A hike in the mountains, a night at the club, or just keeping up with life requires energy. Rather than resorting to pots of coffee or espresso shots, many turn to energy drinks. Judging by the continued popularity of Monster and Red Bull, this trend is not about to subside. With all of the choices on the market, which one packs the most punch in a way that won’t leave you jittery? What is the strongest energy drink on the market?
At a glance:
Before we dive into energy drinks, we’ll offer an alternative. HELO Plus is natural caffeine in a breath of air. Rather than choke down gulps of taurine and other unnatural chemicals, HELO Plus provides a jolt of energy, alertness, and mental clarity instantly in just a few inhales.
HELO Plus is more convenient and economical than other energy sources. The vaporizer fits in your pocket or purse and offers 80 doses. Each dose is 5-10 inhalations, and each vaporizer has 800 inhales. Compare that to the amount of energy drink cans you’d purchase for the same benefit, and there is no contest for your pocketbook or the environment.
HELO Plus contains no harmful ingredients sometimes found in other vapes, such as diacetyl, nicotine, and vitamin E acetate. It has just four simple, all-natural ingredients to pep you up and keep you going.
Read on for more about the strongest energy drinks, but also be sure to check out our HELO Plus caffeine vape and the variety of flavors we have available.
As we examine the strongest energy drinks, it’s helpful to have a comparison to more familiar caffeine products. Comparing caffeine products is tricky, and caffeine affects everyone’s bodies differently, but the following benchmarks should give you a sense of how various energy drinks stack up.
- 95-200 mg of caffeine in an 8-ounce cup of brewed coffee
- 35-45 mg of caffeine in a 12-ounce can of cola
- 70-100 mg of caffeine in an average 8-ounce energy drink
- 14-60 mg of caffeine in an 8-ounce cup of tea
Caffeine can affect average healthy adults for four to six hours. It is recommended that adults keep their caffeine consumption below 400 mg per day — for younger people, the recommended limit is 200 mg.
Energy Drink Ingredients
Determining the strongest energy drink on the market isn’t as easy as it sounds, and that’s because a lot of energy drinks today offer more than just caffeine. If you look at the list of ingredients, you’re likely to see a range of exotic plant extracts, mysterious-sounding vitamins and plenty of unfamiliar words. One thing customers like about our HELO Plus caffeine vapes is that they don’t contain a bunch of stuff that’s hard to pronounce … but we digress.
Some of these ingredients — like B vitamins and niacin — can have a synergistic effect on caffeine, and may actually boost the energy provided by various drinks. On the other hand, they may also make the crash more dramatic, or even reduce the effects of the caffeine.
How all those ingredients interact will affect how strong the drink ultimately is, so the best way to look at the topic is to understand the ingredients themselves.
Before we get into our review, let’s take a minute to define some of the more common additions.
- Caffeine is often the primary active ingredient in any energy drink, of course. It can come from various sources, including coffee beans, green tea, and white tea extract. Caffeine causes a chemical reaction within your body which can seem like a strong energy boost. The amount of caffeine in energy drinks varies, and everyone has a different caffeine tolerance.
- Taurine is an amino acid found naturally in meat, fish, dairy products, and milk. Studies point to it improving athletic performance. Combined with caffeine, it is said to improve mental performance as well.
- Ginseng is a plant, and its active ingredients come from the plant’s root. Ginseng may boost your brainpower by increasing the amount of blood glucose absorbed by your cells, leading to claims of less mental fatigue.
- Guarana is a seed from a South American shrub and has two to three times as much caffeine as a coffee bean. Studies show that guarana has energizing effects on its own and may boost the effects of other sources of caffeine.
- Sugar is used as a sweetener that naturally provides a boost of energy. Energy drinks vary widely in the amount of sugar they include, and there are some that are sugar-free, but use other forms of sweetener. Be aware that there are many names for sugar.
- CoQ10 is an enzyme that plays a role in producing energy in the mitochondria — the power plants of the cell.
- B Vitamins B6 plays a role in enzyme reactions that metabolize food into energy. B12 plays a role in cell division and the creation of cell DNA. Low levels have been linked to depression.
- Electrolytes include minerals such as sodium and potassium that are naturally depleted during exercise. Adding more to your diet allows your cells to rejuvenate, potentially increasing endurance.
Energy drinks come in a variety of flavors and styles, from dozens of manufacturers. There is some evidence that they temporarily improve alertness and physical endurance.
The idea of all of them is to make a great-tasting drink and add some caffeine. (Not all brands succeed at the great-tasting part.) Many have added sugar, vitamins, herbs, and supplements.
Once you consume a can of energy drink, it takes about 10 minutes for the caffeine to enter your bloodstream and about 30 to 45 minutes to be fully absorbed into your body. For the optimal energy rush, consume any fitness drink about 45 minutes before your intended activity.
Most energy drinks have a recommended limit to the number of drinks you should consume per day. Going over that might have adverse effects on your health.
Energy drinks taken over long periods of time can be dangerous due to heavy sugar content and how your body might react to caffeine, including elevated blood pressure. Many energy drinks also provide a temporary spike in energy followed by a crash, leaving you wanting more drinks.
Some can also become dependent on the effect of the drink leading them to drink them often.
Depending on your body's reaction, the effects of an energy drink can last up to ten hours. This can vary depending on your age, genetics, fitness level, and what else you've eaten that day. But, after that peak jolt of energy, the effects start to taper off.
Know the effects of an energy drink before consuming it later in the day or before performing any activity. Remember that energy drinks cannot replace a balanced diet that replenishes your vitamins and minerals naturally. Energy drinks should not be a substitute for adequate sleep either.
Here are some of the popular energy drinks on the market and how effective they are at keeping you alert.
Bang Energy drinks contain 300 mg of caffeine — the equivalent of several cups of coffee. Other ingredients in Bang Energy drinks include EAA Aminos, CoQ10, and Creatine-L-Leucine — an energy metabolite found in tissues of the muscles and brain.
Studies conducted at Nova Southeastern and Anglia Ruskin Universities found that Bang energy drinks increase sustained focus, concentration, and reaction time. They are also a popular drink for those trying to lose weight.
Reign Total Body Fuel
Reign Total Body Fuel is owned by Monster Energy and packs a whopping 300 mg of caffeine in a 16 ounce can. That's the equivalent of several cups of coffee. In fact, the source of caffeine is coffee beans and tea leaves.
Other ingredients include CoQ10, BCAA amino acids, and electrolytes. What’s missing are sugar, artificial sweeteners, flavors and colors, so it's touted as better for you.
Red Bull Energy Drinks
Perhaps the most well-known energy drink, Red Bull is synonymous with high energy and pushing human limits. Ingredients include caffeine, taurine, B-group vitamins, real sugar and purified water.
Red Bull has about as much caffeine as a cup of coffee. There are flavor varieties that rotate through the year so your taste buds are never bored. There are also low and no-sugar varieties.
Spike Energy Drink
Spike Hardcore Energy Drinks push the limit. A 16 oz can has the equivalent of three to four cups of coffee — 350 mg. That’s definitely at the top of what anyone is recommended to consume and not suffer unwanted side effects.
Ingredients include Beta-Alanine — an amino acid to prevent fatigue and mental stress — caffeine, and L-Tyrosine, an amino acid that improves memory, mood, and focus. There are no added sugars or artificial ingredients. The focus is on providing B-12, with 41,670% of the recommended daily value.
Monster Energy Drinks
Monster energy drinks contain a bit less caffeine than some of the strongest energy drinks along with quite a bit of sugar. Other ingredients include taurine, panax ginseng, guarana, and several B-vitamins.
Monster does have a zero-sugar version called Monster Ultra, along with teas, juices, and coffees depending on your flavor preferences. They all pack the same caffeine punch.
Redline Xtreme Energy Drink
From the makers of Bang, Redline Xtreme provides as much caffeine as three cups of coffee in an 8-oz bottle. It has no sugar, carbohydrates, or calories. That means no sugar crash.
While it doesn't have the most caffeine on this list, the caffeine concentration levels are high and those with a low tolerance to caffeine should be careful. Redline Xtreme could be a good pre-workout drink as it contains electrolytes which are depleted during exercise.
C4 Energy Drink
C4 has four flavors and uses artificial sweeteners in its blend. Fans claim it lacks the aftertaste of some of the more popular brands.
The Explosive Performance Energy Blend contains ingredients to delay fatigue, support nitric oxide levels, help maintain muscle hydration, and support mental and cognitive health.
For those who are not fans of carbonated beverages, there is an option for you as well. On-the-go packs can be added to your water bottle. C4 Energy is NSF Certified for Sport, a globally recognized certification.
NOS Energy Drink
NOS was started by Coca-Cola but is now owned by Monster. It's a blend of caffeine, vitamins, B6, B12, taurine, inositol, and guarana. Inositol is a sugar found naturally in the body and some foods. It helps regulate blood pressure, improve blood sugar, and help with mood disorders.
Each 16-oz can of NOS has 200mg of caffeine, the equivalent of a very strong cup of coffee. The drawback is that NOS energy drinks contain 54 grams of sugar per serving. The effects of the drink will last two to three hours.
Celsius Energy Drink
Celsius and Celsius Heat energy drinks rank up there in caffeine content with 200 mg and 300 mg of caffeine per can respectively. It comes in a variety of flavors and claims to burn body fat when consumed as a pre-workout drink.
Healthier ingredients are mixed in, including ginger, guarana, green tea, and seven essential vitamins. There are no added sugars, preservatives, colors, or flavors. Celsius drinks are gluten-free, kosher, and non-GMO.
There are also options with Stevia and powder packets to conveniently add to a glass of water.
Rockstar Energy Drink
Rockstar is owned by PepsiCo and has more than 30 flavors of energy drink. Ingredients include taurine, intosol, b-vitamins, guarana, and ginseng extract.
It has quite a bit of sugar, but only half as much as some of the heavy-sugar varieties. Be careful of a sugar crash after consuming Rockstar.
Ghost Energy drinks offer a good amount of caffeine, with no sugar and only five calories per serving. There are several flavors that taste like your favorite candies. Ingredients include alpha GPC, astrigin, and panax ginseng. They are vegan-friendly, soy free, gluten free, and sugar free.
The caffeine source is from the coffee bean with claims of smooth energy, less jitters, and no crash. Use Ghost energy drinks as a pre-workout refresher or afternoon pick-me-up.
Elements Energy Drink
Elements of Balance energy drink is made with plant-based ingredients like rhodiola, ginseng, and green tea caffeine. It has less than half the amount of caffeine as other energy drinks.
Rhodiola is a plant that has been shown to enhance energy and mental performance. It acts as an adaptogen in your body to regulate cortisol levels and bring balance.
Elements energy drink takes a more natural approach. Their drinks are vegan, gluten-free, and non-GMO.
5 Hour Energy Shot
5-Hour Energy shot packs a lot of caffeine into a 1.93 fl. oz. serving. There's no sugar, but there is sucralose, taurine, and malic acid. The company recommends only two shots per day.
One energy shot is the equivalent of 12-ounces of premium coffee. In addition to the regular shot which comes in a ton of flavors, there is also an extra-strength shot, and an energy drink.
Energy shots are a convenient way to achieve a high caffeine intake in a concentrated form.
ZOA Energy Drink
Created by a company owned by Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and his two partners, ZOA is an energy drink designed to support health and wellness. It's not the strongest energy drink, at only 160 mg of caffeine, and a decent amount of sugar.
It includes vitamins B and C, choline for focus, and magnesium and potassium for hydration. If you are looking for a healthy energy drink, this one might be a better option. (An even healthier option could be — you guessed it — a HELO Plus vape.)
Hyde Power Potion Energy Drink
Loaded with caffeine, plus BCAAs, CoQ10, and teacrine, it has one of the highest caffeine contents on this list. It claims to boost your mental focus and energy level with no calories, carbs, sugars, or artificial colors.
Lesser known than other energy drinks on this list, it contains one of the highest levels of caffeine at 350 mg.
The Best Energy Supplement
Energy drinks are extremely popular among pro and armchair athletes alike, or anyone looking for an extra edge. But energy drinks cannot replace a well-balanced diet and healthy stress management.
There are several ways to gain energy including organic coffee, green teas, and yerba mate. It's important to use any energy source wisely. Pay attention to how your body reacts. You do not need to experience a racing heart, jitters, or a sugar crash for a boost of energy.
Be aware that there are other energy boosting alternatives such as HELO Plus. Just a few inhalations bring focus and energy to your task. Designed to go with you anywhere, you can slip an inhaler in your pocket and grab a few puffs when you feel your energy waning.
Comparable in effect to an energy drink without sugar, artificial colors, and flavors, HELO Plus is a great source of energy.