The best electrolyte drinks for 2024, according to experts

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Whether you are recharging after an intense workout or hydrating the day after drinking, electrolytes can help your body recover faster and feel refreshed in no time. Consuming an electrolyte mix—like best overall pick Tailwind Nutrition Endurance Fuel—helps keep your body hydrated. Electrolytes aid your body in regulating muscle cramping and nerve signaling and even go as far as balancing your pH and keeping you hydrated—which is important for everyone from professional athletes to people who work from home. The problem? Every time you break a sweat, your body loses some of those minerals, leading to dehydration. This can result in fatigue, nausea, abdominal and muscle cramping, and much worse. The safest bet is to stock up on the best electrolyte drinks so you’re prepared for any situation—whether it’s post-cardio or when recovering from the flu.

How we chose the best electrolyte drinks

We aimed to support allergy-friendly electrolyte drinks that are free of artificial ingredients such as colors, preservatives, and sweeteners. There are plenty of sports drinks out there on the market that are basically salty soda with no bubbles. That said, we also considered taste as an essential part of the equation. You won’t drink something that tastes bad and that’s counterproductive to staying hydrated.

The FDA does not review dietary supplements for safety and effectiveness before they are placed on the market; therefore, this was not a determining factor in our selections. The PopSci staff and writers have years of experience in competitive sports and other dehydrating activities. To find the best electrolyte drinks, we surveyed and considered dozens of different options to find those that meet these standards. 

The best electrolyte drinks: Reviews & Choice 

While sweating from working out or playing sports may be the first thing you think about in terms of dehydration, there are, in reality, many ways to deplete these precious resources. These can include food poisoning, travel, heat, stomach flu, and even alcohol consumption. The best electrolyte drinks—which we’ve listed below—are sure to help you recover and rehydrate. Simply chuck the powder into your best water bottle, sip, and feel healed.

Best overall: Tailwind Nutrition Endurance Fuel

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Why it made the cut: This drink mix has a light, clean taste and dissolves clear in water. It’s also easy on the stomach—no more gut-wrenching runs.

Specs

  • Diet type: Non-GMO, Free of soy, dairy, and gluten, vegan
  • Servings: 30 per container
  • Flavors: Comes in 8 flavors
  • Form: Powder

Pros

  • Easy on the stomach
  • Tasty
  • Caffeinated options available

Cons

  • Expensive compared to others on the list

You tend to get three options with sports drinks: taste, hydration, and easy on the stomach. Typically, however, you can only pick two. The one that hydrates the most and tastes the best may not be easy on your stomach, and so on. But you get the complete triangle with Tailwind Nutrition’s Endurance Fuel. It’s, according to one of our staff writers here on the gear team, “freakin’ delicious,” and it includes electrolytes to replenish what you sweat out. Best of all, it won’t irritate your stomach while working out. It comes in eight flavors, including caffeinated options, but our favorites are mandarin orange and Dauwaltermelon.

Tailwind’s Endurance Fuel does include Dextrose and Sucrose, making it a great pre-workout drink. If you’re looking to avoid calories and just want post-workout replenishment, Rapid Hydration packets are small in size but packed with electrolytes and vitamin C to help your body absorb more water quickly.

Best sports drink: Liquid I.V.

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Why it made the cut: This electrolyte drink mix delivers an optimal ratio of nutrients that delivers hydration quickly via single-serving tubes. 

Specs

  • Diet type: Gluten-, soy-, and dairy-free
  • Servings: 16 single-serving packets
  • Flavors: Comes in four flavors
  • Form: Powder

Pros

  • Non-GMO and no artificial ingredients
  • Provides the same hydration as 2-3 bottles of water
  • With each purchase, they donate a serving to someone in need around the world. 

Cons

  • Expensive compared to others on this list

Liquid I.V. is one of the best sports drinks with electrolytes on the market, especially for athletes, which makes perfect sense since it was developed while the founder was working with a professional baseball team. After realizing there is a need for natural and effective electrolyte drinks, he partnered with nutrition scientists to create what it calls a Hydration Multiplier.

Through the science of Cellular Transport Technology (CTT) water, other key ingredients are rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream. Liquid I.V. is available in four flavors: lemon-lime, passion fruit, tangerine, and acai berry. It also boasts five essential vitamins: B3, B5, B6, B12, and Vitamin C. 

With each purchase consumers make, Liquid I.V. provides hydration in disaster zones, hospitals, impoverished communities, and more in need around the world. 

Best tasting: Waterboy Weekend Recovery in Blue Raspberry

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Why it made the cut: This electrolyte mix tastes divine, not drab.

Specs

  • Diet type: non-GMO, gluten-free, vegan, sugar-free 
  • Servings: 12 single-serve packets
  • Flavors: Six
  • Form: Powder

Pros

  • Added ingredients help with anxiety and nausea
  • Tasty
  • 3,200 milligrams of electrolytes

Cons

  • On the salty side
  • Expensive

Although I consider all of WaterBoy’s Weekend Recovery flavors top-notch—the glass pictured above is filled with the company’s strawberry lemonade flavor—the Blue Raspberry flavor cinches the spot at No. 1. The blue raspberry flavor is reminiscent of a blue raspberry Jolly Rancher or Dum-Dum lollipop (S-tier executions of the popular flavor), and the one I gravitated to the most when sampling a variety of WaterBoy’s flavors.

According to the company, one stick of Waterboy is equivalent to almost four Liquid I.V. tubes—and that’s on the basis of electrolytes alone. If you’re looking for numbers, Waterboy has 3,200 milligrams of electrolytes, while Liquid I.V. has 870 milligrams. Waterboy also has Vitamin B12 for energy and Vitamin C for your immune system. The powder mix, which comes in a package of 12 single-use packets, also includes L-theanine for anxiety and Ginger extract for nausea.

The mix is pretty salty, thanks to the added Himalayan sea salt. Luckily, in the battle of salty vs. sweet, I land on the salt side. If you’re part of the sweet camp, add more water to balance the salinity.

I also wholeheartedly recommend WaterBoy’s Workout Hydration mix, which adds magnesium and L-Glutamine for post-exercise recovery. It comes in blue raspberry, strawberry lemonade, and fruit punch flavors.

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Why it made the cut: This electrolyte drink is medically formulated and highly recommended by medical professionals for both children and adults. 

Specs

  • Diet types: Non-GMO, vegan, gluten-, calorie-, sugar-free
  • Servings: One bottle = 3 servings
  • Flavors: Comes in 17 flavors
  • Form: Liquid

Pros

  • Inexpensive
  • Good for both kids and adults
  • Well-earned reputation
  • Lots of options, including freeze-pops

Cons

  • “Unflavored” doesn’t mean no taste

Pedialyte is an advanced, medical-grade hydration formula that contains potassium, sodium, and chloride. These key electrolytes are designed to restore your body’s sugar and electrolyte balance, which is why it’s the best electrolyte drink for hangovers. You’ve probably had it multiple times in your life already since it’s typically suggested for sick children who are running fevers or are having trouble keeping down regular liquids.

You can get Pedialyte via liters (liquid), powder packs, and freezer pops that come in 17 flavors. However, the unflavored version is a great choice, free of artificial colors and dyes. Some people have reported that the flavorless option still has a taste, but if you drink it cold, it tastes much better. 

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Why it made the cut: Easily portable tablets quickly dissolve in a water bottle, so there’s no need to lug around pre-mixed liquid. They also taste excellent.

Specs

  • Diet type: Dairy-, soy-, and gluten-free, kosher, vegan
  • Servings: 1 tube holds 10 tablets
  • Flavors: Four
  • Form: Tablet

Pros

  • No artificial flavoring or sweeteners
  • Only 1 gram of sugar
  • Good for travel

Cons

  • Contains caffeine (could be a pro or con)

Nuun has been the best electrolyte drink for runners and athletes for years. Nuun tablets contain only one gram of sugar derived from high-quality stevia. It also contains only 15 calories and zero artificial sweeteners or flavoring. There’s a wide variety of flavors to choose from, and it’s easy to carry them practically anywhere since they’re in tablet form. All you have to do is dissolve one tablet in 16oz of water. 

While caffeine could be a con for some, studies have shown that caffeine may boost athletic performance, which could help runners during training and competition. Additionally, the caffeine is derived from green tea extract. Nuun also has tablets focused on energy and immunity, as well as an electrolyte powder mix. 

Best system: Gatorade Gx Hydration System and Gx Sports Drink Concentrate Pods

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Why it made the cut: If Gatorade is your go-to, consider this system, which makes it easier to drink your favorite flavors.

Specs

  • Diet type: Fat- and gluten-free, non-GMO, vegan
  • Servings: 1 pod per serving
  • Flavors: Comes in 8 flavors
  • Form: Liquid

Pros

  • Less clutter than purchasing packs
  • Can customize flavor with water levels
  • Easy to use

Cons

  • Proprietary recycling program
  • Not Earth-friendly

Gatorade is one of the most well-known electrolyte drinks out there. Between hazy Saturday morning afters to middle school sports team practices, few people in this world haven’t sipped on the colorful sports drink. If you’re sick of hauling packs upon packs into your home, consider Gatorade’s Gx system, which uses a special bottle and pods to quench your thirst and replenish your electrolytes. Simply fill the bottle up to the water line, pop the pod on top of the bottle, press down, and wham: Gatorade. If it’s good enough for a college football team in the ’60s, it’s good enough for you. You can also purchase a 64-ounce jug if 30 ounces isn’t enough liquid to drink before, during, and after your workout.

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Why it made the cut: While many electrolyte drinks are healthier than sports drinks, coconut water is the only one on the list with one ingredient. 

Specs

  • Diet type: Fat- and gluten-free, non-GMO, vegan
  • Servings: 1 bottle = 11.1 fluid oz, 1 case = 12 bottles
  • Flavors: Three
  • Form: Liquid

Pros

  • Naturally occurring electrolyte source
  • Contains only 1 ingredient 
  • Delicious

Cons

  • Expensive
  • High sugar content 

There’s not an electrolyte drink that’s more natural than coconut water. As a new mother breastfeeding, you want to pay attention to what you put in your body just as you did while you were pregnant. For that reason, coconut water is the best electrolyte drink for breastfeeding mothers. 

Vita Coco is never made from concentrate. The coconuts are picked, cracked, and packed directly at the source.

Vita Coco also has coconut water options available in pineapple and peach & mango flavors if you don’t love the taste of plain coconut water. The bottles are handy and easy to keep around, so you don’t have to worry about mixing up a drink to replenish when you’re already spent. 

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Why it made the cut: Most electrolyte drinks have sugar, added or natural, but Hi-Lyte is one of the few with absolutely no sugar, making it the best sugar-free electrolyte drink and great for diabetics or anyone watching their sugar intake. 

Specs

  • Diet types: Non-GMO, vegan, gluten-, calorie-, sugar-free
  • Servings: 48
  • Flavors: N/A
  • Form: Concentrate

Pros

  • Inexpensive
  • No sugar, carbs, or calories
  • No artificial ingredients

Cons

  • Natural salty taste
  • Contains zinc (important if you have zinc sensitivity)

Hi-Lyte is a liquid electrolyte drink that claims to have the highest potassium, zinc, and magnesium content amongst electrolyte concentrates on the market. This product is made with all-natural, ionic sea minerals and no maltodextrin. Ionic minerals are smaller than cell pathways, allowing them to be absorbed more easily. 

Hi-Lyte notes that their product is not focused on taste and has a naturally salty, mineral taste. If you’re sensitive to the taste, add a squeeze of lemon or lime and a pinch of stevia. You can also add it to juice or a smoothie. 

Hi-Lyte also claims that the liquid form has four times the absorption rate versus powders and tablets. However, if you prefer powder form, Hi-Lyte does produce an electrolyte powder as well, which is ideal for traveling.

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Why it made the cut: In addition to hydrating, Hydralyte + Energy Boost is formulated with vitamins and caffeine to give you a boost of energy. And with a vegan, non-GMO, and gluten-free formula, this tasty addition could just replace your morning brew.

Specs

  • Diet type: Non-GMO, vegan, gluten-, dairy-free
  • Servings: 20
  • Flavors: Lemon-lime
  • Form: Powder

Pros

  • Includes caffeine
  • Only 10 calories per serving
  • Added benefit of vitamins

Cons

  • More expensive than some options

While many electrolyte drinks might be designed for rehydration post-workout, Hydralyte + Energy Boost has the added benefit of 100mg of caffeine sourced from green tea, making it the perfect pre-workout beverage. This pick is also formulated with vitamins that assist with energy metabolism (like B12 and B6), plus 225 mg of Vitamin C, 9mg of Zinc, magnesium, and potassium.

Whether you need to kickstart your morning after a night out or want a healthy burst of energy before you hit the gym, this powder formula from Hydralyte is uber-portable—just toss it in your gym bag or backpack to later mix with water for hydration on the go.

Best budget: DripDrop Hydration Electrolyte Powder Packets

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Why it made the cut: Get a quality dose of electrolytes for less than $20.

Specs

  • Diet type: non-GMO, gluten-free, vegan 
  • Servings: 16 single-serve packets
  • Flavors: Four
  • Form: Powder

Pros

  • Contains almost as many electrolytes as more expensive options on this list
  • Tasty
  • Made with natural flavors and sweeteners

Cons

If you’re broke, hungover, and need something to fill the empty vessel of your spirit, look no further than this electrolyte mix from DripDrop. Each packet is just over a buck—that’s pretty cheap. Plus, it has just as many—if not more, in some cases—electrolytes as some of the more expensive options on this list. Even better, it comes in packets, so you can take it on the go so you don’t throw up in public.

What to consider when buying the best electrolyte drinks

You could grab whatever you see at the store. Or, you could snag something tailored to your lifestyle. First, it’s important to know what is considered an electrolyte, and what is their function in the body. We asked Vinny Panza, our resident martial arts expert, Columbia-educated dietitian, and powder opinionist, to explain.

Per Panza, electrolytes are charged particles that fall into a class of micronutrients important to the body’s metabolic processes. These include, most notably, fluid balance, neural signaling, and muscle contraction. In fluid balance, these molecules help regulate the flow of nutrients and material in and out of cells (particularly sodium and potassium, often called the “sodium-potassium pump”). They help create electrical currents because of their positive or negative charge. This makes them critical in sending nerve signals through the brain and when contracting muscles. Their charge also affects the pH balance of fluid compartments in the body, helping regulate enzyme activity.

Electrolytes help maintain water in the body’s cells and compartments so that the fluids ingested are properly utilized. Without electrolytes, water and other fluids may not be fully absorbed into cells and may run through the GI tract.

“Water … is still the most important component of hydration, but you need electrolytes to help the body make use of that water,” Panza says.

Before placing that drink mix in your cart, here’s what you should know:

Ingredients

Possibly the most important is the ingredients. Check the label to see exactly what you’re getting in your electrolyte drink. There are a lot of different options, and the one you choose could vary depending on what you’re looking for, such as a way to help get over being sick or a way to fuel your exercise. 

Different electrolytes include sodium, magnesium, calcium, phosphorous, and chloride.

The non-active ingredients are important to check, too. Some sports drinks have the electrolytes you need, but pair them with tons of added sugar, which isn’t ideal. 

Form

There are different forms in which electrolyte drinks come in. These include premixed liquid form, like Pedialyte; powder form, like Liquid I.V.; and dissolvable tablets, like Nuun. Then there are also naturally occurring electrolyte drinks like coconut water. 

The type of electrolyte drinks you decide on may depend on if you need to travel with it, how much you need to carry with you easily, and also just downright preference.

“There’s no use in buying a supplement you don’t use often because it tastes terrible,” Panza says, who personally likes to snack on pretzels and bananas to get his electrolytes.

Other additives

Some electrolyte drinks include extra ingredients like caffeine or Vitamin C. There are reasons why some of these extra additives may be beneficial and other reasons why some people may want to avoid them. It is generally best to keep clear of any drink high in sugar content. Consulting your doctor can’t hurt before starting any supplement, especially if it’s part of a new or particularly rigorous exercise program. 

“I think it’s important to those consuming these ORS (oral rehydration solution) to be mindful of their overall sodium intake because it can have the unintended effect of raising blood pressure if taken too much,” per Panza.

FAQs

Q: How much do the best electrolyte drinks cost?

Depending on the number of servings, the best electrolyte drinks will cost between $10-$30.

Q: Is it okay to drink electrolytes every day?

It is unnecessary to drink electrolyte drinks all the time. They are most beneficial during prolonged exercise (more than an hour), in hot environments, or if you’re ill. Almost every electrolyte drink comes with high sodium levels, which you may not need if you’re not losing liquids through sweat or other bodily functions. Ask a doctor for your best information. 

Q: What are the symptoms of low electrolytes?

An electrolyte imbalance may create a number of symptoms. These could include:
– Muscle spasms, weakness, twitching, or convulsions
– Dizziness
– Abdominal or muscle cramps
– Irregular heartbeat
– Mental confusion

The most common sign of low electrolytes is muscle cramping.

Final thoughts on the best electrolyte drinks

Electrolyte drinks can do your body good, but not everyone needs added electrolytes since your body naturally replenishes them. Generally, electrolyte drinks are great for those working out for a long time at high intensities, professional and competitive athletes, long-distance hikers, and so on. They are also great for when you have the stomach flu, are breastfeeding, or need to rehydrate after a long night of drinking. 

If you’re looking for the best electrolyte drinks, there are a few things to consider before making that final purchase. What ingredients do you want, and which ones do you want to avoid? Do you want liquid, tablets, or powder? Do you need something easy to carry or travel with? Once you answer these questions, one of these best electrolyte drinks should work great for you.

Why trust us

Popular Science started writing about technology more than 150 years ago. There was no such thing as “gadget writing” when we published our first issue in 1872, but if there was, our mission to demystify the world of innovation for everyday readers means we would have been all over it. Here in the present, PopSci is fully committed to helping readers navigate the increasingly intimidating array of devices on the market right now.

Our writers and editors have combined decades of experience covering and reviewing consumer electronics. We each have our own obsessive specialties—from high-end audio to video games to cameras and beyond—but when we’re reviewing devices outside of our immediate wheelhouses, we do our best to seek out trustworthy voices and opinions to help guide people to the very best recommendations. We know we don’t know everything, but we’re excited to live through the analysis paralysis that internet shopping can spur so readers don’t have to.

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