If you are a sporting and fitness enthusiast then you are probably familiar with the sports drinks and energy bars. Both these products are used by people to provide fuel to the working muscles so that they help you perform better in whatever sport you pursue.
In this respect, energy gels are a cross between energy bars and sports drinks. As, there are several brands of energy gels available in the market choosing the best one will require some research on your part. It is important to remember that energy gels have higher concentration of carbohydrates and therefore you must take a few sips of water before and after using the gel to ease the digestion. The body diverts the blood away from the digestive tract to the legs and if you do not have water when using the energy gels, you will find it difficult to digest these gels.
We have done the research for you and have compiled a list of the best energy gels available in the market. These gels have been reviewed on the basis of their contents. You can peruse through the list to find the ideal energy gels that are appropriate for you.
Scored 4.6/5.0 – From 2,635 Customer Reviews
Priced From $32.86
- The Original Sports Nutrition Energy Gel designed to help athletes perform their best; 100 calories and essential electrolytes in a portable packet
- Dual source energy from maltodextrin and fructose that use non-competing pathways for efficient absorption and lasting energy
- Use for training or racing; take one packet 5 minutes before and every 45 minutes during activity
- Branched-chain amino acids to help decrease muscle damage and mental fatigue
- Variety Pack includes Chocolate Outrage, Salted Caramel, Vanilla Bean, Jet Blackberry, Tri-berry, and Strawberry Banana; caffeine varies by flavor
I’ve tried to meticulously research the best way to train and run for my first half-marathon race. Part of that includes getting electrolytes and carbs in during long (over 1 hour) runs. For those long runs, these fit the bill perfectly. Any runs less than that, you really don’t need to bring extra nutrition.Different people prefer different types of nutritional supplements. Some people don’t like gels, others don’t like beans or bars, some prefer fruit. It’s not really rocket science; but I would definitely recommend trying out a packet first before any race to see how these sit on your stomach. No problem for me, but I’ve heard of other people who’ve had problems.I got this variety pack just to see what flavors I liked better. I didn’t realize some of the packs have caffeine (20 mg or 40 mg) and some don’t. That’s less caffeine than a cup of coffee, so I like it to help perk me up a little, but not so much that it’d make me jittery. In hindsight, I think I’d rather buy a few individual packs to find a couple of flavors I like (generally coffee, vanilla, and chocolate were my favorite; and the fruit flavors like lemon-lime and blackberry I didn’t like so much). These things don’t taste really great, but they’re very palatable with a very sweet and kind of starchy flavor in all the different varieties.The instructions for these recommend taking one packet 15 minutes before exercise and one every 30 to 45 minutes. That seems a bit much for me; usually on a run more than 1 hour I only take one packet and even on runs that are over 2 hours I really only feel the need to eat one pack.Bottom line: I’d find something that works for you. GU fits the bill, nutrition wise, for me. The variety pack is a nice way to sample the different flavors, but if you’re like me you’ll quickly run out of your favorites and end up with a bunch of left over strawberry-banana or “triberry.” Overall, though, very happy with the GU.
PowerBar Performance Energy Power Gel, Gluten Free Berry Blast, 1x Caffeine, 1.44-Ounce Packets (Pack of 24)
Scored 4.3/5.0 – From 533 Customer Reviews
Priced From $18.49
- Contains 24 – 1.44 Ounce Pouches, 1x Caffeine
- Provides maximum energy to muscles with C2MAX
- Contains the most sodium of any leading gel
- No artificial flavors
- Gluten Free
I tried about 15 other gels for marathon running as well as marathon swimming and found Power Gel Tangerine to be the best. Here’s why:1. SPEED OF DELIVERY – It’s is the least pasty or not as thick. This means that when you are breathing heavy in a race, you can get a gel down and a sip of water quickly and continue racing without interrupting your stride or breath pattern.2. PACKS THE RIGHT STUFF – I’m not a scientist so I let my body tell me what works. Power Gel gives me what my body needs. I’ve done The English Channel, The Lake Placid Ironman, 18 marathons and continue to run 2 or 3 marathons a year. I’ve dialed in the frequency and amounts that work, and for me in a marathon, what works is doing one gel every two miles starting at mile 5 with a little extra around mile 17 and then later toward the end of the race. This is a little more frequently than most people, but consistent with the manufacturer’s recommendations and it’s pretty close to the frequency of Lance Armstrong. Now this said, I don’t consume any Gatorade during a race, just water. If you drink Gatorade, you get fluid plus electrolytes and won’t need as much Power Gel. I logged 70 miles last week, and in the past two years since I’ve been applying these guidelines, I haven’t bonked once; I finish my long runs with strength and energy; I power through my tempo runs with gas left in the tank; and I’ve set 4 PRs (personal records) at age 48. I believe I’ve been able to train my body much more effectively with solid, fulfilling workouts fueled by Power Gel.3. KEEPS YOU FOCUSED – I’ve found that training at 5am, and in the final 6 miles of the marathon (you know, the second half!) it helps to have the double caffeine that you get with Power Gel Tangerine. It wakes you up, smooths off that sleepy feeling and helps you concentrate on good form and pushing the pace. Most of what I’ve read says as long as you’re staying properly hydrated, the effects of using caffeine in endurance sports are all positive. I agree. That’s been my experience.4. TASTE – Not that taste should be the deciding factor in a performance product, but have you tried some of the other gels out there? The last different gel I tested tasted like beer vomit. I couldn’t get it down. I wouldn’t use Power Gel if it didn’t work, but the fact that it tastes good, really helps make the training and racing experience a pleasant one.DISCLAIMER – I don’t receive any product of money from Power Gel. I’m just a big fan.
Scored 4.5/5.0 – From 728 Customer Reviews
Priced From $22.99
- Chocolate + coffee, with a kick of caffeine. A deliciously dynamic duo.
- Made with organic ingredients
- 50mg caffeine
- Litter Leash Packaging
I powered through countless miles of running using Chocolate flavored GU. I figured it had a decent taste and worked pretty well. Then I started to develop digestive troubles every time I used it, I think from the caffeine, and I knew I had to figure something else out before my next marathon.I’ve tried Honey Stingers (too sickly sweet with a “medicinal” aftertaste), Hammer Gel (strange, sticky texture that felt like glue going down my throat and nasty flavors), Gatorade Prime Gel (shudder-inducing taste), Cliff Shot Blocks (stuck to my teeth and drove me nuts). I was just about to give up and just eat gummy bears when my husband brought this home for me to try.My first time using it was a 17 mile training run. I opened it a few miles in and made sure I was near a bathroom in case it had a similar effect on my body as the GU. My first taste was a revelation. It’s not just acceptable, it’s good. Seriously good. Like, I’d eat this when I’m NOT running. It tastes like a brownie, and I couldn’t help but wonder why I’ve punished myself with case after case of GU when this is so much better. It’s got typical “gel” texture, so if you can’t handle that, this might not be the product for you. Still, I found it to be pretty easy to get down, slightly thinner than GU, but not as runny (read: messy) as Hammer or Gatorade, very similar to a hot fudge sauce straight out of the jar.I’m really happy to find something that is made with real, recognizable ingredients, too.Best of all, my digestive system had NO problems with it, even on hot July runs. Still, I’d recommend you buy one POUCH of it to try before making to commitment to a whole case.
Huma Chia Energy Gel, Variety Pack, 12 Gels – Premier Sports Nutrition for Endurance Exercise – 8 Flavors
Scored 4.7/5.0 – From 771 Customer Reviews
Priced From $26.95
- Sports Nutrition Energy Gel for all Runners, Cyclists, Triathletes, Endurance Athletes (running, cycling, extended exercise and events such as marathons, triathlons, century rides); Pre and During Race Energy Supplements also designed for use in training, workouts or any needed glucose/glycogen replacement activity
- 100% All-Natural energy gels made with Real Food ingredients Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Vegan Friendly (No Upset Stomachs, Great Flavor, and No Aftertaste)
- The Compact, Easy-to-Open Packets contain Great-Tasting, Easy to Swallow, Healthy Carbs along with Protein – Contains all 9 essential Amino Acids
- Finely milled Chia Seeds help modulate energy uptake to ensure No Flash-Crashes; 2:1 ratio of short & long chain Glucose to Fructose for maximum carbohydrate uptake
- Huma Gel: Enjoy your gel! Compares favorably to GU, Roctane, Honey Stinger, Powerbar, Clif Shot, and goes down faster than chews; Variety Mixed Pack (mix box) contains Strawberries, Apples & Cinnamon, Blueberries, Mangoes, Chocolate (25mg caffeine), Caf Mocha (50mg caffeine), Raspberries (25mg caffeine), and Lemonade (25mg caffeine)
I was first introduce to Huma Gel a few months ago when I was looking to make a switch to a gel with real food ingredients. Another whole food plant based runner suggested that I give Huma a try. And I’m so glad that I did!The ingredients are very simple. Here is what is in the strawberry flavor:Strawberry puree, evaporated cane juice, brown rice syrup, filtered water, milled chia seeds, strawberry concentrate, sea salt, citric acidTo compare, here are the ingredients in TriBerry flavored Gu:Maltodextrin, Water, Fructose, Leucine, Natural & Artificial Flavor, Citric Acid, Sodium Citrate, Potassium Citrate, Calcium Carbonate, Valine, Sea Salt, Green Tea (Leaf) Extract (Contains Caffeine), Malic Acid, Gellan Gum, Isoleucine, Sunflower Oil, Sodium Benzoate (Preservative), Potassium Sorbate (Preservative).I have tried all of the flavors and love them all. That’s the exact reason I order the variety pack.I also like the texture of these gels. They have an actually texture to them and are not just, a friend says “like runny snot”.Finally they digest great. I’ve been using them for several months now and have never had any gut issues.I’m currently training to complete 7 marathons in 7 months in 7 states and you can bet that Huma Gel will be with me the entire way!
Scored 4.2/5.0 – From 15 Customer Reviews
Priced From $14.75
- In this variety pack you will receive 1 of the following 8 flavors: Razz, Mocha, Citrus, Vanilla, Double Espresso, Chocolate Cherry, Chocolate, Strawberry.
I tested these primarily for long-distance bicycle touring.Eight flavors with various caffeine content. All but Chocolate-Cherry (110 cal) have 100 calories.Flavors: All were fine. See details below. Chocolate-Cherry left a bitter after taste–possibly due to the high caffeine content.Consistency: Much like canned cake icing or soft, creamy peanut butter. Doesn’t drip. I’d call it a paste or butter, not gel.Squeezability: Very good, even right out of the refrigerator (~40 deg F).Pros: The squeeze packet retains the top tear-tab that stays connected by a thin strip (see photo).Concerns: High caffeine content of some and bitter taste.Bottom Line for me: I really like the easy-open, attached-tab design making it easy to use one-handed. Also, I don’t have to spit out the tab (litter) or grab it and put it in a pocket. I’ll buy Mocha, Chocolate and Citrus for calories first, caffeine second, and slightly higher potassium content in the Mocha and Chocolate (80mg vs 55mg). Despite my being a caffeine addict, I am reluctant to use the 100+ mg varieties. With Chocolate (0mg), Citrus (25mg), and Mocha (50mg), I get the calories, potassium, and a gradient of caffeine content from which I can choose.Flavor (calories/mg caffeine)Razz 100/0; tastes like raspberry jamVanilla 100/0; tastes more like caramel than vanillaChocolate 110/0*; cStrawberry 100/25, bCitrus 100/25, b; tastes like lemon pie fillingMocha 100/50, a,bDouble Espresso 100/100, a,bChocolate-Cherry 110/100*, b,c; tastes like black-forest cake filling, but left bitter after taste*Contains milka-caffeine from coffee extractb-caffeine from green tea extractc-contains 1.5g fat
Scored 4.0/5.0 – From 33 Customer Reviews
Priced From $13.69
- 8 Pack – 2 x Fruit Smoothie, 2 x Acai & Pomegranate, 2 x Chocolate – Caffeinated, 2 x Strawberry Kiwi – Caffeinated (1.1 oz each)
- Source of energy – Honey Stinger Gels are sweetened with organic honey and tapioca syrup and include naturally occurring fiber and protein, and added electrolytes.
- Great for activities: biking, running, wrestling, ski, climbing, lifting, surfing, or chopping wood all day 🙂
- Certified organic, gluten free and fortified with 100% RDA vitamin C
- Honey Stinger makes nutritious and great tasting honey-based foods including energy bars, protein bars, energy gels, organic waffles, organic chews, kids specific snacks and their very own Organic Wildflower Honey with many fruit flavors
Bought these for my daughter to use in the Vietnam Mountain Marathon. We got to Skype with her after the race last weekend and she commented on how well they worked for her. She took along several different energy food items and this one stood out. Tasted good and went down easily while on the run. She only wished she ad taken more along as she ran out after about 5 1/2 hours on the muddy mountain trails in northern Vietnam.
Scored 4.7/5.0 – From 327 Customer Reviews
Priced From $45.00
- The Ultra-Endurance Energy Gel 100 calories and essential electrolytes in a portable packet
- 1425mg of amino acids help decrease muscle damage and mental fatigue
- Dual-source energy from maltodextrin and fructose that use non-competing pathways for efficient absorption and lasting energy
- Use for high-intensity racing or training take one packet 5 minutes before and every 45 minutes during activity
- Variety Pack includes Vanilla Orange, Cherry Lime, Lemonade and 6 packets each of Blueberry / Pomegranate, Strawberry Kiwi; caffeine varies by flavor
I’m fairly new to road biking. I thought I’d give this stuff a try as I’m training for my first metric century this month. Taking the GU energy gels with water kept me from bonking toward the end of my 40+ mile rides. I didn’t want to just pass out and go to sleep as soon as I got home afterwards either. The flavor and texture is a bit of an acquired taste on all varieties. It also gets a little sticky on your hands, and then handle bars, and then brakes if you don’t wear full finger gloves. They are very easy to carry. I put about 5 in one jersey pocket, and use the other pocket for empties until I can stop and throw them away. Sometimes you have to spend a little quality time with the packet to ensure they’re empty. I haven’t had any problems with it, but there is the chance you might get a little leakage in the empties. Overall, it’s a good product. When I run out, I will get some more before training for any other events.
Scored 4.4/5.0 – From 134 Customer Reviews
Priced From $19.99
- Eat before training to resupply fuel levels and prep muscles for game time.
- Contains carbohydrates, your body’s preferred source of fuel.
- As part of a daily diet, B vitamins assist in breaking down carbs into fuel that muscles can readily use.
- Available in Fruit Punch, Cool Blue, Strawberry and Green Apple
- 6 Chews per sleeve (Pack of 16 Sleeves)
I absolutely love these chews! Sometimes, before an important race, it seems that my sugar level drops all of a sudden and I feel weak. With only 2 or 3 chews, my energy comes back. The fruit punch and orange are my favorites. I appreciate that the expiration date is approximately 6 months away.
Huma PLUS – Chia Energy Gel – Variety, 4 PLUS and 8 Standard Gels – Premier Sports Nutrition for Endurance Exercise
Scored 4.8/5.0 – From 393 Customer Reviews
Priced From $27.95
- PLUS = 2X NATURAL ELECTROLYTES, sourced from Coconut Water, Sea Salt, and Chia Seeds. Double the electrolytes of Huma Gel.
- 100% All-Natural, Real Food ingredients – Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Vegan Friendly. Extra stomach friendly.
- Sports Nutrition Energy Gel with Electrolytes for all Runners, Cyclists, Triathletes, Endurance Athletes (running, cycling, extended exercise and events such as marathons, triathlons, century rides; sports like soccer, tennis, climbing, paddle-boarding, etc). Pre and During Race Energy Supplements also designed for use in training, workouts or any needed glucose/glycogen or electrolyte replacement activity.
- Powdered Chia Seeds help modulate energy uptake to ensure No Flash-Crashes. 2:1 ratio of short & long chain Glucose to Fructose for maximum carbohydrate uptake. Complete proteins with all 9 essential Amino Acids. Extra sodium, potassium, magnesium, calcium.
- Contains 4 Huma PLUS flavors and 8 Regular Huma flavors – includes all 10 different currently available Huma flavors (mix of caffeine and no caffeine). Huma Gel: Enjoy your gel! Compares favorably to GU, Roctane, Honey Stinger, Powerbar, Clif Shot; goes down faster than chews.
My second job is a part time package handler for a shipping company. I don’t have time for breaks and need to get food into me quickly with maximum convenience, i.e. simple packaging, small size, nutrient concentration, etc. I discovered this product while shopping for GU. I was initially hesitant to deviate from my usual but was swayed by the positive reviews and decided to give Huma a shot due to their natural ingredients.I am blown away! I bought the variety pack so I could try as many flavors as possible. These gels are so unbelievably delicious I eat them as snacks: at work, for lunch, as a healthy alternative when I have a sweet tooth. The fruit tastes just like you’re eating a fresh one and there is no weird aftertaste like you get with most “energy” products. The quality of this product is evident in how robust the flavor is and I love the addition of coconut water for electrolytes in the Huma PLUS. My favorite so far is the Mango, but every one I have tried I have loved. The berry flavors are great.I haven’t tried these for running yet, but have no reason to believe they won’t perform. No issues with stomach or digestion either.Give this brand a try, you won’t be disappointed.
Scored 4.3/5.0 – From 242 Customer Reviews
Priced From $21.37
- Gold is the core of the Honey Stinger gel line for a natural boost of energy
- Pure natural energy
- 120 Calories
- Perfect for endurance athletes and a great honey-based alternative to other gels
- Made in USA
I’ve been a runner for many years, and I simply can’t eat before exercising. Because of this, I’ve come to rely on gels to keep me going during a long race. I’ve tried various flavors of just about every brand out there.Over the past year or so I’ve been trying harder to eat more ‘natural’ foods. It’s not an obsession, just substitutions where possible. I didn’t think that energy gel was something I would be able to find in a natural form, but a friend pointed me to Honey Stingers.Honey Stingers are about as close as you can get, honey with just a few necessary additives. Personally I love honey, so these taste amazing to me. I would take the ‘gold’ flavor over other energy gels anytime. The ‘ginsing’ was also tasty, though I can’t really describe the exact flavor. I prefer the gold, though, because it doesn’t have caffeine.I found these to be easy to eat, only slightly thicker than GU gels. I chase with water, but I didn’t necessarily need to. I didn’t run into any problems with the honey crystallizing or anything else like that.I highly recommend giving these a try, even if you’re not looking for ‘all natural.’ If you like honey you’ll love these, and they’re only slightly more expensive than other gels (actually cheaper than some brands). Don’t try something new on race day, but grab a few of these for a training run and you might end up hooked like me.
The choice of the energy gels will depend upon the type of exercise or sport that you pursue. Heavy rigorous exercisers must take small amounts of caffeine as per their body weight to get the maximum benefit out of the energy gels. However, this must be done in consultation with your physiotherapist or trainer.
You must listen to your body’s requirements and anxieties. Only this will help you stay away from any side effects.
We hope that you found our review informative and you were able to choose the best energy gels for your requirement. We would love to know about your choice of the gels and your experience of using it.