The top energy gels with and without caffeine to fuel your next workout.
Energy Gels have been the go to energy source for endurance athletes. But how you use them and finding one that you can properly digest is critical to your enjoyment and benefits that you will get from them. The problem is that there are countless options on the market, so we have tested them all out for you. Over the past 3 months we have tested out which worked best. We have tested over 100 Gel options to bring you our go to list of the Top 11 Gels.
1. BEST OVERALL GEL: MAURTEN GEL 100
Maurten has quickly become a global powerhouse in the hydration game. So why not the Gel game? Wait no more - The "World's First Energy Gel" is here! Wait....the world's first? Isn't there a ton of gels on the market now?
Maurten says - "We claim that Maurten ’s Gel 100 is the world's first energy gel. We know it's a bold statement. However, when you look at the energy gel-segment from a technical perspective, the products on the market are syrups, water with high carbohydrate concentration, with some salt and often added flavors. The instructions state that you should consume them with water. One could argue that they, technically, are not gels but rather syrups. The Gel 100 however is something completely different, since it’s a hydrogel and the definition of a gel is a liquid in a solid medium." So do you need water? Nope! It's truly the game changer.
Favorite Flavor: No Flavor! They taste slightly sweet, a bit like maple syrup, but technically are flavorless.
2. BEST CAFFEINATED GEL: GU ENERGY GEL
Gu Energy Gels have been a staple of fueling for endurance sports for the past 20 years. Created for daily training and competition, GU Energy Gel packs energy-dense calories in a portable packet to help sustain energy demands of any duration or activity. The 100-calorie packet contains carbohydrates (maltodextrin and fructose) that use non-competing pathways to help maximize carbohydrate absorption while diminishing stomach distress. Sodium, the primary electrolyte lost in sweat, aids in hydration by maintaining water balance. The branched-chain amino acids (leucine, valine, isoleucine) may reduce mental fatigue and decrease muscle damage.
It is important to remember to always drink water when taking these gels, since water is used in the digestion process. Also, if you're using the caffeinated gels like Gu Espresso Love make sure you use them when you really need the added energy.
Favorite Flavor: Salted Caramel
3. FAVORITE FLAVOR: UNTAPPED MAPLE GEL
UnTapped pure maple syrup is 100% pure Vermont Maple syrup, plain and simple. Seriously, there are literally no other ingredients in here!
UnTapped is made from Slopeside Syrup, a family-run company out of Richmond, Vermont. The Cochrans, makers of Slopeside and all former ski racers, teamed up with professional cyclist, Ted King, to offer something unique to the sports nutrition world. Who would have thought that the delicious condiment that you lather on your pancakes and waffles could be a viable form of energy for endurance sports? They did! And that new coffee flavored syrup is amazing!!!
UnTapped is made by boiling maple sap directly from the tree and putting it straight into the package. Being that it is unprocessed, you get all the natural benefits such as potassium, manganese, iron, calcium, and zinc as well as amino acids and antioxidants.
Favorite Flavor: Maple Maple Maple!
4. DUAL PURPOSE: SIS GO ENERGY GEL
The SiS GO Energy + Electrolyte gel builds on the established science of the SiS GO Isotonic Energy gel, the world’s first and only truly isotonic energy gel. So how did they make it better?
The gel not only delivers a rapid supply of easily digestible carbohydrates (22 grams)for energy, but also provides 118mg sodium, 9.5mg potassium and 1.5mg magnesium per gel. Electrolytes including sodium, potassium, and magnesium are lost through sweat and need to be replaced in order to help the body maintain fluid balance, alongside an appropriate fluid intake.
What's great about these gels as well is the fact that you can take them without any additional water. You heard that right....just tear it open and sip the goodness out!
Favorite Flavor: Lemon & Mint is the winner.
5. BEST ORGANIC GEL: HONEY STINGER GEL
Honey Stinger Organic Gel is some of the most effective and best tasting gel we’ve ever tried. Honey Stinger changed the game when they introduced these gels to endurance athletes, in large part due to the use of better ingredients like organic tapioca syrup and organic honey which provide two easily digestible sources of sugar.
These gels also have a thinner consistency than others, making them easy to eat, digest, and absorb during exercise. They are certified gluten-free, use organic tapioca syrup, organic honey, and added electrolytes to provide energy and nourishment during your workouts. They are also soy and dairy free.
Now offered in 5 flavors, including two with 32mg of caffeine, Honey Stinger Organic Gels offer a variety of options. Flavors vary in sweetness and intensity with Vanilla giving a lighter flavor, while Fruit Smoothie and Acai Pomegranate are sweeter and strong in flavor.
Favorite Flavor: Acai Pomegrante for a fruity flavor explosion.
6. MOST INNOVATIVE: SPLIT PB&J GEL
Split started with a simple idea from Chef Jeff Mahin. He asked himself “How can I make better foods on the go?” He has been a chef for most of his life. For years his focus was about how food tasted, presented and was sourced. It was only when he started to exercise and focus on what he ate did the idea of nutrition ever cross his mind.
Turns out, he really had no idea about it. Being new to athletics he tried just about every bar, gel, cookie (he does love cookies....but we can't blame him...so do we!) and waffle he could get his hands on. He focused on flavor, texture and how it made him feel while eating it and after eating it. After a lot of trial and error - meaning some epic bonks - he came up with a simple but profound thought. He performed better when A) He ate real foods and B) when the food he ate tasted good. Knowing this, as simple as it sounds, really lead him to where split was born.
Favorite Flavor: Peanut Butter & Grape Jelly
7. PACKET WITH A PUNCH: GU ROCTANE ENERGY GEL
GU Roctane Ultra Endurance Energy Gel is a high-intensity offering from GU, the original sports energy gel. Designed for extreme and long-duration endurance activities, GU Roctane Energy Gel comes in highly compact, portable, and calorie-dense packets that are loaded with carbohydrates that can be rapidly absorbed.
Athletes performing at a high level for hours on end need more from their nutrition, which is why Roctane Energy Gel packs three-times the amino acids and twice the sodium as original GU Energy Gel. These ingredients boost Roctane’s efforts to help decrease muscle damage, promote muscle repair, and maintain water balance.
Each packet of GU Roctane Ultra Endurance Energy Gel contains 100 calories and 1425mg of amino acids. Some are even packed with a bit of caffeine.
Favorite Flavor: Cherry Lime
8. THE CLASSIC: CLIF SHOT
Clif Shot Gel is the classic energy gel: scientifically formulated to get you quick energy when you need it most. Although you probably aren’t going to want to eat a gel for lunch, they can be an incredibly effective workout food. Gels are a critical part in active workout nutrition. What does that mean? It means, reach for gels when you’re doing higher intensity workouts. Provided that we’re properly hydrated, we like to choose gels that have some caffeine.
We’ve found flavor preferences vary widely. Mocha, Citrus, Razz and Double Espresso are among our favorites. It’s interesting to note that Strawberry and Citrus shots have 25 milligrams of caffeine, Mocha shots have 50 milligrams, and Double Espresso shots have 100 milligrams. We tend to use Strawberry and Citrus most frequently, but when competing, we occasionally reach for the Double Espresso near the end of an event.
Favorite Flavor: Vanilla is our go to, but Citrus is our 2nd choice and contains caffeine.
9. SUSTAINED ENERGY: HUMA CHIA ENERGY GEL PLUS
These Huma Chia Energy Gels harness the power of the chia seed to help you power through your workouts. They are made of real food, all-natural fruit purees, cane syrup and chia seeds. The fiber from the chia seeds causes a steady stream of energy to be released during exercise, so you won’t suffer from intense energy spikes and crashes. The 2:1 glucose to fructose ratio is ideal for your body to breakdown and convert quickly to energy.
The gels contain all 9 essential amino acids to nourish your muscles. They are gluten and dairy free as well as vegan-friendly. Easy on the gut, unique and delicious, try switching up your gels to these Huma Chia Gels. We don’t think you’ll be disappointed!
Favorite Flavor: Strawberry Lemonade (with caffeine)
10. CRAZY CAFFEINE: SIS ENERGY GEL 150MG
When these gels first burst onto the scene...we knew they were on to something. We also knew some of the top teams in the world were using it and swore by it's functionality. The GO Isotonic Energy Gel was the world's first isotonic gel effectively delivering an easily digestible and quick supply of carbohydrate for energy during exercise.
They are designed to be consumed without water, minimizing the risk of the "full feeling" that can sometimes occur with consuming to much hydration.
Favorite Flavor: Expresso is where the 150mg Caffeine comes into play.
11. HOT POTATO! MUIR ENERGY GEL
Muir is an energy gel like no other. They looked at what was on the market and decided to make it better. How you ask? Muir Energy uses only 4-6 ingredients for all of its products. That's it!
Muir Energy is 100% Organic, Vegan, Paleo, Gluten-free and non-GMO. Muir Energy is loaded with nutrition. For example, each serving contains 290-350mg of Potassium. Comparable to eating a small banana! Muir Energy 's taste. You will have to decide for yourself, but everybody who's tried it says it is unbelievably good, unlike any other gel you have tasted. Trust us...we've tried them all and Muir is onto something!
Muir Energy contains 115-150 calories per 30g serving - 15%-50% more than other energy gels.
Favorite Flavor: Sweet Potato Oregano