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Our team thoroughly researches and evaluates the recommendations we make on our site. To establish that the product manufacturers addressed safety and efficacy standards, we:
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We do the research so you can find trusted products for your health and wellness.
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After being extensively vetted and taste-tested, Klean Athlete came out on top as our pick for the best creatine supplement. See what other brands Healthline dietitians and editors recommend.

Lineup of creatine powders for our taste-test, including products from Klean Athlete, ON, Kaged, Thorne, Naked Nutrition, Nutricost, and Transparent LabsShare on Pinterest
Photo by Kelli McGrane

Creatine is one of the most popular sports supplements on the market due to its impressive benefits for energy, performance, and strength.

The best creatine products contain the most effective form of creatine and come from brands that ensure the greatest purity in their manufacturing and testing practices.

The products on our list have been reviewed and vetted by our team of editors, registered dietitians, and Content Integrity Team. The products that passed our review were then tested by Healthline contributor and registered dietitian Kelli McGrane.

See which products passed our expert review and how they faired during testing.

A note on price

Prices for creatine supplements generally range from $0.10 to $3.13 per serving or $8.21 or $56.37 per tub, package, or bottle. This range is represented in the article by the following:

  • $ = under $0.50 per serving
  • $$ = $0.50 to $1 per serving
  • $$$ = over $1 per serving
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ProductPriceFlavorsCertified safe for sport
Klean Athlete Klean Creatine$Unflavoredyes
Transparent Labs Creatine HMB$$$• Unflavored
• 10+ flavors
Nutricost Creatine Monohydrate$$• Unflavored
• Blue Raspberry
• Fruit Punch
Optimum Nutrition Micronized Creatine Capsules$Unflavoredno
Naked Creatine$Unflavoredno
Kaged Creatine HCI$
• Unflavored
• Fruit Punch
• Lemon Lime
Thorne Creatine$Unflavoredyes

Note: “Certified safe for sport” refers to certifications offered by NSF and Informed Sport, two companies that ensure products are free of substances banned by most competitive sports organizations.

Why you should trust us

Our experts have carefully researched and vetted over 11,000 products to make sure everything we feature meets our standards. We fact-check health claims, evaluate ingredients, and look into each brand’s reputation before sharing products on Healthline.

In addition, to select the creatine supplements on this page, we have:

  • evaluated 22+ creatine supplements
  • evaluated products from 19+ different brands
  • tested 10 creatine supplements ourselves
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All of the powders on our list were selected by registered dietitians and passed our extensive vetting process.

Criteria we looked for include:

  • 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 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.
  • Third-party testing: With the exception of Optimum Nutrition capsules (which are produced in a third-party certified facility), we chose products that are third-party tested for purity and safety. Some products are also certified for sport.
  • Dose: We looked for products that provide doses appropriate for sports performance based on current research.

Products that passed this extensive review process were then tested by Healthline editor and registered dietitian Kelli McGrane. An additional product, which didn’t make our list, was tested by Healthline contributor Laramy Applekamp.

For a fair comparison, all powders were mixed with water in a glass and stirred with a spoon. The amount of water used varied from 6 ounces (177 mL) to 12 ounces (355 mL), depending on each manufacturer’s directions.

Our tester

  • Name: Kelli McGrane, MS, RD
  • Role: Healthline contributor, registered dietitian, cookbook author

My experience with creatine: I’ve researched and written about creatine supplements for over 5 years, but, until now, I had never tried any creatine powders.

I’m ready to get back into strength training after having two kids over the past 3 years. Between work, kids, cooking, and everything else that goes into being an adult, finding time to exercise just hasn’t been high on my priority list.

As a result, I’ve noticed a drastic reduction in strength and muscle mass. I’m curious to try creatine to see if it might be helpful for increasing my lean mass as I start to ramp up my workouts again.

Creatine is commonly known to enhance athletic performance, and its benefits may extend beyond fitness as well.

Research has found that creatine supplements may help:

  • Increase strength and muscle growth: Creatine supplementation can promote muscle growth and increase strength, especially when combined with resistance training.
  • Reduce muscle damage: Creatine may help reduce muscle damage and inflammation, speeding up the recovery process after intense workouts.
  • Support brain health: Some research indicates that it can help reduce the impact of concussion and traumatic brain injury.
  • Regulate blood sugar: Creatine may support healthy blood sugar levels when combined with exercise.
  • Improve performance in high intensity exercise: 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 for high intensity exercise.

Discover more potential health and performance benefits of creatine.

How much creatine should you take?

The recommended dosage is 3 g to 5 g of creatine per day for most individuals. This is the dose that has been shown to maintain creatine levels in the muscles for performance and recovery benefits.

What is the loading phase? Is it necessary?

Some individuals might opt for a loading phase in order to quickly saturate the muscles with creatine. This involves taking a higher dose of creatine, typically 20 g to 25 g per day, for 5 to 7 days, followed by a consistent daily dose of 3 g to 5 g per day.

While the loading phase will help saturate the muscles more quickly, it’s not necessary. Sticking with the recommended 3 g to 5 g per day will lead to the same result and benefit, though it may take a bit longer.

When is the best time to take creatine?

The best time to take creatine is still up for debate. Many manufacturers recommend taking it immediately before or after your workout. However, taking it consistently seems to be more important than the exact timing.

There are several groups of individuals who may especially benefit from using creatine supplements. These include:

  • Fitness enthusiasts: People looking to increase muscle strength and enhance athletic performance may find creatine effective in supporting their goals.
  • Older adults: Research suggests that creatine supplements may also be beneficial for brain health in older adults, plus it can help prevent muscle loss with aging.
  • Women: Women may see improvements in muscle strength and recovery, as well as bone health, when supplementing with creatine. It may also be beneficial for mood and cognitive function in women. However, studies on creatine use in women are limited, and more research is needed.
  • People with certain conditions: While more research is needed, creatine may have benefits for individuals with certain chronic conditions, such as Parkinson’s disease.

While creatine is generally considered safe for most people, there are certain groups who should exercise caution or avoid taking it, such as:

  • Pregnant or breastfeeding people: There is limited research on the safety of creatine during pregnancy and breastfeeding, so it’s best to avoid it unless recommended by a healthcare professional.
  • Individuals with kidney or liver disease: While research has dispelled the myth that creatine puts too much strain on the kidneys and liver in healthy individuals, it is best to use caution and work with your doctor if you have a history of liver or kidney concerns.
  • People taking certain medications: Creatine can interact with some medications. For example, because creatine can help improve blood sugar levels, those taking medication to help manage blood sugar should use caution in order to avoid low blood sugar. It’s a good idea to consult with a healthcare professional before starting creatine if you take any medications.

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. This is typically 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
  • dehydration
  • muscle cramps
  • kidney or liver problems

However, according to the 2017 position paper on creatine by the International Society of Sports Nutrition (ISSN), there is no compelling scientific evidence that the short-term or long-term use of creatine monohydrate (up to 30 g/day for 5 years) has any harmful effects on healthy individuals.

Additionally, the ISSN notes that both short- and long-term supplementation with creatine is considered safe and effective for improving exercise performance and preventing or reducing the severity of injuries.

While no one particular brand of creatine is proven to be more effective than others, creatine monohydrate is the most researched form of creatine and is considered the gold standard.

Most of the products on our list use creatine monohydrate, and they’re all sound options.

Kaged Creatine HCI uses another form of creatine, creatine hydrochloride, which hasn’t been as well studied. However, it shows promise for being an effective form that dissolves more easily in water and may be easier for some people to digest.

The best creatine brand depends on a few different factors. We chose Klean Athlete as the best creatine supplement brand overall for its high quality supplement products and NSF Certified for Sport designation.

That being said, you can’t go wrong with any of the brands on our list. But the one that’s best for you might depend on your needs.

The right creatine for you will depend on a few factors. The best creatine supplement should be third-party tested to ensure quality and safety. Consider the form — creatine powder or capsules — and whether you prefer flavored or unflavored options.

You may also want to evaluate the price and check for minimal additives, making sure the product is free of artificial flavors, sweeteners, and fillers.

Creatine is very well-studied and has been shown to be safe to take at recommended doses (3 g to 5 g) daily. Some research has found that up to 30 g per day has no adverse effects when taken daily for 5 years.

Creatine supplements are available in various forms, flavors, and doses. Additionally, some taste better and have a smoother consistency than others.

Be sure to take a close look at the formulation of a product to determine if it meets your needs. To ensure that the product contains what it claims to on the label, it’s a good idea to choose a product that’s undergone testing by a third-party organization.