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Published Sep. 22, 2021

Your body needs electrolytes to stay up and running and maintain hydration levels. Dehydration from heat, excessive exercise, or some illnesses (especially those that cause diarrhea and vomiting) is the number-one cause of low electrolyte levels. The best electrolyte powders bump those levels back up and help your body get back to tip-top shape.

Electrolyte powders can contain any of the seven most important electrolytes found in the body, namely:

  • Potassium
  • Sodium
  • Calcium
  • Chloride
  • Magnesium
  • Bicarbonate
  • Phosphate

You need all of these to be prepared for and recover from tough workouts. However, the most common ones found in electrolyte powders are calcium, potassium, and sodium because without these, the muscles can cramp and feel weak. 

But electrolytes, in particular sodium, also aid the flow of water through cell membranes. Without electrolytes, the body can’t  maintain healthy hydration levels, even if you’re drinking plenty of water. An electrolyte powder with a balance of nutrients in a flavor you love can keep you hydrated in the heat, after an intense workout, or when you’re recovering from illness. Here are our recommendations.

How We Picked the Best Electrolyte Powders

Methodology

As a longtime health writer and avid runner, I’m well versed on scientific research on athletic performance and regularly review products for their safety and efficacy.

  • Essential electrolytes: Electrolyte powders can have anywhere from all seven of the most important electrolytes to only two. Just because a mix doesn’t have all of them doesn’t mean it isn’t effective. Sodium and potassium are the two most important for hydration, so it was essential that the electrolyte powders contained at least those two.
  • Sugar content: It’s important to keep an eye on added sugars. Plus, in some cases, a drink with too much sugar can irritate the bowels and cause diarrhea that hinders rather than helps hydration. We made sure to note the powders that might not be best when you’re feeling under the weather. 
  • Extra nutrients: We considered any other additions to the formula, such as vitamins and minerals. These extras aren’t absolutely necessary, but they are a great way to get an extra dose of vitamin C or the B vitamins.
  • Flavors: Finally, we took note of flavor options and quality. A drink that you have to choke down won’t be a go-to when you’re not at your peak.

The Best Electrolyte Powders: Reviews and Recommendations

Best Overall: Dr. Berg’s Original Electrolyte Powder

Tasty and Effective

Dr. Berg’s packs in the electrolytes you need with delicious flavor. Dr. Berg Nutritional

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Why It Made The Cut: Dr. Berg’s gets top marks for its mix of electrolytes, zero sugar, and a flavor that most reviewers love.

Specs: 

  • Flavors: Raspberry and lemon, orange
  • Servings per container: 45
  • Net Weight: 10.8 ounces 

Pros:

  • Delicious raspberry and lemon flavor
  • No added sugars, carbs, or maltodextrin
  • High in potassium to reduce muscle cramps

Cons: 

  • Can be too sweet for some people

Dr. Berg’s Original Electrolyte Powder contains calcium, magnesium, chloride, sodium, and potassium (in the form of potassium citrate). Citric acid anhydrous, natural flavors, and organic stevia round out the rest of the ingredients, keeping this powder keto-friendly and free from carbs,gluten, and added sugars.

The delicious raspberry and lemon flavor gets high praise from reviewers (although some find it a little too sweet) and tastes more like a sports drink than a supplement. However, as with other electrolyte supplements, it should only be taken in the recommended dosage because of the high potassium levels. 

Best Individual Packets: Liquid I.V. Hydration Multiplier

Convenient Boost

Liquid I.V.’s portable convenience keeps you hydrated and going on the trail, at the beach, or wherever your adventures take you. Liquid I.V.

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Why It Made The Cut: Liquid I.V. Hydration Multiplier’s nutrition value, flavor, and portable convenience keep you hydrated wherever your adventures take you.

Specs: 

  • Flavor(s): Lemon-lime
  • Servings per container: 16 
  • Net Weight: 9.03 ounces

Pros:

  • Easy-to-use individual packets
  • Includes essential B vitamins and vitamin C
  • Company donates one serving for each purchase

Cons: 

  • High sugar content
  • High sodium content

Need to stay hydrated while slurping a water bottle up the mountain trail? Liquid I.V. Hydration Multiplier comes in individual packets that you can add to 16 ounces of water for a quick hydration boost. While it contains the electrolytes calcium, sodium, and potassium, it also has a mix of B vitamins and vitamin C for a more rounded approach to hydration than some of the other electrolyte powders.  

This powder contains a slightly higher sugar content than other powders. According to Liquid I.V., that sugar is part of its Cellular Transport Technology (CTT) rehydration system, a mix of sodium, potassium, glucose (sugar), and water that speeds up water delivery. Please note that there aren’t any scientific studies to back up the claims of speedier hydration with this formula. 

Also be aware of the high sodium content. At 500 milligrams, it could be a problem for those with high blood pressure.

On a brighter note, for every purchase, the company donates a serving of Liquid I.V. to someone in need. 

Best Keto-Friendly: Keto K1000 Electrolyte Powder

Keto Approved

This sugar- and carb-free powder contains high levels of potassium and other electrolytes. Hi-Lyte

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Why It Made The Cut: This keto-friendly formula contains stevia instead of sugar, tastes good, and makes a delicious addition to a keto diet or a low-carb lifestyle.

Specs: 

  • Flavor(s): Orange, raspberry lemon, watermelon, and unflavored
  • Servings per container: 50
  • Net Weight: 10.6 ounces

Pros: 

  • Comes in four flavors
  • Contains stevia instead of sugar
  • Less expensive than other keto-friendly powders

Cons 

  • High potassium level

Filled with the electrolytes calcium, magnesium, chloride, sodium, and potassium, Keto K1000 Electrolyte Powder fits the bill for recharging and hydrating. It contains no sugar, calories, or carbs. Stevia, a sugar substitute, keeps it kosher and within a standard keto diet. Moving to a keto diet can leave you feeling fatigued as your body adjusts. This formula gives muscles the charge (literally) it needs to reduce that fatigue. 

One important thing to note about this powder—it contains a high level of potassium, and some reviewers have experienced tingling associated with potassium sensitivity. The company clearly states on the package to start with a half dose to make sure you aren’t potassium sensitive. Follow the manufacturer’s dosage and use recommendations to make sure this supplement works for you. 

Best for Kids: Pedialyte AdvancedCare Plus Electrolyte Powder

Family Approved

Kids and adults can get a good hit of electrolytes with helpful prebiotics for gut health. Pedialyte Electrolyte Powder

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Why It Made The Cut: Pedialyte is well known in the medical community, and this powder has a balance that’s safe for everyone over the age of one. 

Specs: 

  • Flavor(s): Strawberry Freeze, Berry Frost, Orange Breeze 
  • Servings: 6 per package (3 packages per order)
  • Net Weight: 3.6 ounces per package

Pros:

  • Contains PreActiv prebiotics for gut health
  • Contains electrolytes sodium and potassium
  • Safe for those over the age of 1

Cons: 

  • High sugar content
  • Few servings per container

Pedialyte AdvancedCare Plus Electrolyte Powder is formulated with the electrolytes sodium and potassium, with more sodium than the original Pedialyte. It also contains prebiotics, nutrients that feed helpful gut bacteria. 

While this powder has a higher sugar content than some of the other powders on our list, that sugar is supposed to work with the electrolytes to help replenish fluids and minerals due to dehydration. Pedialyte doesn’t have studies to back up that claim, and they’re not the only brand to combine sugar with electrolytes. As long as the dehydration isn’t caused by vomiting or diarrhea, the sugar content shouldn’t cause any immediate issues

This isn’t the most cost-effective formula, and there are few servings per package.  But if you want to have an electrolyte boost on hand for the entire family, everyone ages one and up can use this Pedialyte powder.

Best Value: Key Nutrients Electrolyte Recovery Plus

Electrolytes and More

Save a few dollars while getting a dose of six electrolytes and 12 vitamins and minerals. KEY NUTRIENTS

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Why It Made The Cut: Key Nutrients Electrolyte Recovery Plus meets electrolyte needs, adds extra nutritional value, and costs less than most of the competitors.

Specs:

  • Flavor(s): Lemonade, orange, watermelon, raspberry, and more
  • Servings per container: 90
  • Net Weight: 12.7 ounces

Pros

  • Comes in many different flavors
  • Contains six electrolytes
  • Contains 12 vitamins and minerals

Cons: 

  • Doesn’t always dissolve well in water

If you’re looking to increase your nutrient intake, consider Key Nutrients Electrolyte Recovery Plus comes with extra vitamins and minerals but at a lower price. It includes six electrolytes: calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, chloride, sodium, and potassium. They’re mixed with a long list of vitamins and minerals such as vitamin C, niacin, zinc, and thiamin. Those added nutrients aren’t necessary for hydration, but they certainly don’t hurt your health either. This mix contains stevia instead of cane sugar, which means it’s completely sugar-free, and it’s also keto-friendly.. 

The downside with this formula is that it doesn’t always dissolve well in water, and you may find some undissolved mix at the bottom of your glass. Your best bet is to make sure you’re using enough water (16 ounces) and stir thoroughly before drinking. 

Things to Consider Before Buying Electrolyte Powders

Electrolyte Content and Levels

Take a look at which and how much of each electrolyte the powder contains. For hydration, sodium, and potassium are the most important, though calcium makes a big difference too. The other electrolytes help other functions throughout the body, so don’t underestimate their value. If you have high blood pressure, choose a powder with low or no sodium. Some people are sensitive to potassium. High blood potassium levels can lead to shakiness or dizziness. If using a formula with a high potassium levels, start with half a dose to see how your body responds.

Sugar Content

Watch the sugar content. Your body burns sugar in the form of glucose for energy. Consequently, sugar can work well with electrolytes to recharge your body. How you plan to use the powder can determine whether you need sugar at all. If you’re drinking the electrolyte powder because of dehydration or intense workouts, the glucose can refill your reserves. However, if you’re using it after having a bout of diarrhea or vomiting, sugar can irritate the bowels. 

FAQs

Q: Are electrolyte powders good for you?

Electrolyte powders can be good for you, but they are not absolutely necessary. In the course of a regular day, you’ll get the electrolytes you need from eating a healthy diet and drinking water. However, unusually hot weather, intense workouts, or illness can deplete your body of electrolytes. In those cases, an electrolyte powder can help you counter excess electrolyte loss.

Q: Can you have too much electrolyte powder?

Yes! Always follow the manufacturer’s dosage instructions. Too much sodium and potassium, in particular, can affect blood pressure levels and influence muscle functioning. If you have high blood pressure, avoid electrolyte powders with high sodium levels. Some people are potassium sensitive, though they may not know it. Brands that contain high potassium levels often suggest starting with a half dose to see how the body responds and increasing from there as tolerated.

Q: What is the best drink to replace electrolytes?

One of the best is Dr. Berg’s Original Electrolyte Powder. However, you need to drink plenty of water with any electrolyte supplement. Most powders mix with 16 ounces of water. Mix them with the appropriate water, and then keep drinking water afterward. The electrolytes can help get that extra water where your body needs it.

Final Thoughts

Dr. Berg’s Original Electrolyte Powder takes the top spot for its mix of high electrolyte content, low number of other ingredients, and better flavor than competitors. However, if you’re looking for something a little more affordable, Key Nutrients Electrolyte Recovery Plus provides six electrolytes and extra vitamins and minerals at a price that goes easier on your wallet.

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