What is the best energy drink? (2019 edition)
With so many different energy drink brands available how can we know which one is the best how should we determine what is the best energy drink?
What factors go into our decision making to decide which energy drink is the absolute best?
In this article I will help you to understand some of the different ways that we can score energy drinks to figure out which ones are worth our taking a closer look at, and which ones we can set aside.
How to decide what energy drink is best
As an energy drink connoisseur, I consider myself to be quiet knowledgeable on the topic of energy drinks.
In my time I have tasted many, many different types of energy drinks and I've figured out a checklist that I use to rate energy drinks and make my job easier to decide which energy drinks are better and which energy drinks are worse.
Below is a list of the different criteria that I use to assess energy drinks:
- caffeine content
- energy boost
- market share
Let's talk about each of these one by one because they all deserve their own section.
How much caffeine is ideal?
Caffeine affects different people in different ways. The way that caffeine affects you will be different to the way the caffeine affects somebody else.
To a large extent, it depends on your body size and your physiological make-up.
For me, as a daily caffeine drinker, I prefer my drinks to contain between 50 and 100mg of caffeine. Any less than that and we're talking about drinks that are basically in the same category as regular sodas and any more than 100 milligrams of caffeine and it starts to become a little bit difficult to control the dosage that you get from each drink.
When I drink energy drinks that contain more than 100mg of caffeine I often experience hot flushes and a mild caffeine overdose which is not very pleasant.
But hey, some people prefer energy drinks with more caffeine.
I'm a daily caffeine drinker, 6'0" and 180 pounds. If you're smaller than me, or if you aren't a regular caffeine drinker you'll want to be even more cautious and perhaps go for something with a little less caffeine.
In my opinion, somewhere between 50 and 100mg of caffeine per serving is perfect.
For the reasons already mentioned above, I don't really like anything with more than 100mg per serving. I just find it a little bit too difficult to control how much caffeine I'm getting and as a result, I often end up feeling hot, flushed or unable to think clearly and concentrate.
Again, it's only my opinion that the perfect amount of caffeine in an energy drink is somewhere between 50-100mg.
With that in mind, here's a list of the best energy drinks based on meeting that caffeine quantity criteria:
• Red Bull (80mg of caffeine per 8.4oz can)
• Bing energy drink (100mg of caffeine per 12oz can)
• REIZE Energy Drink (50mg of caffeine per serving)
• Zipfizz energy (100mg of caffeine per tube)
• XS energy drink (80mg of caffeine per 8.4oz can)
Speaking of caffeine, always remember to consume energy drinks in moderation to avoid any potential health issues from overconsumption.
How do we rank energy drinks based on taste?
Taste is particularly tricky because no two sets of taste buds are alike. For that reason, an energy drink that I think tastes amazing might be something that you think is disgusting, and vice versa.
So, instead of me telling you the energy drinks that I think taste the best I'm going to look at taste reviews online.
By looking at reviews we can be confident that we are getting a good cross-section of opinions. With that out of the way, here is a list of the best-tasting energy drinks based on a wide range of reviews:
• Red Bull
I don't know about you, but I hate driving to the store, waiting in line, having to pay with cash, carrying groceries and energy drinks back to my car and driving home. The whole process seems unnecessarily time-consuming and difficult.
These days, I buy almost everything online, including energy drinks. That's the way I like it to make things as convenient as possible.
However, convenience doesn't end simply with buying things online.
We also need to consider things like shipping times, ease of buying online and ease of reordering when we run out and need more.
When weighing "convenience", this is where ready-to-drink cans lose to the lighter and more versatile energy drink powders. The ease of use and the simplicity of carrying them around in your bag or pocket make them a lot more convenient than carrying around a bulky can.
The most convenient energy drinks
Here's a list of the best energy drinks, based on the above criteria:
• REIZE Energy Drink (choose one-time purchase or subscriptions)
• Vivarin caffeine pills (yes, I know it's not an energy drink, but they are very convenient)
Price - lower is obviously better
When it comes to price, it's important to understand that price and value are not the same things. Too often we think that an expensive item is very precious and a cheaper item must somehow be inferior, but that's not always the case.
Sometimes things are just more expensive than they should be and other times we can find great products that are perhaps cheaper than they really ought to be.
Generally speaking, when we're talking about price, as consumers we prefer to pay less. That doesn't mean that we want to seek out low quality or cheap goods, rather that we want to seek out the better deals and the more affordable products so that we can get more bang for our buck.
Now that we can agree that when it comes to energy drinks, spending less money is obviously better than spending more money and that it doesn't mean that we're getting a worse product, here is a list of the best and most affordable energy drinks:
• REIZE Energy Drink (around $1 per drink including shipping)
• Guru (around $1.90 per drink)
• Advocare Spark energy drink (around $2.20 per drink)
• Zipfizz energy tubes (around $2.25 per drink)
• Celsius (around $2.25 per drink)
Do energy drinks actually work?
Let's face it, it doesn't matter how good an energy drink tastes or how healthy the ingredients list is if it doesn't provide a great energy boost. If it fails to deliver extra energy when you need it, then why bother drinking it at all?
Similar to what I said above about taste, it's possible that an energy drink that I think gives a fantastic energy boost may not affect you in the same way. Similarly, something that I think is useless might give you a nice energy boost.
So, to remove any chance of bias, instead of me telling you which energy drinks I think give the best energy boost, I'm going to look at a wide range of online reviews and we're going to take the consensus from those reviews.
Here's a list of the best energy-boosting energy drinks, based on a wide range of online reviews:
• Red Bull
Leading energy drink brands by market share
The worlds' leading energy drink by market share is...
Yep, you guessed it - Red Bull.
Red Bull sold around 6.5 billion energy drinks in 2018 and generated a healthy profit by doing so. The company is valued at over $10 billion.
Not bad for a drink that an Austrian guy discovered in Thailand.
Number two on the list based on market share is Monster.
Helped by a distribution partnership with Coca-Cola, Monster is now available in more than 100 countries. Monster earns about 30% of it's more than $3 billion net sales from countries outside of the United States.
But, around 70% of the companies earnings are US based. Monster is a publicly traded company (Nasdaq: MNST) and boasts around 60% gross profit margins.
To help you with the math, 60% gross profit on $3 billion in net sales is around $1.8 billion in gross profit.
If you're interested in some of the other differences between Red Bull and Monster you might find this worth a read too.
The third biggest energy drink brand by market share is Rockstar.
Rockstar controls about 10% of the US energy drink market, measured by market share.
After the top 3 brands, there are a slew of smaller brands competing for the remaining share of the pie. Notable mentions include:
The US energy drink market expanded by 4% in 2018, but the growth rate is slowing compared to past years and growth is expected to end around the year 2022.
Best energy drink ingredients
All good energy drinks contain caffeine. That's a given. I don't care what anyone says, if an "energy drink" doesn't contain caffeine, I doubt very much that it works nearly as good as I want it to.
We've already talked about caffeine above, but what about the other ingredients inside a can of energy drink?
Which ones are good and how much of them do we need?
Here's a helpful list of things that are generally good:
• B vitamins
• Vitamin C
And here's a couple of things that we want to be low or zero:
Despite the fact that some brands contain more than 100% of the recommended daily intake of some vitamins, there is absolutely no health benefit from consuming any more than 100% of what we need each day.
Surplus B and C vitamins are water-soluble, meaning they pass straight through our bodies and into the toilet bowl.
On the topic of "ingredients", many energy drink brands (I won't mention any names, but check your label) write certain healthy ingredients in large font on their cans.
However, usually when you dig into the amount of the listed ingredient included inside the can and then compare that to the "effective dose" you'll find that there is only a tiny amount of the good-sounding ingredient included in the can.
Why do they do this?
Energy drinks with the best ingredients
Based on the above criteria of a sensible amount of the good things and low or no sugar and calories, here are some great energy drinks that tick all the right boxes with regard to ingredients:
• Sugar Free Red Bull
Best energy drink in USA
Competition is fierce in the American energy drink market and there are lots of great brands and flavors to choose from.
Based on the above criteria for scoring energy drinks, the best energy drink in USA is Red Bull. But it is more expensive than I would like it to be, and certainly more expensive than many other leading brands.
They are a dominant force for a reason - they do lots of things right.
But, here are some notable mentions for other good quality energy drinks that are available in America:
• Red Bull (did you know that it was banned in France for 12 years?)
• Bang energy drink (although there is mounting concern over whether it's actually as good for you as they claim it to be)
• Mio energy by Kraft
• Rip It
Best energy drinks in Canada
Here's a list of the best energy drinks in Canada:
• Red Bull
Best energy drinks in the UK
Energy drinks are hugely popular in the UK.
Here's a list of the energy drinks that the English love the most:
• Red Bull
• Boost Energy Drink
• Emerge Energy Drink
Best energy drinks in Europe
Here's a list of some of the best energy drinks in Europe:
• Red Bull
Best energy drinks in Poland
These are some of the best energy drinks available in Poland:
• Red Bull
• Level Up
Best energy drinks in Australia
Australian's love energy drinks and drink about as many per capita as Americans do.
Here's a list of the best energy drinks down under:
• Red Bull
Best energy drinks in New Zealand
New Zealander's drink more energy drinks per capita than any other nation on the planet.
Here's a list of the best energy drinks available in NZ:
• V Drink
• Red Bull
Best energy drinks in Asia
Believe it or not, but the biggest energy drink market in the world isn't USA. It's China.
Energy drinks are rapidly gaining in popularity in Asia, with astonishing annual growth rates in some countries.
Here's a list of some of the best energy drinks in Asia:
• Red Bull
• Krating Daeng (the "original Red Bull" that inspired the modern day Red Bull that we all know)
Best energy drink available online
All things considered, I think REIZE is the best energy drink available online.
It scores so highly on all of the important criteria that we should consider when ranking energy drinks:
• Caffeine content
• The energy boost that it gives you
Sure, REIZE doesn't control a significant amount of the global market for energy drinks (yet), but that's a good thing in my opinion. It forces them to stay innovative and keep looking to improve their product and service as they chase down the current market leaders.
Besides, I prefer to root for the underdog.
So, if you're looking for a great value energy drink that scores highly across the board, give REIZE a try today.
You might just find that it quickly becomes the best energy drink in your eyes too.