Energy gels are those nutritious substances that contain carbohydrates and electrolytes that provides you with a much-needed energy boost. They are like sports drinks–but gels. Energy gels come in different flavors, and they have some ingredients that are unique to them.
The Best Energy Gel
Our top pick for the best energy gel is the GU Energy Original Sports Nutrition Energy Gel. This product was developed in 1993 by Dr. Bill Vaughn. It is the world’s first energy gel, and Vaughn made it to help his daughter perform better during ultramarathons. Since then, GU’s legend has spread like wildfire. This gel has since been assisting the world’s most successful extreme athletes to success. GU Energy Gel is recommended for all forms of athletic activity. It is made of highly compact nutrients, and it is dense in calories. It is also fortified with carbohydrates that can be rapidly absorbed. The amino acid components help limit muscle fiber damage and increase the speed of recovery, while the extra electrolytes help maintain water balance. You can get some GU gels with flavors like caffeine to improve concentration. As recommended by the manufacturer, use one packet 5 minutes before activity and one pack every 45 minutes during exercise. Do well to wash down with GU Hydration Tabs or water.
Assorted indulgent Flavors
450mg chain amino acids
Caffeine and carbohydrates
- BrandGU Energy Labs
- Weight2 pounds
Suitable for daily training and competition
Reduces mental fatigue
Decreases muscle damage
Improves cardiac output
Provides optimum hydration for training and recovery
Not enough caffeine for some
CLIF SHOT Energy Gel is a blend of great taste and energy boost. It offers a delectable taste of chocolate and coffee, and you’ll get a nice touch of caffeine for a deliciously dynamic combo. This energy gel will reward you with quick energy for training and racing. It is specially designed by athletes for athletes, and it comes in nine delicious flavors, including strawberry and chocolate. The best part is that you can customize your preferred caffeine levels; this energy gel is available in four different caffeine levels (from 0 to 100mg) to boost your energy. The packaging is also convenient as its litter leash top stays attached to the packaging; this allows you also to keep the environment clean. The primary ingredients of this energy gel are organic maltodextrin, water, natural cocoa, organic evaporated cane juice, coffee extract, sea salt, green tea extract, and a few others. Take one package 15 minutes before your activity and one to two packages per hour during activity. Then one package immediately after exercise to aid in recovery. For more products that provide a quick energy boost, check out our guide to the best energy bars.
90% organic ingredients
0 to 100mg caffeine levels
- BrandClif Bar
- Weight1.8 pounds
Quick energy for training
Excellent for long races
Nine delicious flavors
Customizable caffeine levels
Great for managing low blood sugar
Too thick for some
Honey Stinger Classic Energy Gel is pretty convenient for all. We love it because it has a packaging that makes these gels ideal for those who are always on the go; it is also fantastic for all before or during workouts: hikers, bikers, marathon racers, and for anyone looking for a healthy energy boost. Honey Stinger serves as a fuel for every activity. It has low glycemic properties that are scientifically proven to increase athletic performance. This is because it provides a sustained energy boost that allows blood sugar levels to remain constant during activity without a high insulin spike and crash. Amongst its relevant components, this energy gel offers vitamin B and contains 95% honey, added electrolytes and B vitamins, proving as a favorite among endurance athletes for nearly a decade. If you need a soy free, nut free and dairy free energy gel, this product is for you. Each packet of Energy Gel has 100 calories. We advise you use this Gold Honey Stinger Energy Gel before or during activity.
Soy and nut free
- BrandHoney Stinger
- Weight1.68 pounds
Great running gels
Easy to swallow and digest
Not so great taste for just a few
Huma Chia Energy Gel is an all-natural, great-tasting energy gel made from finely blended Chia seeds. Huma gel is designed as a healthy option for getting through tough and heavy-duty exercise. This Huma energy gel combines Mexican Tarahumara chia tradition, extensive sports nutrition research, wholesome ingredients, and delicious taste to reward users with one of the best energy gels on the market. With Huma energy gel, you’ll enjoy double electrolytes. This great gel is made from grape juice concentrate, lemon juice, and other valuable ingredients. According to the manufacturer’s description, use one packet 15 minutes before your exercise. You should also use one pack every 30-45 minutes during training; it must be consumed with water. You can use this high electrolyte energy gel for additional sodium/potassium needs. Our guide to the best energy pills features some amazing supplements that will help you enhance your energy level.
- BrandHuma Gel
- Weight2.4 pounds
Sustains energy level
Great for marathon race
Easy on the gut
Extra stomach friendly
Bad stomach for a few
Science in Sport Energy Gel Variety Pack is one of our best energy gels because it works pretty fast, and it is long lasting. SIS rewards buyers with 22g of fast-acting carbohydrates that they can use on the go. This product is a fantastic one because it helps achieve suitable fueling needs for cycling, running, and all endurance sports. The manufacturer recommends 60-90g of carbohydrate per hour of exercise. With this energy gel, there is no need for extra water; this is because there are Isotonic formulations in the gels. So, you can avoid GI distress and focus on high performance. With every gel, you get 1g or less of sugar. Basically, you’ll have little or no risk of crashing. Low sugar formulation in this gel allows for more efficient sustained energy. We are a fan of the SIS gel because it has an enjoyable taste and sleek texture. Because the feel of this gel is not thick or sticky, they have a light, drinkable mouth-feel so you can take them anywhere and any time. This gel product is made from ingredients including water, maltodextrin, gelling agents, and natural flavoring. We also love this energy gel because it rewards users with quick energy for training and racing. Be sure to also check out our reviews of the best energy drinks, learn about them and find out which one suits you the most.
22g fast acting carbs
Energy and electrolyte
Energy and caffeine
For performance and endurance sports
- Brand Science In Sport
- Weight15 ounces
Great running and cycling gel
Easy to swallow
Also great for triathletes
Flavor not too awesome for some
Clif Shot Energy Gels Variety Sampler Pack is our sixth pick for a few reasons. For one, its variety pack offers one of 8 unique flavors. These flavors include vanilla, chocolate, razz, mocha, strawberry, citrus, double espresso, and chocolate cherry. The texture of this gel is not thick or sticky, and they have a light, drinkable mouth-feel so you can take them anywhere and anytime. Clif Shot Energy Gel is made of compact, and dense calories, it is also fortified with carbohydrates that can be rapidly absorbed. The amino acid components contained in the product help limit muscle fiber damage and increase the speed of recovery. It also possesses electrolytes which help to maintain water balance. We are a huge fan of the Cli gel because it has an enjoyable taste and sleek texture, which allows for a smooth passage in the gut. If you are looking for ultimate power boost before workout, check out our guide to the best pre-workout formulas.
22 grams carbs
8 unique flavors
Value for your money
Great consistency and texture
- BrandClif Bar
- Weight 9.6 ounces
Good running gels
No harm on the stomach
Good for high intensity activities
High caffeine and not too great taste for some
Gatorade Endurance Energy Gel is a favorite because it is specially formulated to help meet endurance athletes’ needs. It possesses 80 calories and 20g carbohydrates and provides energy for endurance training and racing. Another reason why we like this energy gel is that it is easy to take down and has a smooth mouthfeel. Manufacturers recommend that it should be consumed shortly before and/or during endurance activity. Also, note that you have to consume this gel with water. A pack has 3 counts each of blackberry, vanilla, apple pear, and Mango flavors. Endurance Energy Gel also provides carbohydrate energy that’s easy to take for distance training and racing. Gatorade Endurance Energy Gel is specially formulated to meet the unique needs of endurance athletes. If you are an athlete who burns quads and works with passion, this energy gel is a good one. Our guide to the best protein bars features some great snacks for active men, so check them out.
12 gels per box
3 tabs each of vanilla, mango, apple pear, and blackberry flavors
- Weight1.2 pounds
Goes down smoothly
Great for marathon runners
Great for those with low blood sugar
Great value for the price
Does not upset the stomach
Low carbs for some
Honey Stinger Ginsting Energy Gel makes our list because of its great fruity flavor. It posses ginsting, which is packed with Siberian ginseng; this strain of ginseng helps clear your head and keeps you going for longer than you were ever able to. A pack of this energy gel has 32mg of caffeine, thanks to the kola nut extracts, so you can trust it to give you that extra ba-zinga! Ginsting Gel is also certified gluten-free. We love this gel because it has a more vibrant, nutty honey flavor, also because of the kola nut extract. It is excellent for long-distance races and marathon; this is why it is a unique running gel.
Moreover, if you are not a fan of soy, nuts, or dairy, you can use this without any issues; this honey stinger energy gel is free from all these. Do well to use this energy gel before, during, and after an activity. You also get an added bonus of Vitamin B and electrolytes which are beneficial to your health, and will keep you on your feet for an extended period. If you are a fitness enthusiast and a fan of the keto diet, be sure to check out our guide to the best keto bars.
120 quick absorbing calories
Soy, nut and dairy free
Organic honey gels
- BrandHoney Stinger
- Weight2 pounds
Gluten free Ingredients
Excellent for long run
Goes down smoothly
Also good for bike rides
May cause stomach upset for some
The second GU product on our list is the GU Energy Roctane Ultra Endurance Energy Gel. They’re very similar to the GU energy gel we selected as our Best Choice product. Both products are high in amino acids, sodium, and caffeine to get you pumped up before a workout. However, there are a few key differences. First, this variety pack of gel comes in fruity flavors, instead of indulgent flavors like caramel and chocolate. Secondly, they have a slightly different combination of ingredients, picked to help athletes go harder for longer. If you’re into endurance activities, this is the energy gel for you.
Assorted fruit flavors
1425mg of amino acids
100 calories per gel
Caffeine and carbohydrates
- Weight1.7 pounds
Better for endurance activities
Low in calories
Short expiry date
Energy Gel Buying Guide & FAQ
How We Chose Our Selection Of Energy Gels
Brand - We cannot overemphasize the need for brand trust and quality. Because energy gels are sensitive and low-quality ones could pose a health risk to users, it is best to go for brands that are experienced in the field and are scientifically recognized and accredited. This is why you Find a product like the GU energy gel in our list. This GU product is the world’s first energy gel. Also, brand names with genuine experience and longevity make users feel relaxed. As we all know, a brand which dishes out unreliable products over one or two years will not last in a competitive market like that of today. For these reasons, we have decided to go for brands that have been relevant in the industry.
Price - Pricing is essential. It is an influential factor because everyone wants to spend money wisely. After all, no one wants to pay for an energy gel product that will prove disappointing at the end of the day. Also, we have gone for energy gels that are excellent and not too expensive or too inexpensive. Because we want to spend wisely, we should not opt for products with little or no quality. For these reasons, all our picks have been carefully selected based on a fair price and fantastic quality that cannot be rivaled.
Reviews - There's no disputing the relevance of reviews. Reviews give us an unbiased picture of how worthy or unworthy a product is. So, we have decided to go through hundreds of review to give our readers an accurate picture of energy gels that are on the market. Surveys show how pleased or disappointed buyers feel about a product they have spent their hard earned money on. And because we can't take in all the energy gels in the market, we decided to read through numerous reviews to achieve an unbiased and a reputable product guide.
Features To Look For In Energy Gels
Nutrient Levels - One thing we’ve looked out for in our examination of energy gels is the nutrient level. You should too, when you’re looking out to buy energy gels. Goes without saying that an energy gel is useless if it cannot supply the needed nutrients. Energy gels should not only increase your strength or help you last longer in long distance races, but they should also add extra value to your health and not contain ingredients that could hurt you. So, our pick has extra packed nutrients like blueberry bergamot, vitamin B, and many more, which will give you the boost you need without posing any threats to your health.
Product Purity - Product purity is vital. We have examined gels which are pure substances that are either dangerous or will have prolonged and harmful side effects on the body. It is best to use genuine products, and those that will have no negative impact in the long run; this is why we carefully curated this list.
Taste -This matters a lot because no one wants to take in a gel that has a bitter aftertaste. If you go through our list, you’ll discover that most of our picks have great flavors. We’ve discussed energy gels that have honey, chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, and blueberry flavors. All these mouthwatering taste are inviting and would even make users feel very comfortable.
Use - It’s important to be comfortable while using energy gels. So, we advise that you go for products with the usage that are scientifically approved and recommended. The generally recommended use of an energy gel is 15 minutes before starting and 30–45 minutes after you begin the endurance exercise. Also, the first gel before an activity may be skipped in favor of a high carbohydrate snack. Energy gels are to be used every 30–45 minutes during exercise. So, buying products that are not suitable for use in this time frame may provide adverse results. To fully understand the specs of the products you’re buying, you can check the manufacturer's prescription on the package.
Side Effects -This is a critical aspect we tried to examine properly. Our picks have no harmful side effects. In fact, the bulk of them is soy-, gluten-, nuts-, and dairy free. Some are also healthy for vegans. Make sure to be informed of possible side effects of any product that you pic, but it is best to stay on the ‘no side effects’ side of the line. However, do not hesitate to visit your doctor immediately you notice any side effects after consumption.
Energy Gel FAQ
Q: What are energy gels?
A: Energy gels are simply carbohydrate gels that give energy needed for activities such as exercise and training. Energy gels also help quicken recovery, and they are commonly used in endurance events such as triathlons, cycling and running. Energy gels are also called sports gels, endurance gels, or carbohydrate gels or nutritional gels. They usually come in small, one-dose plastic packets. And each package comes with a strip with a small notch at the top that can be peeled off to show an opening through which the gel can be consumed.
Q: When should I take energy gels?
A: You can take energy gels before, during, and after your exercise, training or running. However, most energy gel brands have unique specifications and recommendations on how to use these gels. As a rule of thumb, you can use an energy gel 15 minutes before starting and 30–45 minutes after you begin the endurance exercise. Also, the first gel before an activity may be skipped in favor of a high carbohydrate snack. Energy gels are to be used every 30–45 minutes during exercise.
Q: Are energy gels bad for you?
A: Generally, energy gels are not harmful. All the ones we listed have no adverse side effects. However, you should do well to take lots of water when you have them. Also check manufacturers warning for all the flavors, and components. You'll have an idea about what ingredients are suitable for your health.
Q: What do energy gels taste like?
A: In simple terms, energy gels taste like most flavorings that the manufacturers use. Some have vanilla, strawberry, and even honey flavor. The good thing about energy gels is that they don't taste awful.