The 5 Best Ready-To-Drink Pre-Workouts in 2021: Our Tested Reviews

Top Rated RTD Pre-Workouts

By Ryan Bucki
Updated on: October 3, 2021

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.

Picture this, you're on the go, get some errands done, and want to finish it off at the gym. Well as you finish the last of your boring tasks, you realize that you do not have a pre-workout with you. Now some would just say suck it up, or go buy a coffee somewhere, but you are tired, or really want to perform at your best... or coffee just doesn't really doesn't agree with your stomach.

Well in todays age, there are plenty of solutions for this, and we are happy to say that there are plenty of RTDs on the market now that can surely replace your powdered pre-workouts, especially in a pinch. Now we have to say, many of them are going to be a bit more expensive per serving compared to the average pre-workout these days. However while many go for a simple energy drink, for the same price you can get a well-dosed pre-workout to aid with not just energy, but also pumps and performance.

Well we are here today to let you know what options are out there, and what to look for next time you are on the go and need a quick RTD to hit the gym before you get home. While in the past, there were few option, we now see new ones popping up all the time, which can get confusing. Well we are here to give you some options!

We critique each RTD on several different factors including formula, taste, effectiveness and value.


A Comparison of the Best RTD Pre-Workouts

Here's the top 5 picks for the best RTD Pre-Workouts that money can buy:

Product Name

Highlights

Rating

#1 Ryse RTD Pre-Workout

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Best Overall Pre-Workout RTD

Highlights:


  • 8g Citrulline Malate
  • 3.2g Beta-Alanine
  • 400mg Total Caffeine
  • Great Taste

Our #1 Rated

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9.1 out of 10

#2 Primeval Labs ApeShit Untamed

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Highlights:


  • 350mg Total Caffeine
  • 6g L-Citrulline
  • 2g Taurine
  • 3.2g Beta-Alanine

Our #2 Rated

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9.0 out of 10

#3 C4 Ultimate OTG

Highlights:


  • 300mg Caffeine
  • 6g L-Citrulline Malate
  • 1.5g Betaine Anhydrous
  • 3.2g Beta-Alanine

Our #3 Rated

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8.9 out of 10

#4 GNC Beyond Raw Lit RTD

Highlights:


  • 3g Citrulline Malate
  • 250mg Caffeine
  • 3.2 Beta-Alanine
  • 100mg NeuroFactor®

Our #4 Rated

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8.8 out of 10

#5 RedCon1 Total War RTD

Total War RTD

Highlights:


  • 6g Citrulline Malate
  • 3.2g Beta-Alanine
  • Great Taste
  • 1g Agmatine

Our #5 Rated

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8.8 out of 10

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 Ryse RTD Pre-Workout

  • Rating: 9.1 out of 10
  • Servings: 16oz

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Pros

  • 8g Citrulline Malate
  • 400mg Total Caffeine
  • Clinical Doses of Beta-Alanine and Betaine Anhydrous
  • Great Energy
  • No Crash

Cons

  • Not widely available

RYSE RTD Pre-Workout is a RTD that we couldn't NOT have on this list. It simply hits every aspect, and the first three ingredients simply make it look like a well-dosed powdered pre-workout. Let's take a quick look at what you get in here.

RYSE RTD starts off with Citrulline Malate and Beta-Alanine. Citrulline is the most common ingredient in pre-workouts these days, next to Beta-Alanine and Caffeine, as it helps with pumps. You get a great dose in here.  Beta-Alanine helps with endurance and is at the clinical dose. So far so good. You also get 2 grams of Betaine Anhydrous , which can help with power output. 

Following this you get Taurine, which can help with blood flow and hydration. At 1 gram, you are getting a solid dose in here. Nice to see the amount, as many energy drinks just keep that in a proprietary blend. Now of course, this wouldn't be pre-workout without that glorious Caffeine content. You get over 400mg in here, from two different sources. Caffeine Anhydrous is at 350mg, which is a strong dose and will certainly give you energy. Following this, you get 75mg of Di-Caffeine Malate, which is a sustained release Caffeine which may help prevent a crash. The formula ends with Dynamine®, which is an ingredient from Compound Solutions that helps with energy and really puts you in tune with your body.

This is certainly an RTD you have to try, and may actually be your go-to, as the taste is solid, and the profile holds its own against some solid powdered pre-workouts on the market.

Who Makes It?

RYSE is a brand that has been around for a few years yet is making some great headway in this industry, especially as of late. They don't have an extensive list of products, yet the ones they have released have been quite good. What we really like about Ryse, is that the people behind it have a lot of integrity. Unlike many other brands, Ryse did not start out with a high-stim pre-workout with DMHA. No, they started out with products that any noobie or even advanced lifter could get by with.

What's In It?

One can contains:

  • 8g Citrulline Malate- helps with pumps and performance
  • 3.2g Beta-Alanine - helps with endurance
  • 2g Betaine Anhydrous - helps with power output
  • 1g Taurine - helps with hydration and blood flow
  • 350mg Caffeine Anhydrous - helps with energy
  • 75mg Di-Caffeine Malate - sustained release Caffeine that helps with long lasting energy and prevents a crash
  • 25mg Dynamine® - helps with energy

Bottom Line:

RYSE RTD certainly deserves a spot on this list. Not only do you get a well dosed pre-workout that is actually better than many powdered pre-workouts, you also get a some extras to make it more of an experience, which is hard to do with an RTD. RYSE RTD is well worth trying out if you see it on a shelf, and may actually be your best option if you're on the go and want a well-dosed pre-workout.

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#2 Primeval Labs Apeshit Untamed

  • Rating: 9.0 out of 10
  • Servings: 12.5oz

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Pros

  • 350mg Total Caffeine
  • 3.2g Beta-Alanine
  • 6g L-Citrulline
  • TeaCrine®
  • 2g Taurine
  • Flavors

Cons

  • Could use more TeaCrine®

ApeShit Untamed is a nice addition to this list, as it is very straight-forward, and it has a profile that simply delivers where it counts. Not to mention, the flavors are great as well, so lets get that out of the way.

The profile starts off with 6g of Citulline, which can help with pump and performance. We like the use of Citrulline and not Citrulline Malate.Following this you get a clinical dose of Beta-Alanine at 3.2g. Beta-Alanine can help with endurance, and it is what gives you those "tingles". It can help with endurance, and is one of the most proven ingredients on the market.

Another great performance ingredient is Taurine, which can help with blood flow, as well as hydration. You get 2 grams in here which is a solid dose. Of course, no pre-workout would be complete without Caffeine. You get two forms in here, 300mg from Caffeine Anhydrous, as well as 70mg from Di-Caffeine Malate. Di-Caffeine Malate is a sustained released form of Caffeine, so it can prolong the energy you get, and even help prevent a crash.

The profile rounds out with TeaCrine®, an ingredient from Compound Solutions. This helps with long lasting clean energy and also helps prevent a crash. Overall, ApeShit is a solid preworkout that gets it right where it counts. Certainly a solid option, and may be worth stocking up on. 

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 can contains:

  • 6g L-Citrulline - helps with pumps and performance
  • 3.2g Beta-Alanine - helps with endurance
  • 2g Taurine - helps with hydration and blood flow
  • 300mg Caffeine Anhydrous - helps with energy
  • 70mg Di-Caffeine Malate - helps with energy
  • 30mg TeaCrine® - helps with energy
Ape Shit Untamed RTD Label

Bottom Line:

Great addition here, certainly worthy of a spot on this list. Not only do you get a solid dose of Citrulline and Beta-Alanine, which are both proven ingredients, but also ingredients to help with long lasting energy. These can come in clutch if you are in a pinch, and we recommend trying out all flavors, as they are all good.


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#3 C4 Ulitmate OTG

  • Rating: 8.9 out of 10
  • Servings: 11oz

Pros

  • 300mg Caffeine
  • 6g Citrulline Malate
  • Great Taste
  • 3.2g Beta-Alanine
  • Good Energy

Cons

  • Proprietary Blend

C4 Ultimate On The GO gets a spot on this list, and it certainly deserves it. The profile was ahead of its time when it came to RTDs, and for a widely distributed RTD, it certainly delivers.

The first ingredient is Citrulline Malate, which can help with pumps and endurance. At 6 grams, it is well dosed. Following this you get 3.2g of Beta-Alanine, which can help with endurance. It is the ingredient that gives you the "tingles" which you will either love or hate. You also get 1.5g of Betaine Anhydrous, which is a solid dose. 

The next two ingredients are Arginine AKG and Taurine. AKG may help with pumps, although we aren't big fans of Arginine on here. Taurine is great, as it can help with blood flow and hydration. At 1 gram, you are getting a solid dose. 

The proprietary blend is something we wish we didn't have in here, however some of the ingredients are solid. You do get 300mg of Caffeine, as well as some NALT, both as good doses. However we had to take off some points as we wish the Huperzine and Alpha GPC were disclosed.

Other than that, it certainly makes for a solid option, and picking up a case isn't bad. 

Who Makes It?

Cellucor is the maker of C4 Ultimate OTG. C4 gets a lot of flack from this world because everyone thinks of the Costco special 2-pack, which, admittedly, is a water-downed formula that we would never suggest here, but their energy line and a lot of the other things they are coming out with are solid AF. Cellucor is putting a lot of effort into their beverage line and they are not half-assing it.

What's In It?

One bottle contains:

  • 6g Citrulline Malate - helps with pumps and performance
  • 3.2g Beta-Alanine - helps with endurance
  • 1.5g Betaine Anhydrous - helps with power output
  • 1g Arginine AKG - helps with pumps
  • 1g Taurine - helps with hydration and blood flow

C4® Ultimate Energy & Focus Blend

  • 300mg NALT -helps with focus
  • 300mg Caffeine Anhydrous - helps with energy
  • ~Alpha GPC - helps with focus
  • ~Zembrin® - helps with anxiety
  • ~ Rauwolfia Vomitoria - helps with energy and fat loss
  • ~Huperzine A - helps with focus

Bottom Line:

C4 Ultimate OTG is certainly a solid option, and may be worth grabbing a case of for rainy days. It certainly delivers in the energy, performance, and pump departments. The flavors are awesome of course, and since they are widely available, they are easy to find. Well worth trying out and keeping some on hand.

#4 GNC Beyond Raw LIT RTD

  • Rating: 8.9 out of 10
  • Servings: 16oz

Pros

  • 250mg Caffeine
  • 3g Citrulline
  • Great Taste
  • 3.2g Beta-Alanine
  • 150mg elevATP®
  • 100mg NeuroFactor®

Cons

  • Not widely available

GNC LIT RTD gets a spot on this list, and it certainly deserves it. While some like to bash GNC, we have to give them a lot of credit here for an impressive profile for their LIT RTD. As far as carbonated RTD pre-workouts go, this one is easily at the top, and the ingredient profile is certainly impressive. 

The first blend is called the Energy and Mental Intensity blend. It starts off with a clinical dose of CarnoSyn® Beta-Alanine at 3.2g, and followed by 250mg of Caffeine. Two solid doses to start this off. After this comes elevATP® at 150mg, which is also the clinical dose. This can help with ATP production in the body, and it a welcome addition. Rounding off the first blend is Neurofactor®, which can increase BDNF levels. A popular ingredient in nootropics, it is nice to see in here at the 100mg clinical dose. 

Next up we have the Pump & N.O Support blend which gives you 3g of Citrulline, which is a great dose, and 1.5g of Arginine. These two ingredients may aid in Nitric Oxide production, and we like the addition of Citrulline more than Arginine. 

GNC Lit RTD is also very well flavored, and we have not had a bad flavor yet. This is certainly worth trying, and while you have to go to GNC or order online to try it, we highly recommend doing so. You won't be disappointed. 

Who Makes It?

GNC is one of the most popular companies out there when it comes to supplements, and most likely, you yourself have tried out some of their products when you first started getting into fitness. They have a variety of lines tp choose from, and some are better than others. 

What's In It?

One bottle contains:

Energy & Mental Intensity

  • 3.2g Beta-Alanine - helps with endurance
  • 250mg Caffeine Anhydrous - helps with energy
  • 150mg elevATP® - helps with ATP production
  • 100mg NeuroFactor® - helps with brain health 

Pump & N.O. Support

  • 3g Citrulline -helps with pumps, endurance, and performance
  • 1.5g Arginine - helps with pumps

Bottom Line:

While GNC gets hated on sometimes in this space, we have to say we are impressed with this one. For a carbonated pre-workout RTD, this is certainly at the top. Not only is the profile impressive, but the flavors are all solid as well. If you like a carbonated RTD, this is certainly one to try out for yourself. 

#5 RedCon1 Total War RTD

Total War RTD
  • Rating: 8.8 out of 10
  • Servings: 12oz

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Pros

  • 300mg Caffeine
  • 6g Citrulline Malate
  • 1g Agmatine
  • 3.2g Beta-Alanine
  • Flavor Selection

Cons

  • Some Ingredient Underdosed

Total War RTD was one of the first RTD pre-workouts to REALLY make a difference int he category a couple of years ago, so much so that it almost won Product of the Year here on FI for 2019. It truly was one of the first RTDs to provide clinical doses of proven ingredients instead of just throwing a bunch of stuff in a prop blend and throwing in a monster dose of Caffeine. It simply did more.

You get clinical doses of Citrulline Malate, as well as Beta-Alanine, and it doesn't stop there, you also get 1g of Agmatine, a well-known pump ingredient. You also get 1g of Taurine, which can help with blood flow and hydration, another welcome addition.

Following this you get a nice dose of Caffeine, with 300mg of Caffeine Anhydrous, which is a strong dose, as well as Di-Caffeine Malate, which helps with long-lasting energy and may help prevent a crash. We do have to knock the low doses of Green Tea and Theobroma however. 

This is actually so popular, that you should be able ti find this at your local gym, or at least many of them. Certainly a solid one, and the flavors are simply pleasant. Well worth trying, and perhaps even stocking up on.

Who Makes It?

RedCon1 may be the hottest brand in the supplement industry. Owned by supplement industry veteran Aaron Singerman, RedCon1 became an overnight success with their lineup of quality supplements, ambassadors, marketing programs and slogans.

What's In It?

One bottle contains:

  • 6g Citrulline Malate - helps with pumps and performance
  • 3.2g Beta-Alanine - helps with endurance
  • 1g Agmatine - helps with pumps
  • 1g Taurine - helps with hydration and blood flow
  • 300mg Caffeine - this is from natural sources that provides energy
  • 100mg Di-Caffeine Malate - sustained release Caffeine that helps with long lasting energy and prevents a crash
  • 20mg Green Tea - provides antioxidants
  • 5mg Theobroma - may help with energy 

Bottom Line:

Total War RTD is certainly a solid option, and despite the two underdosed ingredients, it makes for great pre-workout. You get clinical doses of most ingredients, and it will certainly help with pump, performance, endurance, and energy. 

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Our RTD Pre-Workouts Testing Process

We examined five different areas of each energy drink when we compiled our rankings:

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

Ingredients Profile

When we review each RTD Pre-Workout on their ingredient profile, we look at the active ingredients being used and their dosages. Sometimes we do not get the amounts listed so this makes it hard for us to give a lot of credit to those RTD Pre-Workout.

Many RTD Pre-Workout include a variety of beneficial ingredients, but under dose them proving to be non-effective.

Effectiveness

Effectiveness is an extension of ingredient profile. Do you get adequate energy without the crash? Are there other ingredients that can improve our focus?

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 RTD Pre-Workout 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.

Value

Value is a combination of ingredient profile, effectiveness, taste, 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 RTD Pre-Workout and how it compares to other energy drinks 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 energy drinks that are, for the lack of a better word, garbage.

These products on our "best of: list were used by the author of this article. He used each of the energy drinks listed.

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.