Don’t you hate it when you’re dragging the noon, or if you’re lucky, by midafternoon?
Those days seem tough to get through because you’re just feeling tired. You can’t quite figure out why or how, but you know you need a jolt to get you through the rest of the day.
That’s the time that you start thinking about coffee to get over the hump. If you’re one of the many that don’t like coffee, then you’re looking for something else to be able to push through, and that something else is an energy drink.
Like many people, you’re going to find that the best energy drink for you may not be the best for someone else. To help you along your way, let’s start at the beginning and then go down the list of the best options we have found so far.
What is an Energy Drink?
Energy drinks are designed to boost your overall energy when you feel yourself dragging. The ingredients that make this possible are caffeine and sugar. Caffeine is well-known as a stimulant that is meant to increase your overall output.
Sugar is meant to give you an immediate energy boost as it raises the level of your blood sugar. While caffeine and sugar are at the core, there are additional ingredients that are also believed to increase your productivity.
You’ve likely heard of ginseng which is a herbal supplement that is supposed to increase your concentration and awareness. It is also a common ingredient in energy drinks, along with taurine, ephedrine, and guarana.
For the best flavour in energy drinks, you’re going to want to drink them cold. Warm energy drinks don’t taste all that great, but if you need the energy, you can probably choke it down without too much of a problem.
How We Choose Our Ratings
Our ratings for the best energy drinks are chosen based on customer reviews, portability, and caffeine content. We researched experiences from real people to arrive at what we decided they were each worth. All ratings have been chosen based on how applicable they are for adults because energy drinks are not recommended for children, not even teenagers.
If you’d like more information about health concerns for kids regarding energy drinks, we encourage you to do some research on that topic.
Know that the American Academy of Pediatrics and the CDC both discourage consuming energy drinks if you’re under the age of 19 because the amount of caffeine found in a single drink is often more than the recommended amount. Consuming too many stimulants like those found in energy drinks can cause damage to a developing nervous system that has not yet had time to mature.
10 Best Energy Drinks for You
Energy drinks make up a billion-dollar industry. You see them everywhere, but you may not be sure which one to try. Admittedly, some of them taste pretty awful, so when you’re in need of a quick boost, grab one of our recommendations for something that will sit well on your palate and give you the energy you need.
1. Red Bull
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, by now, you’ve probably heard the slogan that “Red Bull Gives You Wings.” When it comes to energy drinks, Red Bull was the first to successfully market itself as an energy drink providing the boost you need when you hit that midday drag.
It contains approximately the same amount of caffeine as a 6-ounce cup of coffee at 80 milligrams in a single 8.4-ounce can. It also contains amino acids and other essential vitamins meant to help boost your mental wakefulness, concentration, and even your memory.
Red Bull is a reliable source of energy and has been for years. They have a formula that works, and beyond adding a sugar-free version, they leave it at that. The only reason it’s rated lower than most of those below is that the cans are smaller than their energy drink counterparts. Otherwise, the caffeine is equivalent to many of its competitors.
2. Monster Energy
Monster is without a doubt one of the most recognizable energy drink brands. Whereas other market leaders like Red Bull stick to only a few product variations, Monster has gone on a true product spree creating multiple ranges of canned drinks.
Monster focuses on everything that go-hard thrill-seekers love: fast cars, dangerous sports, music, etcetera. They have a hip feel, even partaking in promotions with several mainstream video games. Basically, as long as you are not a total square – Monster has partnered with something you like.
3. Rockstar & Rockstar Sugar-Free
Rockstar contains the same amount of caffeine that Monster and Red Bull do – 80 milligrams per 8-ounce serving. It also contains essential vitamins like B6, niacin, pantothenic acid, and riboflavin. You’ll also find a few herbal supplements like guarana, ginseng, and milk thistle, just to name a few.
If you want to cut out the sugar, consider instead Rockstar Sugar Free. It contains the same amount of caffeine, but only 20 calories in every 16-ounce can. Keep in mind, that just like Monster, each can contains two servings, not just one.
There isn’t a whole lot that stands out about this energy drink aside from being available in regular and sugar-free versions. On the bright side, it does come in several flavours. That’s what keeps it at a 4.5 by our standards.
4. 5-Hour Energy
If you need a massive amount of energy and intend to be active, then 5-Hour Energy might be a good choice for you. The single-shot gives you more caffeine than just about any canned other energy drink at 200 milligrams per bottle.
Like most energy drinks, you’re going to also find B vitamins inside of the single-shot bottle. Be aware that there are potent amounts of vitamins like niacin, and as per US Food and Nutrition guidelines, you don’t want to partake of more than single energy shot any given day. You also should not take any other energy drinks the same day you drink a 5-Hour Energy shot.
The caffeine does in one shot in combination with needing to follow national guidelines to keep from experiencing side effects keeps this one at a solid 4.5 on our scale.
5. VPX Bang Energy Drink
VPX Bang Energy Drink has something unique in its makeup because it also contains creatine which is fantastic for those that love the extra workout booster. This energy drink is also made to be sugar-free, which is a distinct difference from the other energy drinks on the market. It also comes in multiple flavours like Starfruit and Champagne.
Do keep in mind that it is sweetened with sucralose, otherwise known as Splenda, so it can cause digestive upset beyond what the 300 milligrams of caffeine might do. That’s why this one doesn’t have a perfect rating. Other ingredients you’ll find in this drink include B vitamins, magnesium, niacin, and vitamin C.
6. Burn Energy Drink
Burn Energy Drink is made by Coca-Cola and originally was launched in just Europe. Now available in most regions of the world except for Oceania and Southern Asia.
Burn Energy Drink is available in the following flavours but can vary according to the region: Original, Sugar-free, Tropical, Blue, Berry, Mocha Energy, Lemon ice, Pineapple, Apple-Kiwi, Apple-Blackcurrant
It has more caffeine than your average run of the mill energy drink and it contains other potent energy ingredients such as ginseng and arginine. Combine that with electrolytes, antioxidants and b-vitamins and you have a very complete beverage.
7. NOS High-Performance Energy Drink
NOS High Performance is one of the best-tasting energy drinks, hands down. That alone deserves a high rating. The flavor is different from the other energy drinks on the market, but that’s something you’ll appreciate if you try it. It keeps you awake and alert to keep you operating at your best when you need the energy boost, too.
It doesn’t have the most caffeine, but it does have a decent amount of caffeine in its 16-ounce can. Each one contains a full 260 milligrams of caffeine, which is more than competitors like Rockstar or Red Bull, but still not as much as a Redline shot or a VPX Bang.
8. Zipfizz Energy Drinks
If you like carrying an energy drink around with you to drink at your convenience, then Zipfizz is the energy drink of choice for you. It is a powder-form energy drink mix that you drop into your 16-ounce water bottle making this an extremely portable option. It’s also available in different flavours.
Containing 100 milligrams of caffeine, it contains a decent balance of vitamins and minerals as well. One of the best things about this one is that it provides a similar amount of caffeine to an 8-ounce cup of coffee, which means it is more difficult to drink too much of a good thing.
Portability and easy caffeine regulation combined with vitamins and minerals give this one a perfect rating in our book as one of the best energy drinks on the market.
9. Redline VPX
Redline VPX is an energy shot similar to 5-hour energy in its packaging. It contains a whopping 320 milligrams of caffeine in the bottle along with the herbal supplements like yerba mate and green tea extract.
Something else that makes this one stand out is that it also contains electrolytes, calcium, and magnesium. This energy shot is also sweetened with sucralose, a.k.a. Splenda, so combined with the massive amount of caffeine, it may cause stomach upset if you’re not accustomed to such high amounts of stimulants. The potential stomach upset is the reason for a less than perfect rating on this one.
10. Amp Energy
If you don’t like the taste of any energy drinks except maybe NOS, there is no judgment against you at all for that. If they’re not cold, they can be hard to get down, but that’s where AMP Energy comes in. It’s a newer energy drink with 150 milligrams of caffeine in every 16-ounce bottle, and its flavours mimic real sodas.
It doesn’t do a whole lot in the vitamin department like many of the others, and it’s also made with real sugar. If you check the nutrition label, it doesn’t give a whole lot of information aside from ingredients, but not necessarily the concentrations. That keeps it from having a perfect five-star rating.
What We Think
Energy drinks are an excellent alternative to coffee if you prefer to avoid coffee. They provide fantastic caffeine sources to boost your energy and your overall alertness.
On the other hand, it’s easy to overdo it on the caffeine given the amount that is found in each one of these energy drinks. Finding the best energy drink is going to mean that you should probably shop around and try different ones to see how you react.
Don’t forget that energy drinks are designed to improve your personal performance. If you’re going to be using them as an athlete, you may or may not want something with sugar. If you’re using one to get through the afternoon but sit at a desk all day, you may want something sugar free instead.
Remember, different people have different reactions. You may realize that more than 200 milligrams of caffeine make you feel extremely jittery instead of focused. Don’t necessarily be discouraged if you don’t find one that works for you right away. It might very well take some time.
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