The 7 Best Sports Drinks to Buy in 2018

Replenish your body during and after your routine

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When you’re in the middle of a vigorous workout, a cold sports drinks can be the magic bullet you need to push your body just a little bit further. Full of electrolytes to replace what you lose when you sweat, they’re a great way to stay hydrated during athletic activity or help replenish you after a major sweat session.

But look beyond the bright labels and even brighter food coloring, and you’ll find that not all sports drinks are the same. In fact, there’s a host of sub-categories catering to every taste and need—and we’re here to help you choose the one that’s right for you. Take a look at our top picks for the numerous types of sports drinks on the market, whether you’re hitting the gym or just want to stay hydrated. From formulas that use more natural flavorings​ to the old tried and true, here, the best sports drinks for your lifestyle.

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Propel, Kiwi Strawberry, Zero Calorie Sports Drinking Water

propel-water
Courtesy of Amazon

If you’re looking for a great sports drink that’s an all-around winner—zero calories, sugar-free, and full of electrolytes—Propel is our top pick. Since it’s a flavored water, it has a lighter taste than products like Gatorade or Powerade, but still packs in all the essential minerals your body sweats when you work out.

It’s available in four flavors​ and is formulated to include antioxidant vitamins C and E, which promote good tissue function in your body. It’s a great pick if you want to stay hydrated during any physical activity—some reviewers even say it’s their go-to when they’re out mowing the lawn on a sweltering summer day.

Best for Weightlifting: Scivation

With their focus on building muscle mass, some weightlifters might be looking for a sports drink that does more than just keep them hydrated. That’s why we recommend this product from Scivation, which includes 7 grams of branched amino acids, or BCAAs, which can accelerate muscle recovery after activity.

Amazon critics claim that Scivation is the perfect complement to a tough workout, with some even stating that they noticed gains in their performance. Just note that the product includes some safety guidelines; be sure to consult a physician before taking a product with BCAAs.

Best Powder Mix: Liquid I.V. Hydration Multiplier

Powdered mixes go further than traditional bottled sports drinks—just stir some into water and go. But this mix from Liquid I.V. is more than just a great sports drink; it’s a great hydration system, with one packet offering the same level of replenishment as two to three bottles of water. It also claims to have less than half the sugar or calories as most other sports drinks and is free of artificial flavors or colors.

Reviewers say that Liquid I.V. is one of the best methods of staying hydrated they’ve ever come across, adding that the taste is less cloying than other sports drinks. Pro tip: Customers also say it works great as a hangover cure.

Best with Caffeine: Nuun Hydration: Electrolyte + Caffeine Drink Tablets

Dreading that AM workout? The Nuun Hydration: Electrolyte + Caffeine Drink Tablets will give you a boost to help you work your hardest, even during those grueling 5:30 AM wake-up calls. These dissolvable tablets are enhanced with electrolytes to keep you hydrated, along with caffeine to keep you going. They’re incredibly compact and travel-friendly—just toss a tube of 10 tablets in your gym bag or hiking backpack and go. It’s available in flavors like lime, berry, cherry limeade, and mango orange, and contains just 10 calories per tablet.

Amazon reviewers say their workouts are far less plagued by fatigue after drinking Nuun Hydration, and they love how compact and easy to carry the packaging is.

Best Supplement: SaltStick Caps, Electrolyte Replacement Capsules

These SaltStick Caps are a great sports drink alternative, offering optimal supplemental vitamins in an easy-to-consume form. Each tablet offers 215 mg sodium, 63 mg potassium, 22 mg calcium, 11 mg magnesium and vitamin D to help you go further, longer. While they’re great for athletes, many customers also use SaltStick Caps if they have a medical condition that requires additional sodium and electrolytes.

Though you should always consult a doctor, if your physician has recommended you increase your sodium and potassium intake, the SaltStick Caps are a convenient choice. Owners say they help reduce post-workout headaches, fatigue, and muscle soreness, and serve to quickly rehydrate after exhaustion.

Best Natural: NOOMA Organic Electrolyte Drink

Looking for a simple, organic sports drink that is good for you while providing the necessary nutrition to keep going? The NOOMA Organic Electrolyte Drink is a plant-based sports drink that is organic, non-GMO and vegan-friendly. Each carton has 30 calories, with no extra sugar. Coconut water adds potassium while natural sea salt gives you a boost of sodium to help you replenish. There’s also a hint of organic stevia to give it a touch of sweetness, but otherwise, it’s a great alternative to sugar-laden sports drinks.

Fans of NOOMA say it's the best sports drink out there, saying it provides the electrolytes you need without the sugar you don’t. You can buy a pack of four or 12, and each carton offers 17 ounces of either chocolate mint, blueberry peach or mango-flavored liquid.

Best Original: Gatorade

When you think of sports drinks, Gatorade is probably the first brand that comes to mind. Created in the summer of 1965 by a football coach at the University of Florida, this thirst-quenching drink was made with athletes in mind to help them replenish and recover after a tough workout. The formula is simple—it has electrolytes and carbohydrate base, which is essentially what is lost after sweating in the heat, and a sweet flavor to entice you to drink. Favored on the sidelines of the NFL for 44 years, this go-to sports beverage is a preferred drink for many professional athletes as well as active children and adults.

The price is affordable and it is available almost everywhere, making it an easy option to buy after a long run in the sun. While this does have a lot of sugar in it, for those who want to watch their consumption, they can just use a few tablespoons of Gatorade mixed with cold water for a refreshing and still effective drink.

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