Each brand of creatine on this list has slews of positive reviews, but also key differences to be aware of. The primary difference to expect is that some forms only have creatine as their sole ingredient, and these are available for much cheaper.
The other type consists of the creatine blends, such as Arnold Series Iron Cre3. Creatine blends will include more than just one simple type of creatine, and may have multiple kinds, in addition to other vitamins and supplements.
Want to learn more? Jump To: Beginners Guide to Creatine Supplements
10 Highest Rated Creatine Supplements
Knowing ahead of time whether you plan on taking other supplements with your creatine is worth considering when selecting a brand. Once you have that answered, take a look below at the top creatine choices to consider adding to your fitness regimen.
BONUS: MusclePharm Creatine
- A complex blend of five types of creatine
- Enhanced uptake and bioavailability
- Highly water soluble form of creatine
- Nitrates boost vasodilation for increased mass
- Provides advanced anti-catabolic support
- $25 for 60 Servings
Fast absorption is important when you want to get to the gym and have little time for waiting. MusclePharm Creatine provides rapidly absorbed creatine powder that will help you quickly build muscle and push you through your workout. No loading is required to use this product.
Additionally, you don’t need to worry about bloating, extra fillers or additives. MusclePharm Creatine is potent enough to be considered pharmaceutical grade creatine, and the five different types will leave you feeling the difference.
MusclePharm Creatine sets itself apart by combining five proven types of creatine for a powerful blend that won’t go unnoticed.
- Increases size and lean muscle mass
- Good support for anaerobic activities
- Helps increase bench power strength
- 100% pure creatine without additional additives or fillers
- 5 grams of creatine per serving
- $10.78 for 80 Servings on Amazon
Don’t waste your money on powders that have extra electrolytes and supplements in them. When it comes to creatine, research shows that pure creatine is the best option for building muscle.
In a clinical study, participants gained an impressive six pounds of muscle in six weeks using 100% pure creatine.
Another study showed an increase in bench press strength by 18.6 percent in 10 days. MuscleTech Platinum Powder helps you to train harder and longer than without the use of supplementation.
Not every supplement is backed by research, but MuscleTech Platinum 100% Creatine is. Whether you believe the satisfied fans, awards, or the studies, it’s clear that you’re getting a pure, strong version of creatine with MuscleTech.
- Uses Creatine Monohydrate powder
- Made in Germany with strict quality controls
- Unflavored to make it simple to stack and mix
- Increases lean muscle mass by hydrating muscle cells and increasing volume
- 5 grams of creatine per serving
- $17.23 for 100 servings on Amazon
Universal Nutrition Creatine is manufactured in Germany and created from Creatine Monohydrate powder. Universal has created a high-purity, clean creatine fuel that will provide you with the energy to get the most out of your workout.
The creatine in Universal Nutrition Creatine increases your strength, and boosts the performance and effectiveness of your workouts. It hydrates muscles and creates an anabolic state to ensure good muscle growth.
Pure, German, and clinically proven, this creatine by Universal Nutrition will enhance your workouts without breaking your wallet.
- Mixes easily and doesn’t clump
- Increases muscular contraction
- Supports strength gain
- 100% Pharmaceutical grade
- 5 grams of creatine per serving
- $19.99 + shipping for 60 servings
Composed of creatine monohydrate, this is one of the most effective forms of creatine available for athletes. It promotes increased muscle size by making it possible to push yourself to the extreme during workouts. Enhanced muscle recovery and anaerobic activity support ensures that you stay healthy and strong.
Effective strength gains and increased muscle size are virtually guaranteed by using this product in combination with an intense workout routine. Pro Supps Creatine is a high-quality, effective powder-form supplement that will help you push through your workouts and achieve excellent results.
With an easy to use powder and trustworthy pharmaceutical grade blend, Pro Supps Creatine is a viable and pure source of the product.
- Uses 100 percent micronized Creatine Monydrate
- Unflavored formula makes it easy to stack with other products
- Provides support for muscle, strength, recovery and increased performance
- Helps to replenish your body’s own creatine stores
- 5 grams of creatine per serving
- $15.29 for 60 servings on Bodybuilding.com
No fillers or additives is something you want to read when looking for a creatine product. BSN Creatine DNA contains high-quality creatine without the additives you don’t need.
Combine this powder with juice to increase the absorption rate of the creatine, since pure creatine works best with a mix of carbohydrates. Since it’s pure and flavorless, this creatine powder is perfect for adding to any of your favorite shakes or beverages.
BSN is known for popular products like N.O.-Xplode, but their version of creatine is micronized Creatine Monohydrate that includes no additional ingredients and is proven to help with muscle growth.
- Requires no loading and users experience no side effects
- Micro-concentrated technology lets you do more with less
- Gentle on the GI system
- No need for cycling
- Serving size is 750mg of Creatine HCI
- $29.99 for 48 servings
Promera Sports Con-Cret HCI comes in both a powder and capsule form, and the powder variation comes in seven flavors, including watermelon, fruit punch, and pineapple.
While powder is generally considered to be more effective, the capsule delivery method makes this an ideal option for those who want a quick and simple method of ingestion.
The creatine powder provides an increase in power, bigger muscles and greater strength when paired with an effective workout regimen. T
his in turn helps you to push yourself harder through your workouts and get the most gains possible.
With a focus on solubility and a variety of interesting flavors, Promera Sports Con-Cret HCI offers the same purity of numerous other companies, but with additional options, including the ability to take powder or capsule form.
Top 5 Creatine Supplements
If you’re on interested in the cream of the crop, take a look at the five that take the crown.
- Clinically tested
- Hydrates muscles for increased strength and power
- Acts as a cell volumizer
- 100% pure Creatine Monohydrate for improved performance
- 5 grams of creatine per serving
- $21.69 for 100 servings
Dymatize Creatine works to provide you with a highly available form of creatine. The manufacturing process results in 180 micron fibers that ensure proper dispersion and dissolution in water.
The powder is manufactured using strict techniques and advanced technologies to ensure a high level of quality.
No fillers or additives are used, and the powder consists of 100 percent Creatine Monohydrate for a superior product with outstanding energy production.
This creatine by Dymatize is a versatile blend that can be easily mixed or used alone. The fact that Dymatize Creatine is clinically tested and 100% pure speaks volumes about its effectiveness.
- Provides fuel for healthy muscle growth
- Gives increased power for additional muscle strength
- Stimulates the growth of lean muscle mass
- Improves and enhances endurance of anaerobic exercise
- Decreases recovery time to see quicker gains
- $20.67 for 60 servings on Amazon
Beast Sports Nutrition Creature is a true monster when it comes to creatine supplementation. This powder optimizes strength and gives you the power to push through the most grueling workout. Additionally, the powder will help you accelerate your recovery and achieve faster muscle gains.
This powder is professional-grade, and it will provide you with a blend of the top quality types of creatine available on the market.
Winner of awards in both 2014 and 2015, Beast Sports Nutrition Creature is unlike most others on the list. Rather than a simple, single form of creatine, Beast uses a blend of four powerful types that each serve a specific function, and throws in a couple other natural ingredients to improve the process.
- Includes vitamin C to help speed recovery
- Contains calcium to help with delivery
- Made from a powerful creatine that has been molecularly modified
- Get improved vascularity without increased bloat or a soft physique
- A fusion of nitric acid and creatine makes this creatine more powerful
- 30 servings for $32.99
Arnold Schwarzenegger is a trusted and well-known name in the bodybuilding industry. Arnold Series Iron Cre3 uses only the highest quality versions of creatine for rapid absorption, power, strength and quick recovery.
While usually it’s not recommended to buy a supplement with anything other than creatine, this supplement mixes a professionally designed blend of vitamins and minerals to help give you that extra workout boost.
There is no more credible name in the bodybuilding industry than Arnold Schwarzenegger, and that’s reflected in both the quality and price of Arnold Series Iron Cre3. An innovative formula backed by a huge name, many people who prioritize quality will find Arnold’s innovative blend to be well worth the price.
It’s true that there are many simple and pure versions of creatine available at lower prices, nothing else on the market is quite like Arnold Series Iron Cre3.
- Uses CreaPure Creatine
- Micronized process ensures it stays suspended in solution
- Non-flavored to make it suitable for any use
- Supports maximum strength and power
- Aids in fast recovery
- $14.99 for 300 grams
Optimum Nutrition Micronized Creatine Powder is the real deal and definitely among the best creatine supplements available on the market. The high-quality creatine powder will allow you to power through any workout and get the most gains from your efforts.
The absence of fillers and additives make this an ideal option for stacking with other powders and mixes. It’s micronized to ensure that it stays in your system longer and comes in a wide variety of sizes.
A highly affordable option for pure creatine, this blend is made to be pure and adaptable, meaning you can freely mix it with your favorite shakes and smoothies without altering the flavor.
- 5 grams of Creapure
- 2 grams of HMB
- Bioperine Included to Aid Absorption
- Available in Blue Raspberry
Creatine HMB by Transparent Labs is a relatively simple blend that offers a strong, 5,000 mg dose of creatine. Additionally, HMB is a welcome inclusion, because it’s known to increase strength and lean mass among other benefits. The extra Bioperine ensures that everything will kick in fast, as it’s the go to ingredient that expedites absorption.
Although there’s not an arsenal of different flavors, it only takes one scoop of Blue Raspberry to make a serving, so Creatine HMB is easily stackable with your favorite drinks and supplements.
Who Makes It?
Emphasizing clear labeling and transparency in their formulas, Transparent Labs is a company that strives to set itself apart. Anyone who knows supplements knows that a lot of brands hide their dosages within proprietary supplements, which serve as an easy way to stock up their blend on low cost ingredients and enhance their bottom line.
The fact that Transparent Labs clearly list their dosages is refreshing, and combined with their innovative perspective on supplements, they really are a cut above other companies in the fitness industry.
Packing only three key ingredients with no fillers, Creatine HMB is a welcome part of the Transparent Labs Strength Series, and contains all your muscles need for a solid boost. Take it with plenty of water and plan an intense workout to take maximum advantage of Creatine HMB.
No matter how deeply involved you are in the fitness industry, odds are pretty good that you’ve heard of creatine. While most people know that it leads to enhanced muscle growth, few are aware of exactly how it enhances your performance.
Additionally, the many supplements that offer creatine present it in distinctly different ways, from innovative blends with many ingredients, to low cost pure forms of a single ingredient.
Understanding the functions of creatine and the differences between many of the supplements offered on the market will help when making a purchasing decision, and will help you decide if creatine is right for you in the first place.
Creatine is an essential component of any effective muscle building regimen, but finding the best creatine supplements can prove difficult. It’s one of those supplements that everyone knows about, and the fact is it works.
This is not a supplement where there is any room for debate about it’s efficacy. However, creatine does vary significantly between manufacturers. There are a few myths associated with creatine.
So, let’s clear the most common myths up right away: Creatine won’t make you fat, it doesn’t damage your kidneys according to any current scientific research, and while it does make you retain water, it only pulls the water into the muscles. This helps you achieve bigger and stronger muscles.
The top creatine supplements typically come in powder form, which is then mixed with water or juice.
This helps the body to absorb the creatine more quickly. However, research has shown that creatine works best with high-intensity training and powerful, explosive activities.
Creatine is Naturally Stored in Your Body
Small amounts of creatine are produced by the body, but greater amounts can be taken in from eating meats and fish. Creatine is found in most wild animals, and ingesting such animal meats will cause creatine to be stored in the body, primarily in the muscles.
That said, the creatine stored does not last very long at all, as the body processes it out completely in about three hours.
Much like protein, taking an excess amount of creatine is pointless, because any amount beyond what the body can use is expelled with other waste products.
The fact that creatine is found in animal meats and fish adds further reason for the high-protein diets typically consumed by body builders.
How is Creatine Extracted and Absorbed?
To take creatine from fish and animal meats and get it into powder and pill form involves some science.
In the most common process, the initial creatine is taken to a lab, and then goes through a synthesis process to make it easier for the body to absorb.
Whether ingested naturally via animal meats or taken synthetically through a pill or powder, creatine mixes with phosphorous when it enters your body.
It’s that synthesis between creatine and phosphorous that forms the powerful energy source for muscle growth and performance.
The Function of Creatine
With all of the hype, popularity, and celebrity endorsements associated with creatine, there must be a strong reason people use it. Not only are there valid reasons for its use, but some of them are backed up by thorough research.
Among the most popular benefits of creatine are that it adds intensity to strength by increasing phosphocreatine in muscles, and that it boosts testosterone.
While those benefits were proven in studies from Chicago and New Jersey, another one done on Italian sprinters proved that creatine improves starting performance. Ultimately, a major argument in support of using creatine is that there are many advantages that have been proven by research.
What is a Creatine Supplement?
People buy creatine in the form of powder or capsule supplements. These consists of either a form of creatine by itself, or a mix with other beneficial ingredients.
Among the numerous brands that sell creatine supplements, it’s important to make sure you’re looking at the same size when comparing costs and dosages, because it’s typical for supplements to come with multiple size options, and to vary significantly in price.
Also notable is that not all creatine versions are the same, so the kind you see in Walmart for a low price may not be the same type of creatine used in premium brands. Purity is a significant factor when looking for creatine supplements.
Brief History of Creatine
Named in 1832 after the Greek word for fish, “kreas”, creatine underwent additional experimentation. The French scientists who discovered creatine also discovered that it occurs 10 times more in wild animals than captive ones, and is therefore directly related to exercise.
Fast forward to the early 1990’s, and Olympic athletes began using creatine for its performance enhancing properties. Clinical research followed, and by 1996, 80% of the athletes in the Olympic Games were using creatine to boost their strength and explosiveness in the field.
The pivotal moment for spreading the popularity of creatine came from Mark McGuire admitting to using it when he broke the homerun record in 1998. From the late 90’s on, creatine has been widely-accepted as a safe and effective supplement for athletes.
Research Studies on Creatine
Unlike most other supplements, the effectiveness of creatine is backed by many clinical research studies. One finding that has repeatedly shown up in research studies is that creatine increases body mass by a distinct amount.
While most studies on creatine focused on athletic performance, others found interesting data regarding its medicinal properties.
For example, research at the University of Maryland suggests that creatine can potentially be effective against ailments ranging from heart disease to cancer.
Typical Forms of Creatine Supplements
Creatine supplements typically are sold in powder or capsule form, and each has advantages. For those who don’t mind drinking their creatine, creatine powder is presented in an easily mixable form for blending in shakes and smoothies.
Many brands will primarily offer a flavorless option to make the powder stackable with other blends and supplements, but others will sell their creatine in a slew of flavors, like grape, pineapple, and vanilla.
People who hate drinking shakes may prefer to ingest their creatine via capsules. However you choose to take your creatine, it may take some experimentation to find the right type that’s right for you.
Key Differences Between Creatine Supplements
Aside from the basic difference in forms and flavors of creatine, what differences can you expect from the dozens of creatine brands on the shelf? For starters, purity is of top importance when it comes to creatine.
Expect a lot of brands to emphasize the purity of their creatine, especially if it’s the only ingredient in the bottle.
Among brands that include other supplements in addition to creatine, it will pay to look at those specific ingredients to ensure that they suit your needs. Otherwise, price, ability to mix, and brand may all effect your purchasing decision.
Importance of Purity
When perusing your local supplement shop or shopping online, it’s safe to expect the purity to be mentioned on the vast majority of creatine bottles.
Since less scrupulous companies have been knwn to include unmarked ingredients in their products, arguably the biggest selling point for creatine supplements is their level of purity.
Although purity is pretty much a matter of how thorough the manufacturer’s lab work is while synthesizing, listing 100% purity is a common and reassuring marketing technique for creatine.
It’s also notable that purity does not mean that there are no other ingredients, just that there are no other unnecessary ones. Many supplements are available with creatine that is 100% pure, and combined with other vitamins or supplements.
Who Benefits from Creatine?
Anyone who cares about better muscle performance when working out is likely to see a benefit from creatine. This is especially true among professional trainers, athletes, and other people for whom fitness is a major priority.
It can be expected that most athletes who engage in competitive sports are using creatine supplements to add to their initial intensity and boost strength.
For those with more casual fitness goals, creatine can still provide the extra boosts you need to more quickly and effectively sculpt the body you want. It should also be mentioned that creatine does nothing to enhance cardio or endurance exercises, so marathon runners and triathletes should look elsewhere.
Which Sports Benefit Most from Creatine?
While creatine has many benefits of varying degrees of certainty, the most prevalent benefit is explosiveness. Therefore, those who play sports that require quick, explosive power are going to benefit most from creatine.
Weightlifting obviously is a prime reason why many people take creatine, but sports like MMA, wrestling, and even most team sports also will reap huge benefits from players that use creatine.
Ultimately, if your sport involves short bursts of explosive action rather than long, steady endurance movements, than it probably will be enhanced with the use of creatine.
Who Should NOT Take Creatine?
For safety, it’s typically advised that women who are pregnant or breastfeeding avoid creatine unless it’s prescribed by a physician.
Furthermore, due to lack of studies of creatine on children, it’s also not recommended to give it to kids, simply because the effects on kids are not known.
Creatine studies have mostly focused on young, athletic people who are in a medium degree of fitness. Results show that older individuals typically do not see the same boosts found in younger athletes.
The situation was similar for professional athletes who are already performing near their peak; creatine didn’t have as much of an impact on top-level, highly-athletic professionals.
Finally, it should be mentioned that endurance athletes like cross country runners or triathletes are not likely to benefit from using creatine.
Side Effects of Creatine
Regardless of the many falsities spread about creatine, the supplement is widely considered to be safe when taken appropriately. That said, anytime powders are involved, some people are going to get the dosages wrong and take too much.
In the event of overdoses, creatine can result in kidney damage, a costly and devastating ailment.
However, if taken long term in the proper dosage, research shows no damage to the liver or kidneys. Another potential side effect that some have reported with creatine is stomach issues, but that will vary depending on the person and other factors.
Finally, a side effect you’re likely to experience via creatine which is also part of why people use it, is weight gain.
Creatine causes your muscles to absorb additional water, therefore increasing your body weight. Ultimately, if taken as advised, the only potential side effect people might experience are minor stomach issues.
How to Take Creatine
Different methods exist for taking creatine, and depending on whether you need it for strong boosts on certain days or small regular doses for maintenance, a particular method might be ideal for you.
One method that has gained popularity among all types of athletes is the loading method.
The loading method requires several days of high creatine doses leading up to a major event. In a detailed article on Schwarzenegger.com, ultra-buff scientist, DH Kiefer, explains that the best time to ingest creatine is after working out.
He also suggests that taking it with carbohydrates will leave it in the muscles longer.
While the internet will be filled with various strategies for the best way to take creatine, the 3-phase method presented by creatine-monohydrate.org is arguably the safest and most official.
Typical Dosages of Creatine
Since creatine is a popular supplement that has been used and researched for decades, there are official, medical standards for the amount that constitutes a proper dose. According to the Mayo Clinic, creatine can be given for a massive variety of ailments ranging from depression to dehydration.
Depending on the reason for taking it, the suggested dose can be as high as 30g. That said, each individual brand of creatine supplement will have its own recommendations for effective dosing.
It’s also worth mentioning that factors like weight and metabolism can influence how the creatine affects you, so the same dose may not be ideal for everyone.
That said, you don’t want to exceed the recommended dosage for creatine due to side effects associated with overdose.
3-phase Method of Taking Creatine
Creatine-monohydrate.org is a highly-reputable source on all-things creatine, including types, processes, interviews with notable people, and more.
They suggest a loading method that breaks down into three phases: Loading, maintenance, and wash-out.
In the loading phase, you’re consuming 3-4 doses of creatine per day while consistently eating carbohydrates, all with the intent of loading as much creatine as safely possible into your muscles.
People who tend to follow the Paleo diet may have to make adjustments here, because not eating enough carbs will cause much of the creatine to be wasted. It’s recommended to begin the loading phase several weeks before a major athletic performance is required.
Maintenance, Wash-out, and Cycling
After the loading phase, much less creatine is required during the maintenance phase. To replace the amount that would be lost each day, 3-5 grams of creatine are taken for up to a month.
Doctors suggest that the benefits of creatine fade after about one month among most weightlifters, so after the maintenance phase, a weening off phase called wash-out is recommended.
Like most substances that have a notable effect on the body, quitting creatine cold turkey is not advised. Instead, a gradual decrease as the creatine level returns to normal levels is a much smarter strategy.
This entire 3-phase cycle can be repeated in cycles as needed, with weeks or months taken off creatine between each cycle.
What Should You Avoid?
According to Drugs.com, caffeine is among the most common substances to avoid when taking creatine. This means soda, tea, coffee, and energy drinks should be avoided.
Similarly, other supplements that greatly affect the heart rate should be avoided while on creatine, including ephedra, Yohimbe, and Ma Huang.
Hydration is also a concern while on creatine, as it’s especially important to drink lots of water before, during, and after working out.
That will seem obvious to lifelong athletes, but the situations in which a death or serious harm resulted from creatine happened when someone was overly dehydrated or improperly mixing the substance.
Things to Keep In Mind
Here are a couple of things to keep in mind when buying creatine.
Combining Supplements with Creatine
Depending on whether you want to bulk up, improve strength, or get shredded, creatine can be effectively stacked with other products.
A popular combination for bodybuilders who want to see gains in muscle is to combine creatine, whey protein, and a recovery agent like glutamine.
Other blends may include ingredients to improve solubility, or even generally healthy ingredients like vitamins. Note that not all additional supplements are safe for stacking with creatine, and not every blend recommends stacking.
For instance, some supplements may include creatine among several other active ingredients to the point where further stacking could damage the kidneys or liver.
That said, simple brands of creatine are commonly combined with protein and other key ingredients to make powerful blends that enhance muscle and performance, but research into the ingredients is recommended before combining.
The “Puffy Muscles” Effect of Creatine
Creatine is a potent supplement that offers powerful benefits to those who engage in explosive activities, but like most potent substances, it does things to the body you should be aware of.
First, creatine will cause your muscles to hold additional water. This manifests with a look that’s typically described as puffy, soft, or inflated.
We’ve all seen the bodybuilders who essentially look like a giant balloon animal, and the most likely reason for that is lots of creatine. To get around this affect, timing is key.
For example, if you plan to go shirtless for some impromptu beach volleyball games, maybe skip taking creatine around that time so your muscles show more definition. The puffy effect is a tradeoff from the size enhancements you get from creatine.
Creatine Still Requires Exercise
The internet and airwaves are filled with ads that promise the next miracle pill, weight gain or loss supplement, or get in shape quick drug.
This creates a mindset in some people where they expect a supplement to perform as a miracle cure, as if it will singlehandedly work out their body for them so long as they drink their creatine.
Needless to say for most of you, but that is most definitely not the case with creatine. While creatine yields powerful benefits to those who actively train, it will not do much for those who lead a sedentary lifestyle.
If a person decides to begin a full-fledged creatine regimen with no intention of working out, they can expect some weight gain through water, and an overall bloated looking physique.
Ultimately, creatine is best taken while deeply committed to an explosive workout routine.
Vegetarians and Creatine
As consumers of non-meat products, vegetarians are not exposed to a high amount of creatine in their natural diets.
While average people may not notice the difference, those who workout regularly and strive for fitness goals may miss that muscle growing boost provided by creatine.
Assuming your diet isn’t too strict, then using creatine supplements as a vegetarian can be highly-beneficial, because it’s making up for a major lack in the natural vegetarian diet.
Ultimately, your choice of powder depends on your needs and body. Some powders may work better than others for certain individuals based on purity, additives, and other factors.
If you don’t notice the effects of one creatine powder, try another formulation and the results may be completely different. It’s also worth mentioning that some people who use creatine don’t notice an effect right away.
If you’re not seeing improvements through Creatine, try mixing your powder with juice to ensure that the proper sugars are available to get the most benefit from each dose.
Whichever kind you prefer, the combination of creatine and an intense workout routine has been proven effective in studies and by fitness experts throughout the world.
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