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Our Picks for the Best Creatine of 2024:

Creatine supplements remain popular among an array of populations from fitness enthusiasts, to athletes and older adults due to their evidence-backed efficacy in improving exercise performance, which in turn could enhance progress towards fitness goals (1). Multiple studies have also determined creatine to be safe and well-tolerated in most healthy individuals.

But creatine is not just for serious athletes. “It offers many benefits, including improved athletic performance, muscle growth, supporting lean body composition, faster recovery time for muscles, improved cognitive function and motor control, and helping stabilize blood sugar levels,” says Christina Amado, Certified Transformational Nutrition Coach, CTNC, CHHC. Also of note—creatine can be of benefit to non-athletes, including vegans, vegetarians and the elderly.

With that in mind, we’ve rounded up the best creatine supplements on the market in 2024 to help support your strength goals (2). Plus, learn from nutritionists why creatine is beneficial and what to consider before you make a purchase.

This content is meant to be informative, but should not be taken as medical advice. It is not intended for use as diagnosis, prevention or treatment of health problems. Always speak with your doctor before starting any new supplement or exercise regimen.

Why I picked it:

Creatine in the body supplies energy to muscles in the form of ATP—otherwise known as adenosine triphosphate (3). Your body can rapidly run out of ATP during these max effort periods, and a good creatine supplement provides an energy boost so that you can keep going (4).

Transparent Labs Creatine HMB is our pick for the best creatine supplement for muscle growth as it contains pure creatine monohydrate plus three other key components that work to fire up and grow your muscles. 

“This is a high-quality creatine monohydrate supplement that comes with the added benefits of beta-hydroxy-methylbutyrate (myHMB), vitamin D and black pepper extract (BioPerine) for enhanced absorption,” says Pete Nastasi, certified sports nutrition coach and certified personal trainer.

Each is included to ensure that your muscles are fully absorbing nutrients and getting the support they need as you exercise.

HMB has been studied for its positive effects on protecting and building muscle, complementing the benefits of creatine supplementation (5).

Research has shown that when combined, creatine and HMB (both found in this supplement) can increase muscle mass and strength better than either ingredient alone (6). Transparent Labs Creatine HMB is third-party tested for purity. It’s also all-natural and sweetened with stevia.

What we love:

What to consider:

Why I picked it:

Crazy Nutrition CRN-5 is a blend of five different types of creatine: creatine monohydrate, creatine HCL, ethyl ester, tri-creatine malate and creatine citrate pyruvate. That is unique among creatine supplements because creatine monohydrate has been the standard for decades, delivering well-documented benefits like increased strength, muscle performance and decreased fatigue.

There is limited evidence about the efficacy of newer, novel forms of creatine also included in CRN-5. However, each form of creatine may have specific benefits that make CRN-5 a well-rounded supplement for intense athletes. 

Creatine HCL may be easier for your body to absorb than other forms and causes less bloating. Ethyl ester is reported to penetrate the cells faster which would lead to increased creatine levels quicker than with creatine monohydrate alone, but some research disputes this. Tri-creatine malate can increase growth hormone and peak power in sprinters, which may translate to other high-intensity activities. Finally, creatine citrate pyruvate can increase your endurance. 

But the main reason we included CRN-5 on this list is the combination of creatine and electrolytes. CRN-5 contains four out of seven major electrolytes: sodium, potassium, magnesium and calcium. In fact, this formula includes a higher concentration of these electrolytes than many electrolyte powders on the market.

What we love:

What to consider:

Why I picked it:

Jacked Factory Creatine is a great budget creatine option for just about any type of user, with the average price per serving coming in at just over $0.40 per serving, which is close to half as much as competitors.

Jacked Factory Creatine has five grams of creatine monohydrate, which should give you a boost in strength, muscle size and overall performance in the gym after a couple of weeks of consistent use (13). The Jacked Factory Creatine contains no fillers, dyes, sweeteners or flavorings, making it ideal for all diets and lifestyles. This creatine supplement is made in a cGMP-certified, FDA-registered facility in the United States to ensure its quality. 

What we like:

What we don’t like:

Why I picked it:

XWerks Lift is our pick for the best creatine for athletes who are serious about their muscle growth and recovery. This product is basic, unflavored creatine at a great price. Because XWerks Lift is a micronized monohydrate powder, it’s said to mix better and digest faster than other powders with bigger granules. One scoop mixed with eight to 10 ounces of water or an electrolyte drink before, during or after weight training can help build and maintain lean muscle mass.

“Short-term supplementation can improve sprint performance and maximal strength and power. Long term supplementation is shown to have lasting improvements on performance, and can have a positive effect on lean body mass over time,” says Angie Asche MS, RD, CSSD owner of Eleat Sports Nutrition and author of Fuel Your Body: How to Cook and Eat for Peak Performance. And, studies show that creatine can be a major contributor to recovering and building muscle mass after exercising (12).

Some creatine monohydrates come with other flavorings or as an added ingredient in a pre-workout, which don’t sit well for those who have a sensitive stomach. All the more reason to consider Lift—this product is also gluten-free, sugar-free and dairy-free.

”While this isn’t the cheapest creatine monohydrate supplement on the market, XWerks does offer free-shipping and a 100 percent money back guarantee on all of their products,” Nastasi says.

Reviewers emphasize XWerks’ quality and trustworthiness as a supplement manufacturer. In fact, one customer on the site says “Great service. Quality product. I’ve been purchasing from this company for years, never disappointed.”

What we love:

What to consider:

Why I picked it:

“Athletes and fitness enthusiasts looking to enhance their performance, increase muscle strength and power, and improve overall body composition can benefit from creatine supplementation,” says Mary Sabat, MS, RDN, LD.

Transparent Labs Creatine HMB has 5,000 milligrams of creatine monohydrate, 1.5 grams of beta-hydroxy beta-methyl butyrate (HMB) and 12.5 micrograms of vitamin D. This formula is made from creatine monohydrate, which is a well-studied creatine that improves strength, the effects of hypertrophy and endurance capacity (13).

But the key to this formula is the HMB which is a supplement that preserves muscle even in the presence of strenuous exercise (14), which is very important when you’re rapidly cutting weight. Transparent Labs’ formula has each of these nutrients (creatine monohydrate and HMB) in the proper effective doses.

Another important ingredient to this formula is BioPerine. BioPerine is a patented form of piperine, an extract from black pepper fruit. Studies show that piperine helps the body more of key nutrients like vitamins, provitamins like beta carotene and the mineral selenium (40).

What we love:

What to consider:

Our Top Picks At A Glance:

What Is Creatine?

Creatine is an amino acid, which is a building block for proteins (23). About half of the creatine in our bodies comes from foods such as red meat, seafood and milk. The other half is made in the kidneys and liver. In fact, the word creatine is derived from the Greek word for meat, kreas.

Creatine is a natural energy source for muscle contractions. In the body, it helps produce adenosine triphosphate (ATP), a molecule used for energy. In other words, creatine increases energy production during exercise.

Your body stores about 95 percent of its creatine in skeletal muscles for use during physical activity. Your muscles need creatine during an intense workout to maintain a continuous energy supply. Simply put, when you take creatine supplements, you boost the amount of creatine stored in the muscles. This increased supply helps to create muscle tissue (muscle mass) and improve performance in resistance training. 

How to Choose the Best Creatine Supplement for You

Just like with other supplements, the best creatine supplement for you depends on your goals and preferences. Creatine monohydrate is the most prolific, as there has been a lot of research conducted on its efficacy in performance over the years (1). Consumers should also know that creatine comes in a few different forms, such as creatine nitrate and creatine citrate, and determine which one is most appropriate for them, Amado says.

Narrowing down what you plan on using creatine for, whether it’s gaining muscle mass or creating lean muscle, is the first step. Beyond that, consider if you want to take it in a powder versus capsule form, and unflavored or flavored options. 

Types of Creatine

Creatine Monohydrate

Creatine Monohydrate stands as the most extensively researched and proven form of creatine (1). Its popularity is rooted in its ability to enhance muscle energy levels, leading to improved exercise performance and increased muscle mass. 

Micronized Creatine

Micronized Creatine is created through a process that reduces the particle size of creatine monohydrate molecules, leading to increased solubility in water. This could potentially result in quicker absorption and less stomach discomfort, but no research suggests its more effective than regular creatine monohydrate. Because it uses creatine monohydrate, experts believe that its effectiveness should be about the same.

Creatine Ethyl Ester

Creatine Ethyl Ester is designed to have better absorption compared to creatine monohydrate. However, there is no research that supports this, and some studies have suggested that its enhanced absorption might not necessarily translate into greater benefits in terms of muscle creatine content or performance.

Buffered Creatine

Buffered Creatine, also known as Kre-Alkalyn, is formulated to have a higher pH, which supposedly prevents the conversion of creatine to creatinine (a waste product) in the stomach. However, studies research on this is limited (9), so more studies are needed to substantiate these claims.

Methodology: How We Chose the Best Creatine Products:

Our top creatine supplements were chosen with input from our experts and key factors including:

Additionally, some of our selections have been tested by our experts, and their personal experiences factor into the products’ evaluations.

Benefits of Creatine

“Creatine is one of the most well-researched and evidence-backed supplements on the market. Most people think of it as being used to increase muscle mass. But creatine has a myriad of benefits that benefit more than just athletes,” Wenig says.

Increased muscle mass and strength

Creatine has been shown to increase muscle mass and strength by more than 14 percent (4).

Improved performance in short-term endurance activities

Research suggests that creatine positively affects performance in short bouts of high-intensity exercises (power training) and sprint performance (24), and may reduce muscle recovery time.

Improved performance in physical rehabilitation

Creatine supplementation can help maintain muscle size and quality in those recovering from injuries, Wenig says. Studies on creatine show that it may benefit those recovering from an injury or surgery (25). It has also been shown to reduce inflammation (26).

Improved brain function

Although much of the scientific study of creatine has focused on how it affects muscle growth, the latest research suggests that it improves brain function, too (27). Taking a creatine supplement may help improve short-term memory, reasoning and intelligence (28).

Increased energy

“You can think of creatine as fuel,” Wenig says. “We only store enough endogenous creatine in our muscles to supply up to about 10 seconds of maximal effort exercise, so supplementation improves exercise performance by increasing the amount stored in our muscles.” Creatine provides energy for short duration, high-intensity exercise, which results in decreased fatigue, increased speed, and increased power.

Possible Side Effects of Taking Creatine

Creatine is generally considered a safe supplement with few side effects reported. However, you should be aware that creatine supplementation, especially in large doses, could have some minor side effects, including nausea, vomiting and diarrhea (29). The optimal dose of creatine is three to five grams daily (30).

Also, contrary to what you may have heard, creatine does not cause weight gain. “Creatine loading” (taking a high dose for the first week) can cause a two percent weight gain because of increased muscle water content. That generally resolves by week two of use (4).

Who Should Use Creatine?

Athletes and bodybuilders most commonly use creatine because of its effects on strength, muscle size and athletic performance, but other groups may benefit from creatine supplements, including those with the following conditions:

There are many factors to consider when deciding whether or not to use creatine. Age, weight, exercise history and genetics all influence how effective creatine will work for you. Generally speaking, creatine is most effective when combined with regular exercise. However, even if you don’t have any weight-training experience, creatine may still help improve your health.

Who Shouldn’t Use Creatine?

“It has been suggested that those with kidney disease, liver disease and high blood pressure should not take creatine,” says Jenna Stedman, MS, RD, CSSD.

Note that some people experience bloating or gastrointestinal discomfort when first adding creatine to their routine, but this is usually the case when someone is “loading,” or taking large doses for a few days to saturate the body, versus the recommended and maintenance dose of 3–5 grams per day, Amado says.

Creatine monohydrate supplementation is not only safe, but has been reported to have a number of therapeutic benefits in healthy and diseased populations ranging from infants to the elderly. There is no compelling scientific evidence that the short- or long-term use of creatine monohydrate (up to 30 g/day for 5 years) has any detrimental effects on otherwise healthy individuals or among clinical populations who may benefit from creatine supplementation. 

Before considering using creatine supplements, you should consult a doctor or sports nutritionist. They can help you determine which dosage is best for you and guide you through starting a creatine routine.

Creatine FAQs

Is creatine better before or after a workout?

Research suggests that consuming creatine immediately post-workout is better than pre-workout for muscle building (37), though other studies show there may not be any difference in outcomes (38). 

How long does creatine take to work?

Depending on the amount of creatine you already have in your body, it may take seven to 28 days before you begin to notice any change in your performance (4). “You’ll need to take three to five grams a day for a month, which is about how long it takes to fully saturated muscle creatine stores,” Wenig says. 

Can I take creatine every day?

Research suggests that healthy adults can safely take creatine daily for an extended period. In fact, one study followed 98 football players who took about five grams of creatine daily for 21 months and compared them to peers who did not take creatine supplements. There were no clinically significant differences between the two groups at the end of the study (39). Another study showed creatine was used safely for up to five years (1).

To be sure creatine is safe for you to take every day, it’s best to check with your doctor. If you have any health conditions or take medications, creatine could affect your body differently, so have a conversation with your healthcare provider before starting a creatine supplement.

Can I mix creatine with protein?

Yes, you can take creatine and protein powder together. Some users prefer odorless, flavorless creatine because it mixes well with protein shakes.

Does creatine affect testosterone?

You may find conflicting statements about the effects of creatine on testosterone levels; however, the latest research suggests that creatine does not increase total testosterone, free testosterone or Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) (40).

Final Thoughts: Is Creatine Right for You?

While you likely first think of creatine as a supplement for serious athletes, it may be right for you even if bulking up isn’t your main fitness goal. Vegans and vegetarians who don’t get enough creatine through food, those recovering from injury and those who participate in sports that require quick, high-intensity bursts of movement, can also benefit from creatine supplementation, Wenig says. When looking for a creatine supplement, be sure to consider quality, brand and type of creatine. 

Expert Contributors

Chris Mohr, RD and Ph.D.

Chris Mohr is a registered dietitian who holds a Ph.D. in exercise physiology. He has worked with athletes ranging from NFL players to WWE wrestlers, along with celebrities and executives worldwide. He has been a featured speaker at many conferences around the world.

Mike Roberts, Ph.D.

Mike Roberts is a Professor in the School of Kinesiology at Auburn University where he serves as the Director of Applied and Molecular Physiology Labs. He reviewed and contributed to the scientific research, citations, and insights within this article. He currently has over 190 publications in several preeminent physiology and nutrition journals, serves in senior editor roles for various physiology journals and has given numerous lectures at regional, national and international scientific conferences and venues.

Eddie Jo, Ph.D.

Eddie Jo is a professor of exercise physiology and the director of the Cal Poly Pomona Human Performance Research Lab. His research serves to innovate and advance the application of exercise training methodologies, nutrient intake and technologies for the optimization of human health and performance, energy metabolism, body composition and endocrine function.

Additional Contributors:

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any diseases.

Prices are accurate and items in stock as of publish time.


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Sarah Falcone, BSN, RN


Sarah S. Falcone, BSN, RN, is a registered nurse, certified yoga teacher and health content writer with over 15 years of experience in healthcare. She is based in Dallas-Ft. Worth, TX. This author is writing sponsored content paid for by Pillar4 and not affiliated with Sports Illustrated.