|“||Lay down enough ink and your special meter will fill up. Then you can use one of these (like the Inkzooka) to do major damage.||”|
— Splatoon's official website, 
Along with the main weapon and sub weapon, every set of weapons comes with a special weapon. These weapons are designed to be very powerful and table-turning, and may only be utilized for a short time once players have filled their special gauge.
When a player has a special weapon ready, it creates a unique effect: they will give off sparks, the tentacles on their head will become very brightly colored and glowing, bubbles will form at the top of their head as if from boiling water, and they will appear to be caught in a strong wind even when completely still.
Activating a special weapon makes the player's Inkling do a frontflip and completely refills the Ink Tank.
Special weapons are available by filling the special gauge by inking the ground in matchmaking modes, obtaining a canned special in the Battle Dojo and singleplayer modes such as Octo Valley, starting a Salmon Run session where players have access to two specials, or starting specific missions in Octo Expansion where the special is obtained via the Equipper. Once a special weapon is ready, clicking will activate it. Different special weapons need different amounts of turf inked to fully charge, for balancing purposes; for instance, the Inkzooka requires 220 points to charge as of version 2.0.0, whereas the Killer Wail requires only 160.
The rate at which the special gauge depletes after being activated depends on which particular Special Weapon is in use. If the player is splatted before the gauge is completely depleted, they will respawn with a portion of the remaining gauge filled (how much depends upon the special depletion class of the main weapon; see special depletion below). This can be increased by equipping gear with Special Saver.
List of special weapons
|Baller||A protective sphere that allows the player to advance safely. It explodes in a blast of ink that is lethal to opponents when a timer expires or when the user triggers it.||✓|
|Bomb Launcher||The Bomb Launcher allows the player to throw a pre-selected bomb repeatedly, with no ink restriction. The distance that bombs are thrown is adjustable by holding the trigger.||✓|
|Bomb Rush||The Bomb Rush allows the player to use their sub weapon repeatedly, with no ink restriction.||✓|
|Bubble Blower||The Bubble Blower creates up to three bubbles. The bubbles will block large areas to opponents, and will explode in a deadly blast of ink if fired at.||✓|
|Bubbler||The Bubbler is a spherical force field that protects the user from all damage. It can be spread to teammates.||✓|
|Echolocator||The Echolocator reveals the locations of all enemies for teammates to see on the field and on the map.||✓|
|Ink Armor||Activating Ink Armor protects the user and all teammates from one or two attacks, depending on the strength of the attack.||✓|
|Inkjet||The Inkjet gives its user the ability to hover in the air and shoot powerful blaster-like projectiles. Once it expires, the user automatically Super Jumps back to where they first activated it.||✓|
|Inkstrike||The Inkstrike causes a large, swirling vortex of ink to appear where the user fires it.||✓|
|Inkzooka||The Inkzooka shoots tall, narrow twisters of ink in rapid succession, allowing its user to quickly splat enemies at long-range.||✓|
|Ink Storm||When thrown, the Ink Storm creates a rain cloud of ink. The rain cloud gradually drifts above the map, inking the ground and damaging any enemies beneath it.||✓|
|Killer Wail||The Killer Wail blasts a large sound wave in a the desired direction that obliterates all enemies in its path and travels through walls.||✓|
|Kraken||Upon activation of this special, the user transforms into the large, invincible Kraken. The user can travel quickly through enemy ink and splat opponents instantly with its melee attack.||✓|
|Splashdown||The Splashdown causes its user to jump up and strike the ground with heavy force, causing an ink explosion around them. Its effectiveness increases when activated from great heights, including activation while Super Jumping.||✓|
|Sting Ray||The Sting Ray fires a continuous laser that can go through walls. When not firing, users can see the silhouettes of any opponents that are not hiding in ink. Mobility is impaired while activated.||✓|
|Tenta Missiles||When activated, the Tenta Missiles first allows users to lock on to opponents. After pressing the trigger, the weapon will a minimum of ten missiles and a maximum of twenty missiles dispersed among the locked on targets.||✓|
|Special Duration Up||Improves the duration of special weapons.||✓|
|Special Power Up||Improves the performance of special weapons.||✓|
- Special weapons were originally called "Super Weapons." 
- During both fights with Agent 3 in Octo Expansion, Agent 3 is able to use different special weapons despite only using one main weapon, and is even able to use them consecutively. This is explained by Marina in the Spinal Phase fight, saying that Agent 3 had removed their limiter, which implies that Inklings (and Octolings) can normally use many specials and have to put on something that restricts this ability.
An Inkling with a Special Weapon ready.
Names in other languages
- List of special weapon sets in Splatoon
- List of special weapon sets in Splatoon 2
- Special weapon data