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Best Pre-Workout Powders

Updated April 2022
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Best of the Best
Cellucor C4 Original Pre-Workout Powder
C4 Original Pre-Workout Powder
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Expert Recommended
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A great product if you're looking for something that's going to give you a massive energy boost before your workout.


21 flavors. Leaves you feeling energized without making you jittery. Boosts your strength and endurance. Mixes well without becoming gritty or clumping. Begins working in as little as 15 minutes.


Uses artificial sweeteners. Can make you sick if taken on an empty stomach.

Best Bang for the Buck
Optimum Nutrition Essential Amino Energy
Optimum Nutrition
Essential Amino Energy
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Best for Beginners
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A great choice if you find that most pre-workout powders leave you jittery.


Available in 30 flavors. Gives you fast energy without relying too heavily on caffeine. Mixes well without clumping. Users enjoy the taste. Provides sustained energy for long, difficult workouts.


Contains artificial colors and sweeteners in some flavors.

Sierra Fit Pre-Workout Powder
Sierra Fit
Pre-Workout Powder
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Simple Yet Solid
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Powder packed with B-vitamins, electrolytes, and a blend of performance-enhancing ingredients.


Delivers potent energy boost and impressive performance results. Can be enjoyed with water or other beverages. No sugars or preservatives. Good value for 30 servings. Offered in a variety of tasty flavors.


Separates quickly. Best used with blender bottle.

Six Star Pre-Workout Explosion
Six Star
Pre-Workout Explosion
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Best for Experts
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A comprehensive pre-workout powder that offers not just a physical boost, but a mental one as well.


Enhances energy, performance, and focus. Helps aid in muscle growth. Promotes explosion and endurance. Includes up to 30 servings at a decent price. Good taste. No sugars.


Contains some artificial flavoring. Processed in a facility with nuts, milks, eggs, fish, and soy.

Vintage Labs Vintage BLAST Two-Stage Pre-Workout Supplement
Vintage Labs
Vintage BLAST Two-Stage Pre-Workout Supplement
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Your best option if you're looking for a natural pre-workout powder that doesn't use artificial colors or sweeteners.


Only uses natural ingredients. Non-habit forming. Two-stage formula that gives you an initial energy boost and then helps you sustain that high level throughout your workout. Blueberry lemonade flavor.


Expensive. Some find the flavor to be too tart.

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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. About BestReviews  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.About BestReviews 

We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.

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Buying guide for best pre-workout powders

You’re ready to hit the gym, determined to crush your workout. What can you take to make sure you can power through, no matter how tough your routine? A potent pre-workout powder can add an extra boost to any exercise regimen. With the right one, you can propel yourself safely to improve, with extra energy and endurance to boot.

Pre-workout powder can be a powerful exercise supplement because it contains ingredients meant to boost energy and combat muscle fatigue. It’s mainly beneficial for those looking for heightened focus, increased metabolism, more muscle mass and strength, and better overall performance.

Not all pre-workout powder is created equal, however, and it’s important to understand your body as well as your training goals before selecting one. Here, we’ve put together some factors to consider when choosing a pre-workout powder, as well as some of our top recommendations.

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Beta-alanine, commonly found in pre-workout powders, is known to improve immunity as well as performance.

Key considerations


When searching for a pre-workout powder, you’ll want to understand how your body reacts to stimulants. The main stimulant used in these products is caffeine, and many of them deliver anywhere from 100 to 400 milligrams (by comparison, an eight-ounce cup of coffee has 95 milligrams). The added caffeine increases alertness and energy, but can also increase body temperature and heart rate.

The main difference between drinking a large cup of caffeinated coffee and using a pre-workout powder is the scientific blend of caffeine with other components made specifically for increasing performance. So, not only will you get the added stimulation of caffeine but, depending on what powder you use, you’ll also have added support for building muscle or recovering faster.  

Amino acids

Pre-workout powders that don’t contain caffeine undoubtedly contain amino acids. Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins. They play a vital role in building muscle and regulating the immune system. As a supplement, amino acids are considered a more natural way to increase performance.

Though your body needs 20 different amino acids, 9 are considered essential. Of those, the ones commonly found in pre-workout powder are called branch chain amino acids (BCAAs) and include leucine, isoleucine, and valine. Unlike other amino acids, these are broken down in the muscles, not the liver, and thus play a bigger role in energy production during workouts. In pre-workout powder, amino acids combat muscle fatigue, increase blood flow, or convert fatty acids into energy.

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Did you know?
After taking the same pre-workout powder for an extended period of time, it may seem less effective. This is normal. Take a break, or look for ways to boost the product by adding more amino acids or creatine.

Pre-workout powder features

Proprietary blends

Amino acids and caffeine are just a few of the more common additives that manufacturers use to fuel their products. A “proprietary blend” describes a manufacturer’s own combination of multiple active ingredients to create a powerful mixture of energy-boosting power. They create these blends to add subtle properties to make one pre-workout powder stand out from the rest.

For example, small amounts of l-citrulline and beta-alanine (both nonessential amino acids) may be added to a product along with creatine to provide more energy-boosting, and muscle building properties. While they might not be listed individually as ingredients, they’ll be grouped together as part of a proprietary blend.

Make sure you read the labelling on the product to make sure it provides you with exactly what you’re looking for and doesn’t include ingredients you don’t want.   


The good news about pre-workout powders is that there are endless flavour options. Unlike protein powders, pre-workout powders can range from flavourless to super sweet. Some products use natural flavourings, so be sure to check the label if you want to avoid artificial sweeteners. If you’re shopping offline, many stores allow customers to taste a small sample before purchasing.

Size and variations

Most pre-workout powders come in a 30-serving container, enough for a month or two for those who work out regularly.

Some pre-workout powders also come in liquid form. These are commonly referred to as OTG (On the Go) and are intended for a one-time quick energy boost if you aren’t able to mix your own.

Pre-workout powder prices

High-quality pre-workout powders aren’t cheap, but you certainly don’t want to put your health at risk by cutting any corners with this product. The cost of a standard 30-day supply ranges from $20 to $80. Beginners can find a safe and effective product for about $40.

Keep in mind that many of the main ingredients, such as caffeine, BCAAs, and amino acids, can be purchased on their own. If you understand your needs, you can create your own pre-workout mixture and potentially save money.


  • Stay hydrated. Increased stimulation means more sweat. Drink plenty of water.

  • Adhere to dosage guidelines. If you’re using a pre-workout powder for the first time, start with half a dose to gauge your body’s response.

  • Shake the container. When left alone for a while, the pre-workout powder can settle and harden. Give the container a good shake to loosen the powder. As long as the product isn’t past the expiration date, it should be fine.

  • Take a break or change the mix. If you feel like your pre-workout powder is no longer having the same effect, instead of increasing the dose, take a break. Or you can try adding a bit more of a single ingredient like l-citrulline, beta-alanine, or BCAAs.

Other products we considered

The Viva Deo PureBeets Beetroot Powder is an excellent 100% organic pre-workout alternative. This beetroot powder stands out for its antioxidants, and in addition to boosting energy and stamina, it purports to support brain health, blood pressure, and liver function. Another popular product is the Pro Supps Mr. Hyde NitroX Pre-Workout Powder. It comes in ten different flavours and is packed with l-citrulline, beta-alanine, and creatine for energy and muscle-pumping power. What’s great is the TeaCrine formula provides an energy boost without increasing heart rate or blood pressure. 

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Store your pre-workout powder in a cool, dry place.


Q. Can I take a pre-workout powder before my evening workout?
Stimulants affect everyone differently. Even after a workout, the body can continue to feel the effects of a potent pre-workout powder. Ideally, you’ll want to avoid caffeinated pre-workout powders in the evening because you might have trouble falling asleep.

Q. How long will the effects of a pre-workout powder last?
Depending on the dosage, the effects will kick in after about 15 to 20 minutes and last for several hours.

Q. Is a powder formula better than a liquid or pill formula?
Liquid pre-workout supplements tend to begin to work more quickly than powdered, pill, or capsule formulas. Ultimately, it comes down to convenience and flexibility. Powder is the most popular option because you can easily adjust the dosage to get the most from the product and your workout.

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