Saberforge Apprentice and Elite are two of the most common categories of lightsabers on the Saberforge website. The titles ‘Apprentice’ and ‘Elite’ refer to categories rather than specific hilt models. For example, the lightsaber on the far left is an example of an Apprentice lightsaber, but the lightsaber itself is called Disciple. The lightsabers to the right of the Disciple are all Elite sabers: Guardian, Avenger and Prodigal Son.
Watch Saberforge Apprentice vs Elite lightsabers: What’s the difference? on YouTube
The main difference between the Apprentice Sabers and the Elite Sabers is the complexity of design and the price. Apprentice Sabers are basic in design and don’t have many extra details and flourishes. Apprentice Sabers can be good entry level sabers due to their simplicity and lower price point (most Apprentice empty hilts are $75). The simplicity of the design of Apprentice hilts make some of them easy to use for dueling or spinning as well.
Elite Sabers are more ornately decorated and may feature a shroud, more greeblies, more textures, more detailed pommels, etc. The Elite Saber category also contains more of the [unofficially] movie inspired lightsaber hilts like Guardian, Avenger and Prodigal Son (all shown in the photo). The extra details do come at a price–the starting price for Elite Sabers empty hilts are $149, nearly double the price of most Apprentice empty hilts. To some extent, you get what you pay for, however.