Top 12 best creatine supplements 2021

Creatine is without a doubt one of the most well-researched supplements available. It’s also one of the most popular. There are quite a few versions to choose from.

Not to mention, it is in countless formulas from recovery to endurance products.

Have you decided to add it to your program, or do you want to try a different type?

Then this guide will help you find the best creatine supplements on the market. Let’s get started!

In a Hurry? Here is our top pick:

Quick Answer – The Best Creatine Supplements

  1. BulkSupplements Creatine Monohydrate – Best Overall Creatine Supplement
  2. Muscle Feast Creapure Creatine Monohydrate – Best High Dose Creatine Supplement
  3. Athletic Xtreme German Creatine – Best Budget Creatine Supplement
  4. Promera Sports CON-CRET Creatine HCl Powder – Best Creatine HCI Supplement
  5. The Genius Brand Genius Creatine Powder – Best Creatine For Women
  6. Beast Sports Nutrition Creature Creatine Complex – Best Creatine Complex
  7. Rich Piana 5% Nutrition Crea-TEN – Best For Endurance
  8. EFX Kre-Alkalyn – Best Buffered Creatine
  9. Optimum Nutrition Micronized Creatine Monohydrate – Best Creatine Capsules
  10. 1Up Nutrition Pure Rebuild – Best Creatine For Recovery
  11. Transparent Labs Strength Series Creatine HMB – Best Creatine Supplement For Preserving Muscle 
  12. Universal Nutrition Creatine Chews – Best Chewable Creatine

Reviews – The Best Creatine Supplements

BulkSupplements Creatine Monohydrate – Best Overall Creatine Supplement

BulkSupplements Creatine Monohydrate provides 5g creatine per serving. There are absolutely no other ingredients. Creatine Monohydrate is micronized, which means it’s broken down into smaller particles. 

This improves absorption and increases the effectiveness of the creatine. BulkSupplements is a company that skips marketing hype and flashy labels. They use a straight-forward approach to making high-quality supplements. Like their other products, Creatine Monohydrate is 3rd party verified and lab tested for purity, potency, and quality. 

You can mix Bulk Supplements Creatine Monohydrate with any cold beverage. You can also use it to make your own capsules. 

This product is easy to use and comes in bulk sizes. The purity, size availability, and ease of use make it our pick for the best overall creatine supplement.

PROS

  • Pure Creatine Monohydrate
  • Does Not Contain Any Other Ingredients
  • Micronized For Better Absorption

CONS

  • The Bag Does Include A Scooper

Muscle Feast Creapure Creatine Monohydrate – Best High Dose Creatine Supplement

Muscle Feast Creatine features Creapure, a patented form of creatine monohydrate. 

One of the things that set this supplement apart is that it supplies 5.4g of creatine per serving. This is the strongest dose of creatine monohydrate in this guide. That makes this our pick for the best high-dose creatine. 

Also, Muscle Feast uses patented creatine, Creapure. This version is manufactured in Germany and it’s 99.9% pure. While it comes unflavored, it also comes flavored. The Muscle Feast unflavored version contains no other ingredients. 

However, the flavored versions contain artificial sweeteners and flavors.

PROS

  • Contains More Creatine Per Serving Than Other Brands
  • Available Unflavored Or Flavored
  • Features Patented Creapure Creatine Monohydrate

CONS

  • The Flavored Versions Contain Artificial Ingredients

Athletic Xtreme German Creatine – Best Budget Creatine Supplement

Here’s another version of creatine that uses patented Creapure creatine monohydrate. This version comes in as our pick for best budget creatine. 

This is because Athletic Xtreme offers a size that fits any budget. German Creatine provides 5g per serving with no other ingredients. Creapure is 99.9% pure, making it a good choice for the monohydrate version of creatine. 

Athletic Xtreme Creatine mixes instantly with any cold beverage.

PROS

  • Features Patented Creapure Creatine Monohydrate
  • Contains No Other Ingredients
  • Mixes Easily – Add To Any Cold Beverage

CONS

  • May Not Mix Well In water

Promera Sports CON-CRET Creatine HCl Powder – Best Creatine HCI Supplement

There are several versions of creatine that came out after the original monohydrate version. CON-CRET is one of them. It’s also the best HCI version of creatine. 

Promera Sports CON-CRET uses this version because it provides benefits monohydrate does not. The primary claim of this and any other non-monohydrate version is that it absorbs better. CON-CRET also does not cause excess water retention. Creatine monohydrate pulls water into the muscles. But in some users, it can cause bloating. 

Also, CON-CRET does not cause gastric discomfort. This can be a problem with some users that take monohydrate. CON-CRET is concentrated, users only take 750mg per 100lbs of bodyweight. CON-CRET is also flavored but contains no artificial ingredients.

 Finally, it can be taken with protein powder or food.

PROS

  • Features Creatine HCI
  • Does Not Cause Bloating Or Gastric Discomfort
  • Only Requires A 750mg Dose Per 100lbs Of Body Weight

CONS

  • Some Users May Not Like The Flavor

The Genius Brand Genius Creatine Powder – Best Creatine For Women

Here’s a creatine supplement that combines 3 types of creatine with patented carnosyn beta-alanine. 

Genius Creatine Powder provides 5 total grams of creatine. There’s 3g patented Creapure monohydrate, 1.5g HCI, and 500mg patented MagnaPower.

This formula provides a low dose of beta-alanine. This means it will provide good endurance benefits yet not cause tingles due to a high content of beta-alanine. Creatine MagnaPower is creatine bound with magnesium. This version features superior absorption. 

There’s also astragin, a patented absorption enhancer that helps the entire formula absorb better. The Genius Brand Genius Creatine is designed to promote endurance, strength, and power. 

The low dose of beta-alanine makes it the best creatine supplement for women athletes interested in more endurance.

PROS

  • Features 5 Total Grams Of 3 Types Of Creatine
  • Includes Beta-Alanine & AstraGin
  • Promotes Strength, Power & Endurance

CONS

  • A Little Pricey

Beast Sports Nutrition Creature Creatine Complex – Best Creatine Complex

Beast Sports Nutrition Creature combines 5 types of creatine. This combination supplies 4 total grams and improves absorption. 

There are also creatine “optimizers” that improve absorption even more. Creature Creatine Complex improves endurance as well as recovery. It also improves strength and eases fatigue. These features make it our pick for the best creatine complex. 

Finally, it comes in several different flavors. If there’s a downside, Creapure does contain artificial ingredients, and it uses prop blends. Still, Creature features exclusive ingredients not found in other products.

PROS

  • Features 5 Types Of Creatine
  • Includes An Exclusive Creatine Optimizer Blend
  • Comes In Several Flavors

CONS

  • Both Blends Are Prop Blends

Rich Piana 5% Nutrition Crea-TEN – Best For Endurance

Crea-TEN is a creatine formula combining 10 different types of creatine. The main emphasis of this supplement is endurance. Virtually every version of creatine in Crea-TEN emphasizes improved endurance. This means you will get the most out of your training sessions. That makes Crea-TEN the best creatine supplement for endurance. The 10-creatine blend provides 5 total grams. However, it is in a prop blend. 

There’s also an exclusive Creatine Accelerate Blend that includes cell volumizers such as taurine and betaine. This is also a prop blend, and it’s 1580mg. Still, this is one of the few products that combines so many forms of creatine that target improved endurance. 

It’s also one of the few supplements with anything like the  “Accelerate Blend” ingredients that improve absorption.

PROS

  • Features 10 Versions Of Creatine
  • Contains A Special Blend That Enhances Absorption
  • Improves Endurance

CONS

  • Uses Prop Blends & Artificial Ingredients

EFX Kre-Alkalyn – Best Buffered Creatine

Here’s a patented version of creatine that targets improved absorption by reducing creatine byproducts. 

EFX Kre-Alkalyn features 1500mg of PH correct buffered creatine monohydrate per serving. In this case, one serving equals 2 small capsules. Kre-Alkalyn creatine is 99.9% pure. It’s the only, and the best, creatine that is buffered.

It’s specifically designed to maintain a specific Ph level. The company states that it has a Ph level of 12-14. This allows it to remain stable in liquid and stomach acid, so it is absorbed completely. 

In contrast, according to the company, other creatine products have a lower Ph and do not absorb as well. EFX Kre-Alkalyn requires a smaller dose than creatine monohydrate. 

The actual daily dosage is based on body weight. Two capsules equal 1.5g. The daily dose ranges from 1 to 4 capsules per day. 

PROS

  • Patented Ph Correct Buffered Creatine
  • Only 1.5g Per Serving
  • Superior Absorption

CONS

  • The Capsules Use Artificial Coloring

Optimum Nutrition Micronized Creatine Monohydrate – Best Creatine Capsules

Optimum Nutrition Micronized Creatine capsules supply 2.5g creatine monohydrate per 2 capsules. You’ll need to take 4 capsules per day to get the suggested 5g. 

This is a good solution for users that do not like creatine powders. They are convenient and are easy to carry with you.

The only requirement is that users should drink plenty of water when using these. This is because creatine is a cell volumizer, and pulls water into the muscle cells.

Therefore, it’s important to stay hydrated. Optimum Nutrition Creatine capsules contain no artificial ingredients.

Additionally, it’s micronized for better absorption. These features make this our pick for the best creatine capsules.

PROS

  • Capsule Version Of Creatine Monohydrate
  • 4 Capsules + 5g
  • Micronized For Improved Absorption

CONS

  • Some Users May Have A Difficult Time Swallowing The Capsules

1Up Nutrition Pure Rebuild – Best Creatine For Recovery

Pure Rebuild is our pick for the best creatine recovery supplement. 

This product features 3 versions of creatine. There are creatine monohydrate, citrate, and hydrochloride. These versions combine to provide excellent absorption.

1Up Nutrition Pure Rebuild contains 5g pure creatine. It also contains betaine, which is similar to creatine. These two compounds work well together and increase power. The combination also improves hydration. 

Additionally, there’s glutamine, EAAs (but no BCAAs), and electrolytes. This product features full disclosure labeling and is designed to support recovery and growth. 

It’s a well-thought-out formula that features creatine for recovery.

PROS

  • Complete Creatine Formula
  • Provides 3 Types Of Creatine
  • Supports Recovery & Growth

CONS

  • A Little Pricey

Transparent Labs Strength Series Creatine HMB – Best Creatine Supplement For Preserving Muscle 

Transparent Labs Strength Series Creatine HMB

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There’s been a number of creatine variations over the years. One of the first was a product that combined creatine with HMB. 

Transparent Labs Strength Series Creatine HMB is an updated version. Creatine HMB provides 5g patented Creapure micronized monohydrate, and 1.5 HMB. There’s also black pepper extract for absorption. This combination improves strength and increases endurance. 

HMB is anti-catabolic, which means it prevents muscle breakdown. These benefits mean Creatine HMB can be used to support a bulking or cutting program. These features make it the best creatine supplement for preserving muscle mass. 

Additionally, Strength Series Creatine HMB comes in unflavored and flavored versions. However, there are no artificial ingredients.

PROS

  • Combines Creatine & HMB
  • Full Disclosure Labeling
  • No Artificial Ingredients

CONS

  • May Be A Little Pricey For Some Users

Universal Nutrition Creatine Chews – Best Chewable Creatine

Universal Nutrition Creatine Chews provide 5g creatine monohydrate per 4 chews. Here’s a convenient, tasty way to get your creatine. They’re easy to take with you and easy to use. You don’t have to take them with water. 

Still, it’s important to remember to drink a lot of water during the day. Since creatine pulls water into the muscle cells, it’s important to stay well-hydrated.

Creatine Chews contain 1g sugar per chew. However, when creatine was first introduced, it had to be mixed with a sugary drink to improve absorption. 

You may find Creatine Chews absorb better with the added sugar.

PROS

  • 5g Creatine In A Convenient Chewable 
  • Available In Two Fruity Flavors
  • Easy To Use

CONS

  • Contains Sugar & Artificial Ingredients

Buying Guide – How To Choose The Best Creatine Supplement?

What Is Creatine?

Creatine is a substance that’s naturally found in meats and fish. In the body, it’s made from three amino acids: arginine, glycine, and methionine. It’s part of the ATP system of cellular energy. This is one of the energy systems the body uses to power workouts. (1)

The Benefits of Creatine

Here are the benefits of using creatine:

  • Increases Muscular Endurance – Creatine improves muscular endurance due to its role in ATP production of energy. More ATP means enhanced workout endurance. (2)
  • Stimulates Water Based Pumps – Creatine is an osmolyte and known as the first cell volumizer. This means it pulls water muscle cells. This is also known as water-based pumps. The best pump formulas stimulate both kinds of pumps: nitric oxide and water-based. (3)
  • Promotes Muscle Growth – Creatine stimulates protein synthesis through its cell volume properties. Protein synthesis is a direct trigger of muscle growth. (4)
  • Improves Strength & Power – Since creatine supports ATP production, it directly improves strength & power output. More strength and power means more work in the gym. (5)
  • Improves Recovery – This benefit is a more recent discovery. Creatine promotes enhanced recovery by increasing post-training glycogen replenishment. (6)
  • Creatine Has Cognitive Benefits – Recent research indicates that creatine improves brain function. (7)

Types of Creatine

Here are some of the common types of creatine. The original creatine monohydrate works as well as the other versions. Monohydrate is also the version with the bulk of research supporting its effectiveness. Still, each version is said to improve absorption.

The types of creatine include:

Creatine Monohydrate – The original. It now comes in micronized form for improved absorption. It’s also available as a patented version, Creapure. Made in Germany, Creapure  is 99.9% pure. 

Buffered Creatine – This is Kre-Alkalyn. The studies on this relate to the speed of creatine’s conversion into creatinine, which is a waste byproduct. The high Ph of Kre-Alkalyn slows this conversion. Additionally, it requires a small dose in comparison to other versions. 

Creatine Hydrochloride – This is creatine monohydrate attached to hydrochloric acid. This version is said to improve absorption. 

Creatine MagnaPower (Creatine Magnesium Chelate) – This version combines creatine and magnesium chelate. Like most types, this version is believed to improve absorption.

Creatine Anhydrous – This type is creatine monohydrate with all moisture removed. This means it’s more concentrated.  

What Does Creatine Do?

Creatine is stored naturally in the muscles in the form of creatine phosphate. This is part of the ATP-CP system of energy, it’s also known as the Phosphagen system. 

Here’s how it works:

Muscle cells contain as much as 6 times creatine phosphate compared to ATP. As you may know,  ATP is an instant energy source for the muscles. This is true for low and high-intensity activity, which includes intense resistance training. The thing is, it may take a second or less to burn through your body’s ATP stores. This is the stage where creatine phosphate comes into the picture. There’s a reserve of creatine that your muscles can use to convert into ATP.  However, this will last 3 to 15 seconds. So, this system is used for short-duration exercises, such as bodybuilding or weight training sets. 

Here’s how creatine increases the production of muscle cell energy.

There’s an enzyme called creatine kinase. This is a regulating enzyme that breaks down creatine. This separates the creatine molecule from the phosphate molecule. Then, phosphate attaches to ADP, or adenosine diphosphate. Then, ADP converts to ATP. Your body produces fresh ATP using this process. The potential drawback may take as long as 4-5 minutes. (8) 

The more creatine the body can make available, the more that will be used for cellular energy. This means that you can train longer and harder. This will result in better performance, more muscle, and more power. As noted, it also acts as a cell volumizer by pulling water into the muscle cells.

How To Use Creatine

The use will depend on the type of creatine you have chosen. Since creatine monohydrate is the most common type, here are the best ways to use it.

Method 1: Loading/Maintenance 

It should be noted that users do not have to load creatine. However, it will saturate your muscles faster if you do. You load creatine monohydrate by ingesting 4-5 5g doses for 5-7 days. Your doses should be taken on an empty stomach and evenly divided throughout the day. After that, you only take one 5g dose a day. 

Method 2: Low Daily Dose

With this method, you take one 5g dose per day. This is easier, but it will take several weeks to fully saturate your muscles. Compare this to the 5-7 days loading, and you can see why some users prefer to load. 

Does Creatine Need To Be Cycled?

Even though many users cycle creatine, it does not need to be. Some users cycle it because they feel constant use will cause a tolerance to build up. By cycling off for several weeks, your results will be better when you start up again. Additionally, it’s a break on your budget to cycle it. Most users run a 6-8 week cycle of creatine, stop using it for the same length of time, then start back on it again. 

Is Creatine Safe?

After years of research and use, there continue to be misconceptions about creatine. Some people think creatine is a steroid. This is false. It’s not a steroid. Also, it’s not going to ruin your kidneys. Creatine is the most studied supplement ever. It has been consistently proven safe and effective. When choosing creatine, choose a quality brand with a good reputation. This guide is the place to start. You will find that every brand in this guide is a reputable choice.

Conclusion

Adding creatine to your program makes a lot of sense. It’s a cornerstone product in the supplement programs of countless users. 

If you’re looking to try creatine, our best overall is BulkSupplements Creatine Monohydrate. This is pure, micronized creatine that is available in several sizes. You can add it to your favorite cold beverage, and one serving provides 5g creatine per dose. 

If you’ve been using creatine for a while, but want to try a different version, Promera Sports CON-CRET Creatine HCl Powder is a great choice. Con-CRET uses creatine hydrochloride. This version avoids the bloating and gastric discomfort that some users may experience with monohydrate. It absorbs well and requires a smaller dosage. 

Are you interested in a creatine-based recovery formula? 1Up Nutrition Pure Rebuild is a well-designed supplement that supports recovery. It provides 3 forms of creatine, glutamine, EAAs, betaine, and electrolytes. This combination enhances hydration, muscle preservation and supports complete between-workout recovery. 

As you can see, there are many good choices. Yet, the best creatine supplement is the one that fits your needs the most. Use our guide and get going!

References:

  1. https://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/creatine
  2. Casey, A., & Greenhaff, P. L. (2000). Does dietary creatine supplementation play a role in skeletal muscle metabolism and performance?. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 72(2 Suppl), 607S–17S. https://doi.org/10.1093/ajcn/72.2.607S
  3. Häussinger, D., Roth, E., Lang, F., & Gerok, W. (1993). Cellular hydration state: an important determinant of protein catabolism in health and disease. Lancet (London, England), 341(8856), 1330–1332. https://doi.org/10.1016/0140-6736(93)90828-5
  4. Ingwall, J. S., Weiner, C. D., Morales, M. F., Davis, E., & Stockdale, F. E. (1974). Specificity of creatine in the control of muscle protein synthesis. The Journal of cell biology, 62(1), 145–151. https://doi.org/10.1083/jcb.62.1.145
  5. Kreider R. B. (2003). Effects of creatine supplementation on performance and training adaptations. Molecular and cellular biochemistry, 244(1-2), 89–94.
  6. Nelson, A. G., Arnall, D. A., Kokkonen, J., Day, R., & Evans, J. (2001). Muscle glycogen supercompensation is enhanced by prior creatine supplementation. Medicine and science in sports and exercise, 33(7), 1096–1100. https://doi.org/10.1097/00005768-200107000-00005
  7. Avgerinos, K. I., Spyrou, N., Bougioukas, K. I., & Kapogiannis, D. (2018). Effects of creatine supplementation on cognitive function of healthy individuals: A systematic review of randomized controlled trials. Experimental gerontology, 108, 166–173. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.exger.2018.04.013
  8. Hunter A. The physiology of creatine and creatinine. Physiological Reviews 2:580-626, 1922
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