Ever wonder what happened to coffee as the preferred source of a caffeine jolt? It used to be about the only way to get a caffeine kick, but lots of people are seeking out different options these days. With so many carbonated sources of caffeine available, choosing among energy drinks is getting tougher by the day. We decided to put two of the biggest ones through their paces with a Bang vs. Reign energy drink steel cage match.
Let's dive in…
At a glance:
First, Let's Throw Some Cold, Non-Caffeinated Water on the Energy Drink Hype
Truth be told, there isn't all that much difference between one energy drink and another — including Bang and Reign. They all have some flavoring, maybe a few vitamins and supplements and, of course, caffeine. Beyond that there are more similarities than differences.
That being said, if you like fruity energy drinks, we get it. Sometimes a cold beverage that provides a boost can hit the spot, and maybe offer a change from that coffee sitting around in the breakroom. But you also might like something different — like caffeinated vapes.
Like Reign and Bang energy drinks, vapes like HELO Air Caffeine give you a caffeine lift. But vapes are cheaper than energy drinks, and have flavors that are honestly more fun (in our humble opinion) than either Bang or Reign. Might want to consider them as an alternative.
Reign and Bang: Tale of the Energy Drinks Tape
Let's start at the very beginning and compare what's on the nutrition label on the back of the can. (Note: Bang Energy actually has a couple "versions" of their drink — "Super Creatine" and "Nitro Jack." In terms of nutrition facts, they're pretty similar. But for this review, we're using the Super Creatine Bang Energy formulation for comparison purposes. In case you were wondering.) You'll see right away that there isn't a significant difference between the two.
Bang Energy Drink Ingredients
Bang energy drinks contain carbonated water, natural flavors, citric acid, phosphoric acid, caffeine, sodium benzoate, potassium citrate monohydrate, essential amino acids (L-leucine, L-isoleucine, L-valine, L-lysine, L-threonine, L-phenylanine, L-histidine, L-methionine, L-tryptophan), sucralose, potassium phosphate dibasic, vitamin C, potassium sorbate, magnesium chloride, Super Creatine, calcium chloride, calcium disodium EDTA, vitamin B3, vitamin B6, and vitamin B12.
Reign Energy Drink Ingredients:
Reign Energy drinks contain carbonated water, citric acid, sodium citrate, L-Leucine, natural flavors, caffeine, L-Isoleucine, L-Valine, sucralose, sodium benzoate, potassium citrate, potassium sorbate, acesulfame potassium, vitamin B3, Magnesium Lactate, Coenzyme Q-10, vitamin B6, and vitamin B12.
So, fairly similar (and not all that different from other energy drinks to be honest), but with some distinct differences between the two, as you can see. More of a focus on essential amino acids with Bang, and a bigger focus on Coenzyme CoQ-10 in Reign. That's just one example.
Reign and Bang Energy Drinks Have the Same Amount of Caffeine
This is where most people will turn their focus — the caffeine content and calories. Here, Reign and Bang are equal with 300mg of caffeine per 16 ounce can. They differ in their calorie content, with Bang's zero calorie formula coming in at, you guessed it, zero calories, while Reign has 10 calories (which is the equivalent of about 1 Tostitos chip).
"Functional" Ingredients in Reign and Bang
Aside from the caffeine, both Bang and Reign tout their other "functional" ingredients like Coenzyme Q10 and amino acids. Reign hypes this a bit with its "Reign Total Body Fuel" tagline. Let's take a look at what those are, and what science says (or doesn't say) about their benefits.
By the way, before we dive in here, remember that we're not doctors or healthcare professionals of any kind. So do you own research into these ingredients, or talk to a health specialist about how they might affect you.
Also, treat the claims of what's included in each of these energy drinks with a bit of skepticism. Not that it's not in there — by law, if it's on the label it has to be. But a listed ingredient may not be present in an amount that's likely to have an effect on you.
With those qualifiers out of the way, here are a few of the more "hyped" ingredients in both energy drinks.
Coenzyme Q10, otherwise known as CoQ10, is produced naturally by your body, although production decreases as you get older. It's an antioxidant found in foods like fish, meat and nuts, and is used by your body for various functions related to cell growth and maintenance.
There are several health benefits associated with CoQ10. In addition to some evidence showing that it's good for your heart, it might also help to naturally sustain energy, and that's probably the reason for including it in these drinks.
Time for a little digression into science …
If you don't know what amino acids are, just think of them as the building blocks of proteins. And those proteins — you have thousands of them in your body — are the building blocks of you.
Your body has 20 different amino acids, 9 of which are considered "essential," which just means that your body doesn't produce them on its own. That means you have to get them through your diet.
Of those nine, three are what's called "Branched Chain Amino Acids," or BCAAs. Those are Leucine, Isoleucine and Valine. And it's these BCAAs that Reign Energy Drink likes to publicize as being part of their formula.
Reason? Because BCAAs have been linked with a number of benefits like increased muscle growth, decreased muscle soreness and lower muscle fatigue — all things that you can imagine a bodybuilder or gym rat might want.
Gym rat or not, BCAAs are the kind of thing you'd like to include in an energy drink because (at least in theory) they can help you recover from physical stress and may help with sports or exercise performance.
Both Bang Energy Drink and Reign Energy Drink include vitamins B3, B6 and B12. What's so magical about this particular combination? In a nutshell, all three of these B vitamins are associated with energy.
Vitamin B3, also called Niacin, is supposed to stimulate blood flow and is supposedly a metabolism booster as well.
Vitamin B6, also called pyridoxine, and vitamin B12 work by converting nutrition from things like fats and carbs to glucose. They're used mainly for a prolonged energy boost, and adherents also claim — without a lot of evidence — that they help boost brain function and lead to an improved mood.
Reign and Bang Flavors and Taste
Reign Energy Drinks come in 10 flavors, while Bang offers an overwhelming (at least in our opinion) 27.
Bang Energy Drink Flavors
Bangster Berry, Birthday Cake Bash, Black Cherry Vanilla, Blue & Yellow Limoncello, Blue Razz, Candy Apple Crisp, Champagne, Cherry Blade Lemonade, Citrus Twist, Cotton Candy, Delish Strawberry Kiss, Frose Rose, Krazy Key Lime Pie, Lemon Drop, Miami Cola, Nectarine Blueberry, Peach Mango, Power Punch, Purple Guava Pear, Purple Haze, Purple Kiddles, Radical Skadattle, Raging Raspberry Hibiscus, Rainbow Unicorn, Root Beer Blaze, Sour Heads, Star Blast, Strawberry Blast, Swirly Pop, Whole Lotta Chocolata, Whole Lotta Pina Colada and Wyldin' Watermelon.
Rein Energy Drink Flavors
Tropical Storm, Reignbow Sherbet, Lilikoi Lychee, Melon Mania, White Gummy Bear, Razzle Berry, Orange Dreamsicle, Cherry Limeade, Red Dragon and Watermelon Warlord.
Bang vs. Reign on Taste
At the end of the day, whether you like Reign or Bang, and which one you consider to be the better energy drink, is going to come down to personal preference.
But here's what we came away with from our own internal taste test. Let's start with Bang Energy …
What Does Bang Energy Drink Taste Like?
We went into this with a preconceived notion that Bang would be superior, simply because it's the brand we see more often in grocery and convenience stores.
For the purposes of this article, we tried a few Bang Energy flavors — Rainbow Unicorn, Cotton Candy and Wyldin' Watermelon. First impression is that the caffeine content is very, very powerful. And the effects of that caffeine are almost immediate.
One of our taste testers felt that the 300mg of caffeine was too much for a single serving of a drink. Halfway through, he got headaches and felt like he needed a water break just to tame the caffeine absorption.
Bear in mind, this is a guy who drinks a lot of caffeine daily (4-5 shots of espresso). But he felt that the amount of caffeine was too high for the amount of liquid — meaning he felt it was too concentrated to enjoy.
Another reviewer didn't necessarily have problems with the effects of the caffeine, but did feel like drinking an entire can in one sitting would be too much. Half a can was all he could muster before throwing in the towel.
When it came to taste, he found it "really unpleasant." The two flavors he tried — Frose Rose and Star Blast — didn't taste like anything in particular, and could only be described as tasting like "nothing found in nature." So not a ringing endorsement there for sure.
What Does Reign Energy Drink Taste Like?
Reign was definitely the underdog in our in-office competition. It's not as "hyped," not as well-known, and at least around us, slightly harder to find. How did it stack up?
First, the flavors. We tried Melon Mania, Reighnbow Sherbet, and Orange Dreamsicle.
One reviewer felt the flavors were spot on and perfectly matched the description — meaning Reighnbow Sherbet really did taste like the frozen treat, and Orange Dreamsicle really did taste like an orange popsicle. So there was a hit of nostalgia there.
As far as the caffeine content, while it's the same in Reign as it is in Bang, Reign didn't seem to give us that dull headache that we experienced with Bang. Which might mean there's something else in the Bang ingredients that caused that sensation.
Which is Better: Reign or Bang?
While neither one impressed, one disappointed less than the other (how's that for a backhanded compliment?).
Both energy drinks are similar in their natural caffeine content and, to a certain extent, their flavor profiles (both were kinda gross to be honest). And at 300mg of caffeine per serving, both may or may not leave you wired if you drink one or more every day.
But all in all, if pressed to the wall to choose one, we'd have to go with Reign as the least offensive of the two.
Bang and Reign Alternatives
We mentioned this earlier but it's worth doing so again — an energy drink like Bang and Reign is not the only option when it comes to sources of a caffeine boost. There are caffeine pills, caffeine patches and caffeine gum, which we don’t recommend, and MELO's Helo Air Caffeine Vapes, which we do.
Caffeine vapes combine a premium blend of natural caffeine and proprietary fruit flavors to deliver a jolt of energy, alertness and mental clarity. They also do it in a form that's more portable and less expensive than Bang, Reign or other energy drinks.
Each one is packed with 800 inhales of natural caffeine in one of six proprietary, mouth-watering flavors, like caramel coffee, aloe grape and tropic slush.
Give 'em a try. We think they just might make you convert … and convince you to ditch energy drinks for good!