Pre-workouts are supplements that help to improve focus, increase energy levels, reduce fatigue, and lift more weight than ever.
But supplements can be expensive, especially as you tally up the monthly costs associated with buying a fresh batch of pre-workout each month.
Fortunately, there are some excellent pre-workouts that are very affordable and don’t break the bank.
In this article, a group of sports nutritionists and dietitians unveil budget-friendly pre-workout options that won’t just pump up your muscles but also pump up the savings.
After testing and evaluating 45+ pre-workouts, we narrow it down to the best of the best, balancing low cost-per-serving pricing with high-grade, scientifically backed ingredients.
Let’s get started.
Best Inexpensive Pre-Workouts – Quick Look
Here is an overview of the best cheap pre-workouts, sorted by user and preferences:
· Best Value Pre-Workout – Transparent Labs Bulk Black
· Best Cheap Pre-workout with Low Caffeine – Six Star Explosion
· Best Cheap Pre-Workout with Creatine – 4 Gauge Pre-Workout
· Best Cheap Pre-Workout without Sucralose – Honey Badger Pre-Workout
· Best Cheap Pre-Workout without Beta-Alanine – Transparent Labs Pump
The overall best value pre-workout is the Transparent Labs Bulk Black. It’s an elite pre-workout, jam-packed with 275mg of caffeine, and 8,000mg of citrulline malate, is available in five different flavors, and is an excellent value pick when subscribing and saving 10% and getting free shipping.
Next, we will highlight the pros and cons of each cheap pre-workout, look at the key performance-boosting ingredients to look out for, and help you choose the best budget pre-workout with confidence.
The Best Cheap Pre-Workouts for Better Workouts
Let’s take a closer look at the top options for best inexpensive and budget pre-workouts:
Transparent Labs Bulk Black Pre-Workout
⭐ Best value pre-workout
The Transparent Labs Bulk Black isn’t the cheapest pre-workout on this list, but it is by far the best value when you consider the amount of workout-boosting performing ingredients packed into each serving.
Each serving of the Bulk Black Pre-Workout includes a whopping 275mg of caffeine anhydrous. Caffeine is a proven stimulant for increased focus and athletic performance. Most pre-workouts contain between 50-200mg of caffeine.
The 275mg of caffeine in the Bulk Black makes it an ideal choice for more experienced users who want a bigger caffeine kick.
30mg of dicaffeine malate also helps to extend the lifespan of the caffeine to help ward off crashes, giving you a steady stream of energy for longer.
Other key ingredients include:
· 8,000mg of citrulline malate
· 4,000mg of beta-alanine
· 2,500mg of betaine anhydrous
· 1,300mg of taurine
· 1,000mg of L-Tyrosine.
Transparent Labs offers the Bulk Black in five different flavor combinations for a more enjoyable and tasty pre-workout experience.
While each container is a bit pricey at $55, it’s still far from the most expensive pre-workout on the market, and the sheer amount of performance-boosting ingredients makes it the best value pre-workout available.
Transparent Labs sells the Bulk Black exclusively through their website, and you can save 10% and get free shipping when you subscribe to the pre-workout for regular deliveries to your home.
Six Star Explosion Pre-Workout
⭐ Best cheap pre-workout for low caffeine
Caffeine is a natural stimulant that increases alertness, enhances endurance, delays muscle fatigue, and can help increase the rate the body burns fat.
But not everyone tolerates caffeine well, and for people who want a cheap pre-workout that has a moderate amount of caffeine will love the Six Star Explosion Pre-Workout.
Explosion sells for less than $20 on Amazon and has 135mg of caffeine per serving, which is significantly less compared to the “standard” caffeine content of 200mg typically found in pre-workouts.
Other key ingredients that elevate workouts include:
· Beta-alanine – 1,500mg
· Betaine anhydrous – 1,250mg
· L-arginine – 1,100mg
· 500mg blend of Taurine, L-citrulline malate, and L-arginine hydrochloride
The only real complaint that I have with the Six Star Explosion Pre-Workout is it uses artificial sweeteners to make it more palatable. While most people can ingest sucralose easily, some experience gut issues with trying to absorb artificial sweeteners like sucralose.
That said, the Six Star Explosion is hard to beat when it comes to a very low price-per-serving (around $0.55 per scoop)
4 Gauge Pre-Workout
⭐ Best cheap pre-workout with creatine
Creatine is one of the most widely studied supplements on the planet, with countless studies showing creatine to help athletic performance, whether that means increasing energy (Graef et al., 2009), increased muscle mass and strength (Nissen et al., 2005) and enhanced muscle recovery (Wax et al., 2021).
In other words, if you are serious about performance in the gym, creatine is an absolute must!
That said, stacking a pre-workout and creatine separately can be prohibitively expensive. Which is why the 4 Gauge Pre-Workout is such an awesome value pick.
Each serving of the 4 Gauge, which comes packaged in a container that looks like a shotgun shell, has 100mg of creatine monohydrate to give you an added performance boost before your workouts.
Other key ingredients in this budget pre-workout include:
· L-Citrulline malate – 5,000mg
· Creatine monohydrate – 1,000mg
· L-carnitine – 500mg
· Caffeine anhydrous – 150mg
· L-theanine – 200mg
✅ Fun Fact: Creatine can be taken both before and after your workouts, but research has found that supplementing with creatine is most effectively done after your workouts when it comes to increased muscle mass and strength (Ciccone & Antonio, 2013).
The 4 Gauge Pre-Workout is made in a certified facility and is third-party tested for maximum purity. No surprises in the shaker cup when it comes to mixing it up before conquering the gym.
The only real downside to the 4 Gauge Pre-Workout is the limited flavor options, which include Fruit Blast, frozen lemonade, and pina colada.
To get the maximum value from the 4 Gauge, order three of them at a time to get a fourth container for free, which drives the cost-per-serving down to about $1 per serving.
Honey Badger Pre-Workout
⭐ Best cheap pre-workout without sucralose
As mentioned earlier, not everyone absorbs sucralose, which can be 1,000x sweeter compared to sucrose, in their pre-workouts. The Honey Badger Pre-Workout is the perfect option for those who want to avoid artificial sweeteners without spending a ton of money.
The Honey Badger Pre-Workout has one of the cleanest ingredient profiles I’ve ever seen. Manufactured in an FDA and GMP-certified facility and third-party tested to ensure maximum purity, the Honey Badger Pre-Workout perfectly balances affordability and quality.
Each scoop of the Honey Badger includes:
· L-citrulline malate – 2,500mg
· Beta-alanine – 1,600mg
· L-Tyrosine – 350mg
· Caffeine – 150mg
· Pterostilbene – 10mg
· Vitamin C
The Honey Badger Pre-Workout is sweetened with Stevia, which is a naturally occurring sweetener sourced from plant leaves, reducing a lot of the gut and absorption issues typical of synthetic sweeteners.
Honey Badger also comes in a high-stim version that doubles up the key ingredients (300mg of caffeine, for example) and is available in five different tasty flavors.
By subscribing to the Honey Badger and getting a container shipped to you each month you can drive down the cost to just $29 per container.
Clean, affordable, and manufactured to the highest standards, the Honey Badger Pre-Workout is my top pick for best cheap pre-workout without sucralose.
Transparent Labs Pump Pre-Workout
⭐ Best cheap pre-workout without beta-alanine
Beta-alanine is a naturally-occurring amino acid that has a lot of benefits when it comes to working out. Beta-alanine increases blood flow to active muscles, delays muscle fatigue, and improves overall athletic performance (Ostfield et al., 2023).
But it also causes skin tingling and itchiness that many people find intensely uncomfortable. That’s where a pre-workout without beta-alanine like the Transparent Labs Pump steps in.
The Transparent Labs Pump Pre-Workout has all of the physiological amplification effects of a pre-workout without the pesky tingles and itchiness of beta-alanine.
Each serving includes:
· Citrulline malate – 8,000mg
· Arginine Nitrate – 2,500mg
· BetaPure Betaine anhydrous – 2,500mg
· L-Glutathione – 250mg
· L-Tyrosine – 500mg
The Transparent Labs Pump also includes electrolytes sodium (350mg) and potassium (100mg) to mitigate the effects of dehydration during those long, sweaty workouts.
Transparent Labs is one of the best supplement brands for manufacturing clean and pure supplements. All of their pre-workouts are made in a GMP and FDA-certified facility and are also third-party tested for purity.
Also, for people who want a pre-workout that has zero caffeine, the Transparent Labs Pump has you covered here, too.
By subscribing, and getting a new container once a month, you can save 10% and get free shipping, generating significant savings with your pre-workout.
How to Choose the Best Cheap Pre-Workout
Here are the key things to keep in mind when choosing the right cheap pre-workout for you and your workout goals:
Price per serving – The overall cost of a container of pre-workout is one way to judge cost, but the best way to assess value is by measuring cost per serving. Take the overall cost of the pre-workout and divide it by the number of servings to give you a figure that illustrates price-per-serving. For example, if a container of pre-workout costs $30, and it has 30 servings, the price-per-serving is $1.
Ingredient List – The ingredients in each scoop of the pre-workout of your choice are what really matters, making the pre-workout a “value” pick or not. Check the ingredient list and see how much of the key ingredients are in each scoop or serving. The main ingredients to look for are caffeine, beta-alanine, citrulline malate, and other amino acids, vitamins, and electrolytes that will improve workout performance.
Third-party testing – Look for supplements and brands that third-party test their supplements. This ensures purity and also serves as a reference that what is on the ingredient label is what you are getting in each scoop of pre-workout.
Artificial Sweeteners – Artificial sweeteners like aspartame and sucralose are frequently used in pre-workouts to make them sweeter and easier to chug down. Although the FDA considers artificial sweeteners safe for healthy people, there is a growing body of research that shows links to altered gut bacteria (Suez et al., 2014), interfered appetite regulation (Swithers et al., 2015), and even depression (Choudhary & Lee, 2018). Look for naturally-sourced sweeteners like Stevia when shopping around for an inexpensive pre-workout.
See also: Best Pre-Workouts without Sucralose
Flavor and Taste – Although not usually the primary concern for people looking for a cheap pre-workout, taste and flavor help to make for a more enjoyable supplementing experience. Peruse reviews and try and taste samples at your local supplement shop to get a sense of how the pre-workout tastes.
Caffeine Tolerance – Caffeine is the primary stimulant used in pre-workouts for enhanced focus and energy. People who are very sensitive to caffeine will want a low caffeine pre-workout or even a non-stim pre-workout . More experienced users with high tolerance to caffeine will want a high-stim pre-workout, which contains 250-400mg of caffeine per serving.
Workout Goals – Consider your goals in the gym and where a pre-workout fits in. People looking to build muscle, for example, will want a pre-workout with creatine for added muscle mass.
Consult with your doctor – As always, when starting a new exercise regimen or new supplements, sit down and discuss the pros and cons with your medical professional.
Cheap Pre-Workouts – FAQs
Are cheap pre-workouts effective?
Yes, many affordable pre-workout supplements can be effective at enhancing exercise performance. The effectiveness of a pre-workout isn't solely determined by its price tag but by the quality and dosage of its ingredients.
How do I save money on buying pre-workouts?
Pre-workout supplements can get very expensive when you compound the monthly costs of buying a new container. There are plenty of pre-workout brands that offer discounts and free shipping when you subscribe to a supplement.
Savings vary from 5% to 25% by supplement company, but when averaged out over the cost of a year or longer these savings can really add up. Look for pre-workout brands that offer this option as well as free shipping to save even more money on pre-workouts.
Is it cheaper to make your own pre-workout?
Making your own pre-workout can be an excellent way to get a truly clean and effective pre-workout supplement that has zero artificial sweeteners or additives.
Compared to purchasing a budget pre-workout, however, it can get pricey depending on the ingredients you use. When you add up the costs of buying caffeine anhydrous, beta-alanine, L-citrulline malate, and other amino acids separately, the cost quickly exceeds that of most pre-workouts on the market.
There is the safety component that is crucial as well. Buying a pre-workout from a reputable supplement company ensures proper dosing and clean manufacturing standards. Home-made pre-workouts are also unflavored, which makes them very unpalatable for most people.
Are pre-workouts worth it?
Pre-workouts are dietary supplements that can improve workout performance when taken before the gym.
They use clinically-studied ingredients like caffeine, creatine, beta-alanine, nitric oxide boosters and others to help you get more from your workouts.
Whether they are worth it depends on matching the right pre-workout and ingredient list to your specific goals in the gym.
Choose a pre-workout that matches your goals and budget, and you will see a marked improvement in focus and energy when exercising.
Ultimately, there are some awesome pre-workouts out there that can give you the performance-boosting punch of clinically-backed ingredients without having to break the bank.
Choose the right pre-workout that matches your budget, and take your workouts to the next level.
To recap, the best overall value pick for pre-workouts, it’s the Transparent Labs Bulk Black Pre-Workout.
While not the cheapest, it wins because of how jam-packed each serving is with workout-enhancing ingredients.
The Transparent Labs Bulk Black Pre-Workout wins because of:
· Packed with 275mg of caffeine per serving
· Multiple tasty flavors
· Zero additives or artificial sweeteners
· Highest manufacturing quality
· Third-party tested
· Informed Choice tested for athletes
· Save 10% and get free shipping when subscribing
Pick up a container of the best budget pre-workout on the market and take your workout performance to the next level.
Disclaimer: The above is a sponsored post, the views expressed are those of the sponsor/author and do not represent the stand and views of Outlook Editorial.