The 5 Best Smelling Salts in 2024 for Explosive Workouts

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Finding the best smelling salts has become increasingly important for athletes and lifters looking to pursue better performance.

These powerful ammonia inhalants provide an intense adrenaline rush to help you push through your toughest workouts and lifts.

In this post, we’ll share the 5 best smelling salts on the market, assessing their strength, quality, and overall effectiveness.

Top Picks
Best Overall: Atomic Rhino Redline
Best Quality: Zone Smelling Salts
Best for Portability: Ward Smelling Salts
Best Individual Packets: First Aid Only
Best for Beginners: Smelling Salts RAW

Best Smelling Salts

Best Smelling Salts, Smelling Salts on the floor in a gym

To select the best smelling salts featured in this roundup, we dove deep into the powerlifting and combat sports communities to see which brands are most trusted and evangelized by serious athletes.

We scoured Reddit threads, Amazon reviews, and fitness publications, as well as subjected ourselves to several brain-bending test products to find the smelling salts with the most potent reputations for delivering a powerful ammonia kick.

So let’s get started…. even Joe Rogan is in on the smelling salts trend.

Key factors we considered when evaluating the best smelling salts include:

  • Ammonia concentration and potency
  • Ease of use and portability
  • Quality of ingredients and manufacturing
  • Bottle design and safety features
  • Duration of effect and shelf life
  • Overall value for price

Atomic Rhino Smelling Salts Redline

Best Overall
Atomic Rhino Redline Salt Long Lasting Preformance Ammonia Bottle
4.5
$17.76 ($17.76 / Count)
Pros:
  • Super strong
  • Long lasting
  • Simple to use
Cons:
  • May be too intense for smelling salt beginners
04/03/2024 04:26 pm GMT

Atomic Rhino’s Redline Smelling Salts pack an unstoppable formula into a convenient bottle for maximum impact.

In a small room, I perked up while holding the bottle 2 feet from my nose. Others rave that it “feels like snorting lightning” and will “make you rethink your whole existence.”

The overwhelming consensus is that this is some of the most potent stuff out there – barely crack the lid and you’ll get absolutely assaulted with ammonia.

Just be sure not to take a direct whiff or your eyes will be watering for minutes.

The effects wear off quickly, but those seeking the ultimate smelling salt experience will love Atomic Rhino.

Best for: Experienced smelling salt users who want the strongest possible adrenaline rush for explosive power and aggression.

Zone Smelling Salts Bear Down Steel

Best Quality
Zone Smelling Salts Extreme Smelling Salts Weightlifting Powerlifting Strongman - Bear Down Steel Series - Ion
4.6
$42.99 ($3.58 / Ounce)
Pros:
  • The most potent smelling salts available
  • Up to 6-month lifespan once opened
  • 10oz steel bottle for secure storage
Cons:
  • Will make you cry, swear and clear rooms
  • Easy to become overwhelmed and disoriented
  • Pricey compared to other options
04/02/2024 08:14 am GMT

For those who scoff at “beginner” smelling salts, Zone’s Bear Down Steel series is the gold standard for olfactory obliteration.

This 10oz bottle of weapons-grade ammonia is so vicious that people feet away from you will smell it and vocally object.

One experienced user reported that it was “brutal” and made other smelling salts seem edible.

Pungent enough to wake the dead but with a long-lasting potency, Bear Down Steel is only for the bravest of noses.

The steel container makes this smelling salt really stand out and makes for a great gift for the heavy lifter in your life.

Best for: Elite strongmen and powerlifters looking for the be-all end-all smelling salt to power extreme feats of strength.

Ward Smelling Salts Asylum

Best for Portability
Ward Smelling Salts - Asylum Refillable - Lifetime Refillable Stainless Steel Smelling Salts Bottle and Refill Pack
4.5
$26.95
Pros:
  • Extremely potent "Asylum" formula
  • Eco-friendly refillable steel bottle
  • Lifetime seal warranty
Cons:
  • Upfront cost is higher than other options
  • Easy to overdo it if you get a full dose
04/02/2024 08:58 am GMT

Ward’s refillable smelling salts system offers both maximum strength and sustainability.

Their stainless steel “Asylum” bottle is built to last a lifetime, with cost-effective refill packs instead of disposable plastic bottles.

And the salts themselves are no joke – one powerlifter reported “I take a whiff and put the lid on and throw it down on the floor and get my beast mode on.”

Even experienced smelling salts users find Ward’s formula to be the strongest they’ve tried.

The secure metal construction prevents messy leaks and spills in your gym bag.

Best for: Devoted powerlifters and strongmen ready to invest in a reusable ultra-strength smelling salt system.

AmmoniaSport RAW Smelling Salts

Best for Beginners
Smelling Salts RAW - Pre-Activated Salt with Hundreds of Uses Per Bottle
4.4
$17.95 ($17.95 / Count)
Pros:
  • Made in US to high quality standards
  • Authentic raw smelling salt experience
  • Handy twist cap bottle for gym bags
Cons:
  • Bottle prone to some leaking/drying out over time
04/04/2024 08:11 am GMT

AmmoniaSport’s RAW is a premium-grade smelling salt handily packaged in a “twist and sniff” bottle for portability.

Made in a US GMP-certified facility, it provides an authentic smelling salt experience without any gimmicks.

The wide mouth bottle makes it easy to take a quick huff for an invigorating boost pre-workout or to alleviate fatigue.

Reviewers are consistently surprised by RAW’s potency, with one noting:

“Felt pain straight up my sinuses…most unpleasant thing I bought on Amazon that I would give 5 stars.”

An excellent clean option for lifters wanting to grab a whiff for an instant energy surge.

Best for: Gym-goers or smelling salt newbies looking for a pure, hard-hitting smelling salt in a practical package to fuel PRs and fights.

First Aid Only Ammonia Inhalants

Best Individual Packets
First Aid Only H5041-AMP Ammonia Inhalant Ampoules, 100/Box
4.6
$46.08
Pros:
  • Medical grade for reliable potency
  • Safely packaged in cotton-wrapped glass
  • Precise 0.3ml doses, 100 per box
Cons:
  • Glass ampoules require some caution when breaking
  • Scent can dissipate quickly once exposed to air
04/04/2024 08:24 am GMT

For those needing a more portable, controlled dose, First Aid Only offers medical-grade ammonia inhalants in a box of 100 0.3ml ampoules.

Originally designed to treat fainting, each sealed ampoule delivers a precise 15% ammonia concentration for a reliable olfactory wakeup call without overdoing it.

The cotton-wrapped glass vials are safely crushable, although caution is advised as undiluted ammonia can sting the skin.

Lifters recommend transferring the broken capsules into a sealed jar to extend the scent’s potency for a full workout session. A great pocket-sized pick-me-up to have on hand.

Best for: Athletes wanting smelling salts in a compact, precisely-dosed form factor or those keeping it on hand for fainting

Are Smelling Salts Bad For You?

While smelling salts are generally safe when used as directed, some potential side effects should be considered.

The intense ammonia odor can cause nasal and sinus irritation, watery eyes, coughing, and a temporary burning sensation.

Overexposure may lead to lightheadedness, headaches, or disorientation. Those with respiratory conditions like asthma should exercise extra caution.

Smelling salts are intended for occasional use only – relying on them too frequently can diminish their effectiveness and may indicate an unhealthy exercise dependency.

Listen to your body, start slow, and don’t put your nose directly into the bottle.

Best Smelling Salts Reddit

Reddit’s fitness communities are abuzz with smelling salt enthusiasts sharing their favorite nose torks for PR-smashing sessions. r/powerlifting and r/weightroom regularly feature posts debating the best smelling salts for maximum impact.

Brands like Ward, Zone, and AmmoniaSport are frequently mentioned, with Ward’s Asylum and Zone’s Bear Down Steel series garnering particularly intense reactions.

Redditors warn that these ultra-potent salts are not for the “normie human” and may leave you “lacking half the brain cells” you had before.

The consensus is that the best-smelling salts consistently clear sinuses and get you amped without completely overwhelming you.

Where to Buy Smelling Salts

You can purchase smelling salts both online and in-store from a variety of retailers.

Amazon carries a wide selection, including many of the brands featured in this roundup, often with fast Prime shipping.

If you prefer to buy smelling salts in person, your local big box stores like Walmart or Dick’s Sporting Goods may have a small selection, particularly hockey-oriented brands.

Pharmacies like Walgreens and CVS sometimes stock ammonia inhalants in their first aid section, though these may be lower strength than dedicated sports smelling salts.

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About the Author

Drew Wilkins is a fitness and nutrition expert with a Master's in Biokinesiology (emphasis in Sports Science) from the University of Southern California and over a decade of experience as a personal trainer, nutrition consultant, and wellness coach. An avid surfer and soccer player, he brings a unique perspective to his research, advocating for a balanced approach to health that includes physical fitness, nutrition, and mental well-being.

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