Creatine is one supplement which has been researched for years and verified for its effectiveness and safety (We can’t say the same for every supplement out there).
But it may still be an underrated fitness supplement and there are many people out there still leaving gains on the table because they choose not to use it.
So… it’s our job to show you the best options on the market, and in 2021, they’re better than ever. Now, creatine is no miracle supplement but it will noticeably increase your lifts and help you to gain some muscle just a little faster than without it. (1)
But, with all the different types of creatine like monohydrate, hydrochloride (HCL), Ethyl Ester, and many more, choosing the “right” creatine can be frustrating. But don’t worry; we’ll clear up any confusion.
So, with all of that being said let’s discuss the benefits of using creatine a little further, and show you our top picks for this year…
Best Top Rated Creatine Supplements of 2021
Editor’s Choice – Transparent Labs Creatine HMB
Transparent Labs is one of the best brands out there but we also just like their creatine HMB which isn’t just plain creatine (although it’d be fine if it was). Each dose contains 5,000mg or 5g of creatine monohydrate, 2,000mg or 2g β-Hydroxy β-Methylbutyrate (HMB), and 5mg of Bioperine.
Therefore, they combined creatine in monohydrate form with HMB, and together this duo can have impressive effects on strength, endurance, muscle preservation, and fat loss (a potent combo for gains).
While monohydrate is the most studied form and we know it works, β-Hydroxy β-Methylbutyrate (HMB) is not as common.
One 2009 study of resistance-trained men found that HMB caused an increase in muscle growth and significant gains in lower body strength compared to a placebo group.
As for the potential benefits during endurance-type activities, a study on college students who participated in interval training concluded that HMB positively affects selected components of aerobic performance.
Then, of course, you have Bioperine, which is an extract from the black pepper fruit that is known to enhance the bioavailability of certain nutrients which could improve the effectiveness of the ingredients in a supplement.
Transparent Labs creatine HMB is a beast of a product and that’s why we chose it as our best overall choice! Of course, that doesn’t mean it’s totally superior as the other options on this list are unique and also top-notch.
Best Micronized Creatine – Bulk Supplements Micronized Creatine
Micronized creatine is a more fine and absorbable version of creatine monohydrate and many people prefer it due to its more water-soluble nature. If it’s more water-soluble then this means it should absorb into the muscles faster.
Well… this is the whole appeal of micronized creatine and Bulk Supplements did a great job creating a very affordable product which contains 400 servings (That’s a lot of servings)!
There are ten sizes you can choose from and you also have a powder or capsule option.
Best on a Budget – MuscleTech Platinum Creatine Monohydrate
Sometimes we just don’t want to spend any money on supplements but often times we have no choice (If we want to make gains). So, at this point, the cheapest options are the most desirable and at least they won’t break the bank…
Now, MuscleTech’s Platinum creatine is just another micronized creatine supplement and there’s nothing really special about it when compared to other similar products. But… MuscleTech claims that a study showed Platinum users to gain 6 pounds of muscle in 6 weeks when using max dosages.
So you might have to be the judge of this and try it out for your own testing!
Best for Women – Biofinest Creatine Monohydrate
We know the ladies can be skeptical (And for good reason) when it comes to supplementation sometimes but there’s nothing sketchy about Biofinest creatine and the ingredients are purely creatine monohydrate (No worries of big muscles or mysterious weight gain).
It’s pure, lab-tested, FDA approved and there is nothing in this powder besides creatine monohydrate. No fillers, preservatives, chemicals, soy, sugar… nothing!
So, if you want a pure product from the best, this is your best bet and with 400 servings, you’ll have plenty to last you for more than a year.
Best for Postworkout – Legion Recharge Postworkout
Creatine monohydrate, L-Carnitine L-Tartrate, and corosolic acid are the powerhouse ingredients in this formulation.
L-Carnitine L-Tartrate has been shown to reduce exercise-induced muscle damage, muscle weakness, and exercise fatigue which helps you to recover faster and more efficiently after grueling workouts. (13, 14)
Corosolic acid comes from the banaba plant and has shown to improve insulin sensitivity and lower blood glucose levels which is great for fat loss and muscle gain. (15)
Best Creatine Hydrochloride (HCL) – Kaged Muscle Creatine HCL
Kaged is hydrochloride creatine and people love HCL because it’s supposedly much more soluble than monohydrate and much easier on the digestive system. In fact, a study showed HCL is 38 times more soluble than monohydrate with lesser dosages. (16)
However, there hasn’t been any testing to verify its effects on humans regarding improved performance, and therefore creatine HCL is not superior to monohydrate from the information we have at this point and time. But, the best way to find if something is more effective for you is to give it a test trial.
You can get Kaged in a powder or pill form.
Best Creatine Pill – Crazy Muscle THREE-ATINE
Sometimes you just want to swallow a few pills and be done with it, and with Crazy Muscle’s THREE-ATINE, it doesn’t get much simpler. But being in a pill form isn’t what makes this THREE-ATINE great, as it’s a quality tri-blend of creatine which includes monohydrate, Alphaketoglutarate, and Pyruvate.
Now, each pill is packed with 1,667 mg of creatine which is higher than most other pills and the three creatine types chosen are proven to work well together for maximum absorbency and saturation in the muscle cells.
There are 5 size options available.
Best Muscle Building/Blend – The Genius Brand Tri-Creatine Power Complex
The secret ingredients in this product include German Creapure, creatine HCL, Beta-Alanine, and creatine Magnapower (Creatine Magnesium Chelate).
Creapure is supposedly the finest and purest form of creatine monohydrate so many people look for it specifically when considering a creatine product. But there’s no real evidence to support it being more effective or superior to regular old creatine monohydrate.
Creatine HCL is marketed as being more soluble (More absorbable) while being easier on the stomach and this is a noticeable difference for many. (16)
Beta-Alanine is a non-essential amino acid which means we produce it naturally. But many people supplement with Beta-Alanine because it increases carnosine production in the muscles which have shown to improve exercise performance and reduce muscle fatigue by neutralizing lactic acid buildup in the muscle. (17, 18)
Creatine Magnesium Chelate is creatine simply combined with magnesium increased ATP synthesis. But a study showed it to be on par with regular creatine monohydrate for performance improvement. (19)
What is Creatine?
Creatine is an amino acid stored in our muscles, brain, and heart after it’s converted into phosphocreatine and our bodies use it for energy as a part of Adenosine triphosphate (ATP) production. ATP is a usable form of energy for cells which powers our muscular contractions. (1, 2, 3)
Now, we get plenty of creatine from red meats and fish but sometimes we don’t eat enough to experience the muscle-building benefits. (2)
But creatine’s benefits go even further as studies have shown normal consumption to decrease fatigue and substantially improve cognitive function and quality of life in older adults. This is huge for reducing the burden of certain chronic conditions which severely affect older adults worldwide. (6, 7)
Now, our kidneys and liver do produce creatine too but we can never produce enough naturally for it to be beneficial to our fitness goals. So, this is another reason to supplement it in our diets. (1, 2)
A study showed creatine to increase weightlifting performance on average by 14% when combined with creatine supplementation. One-rep bench press max increase varied from 3-45% when using creatine and this is significant enough to appreciate the benefits! (8)
Find your daily creatine intake by using our Creatine Calculator!
Although creatine is deemed a safe supplement, it’s not recommended in certain instances as it can cause unwanted side effects. But these cases occur more so when the user suffers from preexisting health conditions and dehydration.
Always check with your doctor before implementing any nutritional supplements into your daily regimen.
- Possible kidney issues
- Possible Liver issues
What’s The Best Creatine?
There has been one form of creatine which has stood the test of time and it still hails as a king to this very day… and that’s creatine monohydrate! (11)
But with all the new “fancy” newcomers on the market, people fall into the novelty trap and end up wasting tons of money, time, and gains!
However, there are still other forms of creatine on the market which may provide some performance benefits, like hydrochloride (HCL) and possibly creatine magnesium chelate. But, when compared to monohydrate, well… nothing can really compare. (11)
Creatine monohydrate is the most studied form of creatine and its effects are still superior…
Read also: Creatine Ethyl Ester Vs Creatine Monohydrate
What About Loading and Dosing?
So, here’s the deal with creatine loading and dosing…
Loading phase – The whole purpose of loading creatine is to saturate your muscle cells fast so you can start seeing results without waiting longer for lower doses to saturate your cells. Generally, you’ll take 20 grams of creatine per day for several days to load effectively. (11, 12)
This causes the muscles to swell up with intracellular water making you look bigger, and it also puts on bodyweight fairly quickly. But this quick weight gain also increases your strength pretty quickly too!
Now, the loading phase is absolutely not necessary if you prefer to take smaller doses, however, you’ll just to wait a little longer for the creatine to saturate your muscles. But, after the loading phase which spans over approximately five days, you’ll take 3-5 grams of creatine every day after that to maintain your creatine levels.
Note: Loading is unsafe if continued long term so it’s highly recommended to adhere to the recommended dosing instructions.
Regular/Maintenance dosing – Many people choose to not load and just do the maintenance doses at about 3-5 grams per day. This is completely fine and will yield the same results over an extended period of time. (11)
So, now that we got that out of the way, it’s time to introduce you to our top picks this year…
That’s it… creatine supplementation is not rocket science but the only difference between many creatine products you see on the market are their quality, and any additional ingredients included for added effect.
So, we’ve provided some great choices for you to choose from and we expect you’ll make a good decision based on your budget, goals, and tastes.
Creatine is a proven supplement that will get you results so no worries there… just find one that suits you!