5 Best Creatine Monohydrate Supplements For Strength 2023

Chelsea Rae Bourgeois

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Medically reviewed by Kathy Shattler, MS, RDN

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Optimum Nutrition Micronized Creatine Powder

Optimum Nutrition Micronized Creatine Powder

  • Banned substance tested
  • Creatine monohydrate is the only ingredient 
  • Can purchase a variety of servings
  • Micronized for easy mixing

Transparent Labs Creatine HMB

Transparent Labs Creatine HMB

  • 11 delicious flavors
  • No artificial sweeteners, colorings, or preservatives
  • Added BioPerine for increased bioavailability
  • Vegan-friendly

Elm & Rye Creatine

Elm & Rye Creatine

  • Available in tablets and gummies
  • Sustainably-sourced ingredients
  • Soy, dairy, and gluten-free
  • Third-party tested

If fitness is on your radar, chances are you’ve heard of creatine. Your body uses creatine, a naturally occurring amino acid, as an energy source for muscle contraction. 

Approximately half of your creatine supply can be obtained through a carnivorous diet, while the other half is synthesized in the kidneys and liver from the amino acids arginine, methionine, and glycine before it’s sent to the skeletal muscle for use. 

We consume creatine through foods like meat and fish, but supplements have become a popular way to boost creatine intake for powerlifters, endurance athletes, and everyday gymgoers alike. Those with increased demand or those unable to meet their needs through diet alone may benefit from a creatine supplement.

This article will break down much of what there is to know about creatine supplementation and look at five of the market’s best creatine monohydrate supplements for your needs. 

5 Best Creatine Monohydrate Supplements For Strength On The Market In (December. 2023)

What Is Creatine Monohydrate?

Creatine monohydrate[1] is the most popular supplemental form of creatine[2]. It comes by its name naturally as it’s simply one creatine molecule with one water molecule attached. Creatine supplements increase your phosphocreatine stores, which your body relies on to create adenosine triphosphate (ATP)[3], the compound that fuels quick muscle contractions and is often called the “energy currency of the cell.”. 

The more phosphocreatine your body has, the more ATP it can produce to fuel your muscle function during high-intensity exercise. Therefore, it’s no surprise athletes of all levels turn to dietary supplements to boost their performance. 

Benefits Of Creatine Monohydrate Supplements

Creatine is one of the most intensely researched dietary supplements on the market. While most of the studies focus on its effect on physical performance, some research also points to cognitive benefits[4]. Whether it’s taken on its own or added to your supplement stack, creatine monohydrate can provide a list of benefits[5], including

Creatine monohydrate can be similar to pre-workout supplements, but research[7] has proven it superior to pre-workout when it comes to building lean muscle and strength. However, it’s always important to remember that dietary supplements are meant to fill the gaps in a well-balanced diet.

5 Best Creatine Monohydrate Powders & Tablets in 2023

Optimum Nutrition Micronized Creatine Powder

Optimum Nutrition’s Micronized Creatine Powder provides five grams of 100% pure creatine monohydrate per serving. When taken as a post-workout supplement, it can help support muscle size, strength, and power.

  • Banned substance tested
  • Creatine monohydrate is the only ingredient 
  • Can purchase a variety of servings
  • Micronized for easy mixing
  • Only available as an unflavored option
  • Not vegan-friendly
  • Contains potential allergens such as eggs, dairy, gluten, nuts, and soy

Optimum Nutrition’s Micronized Creatine Powder is designed for supreme absorbency. Just one rounded teaspoon of the dietary supplement provides five grams of pure micronized creatine monohydrate. It is said to help increase energy, endurance, and muscle recovery when included in a well-balanced fitness routine.

Optimum Nutrition recommends taking their creatine supplement after your completed workout. It is an unflavored powder, which means it can be mixed with your beverage of choice. Unfortunately, it contains allergens, including soy, gluten, milk, eggs, nuts, and peanuts. 

Pure creatine monohydrate is the only ingredient in this dietary supplement, and yet it’s still tested for banned substances for good measure. The customer reviews show an overwhelmingly positive response to the product. In fact, the Optimum Nutrition Micronized Creatine Powder averages 4.6 stars out of five with over 44,000 reviews.

Transparent Labs Creatine HMB

Transparent Labs Creatine HMB contains creatine monohydrate, B-Hydroxy B-Methyl butyrate, and BioPerine to increase muscle mass and support muscle recovery.

  • 11 delicious flavors
  • No artificial sweeteners, colorings, or preservatives
  • Added BioPerine for increased bioavailability of nutrients
  • Vegan-friendly
  • Each serving scoop is approximately 7 grams

Transparent Labs’ Creatine HMB is part of their StrengthSeries products, and it includes ingredients at clinically effective doses. It contains no artificial colorings, sweeteners, or preservatives. 

Creatine HMB contains 5,000 milligrams (mg) of creatinine monohydrate and 1,500 milligrams (mg) of B-Hydroxy B-Methyl butyrate (HMB) per serving. HMB is produced by the body in small quantities when the amino acid leucine breaks down. 

A typical dose of creatinine is three to five grams daily. Take a single scoop of this deliciously flavored creatine supplement approximately 30 minutes after your finished workout for maximum benefits. 

According to the Transparent Labs website, combining some of the best creatine monohydrate powder and HMB is said to enhance strength, improve endurance, prevent muscle loss, and decrease fat mass.

The product can be purchased as a one-time purchase, or you can subscribe to receive a delivery every 30 or 45 days at a discounted price.

Elm & Rye Creatine

If creatine in powder form is not for you, you might consider Elm & Rye’s Creatine tablets. Just two tablets provide 1,400 mg of creatine to help support lean muscle mass and enhanced muscle recovery. 

  • Available in tablets and gummies
  • Sustainably-sourced ingredients
  • Soy, dairy, and gluten-free
  • Third-party tested
  • 1,400 mg of creatine monohydrate per serving, a low dose

Elm & Rye offers its creatine supplement in both tablet and gummy form. Each serving of two easy-to-swallow tablets contains 1,400 mg of creatine monohydrate. This daily creatine dietary supplement aims to increase lean muscle mass, support muscle recovery after a workout, and reduce fatigue. 

Elm & Rye prides itself on their sustainably-sourced ingredients and third-party tested products. The creatine tablets also contain vegetable magnesium stearate to prevent individual ingredients from sticking to each other and help improve the consistency and quality of the product.

You can purchase Elm & Rye’s creatine as a one-time purchase, or you can save a whopping 25% by subscribing to monthly deliveries. Not sure if Elm & Rye Creatine is right for you? They offer a 30-day risk-free guarantee. 

Onnit Creatine Monohydrate

Onnit Creatine Monohydrate

15% Off Coupon: HEALTHCANAL

Each two-scoop serving of Onnit Creatine Monohydrate provides 5 grams (g) of micronized creatine monohydrate. At less than 50 cents per serving, Onnit also offers one of the most affordable creatine options.

  • Low-cost per serving
  • Vegan-friendly
  • Third-party tested
  • Subscribe and save option
  • Only available as an unflavored option

Onnit Creatine Monohydrate supports lean muscle gains and changes in body composition by helping to supply your muscles with energy so they can train harder and recover faster.  

As of now, Onnit only offers unflavored creatine powder. Each serving requires two scoops of creatine powder, which can be mixed with eight ounces of water or another favorite beverage for added flavor. The micronized creatine monohydrate is gluten-free, soy-free, and vegan-friendly.    

You can buy Onnit’s Creatine Monohydrate as a one-time purchase or subscribe and save for additional cost savings. Even as a one-time purchase at full cost, this micronized creatine monohydrate costs less than 50 cents per serving. If you sign up for subscription deliveries, you can choose deliveries from every seven to every 90 days. 

Crazy Nutrition Ultimate CRN-5 Creatine

Crazy Nutrition’s Ultimate CRN-5 creatine is designed to enhance performance through improved focus and endurance and, of course, through the improved recovery of your muscle cells.

  • 60-day money-back guarantee
  • Added electrolytes for improved hydration
  • Buy in bulk for increased savings
  • Only two flavors are available
  • High in sodium (1.25 grams per serving)
  • Contains the artificial sweetener sucralose

Crazy Nutrition’s Ultimate CRN-5 creatine formula offers a multitude of benefits for the athlete in training. Its list of powerful ingredients aims to maximize your workouts and optimize your recovery, helping you reach your fitness goals efficiently and effectively. 

With five different types of creatine included in the formula, Ultimate CRN-5 supports a powerful protein synthesis with a bigger output than you would expect from a formula with single creatine in the ingredients.  

The Ultimate CRN-5 creatine formula also supports muscle strength and mental focus. Its blend of creatines supports adenosine triphosphate (ATP) capacity, allowing your body more muscle fuel to perform at its very best. 

And the added premium aquatic minerals help support your electrolyte levels, which naturally maintain optimal hydration to keep your muscle ready and your mind focused. 

Its benefits don’t stop there. This dietary creatine supplement can be beneficial to your workout recovery by helping prevent soreness and preserve muscle mass. Just watch out for that high sodium level. Out of the 2,300 milligrams (mg), we should limit ourselves to per day; just one serving of this supplement has 1,200 mg.

This formula also contains the controversial ingredient sucralose which has been shown to have adverse effects on the gut microbiome[8], causes digestive disturbances such as bloating and gas, and dysregulates blood sugar control.

How To Select The Best Creatine Monohydrate Supplement

Creatine is one of the most popular dietary supplements in the fitness world. As a result, the market is full of creatine products. Trying to choose the best creatine monohydrate formula can feel overwhelming. There are creatine pills, creatine capsules, and creatine powders. What’s the best form of creatine? 

Start by assessing your fitness goals. Knowing where you want your goals to take you can be a significant help in understanding where you need to begin. 

For example, some products may help build muscle, whereas others may help with hydration. You might be searching for the best creatine supplement for muscle growth, or you might be on the hunt for the best creatine for muscle recovery. 

If you need increased water solubility, you might consider creatine hydrochloride (HCl). Creatine HCl is a form of creatine with a hydrochloric acid bound to it, and the best creatine HCl can help you metabolize creatine monohydrate. 

The majority of creatine supplements need to be taken daily. The best creatine monohydrate might simply be the one you can consistently consume as directed. 

Potential Side Effects

Creatine supplements are considered generally safe for the average, healthy adult. However, some sources cite varying potential side effects. Possible side effects can include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Kidney damage
  • Liver damage
  • Weight gain
  • Muscle cramps
  • Dehydration
  • Bloating
  • Diarrhea
  • Dizziness
  • Compartment syndrome
  • Rhabdomyolysis (resulting from damaged muscle tissue) 

People with kidney or liver diseases should avoid creatine supplements. Also, you should avoid taking creatine if you are being treated with certain medications, such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, diuretics, or medications that may affect the kidneys.

Your doctor or registered dietitian nutritionist can safely help you navigate your nutrition needs as they relate to creatine supplementation. If you notice unwanted side effects, stop taking your creatine supplement and talk with your doctor. 

How To Take Creatine Monohydrate Supplements

Most supplement companies suggest taking their creatine as a post-workout supplement. In addition, some companies recommend a creatine loading phase to saturate your muscle cells. To load creatine, you consume a large amount of the supplement per serving during your first week and then taper down your dose in the weeks following. 

However, creatine loading is not necessarily required. Therefore, you can still take advantage of the benefits of creatine without a loading phase. 

High-quality creatine monohydrate can have similar effects to pre-workout supplements. You might consider choosing one to monitor its effects on your performance levels.   

Of course, do not exceed the recommended serving on the product’s label, and do not take dietary supplements outside of your doctor’s recommendation. 

Final Thought

Finding the right supplement among the best creatine supplements might take some trial and error, but it can be worth the search.

Try to avoid those supplements with artificial ingredients, including sweeteners. Supplements with high sodium contents should be used with caution and in consideration of other sodium sources in the diet. 

High-quality creatine can bring many different benefits, including lean muscle growth, improved muscle recovery, and reduced fatigue. 

This article does not replace medical advice. If you have any concerns about your muscle mass or athletic performance, you might consider working with your healthcare professional to address your individual nutritional needs. It’s important to talk with your doctor before taking creatine supplements. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Which brand is best for creatine monohydrate?

There are several high-quality brands of creatine monohydrate available, each with its own benefits. When searching for a creatine brand, you can trust, look for a brand that values third-party testing on its products. The best creatine brand may vary between individuals, based on individual needs.

Which type of creatine is most effective?

Based on scientific evidence[2], pure monohydrate creatine is the most effective creatine available on the market. There is an abundance of research available backing the claims behind the efficacy of pure creatine monohydrate.

Which brand has the purest creatine?

Consider added ingredients when looking for the best form of creatine. Optimal Nutrition’s creatine monohydrate powder contains five grams of 100% pure micronized creatine monohydrate per serving of their creatine supplement.

Is it OK to take creatine every day?

Yes, it is generally considered safe to take creatine daily. Some companies recommend a creatine loading phase in which you consume a large amount of the supplement for approximately one week to saturate your muscles quickly. However, it’s best to follow the recommended dosing on the product’s nutrition label unless otherwise directed by your medical doctor.


+ 8 sources

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  1. Hall, M. and Trojian, T.H. (2013). Creatine Supplementation. Current Sports Medicine Reports, [online] 12(4), pp.240–244. doi:10.1249/jsr.0b013e31829cdff2.
  2. Antonio, J., Candow, D.G., Forbes, S.C., Gualano, B., Jagim, A.R., Kreider, R.B., Rawson, E.S., Smith-Ryan, A.E., VanDusseldorp, T.A., Willoughby, D.S. and Ziegenfuss, T.N. (2021). Common questions and misconceptions about creatine supplementation: what does the scientific evidence really show? Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, [online] 18(1). doi:10.1186/s12970-021-00412-w.
  3. Dunn, J. and Grider, M.H. (2022). Physiology, Adenosine Triphosphate. [online] Nih.gov. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK553175/
  4. Forbes, S.C., Cordingley, D.M., Cornish, S.M., Gualano, B., Roschel, H., Ostojic, S.M., Rawson, E.S., Roy, B.D., Prokopidis, K., Giannos, P. and Candow, D.G. (2022). Effects of Creatine Supplementation on Brain Function and Health. Nutrients, [online] 14(5), p.921. doi:10.3390/nu14050921.
  5. Kreider, R.B., Kalman, D.S., Antonio, J., Ziegenfuss, T.N., Wildman, R., Collins, R., Candow, D.G., Kleiner, S.M., Almada, A.L. and Lopez, H.L. (2017). International Society of Sports Nutrition position stand: safety and efficacy of creatine supplementation in exercise, sport, and medicine. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, [online] 14(1). doi:10.1186/s12970-017-0173-z.
  6. Chilibeck, P., Kaviani, M., Candow, D. and Zello, G.A. (2017). Effect of creatine supplementation during resistance training on lean tissue mass and muscular strength in older adults: a meta-analysis. Open Access Journal of Sports Medicine, [online] Volume 8, pp.213–226. doi:10.2147/oajsm.s123529.
  7. Antonio, J. and Ciccone, V. (2013). The effects of pre versus post workout supplementation of creatine monohydrate on body composition and strength. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, [online] 10(1). doi:10.1186/1550-2783-10-36.
  8. gilmerm (2021). Is Sucralose (Splenda) Bad for You? [online] Cleveland Clinic. Available at: https://health.clevelandclinic.org/is-sucralose-splenda-bad-for-you/
Chelsea Rae Bourgeois

Medically reviewed by:

Kathy Shattler

Chelsea Rae Bourgeois is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist with a background in fitness and athletics. She has worked as a dietitian in the clinical setting for the past seven years, helping a wide variety of patients navigate their health through nutrition. She finds joy in sharing her passions through her freelance writing career with the hopes of helping people embrace their health and live their lives to the fullest.

Medically reviewed by:

Kathy Shattler

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