Ultrasabers Buying Suggestions

Often when you ask people for saber vendor recommendations, I feel like one can quickly get embroiled in a useless discussion - a bit like flamefests about whether Chevy or Ford pickup trucks are better. For me, I feel like saber vendors have different upsides and downsides, so it matters which of these matter to you.

Almost all of my sabers are from Ultrasabers, not necessarily because they're amazing, but rather, because the upsides of Ultrasabers are very much aligned with what I'm looking for and the downsides are things I don't care about.

My priorities

I have two very different uses for sabers: stage combat, and 501st Legion / Rebel Legion events. These have different priorities.

For stage combat, I want thinner, shorter hilts. Sound is not important - the audience is too distant to hear the sound effects well.

For Legion events, being able to turn sound on/off is useful: for quieter indoor events, having sound is a real treat. But for louder events (where the sound effects get drowned out) or any outdoor event, sound is irrelevant.

Note that screen accuracy is very important to the Legions, but my Generic Jedi in the Rebel Legion doesn't need to match a particular look. For my 501st Legion Count Dooku character, I got my saber from Saberforge, because I wanted screen accuracy. This is a good example of different priorities leading me to a different saber vendor.

Outline of Costs

Ultrasaber either has the cool or annoying thing of pricing out all the options separately. So the base price is not realistic (which, to some people, is annoying - it can sometimes feel misleading). The nice thing is, you're not paying for options you don't want.

Sound: +$185.
Color configurable: +$190.

Basic hilt (an Aeon), no sound: $97.
Basic hilt, with sound: $282.
Basic hilt, color configurable, no sound: $287.
Basic hilt, with the old version of sound and color configurable: $402. (Note: I have never gotten a saber like this.)
Basic hilt, with the new version of sound and color configurable: $432. (I also don't have any of these kinds of sabers.)

Shipping of any saber will typically be $20.

About hilts

US' hilts come in what I'll call 3 varities: kids' sizes, basic hilts, and fancy hilts.

What I'd call the kids' hilts are the Initiate V2s. Unlike all of the other hilts, these are 1.25" diameter, whereas the other hilts are 1.45" diameter -- that 0.20" difference is noticeable!

Basic hilts, to me, are: any Initiate, any Apprentice, Aeon/Dominix, Sentinel, (Dark) Standard Issue Battle Saber, and the Liberator. Note that, for all of these, there are Dark variants (the Aeon is the silver version of the Dominix). The starting prices on all of these are below $100.

The fancy hilts are the rest of their hilts.

Ultrasaber options

Here I'll go into detail in all the options and my reasoning for whether I get it or not. It depends a lot on the particular use case.

Blade color

Spend $15 for any TRI

There is no such thing as too bright a blade. The TRIs are noticeably brighter, and well worth the $15.

Note that for Emerald or Diamond sabers, you won't have that option, since you'll instead be getting an RGB setup. Don't worry, they'll also be plenty bright.

Flash on Clash

Skip.

This is for sound setups only - the LEDs will flash a different color when the board detects a hit. I don't think it's worth the money.

Battery Configuration

For stunts: Standard Setup.

For sound: Li-ion setup with Buckpuck (Battery & Charger included) for $35.

For any sound, Emerald, or Diamond setup, you'll have to get the Li-ion setup, so that won't be an issue. For stunt sabers, I've recently changed my mind: get a Standard Setup. For BLSCC people, you may eventually want to upgrade to a custom battery setup using an 18650 battery and internal recharge port; parts for that cost ~$55, but only do that once your standard setup breaks. (It should last 1-2 years before wear & tear means something breaks.)

Recharge Port

Skip unless you're using your saber at least weekly.

Having an extra hole in your hilt, I think, is a dumb idea. That said, if you're using your saber a lot, then constantly pulling out the battery pack to get at the batteries puts strain on the internal wiring, even if you're being careful. I have never gotten a recharge port, but I'm starting to re-think that philosophy given my weekly use of sabers.

Blade Length

Get a 32" or 36" blade.

If you're over 6 feet tall, get a 36. Under 6 feet, either a 32 or 36 will work. Under 5.5 feet, I'd recommend a 32.

Blade Option

Answer varies.

Heavy grades are twice as thick as a normal grade - they are super strong. Me, I want to never break a blade, so I always get heavy grades.

If you want to save $10, this is a good place to do so. If you're hard on your stuff, consider getting a heavy grade.

Insofar as normal vs UltraEdge, my recommendation is to get a normal blade for red or orange colors, and UltraEdge for everything else.

Windows

They're fun.

Some hilts (not all) come with the option for "windowed emitters". For $5, I think they're fun to have.

Pommel

Get default for stunts; upgrade for sound sabers.

The default for stunt sabers is fine.

For sound sabers, I don't recommend the pommel with a giant hole - I feel like that doesn't protect the speaker sufficiently. I recommend getting one of the other pommels. I tend to like the Catalyst / Dark Catalyst pommels for this purpose.

Switch Type

Get guarded for stunts; upgrade to AV for sound sabers.

If you want to splurge and get an illuminated switch, this is the option. I think it's a cool idea, but not one I actually want on my sabers.

You'll want an AV switch for any sound saber so you can switch sound fonts.

Blade Tip Type

Round tip

I think the bullet tips look weird.

Blade Retention Screw Wrench

For $1, get it.

Yeah, in reality, they cost 20 cents, but whatever. Being able to take your blade out is worth it.

Blade Plug

Get the $6 version.

You might decide to never take the blade out of your saber, but it sure makes it easier for transport. Also, if you store with saber with the blade in, the blade will probably slowly deform, which is bad. Just spend the $7 to get a blade wrench and a blade plug, and you'll bypass all this heartache.

Saber Stand

Skip.

Covertec Clip and Covertec Wheel

Skip.

There is a very small likelihood that, for a cosplay, you'll not want your blade installed in your saber and your saber hanging off of your belt. In all likelihood, though, you'll want to be holding onto your saber with the blade installed.

That said, if you're getting it for a Rebel Legion costume, definitely get this.

Use Cases

I just want one saber, as cheap as possible without shooting myself in the foot

In that case, I'd suggest skipping sound and a lot of other options.

Option Suggestion
Hilt Any hilt whose starting price is < $100
Blade color Any TRI
Battery configuration Standard config
Recharge port No
Blade Length 36
Blade Option Midgrade or UltraEdge Midgrade
Windows No
Pommel Default
Switch Type Guarded
Blade Tip Round
Blade Retention Screw Wrench Sure
Blade Plug Yes
Saber Stand No
Covertec Clip No
Covertec Wheel No
Total $92, using an Aeon hilt

I just want a nice saber for stage combat

Get an Initate or Apprentice. Adding windowed emitters is fun, and only $5.

Option Suggestion
Hilt Any Apprentice or Initiate
Blade color Any TRI
Battery configuration Standard setup
Recharge port No
Blade Length 32
Blade Option Heavy Grade or UltraEdge Heavy Grade
Windows Yes
Pommel Default
Switch Type Guarded
Blade Tip Round
Blade Retention Screw Wrench Sure
Blade Plug Yes
Saber Stand No
Covertec Clip No
Covertec Wheel No
Total $114, using an Apprentice v4 hilt

I want a nice saber with sound.

I've never gotten an Obsidian Lite setup. I'm not sure it's worth it: if you want sound, get Obsidian v4.

Probably the most important thing is to make sure you get v4, not v3, Obsidian sound.

Option Suggestion
Hilt Any hilt whose starting price is < $100
Blade color Any TRI
Flash on Clash No
Battery configuration Li-ion with Buckpuck (batteries & charger included)
Recharge port No
Blade Length 36
Blade Option Midgrade or UltraEdge Midgrade
Windows Yes
Pommel Get anything other than the default
Sound Make sure to get v4 sound!!!
Switch Type Any AV switch (I usually get non-illuminated)
Blade Tip Round
Blade Retention Screw Wrench Sure
Blade Plug Yes
Saber Stand No
Mini USB cable Only if you need it
Covertec Clip No
Covertec Wheel No
Total $282, using an Aeon hilt

I want a sound saber for stage combat.

Same thing as above, but with the following differences:

A Note On Batteries

For AAAs, I got Eneloop Pro's. I have so many batteries, I found an 8-bay charger to be a really good idea.

For Li-ions, I strongly recommend getting your 14500 batteries directly from Ultrasabers. There are many fraudulent 14500 batteries out there, so it's worth paying the slight markup to Ultrasabers to make sure you get quality batteries. US sells the 14500s on their Accessories page.


Last updated: Tue Sep 11 08:19:23 EDT 2018