|“||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. To use one, a player must fill their special gauge and may only utilize the special for a short time.
When a player has a special weapon ready, it creates a unique effect: they give off sparks, the tentacles on their head become very brightly colored and glowing, bubbles form at the top of their head as if from boiling water, and they appear to be caught in a strong wind even when completely still.
Activating a special weapon makes the player's character do a front flip and 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, starting a Salmon Run session where players have access to two specials or starting specific missions in the Octo Expansion where the special is obtained via the Equipper. Once a special weapon is ready, clicking activates 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. As of Splatoon 2, special weapons paired with different main weapons may also require different points to activate. For example, both the Slosher Deco and Inkbrush Nouveau has the Baller as their special, but while the former needs 220p to activate it, the latter requires only 180p.
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 respawn with a portion of the remaining gauge filled (how much depends upon the special depletion class of the main weapon; see special depletion). This can be increased by equipping gear with Special Saver. As of Splatoon 2, being splatted reduces the filled part of the player's special gauge by a fixed percentage, which can be modified by Special Saver or Respawn Punisher. Also, the penalty is greatly reduced if the player is splatted halfway through a Splashdown.
List of special weapons
|Bomb Rush||The Bomb Rush allows the player to use their sub weapon repeatedly without consuming ink for a short time.||✓||⌛|
|Bubbler||The Bubbler is a spherical force field that protects the user from all damage. It can be spread to teammates through physical contact.||✓||⌛|
|Echolocator||The Echolocator reveals the locations of all enemies for teammates to see on the field and the map.||✓||⌛|
|Inkstrike||The Inkstrike is a missile that causes a large, swirling vortex of ink to appear when it lands at the location towards which the user fired it.||✓||⌛|
|Inkzooka||The Inkzooka shoots tall, narrow twisters of ink in rapid succession, allowing its user to quickly splat enemies at long range.||✓||✓|
|Killer Wail||The Killer Wail blasts a large sound wave in the desired direction that obliterates all enemies in its path and travels through walls.||✓||⌛|
|Kraken||The user transforms into the large, invincible Kraken, able to travel quickly through enemy ink and splat opponents with its melee attack.||✓||⌛|
|Tenta Missiles||The Tenta Missiles allow users to lock on to opponents before firing ten to twenty missiles between the locked-on targets.||✓||✓|
|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 and are far enough away. Mobility is impaired while activated.||✓||⌛|
|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.||✓||⌛|
|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 while Super Jumping.||✓||⌛|
|Ink Armor||Activating Ink Armor protects the user and all teammates from one or two attacks, depending on the strength of the attack.||✓||⌛|
|Bomb Launcher||The Bomb Launcher allows the player to throw a pre-selected bomb repeatedly, with no ink restriction. The player still has access to their main weapon during this period.||✓||⌛|
|Ink Storm||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. This special can be activated and then held indefinitely if it is not thrown.||✓||⌛|
|Baller||A protective sphere that allows the player to advance safely. It explodes in a blast of ink when a timer expires or when the user triggers it, ending the special early.||✓||⌛|
|Bubble Blower||The Bubble Blower allows the player to blow up to three bubbles. The bubbles will block large areas to opponents and will explode in a deadly blast of ink if fired at.||✓||⌛|
|Booyah Bomb||The user holds up a glowing ball of ink that charges up over time and can be thrown once fully charged to make an ink explosion, which is made larger by charging up more. The user and their teammates can use the "Booyah!" signal to charge up faster.||✓||⌛|
|Ultra Stamp||The Ultra Stamp is a large hammer which can be slammed repeatedly while advancing forwards and also has a jump attack. The weapon can also be thrown as a long-range attack, ending the special early.||✓||⌛|
|Rainmaker||The Rainmaker is a powerful weapon with a charging mechanism that can shoot large twisters (in Splatoon) or bursts (in Splatoon 2) of ink. It is only obtainable on the ranked mode Rainmaker and in a couple of Octo Expansion stations.||✓||✓||⌛|
|Princess Cannon||The Princess Cannon is a modified Killer Wail themed after Pearl. It is only obtainable on MC.Princess Diaries, by any player. It functions exactly like a Killer Wail but with a much larger sound wave.||✓||⌛|
|Special Duration Up||Improves the duration of special weapons.||✓||⌛|
|Special Power Up||Improves the performance of special weapons.||✓||⌛|
- The most common special weapon in Splatoon is Inkzooka, with 16 different weapon sets including it. The most common one in Splatoon 2 is Ink Storm, appearing in 17 different weapon sets.
- Special weapons were originally called "Super Weapons" in the E3 2014 Splatoon demo.
- The in-universe reason that no Splatoon special weapons return in Splatoon 2 is attributed to new regulations, as revealed in Sunken Scroll 11, where protest signs are also shown.
- During both fights with Agent 3 in the Octo Expansion, they are 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.
- The Princess Cannon is the only special in the series which is not included in a weapon set, having to instead be obtained in the middle of MC.Princess Diaries, which this special weapon is exclusive to.
Names in other languages
|Special weapon||Special depletion|
- List of special weapon sets in Splatoon
- List of special weapon sets in Splatoon 2
- Special weapon data