Before I started drinking green tea to boost my productivity, I shied away from caffeine. Coffee always gave me jitters and spiked my anxiety. Once I realized I’m able to experience the beloved caffeine rush minus the jitters and crash by drinking green tea, my life changed! Upgrade city! Welcome to my guide to choosing the best caffeine pills.
We’re lucky to live in a time when technology has evolved our available supplements to superstardom. Long gone are the days of dangerous supplements with nasty side effects. Yes, they still exist, but there are certainly much safer options available.
|Ingredients & Highlights
|#1) Genius Caffeine
|#2) Sports Research L-Theanine & Caffeine
|#3) ProLab Caffeine
|#4) Smarter Vitamins Caffeine + Maca
|#5) NutraChamps Focused Energy
|#6) Bulk Supplements Caffeine Capsules
|#7) Mutant Caffeine
|#8) MuscleTech Platinum Caffeine
|#9) Vivarin Functional Caffeine®
|#10) VitalFuse Fused Focus
Reviews & Buyer’s Guide
Now that you know the top 10 best caffeine pills currently on the market, let’s take a closer look at several of the supplements in my Top 10. In each review, I share the pros and cons reported by current users along with my opinion.
After the reviews, I go over how to take caffeine pills to get the best effect and several important considerations to make before you choose the best caffeine supplement for you.
Genius Caffeine Review
Genius Brand is one of my favorite supplement companies going right now. Genius manufactures a wide range of supplements with a focus on boosting cognitive function. Since nootropics are the craze right now, Genius Brand is the perfect match for our time.
All Genius supplements contain top-notch trademarked ingredients in researched doses. Almost all Genius supplements are highly-rated and loved by current users. The one drawback is the prevalence of side effects since Genius tends to cram a long list of ingredients into each blend.
The good news is that Genius Caffeine is simply microencapsulated extended-release caffeine, and that’s it. Genius Caffeine is the most reliable caffeine in my Top 10 and the perfect choice for an effective weight loss regimen.
ProLab Caffeine Review
ProLab Caffeine is a good ol’ fashioned caffeine pill for a cheap price. In my opinion, it’s one of the best No Doz alternatives currently on the market. The greatest selling point for ProLab Caffeine is how quickly it takes effect. According to ProLab, the energy boost is near-instant and starts in as little as 15 minutes.
Unlike Genius Caffeine, ProLab Caffeine is not microencapsulated, meaning it kicks in – and may wear off – faster depending on how you react to it.
ProLab is best suited for people who work long hours or want a caffeine supplement that kicks in right away when they feel drowsy and need to wake up quickly.
Smarter Vitamins Caffeine Review
Smarter Vitamins caffeine is available in two varieties: Caffeine + MACA and Caffeine + L-Theanine. I’m a bigger fan of the Maca variety since Smarter Vitamins is the only brand I know of that combines the amazing power of Maca with Caffeine.
I began taking Maca back in 2014 and haven’t looked back. To me, it’s the Vitamin C of invigorating herbs because it blends incredibly well with other energizing supplements.
The combination of Maca and caffeine in this blend by Smart Vitamins makes this formula the clear best caffeine pill for a workout.
Maca boosts vitality and strength while caffeine boosts energy, focus, and alertness. What more could you ask for from a pre-workout caffeine supplement?
Mutant Caffeine Review
Mutant is a lesser-known bodybuilding supplement company with a solid supplement lineup. One thing I love about Mutant supplements is that they’re always priced right. Mutant is in the business of providing high-quality, clean supplements for the most affordable prices.
Why pay more for the same caffeine anhydrous when Mutant sells pharmaceutical-grade caffeine anhydrous for a lower price? Mutant’s and Bulk Supplements’ caffeine pills are the best budget options in my Top 10 for weightlifters and bodybuilders.
MuscleTech Platinum Caffeine Review
MuscleTech Platinum Caffeine offers the highest dose of caffeine per serving at 220 mg. Muscletech is one of the more reliable supplement brands in the fitness industry and is most well-known for its line of protein powders.
Unlike several of the other formulas in my Top 10, Muscle Tech Platinum Caffeine is a straightforward caffeine supplement with caffeine anhydrous as the only key ingredient.
If you’re a fan of vegetarian capsules, you may want to skip Platinum Caffeine and reach for Genius Caffeine or another vegetarian alternative.
What I like about Platinum Caffeine is that the tablets are easy to break, and since the dose per tablet is larger than other caffeine pills, it’s advantageous to split one tablet into several doses for a more sustained release throughout the day.
Vivarin Caffeine Pills Review
Vivarin is a safe and effective No-Doz alternative. It’s intended for people who need to wake up fast. For example, if you’re the designated driver one night and feeling sleepy, Vivarin comes to the rescue. It’s also great for truckers and anyone taking a long drive who wants to stay alert.
My biggest qualm with Vivarin is the number of inactive ingredients such as FD&C yellow #6. Depending on how you feel about this type of ingredient, you may want to skip Vivarin.
However, if you’re looking for a reliable caffeine pill that boosts alertness in a hurry, it’s hard to beat Vivarin.
Fused Focus Review
Last but not least is VitalFuse Fused Focus, a nootropic/caffeine blend with a potent 150 mg dose of caffeine anhydrous. The greatest advantage of Fused Focus is the addition of TeaCrine®. TeaCrine is a patent-pending form of pure theacrine that provides an all-natural energy burst.
The cool part is theacrine is not considered a stimulant, which means if TeaCrine® treats you right, there’s no need to worry about an increased heart rate and blood pressure that stimulants produce.
VitalFuse is so confident that the combination of TeaCrine and caffeine anhydrous will produce longer-lasting effects than caffeine alone that the company backs Fused Focus with a money-back satisfaction guarantee.
How to Take Caffeine Pills
This section is very important because the last thing you want to do is take too much caffeine or experience the negative side effects. Believe me, I’ve been on the wrong side of the fence with a panic attack when I was younger, and it’s not something I ever want to do again.
The best “suggested use” instructions of all the caffeine supplements in my Top 10 are by MuscleTech.
Step #1 Assess Your Tolerance
This is the most important step. If you choose a caffeine pill with 150 mg of caffeine per tablet or more, it’s always a good idea to assess your tolerance first. You may want to err on the side of caution and start with 1/4 tablet instead of 1/2 and work your way up in 1/4 increments until reaching a full tablet.
By following this step, you give yourself the best possible chance of avoiding nasty side effects such as anxiety. The people who learned their lesson the hard way skipped this step. Don’t skip this step!
Step #2 Allow Time to Pass Between Doses
Another mistake I see people make is taking another dose too soon after the first dose. They may think that the first dose didn’t work when in reality it had yet to take effect. This leads to a double dose and an increased risk of experiencing jitters.
Most brands recommend waiting 3-4 hours between doses. Step #2 is even more important during the initial tolerance assessment period.
Step #3 Limit Your Daily Dose
Building a caffeine dependency and tolerance is never a good idea. If you allow yourself to up the daily dose beyond 400 mg daily, you enter riskier waters.
I went through caffeine withdrawal a few times, and it’s depressing. I end up sleeping for days straight. The key here is to be responsible because caffeine is no joke.
Step #4 Always Read the Label
When in doubt, read the suggested use instructions on the label. However, what I noticed is that companies offering the same dosage of caffeine provide different instructions. In my opinion, the instructions for Platinum Caffeine are the most accurate.
It’s a good idea to jump back to Platinum Caffeine now and copy the directions or jot them down for later.
Are caffeine pills safe?
Caffeine pills are mostly safe when used as directed. Even when used as directed, people who are sensitive to caffeine may experience negative side effects, which further enforces the need to assess your tolerance first.
Caffeine is found naturally in coffee beans, green tea leaves, black tea, and yerba mate. Millions of people around the world drink these beverages every day. The key is to drink these beverages or to take caffeine pills in moderation.
Once an occasional dose of caffeine becomes an addiction, then it’s no longer safe. Remember, caffeine is a central nervous system stimulant. The advantage of caffeine is that the body does not easily build up a high tolerance to it, yet addiction and withdrawal are common (*).
Even the FDA recognizes that “pure and highly concentrated caffeine” can be dangerous (*). People with hypertension need to be especially cautious with caffeine.
How much caffeine is in a cup of coffee?
If you’re a coffee drinker who wants to use caffeine pills as a coffee alternative, you may be wondering how much caffeine is in a cup of coffee.
Depending on how big your cup is or the coffee brand you drink, there can be more than 400 mg per cup.
For example, a Starbucks 20 oz. Blonde Roast contains 475 mg of caffeine (*).
However, that’s an extreme example. A 12 oz. cup of Folgers Ground Coffee (2 Tbs.) contains 60-80 mg of caffeine.
A Dunkin’ Donuts medium 14 oz. coffee contains 210 mg of caffeine.
If you’re a green tea drinker like me, there’s about 30 mg of caffeine per 8 oz. of brewed green tea. Black tea typically contains more caffeine than green tea at roughly 47 mg per 8 oz. of brewed tea.
Most soft drinks including Diet Coke, Pepsi, and Mountain Dew contain between 60 and 90 mg of caffeine per 20 oz.
Click Here to check out a full caffeine content chart for popular coffee, tea, and soft drink brands.
Why are these numbers important?
If you’re accustomed to drinking any of these beverages for a caffeine boost, it’s important to compare the number of milligrams you get from your beverages to the amount you intend to get from your caffeine supplement.
It’s also easier to assess your tolerance this way when you first receive your caffeine pills. A 200 mg caffeine pill equals about 2 cups of regular coffee.
Caffeine + L-Theanine
The reason I drink green tea and oolong tea is that I get the caffeine energy boost minus the jitters that occur when I drink coffee. Just one cup of strong coffee can give me anxiety, while I can drink strong cups of oolong tea all day without any negative side effects.
Why is this? It’s the relaxing effect of L-Theanine that cancels out the negative side effects of caffeine stimulation (*).
L-Theanine is naturally occurring in black tea, green tea, and oolong tea. On average, a cup of green contains 6.5 grams of L-Theanine (*). In most teas, there’s about 3x the amount of caffeine as L-theanine.
If you’re someone who experiences jitters with standard caffeine pills or coffee, you may want to try the Sports Research caffeine above.
Side Effects of Caffeine Pills
It’s very important to keep in mind that side effects are more common with caffeine pills than with other supplements on the market. If you have caffeine sensitivity, there’s a greater chance of experiencing the negative side effects.
Below is a list of the most common reported caffeine pill side effects by users:
- Rapid Heartbeat
- Panic Attack
Caffeine & Exercise
If you came here to find the best caffeine pills for a workout, there’s a special consideration to make. Caffeine is a vasoconstrictor, which means it restricts blood flow (*).
For this reason, more athletes (particularly bodybuilders) are starting to reach for stimulant-free pre-workout supplements that promote blood flow by boosting Nitric Oxide production.
What is caffeine anhydrous?
Caffeine anhydrous is a popular form of caffeine used in most fitness supplements. Caffeine anhydrous simply means caffeine without water.
Most caffeine anhydrous is derived from the seeds and leaves of coffee plants.
Do caffeine pills work? They sure do, and it’s critical to be careful with them. Always follow the instructions on the label and remember to assess your tolerance first.
The main benefits of caffeine pills are increased alertness, improved focus, wakefulness, and positive mood. Caffeine pills are also an effective part of a weight-loss regimen because they help to boost metabolic rate and fat oxidation aka burn fat (*). They also work to suppress an overactive appetite.
The greatest advantage of choosing a quality caffeine pill over-caffeinated beverages such as coffee is to obtain a smoother energy burst without the crash. The microencapsulated extended-release caffeine in Genius Caffeine is the best and safest on the market in my opinion.
Bottom line, use your head.