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The Best Energy Gels

Last updated on April 12, 2022

We looked at the top 6 Energy Gels and dug through the reviews from 18 of the most popular review sites including and more. The result is a ranking of the best Energy Gels.

Our Review Process

Don't Waste Your Money is focused on helping you make the best purchasing decision. Our team of experts spends hundreds of hours analyzing, testing, and researching products so you don't have to. Learn more.

Look for the DWYM seal for products that are the best in a category.

Our Picks For The Top Energy Gels

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Product Overview
Key Takeaway
Pros
Cons
 Top Pick

GU Energy Assorted Flavors Gluten Free Energy Gels, 24-Count

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GU Energy

Assorted Flavors Gluten Free Energy Gels, 24-Count

Taking these gels gives you energy both from the electrolytes and the good old-fashioned fructose. While you're burning all that off, amino acids help maintain your endurance. There's a flavor for everyone, and each gel is gluten-free and vegan.

Overall Take

A Double DoseKeep the workout going with this cocktail of amino acids and electrolytes.

Pros
" Affordable. Lots of tasty flavors."
Cons
"Contain preservatives. May cause stomach upset in some runners."
 Runner Up

CLIF SHOT Caffeinated Energy Gels, 24-Count

CLIF

SHOT Caffeinated Energy Gels, 24-Count

Looking to wake up faster? Down one of these gels, fortified with both caffeine and electrolytes derived from organic ingredients. They're easy on the stomach and can fit just about anywhere if you're on the run.

Overall Take

Organic Wakeup ShotsNatural ingredients power these quick-energy shots.

Pros
" Caffeinated."
Cons
"May cause stomach upset in some runners."
 We Also Like

GU Energy Assorted Indulgent Flavors Vegan Energy Gels, 24-Count

GU Energy

Assorted Indulgent Flavors Vegan Energy Gels, 24-Count

With five different coffeehouse-inspired flavors, these gels go down easy. Coffee achievers will like the caffeine content, along with the other energy sources that can increase performance on longer runs. As a bonus, all gels are gluten-free.

Overall Take

Surprisingly DeliciousThese caffeinated gels are as effective as they are tasty.

 Also Great

Science in Sport GO Low Sugar Isotonic Energy Gels, 6-Count

Science in Sport

GO Low Sugar Isotonic Energy Gels, 6-Count

There's no need to down water after taking these gels since they're not nearly as thick as other brands. One shot gets you plenty of carbs and you're sure to find a taste you like. The ingredients are free of allergens, dairy or animal products.

Overall Take

Straight, No ChaserThese thin and tasty gels are easy to down on the run.

Pros
" On top of the convenience of not needing water, SiS can be a suitable option for athletes with allergies because it’s free from dairy, gluten, nuts, animal products, and wheat."
Cons
"Multiple customers have reported that the packets burst easily at the seams in a bag or belt."

Buying Guide

When you’re on the home stretch of a grueling marathon or bike ride, it can seem like you can’t get carbs into those muscles fast enough — not that the sports nutrition industry hasn’t tried. From protein bars to energy drinks, you can take your pick of delivery systems. But if you’re talking sheer power in the smallest package? There might be no better way to get a quick boost than energy gels.

Everything about energy gels is made for long-term exercise. Even the most sedentary types might substitute a protein bar for breakfast if they’re in a hurry, but gels are made to fill up your tank without filling up your stomach. They’re portable packets of viscous juice, loaded with sugars and/or electrolytes that you can down without breaking a stride. The ingredients vary widely, but lets break down some of the common ones so you can choose the right gel for your workout.

Whatever energy gel you choose, it’s a good bet that it will contain a lot of simple sugars. That’s why they’re a particular favorite of runners or cyclists: The body can quickly turn simple sugars into carbohydrates, which are exactly what you need once your internal stores run dry due to prolonged exercise. Glucose and fructose are some common sources of sugar, and ones that your muscles can convert in a jiffy. Dextrose or maltodextrin might also be on the ingredient list of a good energy gel, as will other natural sources like honey.

Many energy gels also contain electrolytes, which may not be as important during a marathon but are still vital. While the blanket term “electrolytes” may evoke some synthetic rocket fuel that you find in a sports drink, they’re actually a catch-all for the minerals that your body uses to facilitate muscle contractions (among other things). Lose too many of them through sweat, and you can end up with cramps or worse. Electrolyte-fortified energy gels can help with that, but take care that you don’t overdo it — especially if you’re hydrating with energy drinks that also contain them.

Caffeine is another common ingredient in energy gels, and it can be a lifesaver if you’re hitting a wall during those last few miles of a run. Don’t overdo it, though. Too much caffeine can give you heart palpitations or anxiety, and that’s the last thing you need when you’re trying to stay focused.

If you’ve got gluten sensitivities or allergies, you’ll want to double check the ingredient list before you buy. You don’t want to test your body’s immune system when it’s already taxed, after all. And finally, don’t discount the importance of taste and consistency. It’s crucial that those energy gels go down easy, and some thicker gels may need to be taken with water.

Don't just take for granted what one reviewer says. Along with our own experts, DWYM analyzes the top expert reviews of the leading products and generates a score you can actually trust.
13

Products Considered

We identified the majority of the energy gels available to purchase.
6

Products Analyzed

We then selected the leading and most popular products for our team to review.

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18

Expert Reviews Included

In addition to our expert reviews, we also incorporate feedback and analysis of some of the most respected sources including: Healthline, The Wired Runner, Road.cc, Cycling News, Feed Station.

72,944

User Opinions Analyzed

We also incorporate user reviews from the leading retailers including

Our experts reviewed the top 6 Energy Gels and also dug through the reviews from 18 of the most popular review sites including and more. The result is a ranking of the best of the best Energy Gels.

DWYM is your trusted roduct review source. Our team reviews thousands of product reviews from the trusted top experts and combines them into one easy-to-understand score. Learn more.

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Look for the DWYM seal for products that are the best in their category.

The Best Bang For Your Buck

Science in Sport GO Low Sugar Isotonic Energy Gels, 6-Count

Key Takeawy

There's no need to down water after taking these gels since they're not nearly as thick as other brands. One shot gets you plenty of carbs and you're sure to find a taste you like. The ingredients are free of allergens, dairy or animal products.

What other experts liked

On top of the convenience of not needing water, SiS can be a suitable option for athletes with allergies because it’s free from dairy, gluten, nuts, animal products, and wheat.
- Healthline
No water necessary. Thinner consistency than most. 22 grams of carbohydrates. Certified by the Informed Sport Evolved Certification program.
- The Wired Runner
High performing gel with carbohydrates for energy and fluid for hydration; tastes good, slips down easily, and is fair value.
- Road.cc
No need for the water chaser. Taste good.
- Cycling News
Trusted by top athletes. Isotonic formulation (no extra water needed, but see note below). Informed Sport accredited.
- Feed Station

What other experts didn't like

Contains artificial additives and sweeteners. Orange flavor could be better.
- Healthline
Multiple customers have reported that the packets burst easily at the seams in a bag or belt.
- The Wired Runner
Texture. Easy to lose the top when you tear it off.
- Cycling News
Thick consistency. Relatively low energy per gel. Artificial sweeteners.
- Feed Station

What to Look For

  • How you take energy gels can be even more important than what kind you choose. Every person will process the sugar in these gels differently, so you’ll want to try them out on your daily run before you start using them in a marathon.
  • As a general rule, it’s best to wait at least 45 minutes between gels, and only then if you’re keeping up a good pace.
  • If you’re taking gels that contain caffeine, you’ll want to be aware of the side effects that can come with an overdose. Consider lengthening the time between taking the gels, or alternate caffeinated energy gels with non-caffeinated ones.

More to Explore

Many runners dream about breaking a finish time record for their marathon … and then there are those who shoot for more original goals. The annals of the Guinness World Records are filled with oddball track and field milestones, including the fastest marathon in a wedding dress (3 hours 54 seconds, achieved by Lee Goodwin of the U.K.) and longest chain crocheted while running a marathon (over 450 feet, held by Susie Hewer of the U.K.). There’s an important lesson to be learned from these dubious achievements: If you can’t beat ’em, have more fun.

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