The Best Creatine Supplements for Bulking, Mixing, and More

We tried every different type of creatine product to help you discover the best of the best.

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After whey protein powder, creatine may be the one of the most popular supplements in a gymgoers’ pantry — and for good reason. Creatine is an amino acid that is known as a “muscle energizer” and is mostly stored in our muscles and brain. (1) Most supplements will have a handful of studies supporting their use, but creatine has hundreds of them, suggesting a strong effect on performance and body composition

Creatine mainly works by increasing one’s ability to improve power output in the gym. As a result, you may get stronger more quickly and build more muscle. Of course, it’s more nuanced than that. There are numerous types of creatine on the market, with the most common and well-researched one being creatine monohydrate. As for which creatine you should buy, we tried and reviewed dozens of top brands to land on the best creatine supplements that serve a number of fitness needs and goals. Below our picks, we discuss the benefits of creatine and answer common questions related to this popular supplement.

Best Creatine Supplements

Editor’s note: The content on BarBend is meant to be informative in nature, but it should not be taken as medical advice. The opinions and articles on this site are not intended to diagnose, prevent, and/or treat health problems. It’s always a good idea to talk to your doctor before beginning a new fitness, nutritional, and/or supplement routine.

Best Creatine Supplements Video Review

Be sure to check out our best creatine video for an up-close and personal look at some of the picks on our list.

Best Creatine Overall

Many supplement companies put extra, unnecessary ingredients in their products. We think the best creatine on the market should be simple, and geared toward achieving the best results in pair with your workouts. Swolverine’s creatine monohydrate meets those requirements, which is why we selected it as the top creatine supplement overall.

Swolverine Creatine Monohydrate

Swolverine’s product is about as straightforward as it gets with just one ingredient in the tub — 5,000mg of creatine monohydrate. One study found that a 5,000mg supplementation of creatine achieved better ATP turnover during muscle contractions (2).

This means that at the dose of 5,000mg of creatine, your body can potentially create more energy during your workout, and may lead to better work output performance. Swolverine’s creatine monohydrate serves up that 5,000mg per serving for optimal results making it a solid supplement to add to your stack. We also like that this product is unflavored, meaning it can be mixed with just about anything, from a pre-workout to a protein shake.

You can also take the powder mixed in water, or some fruit juice if you prefer. The reasonable price tag on this product comes out to be $0.83 per serving, and Swolverine even has a subscription option that saves you some money, and can help you stay on track with your supplement intake. 

Swolverine Creatine Monohydrtae
Swolverine Creatine Monohydrtae
Swolverine Creatine Monohydrtae

Swolverine's Creatine Monohydrate is 5,000 mg of pure creatine with nothing else added. This unflavored powder is easy to mix into any beverage for pre or post-workout enjoyment and benefits. 

Who Should Buy Swolverine Creatine Monohydrate

  • Athletes and gymgoers who like a simple and straight-to-the-point supplement will like that this formula is just 5,000mg of creatine monohydrate, and nothing else. 
  • People who want a creatine that they can mix with anything — since this product is unflavored, it can go in whatever you please. 
  • Anyone who is on a budget will be happy with this $0.83 per serving price tag, along with Swolverine’s subscription options.

Who Shouldn’t Buy Swolverine Creatine Monohydrate

  • Anyone who is looking for a stacked creatine supplement can find more robust ingredient lists out there. 
  • Those who are looking for a pill form of creatine monohydrate for on the go ease may want to look outside of this powder formula. 

Not all creatine supplements are made equal, and this one stands above the rest due to its simple, 5,000mg dosage. The fact that it is unflavored also adds to its versatility — just mix it into your BCAA supplement, your before bed casein shake, or your morning OJ.

[Related: Could Baking Soda Be The Best Workout Supplement You’ve Never Tried?]

Best Creatine Monohydrate

Creatine can come in many forms, but the one with the most scientific backing behind it is the creatine monohydrate form with decades of research showing that it may be effective for helping muscle growth and strength increases. Many companies try their hand at making a creatine monohydrate supplement, but we think this one is top notch.

Huge Supplements Creatine Monohydrate

Huge Supplements Creatine Monohydrate comes in a package of 150 tablets with five tablets per serving, totaling the optimal dose of 5g of creatine monohydrate per serving. One great thing about the tablet form of creatine is that you can vary the dose easily if you prefer to take a lesser amount, such as 3g —simply take three tablets instead of five. 

Or if you want to do a creatine loading phase, you can take extra tablets, and know exactly how much you are getting without having to break out the kitchen scale and measure powder to the gram. This supplement is about as pure as a creatine tablet can get holding just the creatine monohydrate as the active ingredient — sometimes (in our opinion) simple is better. 

Huge Supplements Creatine
Huge Supplements Creatine
Huge Supplements Creatine

Huge Supplements Creatine contains 5g of creatine monohydrate in a convenient capsule form. For the best results, you only need to take five capsules in the morning or evening each day — consistency is key. 

Who Should Buy Huge Supplements Creatine Monohydrate

  • Those who do prefer to take their supplements in pill form, and dislike the gritty feel of powdered creatine monohydrate.
  • People who want to easily vary the amount of creatine they take in a serving without having to measure it on a scale.
  • Anyone looking specifically for the tried and true creatine monohydrate, rather than the other forms of creatine that are out there (such as creatine HCl).

Who Shouldn’t Buy Huge Supplements Creatine Monohydrate

  • Anyone looking for a powdered form of creatine that they can mix into other products, like a greens smoothie.
  • Those who get some gastric distress from creatine monohydrate may want to look into the other forms of creatine, such as Kre-Alkalyn. 

These creatine monohydrate tablets from Huge Supplements only contain the necessary ingredients without any fluff or extras. With decades of research backing up creatine monohydrate and the convenience of tablets, this product from Huge is our pick for best creatine monohydrate. 

Best Creatine For Muscle Growth

Putting on muscle and decreasing fat can be one of the primary motivations for working out, and the supplements you take should support that goal — we think this one does it best. 

Swolverine Creatine Monohydrate

Creatine may aid in putting on muscle due to the edge it can provide in the first 30 seconds or so of explosive strength. Optimally, creatine should be taken in 3,000 to 5,000mg doses and paired with resistance training for best muscle growth potential (3). Swolverine has created a creatine monohydrate with 5,000mg of pure creatine monohydrate making it the quintessential dosage to potentially maximize your muscle growth

This formula comes in an unflavored option making it easy to add to your favorite supplement stack, or to have on its own for pre- or post-workout supplementation that may help with muscle growth. At $0.83 cents per serving, Swolverine has created a straight-forward creatine monohydrate supplement that may help you push your workout performance and increase your muscle growth.

Swolverine Creatine Monohydrtae
Swolverine Creatine Monohydrtae
Swolverine Creatine Monohydrtae

Swolverine's Creatine Monohydrate is 5,000 mg of pure creatine with nothing else added. This unflavored powder is easy to mix into any beverage for pre or post-workout enjoyment and benefits. 

Who Should Swolverine Creatine Monohydrate

  • Anyone looking to put on muscle, and help improve their strength along the way can benefit from this ideal dose of 5,000mg of creatine monohydrate.
  • Athletes who prefer to mix their creatine supplement in a pre- or post-workout shake will enjoy that this product is unflavored.
  • Folks who care about their performance will be happy to know that some studies found creatine monohydrate to be potentially beneficial for performance and strength results (4).

Who Shouldn’t Buy Swolverine Creatine Monohydrate

  • Someone who is looking to cut weight, and not put on muscle mass. Due to creatine’s inherent nature to cause intramuscular water retention, someone just starting creatine supplementation may see the scale weight increase.
  • Athletes who want a flavored creatine, or something in a pill or tablet form, so they don’t have to worry about powder.
  • Folks who prefer creatine HCl or other forms of creatine may want to look outside of a creatine monohydrate.

We think Swolverine’s no-nonsense approach to their creatine monohydrate supplement makes for a winning formula. They produced a product that anyone who competes in a drug-tested or natural sport can take with confidence, and know that they are getting only creatine monohydrate (and nothing else) to potentially help improve their muscle growth. 

[Related: The Lifter’s Guide To Magnesium: What This Nutrient Does For Strength]

Best Tasting Creatine

Sometimes all you need to stay hooked on a supplement is a great tasting product. We think this pick takes the cake in that department. 

Transparent Labs Creatine HMB

This product contains no added sugars, and comes in 10 delicious flavors — Sour Grape, Tropical Punch, Fruit Punch, Watermelon, Black Cherry, Blue Raspberry, Orange, Hawaiian Splash, Strawberry Lemonade, and Peach Mango — which is one of its biggest selling points. Oftentimes, it’s difficult to find a great tasting product without artificial sweeteners, but Transparent Labs Creatine HMB is tasty, naturally flavored, and sweetened with Stevia.

Transparent Labs Creatine HMB may be a bit pricier than some other creatine supplements — like a simple creatine monohydrate — but it’s still fairly reasonable for its ingredient inclusions. You’re not only getting 5,000mg of creatine monohydrate, but you’re also getting 1,500mg of hydroxymethyl butyrate (HMB), which may help increase strength and lean body mass. Plus, there’s 5mg of black pepper extract as well, which can help with absorption of all of these ingredients.

Transparent Labs Creatine HMB
Transparent Labs Creatine HMB
Transparent Labs Creatine HMB

We like that this product includes hydroxymethyl butyrate, the main metabolite in leucine that prevents muscle protein breakdown. Plus, the blue raspberry flavor is tasty, and the blend contains no artificial sweeteners.

Who Should Buy Transparent Labs Creatine HMB

  • Users who want a product that tastes great to help them stay committed to (and dare we say excited about) their supplement regimen. 
  • Athletes who want a product that is naturally flavored and sweetened.
  • If you’re looking for a creatine that may help even further with strength gains than most creatine supplements, you’ll like the HMB here.

Who Shouldn’t Buy Transparent Labs Creatine HMB

  • Anyone who wants a standalone creatine product should opt for a supplement that doesn’t contain other helpful ingredients (like the HMB and black pepper extract in this formula). 
  • Folks who are looking for a cost-effective creatine supplement may want to find a plain monohydrate.

This creatine not only tastes great, but it may also be particularly helpful in your quest for gains thanks to the HMB. The extra money you’re paying per serving here may just be worth your while, in our opinion.

Best Creatine for Bodybuilders

Since bodybuilders are generally looking to enhance strength and gain muscle, creatine is a solid supplement (one could argue it’s a staple) to add to their regimen. This pick is about as simple as it gets, which makes it super easy to add to any bodybuilder’s likely already-robust regimen.

Huge Supplements Creatine

Huge Supplements Creatine contains 5g of creatine monohydrate — it’s straightforward and comes in convenient capsules. Since the key to gaining the benefits from creatine is consistency, it’s ideal for athletes — especially dedicated bodybuilders — to have a supplement that’s easy to stick to. With this one, you need only take five tablets in the morning or evening each day, and you’re good to go. It’s worth noting though that these capsules are made with gelatin, so if you’re a vegan you’re going to want to stick to another powder or vegan capsule. 

Huge Supplements Creatine
Huge Supplements Creatine
Huge Supplements Creatine

Huge Supplements Creatine contains 5g of creatine monohydrate in a convenient capsule form. For the best results, you only need to take five capsules in the morning or evening each day — consistency is key. 

Who Should Buy Huge Supplements Creatine

  • Bodybuilders who are looking to increase their muscle mass, preserve their gains, and decrease their body fat. 
  • Anyone looking for a product that is convenient and easy to take will appreciate that these come in capsule form.
  • Folks who want a scientifically backed dose of creatine monohydrate — this 5g dose is the way to go. 

Who Shouldn’t Buy Huge Supplements Creatine

  • Anyone who wants a creatine supplement that contains additional pre- or post-workout ingredients.
  • Those who prefer a flavored or unflavored powder will want to look elsewhere.
  • Vegans and vegetarians should opt for a different pick on this list, as this one contains gelatin in the capsules. 

Huge Supplements Creatine comes in a convenient capsule form. For bodybuilders who want something that’s easy to work into their already demanding schedule, this product is simple and straightforward. 

Best Creatine For Mixing

This is one of the best micronized creatines on the market, which makes it a solid pick for mixing. Since it’s processed to assume smaller granule sizes, it dissolves easily in fluid.

Xwerks Lift Creatine Monohydrate

This pure creatine monohydrate from Xwerks is micronized, so it mixes nearly instantly in water without clumping. The price point is also quite fair at under $0.50 cents per serving (though you can find cheaper options out there). What makes it great for mixing is the simplicity of the product — it’s just creatine monohydrate and nothing else which means you can mix it with any other shake or drink without issue. This comes in an unflavored option, making it extra accessible for mixing in with any beverage of choice.

Xwerks Lift Creatine
Xwerks Lift Creatine
Xwerks Lift Creatine

Xwerks Lift is a straight-forward creatine that contains 5 grams of pure micronized creatine monohydrate per serving. It comes in an unflavored option for easy mixing.

Who Should Buy Xwerks Lift Creatine Monohydrate

  • Those who want creatine monohydrate without any additional ingredients.
  • People looking for small-granule, micronized creatine that mixes well into liquid.
  • Those who like to mix their creatine in with various beverages — this unflavored option makes it easy to mix with anything.

Who Shouldn’t Buy Xwerks Lift Creatine Monohydrate

  • Athletes who prefer to use creatine hydrochloride will want to look elsewhere, as this is a monohydrate. 
  • Anyone who doesn’t need to buy in bulk. There may be more comprehensive creatine supplements out there for you in smaller packages. Just be sure to check the price point.
  • This option is unflavored, so anyone who prefers flavored creatine or a pill form rather than a powder might want to look elsewhere.

This creatine is simple, and mixes like a charm. You can buy one bag of 80 servings of creatine, which is more than the standard 60 servings we’ve seen per tub from other brands, but it’s not overkill compared to the bulk bags of creatine you can buy by the kilogram.

[Related: The 3 Most Common Types Of Training Periodization (And When To Use Them)]

Best Pre-Workout with Creatine

With creatine, consistency is key, so it doesn’t particularly matter what time of day you take it. But sometimes, it’s easiest to stick to a supplement if you do have a specific time of day you take it — this pre-workout can help with that. 

Kaged Pre-Kaged Elite with Creatine

It’s not necessary to take creatine right before your workout in order for it to be effective, but if you already take a pre-workout, taking one with creatine can be a great way to combine the two supplements and simplify your regimen. Kaged Pre-Kaged Elite with Creatine contains 3,000mg of creatine monohydrate, 2,000mg of creatine nitrate (a potentially more soluble form of creatine monohydrate), 10,000mg of citrulline, 3,200mg of beta-alanine, 2,500mg of betaine, and 1,500mg of carnitine. 

On top of these typical pre-workout ingredients, you’ll also find a high 388mg dose of caffeine (that’s about as much as you’ll get in two cups of coffee), and 500mg of coconut water powder, which can help with hydration. This blend comes in Fruit Punch, Grape, Berry Blast, Krisp Apple, Orange Crush, Cherry Bomb and Pink Lemonade, but there are only 20 servings per container, and at $49.99 per jug, this comes out to be $2.49 a serving making it one of our more expensive picks. It’s great to note that this is a vegan friendly supplement, as well.

Kaged Pre-Kaged Elite
Kaged Pre-Kaged Elite
Kaged Pre-Kaged Elite

Pre-Kaged® Elite provides nine patented ingredients with 35 milligrams of vitamin B6 and 1,000 micrograms of vitamin B12 in a single 36-gram scoop. Each serving is 25 calories and includes caffeine, taurine, l-citrulline, beta-alanine, l-tyrosine, and two types of creatine.

Who Should Buy Kaged Pre-Kaged Elite with Creatine

  • Those looking for a pre-workout blend that contains creatine will like this product. 
  • If you’re looking for a high dose of citrulline, this pick contains 10,000mg per serving. 
  • Athletes who exercise in the morning will appreciate the 388mg of caffeine here. 

Who Shouldn’t Buy Kaged Pre-Kaged Elite with Creatine

  • Anyone who wants just one form of creatine should opt for a different product.
  • Buyers on a budget will want to look for a less expensive formula. 
  • If you’re looking for creatine on its own, this is not the product for you. 

This pre-workout formula is extensive and offers not only creatine, but an array of helpful pre-workout ingredients, as well — including a high dose of both citrulline and caffeine. It’s a bit pricey, but if it’s an effective pre-workout you’re after, this is a great option. 

Best Post-Workout with Creatine

For our post-workout pick, we picked a creatine supplement containing 5,000mg of creatine monohydrate, which may aid in recovery and support serious gains. Plus, this supp contains various other ingredients that may help you recover from DOMS.

Huge Supplements Formula XII

This product includes 5,000mg of creatine monohydrate, as well as 3,200mg of beta-alanine, 3,000mg of betaine anhydrous, and 5mg of bioperine, which may help with absorption of the big hitting ingredients here. The betaine and beta-alanine can help refuel after intense workouts thanks to betaine’s potential to protect protein cells from environmental stress and beta-alanine’s potential to increase carnosine in the body, which may help reduce delayed onset muscle soreness (5)(6). 

The creatine monohydrate in here could boost muscle hypertrophy due to its potential to reduce muscle breakdown (7). This post-workout formula comes in two delicious flavors — Candy Apple and Tropical Blast — and costs $2.16 per serving. 

Huge Supplements XII Intra & Post Workout
Huge Supplements XII Intra & Post Workout
Huge Supplements XII Intra & Post Workout

This supp contains 10,000mg of Cluster Dextrin, 5,000mg of Organic ModCarb, 3,200mg of Beta-Alanine, 3,000mg of Betaine Anhydrous, 150mg of Potassium Citrate, and 5mg of Bioperine, which can help you absorb all these nutrients. It comes in Candy Apple and Tropical Blast. 

Who Should Buy Huge Supplements Formula XII

  • If you want creatine with other helpful post-workout muscle-building ingredients, you’ll appreciate the addition of beta-alanine, betaine, and bioperine in this formula.
  • Anyone who is looking for a high dose of creatine monohydrate will like that this supp contains 5,000mg.
  • Folks who are interested in a creatine they can take intra or post-workout for potential results will like the versatility of this supp.

Who Shouldn’t Buy Huge Supplements Formula XII

  • Customers who like plain creatine. This product includes more ingredients than other more straightforward creatine supps on the market.
  • If you’re looking to save cash, you can find basic creatine monohydrate for cheaper than this formula. 
  • Anyone who prefers an unflavored supplement or a variety of flavors to choose from as this is only available in Candy Apple and Tropical Blast.

This creatine formula from Huge Supplements is geared toward potentially building muscle and helping you recover, making it an excellent supplement to take after a tough training session

[Related: I’m A Professional Powerlifter. Here’s What I Think About Bodybuilding]

Best Creatine for Men

We think this creatine is particularly great for men who are in a bulking phase or who want a solid supplement to take after their intense gym sessions to potentially help with strength and muscle growth. 

Swolverine Creatine Monohydrate

It’s no secret that many men focus on packing on muscle mass in the gym. Even if your goal isn’t muscle mass, creatine may be helpful for overall strength and performance benefits (8). Swolverine’s creatine monohydrate comes in at the high end of the effective clinical dose for creatine — 5,000mg. This means that Swolverine’s straightforward formula is well-suited for men trying to pair their hard resistance training with proper creatine monohydrate supplementation, which may result in better strength and performance. 

When making a pick for best creatine for men, we wanted to pick a straightforward creatine monohydrate that had few ingredients and didn’t include sweeteners or artificial ingredients that may cause bloating, gassiness, and digestion issues. If you’re already working to meet demanding macro goals in your diet for potential gains, you don’t need creatine disrupting your digestion, as well. This creatine is an optimal choice due to the lack of added ingredients, artificial sweeteners, and flavors. The formula is pure creatine monohydrate, and has no flavors or sweeteners added.

Swolverine Creatine Monohydrtae
Swolverine Creatine Monohydrtae
Swolverine Creatine Monohydrtae

Swolverine's Creatine Monohydrate is 5,000 mg of pure creatine with nothing else added. This unflavored powder is easy to mix into any beverage for pre or post-workout enjoyment and benefits. 

Who Should Buy Swolverine Creatine Monohydrate

  • Men who want a solid creatine supplement that has no artificial ingredients or fillers, which may lead to less bloating and digestive discomfort. 
  • Customers who are looking for the option to add this to water, or a flavored beverage — the unflavored option makes the potential here almost limitless.
  • Men who are tracking strict macros for potential gains will be happy to know this formula is straight creatine, and has no sugars added.

Who Shouldn’t Buy Swolverine Creatine Monohydrate

  • Those who want a creatine with extra bells and whistles. We love the straightforward supplementation of this creatine, but some men may prefer a creatine with added ingredients, or one that is wrapped within a pre- or post-workout supplement.
  • Men who want creatine that has macros (like added carbohydrates) included to help them hit their macro goals may want a more fully stacked creatine supplement.

Swolverine creatine monohydrate contains 60 servings of 5,000mg of straight creatine monohydrate, and is best taken before or during training sessions for most optimal results. We love this product for men specifically for its formula that contains no sugars or artificial ingredients, putting nothing between men and their potential muscle gains.

Best Creatine HCl

Some prefer creatine hydrochloride, a more acidic form of creatine that may actually be easier on sensitive stomachs, as it’s closer to the pH of our stomach acid. Not all creatine hydrochloride is created equal, and — yes, here it is again — we think Kaged Muscle’s C-HCl sits above the rest. 

Kaged Creatine HCl

Kaged Muscle’s C-HCl hits all the right notes. While it’s pricier than monohydrate, it’s a pretty reasonable cost for creatine HCl at about $0.40 cents per gram. Hydrochloride varies between 20 and 60 cents per gram, so Kaged Muscle’s product is right in the middle, and it has two big advantages: It’s naturally flavored with a tasty lemon-lime zest, or you can opt for an unflavored powder. 

Vegetarians and vegans rejoice as Kaged Muscle also gives you the choice between a vegetarian capsule or a gelatin one. Most importantly, it’s third-party tested for banned substances by Informed-Sport, which makes it a great pick for athletes. This is also one of our cheaper options at $0.40 per scoop, and each tub comes with 75 servings. If you’re a BodyFit member you’ll also save on your purchase and spend just $0.36 per serving. 

Kaged Muscle C-HCl Creatine Hydrochloride
Kaged Muscle C-HCl Creatine Hydrochloride
Kaged Muscle C-HCl Creatine Hydrochloride

This is a tasty option for folks who are looking for creatine hydrochloride in either pill or powder form. It’s third-party tested for banned substances and competitively priced.

Who Should Buy Kaged Creatine HCl

  • If creatine monohydrate gives you digestive discomfort, there’s anecdotal evidence that this form may digest more easily.
  • Competitive athletes who only take supplements tested by companies like Informed-Sport will be happy with this product. 
  • If you like the taste of lemon-lime, you’ll like this product’s flavor.

Who Shouldn’t Buy Kaged Creatine HCl

  • Those who don’t get indigestion from monohydrate — there’s no specific evidence that hydrochloride is a better overall supplement than monohydrate. It’s simply easier to digest. 
  • Folks who don’t want to spend extra on hydrochloride.

This creatine may digest more effectively than other formulas for better overall absorption. Also, it doesn’t hurt that the lemon lime flavor tastes great. 

[Related: Best Macros Calculator For Tracking Muscle Gain and Fat Loss]

Best Creatine For Bulking

If you’ve been training for years, then you know that every ounce of muscle added to your frame is a major milestone. Creatine with muscle-building benefits can help you make the most out of your bulk.

Transparent Labs Creatine HMB

What sets this creatine apart from others is the inclusion of HMB, a chemical that studies suggest is highly linked to fat loss and strength-building benefits. (9) Most lifters push heavier weights when they’re bulking (mass does move mass, after all), so this formula may help you gain more strength in addition to the common endurance-boosting benefits of creatine. It’s a win-win for lifters looking to bulk up big time. 

This creatine HMB powder comes in a wide variety of flavor choices. Transparent Labs offers this product in Unflavored, Tropical Punch, Fruit Punch, Watermelon, Blue Raspberry, Black Cherry, Orange, Hawaiian Splash, Strawberry Lemonade, Sour Grape, and Peach Mango. This creatine is a bit on the pricier side costing $1.66 per serving, but the HMB formula is what sets it apart from the others. 

Transparent Labs Creatine HMB
Transparent Labs Creatine HMB
Transparent Labs Creatine HMB

We like that this product includes hydroxymethyl butyrate, the main metabolite in leucine that prevents muscle protein breakdown. Plus, the blue raspberry flavor is tasty, and the blend contains no artificial sweeteners.

Who Should Buy Transparent Labs Creatine HMB

  • Lifters in a bulking phase who want to increase strength to build more mass will appreciate the HMB in this product.
  • Athletes who prioritize strength training and need a supplement to support their efforts.
  • Folks who want a plethora of flavors to choose from.

Who Shouldn’t Buy Transparent Labs Creatine HMB

  • Those who would prefer a micronized creatine for faster absorption.
  • Penny pinchers. This product is slightly more expensive than others on the market, though one can argue that the addition of HMB makes it a more robust supplement.

If you’re looking to build muscle and bulk up, then you’ll need to push yourself. Creatine may allow you to eke out an extra rep, and this formula can help you build and hang onto muscle mass as a nice bonus. 

[Related: The Real Pros And Cons Of The Bodybuilding Lifestyle]

Best Creatine for Cutting

If you are working on cutting, whether it be for a weight class sport, to feel better, or just to look your best, creatine supplements can help you push harder in the gym. This particular creatine supplement from Swolverine is great because it is just creatine monohydrate with no additional ingredients. 

Swolverine Creatine Monohydrate

This creatine supplement is a simple 5,000mg dose of creatine monohydrate, which is the ideal clinical dosage. For anyone who has ever cut, you know how important your calories in versus calories out can be when considering your goals. 

With the still potent 5,000mg dose of creatine monohydrate, this supplement contains no fillers or added ingredients making sure you can get your macronutrient supplementation through food rather than your supplements — likely the preferred method for those who are working within a caloric deficit.

At $0.83 cents per serving, Swolverine’s creatine monohydrate formula has an enticing price tag for a high-quality product that won’t get in the way of you reaching your cutting goals.

Swolverine Creatine Monohydrtae
Swolverine Creatine Monohydrtae
Swolverine Creatine Monohydrtae

Swolverine's Creatine Monohydrate is 5,000 mg of pure creatine with nothing else added. This unflavored powder is easy to mix into any beverage for pre or post-workout enjoyment and benefits. 

Who Should Buy Swolverine Creatine Monohydrate

  • Trainees who are planning for or working through a cut, and want a simple and straightforward creatine with no artificial ingredients or sugars added. This product is just 5,000mg of creatine monohydrate.
  • Those who prefer an unflavored powder that they can mix into anything they like (including water) rather than taking multiple tablets. 
  • Folks who want creating that won’t affect their macronutrient intake — this contains no carbs or fats.

Who Shouldn’t Buy Swolverine Creatine Monohydrate

  • If you want the convenience of taking a few capsules or tablets rather than mixing up a creatine drink, you’ll want to opt for another product on this list. 
  • Those who want a more robust supplement, such as a pre-workout that includes BCAA or beta-alanine, will want to look elsewhere.

The creatine monohydrate in this formula is potent, it boasts a really fair price tag, and has no macronutrient content, making it the perfect pick for someone who is cutting and would prefer to get their calories from food sources.

Best Creatine Pills

Pills are generally more convenient to carry around than powders, making them a great choice for travel and people who are always on the go. 

Huge Supplements Creatine

Huge Supplements Creatine comes in easy-to-take capsules. This pill form is a breeze to travel with, or throw into your gym bag. Each serving contains 5g of creatine monohydrate and nothing else, which makes it a solid pick for athletes who want a straightforward creatine supplement that they can easily stack with other supplements, or that they can easily use for a successful loading phase. 

There are a few noteworthy factors to consider. Each serving is five capsules, which could be a lot for some people who may be pill averse. The second thing worth noting is that the capsules do contain gelatin, which means this product is not vegan- or vegetarian-friendly. This creatine supp is $1.00 per serving, which is a bit higher compared to some others on the list — but it does contain a high dose of creatine per serving and makes for a mess-free way to dose your creatine.

Huge Supplements Creatine
Huge Supplements Creatine
Huge Supplements Creatine

Huge Supplements Creatine contains 5g of creatine monohydrate in a convenient capsule form. For the best results, you only need to take five capsules in the morning or evening each day — consistency is key. 

Who Should Buy Huge Supplements Creatine

  • People who travel a lot or like to throw their creatine in their gym bag to take with them on-the-go.
  • This product is ideal for folks who would rather take a pill than go through the rigamarole of mixing a powder to consume their supplement.
  • If you’re looking for a monohydrate creatine supplement, this is a great option.

Who Shouldn’t Buy Huge Supplements Creatine

  • Those who don’t want to have to take five pills per serving should look elsewhere. 
  • If you want creatine hydrochloride, this pick is not for you. 

If you’re always running around town or traveling, pills may be more convenient since you don’t need to haul a shaker bottle around. Also, each five-pill dose of this pick ensures you’re receiving 5g of pure creatine monohydrate.

Best Creatine for Beginners

If you’re just starting out and looking for a product that can potentially help boost your athletic performance, this pick is simple and — we think — a great starting point.

Bulk Supplements Creatine

This creatine is 100 percent pure creatine monohydrate and includes no other ingredients. This can be a great option for beginners because it allows you to see how that ingredient alone may affect your recovery without the guess-and-check of a more robust formula. With 5,000mg of creatine monohydrate, this straightforward formula may help you unlock some muscle mass and lead to better performance for high-intensity exercise (10). 

This formula is free of sugar, soy, dairy, yeast, gluten, and additives, which may make it a great option for those who have intolerances or dietary allergies. It also comes in six powder buying options from three and a half ounces all the way up to 55 pounds to make it a little easier on the wallet. If powder isn’t your thing, you can purchase one of four capsule options, including either vegetarian or gelatin capsules at either 100 or 300 capsules per bottle. 

BulkSupplements Creatine Monohydrate
BulkSupplements Creatine Monohydrate
BulkSupplements Creatine Monohydrate

This creatine is clean and simple. It comes with 2.5 grams of micronized creatine per serving, and you can buy it in bulk to save money. Plus, it's tested both in-house and by a third party for any impurities.

Who Should Buy Bulk Supplements Creatine

  • Anyone just starting out on creatine who wants to know how strictly creatine can potentially change their performance or recovery as this formula contains just 5,000mg of creatine. 
  • Those who want to bulk buy their creatine will love all the various buying options for powder that range from three and a half ounces to 55 pounds.
  • Folks who prefer a pill supplement will appreciate that Bulk Supplements also has four buying options for pills with 100 or 300 pills that come in both vegetarian or gelatin capsules.

Who Shouldn’t Buy Bulk Supplements Creatine

  • Customers who want a more stacked creatine supplement as this is only creatine and nothing else. 
  • Athletes who prefer flavored creatine will want to look elsewhere. 

Bulk Supplements offers a plain creatine monohydrate packing 5,000mg of creatine. This formula is free of many allergens, and comes in a multitude of buying options making it a great option for beginners to test it out or bulk buy.

Best Creatine For Women

A recurring theme when we talk to female athletes is a desire for supplements that improve performance without adding unnecessary bulk. So when looking for the best creatine for women, we sought one with ingredients that could help with this. 

Legion Recharge

Creatine, for the most part, is creatine, so there aren’t many women-specific features in most plain creatine supplements. That said, this particular creatine supplement is a full post-workout supplement, and comes with a dose of carnitine, as well — this ingredient can be helpful with lean muscle growth as it may help with fat burn. 

You’ll also find corosolic acid along with the high 5g dose of micronized creatine (which may be easier on the stomach than other forms of creatine). Additionally, this product is naturally flavored and sweetened, which may be appealing to women who want to avoid artificial ingredients. It comes in five fruity flavors as well as an unflavored option, and while it’s not the cheapest option on the market, it’s also not the most expensive you’ll find out there. 

Legion Recharge
Legion Recharge
Legion Recharge

Legion Recharge is a well-rounded option that includes a solid dose of creatine monohydrate, along with l-carnitine l-tartrate, which may help to reduce exercise-induced muscle damage and improve recovery.

Who Should Buy Legion Recharge

  • Women who want a product that can help with lean muscle growth will appreciate the creatine and carnitine here. 
  • Anyone who wants a form of creatine that may be easier to digest — this product contains micronized creatine. 
  • Folks who want a full post-workout supplement rather than just a creatine supplement. 

Who Shouldn’t Buy Legion Recharge

  • Athletes who prefer a pill might want to opt for another creatine on this list — this product comes in powder form.
  • Those who are looking for a more straightforward creatine supplement should opt for a basic creatine powder or capsule.

To be clear: Any creatine on this list will suit a woman just fine. That said, some women may prefer the added carnitine, digestibility, and natural flavors here. 

How We Decided Our Picks

When we build our best lists, there are several factors we consider before making our selections. For creatine, we took into consideration the supplement type, prices, and the research behind the products to make sure there was something that could work for a wide variety of customers. But, more on that below.

Supplement Type

There are pills, powders — both flavored and unflavored. Some supplements aren’t even pure creatine supplements, but rather intra-workout supplements that include creatine. We have included a variety of creatine types on this list so you can choose the supplement and delivery mechanism that best suits your needs. 

Price

Depending on what supplement type you choose, the price will vary. An intra-workout supplement that includes carbs, protein, and creatine will be more expensive than a pure monohydrate. That said, the products we picked float right around the market price. Supplements are nice to have, but they shouldn’t break the bank. Luckily, creatine is one of the most affordable supplements on the market.

Research

As creatine is absorbed by the body, it draws water into the muscles, and as muscles become more saturated, creatine can potentially help improve power output in the gym. It is generally thought that creatine supplementation may promote a faster rebuilding of adenosine triphosphate (ATP — an energy molecule in the body’s cells) in between workouts. With more energy for your next session, creatine may help increase performance in resistance training and high intensity work. (11)

Creatine
Image via Shutterstock/itakdalee

While creatine may seem straightforward, there are actually many different types of creatine on the market. We’ve double-checked that each supplement uses a science-backed creatine variety and — just as important — that it’s dosed correctly. 

[Related: How To Do The Romanian Deadlift For Lower-Body Size And Strength]

Before You Buy Creatine

If creatine is a brand new supplement to you, or even if it isn’t, there’s some info you should know before you add it to your daily routine. Read on for a few pro tips on this well-researched, yet sometimes misunderstood product.

Some People Don’t Respond To Creatine

A small percentage of people, perhaps twenty percent, are called creatine non-responders: Their bodies don’t uptake creatine the same way most people do. (12) It’s hard to know if you’re one of them until you start taking it. This is one of the reasons it’s great that creatine is so inexpensive: You’re not down too much money if you’re a non-responder. 

You Don’t Need to “Load” Creatine

It used to be fashionable to “load” creatine, taking 20 to 25 grams per day for the first week, then dropping down to five or 10 grams for a few weeks, taking one or two weeks off, and repeating. The goal in this method was that taking a lot of creatine for a week or two would increase muscle stores quickly, then by significantly decreasing the amount you’re taking, you’d maintain the high levels you built up, and then do it all over again. (13)

The idea with creatine is to take it every day until your muscles are “saturated,” and you’ll enjoy the ergogenic effects. Loading creatine may saturate the muscles a little more quickly, but it’s not necessary at all. You can take the standard five to 10 grams per day. If you are consistent with your supplementation, this saturation will build up naturally over time — there’s no need to rush it with loading. (14)

You Can Have Creatine With Caffeine

Following on from the previous point, one study published in 1996 found that creatine didn’t increase power output when combined with caffeine. (15) However, many other, higher-quality studies (like double-blind, randomized trials) haven’t found this to be the case. If you have some creatine with your morning eggs and coffee, it’s no big deal.

Chat With Your Doctor First

Creatine is widely seen as safe, but it’s always smart to chat with your doctor before making any new additions to your supplement routine. This is especially true if your doctor is monitoring your creatinine levels, for instance, as taking creatine can throw them off a little. This doesn’t mean creatine harms your kidneys; rather, your doctor should simply know about your supplements you’re taking.

What’s the Best Type of Creatine?

The general sentiment among nutrition experts is that creatine monohydrate is, for most people, the best bet. It’s the cheapest form, and more importantly, it’s the most well-researched. Hundreds of studies have been performed on creatine monohydrate, and there’s no evidence of ill effects, whereas many of the more novel forms of creatine have one or sometimes no studies supporting them.

Some people indeed experience stomach cramps when they consume creatine monohydrate, and it’s possible that taking creatine with a different pH — usually creatine hydrochloride or buffered forms — can have a different effect on stomach acid and make for creatine that digests more easily. As far as we know, easier digestion is a serious perk, but doesn’t necessarily mean it’s more effective or that you need less of it to achieve the desired result.

That’s the long and short of it: monohydrate for almost everyone, hydrochloride if that gives you stomach issues. But if you’re curious about other kinds, check out these 10 kinds of creatine and what they all mean.

How Much is Creatine?

The price of creatine varies depending on which type of creatine you buy, and what other supplements are included in the product. The good news though? Creatine is a very inexpensive supplement compared to others on the market. 

Creatine monohydrate is the most basic form of creatine, and is generally going to be the least expensive. Creatine hydrochloride can potentially absorb better than creatine monohydrate, which can be more desirable for some athletes. It may also be a product that’s easier on the stomach, and may potentially kick in faster. Creatine HCL tends to be a little more expensive than monohydrate for that reason. 

At the top of the charts is creatine that’s enhanced with other supplements (like HMB). These creatines tend to be the priciest because their potential effects can be more powerful and nuanced than those of plain creatine taken on its own.

Best Creatine Overall Swolverine Creatine Monohydrate $49.99

$0.83 per serving

Best Creatine Monohydrate Huge Supplements Creatine Monohydrate $29.95

$0.99 per serving

Best Creatine for Muscle Growth Swolverine Creatine Monohydrate $49.99

$0.83 per serving

Best Tasting Creatine  Transparent Labs Creatine HMB $49.99

$1.66 per serving

Best Creatine for Bodybuilding Huge Supplements Creatine Monohydrtae $29.95

$0.99 per serving

Best Creatine for Mixing Xwerks Lift $49.00

$0.61 per serving

Best Pre-Workout with Creatine KAGED Pre-Kaged Elite with Creatine $44.95

$2.24 per serving

Best Post-Workout with Creatine Huge Supplements Formula XII  $64.95 

$2.16 per Serving 

Best Creatine for Men Swolverine Creatine Monohydrate $49.99

$0.83 per serving

Best Creatine for HCI Kaged Creatine HCI $29.99

$0.39 per serving

Best Creatine for Bulking Transparent Labs Creatine HMB $49.99

$1.66 per serving

Best Creatine for Cutting Swolverine Creatine Monohydrate $49.99

$0.83 per serving

Best Creatine Pills Huge Supplements Creatine Monohydrate $29.95

$0.99 per serving

Best Creatine for Beginners Bulk Supplements Creatine(for 3.5 oz)  $14.96

$0.74 per serving

Best Creatine for Women Legion Recharged $59.99

$1.00 per serving

Though the prices vary, the general price range tends to be anywhere between 10 and 80 cents per gram, or $20 to $60 per box or bottle depending on the number of servings in the container and the type of creatine you’re buying. 

The Benefits of Creatine

Creatine is one of the few supplements on the market with a whole bevy of studies supporting its effects on exercise performance and muscle growth

More Energy for Exercise

When you exercise, your body produces and uses what’s called ATP (adenosine triphosphate) — a molecule that is a key energy source for many functions. To create ATP, the body needs to tap into phosphocreatine. Utilizing a creatine supplement can help to increase your phosphocreatine stores, thus providing the body with more ATP for more energy. 

Medicine Ball Slam
Srdjan Randjelovic/Shutterstock

A review of creatine for exercise performance found that creatine seems to pose no health risks and may boost performance in those who are performing max reps or sprints. (16)

[Related: The 3 Most Effective Workouts Splits For Strength Training]

More Power

Because of its ability to help the body produce more ATP, which is at-the-ready energy, creatine has been shown to directly improve power output by anywhere from five to 15 percent. (17) This implies that creatine can help you eke out another extra rep or two of moves that require full effort — for example, the bench press, medicine ball slams, and box jumps

More Muscle Growth

While creatine has been strongly linked to improved performance, some studies show that it can also help with muscle growth. This is in part due to creatine’s ability to help the body crank out extra reps, which, over time, will lead to more growth. But some studies have also found creatine to be linked to lean muscle gains. (18)

When Should I Take Creatine?

Since creatine can help pull water into your muscle cells, taking creatine with water is the best way to ensure you’re giving the supplement the tools it needs to slay the job. Plus, without water, creatine monohydrate may cause cramping or stomach discomfort. 

The effects of creatine accumulate over time — the longer you consistently take creatine, the more consistently saturated your muscles will be. If you want to have particularly saturated muscles during exercise, creatine can be taken 30 to 45 minutes before or after exercise. However, studies have shown that taking creatine post-workout is better overall for body composition and strength. (19)

Do I Need to Load Creatine?

You don’t have to, but you can. The typical creatine dose is five grams once or twice per day, but it’s sometimes suggested that one should “load” creatine by taking 20 to 25 grams per day for the first week of usage. This is then followed with three to four weeks of five grams per day, then a break for a week or two, then repeat. This may bring about more acute increases in strength and muscle size — creatine will “work” more quickly, in other words — but it’s not necessary.

While it’s sometimes advised that one should take a month off from creatine a few times a year, there’s currently not much evidence suggesting that’s necessary.

Final Word

Creatine works by drawing water into your muscles, and this hydration over time can potentially provide more power to boost athletic performance. You can choose from creatine monohydrate, creatine hydrochloride, or creatine with added supplements — all will generally have the same effects; you just need to decide which one will suit your lifestyle and workout regimen best. 

Once you’ve weighed your options, let this list be your total guide to all things creatine — what it can be used for, what you should consider before buying, what you’re going to pay for it, etc. After all, we’ve already used these best creatine supplements to do the heavy lifting here, so why should you have to?

FAQs

What are the benefits of creatine?

Creatine has strong links to improve power output similar to pre workout — basically better performance in strength workouts. Among people who don’t consume much meat, supplementing creatine may also improve some areas of cognition. What many people take creatine for, though, is because it draws more water into the muscles, meaning it makes them bigger. That’s an aesthetic boost that many people enjoy.

Do I need to load creatine?

Not really. A lot of people suggest taking 20 to 30 grams per day for the first week, then dropping to five grams per day for about a month, then taking a week or two off and repeating the cycle. But taking five to 10 grams per day consistently seems to be just as useful. If you want the “bigger muscles” benefit of creatine as soon as possible, then loading for a day or two might be worth it.

How much creatine should I take?

The default dosage is five grams; when a supplement comes with a scoop, that’s how much it’ll provide you with. Some like to “load” creatine with 25-ish grams per day for a week, then dropping down to five-ish grams for a few weeks. This will saturated the muscles with creatine more quickly if you really need the benefits to set in quickly. But five grams per day, without loading, will work fine. 10 grams may be better for larger athletes.

What's the best type of creatine?

Creatine monohydrate is far and away the most researched and best supported form of creatine. Dozens and dozens of studies support it; no other form of creatine has more than five studies. There’s no evidence any of the other forms, like creatine hydrochloride, nitrate, Kre-Alkalyn, (and so on) are more effective. The main exception is if creatine monohydrate gives you stomach cramps. If this is the case, a form like hydrochloride or nitrate might be easier on your belly.

Do I need to take carbs with creatine?

No. There’s a little evidence that adding carbs makes the creatine absorb more quickly, but creatine isn’t a drug or stimulant that has an immediate effect — it’s something that you saturate the muscles with over a period of days and weeks. So it doesn’t really matter if your daily scoop absorbs faster or not.

References

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  2. Greenhaff PL. Creatine and its application as an ergogenic aid. Int J Sport Nutr. 1995 Jun;5 Suppl:S100-10. doi: 10.1123/ijsn.5.s1.s100. PMID: 7550252.
  3. Naderi A, de Oliveira EP, Ziegenfuss TN, Willems MT. Timing, Optimal Dose and Intake Duration of Dietary Supplements with Evidence-Based Use in Sports Nutrition. J Exerc Nutrition Biochem. 2016 Dec 31;20(4):1-12. doi: 10.20463/jenb.2016.0031. PMID: 28150472; PMCID: PMC5545206.
  4. Rawson ES, Volek JS. Effects of creatine supplementation and resistance training on muscle strength and weightlifting performance. J Strength Cond Res. 2003 Nov;17(4):822-31. doi: 10.1519/1533-4287(2003)017<0822:eocsar>2.0.co;2. PMID: 14636102.
  5. Milioni F, de Poli RAB, Saunders B, Gualano B, da Rocha AL, Sanchez Ramos da Silva A, Muller PTG, Zagatto AM. Effect of β-alanine supplementation during high-intensity interval training on repeated sprint ability performance and neuromuscular fatigue. J Appl Physiol (1985). 2019 Dec 1;127(6):1599-1610. doi: 10.1152/japplphysiol.00321.2019. Epub 2019 Oct 17. PMID: 31622158.
  6. Craig SA. Betaine in human nutrition. Am J Clin Nutr. 2004 Sep;80(3):539-49. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/80.3.539. PMID: 15321791.
  7. Nunes JP, Ribeiro AS, Schoenfeld BJ, Tomeleri CM, Avelar A, Trindade MC, Nabuco HC, Cavalcante EF, Junior PS, Fernandes RR, Carvalho FO, Cyrino ES. Creatine supplementation elicits greater muscle hypertrophy in upper than lower limbs and trunk in resistance-trained men. Nutr Health. 2017 Dec;23(4):223-229. doi: 10.1177/0260106017737013. Erratum in: Nutr Health. 2021 Aug 9;:2601060211037228. PMID: 29214923.
  8. Rawson ES, Volek JS. Effects of creatine supplementation and resistance training on muscle strength and weightlifting performance. J Strength Cond Res. 2003 Nov;17(4):822-31. doi: 10.1519/1533-4287(2003)017<0822:eocsar>2.0.co;2. PMID: 14636102.
  9. Examine.com. (2021, October 21). HMB supplement – health benefits, dosage, side effects. Examine.com. Retrieved August 8, 2022, from https://examine.com/supplements/hmb/
  10. Mendes RR, Tirapegui J. Creatina: o suplemento nutricional para a atividade física–conceitos atuais [Creatine: the nutritional supplement for exercise – current concepts]. Arch Latinoam Nutr. 2002 Jun;52(2):117-27. Portuguese. PMID: 12184144.
  11.  Examine.com. (2022, July 7). Creatine – health benefits, dosage, side effects. Examine.com. Retrieved August 8, 2022, from https://examine.com/supplements/creatine/ 
  12.  Cooper R, Naclerio F, Allgrove J, Jimenez A. Creatine supplementation with specific view to exercise/sports performance: an update. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2012 Jul 20;9(1):33. doi: 10.1186/1550-2783-9-33. PMID: 22817979; PMCID: PMC3407788.
  13.  Hall M, Trojian TH. Creatine supplementation. Curr Sports Med Rep. 2013 Jul-Aug;12(4):240-4. doi: 10.1249/JSR.0b013e31829cdff2. PMID: 23851411.
  14.  Examine.com. (2022, May 30). Do I need to load creatine? Examine.com. Retrieved August 8, 2022, from https://examine.com/nutrition/do-i-need-to-load-creatine/ 
  15. Vandenberghe K, Gillis N, Van Leemputte M, Van Hecke P, Vanstapel F, Hespel P. Caffeine counteracts the ergogenic action of muscle creatine loading. J Appl Physiol (1985). 1996 Feb;80(2):452-7. doi: 10.1152/jappl.1996.80.2.452. PMID: 8929583.
  16. Bird SP. Creatine supplementation and exercise performance: a brief review. J Sports Sci Med. 2003 Dec 1;2(4):123-32. PMID: 24688272; PMCID: PMC3963244.
  17. Kreider RB. Effects of creatine supplementation on performance and training adaptations. Mol Cell Biochem. 2003 Feb;244(1-2):89-94. PMID: 12701815.
  18. Nissen SL, Sharp RL. Effect of dietary supplements on lean mass and strength gains with resistance exercise: a meta-analysis. J Appl Physiol (1985). 2003 Feb;94(2):651-9. doi: 10.1152/japplphysiol.00755.2002. Epub 2002 Oct 25. PMID: 12433852.
  19. Antonio J, Ciccone V. The effects of pre versus post workout supplementation of creatine monohydrate on body composition and strength. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2013 Aug 6;10:36. doi: 10.1186/1550-2783-10-36. PMID: 23919405; PMCID: PMC3750511.