Not that long ago, electrolyte powders were really only something that serious runners, cyclists, and athletes who trained in the heat had on their radar. Today, they’re available in pretty much every grocery and drug store, and in formulations and flavors designed to help everyone from kids to elite athletes to stay hydrated.
But with so many electrolyte powders, how do you know which one to choose?
Evaluating the electrolyte amount, ingredient list, flavors, and price can be overwhelming and confusing. You don’t want to waste your money on a powder that tastes bad or spend hours researching and reading reviews for the best option. And you shouldn’t need a science degree to figure this out!
Here are the best electrolyte powders that our team of experts recommend for athletes, individuals training in the heat, and those of us who just want to supercharge our water.
Medical disclaimer: This article is intended for educational and informational purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for medical advice. For health advice, contact a licensed healthcare provider.
How We Chose the Best Electrolyte Powder
Our Breaking Muscle team members tasted, tested, and trained with over 20 of the most popular electrolyte powders. We gave each powder an overall score based on the quality and dosage of electrolyte blend, but also flavors, taste, texture, potential side effects, and whether it’s third-party tested. We also compared the prices and the customer reviews to find the best value for money.
We know that people use electrolytes in a wide range of situations and settings, so our top picks cover not only the the best electrolyte powder overall, but also electrolytes for athletes, for taste, sugar-free electrolytes, electrolyte-containing drink powders, and for runners, so you have everything you need to choose the best electrolyte powder for your needs.
Our Top Picks for the Best Electrolyte Powder
Best Electrolyte Powder Overall: Transparent Labs Hydrate
- Transparent, proprietary-free supplement
- Gluten-free, vegan-friendly, non-GMO
- Independent third-party tested by Informed Choice
- Well-priced at $29.99
- Stevia might be too sweet for some
- Only two flavors are available
Transparent Labs Hydrate is our pick for the best electrolyte powder overall because it has a fully transparent label with ingredients that are third-party tested. It also hits some big checkmarks for users with specific needs, like being gluten-free, vegan-friendly, and free of artificial sweeteners, colors, and preservatives. After testing it for several weeks, the Breaking Muscle reviews staff scored it 4.5 out of 5 stars.
Unlike many other supplements, including a surprising number of electrolyte powders, Transparent Labs Hydrate is a hydration drink that’s free of any proprietary ingredient blends. Companies often hide the dosages of of certain ingredients on the labels of their supplements under a “blend” or “matrix,” supposedly to protect them from other brands who would simply make a duplicate product for their profit. However, it also means they can claim to include a popular ingredient, while doing so in a less-than-effective dose.
Transparent Labs lives up to its name by showing exactly what you get in each serving: research-backed dosages of four electrolyte ingredients, plus the amino acid taurine, which helps maintain the body’s water/electrolyte balance. This means you can confidently customize the dosage according to your needs and preferences without worrying about underdosing or overdosing on ingredients.
One of our product testers used Hydrate as both a pre-workout and post-workout drink. In both instances, they noticed increased hydration but found that when taken before training, it was an excellent way for them to improve their muscle endurance. It’s possible an electrolyte powder can be the best non-stim pre-workout you haven’t tried.
Hydrate is certified by the third-party testing agency Informed Choice for purity, potency, and accuracy, and the results of each are available for anyone to see on the Certificates of Analysis page on their website. This means that you can be confident that each serving of Hydrate meets a high standard of quality and efficacy and includes exactly what it claims to contain while being free of contaminants that could harm your health and performance.
Currently, Hydrate only comes in two flavors: Tropical Punch and Peach Mango. Some commenters have noted that the tropical punch flavor tends to be very sweet, which our tester confirmed. “If you follow the package’s directions it tastes like a very concentrated Hawaiian punch, which is why I tend to add more water than recommended,” they reported. “I’ve added this to a shaker bottle of cluster dextrin and the taste still comes through very strongly.”
If you’re sensitive to sweet flavors, start with a half serving instead, or double the water.
Best Electrolyte Powder for Athletes: Kaged Hydra-Charge
- Informed Sport-certified for accuracy and banned substances
- 351 milligrams of essential electrolytes with 500 milligrams of coconut water powder
- No artificial colors, flavors, or dyes
- Rated 5 out of 5 from over 2,099 reviews
- Gluten-free, vegan-friendly, non-GMO
- Sucralose and stevia might be too sweet for some
- Not suitable for those with tree nut allergies
Kaged Hydra-Charge is the best hydration mix for athletes because it’s Informed Sport-certified, provides 351 milligrams of five essential electrolytes, and has no artificial colors, flavors, or dyes. For these reasons, we scored it 4.5 out of 5 stars overall.
As an athlete, your body is your livelihood, and having peace of mind with your supplements is priceless. The Breaking Muscle reviews team loves that every batch of Kaged Hydra-Charge is tested for contamination against a broad range of banned substances using accredited methods. Informed Sport has over 60 years of experience in anti-doping testing for sports, so you can trust that Kaged Hydra-Charge is safe and compliant with the highest standards of quality and purity — giving you the lowest possible risk of being flagged for an illegal substance due to supplement contamination.
But Hydra-Charge is also a first-class hydration tool for athletes who sweat heavy and need to maximize athletic performance. It delivers a powerful blend of five essential electrolytes in each 351-milligram dose, plus an additional 500 milligrams of coconut water powder. With this combined cocktail, Hydra-Charge has the potential to maintain your fluid balance, prevent muscle cramps, support muscle function, and promote recovery.
When your goal is the top of the podium, you treat your body like a temple. Kaged Hydra-Charge supports your quest by having no artificial colors, flavors, or dyes — a rarity in our world of ultra-processed foods and drinks. But rest assured, Kaged still respects your taste buds! Hydra-Charge comes in eight flavors and has an average rating of 5 out of 5 from over 2,099 reviews.
Our product testers tasted the orange mango and said it was DELIGHTFUL (they even used all-caps), with more of an emphasis on the citrus flavor than the mango. They found it sweet but not overpowerfully so. It also dissolved 100 percent.
Look further down the label, and you’ll notice that the last two ingredients are stevia and sucralose. Kaged uses small amounts of both “to mask bitterness and improve the overall taste profile,” according to the company’s website. While stevia is plant-based and zero-calorie, a July 2018 study in Nutrients determined that it’s still 50 to 350 times sweeter than sugar. (1) Because of this, people sensitive to sweetened foods or drinks might want to start with a smaller serving or add more water than recommended.
Hydra-Charge uses coconut water powder, a common ingredient in electrolyte blends. A May 2020 study in The Annals of Allergies, Asthma, and Immunology found the prevalence of tree nut allergies to be less than one to three percent worldwide, but it still means this electrolyte powder isn’t suitable for people who know they are sensitive to coconut products or who are allergic to tree nuts. (2)
Best Tasting Electrolyte Powder: Liquid I.V. Hydration Multiplier
- 11 delicious flavors
- Mixes well
- Convenient single-serve packets
- Limited traditional electrolyte ingredients
- 11 grams of sugar per packet
Liquid I.V. Hydration Multiplier is the best-tasting electrolyte powder due to its wide range of 11 flavors that have a balanced salty-to-sweet taste while being easy to carry and mix well.
Whether you prefer fruity, citrusy, or tropical flavors, you’ll find something in Liquid I.V.’s lineup that suits your taste buds. Our product testers ordered a variety pack with Lemon Lime and Acai Berry. They found them not too sweet, just a touch salty, and true to the flavors in both cases. One of our pregnant staff members who finds herself parched all the time raved about Liquid I.V. She said that she is often still thirsty after drinking plain water, and Liquid I.V. is the only thing that will quench her thirst.
While some popular electrolytes come in scoopable powder form, Hydration Multiplier comes in pre-measured packets. The powder dissolves easily in water and doesn’t leave any clumps or residue. You just need to follow the instructions and mix each packet with 16 ounces of water. Our testers noticed that the drink can turn out a bit grainy if using less than the recommended amount of water. That said, you can add more water if you prefer a slightly more diluted flavor.
Hydration Multiplier’s lightweight packets are small enough to stash in a gym bag, backpack, or pocket for whenever you need hydration. There’s no need to worry about measuring scoops or spilling powder. Just tear open a packet, pour it into a bottle of water, shake it up, and drink.
Personally, I’ve been keeping a package of Liquid IV in my pantry at all times for a couple of years. When I drink a packet after an intense workout, I’ve noticed that I recover faster and feel less beat up overall, especially on a hot, humid day.
The downside of such tasty flavors is that they result from added sugar. Liquid I.V. uses pure cane sugar as its first ingredient, contributing 45 calories and 11 grams of sugar per packet. This is still far less than a can of soda, but it may not be ideal for people watching their sugar intake or who have diabetes. While cane sugar is arguably better than corn syrup or other artificial sweeteners, it’s still a source of empty calories that can affect your blood sugar levels.
Liquid I.V. also claims to provide three times more electrolytes than traditional sports drinks. However, when you look at the electrolyte content, it only has 500 milligrams of sodium and 370 milligrams of potassium per packet. It also doesn’t contain calcium or magnesium, key electrolytes for muscle function and nerve transmission. This means that Liquid I.V. has the lowest total electrolyte count out of all the powders in this article and is the main reason we only scored it 3.8 out of 5 stars.
Best Sugar-Free Electrolyte Powder: LMNT Zero-Sugar Electrolytes
- Keto and paleo-friendly
- Convenient single-serve packets
- Balanced electrolyte ratio
- More expensive
- “Salted” flavors can be very salty
LMNT Zero-Sugar Electrolytes is the best sugar-free electrolyte powder we tested. It not only has no sugar, but is also free of gluten, fillers, and any artificial ingredients, making it ideal for keto, paleo, low-carb, intermittent fasting, and gluten-free diets. After taking it before and after our workouts and at various times of the day when we felt extra thirsty, we scored it 4 out of 5 stars.
This electrolyte drink has zero sugar and only two grams of carbs per serving, much lower than other electrolyte beverages. You can enjoy this drink without worrying about breaking your ketosis or low-carb nutrition plan and know that you’re simultaneously maximizing your hydration status.
The packets are lightweight and small enough to stuff in your gym bag, day bag, or pockets for hydration anywhere you go. You don’t need to measure or scoop anything; just tear open a packet and mix it with water. Whether you are working out, traveling, or just feeling dehydrated, these packets are easy to use and convenient to carry around.
LMNT claims to give you electrolytes in the “perfect ratio for optimal hydration and performance.” They state that a robust body of scientific literature shows we have underestimated our electrolyte needs for decades, especially if you live an active, low-carb, or ketogenic lifestyle. Yet, popular electrolyte drinks on the market still have low amounts of electrolytes and include a ton of sugar.
So what’s the solution? In a word, salt! LMNT provides 1,000 milligrams of sodium, nearly double any of the other supplements we featured in this list. It also offers 200 milligrams of potassium, and 60 milligrams of magnesium per serving, both of which are essential for maintaining fluid balance, nerve function, muscle contraction, and energy production.
All that sodium can be beneficial for replenishing the sodium lost from sweating, but some people may find the “salted” flavors, such as Citrus Salt or Chocolate Salt, too savory for their liking. But this is definitely a matter of personal taste.
One of our Breaking Muscle product testers reported that she loved the saltiness, and finds it to be thirst-quenching, especially since she’s constantly parched due to being pregnant. If saltiness isn’t your craving, try the other flavors without the S-word in their names. Personally, I loved the Mango Chili flavor, which had the same 1,000 milligrams of sodium but a less salt-forward profile. I was afraid that it would be too spicy and make me feel even hotter after a workout, but it turned out the subtle spiciness was just right.
These packets don’t come cheap, though. A 30-pack of LMNT retails for $40.50 on Amazon, which is $1.35 per serving. This is more expensive than other electrolyte powders such as Kaged Hydra-Charge, which only costs $0.50 per serving. However, for athletes in need of serious levels of sodium, the high quality and effectiveness of LMNT could justify the higher price tag.
Best Electrolyte Drink Powder: XWERKS Motion
- Provides fuel with 25 grams of carbs
- Promotes recovery with three grams of BCAAs
- Delivers hydration from electrolytes
- Gluten-free and dairy-free
- High carb content for non-athletic daily drinking
- Low sodium content
- Only one flavor
- Unclear if third-party tested
XWERKS Motion is a complete solution for your hydration, fuel, and recovery needs. Each serving contains 25 grams of carbs, three grams of BCAAs, and the electrolytes calcium, magnesium, and sodium for hydration. This makes it a great pre-workout sipper for anyone who has found themselves mixing products or adding extra ingredients to their electrolytes in the past.
The carbs in Motion come from cluster dextrin, a new carbohydrate type with a high molecular weight and a low osmotic pressure. This means it dissolves easily, passes through your stomach quickly, and replenishes your energy levels faster than other carbs. Cluster dextrin can be gentle on your stomach and shouldn’t cause bloating or discomfort. This makes it a great carb for long-duration training, marathons, or other races, or for athletes who want to avoid fatigue and maintain high intensity during their workouts.
One of our product reviewers said Motion really shines as a pre-workout drink when they don’t feel like eating before an early morning workout. He can feel the difference in his energy and output during those sessions.
That said, the carb content might be a bit excessive for someone just looking for an electrolyte for daily drinking. If that’s you, consider saving Motion for your workouts, and sipping on a different blend throughout the day.
Each serving of Motion also contains three grams of the branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs): leucine, isoleucine, and valine. Dietary BCAAs are essential for muscle growth and repair, and a November 2019 meta-analysis in Vitamin and Nutrition Research found that supplemental BCAAs helped limit exercise-induced muscle soreness when taken after exercise. (3)
The BCAAs in Motion come in a 2:1:1 ratio of leucine to valine and isoleucine. Leucine is the most important of the three for recovery, so you can enhance your recovery and be ready for your next fitness challenge. A Breaking Muscle reviewer noted that he often uses it as a recovery drink or any time he feels hot and sweaty.
Speaking of sweat, XWERKS Motion contains calcium, magnesium, and sodium to help you stay hydrated and avoid the adverse effects of electrolyte loss. However, its sodium content is the lowest of the products we tested, at just 34 grams, or one percent of your daily allowance. If you’re a particularly heavy sweater or are training in the heat, you might benefit from some additional sodium on top of this drink, or some extra salt on your food.
Motion currently only comes in only one flavor: Raspberry Lemonade. The Breaking Muscle product reviewers found it tasted more like raspberry than lemonade but was still quite refreshing. They also noted that following XWERKS’ instructions led to a drink that was slightly powdery and suggested using more water than recommended on the packaging to improve its texture. We gave it 4 out of 5 stars because we wished it tasted more like the flavor name and would have liked it to be more soluble.
Most of the electrolyte supplements we included here are either NSF Sport Certified or Informed Sport Certified, which indicates that they have been tested for banned substances and contaminants. While XWERKS’ website claims that “every batch of XWERKS is third-party tested for potency and purity,” the products themselves don’t contain any certifications showing this. These approvals would give consumers more confidence and trust in XWERKS.
Best Electrolyte Powder for Runners: BUBS Hydrate or Die
- NSF Sport Certified supplement
- Convenient single-serve packets
- GMO-free, gluten-free, soy-free
- No artificial flavors, sweeteners, or preservatives
- 2, 000 milligrams of electrolytes
- Noticeably more expensive
- Very salty flavor
BUBS Hydrate or Die is NSF Sport Certified and comes in convenient single-serve packets, which can be a huge help for serious runners without much pocket space to spare.
This electrolyte blend is also NSF Sport Certified, which means an independent organization has tested and verified this product line to ensure it doesn’t contain banned substances, contaminants, or impurities that could harm your health or performance. Especially if you compete beyond the recreational level, this can help you maximize your performance while minimizing your risk from contaminated supplements.
Unlike other hydration mixes that come in bulky containers and use a scoop for measuring, BUS Hydrate or Die’s packets are lightweight and small enough to keep in a fanny pack, running pack, or your pocket, so you can stay hydrated without being slowed down. Just tear open a packet and pour it into your water bottle, shake well, and enjoy.
The formulation is based on natural ingredients free from genetically modified organisms (GMOs), glute, and soy. This means you can enjoy electrolytes’ benefits without worrying about potential allergens, sensitivities, or preferences that may affect your diet. If you have celiac disease or are vegan, Hydrate or Die is still compatible with your lifestyle and running goals.
Our product tester tried the orange flavor, and it got their attention immediately. They likened the saltiness to licking the sweat off their lips. Compared to the LMNT electrolyte powder, they found BUBS saltier with less citrus flavor. They only rated out 4 out of 5 stars for this reason.
BUBS Naturals Hydrate or Die Hydration is relatively expensive compared to other electrolyte powders on the market at costs $34 for 18 packets, about $1.89 per serving. This is more than double the price of other popular electrolyte powders, such as Transparent Labs Hydrate. With that and the flavor in mind, it’s definitely more of a fit for high-sweat training and race day, rather than for normal daily sipping.
What Are Electrolyte Powders?
Electrolyte powders are supplement powders that you can add to your water or other beverages to replenish the minerals and electrolytes you lose through sweat, urine, and daily life.
Electrolytes conduct electricity when dissolved in water, making them vital for many functions in your body, such as muscle contraction, nerve transmission, fluid balance, and pH regulation. A few of the key electrolytes are sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, chloride, and bicarbonate. (3)
Electrolyte powders, such as tablets, capsules, packets, or tubs, come in different forms. They also come in different flavors like lemon, orange, berry, or unflavored. Some contain additional ingredients, including vitamins like vitamin C or B vitamins, antioxidants or sweeteners like glucose, stevia, sucralose, or sugar. Even some of the best electrolyte tablets and powders also contain caffeine, so make sure to read the label closely before buying.
Benefits of Electrolyte Powder
There are many benefits of using electrolyte powder, especially if you are an active person who sweats a lot, or if you live in a hot or humid climate.
- Reduce the risk of dehydration. Dehydration is a condition where your body loses more water than it takes in, and it can cause symptoms such as headache, fatigue, dizziness, confusion, or even fainting. By adding electrolyte powder to your water, you can ensure that you replace the fluids and electrolytes you lose and stay hydrated throughout the day.
- Improved athletic performance. You need electrolytes to keep your muscles and nerves functioning properly, whether exercising, working, studying, or just living your life. If your levels get low enough that you experience an electrolyte imbalance, you may experience cramps, weakness, spasms, or even an irregular heartbeat. You can enhance your endurance, strength, speed, and recovery by using electrolyte powder before, during, or after athletic activity.
- Supports overall health. Electrolytes are not only crucial for physical performance but also for overall health and wellness. They can help regulate blood pressure, blood sugar, bone density, kidney function, and much more.
When Is the Best Time to Take Electrolyte Powder?
This question has no definitive answer, as it depends on your individual needs and preferences. However, here are some general guidelines that you can follow — just make sure to follow the directions on the label and not exceed the recommended dosage:
- Before exercise: If you plan to do a long or intense workout or compete in a sports event, take some electrolyte powder about 30 minutes before you start. This will help prepare your body for the upcoming physical activity and reduce the risk of dehydration and fatigue.
- During exercise: If you are sweating a lot or exercising for more than an hour, you can sip some electrolyte powder mixed with water every 15 to 20 minutes. This will help replenish the fluids and electrolytes you lose and maintain your performance and energy levels. Consider a powder that includes carbohydrates like XWERKS Motion for long-duration, continuous intense exercise.
- After exercise: If you have just finished a hard workout or competition, taking electrolyte powder immediately after you stop can help restore your fluid-electrolyte balance and speed up your recovery and muscle repair. (4)
- Any time: If you aren’t exercising but still want to enjoy the benefits of electrolyte powder, you can take it any time during the day as a refreshing drink.
What To Look For in an Electrolyte Powder
The whole point of using an electrolyte powder is to replenish the essential minerals you lose through sweat, such as sodium, potassium, magnesium, and calcium. Look for powders with at least 300 milligrams of sodium and 100 milligrams of potassium per serving, as these are the most important electrolytes for hydration.
Magnesium and calcium are excellent additions that companies will look to cut costs on, so consider it a bonus when they’re included. You can also look for powders with other trace minerals, such as zinc, copper, manganese, and selenium, for added benefits.
Calories are a big differentiator between electrolyte supplements and traditional sports drinks. Unless you’re looking for a meal replacement, you want to avoid a powder loaded with calories. Look for ones that have less than 50 calories per serving. Some of the products we reviewed here are even calorie-free.
A possible exception to this rule is when you need to hydrate during a multi-hour strenuous exercise session. For these situations, consider an electrolyte like XWERKS Motion, which contains 110 calories per serving and 25 grams of fast-digesting carbs.
Some electrolyte powders have more than just electrolytes. Kaged Hydra-Charge contains a blend of antioxidants, for example, and BUBS Hydrate or Die contains 1.5 milligrams of iron. Many electrolyte supplements can also contain additional vitamins, amino acids, or caffeine. These can be helpful if you’re looking for an energy boost, enhanced recovery, or immune support.
However, caffeine can also cause side effects such as jitters, nausea, or headaches if you’re very sensitive or have already taken a high dose of caffeine from another supplement. This is a big reason to be careful with powders with long ingredient lists or hidden amounts under proprietary blends. Read the label carefully and avoid anything you’re allergic or sensitive to.
Electrolyte powders come in a variety of flavors, from fruity to salty — and even a few that are chocolatey! You might find some delicious and others downright disgusting. The taste of your powder can make a big difference in how much you enjoy drinking it and how often you use it. Try to find a flavor that you like and that matches your preferences.
For example, go for lemon or lime if you like sour drinks. If you want sweet beverages, go for berry or orange. If you enjoy creamy drinks, go for vanilla or coconut. If you like salty flavors, go for salted chocolate or caramel.
A clumpy or gritty electrolyte powder can ruin both the taste and texture of your drink at the exact moment when you’re thirstiest. What a drag! Look for powders that dissolve quickly and fully in the recommended water amount without leaving any residue or sediment.
Depending on how and when you train, you may want an electrolyte powder that’s easy to carry around. If you’re on the go often, look for powders in individual stick packs that you can toss in your bag or pocket. That way, you can always have one handy when you need it.
If your run or ride always starts from home, you can also look for powders in tubs or jars that you can scoop out and measure yourself. This can be more economical and customizable, but also messier.
Electrolyte powders are a great way to stay hydrated and healthy, especially if you’re active or live in a hot or humid climate. However, not all electrolyte powders are created equal.
You should look for one that replenishes the important electrolytes you lose through sweat, such as sodium and potassium. You should also find one that suits your taste buds and lifestyle, whether you need a convenient packet to take on the go or a tub to mix at home.
And, of course, consider the ingredients’ price and quality — you don’t want to break the bank or compromise your health.
Best Electrolyte Powder: Side-by-Side Comparison
Best Electrolyte Powder Overall
Best Electrolyte Powder for Athletes
Best Tasting Electrolyte Powder
Best Sugar-Free Electrolyte Powder
Best Electrolyte Drink Powder
We selected Transparent Labs as the best electrolyte brand. Their electrolyte powder called Hydrate has a fully transparent label with gluten-free and vegan-friendly ingredients while being third-party tested. It also tastes great both during exercise or as a daily water enhancement.
Yes, electrolyte powders provide your body with essential minerals that help regulate fluid balance, muscle contraction, nerve function, blood pressure, and pH levels. They can improve your performance and recovery and can be especially helpful if you lose a lot of fluids and electrolytes through sweating, vomiting, diarrhea, or fever.
The healthiest electrolyte water is infused with LMNT Keto Electrolyte Powder Packets. It has no sugar, gluten, fillers, or artificial ingredients, making it ideal for keto, low-carb, intermittent fasting, and gluten-free diets.
It’s perfectly safe to drink electrolyte powder every day. However, you probably don’t need to drink electrolyte powder every day if you eat a healthy diet. You may already get enough electrolytes from food sources such as fruits, vegetables, dairy products, nuts, seeds, and salted foods.
- Samuel P, Ayoob KT, Magnuson BA, et al. Stevia Leaf to Stevia Sweetener: Exploring Its Science, Benefits, and Future Potential. J Nutr. 2018;148(7):1186S-1205S. doi:10.1093/jn/nxy102
- McWilliam VL, Perrett KP, Dang T, Peters RL. Prevalence and natural history of tree nut allergy. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2020;124(5):466-472. doi:10.1016/j.anai.2020.01.024
- Fedewa MV, Spencer SO, Williams TD, Becker ZE, Fuqua CA. Effect of branched-Chain Amino Acid Supplementation on Muscle Soreness following Exercise: A Meta-Analysis. Int J Vitam Nutr Res. 2019;89(5-6):348-356. doi:10.1024/0300-9831/a000543
- Baker LB, Jeukendrup AE. Optimal composition of fluid-replacement beverages. Compr Physiol. 2014;4(2):575-620. doi:10.1002/cphy.c130014