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Get your hydration on with the 9 best electrolyte drinks

Hydrate with these top drinks when working out or running

A biker drinking an electrolyte beverage from his water bottle while cycling on the street.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

When it comes to hydration, there’s nothing wrong with good ol’ H2O. However, there are certain scenarios where your body might need a few things added to the water to assist in recovery, the main components being electrolytes. Electrolytes conduct electricity when in solution with water, and your body needs constant electric pulses to work effectively.

When your body is under stress from illness, overexertion from intense physical activity, or dehydration from a long night at the bar, physicians and nutritionists alike recommend that you consume electrolytes. That’s why saline solutions at hospitals contain sodium and chloride ions. Sodium, potassium, and magnesium are key electrolytes. These minerals improve hydration levels and assist your body by regulating nerve impulses and maintaining a healthy pH balance.

Hence, it’s natural to seek out drinks with electrolytes when you exercise or when you’re just not feeling 100%. However, when purchasing electrolyte drinks, be wary, because not all drinks with electrolytes are created equal. Many are loaded with sugar and have a lot of other additional ingredients you may not be expecting. So, it’s best to read the label if you’re cutting back on high-sugar energy drinks or opting for sugar-free options.

A male athlete lifting a dumbbell in a gym
Image used with permission by copyright holder

How many electrolytes should you have after working out?

The amount of electrolytes you need after working out depends on several factors, so here’s what you need to consider.

  • Shorter workouts: If your workout is under an hour and not particularly intense, water is usually enough to replenish lost fluids. Most people don’t lose significant electrolytes in this timeframe.
  • Longer or intense workouts: During prolonged or high-intensity exercise, sweat losses increase, leading to electrolyte depletion. Replenishing them can be beneficial.
  • Sweat rate: Some people sweat more than others, meaning they lose more electrolytes. Assess your individual sweat volume to gauge your needs.
  • Climate: Hot and humid environments increase sweat rate and electrolyte losses.
  • Dietary intake: A balanced diet can provide enough electrolytes for most people. However, deficiencies can occur.
Man drinking after workout outside
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Our recommendations for electrolyte drinks

Below, we’ve run down our list of the best electrolyte drinks so you can perform at your peak levels regardless of the season or your workout.

A tube of Nuun Sport, For Exercise on white background.
Nuun Sport

Best all-around: Nuun Sport for Exercise

Nuun sports drink tablets are made to replace essential minerals and electrolytes lost through sport. A serving can be consumed before, during, or after your workout. Add a tablet to 16 fluid ounces of water and allow it to dissolve. Each drink contains only 15 calories and 1 gram of sugar. It also contains avocado oil, beet powder, and all the essential electrolytes, ensuring your workout is optimized. There are 10 servings (tablets) in each tube.

A sealed bottle of Advantage Care Electrolyte Solution on white background.
Advantage Care

Best when you’re sick: Advantage Care Electrolyte Solution

Sometimes when you are sick, your body requires additional electrolytes to support it in fighting the sickness. Diarrhea, in particular, is known to deplete your body of its essential minerals and nutrients. By drinking an electrolyte solution, you are assisting your body to maintain a healthy pH and healthy blood with the correct amount of minerals and electrolytes. This solution does just that, replenishing and hydrating your body while giving you healthy probiotics to restore gut health. It is also safe for children and adults alike.

A large pack of Liquid I.V. Hydration Multiplier beside a tube of the same product.
Liquid I.V.

Most highly praised: Liquid I.V. Hydration Multiplier

This electrolyte drink uses breakthrough science known as Cellular Transport Technology (CTT). CTT is an optimal ratio of nutrients that aims to hydrate you two to three times faster than water alone. Even better is the fact that this product contains three times the electrolytes of traditional sports drinks while containing half the amount of sugar and calories.

A bottle of Hi-Lyte Adapted Nutrition.
Hi-Lyte

Best calorie-free: Hi-Lyte Adapted Nutrition

If the idea of downing a sugary drink after a workout doesn’t sit well with you, you’ll be thrilled to know that this product is completely sugar-free, calorie-free, and vegan-friendly. You buy Hi Lyte in concentrated form and dilute with water. With high amounts of potassium, zinc, and magnesium, this drink mix is full of high-quality electrolytes.

A box of Great Value Electrolyte Kiwi Drink Mix.
Great Value

Most affordable: Great Value Electrolyte Kiwi Strawberry Drink Mix

Get your electrolytes in with a burst of flavorful kiwi and strawberry with the tangy Great Value electrolyte supplement. Add one squeeze to 8 ounces of water, and take your sports drink to the gym, tennis, or work to replenish you from the day’s strenuous activities. There are 10 packets in each box, and a range of vitamins in each drink, making this an effective, yet friendly in-the-pocket option.

A black bottle of Maximum Keto.
Zeal Naturals

Best keto: Maximum Keto

If you’re on the keto diet grind, you’ll be relieved to know that there is a sports drink made just for you. Maximum Keto aims to support those on the keto diet by providing them with ideal quantities of B vitamins, salt, magnesium, and potassium. If this doesn’t excite you fat-eaters out there, Maximum Keto also contains a hangover prevention morning recovery ingredient to help you out after drinking too many White Russians and eating too many cherry-wrapped bacon bites.

A box containing packs of Ultima Replenisher Electrolyte Hydration Powder.
Ultima Replenisher

Best variety: Ultima Replenisher Electrolyte Hydration Powder

Ultima Replenisher combines a solid sugar-free, zero-calorie electrolyte drink while offering 5 different flavors in each box of 20 stick pads. Simply tear open each stick and pour it into your water bottle to make this delicious electrolyte drink.

Bottles of Gatorade on white background.
Gatorade

Best pre-mixed: Gatorade

You should have seen this one coming. Gatorade is the American sports drink favorite, and for good reason. This drink has the added advantage of containing less than half the calories of the original Gatorade. It’s made to assist with hydration and is used by some of the world’s best athletes. Packed with electrolytes to help you perform at your best, you can buy delicious, ready-to-drink Gatorade for a convenient boost.

A six-pack Vitaminwater xxx on white background.
Vitaminwater

Best electrolyte-enhanced water: Vitaminwater xxx

Vitaminwater is known for delivering nutrients and minerals in convenient-to-drink water without added flavorings, preservatives, and other unnecessary chemicals. With a delicious acai-blueberry-pomegranate taste, this Vitaminwater is packed with vitamins C and B,and electrolytes.

Steven Johnson
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Steven Johnson is a chef-turned-content strategist. He now helps companies attract and retain more customers through content…
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