A simple caffeine supplement may be one of the areas where you think all supplements are the same, or basically the same, and it’s a matter of choosing the most convenient.
However, this is not true at all. Caffeine pills are not created equally.
First, some contain cleaner (frankly, better) forms of caffeine from higher-quality sources. Second, there are lots of pure caffeine pills, and others with an array of other ingredients. Which one is best for your, to an extent, depends on your goals.
And unlike a cup of coffee, for example, you take the dose all at once, and you can only shift it in increments. So the dose is also an important factor.
Taking all of that into consideration, here are the 5 best caffeine pill supplements on the market.
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Best Overall. Kaged’s caffeine product uses a high-quality form of organic caffeine called PuCaf®.
This is 100% natural, organic, non-GMO, chemical-free, vegan-friendly, gluten-free, and third-party-tested caffeine. It has no fillers or preservatives. It’s also Informed-Sport Certified, so athletes of all levels can use it without worry.
Kaged’s caffeine comes from organic, green coffee beans. In contrast, a lot of products out there are made from synthetic sources. It provides a smooth, clean, lasting energy.
And, it comes at a very affordable price. Often other companies with premium caffeine sometimes charge an excessive amount in order to boost their margins. But Kaged gives you the highest-quality caffeine at a great price.
Every bottle contains 100 caffeine capsules. Each capsule has 200mg of caffeine.
From a pure comprehensive and quality standpoint, this product is tough to beat. They use, like Kaged, a natural caffeine source and limit impurities across the board.
Each capsule has 50mg of natural caffeine. 100mg of theanine. 250mg Ajipure® l-tyrosine, and b vitamins. L-tyrosine has also shown benefits for cognition.
I love that it’s a modest amount of caffeine. It’s enough to give you a nice boost of caffeine, without too much to give you jitters. From this product, you can expect a smooth energy and focus.
Each bottle has 30 capsules per bottle. This price is more than what you’ll pay for other products, but if cost is less of a factor for you then this is the most all-encompassing product on the market.
Caffeine and theanine have a synergistic effect. That is, the sum of the benefits is greater than its parts. This has been studied in several contexts. For example, caffeine and theanine together seem to improve ADHD symptoms in children more than each of them on their own (Nature).
In fact, in nature they often occur together, like in green tea.
So if you’re using caffeine specifically for anything related to productivity, like studying, working, or creativity, this is a great option.
It also contains cocoa and matcha, as added bonuses.
And it’s vegan. They use a natural caffeine coffee fruit extract.
Each capsule contains 100mg of caffeine and 100mg of l-theanine. Each bottle comes with 60 capsules.
For more on theanine, you can check out our article on the best l-theanine supplements.
Best for productivity. Vyvamind isn’t strictly a caffeine supplement. It contains an array of high-quality ingredients. Every serving has 75mg of caffeine, along with b vitamins, l-tyrosine, l-theanine, and CDP-choline.
This is a supplement for overall focus and attention, without the crash common with high amounts of caffeine.
I wouldn’t take it as a pre-workout supplement, as it’s designed for mental focus and clarity, but for studying or overall productivity, its quality and comprehensive formula are hard to beat.
With Vyvamind, you’re paying for a lot more than a caffeine supplement.
Best for lower caffeine dose. The average cup of coffee contains 125mg of caffeine. Most caffeine pill products contain between 100-250mg. If you want a lighter dose, though, you can try EU natural’s product, which has just 50mg of caffeine in each pill.
It also has 100mg of l-theanine, making it another great option for studying.
Each bottle contains 120 capsules.
If you’re looking for a higher dose, this is a great value. Every pill with nothing but caffeine contains 220mg of caffeine. Every bottle has 125 tablets, so this product is just pennies per dose.
While a lot of the time supplements are overhyped, caffeine has some serious research and evidence to back it up. I mean, literal wars have been fought over caffeine.
In fact, it’s so powerful, that employers during the industrial revolution actually gave workers time off to consume it. “The coffee break,” birthed a whole new era of productivity. It honestly plays a huge role in why our working culture is as it is. If you took caffeine away from the world, I don’t think we’d make it through the end of the workweek.
With that said, here are a few of the key effects of caffeine.
Caffeine does seem to have a thermogenic effect, so it may support weight loss as well. This is partially why it’s very popular in “fat burner” supplements.
Excessive caffeine consumption can be a problem for a few reasons. In the acute, it will fuck up your sleep. In fact, even if you don’t “feel” the effects of the caffeine anymore, it can still prevent you from getting into deep sleep.
This happens to so many people. If you think caffeine in the evening doesn’t impact your sleep, I’m quite confident that you’re wrong, and no, you’re not special.
Second, Caffeine quickens your heart rate. If you take an excessive amount, it can cause heart problems. However, moderate amounts of caffeine haven’t shown to cause any issues with heart health.
With moderate intake, you can manage these negative side effects easily.
Not necessarily. On our list, we included a few “nootropic” like products. Really it depends on your goals and your budget. Nootropics combine lots of ingredients, and in doing so, drive up the price.
Let’s say, hypothetically, that simple caffeine (or even caffeine and theanine together) get you 80% of the way there in terms of peak focus and energy as a nootropic dose. Typically, it costs about 1/5 the price. That’s reflected in our list too. Kaged PurCaf is #1 in large part because it only costs a few bucks, because there’s nothing else but caffeine.
With this in mind, is it worth it to pay more to reach that last extra percent? That’s up to you.
It also depends on what you’re taking caffeine for. If you’re taking it just to help you reduce your dependency on energy drinks, then you don’t need a nootropic. However, if you’re using it for productivity or general cognitive performance, then take a look at Performance Lab Caffeine+ and Vyvamind.
We probably all know what we’re talking about when we mention the caffeine jitters. It’s not so easy to say whether it will leave you jittery or not, but here are a few considerations.
Caffeine, although it has downsides, does seem to have long-term health benefits. For example, some research has suggested that caffeine can actually lower the risk of stroke and some cancers.
Yes. In fact, one of the many use cases for caffeine pills is to ween off of less-than-desirable caffeine sources. If you’re used to drinking energy drinks, I hate to break it to you, but you probably have a bit of a caffeine addiction.
There are lots to bring your caffeine intake back to normal (and without the excess sugar and other crap in energy drinks). One is to take a simple caffeine pill when you’re craving one.
The history of caffeine is soda is (if you’re a nerd like me) quite interesting. Caffeine adds zero flavor or taste to something like a Coke, yet it has always been a part of their formula. Why? Simply, when we consume caffeine, we get the hit of energy and dopamine that comes with it, making us feel better about our choice to grab the soda, which may make us more likely to grab a coke again in the future.
This is an unnecessary history lesson, which is all to say: yes. You can also use caffeine pill strategically to replace soda. However, go with a lower-dose pill.
Caffeine anhydrous is a form you’ll see in lots of caffeine supplements, as well as in supplements like pre-workouts. It comes from the same plants, and all of the extra stuff gets filtered out. In fact, “anhydrous” means “without water.”
How it stacks up to regular caffeine is still subject to debate. Caffeine anhydrous is significantly more stronger. We would never recommend self-dosing caffeine anhydrous, because small differences in amounts can make a HUGE difference in the effects.
As of now, in terms of effects, there don’t seem to be huge differences as long as you properly dose it.
This will depend on the person, since we all have different sensitivities to caffeine. The FDA says that 400 mg of caffeine per day is safe. However, it will vary.
Taking caffeine pills is an easy way to accidentally take too much caffeine. Make sure you monitor your dose, especially if you’re also taking things like pre-workout, or drinking a lot of coffee.
Caffeine is classified as a stimulant. This means it increases your central nervous system (brain) activity. It also encourages the release of certain sympathetic hormones like cortisol, dopamine, and epinephrine (adrenaline if you’re British.) These brain chemicals and neurotransmitters mean we feel fucking awesome and ready to take on life. You can thank them for the energy boost as well.
It helps us stay awake by a slightly different mechanism. Basically, it blocks receptors, called adenosine receptors, which signal to our body that we should be sleepy. In sum, it just makes us avoidant as fuck about being tired.
Drinks have a few benefits over pills. One, you take can as much or as little as you feel you need each day. With pills, you’re restricted by the exact dose of one pill.
If you want a drink option, I mean, coffee is an obvious choice. Or tea, if you prefer a smaller dose. You can also go with pre-workouts or caffeine-spiked Essential Amino Acid supplements.
No. You’ll see products marketed as tablets, but they’re basically the same thing. Instead of coming in gelatin capsules (or a vegan version), they come as a tablet.
Nope. It’s in a different class of organic chemical compounds. You can ask the chemistry nerds for more on this.
No. One of the benefits of simple capsules, is you don’t need to add any kind of flavor.
Good sleep is the best energy supplement out there. And it doesn’t come with adverse effects or downsides that nearly any supplement can give you. So I would start there.
Beyond that, your best bet truly is caffeine, or other supplements that include caffeine.
Caffeine is one of nature’s finest natural stimulants.
Disclaimer: Talk to your healthcare provider before taking any dietary supplement, including caffeine. Remember, the FDA (food and drug administration) does not regulate supplements like they do food, so don’t take them without talking to your healthcare pro.