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Best Energy Drinks Reviewed & Rated for Quality

last updated Feb 22, 2019

Let’s face it, unless you have superhuman powers or you’re Beyonce, you are going to need a little energy boost to keep you going from time to time. Whether you’re a working mom on the go, an athlete looking for a competitive edge, a college student trying to make Dean’s List, or a thrill seeker, there’s an energy drink for you.

But not all energy drinks are created equal. Some are specially designed to boost brain function, while others are created to stimulate the body. There are even energy drinks targeted exclusively at gamers! Plus, there’s a big difference when it comes to ingredients. Some drinks come loaded with sugar, including natural or artificial sweeteners instead.

We’ve put together this list of energy drinks to help you decide which beverage to reach for when that nagging, familiar slumpy feeling hits and won’t go away.

In a Hurry? The test winner after 8 hrs of research

icon
Monster Energy Ultra, Sugar-Free
97.2/100 our score
Product Purity
98
Effectiveness
97
Value
97
Use
97
Ease of Use
97
Monster Energy Ultra, Sugar-Free
Why is it better?

No sugar

No calories

No aftertaste

5 flavors to choose from

Relatively inexpensive compared to coffee house prices

In a Hurry? Editors choice:
Monster Energy Ultra, Sugar-Free
Test Winner: Monster Energy Ultra, Sugar-Free
Amazon Link
Researched Sources
30
Researched Sources
Reviews Considered
1,230
Reviews Considered
Hours Researching
8
Hours Researching
Products Evaluated
10
Products Evaluated
Sorting Options
Product Purity Effectiveness Value Use Ease of Use By Default
Rank
PictureProduct
Name
Rating
Shops
#1
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
97.2
Product Purity
98 %
Effectiveness
97 %
Value
97 %
Use
97 %
Ease of Use
97 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (18.08.19)
Amazon Link
$31.98
#2
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
96.6
Product Purity
97 %
Effectiveness
97 %
Value
95 %
Use
97 %
Ease of Use
97 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (18.08.19)
Amazon Link
$32.69
#3
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
96
Product Purity
96 %
Effectiveness
96 %
Value
96 %
Use
96 %
Ease of Use
96 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (18.08.19)
Amazon Link
$27.99
#4
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
96
Product Purity
96 %
Effectiveness
97 %
Value
96 %
Use
95 %
Ease of Use
96 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (18.08.19)
Amazon Link
$48.81
#5
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
95
Product Purity
96 %
Effectiveness
95 %
Value
95 %
Use
95 %
Ease of Use
94 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (18.08.19)
Amazon Link
$37.95
#6
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
94.4
Product Purity
94 %
Effectiveness
94 %
Value
94 %
Use
95 %
Ease of Use
95 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (18.08.19)
Amazon Link
$50.88
#7
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
93.8
Product Purity
95 %
Effectiveness
95 %
Value
93 %
Use
93 %
Ease of Use
93 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (18.08.19)
Amazon Link
$45.05
#8
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
92.6
Product Purity
93 %
Effectiveness
92 %
Value
93 %
Use
93 %
Ease of Use
92 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (18.08.19)
Amazon Link
$21.68
#9
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
92.2
Product Purity
93 %
Effectiveness
92 %
Value
91 %
Use
93 %
Ease of Use
92 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (18.08.19)
Amazon Link
$22.99
#10
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
90.8
Product Purity
91 %
Effectiveness
92 %
Value
91 %
Use
90 %
Ease of Use
90 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (18.08.19)
Amazon Link
$19.99
In Depth Review Top 10
  • Monster Energy Ultra, Sugar-Free Monster Energy Ultra, Sugar-Free
  • Red Bull, Sugar-Free Red Bull, Sugar-Free
  • Zipfizz Healthy Mix Zipfizz Healthy Mix
  • 5-hour Energy Shot 5-hour Energy Shot
  • VPX Bang VPX Bang
  • Celsius Sugar-Free Celsius Sugar-Free
  •  Starbucks Doubleshot Starbucks Doubleshot
  • V8 + Energy V8 + Energy
  • MTN DEW AMP Game Fuel MTN DEW AMP Game Fuel
  • Zevia Zero Calorie Zevia Zero Calorie
Table of contents
  • Criteria Used for Evaluation
  • Expert Interviews & Opinions
  • Other Factors to Consider
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Sources

10 Best Energy Drinks

1. Monster Energy Ultra, Sugar-Free

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
97.2
Monster Energy Ultra, Sugar-Free
Amazon Link
Product Purity
98
Effectiveness
97
Value
97
Use
97
Ease of Use
97
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$31.98
Pros:

No sugar

No calories

No aftertaste

5 flavors to choose from

Relatively inexpensive compared to coffee house prices

Cons:

The kick may not be as noticeable as some would like.

Monster Ultra is Monster’s best selling product and ranked #1 across multiple sites. Because it is sugar-free and calorie free, it comes with little to no crash and is a perfect pick me up for those watching their caloric intake. But even though it is Ultra, it doesn’t compromise on flavor and still boasts a fizzy, smooth taste with almost no aftertaste at all.

Read more

No Unpleasant Aftertaste

Monster repeatedly ranks high in the taste category, and this Zero Ultra version is no different. In fact, it stands out among other sugar-free drinks because despite it not having sugar, it leaves the drinker with no weird and unpleasant aftertaste. Monster’s Ultra line comes in five different flavors: Ultra Blue (berry flavored), Ultra Red (cranberry flavored), Zero Ultra (light citrus flavor), Ultra Black (black cherry flavored), and Ultra Sunrise (orange flavored). After pouring over tons of reviews, Zero Ultra flavor is the fan favorite. Each can gets its kick from B3 vitamins, ginseng extract, and about 140mg of caffeine a can (Ultra Sunrise contains 150mg).

Long Lasting Effect

Ultra Sunrise, with 150mg of caffeine per can, gives the fastest and longest lift. Ultra Blue, Red and Black take a little longer to kick in, but still provide a sustained effect. Zero Ultra has the least amount of caffeine, but it was still voted number one among drinkers because it provided a nice lift during the afternoon slump without causing a huge jolt of energy or a big crash later.

Cost and Value

Monster Ultra packs a lot of value. Each can contains as much caffeine as your average cup of coffee house coffee, plus Ultra comes in a variety of flavors to suit any mood--all costing less than $2 per can. Try finding a coffee house coffee at that price point. Ultra provides value and variety.

2. Red Bull, Sugar-Free

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
96.6
Red Bull, Sugar-Free
Amazon Link
Product Purity
97
Effectiveness
97
Value
95
Use
97
Ease of Use
97
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$32.69
Pros:

No sugar

Only 5 calories

Little aftertaste

3 flavors to choose from

Relatively inexpensive compared to coffee house prices

Cans made from 100% recycled materials

Cons:

The boost from Sugar-Free Red Bull may not last as long or seem as noticeable as that from Original Red Bull.

Red Bull Sugar-Free comes in a close second behind Monster Ultra in terms of taste, calories, and effect. Reviews boast a minimal aftertaste despite containing artificial sweeteners, and with only 5 calories per serving, the taste is hard to beat. Plus, there are three amazing flavors to choose from, and its small, compact size makes it super portable.

Read more

Great Sugar-free Taste

Red Bull is one of the most iconic energy drinks out there, and they recognized a need to provide sugar-free options to their customers. So they remade their original flavor using sugar-free ingredients--but they didn’t stop there. Now if you want a sugar free boost, you can get it in two other flavors as well: The Lime Edition (Limeade flavor) and The Purple Edition (Acai Berry flavor). Red Bull uses two artificial sweeteners (aspartame and Acesulfame K) that have been researched in great detail so you know you can rely on them. The energy in Red Bull comes from caffeine, taurine, and B vitamins. Red Bull packs in the same amount of caffeine as a standard coffee, ounce per ounce.

Long-lasting for Long Shifts

Red Bull Sugar-Free contains 80mg of caffeine in every 8.4 ounce can--that’s as much as a cup of coffee that is the same size. Drinkers report feeling an immediate lift that lasts for 4-6 hours. This beverage is especially popular among those who work long shifts in customer/patient care.

Cost and Value

Red Bull Sugar-Free provides convenience and value. Ringing up between $2 and $3 a can, it’s still cheaper than your average coffee house cup, and it’s much more portable too. Red Bull products use high-quality ingredients that are consistent and that you can rely on.

3. Zipfizz Healthy Mix

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
96
Zipfizz Healthy Mix
Amazon Link
Product Purity
96
Effectiveness
96
Value
96
Use
96
Ease of Use
96
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$27.99
Pros:

No sugar

Only 20 calories

Loaded with antioxidants, electrolytes and natural ingredients

11 flavors to choose from

Inexpensive

Super Portable

Cons:

Needing to have a separate container to mix in

Zipfizz really is healthy! With tons of antioxidants and micronutrients, it provides natural and sustained energy for up to six hours. Zipfizz only has 20 calories per serving and it comes in 11 delicious flavors, making this super portable energy option is a must. If that’s not enough, it has some extra good stuff that helps to keep you hydrated so you won’t feel all dried out afterward. And the best part? It’s super affordable.

Read more

Tons of Flavors to Choose From

Zipfizz comes in 11 yummy flavors with options like blueberry raspberry, citrus and orange cream to name a few. One tube of Zipfizz comes packed with tons of goodies. With a load of antioxidants for a natural boost, electrolytes from Magnesium and Potassium to help keep you hydrated, half a day’s multivitamin, no sugar, and 24 other nutritional ingredients, this product delivers more than just energy. 100mg of caffeine naturally extracted from green tea and guarana provide the final kick on top of it all.

Extra Long Boost from Electrolytes and Antioxidants

Because Zipfizz is loaded with vitamins, electrolytes, and antioxidants on top of caffeine, the lift is almost immediate and lasts for up to 6 hours. 100mg of caffeine is about the same as you would get in a small cup of coffee--but without all of the other benefits that Zipfizz provides, of course. Plus, the natural ingredients and emphasis on hydration leave you feeling refreshed, not drained and dried out.

Cost and Value

This product may have the best value of any on our list. Ringing up at just over $1 a tube, it is one of the most inexpensive options out there. Even more so considering that 2 tubes a day equal one multivitamin--that’s a lot of bang for your buck.

4. hour Energy Shot

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
96
hour Energy Shot
Amazon Link
Product Purity
96
Effectiveness
97
Value
96
Use
95
Ease of Use
96
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$48.81
Pros:

No sugar

Only 4 calories

Loaded with B Vitamins and 200mg of Caffeine

10 flavors to choose from

Inexpensive

Super Portable

Cons:

May have more caffeine than the average person is used to consuming.

Another great portable option, 5-Hour energy can pick you up anywhere you go and it doesn’t require refrigeration. Coming in 10 different flavors and with just four calories, this product is great for those who need a boost while watching their waistlines. Plus, since it comes in a shot, it goes down super easy, works incredibly fast, and gives you that boost you need for hours.

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Tons of Taste in a Tiny Package

5-Hour Energy comes in 10 amazing flavors: Berry, Pomegranate, Lemon-Lime, Grape, Orange and Pink Lemonade. Extra Strength 5-Hour Energy comes in Strawberry, Watermelon, Grape, Berry and Sour Apple. Berry is the most popular flavor among drinkers. The shot is not carbonated and it’s one of the only beverages on our list that you aren’t advised to drink cold. 5-Hour Energy is sweetened with Splenda, so you won’t see a sugar crash in your future. Each shot contains Niacin (which may make you feel a little flushed), Folic acid and an absolute truckload of Vitamins B6 and B12. Its proprietary energy blend includes taurine and a whopping 200mg of caffeine--quite a bit more than your average cup of joe.

Long Lasting Effect in a Shot

Since 5-Hour Energy comes in a shot, it is easy to take down in one gulp and delivers almost immediate energy. As the name of the product suggests, it provides steady energy for 5 or more hours without that familiar crash that comes with other products loaded with sugar. If you aren’t used to consuming caffeine daily, one bottle may be too much for you, so start with half at first.

Cost and Value

5-Hour Energy offers great value. At just about $2 per bottle, with 2 times the amount of caffeine as your average cup of coffee, it’s a nice alternative to your usual drip. Plus, just one bottle can power you through even the toughest shift.

5. VPX Bang

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
95
VPX Bang
Amazon Link
Product Purity
96
Effectiveness
95
Value
95
Use
95
Ease of Use
94
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$37.95
Pros:

No sugar

No calories

No carbs

Can drink on the Keto Diet

Loaded with 300mg of Caffeine

20+ flavors to choose from

Creatine for a great pre-workout drink

Cons:

May have more caffeine than the average person is used to consuming.

And they mean Bang for your flavor and quality buck. VPX has almost 20 flavors to choose from, and what makes them even better? VPX is produced by a pharmaceutical company, so you know you’re getting the highest quality ingredients backed up by real research. Plus, Bang provides ingredients for your brain and your body so you can grab it before your big meeting or workout.

Read more

20 Different Banging Flavors

Bang comes in almost 20 flavors ranging from options like Black Cherry Vanilla to guava pear to root bear and literally everything in between. If the variety of flavors wasn’t enough, it’s creatine formula makes it great for athletes and those planning to hit the gym by increasing energy and encouraging your body to burn fat. Did we mention there are 0 calories, carbs, and sugar in each can? And since the product is produced by a pharmaceutical company, you know you’re getting well-researched ingredients that do what they say they’re going to do. With 300mg of caffeine and a boatload of B Vitamins, Bang is definitely an energy beast.

Amp Up Your Workout

Since Bang has creatine and caffeine, it is designed to power not only the mind but the body as well throughout the day. Drinkers call Bang the best pre-workout beverage they’ve tried, and despite having a high amount of caffeine, reviewers report having minimal jitters or crash. However, if you aren’t accustomed to taking down large amounts of caffeine, this product may be too much for you with a whopping 300mg in each can. At the very least, you won’t need more than one.

Cost and Value

Bang is a little more expensive than other products on our list so far, coming in at about $3 per can. Still, with 3-4 times the amount of caffeine in your average cup of coffee, you are certainly getting bang for your buck. On top of it all, Bang gives vital power to the body as well, and because it is produced by a pharmaceutical company, you know you’re getting the right formula to power you through.

6. Celsius Sugar-Free

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
94.4
Celsius Sugar-Free
Amazon Link
Product Purity
94
Effectiveness
94
Value
94
Use
95
Ease of Use
95
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$50.88
Pros:

No sugar

Only 10 calories

Helps to burn up to 100 extra calories per workout

Loaded with 200mg of Caffeine

8 flavors to choose from, sparkling and flat

Chromium for controlling hunger

Cons:

Celsius may not be as bubbly and fizzy as some drinkers desire.

This product is geared towards those who want to get an extra punch in at the gym. Celsius has no sugar, no high fructose corn syrup, and no crash, making it the perfect beverage to crush before a workout. And this beverage really does what it says it does. It’s clinically proven to boost metabolism and help you burn through calories even faster. What’s more, it’s totally vegan and free of artificial preservatives and flavors--you can taste the realness.

Read more

Special Formula to Help Regulate Blood Sugar

Celsius Sugar-Free comes in comes in 6 delicious carbonated flavors (Orange, Grape Rush, Watermelon, Wild Berry, Kiwi Guava and Cola) and 2 new uncarbonated options (Peach Mango Green Tea and Raspberry Acai Green Tea). And with no aspartame, there’s no yucky aftertaste. Celsius gets its energy from Green Tea and Guarana, but where most drinks pull from the Guarana root, Celsius uses the seeds which have far more energy packed inside of them. As an added bonus, Celsius uses ginger in its formula to aid with boosting metabolism and providing soothing effects to the gut. Celsius is also packed with Vitamins C and B, as well as Chromium which is used to help regulate blood sugar in the body and prevents a nasty energy crash at the end of your workout.

Energy From Guarana Seeds

Celsius has tons of vitamins and about 200mg of natural caffeine per can, so it’s going to hit you quick--especially since it’s geared towards athletes who have no time to waste. They instruct athletes to drink about 15 minutes prior to working out. It is designed to raise your body temperature, so expect to feel the heat, but it’s all worth it. Drinking before a workout could result in burning an extra 100 calories. Don’t believe it? This research is actually backed up by 6 clinical studies.

Cost and Value

Celsius comes in at about $2 per can, giving it a great value. Additionally, many users report diluting the non-carbonated options with water and drinking them throughout the day for a more prolonged boost. And without all the artificial ingredients that other products use, plus the fact that Celsius is backed by 6 clinical studies, you know this is a beverage you can rely on.

7. Starbucks Doubleshot

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
93.8
 Starbucks Doubleshot
Amazon Link
Product Purity
95
Effectiveness
95
Value
93
Use
93
Ease of Use
93
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$45.05
Pros:

Loaded with about 150mg of Caffeine

5 flavors to choose from, all tasting like delicious coffee house treats

12 grams of protein per can

Cons:

Higher in calories than some consumers may like.

While coffee may not be the style of beverage that comes to mind when you hear “energy drink,” it has been picking people up for ages. This portable can combines coffee with traditional energy drink ingredients for a majorly tasty boost. Although it contains more calories than any other beverage on our list, once you taste any of the 5 amazing flavors, you’ll definitely see why it made the cut.

Read more

Dessert-Like Taste

Doubleshot comes in 5 delectable flavors: Coffee, Vanilla, Mocha, Hazelnut and White Chocolate. Each can has about 200 calories, though only about 20 of those calories come from fat. If you consider the 12 grams of protein along with the two servings of coffee inside each drink, the calorie count doesn’t seem so steep. Besides coffee, Doubleshot Energy gets its boost from Taurine, L-Carnitine, B8, Ginseng, and Guarana. Though this product includes real sugar, the nasty crash associated with sugar is balanced nicely by the 12 grams of protein. Simply put, Doubleshot Energy is delicious, and not nearly as much of a guilty pleasure as it seems.

Packed with Protein

Starbucks Doubleshot Energy combines all the goodness of sweet, coffeehouse treats with the power of your standard energy drink--plus a whopping 12 grams of protein. You will gulp down every delicious sip in a flash, and the unique blend of ingredients will power your body and mind for hours. The protein also serves to tame your appetite while giving your body a boost.

Cost and Value

Starbucks Doubleshot Energy comes in as one of the pricier items on our list at almost $3 a can. However, when you consider that each can contains 2 servings of coffee and a load of protein and B Vitamins, you can see why it hits this price range. And on top of it all, it tastes like dessert. You deserve to treat yourself after all.

8. V8 + Energy

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
92.6
V8 + Energy
Amazon Link
Product Purity
93
Effectiveness
92
Value
93
Use
93
Ease of Use
92
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$21.68
Pros:

No added sugar

A full serving of fruits and vegetables

80mg of Caffeine from Green Tea

12 delicious flavors to choose from

Cons:

Might not give some drinkers quite the jolt they’re looking for.

This V8 + Energy drink provides about as much caffeine as a cup of coffee, and it also dishes up one whole serving of vegetables and fruits. With half as much sugar as other full sugar energy drinks, and with no added sugar at all, this is really a beverage you can get behind. Plus, there are no artificial flavors or colorings and V8 is 100% GMO-free.

Read more

Natural Life from Fruits and Veggies

V8 + Energy is packed with fruits and vegetables, so it provides a naturally smooth come-up. Then the 80mg of caffeine from green tea keeps you up and going. With no added sugars and a balance of nutrients, V8 gives you energy without the jitters and crash.

Unique Taste
This drink comes in a number of flavor options such as orange pineapple or blackberry cranberry and in 8.4 ounce or 12-ounce cans. These drinks are lightly carbonated for a refreshing taste that will prove to be as tasty as it is energy-giving.

Cost and Value

This fresh and fruity beverage comes at a pretty low-cost point--about $1 per can. Considering a full serving of fruits and veggies at the store would cost about 50 cents alone, you’re really getting a lot for your buck here.

9. MTN DEW AMP Game Fuel

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
92.2
MTN DEW AMP Game Fuel
Amazon Link
Product Purity
93
Effectiveness
92
Value
91
Use
93
Ease of Use
92
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$22.99
Pros:

Contains real fruit juice

Conveniently unique packaging

90mg of Caffeine

4 wild flavors to choose from

Cons:

The taste may vary too much from the original flavors for some people’s liking.

An energy drink designed just for gamers? That’s right! This special formula combines caffeine and theanine to boost accuracy and make you more alert. But it’s not just the formula that makes it an ideal grab for gamers. The bottle is specially designed to be easily accessible and to keep equipment safe.

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Special Formula Designed for Gamers

Game Fuel comes in 4 radical flavors: Charged Tropical Strike, Charged Cherry Burst, Charged Berry Blast and Charged Original Dew. This new and improved formula contains about 5% real fruit juice. It has far less sugar than the original version, but that sugar has been replaced by artificial sweeteners. Each 16-ounce bottle has about 90mg of caffeine and is balanced out by a formula of L-theanine, ginseng, yerba mate, Vitamin A and tons of B Vitamins.

Great for Long Gaming Sessions

With 90mg of caffeine per bottle, plus an array of high energy supplements (L-theanine, ginseng, yerba mate, Vitamin A, and B Vitamins), Game Fuel will definitely give you the boost you need. The formula is designed to pick you up quickly and help you to maintain focus, so it won't leave you feeling jittery. It’s especially great for long gaming stretches where accuracy is key. And because it’s resealable, you aren’t forced to consume the whole product in one go.

Cost and Value

Game Fuel rings up at about $1.50, making it a super affordable option. It’s portability and unique formula make it a great choice for gamers who don’t want to lose their favorite game to a 12-year-old.

10. Zevia Zero Calorie

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
90.8
Zevia Zero Calorie
Amazon Link
Product Purity
91
Effectiveness
92
Value
91
Use
90
Ease of Use
90
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$19.99
Pros:

Contains all real ingredients

Zero calories, zero sugar, zero gluten

Vegan and Kosher

120mg of Caffeine

4 tasty flavors to choose from

Cons:

Doesn’t have a blend of energy providing supplements, only caffeine.

This product boasts A LOT of zeros: zero calories, zero sugar, zero gluten, zero artificial ingredients. What it does provide is all clean, all natural ingredients and more caffeine than your average cup of coffee. So if you are looking for a purer, lighter energy boost, Zevia Zero is definitely one to consider.

Read more

Gluten-Free, Kosher, and Vegan

Zevia Zero comes in 4 tempting flavors: Raspberry Lime, Mango Ginger, Grapefruit, and Kola. Zevia uses only naturally clean ingredients, deriving its sweetness from Stevia leaf. This product is gluten-free, kosher, and vegan, not to mention free of genetically modified organisms. Its energy punch comes strictly from 120mg of caffeine, so it falls more in the technical category of a soda than an energy drink. However, its design and utility make it much more than your average soda.

Power for Hours

With 120mg of caffeine, this baby will get you going. Its super light formula goes down quickly and smoothly, and will power you for hours. Remember, all the energy here is coming just from caffeine, so expect it to have the same effect as a 16-ounce coffee. But no need to expect a crashing feeling, as the natural stevia will let you down easy.

Cost and Value

Zero Zevia also rings up at about $1.50, making it a super affordable option as well. And since it only gets its energy from caffeine, it’s comparatively a much cheaper option than your coffee house drip.

Criteria Used for Evaluation

Effectiveness

Though some will drink energy drinks purely for flavor, let’s be honest, we’re here for the pump-me-up.

All but one of our drinks contain a blend of boosting ingredients to give you what you need. But pay attention to who each product is geared towards in order to get the best result possible. If a formula is specially designed for a gamer, don’t down it before you hit your next gym session.

Whether you’re a skater or a gym buff, an exhausted parent or a student, a gamer or yes, even Beyonce, there’s an energy drink for you. Actually, there’s probably more than one! So consider the options and find just the right one that suits your fancy.

Value

We considered true value. Are you getting what you’re paying for, and how does it stack up against your average cup of coffee?

All of our listings fall below the $3 mark, making them cheaper than your average cup of coffee offering the same amount of pick-me-up, not to mention all of the additional benefits our beverages provide.

Many of our beverages include added vitamins, antioxidants or electrolytes, so you’re not just getting hyped--you’re getting nourished too.

Product Purity

No matter how amped a drink gets you, you’re not going to turn to it for everyday gas if tastes horrible. That’s why taste was one of our number one considerations when selecting our energy drinks.

Most of the products on our list come in a variety of flavors. Though some folks will find their flavor and stick with it--like ordering the same thing at your favorite restaurant every time--being able to try different flavors within a brand you love keeps things from getting stale and boring.

We also made sure to include a mix of natural energy drinks for those seeking more holistic options. Whether you want all the sugar, are fine with artificial sweeteners, or are after natural sweeteners only, there’s something for you on our list.

Use

Not all energy drinks are created equal. We made sure to clearly list the caffeine content of each beverage so you don’t get in over your head. By consulting a third-party source, we were able to check caffeine levels advertised and provided the actual content.

Ease of Use

We looked for energy designed for people on the go. Powders, shots, and small bottles get high scores on our list.

Expert Interviews & Opinions

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expert tips icon
Check the label

Take a look at the label. If you don’t want your foods containing a bunch of ingredients that you can’t pronounce, chances are you don’t want your energy drinks containing those either. Look for beverages that provide natural sources of energy, rather than chemical products. Not only are these better for you, but they’ll provide smoother, more sustained energy without the major crash at the end.

Do not mix with alcohol

While mixing energy drinks with alcohol is a popular choice especially in college, and double-especially with sugar and calorie free versions of these products, it is highly dangerous and not at all advisable. Combining caffeine with alcohol can cause you to drink more alcohol than you normally would because caffeine counters some of alcohol’s immediate effects. Additionally, both caffeine and alcohol cause an increase in heart rate, so heart palpitations and panic attacks have been reported. Do yourself a favor a enjoy energy drinks and alcohol separately--and responsibly, of course.

Other Factors to Consider

Features

We know we’re talking to people on the go, and that it’s important to have a drink that can go with you. Whether you're throwing it in your bag or drinking it on your way, consuming an energy drink should be quick and easy.

Though a few of our products come in monster sized cans, many are super small and portable. We looked for resealable products and powdered options already available for ease of consumption. Keep up with these brands as many are releasing new powdered versions of the products listed here to make them even more portable and accessible.

Side Effects

When consuming energy drinks, you’ll definitely want to be aware of potential side effects. Taking in large quantities of caffeine can lead to a series of scary side effects like heart palpitations, vomiting, nausea, convulsions, high blood pressure, and even type 2 diabetes.

But caffeine isn’t the only substance in energy drinks you have to worry about. Many of the popular ingredients in energy drinks (like guarana) are fairly new and haven’t been sufficiently researched, so long-term effects of habitual use are unknown.

Frequently Asked Questions

q: What exactly makes an energy drink an energy drink?

a:

Neither the FDA nor the USDA technically recognize or have determined the specifications of what an energy drink is, but in general terms, an energy drink contains a combination of caffeine with other energy enhancing components like taurine, ginseng, B vitamins, and guarana. However, the amounts of each component vary per beverage and purpose.

q: Do these all have the same amount of caffeine?

a:

No! And the amount each product and brand contains can vary widely. The products on our list range from having 80mg of caffeine to almost 300mg of caffeine per serving, so make sure you read labels and reviews.

q: Can I drink more than one a day?

a:

Again, look at the amount of caffeine on the label. Most brands advise consuming no more than 2 of their drinks a day, 6 hours apart.

q: Can kids drink these?

a:

Research suggests that kids are no more sensitive to caffeine than adults. However, that being said, serious judgment should be used by parents when allowing their children to consume energy drinks. Not only do growing kids need a variety of nutrients that can’t be found in energy drinks, but they also lack the reasoning skills to tell them how much is enough.

q: How is an energy drink different than a sport’s drink?

a:

While some energy drinks are marketed towards athletes as pre-workout fuel, energy drinks and sports drinks are not the same. Sports drinks are formulated to provide re-hydration after or even during a workout. Energy drinks might give you a boost, but only one from the list above has enough electrolytes to provide actual hydration.

q: Are these the same as an energy shot?

a:

No, though they contain some of the same ingredients, they are not the same. Energy drinks are regulated much in the same way as other sodas and juices of the same size--basically drinks that are non-alcoholic. Energy shots, on the other hand, are considered to be more of a dietary supplement and come in much smaller containers (about 2 ounces). These tend to have more caffeine as well.

Sources

  1. Drink Aware Staff, Energy drinks and drinking more alcohol, Article
  2. Caffeine Informer Staff , Caffeine Levels, Site
  3. Elizabeth Lee, Are Energy Shots Safe, Article