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The Top 5 Best Cheapest Pre Workouts

December 20, 2023

Top 5 cheapest pre-workouts

Picture this: You're lacing up your sneakers, double-checking your workout playlist, and psyching yourself for another intense gym session. Your favorite tunes are blaring, the adrenaline is starting to kick in, and there's only one thing left to do before you hit the weights - gulp down that sweet nectar of the gods, a pre-workout drink.

In the fitness world, this isn't a mere beverage but a divine concoction that serves as your liquid courage. Designed to be consumed before your workout session (hence the name), pre-workouts are an essential gym buddy for many. They provide the much-needed energy boost to get you off the couch, into your gym gear, and onto the workout floor where your records await demolition.

But there's a catch. In a world where prices have taken on the mindset of an ambitious rock climber, hunting for the most wallet-friendly pre-workout can be quite a challenge. Fortunately, we're here to serve as your fitness-economic hybrids, finding you the best and cheapest pre-workouts in the US.

Table of Contents
What makes a good pre-workout
Top 5 Cheapest pre-workouts
What to avoid when choosing a pre-workout

    Now, whether you're a seasoned gym shark or a bright-eyed gym bunny, sit back, sip your current pre-workout (soon to be replaced with a cheaper option, fingers crossed), and prepare to dive into the budget-friendly world of energy-boosting beverages. Ready? Let's go.


    What Makes A Good Pre Workout

    First and foremost, a good pre-workout drink should be like a well-prepared salad: having the right amount of the right ingredients. You wouldn't enjoy a salad with too much vinegar or too little lettuce, right? The same logic applies here. An effective dose of essential ingredients is critical for your pre-workout to give you the energy blast you're after.

    A significant sign that you're a winner is when a company is transparent about the quantity of each ingredient used. Think of it as a nutritional CV; it should tell you everything you need to know about what you're about to put into your body.

    If a product's label reads like a secret agent's file with a vague 'proprietary blend' listed, consider it a red flag. This could mean the company uses just a smidge of a particular ingredient, barely enough to have any effect, only to market it on its label. It's like saying a house comes with a pool when it's just a tiny kiddie pool in the backyard.

    So, what should your pre-workout contain? A winning cocktail generally includes caffeine, Beta-Alanine, and Citrulline. And while these three might form the main attraction, B Vitamins and L-Theanine also deserve an honorable mention.

    Let's find out what each of these ingredients does:



    Every pre-workout connoisseur knows that caffeine is the captain of the pre-workout team, a true energizer bunny that gives us that crucial boost to tackle the gym. The sweet spot for caffeine dosage is between 1.3-2.7 mg per pound of body weight, where it can really strut its stuff and maximize your performance.

    But don't just take our word for it. The science backs it up, too. Let's take a caffeinated stroll through some research findings.

    Back in 2019, a study involving the Spanish national team found that those fueled by caffeine saw improved anaerobic performance and increased power output - which is music to the ears of anyone looking to bulk up. It seems the caffeine crew was leveling up while the placebo group was still trying to find the start button. [1]

    Switching gears to a 2017 study that explored caffeine's effects on fatigue, the magic bean was once again a star player. Participants who pre-loaded their workout with caffeine lasted up to 12% longer before reaching exhaustion and reported feeling less fatigued. This perk could mean the difference between managing those final grueling reps and crying "uncle!" prematurely. [2]

    And if that isn't enough, another 2017 study honed in on caffeine's impact on strength and endurance among resistance-trained men. Lo and behold, our caffeinated friends experienced increased max reps on back squats and bench presses and reported a reduced rate of perceived exertion (RPE) on back squats. In other words, caffeine not only helped them go hard, but it also made it feel easier. Talk about having your cake and bench-pressing it, too.

    So yes, caffeine is king and essential in your pre-workout. But don't overdo it, as too much of the good stuff can lead to adverse side effects such as jitters, insomnia, and headaches.



    You can think of Beta-Alanine as caffeine's trusty sidekick, lending a hand to help you power through your workout. It's an amino acid that our body naturally creates, but a little extra shot can go a long way. Here's why: Beta-Alanine gets busy producing carnosine, a substance we store in our muscles, which becomes our secret weapon against workout fatigue.

    Imagine your muscles as a bustling city and carnosine as the infrastructure that keeps everything moving smoothly. As we increase our muscle carnosine content, we supercharge this infrastructure, enhancing our muscles' ability to buffer against intracellular fatigue during high-intensity exercise. In plain English? More carnosine equals less fatigue, which leads to a higher work rate in our workouts.

    Just take a look at a study from 2007, which found that a 10-week supplement regimen with Beta-Alanine boosted muscle carnosine levels by up to a whopping 80%. And that’s not all. The very same study recorded a 13% increase in total work done after just four weeks of Beta-Alanine supplementation, with an additional 3% climb at the ten-week mark.

    So, how much Beta-Alanine do you need to enjoy these benefits? Science recommends between 2 to 4 grams. It's a small addition that can make a massive difference, turning your ordinary workout into an extraordinary one. So, here's to less fatigue, more work, and all the gains that come with it. Thank Beta-Alanine.


    Citrulline Malate

    Citrulline Malate is your third musketeer, aiding nitric oxide production. But what does this mean for us gym buffs? Simply put, more nitric oxide means increased blood flow and oxygen delivery to our muscles during strenuous exercise. And let's not forget the most Instagram-worthy side effect of all - that coveted pump that makes us feel like we've morphed into the Hulk mid-workout.

    But the benefits of Citrulline Malate aren't all about the show; they're about results. Research has revealed this ingredient to be an all-rounder on the gym floor. It's like the multi-tasking mum of the pre-workout world, helping improve muscle endurance [3] [4], relieving muscle soreness [5], and enhancing aerobic performance [6] [7], all at once. And all these are essential to help us make the most out of our workouts.

    Picture this: You're mid-way through your workout, and just when you think you're about to hit a wall, you find a hidden gear. That's Citrulline Malate in action. It's like finding an extra five pounds in your pocket - always a welcome surprise.

    The recommended dose of Citrulline Malate to unlock these benefits falls between 4-10 grams. So, next time you feel like you're battling through your workout, remember Citrulline Malate is there to help keep the oxygen flowing and your muscles glowing.


    B Vitamins

    While the first three ingredients on our list have a more direct impact on your workout performance, B Vitamins are still worth a special mention. They're like the stagehands of your fitness show – operating behind the scenes to ensure everything runs smoothly.

    Take Vitamin B12, for instance. This versatile player is a crucial component of energy metabolism, the process of transforming nutrients into usable energy. In particular, B12 helps convert amino acids (remember Beta-Alanine?) into that sweet, sweet energy to power your workouts. If your amino acids are the actors, then B12 is the talent agent, ensuring they can perform. And the good news is you only need about 2.4 micrograms of it. [8]

    Vitamin B6 is also a key player, particularly in energy production. It helps break down glycogen and produce glucose, the body's go-to energy source in times of high demand. What's even better is that B6 also has benefits outside the gym, such as promoting brain health and helping ease nausea during pregnancy.

    So, while B Vitamins may not be the star of your pre-workout show, they are definitely essential players in helping you reach peak performance.



    Last but not least, we have L-theanine, an amino acid that can come in handy to help balance the effects of caffeine. While caffeine can provide an energy boost, it's sometimes accompanied by jitters and nervousness, making it hard to focus on your workouts.

    L-theanine helps with this by increasing alpha brain wave activity, which is linked to relaxation and improved concentration. In other words, it helps you stay cool, calm, and collected to focus on your goals.

    It's also important to note that L-theanine helps produce nitric oxide, further improving blood flow - another great benefit for peak performance [9]. A comparable amount of it to caffeine would be advisable in a pre-workout to get the most out of this amino acid.


    Top 5 cheapest Pre Workouts – US

    Fitness enthusiasts universally acknowledge that the pre-workout market is a wild jungle, teeming with products, all claiming to be the key to your workout success. But many of these pre-workouts don’t have the right ingredients, or they have the right ingredients but not in the right quantities for what we need.

    Our list, therefore, only includes the products with the necessary ingredients to make a decent pre-workout supplement. We have reviewed many products and bring you the top 5 most affordable pre-workouts on the market (in cost order).

    To recap, our selection criteria is:

    • 3-2.7 mg per pound of bodyweight
    • 2-4g Beta-Alanine
    • 4-10g Citrulline Malate


    1. Overall Best Cheap Pre-workout: Nutricost Pre-Workout

     Nutricost pre-workout


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    First off on our list is the Nutricost Pre-Workout, a product that not only meets our required ingredient criteria but also doesn't break the bank. This pocket-friendly champion has scooped (pun intended) the title of the most cost-effective pre-workout that doesn't compromise on quality.

    But the Nutricost Pre-Workout is not just about the bang for your buck; it's also about versatility. Vegetarian? Check. Non-GMO? Check. Gluten-free? Check. So, whether you're a plant-based powerlifter or a gluten-free gym-goer, this pre-workout has got you covered.

    On top of that, Nutricost doesn't shy away from showing their work, undergoing third-party testing to ensure you're only getting the good stuff. It's also made in a GMP-compliant, FDA-registered facility, which is just another way to say it's a product you can trust.

    As for the formula itself, it's quite the all-star cast. It includes our leading players - L-Citrulline Malate, Beta-Alanine, and L-Theanine - and features an ensemble of supportive nutrients. These include Taurine, Agmatine Sulfate, L-Tyrosine, Caffeine Anhydrous, and even a sprinkling of B Vitamins.

    In a nutshell, Nutricost Pre-Workout ticks all the boxes. It's a great blend of high-quality ingredients, affordability, and versatility, making it a fantastic choice for gym-goers watching their wallet without compromising performance.


    2. Runner’s-up for the Best Cheap Pre-Workout: Total War By Redcon1

     Total war pre-workout


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    Marching into second place in our lineup is Total War by Redcon1. This pre-workout supplement is no slouch when it comes to a potent blend of ingredients designed to fuel your workout conquests.

    With a name like Total War, you'd expect nothing less than a comprehensive, battle-ready formula, and that's precisely what you get. First, it includes our trusty sidekick, Beta Alanine, ready to boost carnosine levels and reduce muscle fatigue.

    But where Total War really comes into its own is with its caffeine content. It contains not one but two forms of caffeine! In addition to the standard caffeine, you also get caffeine anhydrous, a dehydrated version that brings alertness to the party without any unwanted water weight. It's like getting a double espresso shot without the post-coffee jitters.

    On the nitric oxide front, Total War is armed to the teeth. It has 6g of L-Citrulline Malate, bolstered by green tea extract and juniper. These ingredients boost nitric oxide levels, enhancing blood flow and delivering that 'pump' you love.

    In terms of quantity, each container of Total War provides you with 30 clinically dosed servings. This means each serving is packed with the right amount of ingredients, tailored for optimal workout performance.

    Total War by Redcon1 is a robust pre-workout supplement offering a formidable blend of effective ingredients, and it's all neatly packed in clinically dosed servings. It's an excellent choice for those seeking a high-quality, affordable pre-workout that doesn't compromise ingredient quality or quantity.


    3. Best Pre-workout Powder: Ryse Core Series Loaded Pre

     Ryse Pre-workout


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    Securing the middle spot in our top-five lineup is the Ryse Core Series Loaded Pre. Just like a seasoned weightlifter pulling off a perfectly clean and jerk, this pre-workout powder delivers strength, precision, and above all, balance.

    First, Ryse Loaded Pre brings a hefty dose of 4.5g of pure L-Citrulline per scoop. Just by looking at the label, that's almost enough to bulge your biceps. This muscle-friendly ingredient is ready to bolster nitric oxide levels and increase that oh-so-satisfying pump during your workout.

    What sets Ryse Loaded Pre apart from the crowd is its unique blend of nootropic ingredients. The mix includes 10mg of Thinkamine, a potent cognitive enhancer designed to turbocharge your focus during workouts without any unpleasant crash afterward. It's like having a personal trainer for your brain, helping you stay in the zone, rep after rep.

    Of course, no good pre-workout supplement would leave home without Beta-Alanine, and Ryse Loaded Pre is no exception. With 3.5g of this fatigue-fighting friend in every scoop, your muscles will pump out reps like nobody's business.

    Caffeine is a staple ingredient in pre-workouts, and Ryse Loaded Pre uses a unique form called ZumXR for an extended release. This means a steady flow of energy rather than the jarring peaks and valleys you might get from other sources.

    Ryse Loaded Pre completes its package with a commitment to transparency – all ingredients and quantities are clearly labeled, so you know exactly what you're feeding your muscles. Consider this one a solid choice for those who want an all-around, affordable pre-workout that covers all bases, from pump to focus and everything in between.


    4. Best Low Stim Pre-workout: Pre-Kaged Sport

     Kaged pre-workout


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    Pre-Kaged Sport pre-workout is a product crafted with athletes in mind, and it's apparent in every scoop of this scientifically formulated supplement. It offers a balanced mix of ingredients that cater to every workout aspect - from energy and endurance to focus and power. It's like having a well-rounded support team for your athletic performance.

    One key highlight of Pre-Kaged Sport is its delivery of clean energy, coupled with enhanced mental clarity. The blend of organic caffeine and pure L-Tyrosine ensures you step into your workout zone fueled with clean energy and a sharp mind. Even better, it accomplishes this without leading to overstimulation, keeping you on point and not on edge.

    But what about longevity in your workouts? Pre-Kaged Sport tackles that, too! It employs potent ingredients like beta power Betaine, plant-based Citrulline, and fatigue-fighting Carnosine beta-alanine to enhance your workout's mileage. No need to worry about running out of steam midway; with Pre-Kaged Sport, you're powered to go the distance.

    Another feature we love is its support for hydration and fluid balance. Thanks to critical electrolytes derived from Himalayan Pink Sea salt and Aquamin mg magnesium from seawater, this pre-workout ensures your body remains hydrated throughout your routine, leading to optimal performance.

    For those who champion transparency, Pre-Kaged Sport doesn't disappoint. It is a clean-label product, third-party tested, and free from banned substances, making it a safe choice for athletes at all levels.

    Here's a bonus for the night owls and caffeine-sensitive folks out there. Pre-Kaged Sport is a great pre-workout choice for those seeking a low caffeine content. Whether you're hitting the gym late or are simply looking for a pre-workout that won't leave you jittery, Pre-Kaged Sport might be the reliable partner you're looking for.


    5. Best Keto-Friendly Pre-workout: Bucked Up Pre Workout

     Bucked up pre-workout


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    Another low caffeine contender in our list is the Bucked Up Pre Workout, the best low stim pre-workout solution for those watching their stimulant intake. With its blend of top-of-the-line ingredients and commitment to quality, this pre-workout powder checks all the boxes for a balanced and efficient workout supplement.

    Bucked Up shines in its careful ingredient selection and formulation. It includes L-Citrulline, a critical amino acid that promotes blood flow and works as a nitric oxide booster to ensure your muscles are oxygenated and ready for action. With a generous dose of 6 grams, it's designed to maximize the pump in your workouts.

    What makes Bucked Up truly special is its innovative mix of unique ingredients. It includes ACTIGIN, known to enhance VO2 MAX and boost athletic performance, and BETA-ALANINE, promoting strength and endurance for both men and women. For the mind-muscle connection, ALPHASIZE steps in to help sharpen your mental focus during intense sessions.

    One more ingredient worth mentioning is ASTRAGIN, which increases the absorption of Citrulline by up to 66.7%. Plus, with a reasonable 200mg of Caffeine Anhydrous, you can expect a well-rounded stimulant effect without the jitters.

    And if that's not enough to impress you, Bucked Up offers a 100% no-questions-asked refund policy. Now that's confidence in a product we can get behind!

    Quality isn't a question either with Bucked Up Pre Workout. Manufactured in a GMP-compliant facility, this supplement promises safety and efficacy. So, if you're in the market for a balanced, effective, and potentially the best low-stim pre-workout, give Bucked Up a shot.

    It also gets brownie points for being keto-friendly, having a fully transparent nutrition label, and steering clear of sugar and stevia. This way, it provides a kick and fits comfortably into your diet.


    What to Avoid When Choosing a Pre-workout

    Before you rush off to buy the best cheap pre-workout on Amazon, you should avoid a few things. Here are five potential red flags that should have you proceed with caution:

    1. Proprietary Blends: When you see this on the label, the manufacturer is playing coy about how much each ingredient is in the product. Sure, they might have all the right players – caffeine, beta-alanine, and so on – but in what amounts? It's like having an all-star football team but not knowing who's actually on the pitch. For all you know, they could be micro-dosing ingredients, leaving you with little benefits and a sense of disappointment.
    2. Unknown Ingredients: When scouting for the cheapest protein powders or pre-workouts, if you find ingredients that sound like a spell from Harry Potter, giving them a wide berth is generally a good idea. It's your body; you deserve to know what's going into it.
    3. Excessive Caffeine: Yes, caffeine can help with focus and energy, but too much of a good thing can be harmful. If your pre-workout supplement could pass as a liquid espresso shot, it's probably best to look for an alternative.
    4. Too Many Sweeteners or Fillers: Manufacturers often use sweeteners and fillers to make the product taste better or to bulk it up. However, these could lead to unwanted side effects like stomach discomfort, especially if you have a sensitive tummy. Consider opting for a product free from artificial sweeteners to avoid any negative pitfalls. 
    5. Pricey Products with No Additional Benefits: Don't let fancy branding or extravagant price tags fool you. A more expensive pre-workout does not always equate to a more effective one. Do your homework and find the best value for your hard-earned money. There are plenty of cheap pre-workout alternatives that can provide the kick you need without breaking the bank.



    There we have it, our top five affordable pre-workouts to supercharge your workout and make your wallet breathe a sigh of relief.

    Each one, whether it's the Nutricost Pre-Workout for the budget-conscious fitness fanatics, the Total War By Redcon1 for those in need of a professional-grade formula, the Ryse Core Series Loaded Pre for its focus-enhancing qualities, the Pre-Caged Sport for the night-owl exercisers, or the Bucked Up Pre Workout for those on a keto diet, has been carefully selected to meet the demanding needs of gym goers while respecting budget limitations.

    Sure, the search for a pre-workout that complements your workout style, dietary needs, and financial capacity might seem daunting at first. But remember, the perfect pre-workout supplement is out there, waiting for you to discover it. With some due diligence and the knowledge that you have gained from this guide, you're all set to find your workout's new best friend.



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    2. Smirmaul, B. P. C., De Moraes, A. C., Angius, L., & Marcora, S. M. (2017). Effects of caffeine on neuromuscular fatigue and performance during high-intensity cycling exercise in moderate hypoxia. European Journal of Applied Physiology, 117(1), 27–38.
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    4. Glenn, J. M., Gray, M., Jensen, A., Stone, M. B., & Vincenzo, J. L. (2016). Acute citrulline-malate supplementation improves maximal strength and anaerobic power in female, masters athletes tennis players. European Journal of Sport Science, 16(8), 1095–1103.
    5. Pérez-Guisado, J., & FitzGerald, R. J. (2010b). Citrulline Malate Enhances Athletic Anaerobic Performance and Relieves Muscle Soreness. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 24(5), 1215–1222.
    6. Bendahan, D., Mattei, J., Ghattas, B., Confort-Gouny, S., Guern, M. L., & Cozzone, P. (2002). Citrulline/malate promotes aerobic energy production in human exercising muscle. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 36(4), 282–289.
    7. Suzuki, T., Morita, M., Kobayashi, Y., & Kamimura, A. (2016). Oral L-citrulline supplementation enhances cycling time trial performance in healthy trained men: Double-blind randomized placebo-controlled 2-way crossover study. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 13(1).
    8. 373 Lab. (2021, July 6). Pre-Workout Supplements: What to Look For and What to Avoid. 373 Lab.
    9. Siamwala, J. H., Dias, P. M., Majumder, S., Joshi, M., Sinkar, V. P., Banerjee, G., & Chatterjee, S. (2013). l-Theanine promotes nitric oxide production in endothelial cells through eNOS phosphorylation. Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, 24(3), 595–605.

    Thomas D
    Thomas D


    Thomas is a dedicated fitness enthusiast with over 12 years of experience in the gym. As a level 2 qualified gym instructor, he combines his passion for working out and nutrition to help others achieve their fitness goals. Thomas stays up to date with the latest fitness research and follows the work of top experts in the field. With a balance of textbook knowledge and real-life experience, he provides practical guidance to help others reach their full potential.

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