Nuun Liquid I.V. Hydrant

The Good (and Not So Good) of 3 Popular Electrolyte Powders on the Market

Comparing price, nutritional content, electrolyte count, and more.

If you find yourself frequently dehydrated, you’re not alone. While you can chug water all day, electrolyte supplements like Nuun, Liquid I.V., and Hydrant can help you stay hydrated and ready for action. Wondering which one is right for you? Skip your endless trips to the grocery store and online scrolling. I got hands-on with these three products to see which is best.

Nuun Liquid I.V. Hydrant packages

What are Electrolytes?

Electrolytes are essential minerals your body needs to regulate muscle and nerve function, maintain optimal pH levels, and balance out your fluids (1). You lose electrolytes quickly when you sweat buckets and without restoring these lost minerals, you run a high risk of dehydration and those nasty symptoms that follow.

What Are Key Electrolytes to Focus on?

Your body relies on these important electrolytes to maintain fluid levels and keep you charged up (2).

  • Sodium, which helps with muscle and nerve function, and maintains fluid levels (3).
  • Magnesium, which supports muscle function and energy production (4).
  • Potassium, which regulates your heartbeat and supports muscle contractions (5).
  • Calcium, which builds and maintains strong bones, and helps your muscles move (6).
  • Chloride, which balances your body’s fluids and pH levels (7).
  • Phosphate, which helps your kidneys filter out waste and reduces muscle pain post-workout (8).


But how do you get these electrolytes into your body as quickly as possible?

Electrolyte Powders

Electrolyte powders are a top choice for pumping your body with these essential electrolytes and dissolve easily into a bottle of water.

“Electrolyte powders replenish your electrolyte balance after excessive sweating, caused by working out or extreme heat,” says Susan Greene, Personal Trainer, Health Coach, and Nutritionist Specialist. “By replacing lost fluids, it helps prevent dehydration and fatigue, and promotes better recovery.”

If you’re heading into a long or hard workout, like a 5-mile run or an all-day hike, then electrolyte powders are more than important for staying on top of hydration, says Greene. “Timing is everything to stay as hydrated as possible.”

Nuun Vs. Liquid I.V. Vs. Hydrant

There are a huge number of electrolyte and hydration companies now, but Nuun, Liquid I.V., and Hydrant have become three of the most popular choices. Let’s compare them. 

Electrolyte Powder


Liquid I.V.



$25/ 40 servings

$22/ 16 servings

$40/ 30 servings

Powder or Tablet















0g to 4g (depending on flavor)


Sodium, Calcium, Magnesium, Chloride, Potassium

Sodium, Potassium

Sodium, Potassium, Magnesium


Citrus Fruit, Fruit Punch, Grape, Lemon Lime, Orange, Strawberry Lemonade, Tri-Berry, Tropical, Watermelon, Cherry Limeade (+ caffeine), Fresh Lime (+ caffeine), Mango Orange (+ caffeine), Wild Berry (+ caffeine)

Lemon Lime, Tropical Punch, Piña Colada, Concord Grape, Golden Cherry, Acai Berry, Guava, Passion Fruit, Strawberry, Watermelon

Lemon Lime, Blood Orange, Grapefruit, Lemonade (no added sugar), Pink Grapefruit (no added sugar), Iced Tea Lemonade, Raspberry Iced Tea

Nuun tube next to jar of water


Nuun was founded in 2004 and has been a leader in the electrolyte powder game for decades. They are certified vegan and gluten-free, and are non-GMO verified with no banned substances.

Nuun is a great choice if you’re looking for convenience. An easy-to-carry tube holds 10 tablets packed with electrolytes great for the gym, or any outdoor activity you embark on. With the most electrolytes out of the three powders on this list, you don’t have to worry about missing out on these essential minerals.

Nuun Sport Experience

Nuun Sport is the only tablet on this list which bodes well if you’re like me and somehow end up with powder all over your counter. I found the tablet fully dissolved in about a minute and required no extra stirring or mixing.

One downside: the tablet is bigger than the mouth of plastic water bottles and needs to be broken in half. But if you use a reusable bottle you’ll have no problems.

The Tri-Berry flavor is subtle and not too sweet (thanks to only 1g of sugar). There’s also a slight fizz once the tablet fully dissolves. It isn’t like drinking a full can of carbonated seltzer, but a few bubbles are a nice feature unique to Nuun.

After a 45-minute cardio session on the rowing machine, I tossed my sweaty T in the laundry bin and dropped a Nuun Sport tablet into my water bottle. You might be wondering if drinking something fizzy after a workout was unpleasant. The opposite; it was exactly what I wanted. And after drinking so much water, it was a nice change of pace for my post-row beverage.

I was impressed with Nuun’s hydrating performance and felt restored within 30 to 40 minutes after drinking. No headache, no fatigue, and plenty of focus to get back to work.

Liquid I.V. packet next to jar

Liquid I.V.

Liquid I.V. hit the market in 2012 and uses Cellular Transport Technology (what they call their “breakthrough delivery system”) to increase water absorption and other ingredients into your bloodstream faster. They also follow the World Health Organization’s guidelines for oral rehydration solutions (electrolyte supplements).

Liquid I.V. Hydration Multiplier is great if you’re regularly active and train hard because the more you sweat, the more electrolytes you need. With faster absorption, you get these key electrolytes into your body to take down dehydration. If you find yourself regularly dehydrated, Liquid I.V. is also a good option.

Liquid I.V. Hydration Multiplier Experience

When I first opened the bag and pulled out a Liquid I.V. packet, the weight caught me off guard. It obviously wasn’t dumbbell weight, but compared to Nuun and Hydrant, Liquid I.V. packets are dense.

I tried the Lemon-Lime flavor and it was sweet, sweet, and more sweet. A sugary aftertaste lingers on your taste buds and I had to dilute my 16-ounces with about 4 to 5 more ounces of water.

Despite my more cynical first impression of Liquid I.V., it was only right to give this popular supplement a fair shake. I drank Liquid I.V. on two separate occasions: once during a workout on the rowing machine, and once after a workout (two different days).

When working out, I actually didn’t mind the thickness as much. Drinking alongside a bottle of water was all I needed to keep up the intensity and fight off any fatigue. And it actually felt like it was working for me thanks to 11g of carbs. Consuming carbs during your workout can delay fatigue and prolong exercise (9).

My second workout was a different story. It wasn’t what I wanted at all post-row. It was too much for my stomach and I felt bloated after finishing my glass. In fairness to this sweet drink, it did hydrate me after my tough workout, but the consistency was tough to swallow in between breaths.

Hydrant packet next to jar


Hydrant launched in 2017 and is the newest electrolyte product in our comparison. While they continue to pave their way into this saturated electrolyte market, it feels like Hydrant has some catching up to do. This electrolyte powder is good but doesn’t have any real stand-out features.

Hydrant Hydrate is a solid choice if you want fast electrolytes in an easy-to-mix powder. After a light training session, or a long day walking around town, Hydrant is a refreshing powder to enhance your hydration needs.

Hydrant Hydrate Experience

Hydrant was a very middle-of-the-road electrolyte powder. It mixed well and left no sediment on the bottom of my glass. I wasn’t overly impressed by the flavor, but Pink Grapefruit was a nice addition to just plain water. It tasted like grapefruit juice, but without that sugary bite, which as someone who tries hard to avoid tons of sugar, I appreciated. Hydrant is made with real fruit juice powder, so no real surprise there.

I did my standard 45 minutes on the rowing machine (not a hard workout, just more of a recovery row) and poured my Hydrant packet into a 16-ounce glass of water. It was refreshing and I attributed some of this to the Pink Grapefruit flavor (a “lighter” flavor compared to something like a bold berry, if you ask me).

Despite an underwhelming first impression, I felt refreshed after about 40 minutes. Hydrant did its job in that regard. A high amount of potassium and sodium was what I needed, but I wish this had more electrolytes like Nuun. With no unique features, a decent taste, and a few missing electrolytes, Hydrant falls a bit flat.

Final Verdict: Which Electrolyte Supplement Wins?

Each of these electrolyte supplements has something to offer and depending on your goals, you may lean more towards one over the other on any given day. After trying all three powders, and putting them through the taste-test and performance gauntlet, Nuun Sport comes out on top.

Packed with the most electrolytes, great tasting flavors, a unique fizz once the tablet dissolves, and the most convenient on-the-go option, this electrolyte powder is great if you’re active, a constant sweater, or need a hydration re-up. While Hydrant and Liquid I.V. are definitely not throw-aways, Nuun also gives you the most bang for your buck on a per-serving basis. After trying all three, Nuun is what I’ll reach for going forward.

1. Cleveland Clinic. Electrolytes.
2. MedlinePlus. Fluid and Electrolyte Balance.
3. Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Salt and Sodium.
4. National Institutes of Health. Magnesium.
5. Harvard Medical School (2019). The importance of potassium.
6. Mayo Clinic. Calcium and calcium supplements: Achieving the right balance.
7. European Food Information Council. Chloride: foods, functions, how much do you need & more.
8. Mount Sinai. Phosphorus.
9. Gatorade Sports Science Institute (2007). Carbohydrate Supplementation During Exercise: Does It Help? How Much Is Too Much?