Top 12 Best Pre-Workouts Comparison (2023)

Top 12 Best Pre-Workouts Comparison (2023)

Top 12 Best Pre-Workouts Comparison (2023)


It can be hard to know where to start when looking for the best pre-workout supplement. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of pre-workout products on the market, and every brand claims that theirs is the game changer! Here we will outline our top 11 pre-workout drinks, ingredients to look our for, and which one YOU should choose.

Pre-workout comparison chart (top 12 highest rated products)

Product Best For Our Rating Pricing
Hydrazine Laser focus 10/10 Check Price
Excelsior All day nootropic and energy 9/10 Check Price
Doomsday Energy and performance 7/10 Check Price
Pre Jym High quality ingredients 7/10 Check Price
C4 Beginners 7/10 Check Price
Crack Energy 8/10 Check Price
Frenzy Short acting energy 8/10 Check Price
Pre-Jym Advanced Ingredients 8/10 Check Price
CRZ OG Focus 7/10 Check Price
Pre-Kaged Elite Clinically Validated Doses 7/10 Check Price
Gameday OG Unique stimulant blend 7/10 Check Price
Total War Best Balanced Pre-Workout 8/10 Check Price

What are the best pre workout ingredients?

It is difficult to give a definitive list of 'best' pre-workout ingredients as this will largely depend on what you are trying to achieve. We could break down ingredients into subcategories for the goal they serve, whether it be pump, performance, energy or focus. As far as commonly seen ingredients that have the most literature backing their efficacy, we will discuss a handful of them here.

1. Stimulants

Stimulants enhance performance by increasing alertness, focus, and energy levels. They boost neurotransmitter activity, particularly dopamine and norepinephrine, promoting cognitive functions like attention and memory. Improved reaction times and heightened motivation are common benefits. The hallmark of the best preworkouts on this list is a stimulant package which kicks energy, alertness and productivity into the stratosphere.

2. Creatine Monohydrate

Considered ‘the most researched supplement in the world’, a quick internet search will pull up thousands of studies backing creatine’s ability to increase strength and power. The inclusion of creatine in pre-workouts seems to divide consumers, however when an effective dose (minimum of 3g, in this case 4.5g) is used, it is great value for money for the athlete and more convenient than having to supplement creatine separately. Creatine works by donating a phosphate to ADP for the regeneration of ATP so that energy can continue to be released for processes such as muscular contraction.

3. Beta Alanine

Beta alanine is a non-essential amino acid needed for the production of carnosine. Carnosine is a buffer of lactic acid, meaning it can increase exercise capacity. Many people report being able to perform one or two additional reps in the gym when training in sets of 8–15 repetitions after supplementing beta alanine. But it is not just suitable for bodybuilders! Beta alanine can improve performance in a number of sports and competitions from rowing to sprinting. Beta alanine is also sometimes seen as 'Carnosyn' on supplement labels, this is a high quality patented form.

4. L-Citrulline / L-Citrulline Malate

Citrulline is one of the most commonly seen ingredients on supplement labels, but do be aware that citrulline malate requires a higher dose to be effective. Citrulline malate is formed by adding a malic acid to L-Citrulline (generally citrulline malate is a 2:1 ratio). At least 3g of L-Citrulline per day is recommended for circulatory health. A larger dose, taken before exercise, can reduce time to fatigue, increase training volume and increase nitric oxide production for improved performance.

5. Nitric Oxide Boosters

Boosting nitric oxide yields multiple benefits from better muscle pumps, increased vascularity, improved blood flow and increased endurance and energy. Popular nitric oxide boosting ingredients include beetroot, citrulline, glycerol monostearate, nitrates of all kinds, L-arginine and L-Norvaline. Many caffeine-free pre-workouts will be loaded with pump ingredients like nitric oxide boosters to allow you to train harder and longer without any crash or stimulant related side effects.

6. Betaine

Betaine (also seen under the name trimethylglycine) increases intracellular hydration in a similar way to creatine. For exercise performance, betaine might increase power output and improve volume and endurance in a workout. Betaine has been shown to be liver and cardioprotective. For anyone looking to maximise performance, Betaine is a no-brainer.

7. Hydration

Ingredients to increase hydration can reduce time to muscle fatigue and even improve pumps. These include coconut water, a natural source of electrolytes, and glycerol which facilitates H2O retention and can prevent excessive water loss.

What is the best pre workout supplement? Here’s our 2023 top 11 list:

With so many great pre-workouts in our store, we couldn't pick just one 'best'. We have however simplified things by narrowing it down to our top pre-workout supplements for each goal in 2023. We will also delve into key ingredients, customer reviews and price points.

1. Hydrazine (Best Focus Based Pre-Workout)

Hydrazine by Hydrapharm is the only capsule pre-workout we are going to feature in this list... and is the only capsule pre-workout you will ever need. Hydrazine delivers unrivalled nootropic effects for laser focus and increased motivation for hours with no comedown. Just as effective as a productivity aid, Hydrazine is the choice for users wanting energy, focus and confidence but without the over-stimulating feeling which some can get from Crack and Excelsior.

Key Ingredients:

  • Bauhinia Purpurea Extract
  • Caffeine Anhydrous
  • Kigelia Africana Extract
  • Cymbidium Goeringii Extract


Hydrazine Review:

'I’ve tried a few pre workouts now and personally just can’t get on board with all the jittery feels and the itch! I much prefer just clean energy and focus and this product delivers just that! I’ve been consistently using it for a few years and it remains my go to pre-workout. The focus is unreal and long lasting, I find my days overall are just so much more productive when I take it early in the day.'

2. Excelsior (Strongest Energy Based Pre-Workout)

Excelsior by Imperial Nutrition brings back the glory days of pre-workouts with cutting edge stims and a neurocognitive experience that can only be compared to the likes of Hydrazine but rated even stronger for energy. With effects persisting for several hours, Excelsior is best used in the morning and if you are bulking keep doses low to avoid appetite suppression making it hard to eat enough.

Key Ingredients:

  • L-Citrulline
  • Trimethylglycine
  • Kigelia Africana Extract
  • Caffeine Anhydrous


Excelsior Review:

'For me, excelsior is 'the one'. This review is purely speaking from personal experience. In a nutshell, I find the product enjoyable. I experience absolutely no anxiety, no sickness, no heart palpitations, no jitters or crash. I can describe the feeling as 'perfectly clean, natural feeling energy' with a great sense of well being. Basically it just feels 'right'. I feel switched on and capable of owning my session. I use 1 scoop with no side effects. Absolutely love this stuff!'

3. Doomsday (Best Performance Based Preworkout)

Leviathan Labz Doomsday is a preworkout formula designed to deliver sustained energy, focus, and unrivaled performance while exercising. With its use of stimulants scaled back, this is a preworkout which works best for users who seek to improve performance without elevating heart rate high (which will destroy performance and require much longer rest times within a workout). 

Key Ingredients:

  • Cymbidium Goeringii
  • Eria Jarensis
  • Creatine Monohydrate
  • Bauhinia Purpurea
  • Caffeine Anhydrous


Doomsday Review:

“Been using this for 2 weeks now and this is the real deal. Amazing focus, drive to power through workouts. I’ve used a lot of preworkouts but the way this seems to just let you drive through reps and sets is like nothing I’ve experienced.”

4. Pre-Jym (Best Science Based Preworkout)

Pre Jym provides 13 clinically validated ingredients to give you a physical and mental edge for all types of physical activity. With Pre Jym, all ingredients are clinically dosed and fully transparent on the label, unlike other brands which use proprietary blends. For those who enjoy Pre-Jym, we'd also recommend checking out rival product Pre-Kaged.

Key Ingredients:

  • Creatine Hydrochloride
  • Beta Alanine
  • Betaine
  • Taurine
  • Branched Chain Amino Acids


Pre-Jym Review:

'Excellent product. From nutritional profile to it's effects are absolutely awesome. Probably the best product that's going to help you with endurance and stamina during prolonged weight training or cardio based workout. I wouldn’t change this product for any other pre-workouts going.'

5. Cellucor C4 (Best Beginner Pre-Workout)

For those who've been in fitness or bodybuilding for some time now, it's very likely you'll have heard of the legendary Cellucor C4 pre-workout! C4 is a good introduction to pre-workouts. Although only quite low dosed in ingredients like creatine, beta alanine and l-tyrosine, it has just enough for an energy boost and to provide some support to athletic performance. It also comes in great flavours. We'd group this with products like NO-Xplode and Gold Standard Pre-Workout as a good choice for beginners to preworkouts. If you'd prefer anything more effective, look to another product on this list!

Key Ingredients:

  • Caffeine
  • Carnosyn Beta Alanine
  • Creatine Monohydrate


C4 Review:
'This is by far the best Pre-workout on the market! Blue razz reminds me of being a kid eating sweets so it's perfect to give you that kick before a run or lifting weights.'

6. Crack (Best combination of energy and ergogenics)

Loaded with exotic stims, Dark Labs Crack is a top-selling pre-workout that delivers sustained effects due to its stimulant blend combining a strong dose of caffeine and the stimulant DMHA (2-aminoisoheptane). This powerhouse formula goes beyond just stimulating though, providing hefty doses of ergogenics for enhanced pumps and performance.

Key Ingredients:

  • 2-Aminoisoheptane
  • Caffeine
  • Choline Bitartrate
  • Citrulline Malate (2:1)
  • Beta Alanine
  • Agmatine Sulfate


Crack Review:
‘wow the energy is intense I’d suggest only 1 scoop tbh 1 has been enough for me for a while.’

7. Frenzy (Best short acting energy preworkout)

Driven Sports Frenzy is considered one of the most powerful pre-workout supplements in the world to achieve high levels of power, speed, strength, or endurance. Frenzy is certainly not one for beginners. Unlike the likes of Excelsior, Crack or Hydrazine, Frenzy has an advantage in that the stimulant effect works well to get you performing better inside the gym but does not persist for several hours afterwards which makes it easier to eat and to sleep afterwards.

Key Ingredients:

  • DMBA
  • Creatine Monohydrate
  • Caffeine
  • L-Citrulline


Frenzy Review:
'2 full scoops on an empty stomach and this is something else! The rush and intense focus is just amazing!'


8. Pre-Jym Advanced (Best ingredient loaded preworkout)

Pre JYM X by Jim Stoppani is the ultimate American pre-workout that covers all your fitness needs! With a whopping 31 grams of active ingredients per scoop, it's packed with energy, focus, pumps, endurance, and more. The formula includes exciting additions like Betaine Nitrate, Citrulline Nitrate, Pine Bark Extract, Methylliberine as Dynamine®, TeaCrine®, and Theanine, delivering an intense, steady boost in alertness and focus. Plus, Pre JYM X features double the amount of Creatine HCl and Beta Alanine for increased workout performance and strength gains. Experience euphoric workouts with Pre JYM X's Rise N Grind, Shockwave, and Tigers Blood flavors - you'll love the results! 

Key Ingredients:

  • Citrulline Malate
  • Caffeine
  • Beta Alanine
  • Creatine HCl 


Pre-Jym Review:
“Great energy levels and an intense pump. Definitely helps me power through intense sessions. All in all a solid pre-workout.”


9. CRZ OG (Best for Focus with lower stim content)

You may have heard legends of the original Craze pre-workout. Now, after many years of careful reformulation, Driven Sports can offer CRZ OG, which delivers a similar level of focus and tunnel vision but minus the strong stimulant effect the original Craze was known for. For hours after drinking, CRZ OG will deliver an enhancement in CNS activity leading to greater strength expression. 

Key Ingredients:

  • Trimethylglycine
  • Caffeine
  • Betaine
  • Erythropalum scanden


CRZ OG Review:
'The first 3-4 hours are about 90% of the feel of the original Craze. Insane mood enhancement, tunnel vision focus, and that feeling of being able to train for hours without getting tired. Time ceases to exist and I feel like I am in another dimension for most of the day. I am dosing at 1.5 scoops and it’s gives me an out of body experience when it first kicks in around 30 minutes after drinking. Everything is better on CRZ!'

10. Pre-Kaged Elite (Packed with clinically validated doses)

This scientifically formulated pre-workout combines key ingredients for enhanced performance, focus, and energy. It's free from fillers and jargon, featuring a well-crafted ingredient profile including Citrulline, Beta-Alanine, Creatine, BCAAs, Caffeine, and Coconut Water Powder. With no artificial colors or flavors, Pre-Kaged Elite empowers your endurance, muscle pump, and mental clarity. Push through tough workouts and achieve your fitness goals with confidence.

Key Ingredients:

  • L-Citrulline
  • Beta Alanine
  • Creatine Monohydrate
  • Betaine Anhydrous

Pre-Kaged Elite Review:
‘If you're looking for a top tier pre-workout this is it. Premium quality ingredients, flavour on point & no jitters.’

11. Gameday OG (Unique stimulant blend + pump ingredients)

This powerhouse formula was recently brought back exclusively for Predator by Man Sports. It features the same potent stimulant blend as the very first Gameday but with DMBA being swapped in for DMHA to make it stronger still. Experience unstoppable motivation and mental clarity as you crush your goals.

GameDay goes beyond energy - it boosts physical performance too! With performance-enhancing ingredients, you'll enjoy increased power, improved stamina, and reduced fatigue. Quality-tested for purity and potency, GameDay delivers on its promises. Elevate your workouts and dominate the gym with GameDay! 

Key Ingredients:

  • Caffeine 
  • AMP Citrate
  • Cymbidium Goeringii

Gameday OG Review:
‘Honestly, it's a very solid choice for those looking to boost their workouts. The energy kick is pretty intense, so I use it when I really need that extra push.”

12. Total War (Best balanced preworkout)

Redcon1 Total War has gone through a few different versions since it was first introduced but in the modern day it has become the preferred choice for intermediate level preworkout users wanting more energy, better taste, and more pump ingredients than something like C4. Overall, Total War is the best balanced preworkout for offering all these benefits, an unrivalled range of flavours and coming in at an affordable price. While there are stronger preworkouts on this list, none of those can deliver the taste and price point of Total War.

Our Conclusion

And here we have it! Our top pre-workout supplements for boosting energy levels, assisting muscle growth, fat loss and more. Remember, not all pre-workouts were created equal! Many of what were once the most loved pre-workouts on the market have fallen behind the times, and others are horribly underdosed or hide behind blends that leave the truth of the ingredients a complete mystery. We would advise the more educated user to avoid these gimmicky products like Legion Pulse or the original Hyde.


How late can I take a pre-workout?

If your pre-workout is free from stimulants, you can take it any time you wish! If using a caffeine pre-workout, be mindful that caffeine has a half life of around 6 hours (so if you take 200mg at 5pm, approximately 100mg will be in your system at 11pm). If caffeine interferes with sleep, avoid it after midday.

How long does pre-workout take to kick in?

This will depend on factors such as: if stimulants are included, what the stimulants are, if/how much you have eaten and if the capsule is in a capsule or powder form. You might notice the 'beta alanine tingle' within 10 minutes or so of consuming a pre-workout, but most will need 20-30 minutes from drinking for all active ingredients to start taking effect. Allow an extra 10 minutes or so if using capsules.

Should I use pre-workout?

If you are able to perform well on your pre-workout meal alone, a pre-workout supplement might not always be essential. But if you really want to maximize progress and put yourself in the best position to perform, a pre-workout can support you towards your goals. There are pre-workout alternatives available.