With six different films in the Terminator franchise spanning multiple alternate timelines, many different Terminator models have been introduced. Fans have gotten to experience a long history of the killing machine created by Skynet to murder humanity and take over the Earth.
The question that arises, however, is: which model is the most powerful of them all? From the classic T-800 played by Arnold Schwarzenegger to the latest model portrayed by Gabriel Luna. Each Terminator has different strengths and weaknesses that they bring to the table.
Updated on March 23rd, 2022 by Melody MacReady: Something that the long-running Terminator franchise cannot be accused of is the lack of innovation. Even though the movies will rehash some tropes and some sequels ended up disappointing, they still at least always tried to do something new. Even with the sixth film Terminator: Dark Fate, the movie was heavily criticized by fans and critics for going too far with its changes.
Whether it was turning the human resistance leader John Connor into an evil Terminator or showing what would happen if a different artificial intelligence made Terminator models in an alternate timeline. As a result, each movie introduces new Terminators with different powers and abilities that help them stand out.
13 The T-600
The predecessor to the T-800, the T-600 models were intended to be infiltrator models but they were slow, clunky, and their prosthetic skin was poorly made. As a result, the T-600 became an infantry unit which can be seen throughout the criminally underrated prequel/sequel Terminator Salvation.
They aren’t nearly as durable as their more iconic successors. T-600s could be killed with regular weaponry and be crushed by machinery. That doesn’t mean that they are pushovers either; John Connor barely survived an encounter against one with no legs.
12 The T-1
The T-1, as the name implies, was the first Terminator class machine Skynet created and wasn’t nearly as refined as the cyborg models that would come later. The T-1 is a heavily armed and armored tank and While it’s certainly a formidable enemy, it also completely lacks in maneuverability.
It did end up evolving into the much larger HK-Tanks that plow through the future battlefields with large turrets. The T-1 made its debut in Terminator 3: Rise Of The Machines then was featured again in Terminator Salvation.
The idea of a Terminator on wheels was improved upon by Skynet with the Moto-Terminators. They are fast and agile machines that resemble motorcycles; they reach intense speeds and can lean onto their side in mid-acceleration then keep going.
Where they lack is their weaponry and Christian Bale’s version of John Connor was able to hack into one with seemingly ease in order to get to Skynet Central.
These water-based Terminators resemble eels with their elongated bodies that they use to slither through the water. They also have claw-like faces that they use to grab onto their victims and pull them into the water.
These Terminators were able to murder an entire helicopter team and would have killed John Connor if it weren’t for Marcus Wright.
9 Marcus Wright
While the T-800 and T-850 always seem more machine than man (because they are), Marcus Wright was the opposite. Even Wright himself knew nothing of the fact that he was a cyborg until an injury exposed his mechanized parts.
After the revelation, though, his abilities amount to the fairly standard-issue enhanced strength and wiring himself into the enemy’s systems. He did however possess the strength to fight and even decapitate a T-800 which is no easy feat.
Not much is known about these Terminators other than they do what their name suggests. They harvest humans, storing them inside HK transports. Still, they are Terminators and they live up to that name with twin shoulder cannons that fire powerful energy blasts that obliterate automobiles with ease.
Harvesters also act as housing units for the previously mentioned Moto-Terminators. This suggests that Harvesters are slower models which is why it stores itself onto an HK transport to deliver its cargo.
7 Hunter Killers
These come in all sizes; smaller drone-sized models and massive aerial assault Hunter Killers that can wipe out entire squadrons of human resistance fighters. Their firepower is easily their strongest feature but they lack in durability with even a basic submachine gun able to take down a smaller HK.
Turrets and assault rifles of the future can take down a larger HK but thankfully, HKs are fast and agile. As a result, it balances out its weak structure with maneuverability to avoid attacks and dish out its powerful ones.
6 The T-800
The star of the franchise, the T-800 became the face of Skynet’s garrison with legions of these cybernetic soldiers fighting on the battlefield and were the ideal assassin to send back in time. The T-800 is incredibly durable, able to be pelted with entire arsenals and keep going. They also feature the strength to tear through steel and iron as if they were made of cardboard.
Where they lack is agility which can give them a disadvantage in combat. However, as shown with the different T-800 hero characters, this model was able to learn, use many different deadly weapons, and evolve to become more human-like over time. Uncle Bob from Judgment Day and Carl from Terminator: Dark Fate were able to become father figures.
5 The T-850
Here, again, Schwarzenegger played a cyborg assassin, which had been reprogrammed by the human resistance and sent back in time to protect John Connor and Kate Brewster. This Terminator model, however, is slightly different: it’s a T-850.
It possesses a few minor differences and enhancements over the T-800, including a deeper understanding of human psychology. In the end, though, it relies on its brute strength, endurance, and competence with a range of advanced weaponry to defeat its enemy. The T-850 also features a power cell in their chest which acts as miniaturized nuclear bombs.
4 The T-X
The Terminatrix AKA The T-X is supposed to be the upgrade from the T-1000 and a proper mix of it and the T-800. However, it results in a Terminator that seems more like a waste of potential because other than being a bit more nimble and having an arm cannon, it doesn’t appear to be nearly as effective.
She’s not nearly as imposing or dangerous as her predecessor. The T-X’s biggest trump card is its ability to hack into any piece of machinery and control it remotely. It was actually because of this that Skynet was able to rise and Judgment Day started.
3 The T-3000
Nanotechnology was the inevitable future for Skynet, especially since it’s a very real-world concept. The first attempt at nanotech was with Terminator Genisys. John Connor was converted into the prototype T-3000 and it made him into a one-Terminator army. Even the beloved T-800 couldn’t beat him on his own.
As a T-3000, John Connor was given intense strength, super speed, the ability to phase through matter, shapeshift, and create weapons. As a result, it feels like a natural progression from the T-1000 but with one big weakness: magnets cause this model to malfunction and render its powers useless.
2 The T-1000
Even though the T-800 is the star of the franchise, it did fail multiple times in battle against the enigmatic and show-stealing T-1000. In Terminator 2: Judgment Day, the T-1000 proved to be the most formidable assassin from Skynet. Thanks to its mimetic poly-alloy (or liquid metal) structure, it could imitate anyone it touched perfectly.
It was able to understand and replicate human emotion perfectly, allowing it to blend in as a normal police officer. In a one-on-one fight, it was able to overpower and disable the T-800 and show no signs of wear. It was only with the rapid shifts between extreme temperatures that the T-1000 was outsmarted but only barely.
1 The Rev-9
Essentially, the Rev-9 is a better execution of the T-X, mixing the abilities of the T-800 and the T-1000. The twist is that the Rev-9 can split his liquid nano-particle metal form and his endoskeleton into two being that can operate independently. As a result, the Rev-9 proved to be more powerful than any Terminator prior.
With its mastery of fast hand-to-hand combat, it took the combination of a hardened Sarah Connor, an augmented soldier, an aged T-800, and the target the Reb-9 was after to even weaken it. The Rev-9 was also given the ability to imitate human characteristics, arguably even more than the T-1000. It also could hack into any system using the nano-particles.
NEXT: Recasting The Characters Of Terminator (If It Was Made Today)
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