The 13 Best Hydration Drinks and Drink Mixes

You’ve in all probability obtained the message by now: hydration is necessary. And though the eight glasses per day rule of thumb doesn’t maintain water, dehydration can impression your health and maintain again your bodily efficiency—no matter whether or not you are a critical athlete or on a regular basis gym-goer.

As nice as plain previous water is, we’ve identified for many years that exercise strips the body of electrolytes along with H2O. So, for those who’re figuring out arduous, your body additionally wants to switch salt, potassium, and generally energy. While most drinks apart from water depend towards your general fluid consumption, exercise calls for the kind of replenishment that beer, chocolate milk, and espresso aren’t at all times well-suited for.

Hydration-focused drinks like Gatorade have been on sidelines for many years, however right now there are dozens of powders, liquid concentrates, and ready-to-drink bottles obtainable to satisfy your hydration wants. Knowing which one is best for you and your way of life isn’t straightforward. Luckily, we examined dozens of hydration drinks; analyzed their dietary contents, taste, ease-of-use, and value; and selected our favorites throughout a variety of codecs, costs, and functions. Our favourite? Skratch Labs Hydration Mix.

What to Look For When Shopping for Hydration Drinks

Electrolyte Content

Uri Carlson of Inner Wild Nutrition, registered dietician nutritionist (RDN) primarily based in Breckenridge, CO, has a trick for figuring out when to make use of hydration drinks as a substitute of water: “Anytime you’re sweating, drink electrolytes. It doesn’t matter if you’re mowing the lawn or going for a run,” she informed Men’s Journal.

When you perspire, you lose electrolytes, Carlson says. You primarily sweat out sodium, in any other case often known as salt. To a lesser extent, you additionally wish to change potassium—however in a ratio of about 10-to-one salt to potassium. She factors to the electrolyte content material of our high general choose, Skratch Labs Hydration Mix, as benchmark for totals of every in the precise ratio: about 400mg of sodium and 100mg or much less of potassium.

Many hydration drinks pad their substances lists with different electrolytes and add-ons like BCAAs, B nutritional vitamins, and different healthy-sounding buzzwords. Therefore, Carlson cautions athletes to maintain it easy, as extra substances create extra alternatives for abdomen points. Sodium and potassium are the one necessities that should be changed throughout exercise, whereas most different micronutrients and electrolytes are addressed by a healthy weight loss program.

Sugars and Non-Caloric Sweeteners

Hydration drinks historically embody carbohydrates in some type of sugar. Not solely does this enhance style, however it additionally supplies some nutrition and truly will increase how shortly and how a lot water you possibly can soak up. Original Gatorade has 14 grams of sugar per 8-ounce serving, whereas Skratch, for instance, has nearer to 10 grams per 8 ounces.

Zero sugar drinks is usually a nice possibility for hydrating with out taking in energy if you’re not as lively or for those who’re following a carb-restrictive weight loss program equivalent to keto, although you’ll forgo the hydrating impression of precise sugar. Most of those drinks use some type of non-caloric sweetener to enhance the style. Stevia and monkfruit are frequent naturally derived choices, however synthetic sweeteners like sucralose and aspartame are additionally standard. Just maintain tabs on how your body tolerates any sweetener, as actual sugar in addition to the assorted non-caloric sweeteners may cause abdomen issues. And remember that in excessive quantities, these synthetic choices could present some health considerations.

Related: The Best Hydration Packs for Running, Mountain Biking, and More

Types of Hydration Drinks

Bottled hydration drinks are standard for fast procuring on the grocery store or nook retailer. But we do not suggest ordering bottles on to your private home. When you order a case of Gatorade online, not solely do you create pointless waste by piling up plastic, however you additionally pay extra per fluid ounce in comparison with powder or liquid concentrates. Although drink mixes aren’t as handy as grab-and-go bottles, they’re an environment friendly selection for web shoppers.

Powders additionally permit you to regulate the strength of your combine. If you need extra electrolytes for a more durable exercise, add extra combine. Or, if you would like gentle flavoring and much less electrolytes for on a regular basis hydration, add much less combine.

There are many extra powdered hydration combine choices than bottled drinks, which regularly don’t have excellent electrolyte ratios. The wealth of powdered choices means you possibly can attempt completely different formulation and flavors till you discover the combo that fits your workouts and style buds.

I examined greater than a dozen hydration drinks for this round-up.

Justin Park

Why You Should Trust Me

I keep lively year-round, principally in a rotation of mountain biking, fitness center workouts, and backcountry and resort snowboarding. Aside from the fitness center workouts, these actions are prolonged endurance sports activities—the kind which have me sweating sufficient to wish electrolyte and calorie consumption earlier than, throughout, and after exercise. I make an effort to attempt as many various hydration merchandise as doable all year long.

For this text, I examined greater than a dozen distinctive merchandise, along with the hydration drinks I used to be already conversant in by means of earlier testing. I examined the drinks round bouts of exercise but additionally carried out “taste tests” to match the merchandise side-by-side, specializing in taste and observing how the powders dissolve.

Best Overall Hydration Drink: Skratch Labs Hydration Powder

Skratch Labs Hydration Powder

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Skratch Labs Hydration Powder was initially developed by a sports activities scientist and biking coach who diluted sugary sports activities drinks and beefed up the electrolyte content material to higher gas his athletes with out upsetting their stomachs. Skratch is now probably the most standard hydration mixes for athletes because of a time-tested ratio of electrolytes and simply sufficient sugar for gas and to extend water uptake. There aren’t numerous bonus substances right here. Just 4g of sugar to assist absorption of water and the precise ratio of electrolytes most individuals lose of their sweat. There are 6 flavors and I get pleasure from all of them, although Strawberry Lemonade and Pineapple are favorites. The value per serving for his or her bulk luggage is less expensive than bottled drinks and most different particular person drink powder packets, making it a staple selection for any athlete’s cabinet.

  • TYPE: Powder
  • FLAVORS: Strawberry Lemonade, Lemon + Lime, Raspberry Limeade (caffeinated), Fruit Punch, Orange, Pineapple
$22 at Amazon
$22 at Skratch Labs

Best Hydration Drink for Athletes: Gnarly Fuel2O Endurance Nutrition

Gnarly Fuel2O Endurance Nutrition

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Getting a major quantity of energy in your hydration drinks turns into extra necessary after about 60 minutes of exercise, so many drink powders aimed toward endurance athletes pack in further sugar as gas. Gnarly Fuel2O delivers 100 energy in every serving, principally within the type of 25 grams of sugar within the type of dextrose and sucrose—greater than 5 instances what’s in a serving of Gnarly’s customary hydration combine. In longer bouts of exercise and races, efficiency turns into as a lot about environment friendly fueling as the rest, and Fuel2O supplies a baseline of energy whereas nonetheless changing misplaced electrolytes.

  • TYPE: Powder
  • FLAVORS: Cherry Cola (caffeine), Limeade, Tropical
$38 at Amazon
$33 at Gnarly

Best Value Hydration Drink: Zeal Naturals Enhanced Electrolytes

Zeal Naturals Enhanced Electrolytes

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Zeal Naturals Enhanced Electrolytes is on a subscription order for my family and we use it as a low-cost taste enhancer to our water that simply occurs to have B nutritional vitamins, BCAAs, in addition to a variety of electrolytes. The value per ounce is a bit increased than merchandise equivalent to Skratch, however as a result of there isn’t any added sugar, you’re basically simply paying for the electrolytes and micronutrients. (I’ve added small quantities of sugar when including water to make the Zeal product extra of an exercise gas, however it’s stevia-sweetened already, so the flavour could be sturdy). The ratio of sodium to potassium is near 1:1 so it’s not an ideal mix. But for the price, it’s shut. And I personally are likely to gas with numerous salty snacks, equivalent to salted nuts and pickles, which crank up my sodium consumption all through the day while not having any from drink powders. There are electrolyte powders on the market with higher ratios, however for the value, it’s arduous to beat this sugar-free combine.

  • TYPE: Powder
  • FLAVORS: Strawberry Lemonade, Black Cherry, Lemon + Lime, Raspberry Limeade (caffeinated), Fruit Punch, Orange, Pineapple
$34 at Amazon

Best Bottled Hydration Drink: Gatorade Fit Real Healthy Hydration

Gatorade Fit Real Healthy Hydration

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Original Gatorade will get a nasty rap for being high in sugar and containing synthetic colorings, so the corporate launched a variety of recent merchandise in recent times, together with Gatorade Fit. The product supplies a modest 3 grams of carbs from watermelon juice focus. It’s electrolyte profile can also be a lot nearer to what’s misplaced in sweat than the unique, so it is a nice possibility if you’re in search of the comfort of a bottled liquid hydration drink. Because Gatorade is ubiquitous, you’re a lot prone to discover it in a comfort or grocery retailer in a pinch and for those who seize a case to maintain in your fridge, you’ll at all times have a straightforward grab-and-go hydration drink shut at-hand.

  • TYPE: Bottled drink
  • FLAVOR: Watermelon Strawberry, Blackberry Raspberry, Cherry Lime, Citrus Berry, Tropical Mango
$19 at Amazon

Best Hydration Drink for Hangovers: Hydrant Electrolyte Hydration Powder

Hydrant Electrolyte Hydration Powder

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While scientists don’t totally perceive what causes hangovers or tips on how to eliminate them, dehydration is a typical symptom. While Sunday morning zombies have historically reached for Gatorade or Pedialyte, Hydrant Hydration Powder has a lot much less sugar, no synthetic colours, and much more of the electrolytes your body wants. It additionally packs in caffeine from inexperienced tea plus L-Theanine to provide you a lift of power if you’re running on restricted, alcohol-compromised sleep. The sodium-to-potassium ratio isn’t as excellent for athletes sweating closely, however supplies a stable increase for weekend warriors attempting to get again on their ft.

  • TYPE: Powder
  • FLAVORS: Watermelonade, Fruit Punch, Blood Orange, Lemon Lime
$38 at Amazon
$40 at Hydrant

More Hydration Drinks We Love

Best Tasting Hydration Drink: DripDrop Electrolyte Powder

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This hydration combine was developed by a health care provider after he witnessed the lethal results of dehydration whereas on a humanitarian mission. DripDrop Electrolyte Powder delivers thrice the sodium content material of conventional sports activities drinks, so it’s focused hydration, not a candy drink to get pleasure from since you went for a jog. Still, the simply barely salty mouthfeel is welcome in your water bottle for those who’re sweating and craving salt—it’s not pickle juice. Obviously style could be very subjective, particularly for athletes, as anybody who’s frolicked in a marathon assist station can attest. But I like the straightforward choices of their Classics selection pack, and the 9 grams of sugar is low sufficient to get pleasure from it merely as a taste enhancer with out feeling such as you’re consuming a basic Coke. The powder is available in serving measurement packets meant to be combined with 8 ounces of water and are straightforward to toss in your automotive or fitness center bag so that you at all times have some on-hand if you want it.

  • TYPE: Powder
  • FLAVORS: Grape, Cherry, Fruit Punch, Strawberry Lemonade
$36 at Amazon
$36 at DripDrop

Best Zero Sugar Hydration Drink: DripDrop Zero Sugar Electrolyte Powder

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The DripDrop Zero Sugar zero-sugar formulation is nice for keto dieters and anybody watching their carbohydrate consumption that also desires to replenish electrolytes misplaced to sweating. The drawback with unsweetened hydration drinks is that the majority aren’t as efficient, since sugar helps the body soak up water. Thankfully, DripDrop makes an attempt to handle this shortcoming by means of a proprietary mix of allulose and amino acids that they are saying helps the combo hydrate higher than plain water. In my opinion, allulose is closest a sweetener involves actual sugar, so that you aren’t left with the aftertaste from stevia or different synthetic sweeteners.

  • TYPE: Powder
  • FLAVORS: White Peach, Lemon Lime, Green Grape
$27 at Amazon
$36 at Drip Drop

Best Electrolyte Tablets: GU Energy Hydration Drink Tabs

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As a soda water addict, generally I simply need carbonation.  I’ve gone as far as to cart La Croix cans to the highest of 14,000-foot peaks. For that very same feeling with an added electrolyte punch, I take advantage of GU Energy Hydration Drink Tabs. They’re like these previous alkaseltzer fizzing tablets, making plain water simply that little bit extra fascinating. Plus, they ship the correct amount of key electrolytes and BCAAs. If you’re anxious about consuming carbonation throughout a tough exercise, I ought to be aware the slight fizziness comes nowhere close to a belch-inducing canned drink, and GU says the delicate fizz can truly assist athletes who battle with abdomen upset from different merchandise.

  • TYPE: Powder
  • FLAVORS: Raspberry Lemon Lime, Orange, Tri Berry, Strawberry Lemonade
$29 at Amazon

Best Pre-Exercise Hydration Drink: Osmo Preload Hydration Powder

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While most hydration drinks try to handle dehydration because it occurs, Osmo Preload Hydration Powder helps you beat dehydration earlier than you start an intense exercise. A serving of the powder delivers greater than half of the really helpful each day allowance of sodium which helps saturate your sodium shops and retain as a lot water as doable forward of an intense exercise. For critical athletes getting ready for a max-effort exercise or race, it might get you a leg up within the battle in opposition to dehydration.

  • TYPE: Powder
  • FLAVOR: Pineapple Margarita, Blackberry, Lemon Lime
$20 at Amazon
$25 at Osmo Nutrition

Best Liquid Concentrate: Protekt Electrolyte Hydration Packets

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Some powders battle to totally dissolve in water, so that you could be left with an intense shot of grainy sludge for those who haven’t taken the time to correctly shake or stir your combine in your water bottle. Protekt Hydration electrolyte supply system comes within the acquainted stick tube packaging however it’s a hyper-concentrated electrolyte liquid that merely must disperse in your water as a substitute of dissolve. The electrolyte profile is great as nicely, specializing in salt with lesser quantities of magnesium and potassium. It’s a zero-sugar possibility sweetened with stevia, and I get pleasure from it each as a straightforward water enhancer for each day hydration and as a exercise hydration drink.

  • TYPE: Liquid focus
  • FLAVORS: Raspberry, Lemonade, Watermelon
$50 at Protekt

Best No-Mix Powder: Mtn Ops STM Electrolyte Stick Packs

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For instances if you wish to replenish electrolytes however don’t wish to soak up numerous fluids, there’s Mtn Ops STM (Straight to Mouth) Electrolyte Stick Packs. These small packets tear open and you pour the extreme Sweet Tart-like powder onto your tongue for a blast of taste, electrolytes, nutritional vitamins, and hint minerals. There’s not numerous sodium right here, so it’s much less of a during-exercise hydration powder than an electrolyte and mineral complement to your common hydration. Because it tastes like sweet because of non-caloric sweeteners erythritol, malic acid, and sucralose, I deal with it as a guilt-free late night time deal with with advantages once I know my body wants further assist with hydration and restoration.

  • TYPE: Direct-feed powder
  • FLAVORS: Fruity Pink Burst, Blue Raspberry, Fresh Lemon Lime
$30 at Mtn Ops

Best Post-Workout: Skratch Labs Recovery Mix

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Most lifters and athletes know protein is essential to muscle-building and restoration. But even on a regular basis folks battle to get sufficient of their weight loss program. If you’re a bodybuilder used to eating three rooster breasts for dinner, you’re doing positive. But carb-loading endurance athletes typically come up in need of the really helpful 0.8 grams of protein per pound of body weight. Skratch makes it straightforward so as to add some baseline protein with their Recovery Mix, which blends hydration through electrolytes and restoration through protein, sugar, and fats energy. The eight grams of protein is lower than most protein bars, however bear in mind this isn’t speculated to supplant dietary protein and supplemental protein powders. The Recovery mix is designed to push some nutrition and electrolytes again into your body shortly after a tough exercise if you’re thirsty and could not have a lot urge for food.

  • TYPE: Powder
  • FLAVORS: Strawberries & Cream, Chocolate, Vegan Chocolate, Coffee, Horchata
$34 at Amazon
$34 at Skratch Labs

Best Personalized Hydration Powder: Gainful Hydration Mix

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Gainful is an fascinating possibility for athletes that wish to personalize their hydration drink powder. On the Gainful web site, you possibly can tweak a customized hydration powder mix to have medium or high electrolyte content material primarily based in your exercise depth. You also can add or omit caffeine, regulate the amount, and choose your taste. Gainful has a subscription possibility that features limitless entry to nutritionists and the power to customise an entire suite of dietary supplements from protein powders to creatine and collagen dietary supplements. Take their quiz to get suggestions for an entire subscription bundle. 

  • TYPE: Powder
  • FLAVORS: Tropical Mango, Strawberry Lemonade, Lemon Lime
$30 at Gainful

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