Choosing the right energy drink can have its perks. More energy, less sugar, perfect taste… Who is to complain?
For the occasional user of energy drinks, this likely won’t matter too much. But, if you take energy drinks on the regular and looking to stock up in bulk – then this guide is meant to assist you in making the right choice.
Below we’ve rated the top 15 energy drinks. The first section is a top 15 of overall best. The second section is a top 5 of the ‘healthy’ options. By the end of this guide, you should know exactly which energy drinks are best for you.
15 Overall Best Energy Drinks
#1 Monster Energy
Product Spotlight: Monster Energy Zero Ultra
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.
Background: 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.
Bottom line: Due to sheer availability and selection, Monster Energy easily takes the cake as the best energy drink on the market. The energy blend is powerful, flavoring is pleasurable, and the stuff is stocked everywhere. Bottom line, you can rely on being able to find it. If you would like something less popular but more intense and exotic, continue below.
#2 Red Bull
Some classics never die, and its quite clear to us that Red Bull isn’t going anywhere. A true pioneer, Red Bull has been featured in more clinical studies than any other energy drink. With goals set on energy and performance enhancement as a whole, there is nothing ‘not cool’ about Red Bull. The formula has survived this long, and that says something.
Background: Red Bull is single-handedly the oldest competitor in the energy drink market, with over 30 years of experience. Getting its start in Austria, Red Bull launched in 1987 under the leadership of Dietrich Mateschitz. Thirty plus years later, Red Bull has sold over 7 Billion cans, is in over 171 countries, and sponsors countless events worldwide.
Bottom line: Red Bull comes in several flavors, sizes, and sugar content varieties. You can get it basically everywhere, and prices are fine-tuned to a global standard. If you’ve found yourself wanting to stick with the classic, but thinking its been out-done… Well, not by much. If that was the case, we’re certain that Red Bull would adapt and re-conquer.Get Red Bull
#3 Bang Energy Drink
VPX Bang, also referred to as just ‘BANG Energy’ is a heavily advertised energy drink that we’re sure you’ve heard of. Like most of the other options, it comes with pros and cons. To begin, VPX claims that bang is healthy, and touts its ingredient: Super Creatine. But what we don’t like about that, is how there is actually more sodium benzoate and EDTA in a can of BANG than actual Super Creatine. Well, wonder what that does for health?
Background: VPX BANG was created by Jack Owoc who self-proclaims as the ‘inventor’ of VPX supplements. If you are a bodybuilder, then you are likely more familiar with VPX’s BANG Master Blaster pre workout. Same concept here, just without all the added ingredients (the pre workout and energy drink are entirely different).
Variations: BANG comes in a myriad of different flavors.
Bottom line: If you would like a high caffeine energy drink without the guilt of calories, BANG could be it. However, don’t believe for one second that this drink is ‘healthful’. Compared to the energy drink market its not necessarily worse than others, but that doesn’t give it the badge of health.Get Bang Energy
#4 Rockstar Energy Drink
Rockstar is easily one of the top 3 energy drink brands, right up alongside Monster and Red Bull. Why? Likely market timing and a great team of promotors! Rockstar has the look, the taste, variations that will make anyone happy – and best off all, a wide campaign of events!
Background: Similar to Red Bull and Monster, Rockstar has a long legacy behind it in the energy drink world. What was once a small Las Vegas company, has now encroached onto a large energy drink market share, selling cans globally and sponsoring events all the time.
Bottom line: Comparing Rockstar energy drink to the other top competitors is purely personal preference. Each brand offers comparable caffeinated and calorie restricted options… Its really all about YOU.Get Rockstar Energy
#5 3D Energy Drink (formerly UP)
A lesser known but rapidly growing brand, 3D Energy packs one of the largest caffeine dosages in energy drinks – with 200 mg per can. Digging further, while 3D Energy is not calorie free, it does have very limited carbs. Each serving of 3D Energy contains only 6 grams of carbohydrates (2 of which are sugar alcohols), making calories per serving to 15. Not bad.
Background: 3D Energy is owned by Chris Guzman and actually used to be called UP Energy. They rebranded due to legal issues with the UP name, however that hasn’t slowed them down. Chris Guzman also owns Ghost Lifestyle which makes the Ghost pre workout. Its unclear to us why these two brands are separated and not combined. Likely due to strategic partners.
Additional variations: currently 3D energy is a one trick pony. However, it does come in multiple flavors.
Bottom Line: If you’d like a great tasting energy drink that is higher on the caffeine and low carb – 3D Energy is a great option. Likewise, with sleek branding and a good reputation 3D Energy won’t hurt your cool.Get 3D Energy Drink
#6 Celcius Energy Drink
Celcius is to the fitness community, what Red Bill and Monster are to extreme sports. They go hand in hand, with ease. With their standard drink containing 200 mg of caffeine per can, and the Celcius HEAT version containing 300 mg – there is certainly enough energy to get your body moving.
Background: Founded in 2004, similar to other energy drink brands, celcius began with a glass-bottled drink. What separated Celcius from the pack, was their commitment to a fat burning energy drink… Which they later proved through research to be effective. Now, Celcius comes in standard cans with the same quality formula.
Variations: Originals, Sweetened with Stevia, On-The-Go stick packs, Celcius HEAT.
Bottom line: Celcius is one of the better sugar-free energy drink options. If getting into shape and cutting excess fat is a priority, then this is one of the only options you’ve got. Picky drinker? Lucky for you, Celcius comes in a range of different styles and flavors. We’re sure you’ll find a few that fit you.
Compared to other energy drinks, Xyience attempts to make a ‘healthier’ alternative to sugar-filled artificial energy products. While they don’t nail the target completely on the head, they do come close. Xyience energy drinks contain zero calories, is naturally flavored (but artificially sweetened), and comes in a selection of refreshing tastes.
Background: Similar to Uptime energy, we couldn’t find history on these Xyience guys. What we did notice, is that their contact form on the bottom of their homepage is generic towards “Keurig and Dr. Pepper products”. Therefore, it is safe to assume that Xyience is more corporate than they lead on.
Variations: Only one take, with multiple flavors.
Bottom line: With zero calories and an almost natural approach, Xyience can attempt to meet you in the middle on your quest to find a healthy energy drink. Is it healthy itself? No. But it is far better than the worst of the worst, which is a more common problem than you’d expect.
#8 C4 Original Carbonated
Cellucor has long been a global leader in pre workout supplements with their famous C4 Extreme. Now, you can get that near-same formula in a delicious canned beverage. When looking for an energy drink to take before working out… This is it for the can loyalist.
Background: Cellucor is to workout supplements what Monster and Red Bull is to energy drinks. A true market leader. So, its not surprising that they chose to branch off and add a highly accessible option to their line-up.
Variations: currently original.
Bottom line: While this isn’t the best, healthiest, or most widely available energy drink… It is certainly noteworthy for its pre workout supplement roots. If you walk into the gym and need to buy a drink from the cooler, its either this or Celcius.
#9 Spike Energy Drink
Spike energy drink has two things in particular going for it. First, its zero calories. And second, its SPIKED with 350 mg of caffeine per can… That’s a lot! Besides the heap of caffeine, Spiked also contains a blend of n-acetyl-l-tyrosine and beta-alanine. While it won’t bring the heat like true pre workouts, it certainly is enough to get the job done.
Background: Like many of the other energy drink brands, Spike gives no story behind why they do what they do. Your guess is as good as ours.
Variations: Spike comes in Hardcore Energy, Shooter and Double Shot.
Bottom line: If you want the most caffeine possible in your energy drink, without all those dirty calories – Spike could be the drink for you. Its lean, mean, and ready.
#10 Rip It Energy
Rip It is one of those energy drinks that you can find just about everywhere, but no one ever really talks about it. Though, we find it to be pretty decent for two reasons. First, they disclose the dosages of the ingredients they use. Second, on their website and in retail locations – the stuff is cheap! Literally like 99 cents can. That blows away the competition.
Background: As with the continuing theme, very little background information on this company.
Variations: Rip It comes in several different flavors.
Bottom line: If you are all about value, then Rip It can certainly save you a lot of cash. Just don’t go looking for it on Amazon where its extremely overpriced. Instead, check out their website directly or get the hookup at a gas station.
With the famous catch-line: horsepower for humans; NOS energy drinks focus heavily on the energy blitz. Containing more caffeine than its competitors, NOS as been the target of lawsuits within the energy drink market.
Background: NOS energy grew with early-game grass roots just like many other energy drink brands. Interestingly, NOS is corporate owned by FUZE, but then influenced by Coca Colas own Monster holding rights to NOS. Interesting.
Variations: Zero, Loaded Cherry, Charged Citrus,
Bottom line: NOS is a once-popular option that you can still find around. Due to lawsuits, they have adjusted their can sizes and caffeine contents over the years. However, if you would like to reminisce with your old favorite energy drink – give it a go.
#12 Full Throttle
Full Throttle has been on a slow-fade for the last few years, as previous retailers are the only place you’ll still find it. Its moderately caffeinated, at 160 mg per can, and like most energy drinks – has quite the obsession with high sugars. Basically, it’s a highly caffeinated soda.
Background: Part of the popularity fade that we see with Full Throttle is likely due to the company being acquisitioned by Monster Energy. This likely lowered the cost to operate Full Throttle, and from there they are replenishing retail orders, but not necessarily working to grow the company.
Variations: 3 flavors.
Bottom line: Full Throttle is here for now, but we don’t expect this brand to exist too far into the future. If you are a fan, then enjoy it while you got it. Otherwise, pay no mind to it… Its basically a dead brand.
I must say that this is a sentimentally-rich personal favorite for myself. Back in the day, this is the ONLY energy drink I would reach for preceding long nights out. The flavor is rich, energy clean, and always in just the right quantity to keep you fueled but not over-fueled.
Background: Well, it would appear that our once proud AMP has been completely taken over by Pepsi Co and merged with Mountain Dew. This is pretty sad, but not surprising in this merger-rich market.
Bottom line: You still can find a lot of AMP energy drinks in gas stations, amazon, and other retail locations… However it appears that this will be faded out in light of Mountain Dew branded variations.
Resources: Website redirects to Mountain Dew – No Instagram – No Twitter
#14 5 Hour Energy
5 Hour Energy isn’t an energy drink par say. However, we both know that it fits the overall needs of the category well! What really separates 5 Hour Energy from energy drinks, besides being a shot – is that its marketed as being health conscious. However, 5 Hour Energy shots contain their fair share of preservatives like potassium sorbate, sodium benzoate, and EDTA which are cumulatively not ‘healthful’.
Background: Started in 2004, 5 Hour Energy quickly became the market leader for energy shots. Behind a health-first campaign, 5 Hour took advantage of people looking to help themselves, better, with an idea that its better for you than other energy sources. This is questionable.
Variations: Regular, Extra Strength, and Tea.
Bottom line: 5 Hour Energy has massive availability and reasonable pricing. It doesn’t taste bad, which is a plus, and is proven to increase energy levels. This may not be an ideal every-day solution, though from time to time it’s a reliable option. Just be sure to maintain proper hydration as the shot itself contains very little.
#15 Uptime Energy
Whoa, cool can, right? That’s good and all, but how effective is Uptime Energy drink? That’s a good question, here’s what we know: Each can contains about the same amount of caffeine as a cup of coffee. Each can contains about 40 grams of added sugars. There are some additional ingredients, but their quantities are not displayed… They don’t even make the primary ingredient label.
Background: Well, there isn’t much to say here unfortunately. The Uptime brand is pretty elusive, not even containing an about us page on their website. The only information we have, is in regards to a lawsuit against 3D Energy back when it was named ‘UP’, viewable here.
Variations: Cane sugar sweetened and sugar free.
Bottom line: Uptime Energy claims to use only premium ingredients, charges more, and positions itself authoritatively. However, we’re faced with not knowing the simple truth about how much of what ingredient is in the can. For that reason, we can’t justify ranking this any higher.
Are Energy Drinks Healthy?
In general, canned beverages are rarely going to be healthy. The majority of the energy drinks we’ve listed above contain artificial ingredients, flavors and sweeteners as well as serious preservatives.
Out of all the energy drinks we covered, the following 5 are the healthiest… Or, the least bad for you.
- Rockstar Organic
- Celcius Stevia Sweetened
- Uptime Energy
- 5 Hour energy
- Monster zero-calorie
Table of Contents
- 15 Overall Best Energy Drinks
- Are Energy Drinks Healthy?
- Final Verdict
The energy drinks market is definitely a unique atmosphere. Really, its more hype than anything else. Though, once companies get big enough, they begin pulling through with more favorable variations to appeal to the bigger market.
Whats your favorite energy drink? Share your thoughts below.