9 Best Smelling Salts For Lifting 2023 [Break Records Instantly]

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When you need a quick boost or something to wake you up, smelling salts are the answer. Often used in athletic competitions, these salts can give you the edge you need to break records. In this article, we will discuss what are the best smelling salts for lifting and how they can help you achieve your goals.

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What Are The Best Smelling Salts For Lifting?

Here are my top picks for the best smelling salts for lifting

best overall

Ammonia Sport RAW

Ammonia Sport RAW smelling salts are the most reviewed item on this list, with over 4000 5 star ratings. Note that these smelling salts have to be activated by adding 15ml of water to the bottle.

They are not the most potent, but come at an excellent price and even offer a 30 day refund policy. That makes them the best choice for someone who has never tried smelling salts.

Atomic Rhino Smelling Salts

Atomic Rhino smelling salts are the 2nd most reviewed ammonia inhalants on this list, with more than 2000 ratings and an average rating of 4,5/5.

They are made for athletes who want to get in the zone, push themselves over their limits, and break records. They are also not the most potent, but arguably stronger than Ammonia Sport RAW.

Ward Smelling Salts

Ward smelling salts are very powerful and easy to use with the second most reviews on this list. Their average rating on amazon is 4,3/5 out of more than 4000 ratings.

They were designed for athletes looking to gain an edge on their competition by spiking their adrenaline. 

Ward smelling salts are better than ammonia inhalant capsules, because they are more potent and reusable.

Nose Tork Smelling Salts

Nose tork smelling salts are best for serious lifters who want something to get them going. This ammonia inhalant is easy to use, long lasting and cheap. 

The reason that the nose tork smelling salts made it this far down the list is because it’s often not available for purchasing and it’s not as strong as some of the others, like Ward Smelling Salts and AHHH!!!

It also has more than 1000 less reviews than the atomic rhino smelling salts, although the rating is almost the same (4,4/5 for nose tork smelling salts)

Westside Barbell Original

These smelling salts, together with the nose tork smelling salts are a product of Westside Barbell, the legendary powerlifting gym that was ran by Louie Simmons.

If you know anything about that brand, you know that they like crazy stuff. This Westide Barbell Original smelling salt is no different.

From what I have heard, this product is one of the strongest smelling salts on Amazon. I think it’s safe to say that it’s the second strongest on this list after AHHH!!!

most potent

AHHH!!! Smelling Salts

AHHH!!! Smelling salts are a product of Jujimufu, who is well-known in the fitness industry for doing crazy stuff. His smelling salts are even crazier.

They claim to have the strongest smelling salt in the world! They supposedly pack more ammonium carbonate and unlike other products, where the release of ammonia gas is consistent, the mixing of chemicals in AHHH!!! creates new gas every time you shake it.

Based on this information, I advise caution as this product is truly something extreme and may not be the best first option if you’ve never tried smelling salts.

Zone Smelling Salts

Zone make a lot of smelling salts that are great for beginners but also advanced lifters. This ammonia inhalant is high-grade and packs a serious punch.

It is a bit more expensive than the other smelling salts, and only has 20 reviews with an average rating of 4,6/5.

For this reason, it’s pushed down the list, but if you appreciate the aesthetics and have money to spare, this might be a good option.

Vaxxen Labs Ammonia Inhalants

If you don’t plan on using the smelling salts very often, or are completely new to smelling salts, then this product is for you. Vaxxen Labs offers ammonia inhalants that come in packets that are meant for one-time use.

This is great because you don’t have to worry about the product losing its potency over time. If you want to have a sniff, just squeeze the capsule to activate the ammonia inhalant.

The main downside to this product is that they are relatively more expensive than the other bottled smelling salts.

best one-time use

Ammonia Sport Inhalants

Ammonia sport recently came out with their own one-time use ammonia pouches.

They have racked up 960 ratings on Amazon with an average of 3.9.

They are cheaper than the Vaxxen Labs alternative, which is why they claim the title “best”.

What Are Smelling Salts?

By definition, they are any of preparations of ammonium carbonate and perfume, sniffed as a restorative or stimulant. 

They are sometimes also referred to as ammonia inhalants or ammonia smelling salts.

They are oftentimes used as a respiratory stimulant by strongmen, powerlifters and other athletes such as hockey players to hype themselves up.

How Do Smelling Salts Work?

Smelling salts are used to arouse consciousness because the release of ammonia (NH3) gas that accompanies their use irritates the membranes of the nose and lungs, and thereby triggers an inhalation reflex. This reflex alters the pattern of breathing, resulting in improved respiratory flow rates and possibly alertness.

Do keep in mind though, that there is actually very little scientific evidence to prove that smelling salts work.

I think that the main benefit is that it gives you such a shock, that it completely throws you out of your head and thoughts, which can be good if you’re feeling nervous or anxious about performing.

Other than that, I think there’s also a placebo effect, depending on how strongly you believe that it works. But since it gives you a strong stimulus, it’s easier to overthink it’s effectiveness.

The History Of Smelling Salts

Smelling salts have been around for centuries. Originally, ammonia — the active ingredient in smelling salts — was something that the doctors used to wake up patients who had fainted or were unconscious for whatever reason.

Nowadays, smelling salts are used by athletes of all sorts, including powerlifters and strongmen to potentially improve their athletic performance.

How To Use Smelling Salts

There are 2 ways you can use the smelling salt.

If it’s in a bottle then shake the bottle, open the lid, and sniff it from a safe distance.

Although if the stuff is strong/potent enough, then I’d recommend not fully taking the lid off as that will prevent the gas from escaping and therefore prolong the “lifespan” of the product.

If you don’t feel like anything is coming through then you can squeeze the container to force the gas out of it. If it’s still not enough, then move the bottle closer to your nose.

In case you have it in form of a capsule then follow the instructions on the packaging or the capsule itself.

Usually, from my experience, it will have you press/squeeze the capsule to kickstart a chemical reaction process that would activate the ammonia.

Here is a video clip from the JRE podcast where they try the nr 3 product on our list, the AHHH!!! smelling salts.

Risks Of Using Smelling Salts

When held too close to the nose upon inhaling, the ammonia gas can potentially burn nasal mucosa. That is why it’s recommended to hold the bottle 4-6in(10-15cm) away when using it. If the product is very potent, then it’s also advised to close your eyes during inhalations.

The Benefits Of Using Smelling Salts

Using smelling salts before a big lift, a competition or even just to get you motivated can be beneficial in many ways. It can help you feel less fatigued, improve focus and increase energy levels, allowing for better results overall. Additionally, it can help with mental clarity by providing a jolt to the brain.


Smelling salts come in different forms such as bottles or capsules and it is best to follow the instructions on the product packaging.

As with any stimulants, there are potential risks of using smelling salts, so make sure to practice safety precautions when using them.

With that said, if used correctly, smelling salts can potentially help break barriers and provide additional strength and preceived energy during athletic competitions. As a powerlifter, I consider them as a gym bag essential. Try them out and see how they can benefit your performance!

Please share this article if you found it helpful or interesting and think that others might as well!

Frequently Asked Questions

Do smelling salts work for weight lifting?

Yes, smelling salts work for weight lifting. The ammonia gas triggers an inhalation reflex which alters the pattern of breathing, resulting in improved respiratory flow rates and possibly alertness

What smelling salts does Eddie Hall use?

Eddie Hall uses the smelling salts called “Beast” from Alpha Designs. He is also the creator of that product.

What smelling salts do pro athletes use?

Most athletes outside of powerlifting and lifting in general use the one-time ammonia inhalant packets or capsules because they are convenient and disposable.

How long does smelling salt last?

The shelf life of a smelling salt can be anywhere from 1 to 6 months. It depends on how many times the container is opened. In short: “fresh” oxygen will accelerate the loss of potency.

What smelling salts do powerlifters use?

The most popular smelling salts amongst powerlifters are AHHH!!! and Nose Tork. They are the most potent and last the longest.

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