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To find the best creatine supplements available, we enlisted the expertise of a registered dietitian. The choice for best overall creatine supplement comes from Thorne.
- Best overall: Thorne Creatine | Skip to review
- Best overall — runner-up: Klean Athlete Klean Creatine | Skip to review
- Best for post-workout: Nutricost Creatine Monohydrate | Skip to review
- Best for muscle growth: Bare Performance Nutrition Creatine Monohydrate | Skip to review
- Best flavored: The Genius Brand Genius Creatine | Skip to review
- Best for women: Transparent Labs Creatine HMB | Skip to review
- Best vegan: Naked Creatine | Skip to review
- Best capsules: Optimum Nutrition Micronized Creatine Capsules | Skip to review
- Best for athletes: Gnarly Sports Nutrition Creatine | Skip to review
- Best pre-workout: Proven4 Sport Pre-Game Formula | Skip to review
Creatine is one of the most popular sports supplement on the market, thanks to its impressive benefits for performance and strength.
It’s also widely available, with one review estimating that creatine supplements pull in around $400 million in sales annually around the globe (
However, not all creatine supplements are created equal, and with so many options available, finding a high quality supplement can be challenging.
Here are 10 of the best creatine supplements.
Creatine is a compound produced by your body and found naturally in a variety of foods, including milk, meat, and seafood (
It’s also a widely used supplement. Creatine monohydrate, which consists of a creatine molecule paired with a water molecule, is the most common and best-researched type of creatine supplement (
Some supplements combine creatine with other compounds intended to increase absorption or boost performance, such as magnesium, citric acid, malic acid, or hydrochloride.
Creatine can increase levels of phosphocreatine, a compound your body uses to form adenosine triphosphate (ATP). Your body breaks down ATP for energy (
For this reason, people typically use creatine supplements to enhance performance in high intensity exercise.
Creatine supplements have been shown to increase strength, promote muscle growth, and reduce muscle damage (
Some research has found that creatine could also help reduce mental fatigue, protect brain function, and slow signs of aging (
Though more studies are needed, some research in humans and animals also suggests that creatine may be beneficial for blood sugar regulation (
Creatine is a widely available supplement that is typically found in capsule or powder form.
It is also sometimes added to sports supplements, such as pre-workout drinks, alongside other ergogenic aids, including caffeine and amino acids.
Experts generally recommend taking creatine supplements daily, either before or after working out, and using a higher dose for the first 5–7 days followed by a maintenance dose thereafter (
We selected the best creatine supplements using the following criteria:
- Quality: We included products that are made from quality ingredients and contain few or no additives, fillers, or artificial colors or flavors.
- Transparency: We chose products that adhere to health claims and labeling requirements, per Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations. All products are manufactured in facilities that adhere to Current Good Manufacturing Practices (CGMPs) established by the FDA.
- Credibility: We vetted all products to ensure they are produced by medically credible companies that follow ethical, legal, and industry best standards. Additionally, all products have been reviewed by a registered dietitian.
- Testing: We chose products that are third-party tested for purity and safety. Some products are also certified for sport. All products we chose are third-party tested (except one that is produced in a third-party certified facility), but not all are certified for sport.
- Dose: We looked for products that provide doses appropriate for sports performance, based on current research.
- Price: We included products to suit a range of budgets.
- Reviews: The products below have mostly positive online reviews.
A note on price
General price ranges with dollar signs ($–$$$) are indicated below. One dollar sign means the product is rather affordable, whereas three dollar signs indicate a higher price range.
Generally, prices range from $0.10 to $3.13 per serving, or $8.21 to $56.37 per tub, package, or bottle, though this may vary depending on where you shop.
Note that serving sizes vary by product.
- $ = under $0.50 per serving
- $$ = $0.50–$1 per serving
- $$$ = over $1 per serving
Here’s a quick look at how our top picks compare:
|Price range||Flavors||Third-party tested||Certified safe for sport|
|Klean Athlete Klean Creatine||$||Unflavored||yes||yes|
|Nutricost Creatine Monohydrate||$$||• Unflavored|
• Blue Raspberry
• Fruit Punch
|Bare Performance Nutrition Creatine Monohydrate||$$||Unflavored||yes||yes|
|The Genius Brand Genius Creatine||$$$||• Unflavored|
• Green Apple
|Transparent Labs Creatine HMB||$$$||• Unflavored|
• Blue Raspberry
• Sour Grape
• Tropical Punch
• Fruit Punch
• Black Cherry
• Hawaiian Splash
• Strawberry Lemonade
• Peach Mango
|Optimum Nutrition Micronized Creatine Capsules||$$–$$$||Unflavored||no||no|
|Gnarly Sports Nutrition Creatine||$$||Unflavored||yes||yes|
|Proven4 Sport Pre-Game Formula||$$$||• Blue Raspberry|
• Cherry Limeade
• Fruit Punch
When selecting a creatine supplement, be sure to consider the ingredient list and dose provided. It’s also a good idea to select a product that has been third-party tested.
Check the ingredient label carefully and look for products free of artificial flavors, sweeteners, colors, and fillers whenever possible.
However, note that some supplements may contain added carbs or protein, which can help increase the retention of creatine (
You should also pay close attention to the dosage of creatine supplements.
Experts generally recommend starting with a loading phase of 20–25 g per day for 5–7 days to increase muscle stores of creatine and then using a maintenance dose of 3–5 g per day thereafter (
If possible, you should also choose supplements that have undergone third-party testing and are certified by an organization such as NSF or Informed Choice to ensure safety and quality.
Some companies may also provide a COA upon request, which offers detailed information about the purity and potency of products.
If you’re a competitive athlete, choose a product that is certified safe for sport. Organizations such as NSF and Informed Sport provide certifications that ensure products are free of substances that are banned by most professional sporting organizations.
One of the most commonly reported side effects of creatine is a short-term increase in fluid retention, which may be the result of creatine’s osmotic properties (
Creatine supplementation has also been consistently associated with weight gain, especially during the loading phase. However, this may due to increases in muscle mass and water retention rather than an increase in body fat (
Some other anecdotal side effects often reported with creatine supplementation are (
- digestive issues
- muscle cramps
- kidney or liver problems
However, according to the International Society of Sports Nutrition (ISSN), there is no evidence that creatine causes any of these side effects (
Additionally, the ISSN notes that both short- and long-term supplementation with creatine are considered safe and effective for improving exercise performance and preventing or reducing the severity of injuries (
Is it OK to take creatine every day?
Research shows that creatine is safe and effective for healthy adults, even if you take it every day.
According to one review, creatine has not been associated with significant negative side effects, even when taken in high doses of up to 30 g per day for 5 years (
What happens if you stop taking creatine?
Once you stop taking creatine, your body’s levels of stored creatine may decline, which could lead to changes in energy levels, strength, and body composition.
Should beginners take creatine?
Creatine is safe and effective, even for beginners. Experts generally recommend starting with a loading phase of 20–25 g per day for 5–7 days and then using a maintenance dose of 3–5 g per day thereafter (
Does creatine make you gain weight?
Most creatine supplements are calorie-free or very low in calories and are therefore unlikely to contribute enough calories to cause weight gain.
However, one of the most common side effects of creatine is water retention in the first few days of supplementation. While you might see your weight increase initially, research doesn’t suggest that creatine causes long-term water retention or subsequent weight gain (
Creatine has also been linked to increases in muscle mass, which could lead to an increase in weight.
Who shouldn’t take creatine?
Because creatine in the blood is an important measure for liver and kidney function, people who have liver or kidney conditions or are taking medications for liver and kidney function should talk with a trusted healthcare professional before taking creatine supplements (
Additionally, people who are pregnant, breastfeeding, or taking any prescription medications, especially medications that affect blood sugar levels, should consult a healthcare professional before adding creatine to their wellness routine.
Useful supplement shopping guides
Check out these two articles to help make supplement shopping a breeze:
Creatine supplements are available in a variety of forms, flavors, and dosages.
When searching for the right product for you, be sure to check the ingredient label and dosage carefully.
Ideally, you should purchase products that have undergone third-party testing or have a COA available upon request.