Last updated: 17/10/2022

How we pick our products

29Products analysed

68Hours spent

39Evaluated articles

147User reviews

Welcome to our big isotonic drink test 2022. Here we present all the isotonic drinks that we have tested in detail. We have compiled detailed background information and added a summary of customer reviews on the internet.

We would like to make your purchase decision easier and help you find the best isotonic drink for you.

You will also find answers to frequently asked questions in our guide. If available, we also offer interesting test videos. Furthermore, you will also find some important information on this page that you should definitely pay attention to if you want to buy an isotonic drink.




Summary

  • Isotonic drinks compensate for the consumption of minerals and nutrients more quickly during long sports and training sessions, as they contain the same number of osmotic (water-absorbing) substances as the human body.
  • Isotonic drinks can also be mixed yourself using powder or tablets with the addition of water.
  • There are also isotonic drinks that are not designated as sports drinks, such as juice spritzers or non-alcoholic beer

The Best Isotonic Drink: Our Picks

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying an isotonic drink

What are isotonic drinks?

To clarify what isotonic drinks actually are, we need to look at the meaning of the word “isotonic”.

A drink is isotonic depending on how many water-attracting (osmotically active) particles are dissolved in the liquid.

Water-attracting substances are, for example, proteins, salts and sugar. These are all substances that the human body also contains. Isotonic drinks have about the same number of osmotic substances in them as our body.

This means that energy can be released more quickly and the digestive tract is less burdened.

Such drinks have their advantages especially in sports. In case of great exhaustion, the body should be supplied with enough fluids and minerals so that it does not collapse.

Isotonic drinks can help the body to regenerate more quickly, especially during strenuous exercise. Competitive and endurance athletes benefit from the fast energy conversion. (Image source: unsplash.com / Quino Al)

In addition to isotonic drinks, there are also hypo- and hypertonic drinks. The former contain fewer osmotic (water-attracting) particles than human blood and are therefore processed very quickly. Examples are whey products or mineral water.

Hypertonic drinks, on the other hand, can only be processed with difficulty due to their many osmotic particles. The body has to pull more water into the stomach to break it down and therefore needs much more time to convert the liquids into energy. Cola and undiluted juices are among the hypertonic drinks.

What effect do isotonic drinks have?

Isotonic drinks supply the body with energy. They help to supply the body with the necessary nutrients during sporting activities, hard work or great heat. Otherwise, the blood circulation can come to a standstill and the body becomes weak.

Human blood plasma has almost the same composition of dissolved particles as isotonic drinks. This means that the body can break them down more quickly and convert them into energy.

Isotonic drinks are therefore advantageous when the body has lost many nutrients and a lot of fluid over a period of time. Unlike mineral water or soft drinks such as cola, they deliver fluids and minerals to the body’s cells more quickly.

Are isotonic drinks unhealthy?

When used properly, isotonic drinks help the body supply energy to the cells. However, they are not a panacea, nor are they a substitute for water. Therefore, they cannot be classified as completely healthy or unhealthy.

Rather, it is about the correct use of isotonic drinks. They are less suitable as a drink for everyday use at work, school or university. Due to their increased sugar content, they are not recommended for normal use.

However, during increased physically demanding activities or high temperatures, they do serve a purpose. The increased value of minerals can compensate for energy consumption more quickly than water, juices or soft drinks.

At the same time, however, even under these circumstances, alternating water and isotonic drinks is probably the best way to keep the body going. Isotonic drinks are unhealthy if you drink too much of them.

How much do isotonic drinks cost?

The price range for isotonic drinks is comparatively high, depending on the type. It all depends on the ingredients of the drink. Generally speaking, you can buy an isotonic drink for between 4 and 25 euros.

On the one hand, it depends on the brand, but often it also depends on the quantity you want to buy. To give you a better overview, we have divided the prices in the following sections.

Type of product price per litre / price per 100g
Ready-to-drink isotonic drink 0,50€ – 4,00€/l
Effervescent tablets 0,80€ – 15,00€/100g
Isotonic drink powder 1,00€ – 25,00€/100g

The price per litre for isotonic drinks can range from €0.50 to around €4.00 in the local supermarket. This means that you pay about 0.25€ for a 0.5L bottle at best.

In most cases, however, larger bottles from the same manufacturer have a lower price per litre. The price per litre is always written in somewhat smaller letters under the product price displayed in large letters.

The price for effervescent tablets in the supermarket can range from 0.80€/100g to 15.00€/100g. It depends on the manufacturer and the quality of the tablets.

Another variant is isotonic drink powder. This can be mixed with water, similar to the tablets, to make an isotonic drink.

However, the price of the powder can vary greatly. Such doses can cost between 1.00€/100g and 25€/100g. It is always important to consider the quality of the products and the manufacturer from which they are obtained.

In general, the prices in online shops can increase even more.

Please always pay close attention to the product you are looking at and whether it is really what you are looking for. The packaging for tablets, powder and syrup can look very similar.

What are the alternatives to isotonic drinks?

Isotonic drinks are not necessarily suitable for everyday use and not all athletes need to use them.

In this section we would like to show you what alternatives there are to isotonic drinks and what makes them an alternative.

Non-alcoholic beer is also isotonic. So it’s absolutely no problem to have a cool (non-alcoholic) blonde after sports. (Image source: unsplash.com / mnm.all)
  • Balanced diet: Provides all the nutrients, minerals and fluids for the body; eating a balanced diet requires a lot of discipline and takes a little more time.
  • Mineral water: Provides mainly amateur athletes with enough fluids and important minerals and has no additional calories; competitive and endurance athletes do not get enough nutrients added if they only drink water.
  • Juice spritzer: Has a similar effect to isotonic sports drinks when mixed in a 2:1 or 3:1 ratio of water to fruit juice; ready-made spritzers from the supermarket often contain too much sugar and are therefore not suitable as a sports drink.
  • Non-alcoholic beer: Non-alcoholic Pilsner is just as isotonic as non-alcoholic wheat beer, but more effective because it is less fizzy; most non-alcoholic beers lack sodium. Nevertheless, it can help the body regenerate more quickly.

Not all of these alternatives completely replace the isotonic sports drink. Performance and endurance athletes in particular should not do without isotonic sports drinks despite these alternatives.

Decision: What types of isotonic drinks are there and which one is right for you?

If you want to buy an isotonic drink, there are three alternatives to choose from:

  • isotonic sports drinks
  • isotonic drink powder
  • isotonic everyday drinks

With isotonic sports drinks, you have the choice between ready-made drinks and syrup, which you still have to dilute with water. Powder is also available in its original form as well as pressed tablets.

Depending on the intensity of the sport and how regularly you want to use isotonic drinks, there are different advantages and disadvantages of these three types. We will explain these in the following section to make your decision easier.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of isotonic sports drinks?

As the name suggests, the isotonic sports drink is the ready-made form. With this choice, you don’t have to mix anything yourself and can take the drink directly. The use is therefore very simple and quick without much prior knowledge.

The advantage is, of course, that the drink is ready to use immediately. Once you have bought it, you can take it straight to the gym or drink it before or after as you like.

Isotonic drinks are available in small, medium and large bottles, so there is the right amount for everyone.

The disadvantage, however, is that you have no control over which nutrients are present in the drink and in what quantities. You cannot influence the composition and have to live with the standard product.

This means that the minerals and nutrients may not always be present in the quantities that you need.

Advantages
  • Can be used directly without effort
  • No own drinking bottles necessary
  • Create the best personal dosage through syrup
  • Suitable for beginners
Disadvantages
  • No control over exact contents
  • Price usually somewhat more expensive
  • Correct syrup dosage can take time

An alternative would be, for example, a syrup that you can dilute with water to make an isotonic drink.

Again, you don’t have control over what minerals and nutrients are in it. But you can set the dosage yourself and thus make the drink a little stronger or weaker.

On the other hand, mixing syrup and water together can become quite a sticky affair because of the consistency.

It will also take a few tries before you find the right amount of syrup in relation to the water and thus the drink does not taste too sweet or too weak.

What distinguishes isotonic drink powder and what are the advantages and disadvantages?

The isotonic drink powder gives you more control over what you mix into your drink and how much of it.

Of course, depending on the product, the individual nutritional values and minerals differ in quantity. So everyone can choose the powder that has the right nutrients and dose their drink themselves.

However, the powder also has the disadvantage, similar to syrup, that it will take a few tries before you find the right mixture for you. However, once this has been achieved, nothing stands in the way of a good nutrient balance.

The question of the right mixing ratio also arises with the powder pressed into tablets. The application is simpler than with powder or syrup. All you have to do is add the right amount of water to the already dosed tablet and after a short wait you have your perfect isotonic sports drink.

Advantages
  • Control over the dosage
  • Can be used over a longer period of time
  • Tablets are easy to use
  • A little cheaper depending on the product
Disadvantages
  • Mixing ratio is not always the same
  • Usually only available in large quantities
  • Own drinking bottle is needed

The disadvantage of the tablets is again that you cannot dose them yourself. However, this is not so bad because you can still find the right balance for your drink by adding water.

However, all these forms of isotonic powder have one disadvantage in common. To mix them together, you need your own container. At home before or after sports, this can be a glass or a cup.

Everyone probably has one of these at home. However, if you want to take your drink with you to sports, you should have a drinking bottle in which you can put your isotonic mixture.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of isotonic drinks for everyday use?

Apart from isotonic drinks made especially for sports, there are also drinks from our everyday life that have an isotonic effect.

One of these is apple juice spritzer, for example. In a ratio of 2:1 or 3:1 water to apple juice, this has exactly the same effect as an isotonic sports drink.

A big advantage of this is certainly the lower price. Because apple juice and apple spritzer are not designated as sports drinks and are also offered to normal consumers, the price is comparatively much lower than the less everyday versions.

It is important to mention that ready-made apple spritzer from the supermarket will not have the same effect as homemade ones made from mineral water and apple juice. The spritzer from the supermarket is rarely made with mineral water and thus often contains more sugar than the homemade variant.

Advantages
  • Cheapest variant
  • Especially suitable for hobby athletes
  • Well-known product
Disadvantages
  • Spritzer from the supermarket not suitable
  • Effort due to mixing by hand
  • Own drinking bottle required

Non-alcoholic beer can also have an isotonic effect. As with apple spritzer, the price is the big advantage of beer.

However, it should be noted that non-alcoholic beer usually lacks sodium, which has a positive effect on the water balance. Drinking a non-alcoholic beer after sport can nevertheless support the body.

Buying criteria: You can use these factors to compare and evaluate isotonic drinks

In the following, we will show you which criteria you can use to decide on one of the many different isotonic drinks, powders or tablets.

The criteria you can use to compare isotonic drinks are as follows:

  • Ingredients
  • Taste
  • Health factor
  • Quantity

In the following paragraphs we will explain what the individual criteria are.

Ingredients

The key point of isotonic drinks is, of course, their ingredients. Without the important nutrients and minerals, they would not have the effect and necessity that distinguishes them. Therefore, you should pay close attention to which minerals and how much of them are contained in the drink.

As mentioned above, the right composition of the drink is very important. Too much sugar can inhibit processing by the body. Too little may not provide enough energy to re-stabilise the body.

The most important ingredients besides sugar (at best natural fructose) are sodium, magnesium and calcium. During a longer exercise session, the body releases these substances with sweat.

If you mix your own isotonic drink, you should make sure that the mineral water you choose is not suitable for babies. Otherwise the sodium content would be too low and the mineral water unsuitable.

Taste

The taste factor should not be neglected when choosing the right drink. Some prefer it a little fruitier, others more neutral. Isotonic drinks come in many different flavours.

You should follow your own preferences and find the right flavour for you.

Acidic flavours are particularly popular with many athletes. Lime or lemon are not the only variants. Drinks with a cherry or orange flavour, for example, are somewhat less acidic than these two. Grapefruit, pineapple and various berries also belong to the more acidic flavours.

Contrast this with somewhat milder flavours, such as hazelnut or coconut. They are less acidic and therefore well suited for people who have problems with fructose. A little more unusual, but still not sour, are isotonic drinks with woodruff flavour.

Health factor

Of course, an isotonic drink is supposed to support the athlete and his or her body during sport.

Therefore, it is important to pay attention to the health aspect when choosing a sports drink. Otherwise, the drink can have exactly the opposite effect and reduce the sporting effect.

Above all, it is important that an isotonic drink does not contain too much sugar. This would make the drink hypertonic and the body would make more effort to process it.

Nevertheless, sugar should not be disregarded as a source of energy. The drink should contain a significant amount.

The amount and frequency of sport should also be taken into account when choosing the right drink. For amateur athletes with sessions of up to 60 minutes, conventional mineral water or a diluted juice spritzer is usually sufficient.

Isotonic sports drinks designed for competitive sports have more calories and people who do irregular exercise are more likely to gain weight than lose it.

There is no one healthiest or best drink for sport. Everyone should find out for themselves which drinks are a good complement to sport and which ones they may not need.

Quantity

The question of how much to buy arises when you know approximately how much you will realistically consume.

There are individual bottles for one-time use, small tablet rolls for ten to twelve applications, but also large powder cans from which many drinks can be mixed.

The decisive factor for the amount purchased should therefore be how often and how regularly you do sport. You should also pay attention to how long the sports units last.

But an intensive session of more than 60 minutes, an isotonic drink can help the body. If your sessions are shorter, you don’t need as much compensation.

A marathon runner, for example, should make sure that his or her body is regularly supplied with minerals and nutrients during training and competition so as not to keel over”. To do this, it would make sense to buy a larger quantity directly. If you only run, swim or cycle for an hour, less is enough.

Facts worth knowing about isotonic drinks

Do isotonic drinks help against a hangover?

If you have a hangover after a night of partying with alcohol, it is definitely advisable to drink plenty of fluids to restore your fluid balance. Drinking a lot” mainly means water, of course, and definitely not other alcoholic drinks.

If you have a hangover, an isotonic drink can be very helpful in getting back on your feet more quickly. However, the most important thing is to drink enough water! (Image source: pixabay.com / Michal Jarmoluk)

Alcohol consumption causes the body to consume more water, but also more nutrients such as sodium, potassium and magnesium.

Therefore, it can’t hurt to add these nutrients back in. The best way to do this is in the form of still (!) water and diluted juice spritzer.

The isotonic drink is not a cure for a hangover or headache after drinking. However, it can help the body recover a little faster.

A very good tip is to drink a glass or two of water in between the festivities to prevent hangovers.

Why should I use isotonic drinks, especially in Asian countries?

In Asian countries, especially in Southeast Asia, the water in the supermarkets has few to no minerals.

Due to the warm weather that prevails in countries like Indonesia, Thailand or Malaysia, the body dehydrates quite quickly. In the process, it also loses many nutrients and minerals.

To compensate for this, we drink a lot of water in this country. And that is usually enough. In these countries, however, you should use mineral drinks or isotonic drinks in addition to water.

Isotonic drinks are also advisable to prevent a so-called “Bali Belly” or “Indo Belly”.

As a natural alternative to water, you can also drink fresh coconut water. This can be found on almost every corner in Southeast Asia and coconuts are also very affordable.

In Asia, it is advisable not to drink the water from the taps. It is often not filtered, very chlorinated and simply not clean. In any case, use the water bottles in the supermarket.

Photo source: 123rf.com / dolgachov

Reviews