We’ve all heard of creatine, we all know someone who uses it and we all know someone who believes it carries a health risk (it doesn’t!). It’s quite simply the most researched and talked about supplement in the sports supplement industry, which can make it pretty confusing when it comes to deciding what is the best product to buy.
After reviewing the 6 of the best creatine products on the market, covering different categories such as best creatine HCL and best creatine capsules, I’ve determined that the best overall creatine supplements you can currently get your hands on is Optimum Nutrition Micronized Creatine Monohydrate. From a highly reputable brand that has a great track record for quality, it simply does the job of a good creatine for a very fair price. For most people, a standard good quality creatine monohydrate will lead to more strength, power and muscular endurance within your training and this product for the vast majority will deliver just that.
But there are so many options and different creatine products out there that I’ve compiled a review of the best ones on the market, based on current research and customer feedback, so you can get the best one for you.
Table Of Contents
- 1 The Top Creatine Reviewed
- 2 Find the best creatine for you!
- 2.1 #1- Best Overall: Optimum Nutrition Micronized Creatine Monohydrate
- 2.2 #2- Best Creatine HCL: Kaged Muscle Creatine HCL
- 2.3 #3- Best Value: MuscleTech Platinum Creatine Monohydrate
- 2.4 #4- Best Premium Monohydrate: Kaged Muscle CreaClear
- 2.5 #5- Best Creatine Capsules: EFX Sports Kre-Alkalyn Capsules
- 2.6 #6- Best Creatine Blend: BPI Sports Best Creatine
- 3 Creatine Buying Guide
- 4 FAQs for creatine
- 5 Conclusion
The Top Creatine Reviewed
|Product Name||Main Features||Best for|
|Optimum Nutrition Micronized Creatine Monohydrate||100% pure creatine monohydrate|
Reliable and trusted brand
|Kaged Muscle Creatine HCl Powder||High bioavailability|
|Best Creatine HCl|
|MuscleTech Platinum Creatine Monohydrate||High-grade standard monohydrate|
|Kaged Muscle Creaclear||Ultra-absorbable|
|Best Premium Monohydrate|
|EFX Sports Kre-Alkalyn Capsules||Convenient capsule form|
|Best Creatine Capsules|
|BPI Sports best Creatine||Contains six forms of creatine|
Includes betaine and Himalayan Pink Salt
|Best Creatine Blend|
Find the best creatine for you!
#1- Best Overall: Optimum Nutrition Micronized Creatine Monohydrate
Dependable, simple, effective – Optimum Nutrition just do supplements well and their good ole’ creatine monohydrate is, like most of their products, the gold standard benchmark. They don’t mess around here, with each scoop delivering 5g of pure high quality-creatine that does exactly what it says on the tin.
While some supplement brands have been exposed in recent years (Jagim, A. R., Harty, P. S., & Camic, C. L, 2019), for underdosing their products or using poor quality ingredients (Graham A. S., & Hatton, R. C, 1999), Optimum Nutrition has always kept up their high standards. The thing about creatine is it works. It doesn’t need to be fancy and generally speaking it doesn’t have to be distilled down into a special form of creatine. Optimum Nutrition knows that and they deliver it at the fairest price. As always, they just want you to get results without paying for any added fillers, which are unnecessary and expensive.
- 100% pure creatine monohydrate, nice and simple.
- Good value for money.
- Reliable brand.
- A small minority don’t digest and absorb standard monohydrate well.
- No other ingredients for those who want more of an ‘all-in-one’ performance supplement.
#2- Best Creatine HCL: Kaged Muscle Creatine HCL
Creatine Hydrochloride is a form of creatine molecularly bound with hydrochloric acid to improve its solubility and bioavailability. It means the creatine can be broken down more quickly and absorbed into the muscle cells where it needs to be. Generally speaking, standard creatine monohydrate works fine for the majority, but some people do report digestive discomfort and some other minor side effects, which leaves the door open for creatine HCL as a better alternative.
What makes Kaged Muscle’s HCL superior is the patented, pure, high-grade formula C-HCL. Creatine HCL quality can and does differ, but Kaged Muscle cuts no corners with the best quality available on the market. More than just being the purest quality of HCL, it also contains no artificial colors or flavors and is third party tested, meaning an unbiased independent testing organization will confirm the quality of the product. They really leave no stone unturned!
- Patented pure grade C-HCL.
- No artificial colors or flavors.
- Lemon flavor available if you don’t want unflavoured.
- Vegetable capsules are available.
- Slightly more expensive than standard monohydrate.
- Offers no significant benefits to monohydrate for those who have no digestive issues.
#3- Best Value: MuscleTech Platinum Creatine Monohydrate
Like Optimum Nutrition, MuscleTech has a solid and reliable reputation in the sports supplement industry. You know you’re getting quality, tested products across their range. MuscleTech Platinum Creatine is another solid standard monohydrate that delivers a high-quality formula but also retails at a very reasonable price.
Some companies charge a premium because of their brand, but this isn’t the case with Muscletech Platinum creatine. There’s no downgrade on quality, no artificial additives or sugars and it contains only 100% pure monohydrate. What more could you want?
- Great value for money.
- Reliable and reputable brand.
- 100% pure grade creatine monohydrate.
- Contains no other added ingredients to enhance performance.
#4- Best Premium Monohydrate: Kaged Muscle CreaClear
Another entry from Kaged Muscle, CreaClear is the Rolls Royce of monohydrates. Unlike standard monohydrate, it’s been formulated for ultra-absorbability and solubility. Standard creatine does not mix well in water, as it often sinks to the bottom of your shaker or glass, creating a fairly unpleasant, lumpy sediment. CreaClear has developed a unique way to encapsulate the creatine molecules with a protein ‘matrix’, that literally allows the powder to fully dissolve in water, hence the “clear” part of the name.
Just like the Kaged Muscle HCL, CreaClear is patented, pure and third party tested. For those who have experienced digestive discomfort with bog-standard creatine monohydrate, this may be a better option.
- Ultra-absorbability and solubility.
- Causes no digestive discomfort.
- Patented and third-party tested for quality.
- Expensive for what is essentially creatine monohydrate.
#5- Best Creatine Capsules: EFX Sports Kre-Alkalyn Capsules
Some people prefer the convenience of having creatine in a capsule, it negates the need for water or a shaker bottle. What’s more, it’s a little easier to carry a few capsules around when traveling than it is to have a zip-lock bag full of powder and a scoop… (Try explaining that at the airport!)
EFX decided to take the creatine capsule game to the next level and create creatine with pH-controlled formula. With a more alkaline pH to regular creatine, it maintains its potency within liquids like water and stomach acid. This allows for more efficient absorption of the creatine itself, meaning less is wasted via excretion.
EFX also manufactures and patents their own products, ensuring they only bring the highest quality ingredients to the table and they know exactly what’s going into the formula.
- Convenient capsule form.
- pH stabilizer to maintain potency.
- Manufactured in house to maintain standards.
- On the more expensive side.
- No substantial evidence to show alkaline creatine has any major advantages.
#6- Best Creatine Blend: BPI Sports Best Creatine
For those that want to cover all the bases, you can opt for a creatine blend. Essentially a mix of different types of creatine to ensure you get maximum absorption for optimal effect. BPI blends six different creatine compounds together including standard creatine monohydrate, creatine anhydrous, creatine magnesium chelate, creatine phosphate, creatine AKG, and pH buffered creatine.
They even throw in betaine, which research shows enhance performance, and Himalayan Pink Salt, which improves water uptake to the muscle cells. So it’s a pretty packed formula with a lot of potential benefits. Perfect for those who want their creatine supplement to do a little more for them than standard creatine monohydrate.
- Six types of creatine for maximum effectiveness.
- Added betaine and Himalayan Pink Salt for performance enhancement.
- Comes in several refreshing flavors.
- No substantial evidence to show a creatine blend is superior to monohydrate alone.
- More expensive than standard monohydrate.
Creatine Buying Guide
What to Look for When Buying Creatine
Firstly it helps to know what creatine actually does and how it can benefit you. Creatine is a compound involved in the resynthesis of ATP within the muscle cells. ATP is the energy your muscles break down to generate muscular force. Supplementing with creatine will allow for more ATP resynthesis and therefore performance improvements such as improved strength and endurance in explosive exercises like weight training (Hummer, E., Suprak, D. N., Buddhadev, H. H., Brilla, L., & San Juan, J. G, 2019).
When looking for a good creatine supplement you first want to make sure the full ingredient profile is stated on the label, as well as the dosages per serving. If it’s 100% creatine monohydrate, the dosing is pretty simple as there’s nothing else to consider. But with certain products like blends, you just need to be sure if you’re paying extra you’re getting efficacious dosages.
Secondly, look for reputable brands with a history of testing their products. Creatine is not always created equally and supplement brands can very easily skimp on the quality to increase their profit margins. Look out for patented, third party tested products with numerous good user reviews.
Do you need creatine?
No, not necessarily but it can’t hurt to add the world’s most tested and proven sports supplement into your nutritional stack. For those struggling to break muscle building plateaus, creatine can provide that extra 5% to your training that could just tip the balance back in your favor and reopen the gains floodgates.
FAQs for creatine
Do you need to ‘load’ creatine?
Absolutely not. Loading creatine supposedly saturates and builds up creatine stores in your muscle tissue quicker, but the research shows that the benefits of doing this are negligible. Ultimately just taking 5g daily will have the desired effects if taken on a regular basis. It’s more about consistency than it is the speed of saturation.
How much do I need?
Countless studies have been done on creatine with slightly varying results on the most optimal dosage. However, 5g a day is generally considered the standard quantity to get the full benefits of the supplement. But you can experiment with higher dosages. A lot of studies use 10g or even 20g a day to ensure enough creatine is being taken to get the full benefits. But we always suggest following the doses on the label.
When should I take it?
It really doesn’t matter because creatine is not an acute acting supplement, meaning it does not work within a short period of time, but instead over a long sustained period. You simply need to take it every single day, including non-training days to build up the required intramuscular levels of creatine to feel the full benefits.
Once it’s in your system you just have to maintain it. When you stop taking it, your creatine levels will reduce back to baseline and the benefits will subside. There is no perfect time in the day to take it either, just have it when it’s most convenient to do so. For instance, you might want to just throw it into a whey protein shake or your pre-workout.
Is it safe?
It’s incredibly safe. In fact, there’s been no concrete evidence to show creatine has any significant dangerous side effects whatsoever (Almeida, D., Colombini, A., & Machado, M, 2020). Some people do experience some mild digestive discomfort such as bloating, but any myths you’ve heard about kidney and liver damage are categorically false. You also do not need to cycle creatine either, simply take it for as long as you see fit… or until it runs out and you need to buy more.
After reading this extensive review on the best creatine supplements currently on the market, we hope that we’ve been able to guide you towards making the right choice and making your decision of which creatine to buy.
Ultimately you can’t go too far wrong with creatine. The product you choose will generally come down to preference and perhaps a little testing of which brands you find work best for you. For most people, standard creatine monohydrate will do the trick. This is because creatine works the same way for everyone, with the only difference in effectiveness potentially coming from digestibility. So if you’re someone who doesn’t have any digestive issues with creatine, we recommend you just get a standard monohydrate. Or more specifically as our review pointed out, get Optimum Nutrition Micronized Creatine – it just works.