10 strongest Sage Mode users in Naruto, ranked
Sage Mode in Naruto is a type of state allowing the user to absorb chakra from nature. This state enhances the user's attributes several times over, allowing them to become more powerful. As with all the powerups in Naruto, the Sage Mode also comes with its own advantages and drawbacks.
The state is powerful, but the training for it is intense, and the user must be strong enough to handle the natural energy and possess immense chakra levels in order to invoke it. This list will cover those who were powerful enough to invoke and wield Sage Mode the best, ranked by how strong they were with the technique.
Disclaimer: The following article contains spoilers for Naruto, Naruto Shippuden, and Boruto spoilers. Content and trigger warnings are likewise applied for discussions of character death.
Naruto's 10 most powerful Sage Mode users, ranked based on technique strength
Controversial though this may be, Jiraiya was never able to master Sage Mode throughout Naruto. This doesn't quite mean that he was weak with it, only that it changed his physical appearance to take on more toad-like qualities. It is also incredibly difficult for him to sustain as he cannot absorb natural energy, and needs a fusion of two toads to help him do so.
Despite these limitations, it was more than enough to see him through multiple engagements, including his final duel with Nagato/Pain. Whilst Jiraiya successfully managed to defeat three Paths and capture one for study, he was mortally wounded by Pain. With his last bit of strength, he etched a coded message on one of the toads. This ultimately led to Pain's defeat.
9) Minato Namikaze
The Fourth Hokage and Konoha's Yellow Flash was the fastest ninja of his time. His crowning achievement was saving Konoha from Obito and the Nine-Tails attack, resulting in his heroic sacrifice. As for Sage Mode, he was able to use it and tap into it.
The drawback for Minato, however, was that Sage Mode took too much time and chakra to build up. Before his revival during the Fourth Shinobi World War, he avoided using it. He can't maintain it for long, after all. This was shown during that battle, as he was only able to maintain it from being revived.
The first Boruto entry on the list, and for good reason. Mitsuki is a synthetic clone of Orochimaru, who is incredibly stealthy and able to tap into multiple jutsu. His use of Sage Mode is likewise remarkable owing to the ease of activation. His speed and power increases tremendously, and he can use it for a while.
The big downside to Mitsuki using it, however, is breaking down his cells. Prolonged usage is noted to damage his organs beyond repair, meaning he needs surgery for new organs while he is on life-support. He cannot hold it indefinitely.
The powerhouse of Team Taka/Hawk, Jūgo was a shinobi from an unknown clan held in Orochimaru's hideout for experimentation. Deemed a danger to those around him due to his rage issues, Jūgo allowed himself to be taken in by Orochimaru to hopefully cure his temper flares.
The big drawback for Jugo is his Sage Mode coming at the cost of his mental state. His Sage Mode allows him to change his body shape at will, including growing arm axes and wings. Fully transforming gives him a massive overall boost, but he turns into a wild animal that lashes out at everything and everyone around him.
6) Kabuto Yakushi
Kabuto Yakushi was Orochimaru's top agent and spy working for many countries. During the events of Naruto Shippuden, he was able to absorb Orochimaru's remains and splice genetics with his own. Using this chimera combination of Orochiamru's larger chakra reserves and Jugo's passive ability, alongside training from the White Snake Sage, he was able to learn and access Sage Mode.
As far as usage and strength capacity, he was able to use it indefinitely owing to replications of Jugo's passive abilities. It took the combined effort of a revived Itachi and Sasuke near the climax of the Shinobi World War to defeat him. Even then, he had to be trapped in an illusion.
5) Koji Kashin
The second Boruto entry, and the second clone is Koji Kashin. This clone of Jiraiya was created by the genius scientist of the Kara cult, Amado. Koji surpasses his original by way of being able to tap into Sage Mode and perfect it too. It helps his body was modified with Scientific Ninja Tools and is incredibly durable.
This ease of use and instant access to Sage Mode served him well against Isshiki Otutsuki. He was able to destroy Isshiki's host body, Jigen, and catch him off guard with an Ultra-Big Ball Rasengan using the mode. He was also able to use the form to escape being killed even after having an arm destroyed, and his torso and legs crippled.
4) Harashima Senju
Konoha's first Hokage is known for a lot of achievements. Being a member of the Senju Clan afforded him a very high chakra reserve. It also helped him increase his powers of Wood Release. For the time, his only equal was Madara Uchiha. This was a good thing, since Madara wanted to destroy him and the newly established Konoha.
Instant access to Sage Mode wasn't his only strength. It augmented his wood techniques so much that he was able to strip Susanoo from the Nine-Tails and form the Valley of the End. Harashima was also able to subdue both Madara and the Nine-Tails this way.
3) Madara Uchiha
Even with the above stated for Harashima, that was way back in Naruto's history. The bar was raised when Madara Uchiha was revived during the Fourth Shinobi World War, and absorbed his longtime rival Harashima's Senjutsu Chakra to attain the power of Sage Mode. His power only grew when he gained access to Six Paths Senjutsu and became the Ten-Tails jinchūriki.
All this meant that before Kaguya showed up, Madara was the final threat at the end of the Fourth Shinobi World War. While using Sage Mode, his pain tolerance skyrocketed as he didn't flinch from a stab, the Tailed Beasts' assault, or the loss of his arm. He even fought while blind, and temporarily killed both Naruto and Sasuke.
2) Naruto Uzumaki
Of course, the titular Naruto Uzumaki would be on a list like this. Naruto did have to learn and train to use Sage Mode after Jiraiya's death, but perfected it in a short time. His first recorded usage was against Pain, where it aided in his victory. He also became even stronger after fusing it with Kurama's chakra.
Kurama's aid helped him shatter the lethal Truth-Seeking Balls, and also allowed him to fly. Going into Six Paths Senjutsu and further into Six Paths Sage Mode (with power given to him by the Sage of Six Paths), helped him don a new Nine-Tails Chakra cloak. He moved at the speed of light and used a Tailed Beast avatar that rivaled Sasuke's complete Susanoo in power.
1) The Sage of Six Paths - Hagoromo Otsutsuki
It's no surprise that the Sage of Six Paths is the strongest with the technique, considering that he's an Otsutsuki. As one of the sons of Kaguya in Naruto, his chakra reserves were inherited from his mother and were massive. He showed his talent and mastered the art in an extremely short amount of time.
The Six Paths Senjutsu allowed him to fly and levitate freely. He's the first man to be born with chakra and the first jinchūriki in history. He was also powerful enough to stand against Kaguya and the Ten-Tails, alongside his brother Hamura, for months and seal her with the form. He also granted Naruto and Sasuke both the power to stop Kaguya, years after his death.