We put 23 electrolyte drinks to a taste test – these are our favorites


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As we enter the scorching days of summer and the temperatures soar, it’s important to stay hydrated during your favorite outdoor activity. Electrolyte mixes are great for this, but let’s face it: if you don’t like the taste, you probably won’t drink it.

That’s why we assembled a group of testers who regularly use hydration blends to participate in a month-long side-by-side taste comparison of 10 brands and 23 flavors. We’ve categorized them by brand, with flavor being the most important consideration, followed by the portability of the packaging and the mix’s ability to dissolve in water, so you know what to expect if you want it. use on the go. These are the results, ranked from best to least preferred.

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Best all around: Gnarly Nutrition

(Photo: Courtesy of Gnarly Nutrition)

Flavors tested: Raspberry, Orange Pineapple
Dissolvency: 5/5
Portability: 5/5

Gnarly Hydration Blends were a fan favorite in our taste test, and the raspberry flavor was the top-rated of the bunch. It’s rich, juicy and refreshing, tasting more like freshly picked raspberries from our garden than an overly sweet artificial fruit. Our only complaint? Gnarly’s Hydration Blend only comes in three flavors – we’d like more options.

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Ideal for salt fans: LMNT

LMNT
(Photo: Courtesy of LMNT)

Flavors tested: Watermelon salt, citrus salt, mango chili
Dissolvency: 5/5
Portability: 5/5

LMNT was a little more divisive than lower-sodium brands—some people absolutely loved them, and others puckered their lips at the infusion of salty and tart flavors. But if you’re a salt fiend, you’re in for a treat. The flavors of LMNT are delicious and satisfying; we tested the drink in 90-degree temperatures in Salt Lake City and sought it out again and again when we were feeling sluggish or dehydrated.

The pack is also the smallest and most portable on this list – it’s slim and short and can fit in any pocket of your running vest or even your shorts. Another bonus: it makes a damn good margarita mixer.

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Best for Everyday Use: Skratch Labs

Skratch Laboratories
(Photo: Courtesy of Skratch Laboratories)

Flavors tested: Raspberry Lemonade, Lemon-Lime, Strawberry Lemonade, Peach
Dissolvency: 3/5
Portability: 4/5

Sometimes subtlety is the name of the game, especially when bold, punchy flavors might not sit well in the stomach, like on a long run or a 100-degree hike. It’s there that scratch Between; its flavors taste like fresh sliced ​​fruit tossed in water, bright, light and incredibly refreshing. Skratch is a great everyday option because it has one-third the sodium of other brands like Pedialyte and LMNT, and while it doesn’t have the initial “wow” factor like some other flavors, it’s the kind of taste that grows on you with every sip.

One note: Although the Skratch powders are tasty and portable, we encountered a few issues when dissolving them in water. According to Skratch Labs, this happens because it uses real fruit for flavoring, which can cause some pulp or electrolyte salts to linger in your bottle after mixing. This only happened with some flavors, like peach, while other powders dissolved very well.

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Best for Hot Days: Liquid IV

IV fluid
(Photo: Courtesy of Liquid IV)

Flavors tested: Passion Fruit, Lemon-Lime
Dissolvency: 5/5
Portability: 5/5

IV fluidElectrolyte blends provide the perfect balance of salty and sweet. The flavors are a bit more artificial than the brands above, but just as delicious. Passion fruit, our favorite, is complex and tropical, but if you want a simple and refreshing drink, lemon-lime will quench your thirst on a hot day.

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Best for Long Days: Pedialyte Sport

Pedialyte Sport
(Photo: Courtesy of Pedialyte)

Flavors tested: Lime
Dissolvency: 5/5
Portability: 4/5

You may know Pedialyte as the ultimate hangover cure, but they also make an exercise-friendly electrolyte blend. Their Pedialyte Sport has that classic sports drink flavor, but with a smoother flavor and a big kick of salt. All that to say: it leaves no sweet aftertaste in the mouth, just a hint of salty citrus.

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Best Comeback: Gatorade Endurance Formula

Gatorade Endurance Formula
(Photo: Courtesy of Gatorade)

Flavors tested: Lemon-Lime, Watermelon
Dissolvency: 3/5
Portability: 2/5

Gatorade is a household name – you can probably conjure up the syrupy taste of a Glacier Freeze enjoyed at your college recreation league baseball game. We tested the brand Endurance Formula, which tastes lighter and less sweet than those traditional Gatorade drinks. The nostalgia factor is still there, but it appeals to a more adult palate. We especially liked the watermelon flavor, which is light with a super sour punch.

Gatorade won the taste test over Pedialyte (which has a similar flavor but is a bit saltier), but we’ve moved it down as it’s not very portable – it comes in 49 gram bags compared to 14 grams of Pedialyte – and does dissolve well in cold water. The amount of mix in the pouches is too much for an average 16oz bottle of water (they recommend using 24oz of water), so you may end up with a half-opened pouch of loose powder in your bag or an oversaturated drink.

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Best Deal: Ultima

Ultimate
(Photo: Courtesy of Ultima)

Flavors tested: Passion fruit, Lemon
Dissolvency: 3/5
Portability: 5/5

Ultima Hydration Blends are perfect for the sweet tooth, but they rank low on the list because they are too sweet for those looking for a light refreshment. The classic lemon flavor tastes like sweet lemonade, while the passion fruit tastes like a sweet tea drink you would buy at a gas station. But, with the added benefit of hydrating electrolytes, these mixes are a great substitution for those sugary drinks. They’re also more affordable than the other options on this list: 20 mix packs cost around $20 (compared to $25 for 14 packs of Liquid IV).

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Ideal for long journeys: Tailwind

Downwind
(Photo: Courtesy of Tailwind)

Flavors tested: Mandarin
Dissolvency: 5/5
Portability: 5/5

For athletes who struggle to cut calories during exercise, Tailwind products are known to be easy to digest, making them great race day fuel. But when it comes to flavor, we think they have some work to do – most testers consistently ranked it low on the list. The flavor is flat and hard to pin down as it’s neither sweet nor salty, but it’s also not entirely refreshing. The only major draw is that, at 100 calories per serving, they’re more calorie dense than the other products on this list, so you can use them as a meal replacement during a long run or bike ride.

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Best for Foodies: Honey Stinger

honey dart
(Photo: Courtesy of Honey Stinger)

Flavors tested: Tangerine, Mango Melon, Berry Defense
Dissolvency: 2/5
Portability: 5/5

We love Honey Stinger Waffles, so we wanted to love these powders, but we’d be lying if we said we love them. The flavors are too sweet (one tester said it tasted like a lollipop in drink form) and the powder clumps together when mixed with water. But if you’re trying to kick a soda habit or get your kids to drink more water, these electrolyte blends may work for you.

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RELATED: We’ve tested 19 of the best (and weirdest) drinks, gels and chews of 2022

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