When you need an extra bit of pep in your step, reaching for an energy drink can be a good idea. Not only do they contain caffeine, many energy drinks also contain other ingredients designed to give you a boost, including L-carnitine, niacin, taurine, and vitamin B12.
Many people rely on coffee to get their caffeine fix and start their day. But if you get tired of the same cup of coffee day after day, the wide variety of energy drink flavors will entice you. Whether you want something sweet and fruity or something so sour it’ll make you pucker, you can find it. While you don’t want to overdo it and start relying too much on energy drinks, don’t be surprised if you end up keeping your refrigerator stocked with these powerful beverages.
Below you’ll find our ranking of the most popular energy drink brands in order from the worst of the worst to the best you can buy. Although these aren’t all the brands that you may be able to find on grocery store shelves, we’ve included all of the bestselling ones.
When you’re looking for an energy drink, the Reign brand might catch your eye. The cans are colorful, their logo is slick, and the flavors sound unique and yummy. From White Gummy Bear to Carnival Candy. Cherry Limeade and Razzle Berry, you’ll be tempted to add a can to your shopping cart. Reign also prominently displays the fact that their energy drinks contain BCAA aminos, which have multiple health benefits, and could add to the temptation that you feel.
But there’s one big problem: these beverages all taste terrible.
No matter which flavor you select, Reign will disappoint. Everything tastes like it’s a chemical concoction put together by a mad scientist instead of a drink that is meant to please your taste buds. With each sip, you’ll grow to hate it more and more. Eventually, you’ll give up all hope and pour the rest of the can’s contents down the sink, toss the can in the garbage, and promise yourself that you’ll never succumb to the temptation to buy this brand ever again.
14. Mountain Dew Amp
If you’re drinking soda to get an energy boost, Mountain Dew is a smart choice because it contains a lot of caffeine. It also comes in a number of tasty flavors. But while it has a lot of caffeine for a soda, Mountain Dew doesn’t have that much caffeine compared to energy drinks. That’s why Mountain Dew Amp was introduced. It’s basically half Mountain Dew and half energy drink.
Unfortunately, while this beverage sounds like a winner in theory, it’s a loser in reality. The problem isn’t the caffeine, as Mountain Dew Amp is highly caffeinated. The problem is the taste. This stuff has a strong scent and an even stronger flavor. While regular Mountain Dew has a perfectly balanced flavor profile, this energy drink packs too strong of a punch. Unless you take the drastic step of watering it down, your senses will soon be totally overwhelmed. Even if you love Mountain Dew, pick a better energy drink that won’t leave you sick to your stomach.
13. G Fuel
G Fuel is a brand of energy drinks that’s marketed to gamers. From eSport athletes to casual gamers, G Fuel vows to supercharge your gaming by improving your focus and energy level. All of their products are sugar free, which they say will help you avoid feeling jittery during your gaming and drained after a handful of hours.
Sadly, even if all their claims are 100% accurate, G Fuel simply doesn’t taste good enough to recommend. All of their energy drinks have an odd aftertaste that’s reminiscent of cough syrup. You wouldn’t drink medicine for fun, so there’s no reason to voluntarily consume G Fuel either. While there are a lot of different flavors to pick from from this brand, they all have the same medicinal aftertaste that ruins the experience. For that reason, even if you’re preparing for a marathon gaming session, pick another brand of energy drink to get you ready to win.
12. V8 Energy
V8 vegetable juice has been around since 1933 and it’s still popular to this day. It combines tomatoes, celery, carrots, beets, lettuce, parsley, spinach, and watercress to create a drink that people of all shapes, sizes, and ages can enjoy. V8 vegetable juice is a scrumptious and painless way to add vegetables to your diet.
Beyond vegetable juice, these days V8 also makes fruit blends and, yes, energy drinks.
There are two problems with V8 Energy, though. First of all, the flavors are all flat and boring. Nothing jumps out and captures your attention. And second of all, V8 Energy doesn’t contain that much energy — and that’s very difficult to overlook when you’re calling yourself an energy drink. If you down one of these energy drinks, you’ll get about 80 milligrams of caffeine. That’s less caffeine than a normal cup of coffee and much less caffeine than other brands of energy drinks.
11. Full Throttle
While other brands of energy drinks have huge catalogs of available flavors, Full Throttle keeps it simple. On the one hand, it’s admirable that they stay laser focused on their two flavors: Original Citrus and Blue Agave. While other brands can get distracted and come out with a new flavor seemingly every other week, Full Throttle stays true to who they are. On the other hand, once you try each of their two flavors, you’ll be wishing for more flavor options.
The issue that holds Full Throttle back is that both of their flavors are way too sweet. For a can or two, you might be impressed. But after a while, even your sweet tooth won’t want to deal with the sweetness anymore. Other energy drink brands deal with this issue by offering a wide assortment of choices. But that’s not how Full Throttle rolls. To get something other than sweetness, you’ll have to switch brands.
10. Zevia Energy
If you’re a connoisseur of zero calorie soda, you know about Zevia. Their soda is available in more than a dozen flavors. All the flavors are excellent and none of them have any sugar or calories of any kind. If you adore Zevia soda, you might turn to Zevia Energy for your energy drink needs. But, unfortunately, that would be a mistake.
Just like how Zevia Sparkling Water tastes too much like soda, their energy drinks also taste too much like soda. Energy drinks have been around long enough that your taste buds will expect a certain amount of zing when the stuff enters your mouth. That zing is missing in Zevia Energy. Instead, you’ll be convinced that you’re drinking a soda instead of an energy drink.
Zevia Energy comes in four flavors: raspberry lime, grapefruit, mango ginger, and kola. Obviously, the kola flavor tastes the most like soda — but the other three flavors annoyingly taste like soda as well.
NOS is a brand of energy drinks that’s primarily promoted by race car drivers. This brand has been around since 2005, but they’ve failed to gain much traction, especially in recent years. While their competitors are innovative and improving, NOS has been stuck in neutral.
NOS offers six options when it comes to the flavors for their energy drinks: Original, Nitro Mango, GT Grape, Power Punch, Sonic Sour, and Turbo. As you might be able to guess, Turbo has the most caffeine at 300 milligrams per 16-ounce can. The other four flavors have a little over half at 160 milligrams per can.
The good news is that none of the flavors are off-putting like some of the energy drink options above. If you buy a can of NOS, you’ll drink it all without complaint. That said, the bad news is that there’s also nothing memorable about these energy drinks. Unless you’re a fan of racing, you might soon forget that this brand even exists.
8. Bang Energy
Even though Bang Energy is a newcomer, it’s already a force to be reckoned with. It started selling energy drinks in 2012 and, less than a decade later, it’s one of the most popular brands in America. While its beverages are far from the best of the best, they’re unquestionably above average, so it’s understandable why Bang Energy has so many ardent fans.
The brand’s popularity is at least partially due to TikTok influencers. Bang Energy has successfully grown the brand’s name recognition among the younger generations thanks to social media. But beyond TikTok, the fact that its energy drinks contain creatine is intriguing to many. Creatine helps build muscle mass and enhance athletic performance. An energy drink that can aid you in adding muscle? That sounds like a win-win situation.
When it comes to flavors, Bang Energy is in the middle of the pack. None of its flavors are horrible but none of them are great, either.
If you’re meticulous about what you do and do not put in your body, you’ll be attracted to Celsius. This brand of energy drinks doesn’t use high fructose corn syrup, sugar, or aspartame. It also doesn’t use artificial colors, artificial flavors, or artificial preservatives. Moreover, its drinks are non-GMO, gluten free, and kosher. What do they put in their energy drinks? Celsius features wholesome ingredients such as green tea, ginger, and guarana. For those individuals who get scared after looking at the list of ingredients used by other energy drink brands, Celsius could be the answer.
Flavor-wise, Celsius has a lot of options to pick from including sparkling strawberry guava, raspberry açai green tea, and Peach Vibe. Compared to other brands, be prepared for the flavors to be more delicate and subdued. they’re still tasty, but the flavors undeniably lack the depth and the boldness you’ll find if you try other brands.
6. Starbucks Tripleshot
Starbucks has entered the energy drink fray in an interesting way that is actually rather ingenious. If you need a little bit of energy, you can grab a Starbucks Doubleshot. If you need a lot of energy to help you deal with what life has in store, then you can opt for a Starbucks Tripleshot with a hefty 225 milligrams of caffeine.
While you can get caffeine from the coffee at Starbucks, these beverages also feature the nutrients you expect to find in energy drinks such as niacin, riboflavin, and vitamin B6. But Starbucks Tripleshot flavors don’t taste anything like you’d expect from an energy drink. Instead, they’re all coffee flavors such as dark roast, French vanilla, caramel, and mocha.
Amazingly, this product combines the best attributes of coffee and energy drinks. It sounds impossible, but Starbucks has made it a reality. Give it a try, if only for the novelty. Don’t be shocked when your taste buds beg for more.
5. 5-Hour Energy
5-Hour Energy is an energy drink that tackles the same problems as other energy drinks, but from a different angle. If you’re in serious need of a jolt of energy but you don’t have the time to gulp down a big beverage, consider an energy shot instead. Each energy shot is less than two ounces of liquid but provides almost the exact same benefits of full-size energy drinks. 5-Hour Energy is available in regular strength or extra strength, which allows you to pick the exact amount of energy that you need.
5-Hour Energy comes in a multitude of flavors, but honestly, with energy shots, the flavors take a back seat. The shot will be down your throat before you know it, so the flavor doesn’t really matter. That said, all of the 5-Hour Energy flavors are good enough to do the job, so it might be wise to keep these energy shots on hand as a complement to energy drinks.
4. Xyience Energy
When it comes to up-and-comers in the energy drink industry, Xyience Energy is the brand to keep an eye on. This brand isn’t super popular yet, so it can be difficult to find. For example, small, local grocery stores probably won’t carry them. But once you try a Xyience Energy beverage, you won’t hesitate to grab a can whenever you encounter one.
The flavors are what make these energy drinks special. From cran razz to blue pomegranate, you’ll be enthralled from your very first sip. The best flavor is actually cherry lime. It has the perfect balance of sweetness and sourness to make every can a fun roller coaster of an adventure. Cherry lime by Xyience Energy has to be in the running as the best energy drink of them all — even when comparing the flavor to offerings from brands higher up in this ranking.
The only slight drawback with Xyience Energy is that the carbonation can sometimes overshadow the taste of some of the flavors. But, then again, that’s another reason to stick with the marvelous cherry lime flavor.
3. Red Bull
The popularity of energy drinks skyrocketed shortly after Red Bull was introduced to the United States market in 1997. That’s no coincidence. Red Bull, which first hit stores in Thailand, caught America’s attention with clever commercials and kept the country’s attention by giving the public a highly caffeinated alternative to coffee and tea.
Now, more than two decades later, Red Bull is still an elite brand of energy drinks. And for many, the original flavor still reigns supreme with a taste that’s synonymous with caffeinated vivacity. To be honest, however, Red Bull has fallen behind a bit when it comes to available flavors. While they have some good ones, they’ve been surpassed by two other brands in this important category.
Undoubtedly, Red Bull is here to stay. But will it still be the top selling brand of energy drinks in the next 10 or 20 years? Probably not.
2. Rockstar Energy
Rockstar Energy is in a neck and neck race for the top spot on this list. This brand is improving all the time and could one day become the best energy drink brand of them all in the not-too-distant future. In fact, it’s already the best brand when it comes to zero-sugar energy drinks. Without that sugar, Rockstar Energy somehow still manages to retain all the flavor. It’s truly magical and is the perfect fit for those following a keto diet.
Rockstar Energy’s mastery doesn’t end with its zero-sugar variety of beverages either. Its other products, such as its full calorie and organic energy drinks, are also fantastic, while Rockstar Juiced adds juice to the energy drink formula with a result that’s even better than you’d expect. The bottom line is you won’t find a bad product by Rockstar Energy. With that confidence, feel free to try whatever tickles your fancy.
1. Monster Energy
No matter where you are in the country, you can find Monster Energy products. Even if you’re in a tiny mom-and-pop corner store, there’s a great chance that they’ll have these energy drinks for sale. That’s one of many reasons why Monster Energy deserves to wear the crown for the best brand of energy drinks in all the land.
From superficial reasons like having cool looking cans, but also serious reasons including a jaw-dropping array of delicious flavors. From coffee-inspired flavors such as Java Monster to fruity marvels like Ultra Watermelon, this brand is sure to have something that can satisfy all of your energy drink fantasies.
Even though it might take weeks or even months, you should do yourself a favor and try each and every energy drink sold by Monster Energy. By the end of your glorious escapade, you’re sure to have many new favorites to add to your energy drink rotation.