Working out requires tremendous energy. Straining your muscles literally tears them apart, forcing your body to strengthen and repair them with everything at its disposal. The good news? You can give your body a boost and speed up recovery with the best creatine monohydrate.
Creatine is naturally found in the muscle cells throughout your body. It’s used to produce energy during high-intensity activity, as well as recover your muscles immediately afterward. For serious weight lifters, however, the amount your body produces on its own just isn’t enough to maximize those gains. Supplementing your body’s reserves with a creatine monohydrate powder is just what your body needs for explosive lifts and prepping your muscles for more reps.
The best creatine monohydrate for supporting muscle growth has to be the powder from Optimum Nutrition. It’s pure, lab-tested, and proven effective for thousands of lifters. That said, there are various creatine blends out there, each serving a distinct purpose. Let’s check them out.
Our Top Picks: Best Creatine Monohydrate Supplements
What is the best creatine monohydrate powder on the market this year? Let’s go over the most popular, best creatine supplements and discuss why they are worth your hard-earned money.
- Best Overall: Optimum Nutrition Creatine Powder. If you’re seeking pure creatine that’s both effective and affordable, you can’t go wrong with Optimum Nutrition.
- Best Budget: MuscleTech Platinum Creatine Powder. MuscleTech’s creatine powder costs under $10 per tub, and it’s nearly as effective as the big brands on our list!
- Best Blend: Genius Creatine Power Matrix. Mix things up a bit with Genius’ blend of creatine and workout performance enhancers. This proprietary formula will extend your workout and help you maximize gains!
- Best Rated: Naked Creatine Monohydrate Powder. Naked’s pure creatine powder is the best-rated in the industry due to its quality, quick-absorption, and dissolvability.
- Best for Bodybuilding: Raw Barrel Creatine Monohydrate Powder. Sculp your body into a masterpiece with the Raw Barrel Creatine Monohydrate Powder, which is made in the USA at an FDA-approved facility.
- Best Flavored: Nutricost Creatine Monohydrate. If you can’t stand the aftertaste of other creatine powders, Nutricost offers a delicious fruit punch formula just for you.
- Best in Bulk: Bulk Supplements Pure Creatine Monohydrate Powder. If you’re a dedicated lifter who can’t get enough creatine, buy it in bulk from Bulk Supplements!
1. Optimum Nutrition Creatine Powder
The best creatine monohydrate overall
Brand: Optimum Nutrition | Ingredients: Pure Creatine | Flavor: Unflavored | Amount: 600 Grams | Price: 💰💰
Optimum Nutrition has been in the supplement game for a while now. They’re probably best known for their top-tier whey protein product, due to its high quality and delicious flavor. But Optimum Nutrition also produces a variety of other supplements from their state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities in the US — including creatine monohydrate.
Their creatine monohydrate is the best creatine monohydrate on the market. It is entirely pure, with no special complex or anything like that. That means excellent bang for your buck, and effective results.
We also found that this creatine mixes relatively well with cold water, though it takes a bit of time (you’ll need to set it aside for a few minutes to dissolve). Alternatively, you can mix the powder into hot water or tea to completely dissolve it in seconds. One other thing we want to note is that this creatine has a very slight metallic taste that’s a bit off-putting. Still, given the overall quality, these are easy caveats to overlook.
- Reputable manufacturer
- Effective for gaining muscle
- One-hundred percent pure creatine
- Slight metallic taste
- Doesn’t come with a scoop or measuring spoon
2. MuscleTech Platinum Creatine Powder
The best monohydrate creatine on a budget
Brand: MuscleTech | Ingredients: Pure Creatine | Flavor: Unflavored | Amount: 400 Grams | Price: 💰
MuscleTech’s Platinum Creatine is one of the top creatine monohydrate powders on the market — and it costs under $10 per tub!
MuscleTech’s creatine is unflavored and comes in quantities of 400 grams. In terms of purity, every batch undergoes HPLC testing or high-performance liquid chromatography, which is a fancy name for a chemistry test used to quantify the contents of a mixture. This process ensures that each container is chock full of high-grade, concentrated micronized creatine that’s clinically proven to help you build muscle in a matter of weeks.
- Incredibly affordable
- Pure creatine, backed by HPLC testing
- One of the best cheap creatine monohydrate powders available
- Made in China
- Some reviewers reported bloating issues
3. Genius Creatine Power Matrix
The best creatine monohydrate blend
Brand: The Genius Brand | Ingredients: CreaPure, CarnoSyn, Creatine HCI, MagnaPower, AstraGin, Organic Rice Fiber | Flavor: Unflavored | Amount: 171 Grams | Price: 💰💰💰
If you’re seeking a creatine monohydrate supplement with a little extra oomph, the Genius Creatine Power Matrix is your ticket to bigger gains!
This unique formula contains everything you need for building and strengthening your muscles, including 3 grams of CreaPure Monohydrate Creatine, 1.6 grams of CarnoSyn Beta-Alanine, 1.5 grams of Creatine HCI, 500mg of Creatine MagnaPower, and 25mg of AstraGin! Together, this proprietary formula increases muscle growth and supports faster recovery. What’s not to love?
Do note that the Genius Creatine Power Matrix blend is designed for post-workout recovery. For best results, combine it with the Pre-Workout Blend and watch your performance soar.
- Excellent workout supplement “stack”
- Increases strength and muscle growth
- Incorporates the purest CreaPure monohydrate creatine
- Does not mix well
- Only 25 servings per container
4. Naked Creatine Monohydrate Powder
The best-rated creatine monohydrate
Brand: Naked Nutrition | Ingredients: Pure Creatine | Flavor: Unflavored | Amount: 1000 Grams | Price: 💰💰💰
Introducing yet another 100% pure creatine monohydrate product — Naked Creatine Monohydrate Powder. Why does this particular formula deserve a spot on our list? Well, it’s among the highest-rated creatine on the market, with near-perfect reviews!
Why does it come so highly recommended? It could be the quality of the creatine, which is 100% pure, quick to dissolve, and rapidly-absorbed in the body. Or, it could be the affordable $20 price point for over 2 pounds of product. Whatever the case may be, this is one creatine powder you’ll want to experience for yourself.
- Rapid absorption you can feel
- Some of the purest creatine on the market
- Dissolves perfectly, with no grittiness or flavor
- Clumps up in container
- Fragile container and ill-fitting lid
5. Raw Barrel Creatine Monohydrate Powder
The best creatine monohydrate for bodybuilding
Brand: Raw Barrel | Ingredients: Pure Creatine | Flavor: Unflavored | Amount: 500 Grams | Price: 💰💰💰💰
This powder is Raw Barrel’s “no bull” creatine monohydrate, and it will last about 100 days of regular use. Although you’re paying a bit more for this creatine (about $2.50 an ounce), it’s still pretty inexpensive in the long run. And since Raw Barrel makes pharmaceutical-grade products, the premium formula may well be worth it for your bodybuilding workouts.
Another cool thing about Raw Barrel is their “better than money back guarantee.” That means if you decide you don’t like the product — even halfway through your creatine cycle — they will give you your money back, no questions asked. You don’t even need to send the rest back! Now there’s a company that believes in their product.
- Powerful performance and a 100-day supply
- Made in the USA at an FDA-registered facility
- Product guarantee w/ excellent customer support
- Costly for creatine
- Container arrives half-full
6. Nutricost Creatine Monohydrate
The best flavored creatine monohydrate
Brand: Nutricost | Ingredients: Creatine Monohydrate, Citric Acid, Sucralose, Natural & Artificial Flavors / Colors | Flavor: Fruit Punch | Amount: 500 Grams | Price: 💰💰💰
If you’re seeking a more flavorful creatine that goes down quick ‘n easy, we highly recommend Nutricost’s creatine monohydrate powder.
While it does come with a handful of additives, including sucralose and artificial flavors, that’s the trade-off when choosing flavored creatine. Fortunately, Nutricost uses the highest-quality monohydrate powder, which is inspected and processed in an FDA-approved facility.
It’s also quite affordable and comes with Nutricost’s legendary commitment to quality and customer satisfaction. Highly recommended.
- Delicious fruit punch flavor
- Non-GMO, gluten-free, and GMP compliant
- Created and inspected in an FDA-approved facility
- Comes with additives
- Some found the powder too sweet
7. Bulk Supplements Pure Creatine Monohydrate Powder
The best bulk creatine monohydrate
Brand: Bulk Supplements | Ingredients: Pure Creatine | Flavor: Unflavored | Amount: 1000 Grams | Price: 💰💰
Bulk Supplements is a respectable supplement manufacturer, which we consider the creatine monohydrate best brand for buying in bulk. The company’s standardized and lab-tested creatine monohydrate is one of the best creatine products we’ve come across.
You’re looking at about 50 cents per ounce, which is as cost-effective as you can get. It comes in nine container sizes, so you can pick exactly how much you need for your cycle. The one we recommend is near the middle at 2.2 pounds or roughly 100 grams. This evens out to 200 doses of pure creatine — enough to last intermediate lifters an entire year!
This is pure creatine powder, with no fancy additives or special ingredients. That also means it’s vegan, kosher, Non-GMO, free of gluten, dairy, and sugar. You can’t get any purer than that.
- Mixes surprisingly well
- Rigorously (and independently) tested at an FDA-registered facility
- Extremely cost-effective for serious athletes seeking a long-term supply of creatine
- Unpleasant aftertaste
- Storage bag it comes in is poor-quality and doesn’t rezip well
What Is Creatine?
What the heck is creatine, anyway?
Creatine is a naturally-occurring chemical that’s stored in your body to power the phosphagen system.
How does creatine work? Well, muscles store creatine as creatine phosphate, which is an integral part of the ATP-CP energy system (aka phosphagen system). During high-intensity training, ATP leaps into action before your body’s other energy reserves have time to activate, providing explosive power. Naturally, your body only has a small reserve of creatine to convert to ATP, and it only lasts around 3 to 15 seconds. By supplementing with creatine, your reserve of creatine can last minutes rather than seconds.
The bottom line? The more creatine available, the more that will be used for energy, enabling you to train longer and harder.
How to Use Creatine
Using creatine as a supplement is easy. You simply mix a single dose of creatine monohydrate powder (usually a teaspoon) into your drink, down it, and you’re good to go.
Now, there are a few considerations worth mentioning. Some athletes swear by a process known as “creatine loading.” During the loading period (about a week or so), users take multiple doses a day to increase their creatine stores and prep their body for rigorous training. After the loading week ends and the higher-intensity workouts begin, they reduce their intake to one dose a day.
According to Healthline, creatine loading can increase muscle growth and performance while reducing the chance of injury. It may be a smart training method to consider.
Now, when is the best time to take creatine monohydrate — before or after your workout? Well, the answer is mixed, and different users swear by different timetables. That said, taking creatine monohydrate roughly 30 minutes before your workout is probably the most common method among serious lifters.
Is Creatine Safe?
Research indicates that creatine is safe. Over 15 years of widespread use has solidified its place as one of the sports industry’s go-to supplements.
That said, there is some anecdotal evidence that there are adverse side effects such as kidney damage, heart problems, dehydration, and other unpleasant conditions associated with creatine. The keyword here is anecdotal. It is highly doubtful that creatine is the root cause of these problems, as creatine is among the most studied sports supplements of all time. Published scientific studies have not found it to be unsafe.
As long as you have healthy functioning kidneys and are over 18, trainers and health experts give you the green light to take creatine.
What to Look for in the Best Creatine Monohydrate Supplements
In this section, we’ll go over what to look for when choosing the best creatine monohydrate for your workout.
The first thing to note is that creatine comes in different forms, including pill, liquid, and powdered varieties.
The best creatine monohydrate? Research has shown that powder is the most effective, which is why we’ve included all powdered options on our list. Liquid creatine and creatine ethyl ester, also known as CEE, tend to break down in the blood system before impacting the muscles, thus reducing their efficacy.
Another thing to note is that some brands will stuff electrolytes and other ingredients into their formulas. You’ve got to be careful with these. Some of these formulas (such as the one from The Genius Brand) can amplify your workout. Others are simply filler, with no noticeable effect on your performance.
All the creatine monohydrate on our should work well for building muscle, but keep in mind that creatine can be a tricky chemical. It’s essential to find the right blend for your body, which can mean experimentation. Try buying a small amount at first to see how you like it, then go big with a larger tub that’ll last longer and save you money.
Finding the perfect creatine monohydrate can be challenging, but it’s worth the effort. Explosive gains await!