10 Most Famous & Heaviest Swords in History

  1. Zweihander
  2. Claymore
  3. Flamberge
  4. Longsword
  5. Chinese Great Sword
  6. Katana
  7. Executioner’s Sword
  8. Scottish Claymore
  9. European Bastard Sword
  10. Japanese Nodachi

The heaviest swords in history are awe-inspiring examples of sheer strength and size. Among them are the Zweihander, Claymore, and Flamberge. These colossal weapons, weighing up to 10 kilograms or more, required immense power and skill to wield. While primarily used as anti-personnel weapons, their sheer weight and imposing presence made them formidable symbols of might and intimidation on the battlefield.

Swords have been used as weapons for centuries, and they have come in all shapes and sizes. Some swords are light and agile, while others are heavy and powerful. In this article, we’ll be exploring some of the heaviest swords in history.

What Makes a Sword Heaviest?

The weight of a sword, often attributed to its effectiveness, is influenced by a combination of factors. Primarily, the sword’s construction materials play a pivotal role. Swords forged with thicker and denser metals tend to be heavier.

Additionally, the blade’s length and width contribute; to longer and broader blades increasing weight. Furthermore, the hilt and guard’s design impacts the balance and overall heft. While weight aids in delivering forceful strikes, a hefty sword may compromise maneuverability. The quest for the perfect balance between weight and functionality has driven swordsmiths throughout history.

Thus, the importance of a sword is a nuanced interplay of design, materials, and purpose, shaping the unique characteristics of each weapon in the fascinating world of edged weaponry.

Heavyweight Swords of Historical Significance

1. Zweihander

The Zweihander, meaning “two-hander” in German, is a legendary and massive two-handed sword that originated in the late Middle Ages. Weighing around 6 to 8 pounds, with a blade length of over 5 feet, the Zweihander was a fearsome weapon known for its immense size and reach.

It was primarily used by skilled infantrymen to cleave through enemy formations and disrupt tightly packed ranks. This mighty sword required great strength and technique to wield effectively.

The Zweihander’s imposing presence on the battlefield and its reputation as one of the heaviest swords ever created makes it a captivating symbol of medieval warfare.

2. Claymore

The Claymore, derived from the Scottish Gaelic term “Claidheamh mòr” meaning “Great sword,” is a formidable and iconic weapon known for its imposing size and weight. With an average length of about 55 to 60 inches, the Claymore was a two-handed sword designed for devastating power.

Weighing between 5 to 8 pounds, it required exceptional strength and skill to wield. Originating in medieval Scotland, the Claymore was primarily employed by Highland warriors in fierce battles.

Its sheer heft and ability to deliver devastating blows made it a symbol of Scottish martial prowess and resilience, forever engraving its place in history.

3. Flamberge

The Flamberge, also known as the Flambard or Flame-bladed sword, is a distinctive and imposing weapon famous for its unique wavy or flame-like blade. While the weight of Flamberge swords can vary, they are often recognized as some of the heaviest swords ever crafted.

The complex design of the blade, characterized by its undulating edges, not only added visual appeal but also increased the sword’s effectiveness in combat.

The Flamberge’s weight and the wave-like pattern of the blade allowed for enhanced cutting power and increased the difficulty of parrying or blocking its strikes. This remarkable sword remains a testament to the artistry and ingenuity of medieval swordsmiths.

4. Longsword

The Longsword, a versatile and powerful weapon, gained prominence during the medieval period. While the weight of Longswords varied, they were generally hefty, often weighing between 3.5 to 5.5 pounds.

Designed for two-handed use, the Longsword offered excellent reach and striking power. Its length, typically around 47 to 55 inches, enabled both cutting and thrusting techniques. The Longsword’s weight and size allowed for devastating attacks and effective defense, making it a favored weapon among knights and skilled warriors.

This formidable blade symbolizes the strength and martial prowess of the medieval era, embodying the essence of chivalry and honor on the battlefield.

5. Chinese Great Sword

Chinese Great Sword
Chinese Great Sword, Photo: Gary Todd via Wikimedia Commons

The Chinese Great Sword, also known as the Chinese Dadao or Guan Dao, is a massive and imposing weapon renowned for its size and weight.

Weighing around 12 to 18 pounds, with a blade length of approximately 3 to 5 feet, it is one of the heaviest swords ever crafted. Skilled martial artists and infantry in ancient China traditionally wielded this formidable weapon.

The sheer weight and size of the Chinese Great Sword allowed for powerful strikes, cleaving through enemy ranks and inflicting significant damage. Its imposing presence and reputation as a heavy-hitting weapon make it an icon of Chinese martial heritage.

6. Katana

The Katana, a traditional Japanese sword, is celebrated for its exceptional craftsmanship and elegant design. While Katana swords varied in weight, they were typically relatively lightweight compared to other blades, weighing around 2 to 3 pounds.

The emphasis in Katana’s design was on balance, sharpness, and maneuverability, rather than sheer weight. This allowed skilled samurai warriors to wield the Katana with precision and agility, executing swift strikes and intricate sword techniques.

The Katana’s reputation as a revered weapon stems from its superior craftsmanship and its embodiment of the samurai’s code of honor and discipline.

7. Executioner’s Sword

Executioner's Sword
Executioner’s Sword, Photo: Tim Evanson via Wikimedia Commons

The Executioner’s Sword, also known as the Beheading Sword, was a fearsome weapon associated with the grim task of execution.

While weights varied, these swords were designed explicitly for beheading and were among the heaviest swords ever used. With a thick and wide blade, the Executioner’s Sword provided the necessary weight and force for swift and effective execution.

The sight of this imposing weapon struck fear into the hearts of those condemned. The Executioner’s Sword stands as a chilling reminder of the somber role it played in history, embodying the weight of justice and the finality of its actions.

8. Scottish Claymore

Scottish Claymore
Scottish Claymore, Photo: Søren Niedziella via Wikimedia Commons

The Scottish Claymore, a legendary weapon of Scotland, is renowned for its formidable size and weight. Weighing around 5 to 7 pounds, with a blade length of approximately 4 to 5 feet, it is one of the heaviest swords utilized in medieval warfare.

The Claymore was wielded with both hands, its sheer mass delivering devastating strikes. It became synonymous with Scottish warriors and their fierce independence.

The weight of the Scottish Claymore allowed for powerful offensive maneuvers, capable of cleaving through enemy defenses. This iconic sword symbolizes the strength and indomitable spirit of the Scottish people throughout history.

9. European Bastard Sword

European Bastard Sword
European Bastard Sword, Photo: Albion Europe ApS via Wikimedia Commons

The European Bastard Sword, also known as the Hand-and-a-Half Sword, is a formidable weapon renowned for its weight and versatility.

Weighing between 4 to 6 pounds, it strikes a balance between a one-handed and two-handed sword. With a blade length of approximately 35 to 45 inches, it offers exceptional reach and cutting power. The Bastard Sword’s weight and size allowed for devastating strikes and effective thrusting techniques.

Its design catered to a wide range of combat situations, making it a preferred weapon among knights and foot soldiers. The European Bastard Sword represents the ingenuity and adaptability of European swordsmiths during the medieval period.

10. Japanese Nodachi

The Japanese Nodachi, also known as the Odachi, is a massive and imposing sword famous for its exceptional length and weight. Weighing between 4 to 7 pounds, with a blade length of approximately 4 to 6 feet, it is one of the heaviest swords in Japanese history.

The Nodachi required immense strength and skill to wield effectively. It was primarily used by skilled samurai warriors to strike from a distance, cleaving through enemy ranks with its powerful swings.

The Nodachi’s sheer size and weight make it an awe-inspiring symbol of Japanese martial heritage and a testament to the strength and skill of its wielders.

What Was the Typical Weight of Swords?

Contrary to common belief, medieval and early modern European swords were far from the heavy and unwieldy instruments often depicted. Ewart Oakeshott, a distinguished sword expert, and historian, extensively studied these weapons, uncovering a surprising truth: the average weight of these swords ranged from 2.5 to 3.5 pounds.

Oakeshott emphasized that medieval swords were neither cumbersome nor uniform. He clarified that the average weight of a standard-sized sword was within the 2.5 to 3.5 lbs range, with even larger hand-and-a-half ‘war’ swords rarely surpassing 4.5 lbs. These weights were manageable for the trained warriors of the time, who commenced their sword training from a tender age and developed the required toughness to handle them practically.

In contrast, misconceptions about the heftiness of medieval weapons persisted. Charles Foulkes, a curator from the mid-20th century, went so far as to label medieval swords heavy, ill-balanced, and impractical. However, this perspective seems flawed when considering the insights of experts like Oakeshott and the Wallace Collection Museum in London, which houses many medieval swords weighing no more than 4 pounds.

Two-handed swords were indeed heavier, but still not as ponderous as is commonly believed. Scholarly consensus, including the observations of Dr. Timothy Dawson, aligns with Oakeshott’s findings. Single-handed swords weighed around 3.5 pounds, while greatswords could reach approximately 6 pounds. Ceremonial swords, like the zweihänder, might be heavier, but they were not meant for combat.

Swords of excessive weight would not have served well in close combat or mounted warfare. Soldiers’ strength notwithstanding, practicality dictated that swords remain maneuverable and effective. Over centuries, bladesmiths and warriors honed their craft to develop swords suited for the combat styles of the time.

Despite these revelations, the notion of heavy swords persists in popular media. Films, TV shows, and other forms of entertainment often perpetuate the misconception. However, the steady growth of accurate information is dispelling this myth within scholarly circles.

While this discussion primarily focuses on European swords, it’s important to note that similar principles apply to swords on other continents during the same era. While there are instances of exceptionally heavy swords in certain regions, historical evidence for these outliers remains scarce.

In essence, medieval swords were skillfully crafted with balanced weights, optimized for functionality, and tailored to the combat needs of their era. This knowledge reshapes our perception of these weapons, shedding light on the precision and practicality behind their design.


Swords have been used as weapons for centuries, and they have come in all shapes and sizes. The heaviest swords in history were typically used by soldiers and warriors who needed a powerful weapon to defeat their enemies. While these swords may not have been the easiest to wield, they were certainly influential in battle.


What is the maximum weight of a sword?

The maximum weight of a sword varies based on its type and purpose. Generally, two-handed swords can reach up to 6-7 pounds, while ceremonial swords might exceed this range.

What is the weight of a Zweihander sword?

The weight of a Zweihander sword typically ranges from 5 to 7 pounds, depending on its size and design.

How heavy are swords?

Sword weights vary. Single-handed swords typically weigh 2-4 pounds, while two-handed swords like Zweihanders can range from 5-7 pounds or more.

World’s largest sword?

The Zulfiqar, measuring around 14.93 meters (49 feet) in length, holds the record as the world’s largest sword.