The 5 Best Pre-Workout Supplements On A Budget in 2020: Our Tested No B.S. Reviews

best cheap pre-workout supplements

By Gerhard Hoermann, ISSA-CFT
Updated on: October 3, 2020

Honest Review Guarantee from Fitness Informant:
Our product testing team uses the full 30 day serving amount in container before reviewing. Learn more about our review process here.

We get it all the time: what is the best pre-workout supplement for under $40? Well, we got tired of consistently answering that question, so we put together a guide that gives you the top 5 rated pre-workout supplements that are less than $40. More specific, these are the 5 best pre-workout supplements on the market that are less than $2 per serving.

We understand that some people cannot afford a $50+ version of a pre-workout. Is there a difference between of $50 pre-workout and an economical pre-workout at $40? Sure there is, but we wanted to make sure that if all you had was $40 in your pocket, you are getting the best pre-workout that money can buy.

We did not just take a list of pre-workouts that had a list price of $40 or under to make this list. We looked at a plethora of items to ensure this is the most comprehensive list available online that lays out, from 1 to 5, the best, cheapest pre-workout supplements on the market.

What Did We Look For When Making Our Best, Cheapest Pre-Workout Supplements List

We looked at several things when creating this comprehensive list of the cheapest pre-workout supplements that work. The word "cheap" can be taken negatively, and we do not want that with this list. We made sure we kept quality at the base of every pre-workout we included in this list of best pre-workout supplements on a budget.

Price

The first thing we looked at was price. We wanted to create a list of pre-workout supplements that were under $40 per container. The $40 mark seems like a good threshold to ensure you can still can a quality, effective pre-workout, while not breaking the bank.

Servings

We also looked at servings. We did not want to give you a $40 pre-workout that only had 15-servings...that doesn't help you while you're on a budget. The pre-workout supplement had to at least have 20 servings per container. We took price and divided that by servings to ensure that we were only including pre-workout powders that was $2 or less per serving. We accomplished that. In fact, none of the pre-workouts on this list are over $1.75 a serving

Quality

There are A LOT of pre-workout supplements on the market that are under $40. The issue: they are complete trash. It was our goal to ensure that not only are you being cognizant of your budget by providing pre-workouts under $40, but that it would also help you in the gym.

We looked at ingredients used and efficacious dosages. It is nice to "window dress" the product with pretty ingredients, but if you are going to under dose them we won't consider them. So not only did we look at the type of ingredient, we looked at the dosages to ensure that you were getting a full efficacious dosage of that ingredient.

Effectiveness

We only selected pre-workout supplements that work. Having efficacious dosages is great, but if that doesn't translate to in gym performance, then the product isn't considered for this list.

Only the best pre-workout supplements under $40 were selected for this guide. They must contain 20 servings or more. They must work. Let's GOOOOO!

The following products on our top pre-workout for pump ranking list were used by Fitness Informant personally for this guide.

We used each of these pre-workout supplements through the duration of a full container. Sample packs were not used in determining the rankings.

Stop relying on faulty information that is influenced by outside writers and money. This best pre-workout supplements on a budget list is the real deal.

Here at Fitness Informant, we don’t steer you wrong. If you're looking for the best pre-workout supplements under $40 option that you can trust, look no further than our top 5 picks below.


A Comparison of the Pre-Workout Supplements for Pumps

Here's the top 5 picks for the best pre-workout supplements for pumps that money can buy:

Product Name

Highlights

Rating

#1 RedCon1 Total War

RedCon1 Total War

Use coupon code INFORMANT to save 10%

Best Overall Pre-Workout for Value

Highlights:


  • 6g Citrulline Malate
  • 150mg Juniper Berry
  • 325mg Total Caffeine

Our #1 Rated

Fitness Informant Logo

8.7 out of 10

in the Pre-Workout Category

#2 Primeval Labs Mega Pre Black

Use coupon code INFORMANT to save 33%

Best for Ingredients

Highlights:


  • 6g L-Citrulline
  • 325mg Caffeine
  • 104mg Dynamine

Our #2 Rated

Fitness Informant Logo

8.8 out of 10

in the Pre-Workout Category

#3 Build Fast Formula FullBlitz

Build Fast Formula Fullblitz

Use coupon code INFORMANT to save 15%

Best for Pumps

Highlights:


  • 2g Arginine Nitrate
  • 335mg Caffeine
  • 800mg DMAE

Our #3 Rated

Fitness Informant Logo

8.9 out of 10

in the Pre-Workout Category

#4 Cutler Nutrition Prevail

Cutler Nutrition Prevail

Use coupon code INFORMANT to save 11%

Best for Focus

Highlights:


  • 750mg Alpha GPC
  • 362mg Total Caffeine
  • 100mg Neurofactor

Our #4 Rated

Fitness Informant Logo

8.4 out of 10

in the Pre-Workout Category

#5 MuscleTech Vapor 1

MuscleTech Vapor One

Best for Well-Rounded Profile

Highlights:


  • 3g Creatine Monohydrate
  • 1.5g Nitrosigine®
  • Well-Rounded Formula

Our #5 Rated

Fitness Informant Logo

8.1 out of 10

in the Pre-Workout Category

There are hundreds of different brands and variations of pre-workout supplements out there.

How did these 5 make Fitness Informant's top 5 list? Read on and we'll tell you:


#1 RedCon1 Total War

RedCon1 Total War
  • Rating: 8.7 ​​out of 10
  • Servings: 30​​ Servings
  • Best For: Top Overall Product

Use coupon code INFORMANT to save 15%

Pros

  • Fully transparent label
  • 325mg Total Caffeine
  • 6g Citrulline Malate
  • Naringen
  • Juniper Berry
  • 3.2g Beta-Alanine

Cons

  • Some flavors aren't great
  • Could use more pump ingredients

Total War is an extremely popular pre-workout supplement from RedCon1. It is popular for many reasons, but one of the main reasons is that it is an affordable pre-workout for under $40 and it works great. Total War hits on the main functions of a pre-workout including energy, pump, strength/power and endurance.

The formula is not overly complicated. That is a good thing. It is a fully transparent formula that ensures they can reach a price point that is attractive to the consumer but also one that works. With approximately 325mg caffeine and Juniper Berry, you will get really good energy and not the massive crash you may get with some supplements.

Pump is solid with 6g Citrulline Malate and a full gram of Agmatine Sulfate. They do not overdo it with pump ingredients because Total War can be combined with Big Noise to be an epic 1-2 punch. The addition of Taurine also aids in the pump but also the strength component of the pre-workout. A clinical dosage of Beta-Alanine also aids in endurance.

Total War retails for $39.99, but you can typically find an awesome sale on the pre-workout. Total War is a 30-serving pre-workout, something that is disappearing from supplements. With upwards of a 30% discount code (which do exist) at 30-servings, a cost per serving of Total War can be as low as $.93 making it the best pre-workout supplement on a budget.

Who Makes It?

RedCon1 is on of the fastest growing, most popular supplement companies on the planet. With innovative marketing practices, combined with effective supplements, RedCon1 is being demanded by consumers across the world. RedCon1 is one of the largest supplement brands in the world today with top rated supplements like Total War, MRE Bar and more.

What's in it?

One serving contains:

  • 6g Citrulline Malate – promotes blood flow
  • 3.2g Beta-Alanine - improves muscular endurance
  • 1g Agmatine Sulfate - regulates nitric oxide for a fuller pump
  • 1g Taurine - regulates electrolytes which may lead to strength increases
  • 250mg Caffeine Anhydrous - pure caffeine to increase energy
  • 150mg AMPIblast (Juniper Berry) - enhances the impact of caffeine
  • 100mg Di-Caffeine Malate - form of caffeine that contains approximately 75% but is a longer lasting energy to avoid crash
  • 50mg Cocophenols - aids in energy production
  • 25mg Naringin - anti inflammatory impact
  • 10mg BioPerine - aids in absorption
Total War Label

Bottom Line:

Total War from RedCon1 is the best value money can buy in a pre-workout on the market today. You get an effective, fully transparent pre-workout that is priced under $40 with 30-servings. In fact, RedCon1 is constantly running discounts that can get you as much as 30% off making this a $.93 per serving, the only one on this list under $1 a serving. There are other great value pre-workouts, but if you truly are on a budget this is your #1 choice.


Read the in-depth full review here.

Use coupon code INFORMANT to save 10%

#2 Primeval Labs Mega Pre Black

  • Rating: 8.8 out of 10
  • Servings: 40/20
  • Best For: Ingredients

Use coupon code INFORMANT to save 33%

Pros

  • Dynamine
  • 3.2b Beta-Alanine
  • Well Dosed All Around
  • Transparent label
  • Clinical Dose elevATP®

Cons

  • Slight Bitter taste

Mega Pre Black may be one of the most underrated pre-workouts out these days. Mega Pre Black is a product from Primeval Labs that sports a solid profile, and simply delivers on effectiveness.

The profile contains clinical doses of the ergogenic/performance ingredients such as Betaine Anhydrous, Beta Alanine, and Citrulline... it also goes ahead and uses some newer ingredients such as Dynamine at solid doses.

While it is on our list for value, this could easily be compared to many pre-workouts that go for well over $2 per serving. Usually with products at greta values, you tend to not see trademarked or patented ingredients... well here, you get not only Dynamine™, but TeaCrine®, ElevATP®, and Infinergy all come in this formula as well.

So why is Mega Pre Black on this list? Well, at first glance, it goes for $44.99 directly on their website, which isn't exactly cheap especially for 20 full servings. Well, if you use coupon code INFORMANT, you get 33% off, which brings this down to around $30, Also, Primeval tends to constantly run great deals such as BOGOs, and there is no way you will ever spend $45 on this, unless you want to of course. with such a great profile at such an affordable price, this is easily the best formulated product on this list.

Who Makes It?

Primeval Labs is a brand that has been around for quite some time now, and seem to always deliver when it comes to formulas and price. They are seen as a hardcore brand, however the formulas are suitable for many, and with such great pricing and constant deals, this is a brand that offers something for everyone.

What's In It?

One serving contains:

  • 6g Citrulline – transports blood into the muscles
  • 3.2g Beta-Alanine - improves muscular endurance
  • 2.5g Betaine Anhydrous - may improve power output
  • 2g Choline Bitartrate - helps with focus
  • 375mg Caffeine Anhydrous - pure caffeine to increase energy
  • 260mg (40%) Dynamine - pairs well with caffeine to provide more energy and focus
  • 100mg (40%) TeaCrine® - helps with long lasting clean energy.
  • 150mg ElevATP® - helps with the production of ATP
  • 168mg Di-Caffeine Malate - form of caffeine that contains approximately 75% but is a longer lasting energy to avoid crash
  • 100mcg Huperzine A - improves focus
primeval mega pre

Bottom Line:

Mega Pre Black is a greta pre-workout supplement at a greta price. Not only does it have an impressive profile, it also delivers on effectiveness and of course... value. This is certainly a pre-workout that is worth trying or having around. It does well enough on its own and doesn't even really need to be stacked.


Read our full review here.

Use coupon code INFORMANT to save 33%

#3 Build Fast Formula FullBlitz

Build Fast Formula Fullblitz
  • Rating: 8.9 out of 10
  • Servings: 24
  • Best For: Pumps

Use coupon code INFORMANT to save 15%

Pros

  • 2g NO3-T Nitrates for pumps
  • 800mg DMAE for focus
  • 335mg Caffeine for energy
  • 100% transparent label
  • Best pumps and focus

Cons

  • Yohimbine may be too much for some
  • Too simple of a formula for those looking for a fully-loaded pre-workout

FullBlitz by Build Fast Formula has taken the industry by storm recently. With VasoBlitz ranked #1 for pump products here on FI, BFF has FullBlitz on several of our top rated product guides.

FullBlitz will be the one pre-workout on our list with a unique serving per container amount. A container of FullBlitz is 24-servings, but retails for under $40. FullBlitz made our list because it really is the hardest hitting pre-workout on this list in terms of pumps, so the effectiveness justified it being on the list. Plus, with the coupon code, you can get FullBlitz for $1.42 per serving, and you will love the pre-workout.

To start, it has 6 grams of Citrulline, which is a good dose. Good news is, they don’t just rely on Citrulline like many other companies do. You also get 2 grams of Arginine Nitrate! Nitrates are a surefire way to get powerful and dense pumps.

FullBlitz contains Betaine Anhydrous at 2.5 grams, Beta-Alanine at 3.2 grams, and Calcium Lactate at 2 grams. All help with performance, and all are dosed well. It’s common knowledge at this point that the clinical dose of Beta-alanine is 3.2 grams. Betaine at 2.5 grams is solid as well.

Now come the energy and focus boosters. First we have 335mg of Caffeine Anhydrous. This needs no introduction, as we all know and love the energy boosting effects of caffeine. 335mg is more than enough and it should please everyone, even stim-junkies. After that, we have 800mg of DMAE. This is a nootropic ingredient, and it’s the highest dose of DMAE we have ever tried, and needless to say, we LOVED it. It puts you on a different level of focus, and it should be felt. Lastly, we have Yohimbe Bark Extract at 2.3 grams. It’s a small dose of actual Yohimbine, however don’t let that fool you. You will notice an increase in sweating and perhaps a small jittery feeling.

Who Makes It?

Build Fast Formula is a brand I bet none of you heard of. The creators of this brand are the forces behind one of the greatest pre-workouts in history: The Original Jack3d. If you've ever experienced that pre-workout, you know that they can do some cool stuff with ingredients. They did just that with FullBlitz.

What's In It?

One serving (two scoops) contains:

Vasoblitz+BA Blend

  • 6g L-Citrulline – promotes blooflow 
  • 2.5g Betaine Anhydrous – improves strength, power & endurance giving you more time to achieve the pump
  • 2g Arginine Nitrate (NO3-T) – this produces Nitric Oxide and larger pumps
  • 2g Calcium Lactate – muscle stimulator to assist in contraction

Energy Nootropic Blend

FullBlitz Label

Bottom Line:

FullBlitz is such a good pre-workout, and it is affordable, it had to be on our list. You will be hard-pressed to find a pre-workout for under $40 that is as effective as this pre-workout supplement. For less than $1.50 a serving with our discount code, FullBlitz is a top ranked pre-workout supplement while on a budget. 


Read full review here.

Use coupon code INFORMANT to save 15%

#4 Cutler Nutrition Prevail

Cutler Nutrition Prevail
  • Rating: 8.4 out of 10
  • Servings: 40/20​​ servings
  • Best For: Focus

Use coupon code INFORMANT to save 11%

Pros

  • 4g L-Citrulline
  • 2g Taurine
  • Transparent Formula
  • 250mg Caffeine Anhydrous 
  • 750mg Alpha GPC
  • 100mg Neurofactor

Cons

  • NALT
  • Very High Dose of Huperzine A

Prevail from Cutler Nutrition is a pre-workout that surprised us in a good way. Jay Cutler, 4x Mr. Olympia champion did not have to give us a good formula, but he did. Prevail is the best inexpensive pre-workout supplement for focus. 

Prevail uses some of the most proven ingredients for the best focus. You get 750mg Alpha-GPC, one of the most effective nootropics on the market today. Cutler combined that with 100mg Neurofactor, a unique ingredient that can improve memory, and 500mcg Huperzine A, a massive dosage of a fan favorite ingredient for improved cognitive function. Let's not forget about 750mg N-Acetyl L-Tyrosine. They even added 50mg of Theanine for anti-stress. This is 5 total ingredinets for focus enhancement.

Yes, we get energy too. Two forms of caffeine are used, Caffeine Anhydrous at 250mg and Di-Caffeine Malate at 150mg. This gives us about 362.5mg total caffeine for a sustained energy. The use of Di-Caffeine Malate ensures that you don't hit a wall and crash, but have a two-stage caffeine process. Cocoa Seed Extract at 20mg also aids in energy.

Lastly, for pumps you get 4g Citrulline and 2g Taurine. Citrulline aids in moving blood into the muscles. Taurine regulates electrolytes which may lead to fuller pumps and endurance. 

Who Makes It?

Cutler Nutrition, owned by Jay Cutler, is a brand that re-launched in 2019 with solid products. As mentioned earlier, Cutler did not have to give consumers full dosages and a fully transparent label, but he did because it was the right thing to do. Not all big name athletes take advantage of the consumer, Jay Cutler is living proof of that.

What's In It?

One serving (2 scoops) contains:

  • 4g L-Citrulline – improves blood flow for pumps
  • 2g Taurine – helps regulate your body's electrolytes providing longer-lasting workouts (endurance)
  • 750mg ​​N-Acetyl L-Tyrosine​​​ - version of Tyrosine that may improve focus
  • 250mg Caffeine Anhydrous – increased energy
  • 150mg Di-Caffeine Malate - prolonged energy and crash prevention
  • 100mg Neurofactor - may improve memory and learning
  • 60mg Theobromine - similar to caffeine, can aid in energy production, may smooth blood vessels for more blood flow
  • 50mg L-Theanine - reduces stress and anxiety
  • 20mg Cocoa Seed Extract - may increase energy
  • 500mcg Huperzine A - improves focus
Cutler Nutrition Prevail Label

Bottom Line:

You won't find a better value on a pre-workout supplement that will provide focus on Prevail. Prevail retails for under $40 for 20-servings. On paper this is $2 per serving. However, with our code you will save 11% bringing this down to $1.56 per serving, a helluva value for the kind of focus enhancement you are going to get with this inexpensive pre-workout supplement.


Read our full review here.

Use coupon code INFORMANT to save 11%

#5 Muscletech Vapor 1

MuscleTech Vapor One
  • Rating: 8.1 out of 10
  • Servings: 20
  • Best For: Well-Rounded Profile 

Pros

  • 350mg Caffeine Anhydrous
  • 1.5g Nitrosigine®
  • Taste
  • Clinical Dose of Beta-Alanine
  • 100% transparent label
  • No Exotic Stimulants

Cons

  • Could use a better form of Choline
  • Taste isn't great

Muscletech's Vapor 1 is another great choice for those who want a pre that gets it right where it counts. Muscletech has certainly upped their game in the past few years, and Vapor 1 is a good example. Vapor 1 makes our list for the best pre-workouts for value as it can be found for around $30 online, and in some cases, it's even less!

Along with a good dose of creatine monohydrate, you also get good doses of Betaine Anhydrous, Nitrosigine, Beta-Alanine, and L-Citrulline. The added beta-alanine and taurine compliment the creatine. While there are some fancy ingredients in here, Muscletech did not try to get frisky with the ergogenic ingredients in here. Yeah there are ingredients such as Nitrosigine and VasoDrive-AP, which are newer yet have some backing, as well as an ingredient called Japanese Raisin Tree extract, which isn’t something we can say has much research on. Either way, the ingredients that have been proven certainly do their job, and it is certainly sold at a low price on most websites.

Who Makes It?

MuscleTech is a company that is well-known to many. It is a legacy brand that has made some significant changes over the past decade. They went from a brand that made crazy claims on their labels, to a brand that is transparent and now known for using clinical doses of proven ingredients. They are certainly turning heads and making solid products as of late, and they should not be overlooked!

What's In It?

One serving contains:

  • 3g Creatine Monohydrate - improves strength and endurance
  • 3.2g Beta-Alanine - improve muscular endurance
  • 2.5g Betaine Anhydrous - improves strength ad power
  • 1g Taurine - improves strength and regulates electrolytes
  • 4g L-Citrulline - improves blood flow
  • 1.5g Nitrosigine - increases nitric oxide levels for improved blood flow
  • 200mg Hawthorn Berry Extract - promotes healthy blood flow
  • 150mg VasoDrive-AP - prevents vasoconstriction 
  • 350mg Caffeine Anhydrous - increases energy
  • 200mg Choline - improves focus
  • 125mg L-Theanine - relaxes you and improves mood
  • 100mg Japanese Raisin Tree Extract - may be good for blood sugar
  • 1.8mg Yohimbine HCL - helps with adrenaline and fat burning
MuscleTech Vapor One Label

Bottom Line:

Vapor 1 is certainly a good choice for those who want a simple and proven form of creatine monohydrate, along with clinical doses of other well-known, well-studied ingredients. 

Muscletech has certainly changed for the better, and we look forward to seeing more from them in the future!


Read our full review here.


When Should I Use A Pre-Workout Supplement

Due to the fact that you're on a budget, you need to keep in-mind that a pre-workout supplement does not need to be a daily thing. In fact, not to deter you, but a pre-workout supplement is not needed by anyone. They are nice to have. If you truly are trying to make your supplements last longer, then using them as needed, especially in the case of a pre-workout supplement is best.

On days that you need that extra boost and that extra focus/pump, use a pre-workout supplement. If you feel great and a cup of coffee may provide all the energy you need, awesome.

A pre-workout supplement is much more than caffeine. It can provide performance enhancing features like strength gains, power output, prolonged endurance, muscle recovery and more. You need to do your own financial assessment to determine if you can afford a daily pre-workout supplement.

Due to this, we made sure that each of our top 5 rated cheapest pre-workout supplements would come in at under $2 per serving.

Let's GOOOO!

Our Pre-Workout Supplement Testing Process

We examined five different areas of each pre-workout supplement when we compiled our rankings:

  1. Ingredients Profile
  2. Effectiveness
  3. Taste
  4. Mixability
  5. Value

preworkout powder in bottle

Ingredients Profile

When we review each pump activating supplement on their ingredient profile, we look at the active ingredients being used and their dosages.

Many pre-workout supplements include a variety of beneficial ingredients, but under dose them proving to be non-effective.

Effectiveness

Effectiveness is an extension of ingredient profile. If the product uses proven ingredients at clinically suggested dosages, the product should be effective.

Everyone is different. Everyone takes to different ingredients differently at varying dosages. We have tried and tested each of these products throughout the full duration of their container to ensure these products are effective over their life.

Taste

We review taste on two different components. First, how close does the muscle pump supplement taste to the actual name printed on the label. For example, does Blue Raz actually taste like blue raspberry. Second, we review it on overall taste (in our opinion) versus others in the same flavor category.

Mixability

Mixability refers to how well does the product mix in 8-12oz of water. The testing process for a pump activating drink we use here is a generic Blender Bottle with the chrome spiral ball. We use regular tap water with no ice.

Value

Value is a combination of ingredient profile, effectiveness, taste, mixability and cost. We do not just look at the price tag like a lot of others do. If a product is priced at a premium, we inform you if it is worth the premium price or not based on all the categories. We look at the overall picture of the  pre-workout supplement, and how it compares to other pre-workout supplements on the market.

Please Note: Many of the “top 10” lists you find online are written by content writers with no in-gym or supplement experience who are paid by the word count to write an article for a website trying to generate money.

These lists are influenced by brands who pay for placement. These lists contain pump activating supplements that are, for the lack of a better word, garbage.

The following products on our best of list were used by the author of this article. He used the pump activating supplements through the duration of a full container. Sample packs were not used in determining the rankings of the best pump producing supplements.

Stop relying on faulty information that is influenced by outside writers and money. This list is the real deal. Here at Fitness Informant, we don’t steer you wrong. Be Informed. Live Fit.