembling other popular blades (such as Luke and Anakin Skywalker’s), you might be tempted to grab this lightsaber as a costume prop, but be warned - you can’t disable the voice. So, if you want to use the other light and sound effects, you’ll have to endure the character phrases, too.
Still, that makes this a fantastic toy for young girls who are a fan of the trilogy, and the perfect toy to go with a costume. Plus, there’s also a QR code on the hilt you can scan to access free Jedi training videos to guide your swing and combat styles.
Best unofficial lightsabers
1. Sabertrio - Best unofficial lightsaber
The world of custom lightsabers is vast and expensive, leagues apart from the plastic toys we’ve seen on this list so far. You’re unlikely to find many accurate replicas due to licensing, but for anyone looking for the brightest, professionally-made blades then the following manufacturers are the way to go.
Sabertrio tops the list thanks to it’s glowing reviews and incredible build quality, and while custom lightsabers are typically very pricey, they offer many different configurable options that can make the cost feel reasonable when stacked against rival offerings. From combat-ready stunt sabers to neopixels equipped with soundboards to load in your own audio effects, there’s a reason that Sabertrio lightsabers are so in demand.
In fact, that demand can cause issues, as to get your hands on one you’ll need to keep an eye out for stock drops, as the store often sells out as quickly as fresh inventory appears.
2. Vader’s Vault
Vader’s Vault is a US-based custom lightsaber manufacturer that uses premium components, so it’s little wonder that these blades are often described as highly realistic movie props more than toys. Like many other custom sabers though, you can swing these around for roleplay (or just general fun). The lower-end products are fairly reasonable, but limited edition runs can easily exceed $2,000+, which is more than most will be willing to pay.
Wait times are also an issue, with some customers claiming to have waited up to six months to receive their lightsaber. Instructions are also not provided with the product which can make connecting Bluetooth to change features a pain, but there’s a thriving online community of Vader’s Vault customers who can offer a helping hand.
Saberforge is a great option if you’re looking to step into customizing your own lightsaber or even building one from scratch. The website is very clean and well laid out, reducing any confusion you might have when buying parts. They’re also rather affordable when compared to rival offerings, but you may get caught out by parts such as hilts and blades being sold separately.
You can really inject some personality into your lightsaber here though, with axe-style blades available alongside the usual straight tubes, and you can keep costs down by selecting a standard infinity blade over a threaded neopixel tube.
The customer service has a few complaints online, but Saberforge offers some of the best-looking hilt designs on the market without making your own from scratch, so if you want a gorgeous lightsaber you might be happy to look past that.
4. Ultra Sabers
Ultra Sabers are another favored affordable option that lets you customize your lightsaber around your budget. Stunt sabers are available from just $60, though it’s worth noting that these won’t come with any sounds or reactive lighting, instead offering a single colored blade.
Ultra Sabers are well respected in the dueling community, and the lightsabers are capable of taking a real beating during fights. That, when factored in with the price, makes these the ideal choice for LARPing or other roleplay activities.
The configurations are very straightforward and each component is well explained, so putting together a custom order is easier done on the Ultra Sabers website than it is on rival manufacturers. If you want a handcrafted product though, the hilts are mass-produced to keep costs low so bear that in mind before you buy.
5. Bendu Armory
Bendu Armory rose to popularity after creating some of the first carbon fiber hilts on the market, which were celebrated for their weight, balance, and durability when compared to aluminum offerings made by rival manufacturers. Better yet, they remain one of the most affordable options available for people looking to purchase their first lightsaber.
There are other benefits outside of the choice of materials, with Bendu developing a ‘quick swap’ chassis to allow you to rapidly swap the shell of the lightsaber hilt out without fiddling around with any tools. There are even staff options for the hilts, adding some variety to people looking for something outside of the usual sword-inspired designs.
The website can be a little confusing for newcomers though, with the configuration options listed when building your custom saber offering very little information outside of the additional costs, so make sure you brush up your lightsaber knowledge on some forums before your purchase.
What controls a lightsaber's color?
Lightsabers in the Star Wars franchise are swords of pure, plasma energy that can cut through just about anything, though the real-world versions are far safer to wield. The color of a lightsaber’s blade depends on the kyber crystal that powers it, but can also be influenced by its user’s thoughts. This means that lightsabers are completely personal to the wielder, making it easy to tell the difference between Darth Vader and Yoda’s respective blades.