12 Best Cheap Pre-workout Supplements To Power You Up!

 by Dr. Steve Hruby, D.C.

I’m a fitness advocate with a holistic approach to health, wellness, and longevity. I’ve walked the walk since 2009 - using my personal development methods to unleash the fitness champ within you.

  Fact Checked
 by Rhealyn Celestial
Reviewed by Rhealyn Celestial

I’m a researcher, and I’m also a full-time mom. I spend my weekdays crafting thoughtful articles for small businesses, and my weekends with my son learning about the world together

Pre-workouts are pretty important for gym buffs because showing up prepped and full of energy every day is quite difficult. Pre-workout supplements provide the required energy boost that you might just need sometimes after a long, tiring day.

In A Hurry? Here Are Our Top Recommendations
C4 Original Pre-Workout Powder
Nutricost Pre-Workout Powder Complex
ProSupps Mr. Hyde Signature Pre Workout

These performance-boosting supplements often include caffeine as an active ingredient in combination with other compounds like vitamins, amino acids, and creatine. These ingredients increase efficiency and muscular endurance to help you exercise longer.

Pre-workout supplements sure give an extra edge and pump to your workout sessions, but sometimes they can burn a hole in your pocket.

This is because most of the branded ones are pretty expensive to buy. The high cost of pre-workouts is sometimes a huge turn-off for budget-conscious gymgoers. For the same reason, many fitness enthusiasts try to find cheap pre-workout supplements.

In this blog, we have enlisted some of the most affordable pre-workout supplements.  This will help you draw your horns without compromising on fueling your workouts. Sounds great, right? But first, let’s understand how pre-workouts work…

Best Cheap Pre-workout – Our Top 3 Picks!

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How Do Pre-Workout Supplements Work?

Pre-workout supplements, as we said earlier, are performance-boosting supplements with caffeine as their active ingredient.

These supplements’ proprietary blend of ingredients provides an energy boost and enhances workout performance. In case you might want to ask, “How?” Then the answer is in its ingredients. We’ll walk you through the most common ingredients.

Common ingredients in pre-workouts:

  • Caffeine: Caffeine, you might know, gives you an energy boost and focus, which is very well required for high-intensity exercises.
  • Creatine: Creatine is naturally found in our muscle cells and helps produce energy during high-intensity exercise or physical activity. Taking creatine in the form of a pre-workout supplement increases performance by supplying energy to the muscles and increasing strength.
  • Amino Acids: They’re required to grow and repair our muscles and help produce energy. Amino acids also decrease muscle soreness, which aids in post-workout recovery.
drinking cheap pre workout
  • Glucose: Glucose or sugar present in the pre-workout supplements increases your energy levels, which enhances performance.
  • B Vitamins: These vitamins are responsible for transporting nutrients through the body and converting food to energy.
  • Beta-alanine: Beta-alanine is an amino acid that produces carnosine. Carnosine is a dipeptide that boosts muscle endurance.
  • Nitric Oxide: Nitric oxide increases blood flow, improves recovery, and reduces inflammation.

Providing our body with glucose, caffeine, extra carbohydrates, and nutrients pre-workout offers additional energy during the workout by raising blood sugar levels.

In other words, we can say that they’re specially formulated to prep and supply your body with everything that’s required for a high-intensity workout session. Undoubtedly, these supplements are a better option than a banana, black coffee, or a shot of espresso. Pre-workout supplements are generally taken 30 minutes before the workout.

Now let’s get started with the list of the most affordable ones on the market.

Most Affordable Pre-Workout Supplements

Below are the top pre-workout brands that aren’t just effective but also budget-friendly.

1. C4 Original Pre-Workout Powder – Best Overall


  • Ingredients:  C4 original pre-workout powder contains CarnoSyn beta-alanine, N-acetyl L-tyrosine, vitamin C, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, folic acid, caffeine, calcium, velvet bean, arginine AKG, niacin, Creatine Nitrate (NO3-T), and arginine.
  • CarnoSyn: This supplement is formulated with CarnoSyn beta-alanine, which is clinically studied to enhance muscular endurance. This beta-alanine also fights fatigue.
  • Flavors: This supplement comes in a variety of delicious flavors, such as fruit punch, orange burst, juicy candy burst, icy blue razz, cherry limeade, strawberry margarita, pink lemonade, and watermelon.


  • Zero calories
  • Sugar-free flavors
  • Delicious flavors


  • Caused itching reaction to some
  • Some buyers of amazon complaint of having a headache after consumption

2. Nutricost Pre-Workout Powder Complex – Best Effective


  • Ingredients: Beta-Alanine, L-Citrulline Malate, Agmatine Sulfate, Taurine, Huperzine A, Caffeine Anhydrous, L-Theanine, L-Tyrosine, Niacin, Thiamin, Theobromine, Vitamin B12, and Vitamin B6.
  • Affordable: This is one of the most affordable pre-workout supplements with a high-quality pre-workout formula.
  •  Safety and Purity: The supplement is gluten-free, GMO-free, vegetarian-friendly, and third-party tested. It’s manufactured in an FDA-registered, GMP-compliant facility.
  • Serving: This powder complex offers 16 grams of formula per serving. There are two options of 30 servings and 60 servings to choose from.


  • Non-GMO
  • Gluten-free
  • Zero creatine
  • Vegetarian formula
  • Third-party tested
  • Comes in 5 flavors
  • Zero proprietary formula
  • Made in GMP compliant facility


  • Some people don’t like the taste
  • Some experienced nausea after consumption

3. ProSupps Mr. Hyde Signature Pre Workout – Best For Intense Energy


  • Ingredients: Creatine, Nitrosingnie Arginine Silicate, Beta Alanine, Caffeine, L-Citrulline, TeaCrine, etc.
  • TeaCrine: The combination of TeaCrine and Caffeine offers energy and drive without jitter and crash.
  • Muscle Strength: The supplement contains Beta-Alanine, which increases endurance, fights fatigue, and increases recovery rate. Whereas Creatine Monohydrate increases the work capacity of the skeletal muscle.
  • Authenticity: The formula is even good for sportsmen and athletes as it’s tested by LGC’s world-class anti-doping labs for more than 200 prohibited substances.
  • Safety and Purity: This supplement contains zero sugar carbs, sugar, and calories. Also, it’s vegan, free of gluten and soy as well as made in a GMP-compliant facility in the USA.


  • Soy-free
  • Gluten-free
  • Zero carbs
  • Zero sugar
  • Zero calories
  • Vegan-friendly
  • Tested for banned substances
  • Made in GMP compliant facility


  • Some experienced nausea and stomach issues
  • Some complaints of having upset stomach post consumption

Related: Best pre-workout for sensitive stomach

4. Six Star PreWorkout Explosion Ripped– Best For Energy And Weight Loss


  • Ingredients: Beta-alanine, L-tyrosine, Caffeine, Choline, C. canephora robusta (green coffee extract), L-arginine hydrochloride, L-arginine alpha-ketoglutarate (AKG), L-citrulline malate, Taurine, and advanced amino complex.
  • Function: This supplement is a hybrid formula that works as a pre-workout as well as supports weight loss.
  • Energy Booster: Each scoop of Six Star pre-workout formula contains 135mg of caffeine. Caffeine enhances focus, thermogenesis, and metabolism in addition to boosting energy for the high-intensity workout. 
  • Weight loss: This formula features a key ingredient, C. canephora robusta, which is scientifically studied to support weight loss.
  • Muscle pumps: Ingredients such as L-citrulline, L-arginine hydrochloride, taurine, and L-citrulline malate boosts muscle pump.


  • Enhances focus
  • Supports weight loss
  • Advanced amino complex
  • Boosts energy for intense workouts


  • Some consumers on amazon didn’t like the aftertaste
  • Exposure to sunlight or heat might melt or damage the product

5. MuscleTech Vapor X5 PreWorkout– Best For Building Muscle


  • Ingredients: Creatine Monohydrate, beta-alanine, betaine anhydrous, nitrosamine, Hawthorne extract, taurine, caffeine anhydrous, l theanine, galangal extract, choline bitartrate, and Yohimbe extract.
  • Function: This supplement formula helps build muscle as it contains muscle-building ingredients such as creatine monohydrate, the most researched form of creatine- in combination with betaine.
  • Nitric Oxide: Nitrosigine present in the formula helps boost nitric oxide levels. It enhances focus, increases energy as well as delivers an intense sensory experience. Hawthorn extract boosts the pumps.
  • Taurine: Scientifically examined dose of the taurine present in the formula support performance by boosting endurance.


  • Boosts focus
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Boosts endurance
  • Builds lean muscle fast
  • Boosts muscle pump


  • Some people didn’t like the taste
  • Some experience mild nausea and itching
  • Exposure to sunlight or heat might melt or damage the product

6. RSP AminoLean Pre-workout Powder – Best For Energy And Weight Management

  • Ingredients: L-Taurine, L-Leucine, L-Isoleucine, Beta Alanine (Carnosyn (R, L-Valine, L-Glutamine, L-Arginine, L-Citrulline, L-Tyrosine, L-Lysine Hydrochloride, L-Histidine, L-Phenylalanine, L-Methionine, L-Threonine, Conjugated Linoleic Acid Powder, Green Tea Extract, L-Carnitine L-Tartrate, Caffeine (from green tea), Green Coffee Extract (Bean), Theobromine, Natural & Artificial Flavors, Citric Acid, Silicon Dioxide, Malic Acid, Sucralose, Calcium Silicate, and Acesulfame Potassium.
  • Function: This supplement contains 125mg of natural caffeine, which provides a high energy boost and mental focus. As the formula contains naturally sourced caffeine (which is AminoLean) thus, it provides an energy boost without any jitter or crash.  It can be taken at any time of the day.
  • EAA and BCAA Amino Acids: With 5g of branched-chain amino acid in addition to essential amino acids, this supplement helps build lean muscle and improve workout performance.
  • Weight Management: The optimal blend of ingredients like L-Carnitine, CLA, and Green tea, supports weight management.


  • Zero carbs
  • Zero sugar
  • Gluten-free
  • Keto diet friendly
  • Third-party tested
  • Enhances performance
  • Enhances mental focus
  • weight management formula


  • Caused heartburn in some
  • Some consumers on amazon didn’t like the flavor
  • Exposure to sunlight or heat might melt or damage the product

7. Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Pre Workout – Best With High Creatine


  • Ingredients: Creatine Monohydrate, L-Citrulline Malate, Beta-Alanine,  Citric Acid, Malic Acid, Acetyl-L-Carnitine, N-Acetyl L-Tyrosine, Calcium Silicate, Silicon Dioxide, Caffeine, Gum Blend, Citrus Bioflavonoids, Sucralose, Tartaric Acid, AstraGIN & Panax notoginseng Extract, Acesulfame Potassium, Nicotinic Acid, D-Calcium Pantothenate, Cholecalciferol, Pyridoxine HCl, Thiamin HCl, Folic Acid, Cyanocobalamin, and Natural & Artificial Flavors,
  • Function: The formula enhances performance, energy, and focus. Vitamin D present in the supplement provides immune support.
  • Caffeine: 175mg of caffeine from natural sources offers high energy for an intense workout.
  • Beta-alanine: 1.5g of beta-alanine in the formula enhances endurance.


  • Boost energy
  • Enhances focus
  • Comes in 4 flavors
  • Enhances endurance
  • Enhances performance
  • Banned substance-free ingredients


  • The formula is heat sensitive. This means exposure to sun or heat might melt or damage the product. 
  • Caused milk allergic reactions like itching in some

8. Kaged Muscle Pre-Kaged Sport Pre-Workout – Best For Athletes


  • Ingredients: L-Citrulline, Betaine Anhydrous (BetaPower), Beta Alanine (Carnosyn), Taurine, L-Tyrosine, Coconut Fruit Water Powder, Caffeine, Malic Acid, Citric Acid, Silicon Dioxide, Tartaric Acid, Calcium Silicate, Steviol Glycosides, Beet Root Color, Sucralose, and Tree Nuts (Coconut)
  • Function: Because of pure L-tyrosine and organic caffeine, the supplement offers a perfect balance of energy, focus, and endurance without overstimulation. The powerful blend of BetaPower betaine and plant-based citrulline enhances blood flow, whereas CarnoSyn beta-alanine fights fatigue.
  • Fluid Balance: The supplement contains Aquamin MG, magnesium, and sodium from Himalayan pink salt as key electrolytes, which support hydration and fluid balance.
  • Safety and Purity: The supplement formula is banned, substance-free, and third-party tested for purity and safety. 


  • Creatine free
  • Safe for athletes
  • Sports performance
  • Enhances endurance
  • Improves mental focus
  • Boosts energy and focus
  • Provides cellular hydration
  • No artificial colors or flavors


  • Some people found the flavor too sweet
  • Not helpful for those looking for creatine-based pre-workout supplements

9. Flavr Nutrition Pre-workout Powder – Best For Muscle Growth


  • Ingredients: L-Citrulline Malate Malate, L-Tyrosine, Beta Alanine, Natural Caffeine, Silicon Dioxide, L-Theanine, Natural & Artificial Flavors, Citric Acid, Malic Acid, Sucralose, and Acesulfame Potassium.
  • Function: Key ingredients of the formula, like caffeine and L- theanine, boost energy and focus. L- Citrulline Malate (6 g) increases nitric oxide levels, whereas Beta- Alanine (1.6 g) increases muscle endurance.
  • Safety and Purity: This supplement is free of creatine and sugar and is keto friendly. All of the ingredients used are tested for purity and manufactured in a GMP-certified facility in the USA.


  • No sugar
  • No creatine
  • Zero carbs
  • Zero calories
  • Keto friendly
  • Third-party tested
  • Comes in yummy flavors


  • Contains sucralose as a sweetener which some people avoid
  • Some people didn’t like the taste 

10. ProSupps Dr. Jekyll Signature Pre-Workout Powder– Best Stimulant-free Pre-workout


  • Ingredients: Calcium, Creatine HCL, Potassium, Beta Alanine, Inositol-Enhanced Arginine Silicate, Tree NutsCholine Bitartrate, Milk, L-Tyrosine, Aframomum melegueta, Ashwagandha, Calcium Silicate, Panax ginseng Extract, Black Pepper Extract, Citric Acid, Malic Acid, Powder, Sucralose, Medium Chain Triglyceride, Acesulfame Potassium, Silicon Dioxide, Beet Juice Powder, and Natural & Artificial Flavors. 
  • Function: This supplement has caffeine and stimulant-free formula for increasing energy and focus. Thus, it’s just the right pre-workout for those who prefer a stimulant-free approach.
  • Beta-Alanine: The supplement contains 1.6g of Beta-alanine, which help enhance endurance and fight fatigue. Whereas 1.5g creatine hydrochloride boosts muscle strength and enhances the training capacity of skeletal muscle.
  • Blood Flow: The presence of 800 mg of nooLVL optimizes blood flow, improves nutrient delivery, boosts muscle pump, and increases endurance.
  • Safety and Purity: This pre-workout supplement is banned substance free. It’s also free of carbs, sugar, gluten, and calories.


  • Zero sugar
  • Zero carbs
  • Zero calories
  • Gluten-free
  • Stimulant-free
  • Banned substances tested


  • Caused tingling in some
  • Some people on amazon complaint about receiving a broken seal bottle

11. Six-Star Pre-Workout Explosion – Most Affordable


  • Ingredients: Arginine AKG, Beta-Alanine, Caffeine, taurine, L-citrulline malate, L-citrulline, and L-arginine HCI etc.
  • Function: This supplement contains a powerful dose of caffeine anhydrous (135 mg), which offers high energy for workout intensity and mental focus.
  • Muscle pump: Due to the presence of ingredients such as arginine AKG, L-citrulline malate, L-citrulline, and L-arginine hydrochloride, you get a better muscle pump. Whereas taurine and beta-alanine support muscle endurance.


  • Zero sugar
  • Creatine-free
  • Boosts energy
  • Zero aspartame
  • Delivers powerful muscle pump
  • Increase muscle carnosine levels


  • Some people didn’t like the taste
  • Exposure to sunlight or heat might melt or damage the product

12. Insane Labz Psychotic Gold – Best High Stim Pre-Workout


  • Ingredients: Beta Alanine, Agmatine Sulfate, L-Citrulline, Caffeine Anhydrous, Caffeine Citrate, DMAE Bitartrate, AMPiberry, Rauwolfia Vomoitoria Extract, Oxygold, and natural & artificial flavoring.
  • Function: The pre-workout gummy candy is formulated with scientifically backed ingredients such as Beta-alanine, L-citrulline, and agmatine sulfate, which provides a clean burst of energy.
  • OXYgold and AMPiberry: This supplement contains Insane Labz two patented ingredients: OXYgold and AMPiberry. This key ingredient help absorbs all the other ingredients better for maximum results.


  • Boosts energy
  • Enhances focus
  • Enhances endurance
  • Comes in 6 different flavors
  • Easy-to-take gummy candies


  • Made some people feel foggy or dizzy
  • Some felt this pre-workout is too strong

How to Choose a Pre-Workout?

We have given you the list of the best affordable pre-workouts on the market. Now the question is how you should choose the one that best fits your needs.

For a pre-workout supplement, being cheap isn’t enough. You need to do some extra research in order to make the right choice. Price isn’t a guarantee of high or low quality.

Sometimes you can get just what you need in an affordable supplement. On the other hand, sometimes you can pay a high price and still not get what you need.

Therefore, to pick the right supplement for you, you need to make a well-informed decision, which can only happen by scrutinizing the ingredient list. 

Always check the supplement facts label for the ingredients used in the pre-workout supplement or any supplement in general.

Check out the amounts of ingredients used, like beta-alanine, caffeine, L-citrulline, L-alanine, L-arginine, etc. Secondly, consider the type of exercise you do. This is because some ingredients help boost strength and power, while others might improve endurance. Look out for the ones that fulfill your workout requirement.

Let’s find out what ingredients to look for in a pre-workout supplement and their amounts.

1. Caffeine

Caffeine is a stimulant found in coffee, tea, cocoa, etc. Caffeine, as you might know, helps us feel energized.


Most pre-supplements use caffeine as a base ingredient. This is because it boosts energy levels and improves focus, which is essential for aggressive physical activity like high-intensity workouts.

Generally, expensive pre-workout supplements contain about 260 mg of caffeine, whereas cheap ones have around 175 mg. The former is equivalent to one big cup of coffee, and the latter to a regular cup of coffee. Any supplement with caffeine amounting to more than 350 grams per serving might cause jitters and crashes.

2. L-Citrulline or L-Arginine

L-arginine and L-citrulline are amino acids that increase the blood flow in the body. They work by relaxing the blood vessels, which lets more blood pass through them and creates the muscle pump effect.

Around 5-6 grams of l-citrulline or l-arginine is an effective dose. 

3. Creatine

Creatine replenishes the ATP system, which helps enhance endurance and performance.

However, only some pre-workout supplements contain creatine. Creatine also comes as a standalone supplement, particularly preferred by weightlifters, power athletes, and bodybuilders.

4. Beta-Alanine

Beta-alanine is also an amino acid, this ingredient is essential to delay fatigue in pre-workouts. By offsetting lactic acid buildup in muscles, this amino acid helps fight fatigue so that you don’t feel tired.

It’s suggested that a dose of around 2-4 gm is required for the body to provoke this effect.

looking at the window

5. Betaine

Betaine, or betaine anhydrous, is a chemical compound that comes from beetroot juice. Betaine boosts strength, endurance, and power. Besides this, it’s also suggested that betaine helps reduce body fat levels.

It’s noteworthy that some cheap pre-workout supplements skimp on the ingredients and use filler or useless ingredients. If so, then such pre-workout supplements might not give you a good pump.

Thus, it’s essential to understand your exercise requirements and scrutinize the ingredients to choose the right pre-workout accordingly.

Is Pre-workout Worth Taking?

If you’re looking to enhance your energy levels and physical performance, then it’s worth taking pre-workouts. A pre-workout supplement can fuel you up and give you an improved pump. However, it’s necessary to choose the right ingredients that fit your needs and ensure that you use them sensibly.

Most pre-workout supplements are considered safe to be consumed by healthy adults, but they can still cause some mild side effects.

It’s also important to note that research is still limited when it comes to pre-workouts. Thus, although they can heighten your physical performance, the benefits aren’t backed by research.

What Can I Take in Place of Pre-workout?

Having good energy levels before doing any physical activity of high intensity, like hitting the gym. Therefore, most gymgoers prefer protein drinks or pre-workouts.

However, if you’re not a fan of supplements for any reason, like their taste or an allergy to some ingredients.

Pre-workout drink

Then, you can consider foods as an alternative to these supplements. Some foods and drinks can offer you the same ergogenic benefit as the pre-workout supplement.  

Here are ten natural pre-workout alternatives to supplements that can fuel your workout sessions. 

  1. Fruits
  2. Bread
  3. Coffee
  4. Oatmeal
  5. Green tea
  6. Smoothies
  7. Greek yogurt
  8. Peanut butter
  9. Energy drinks
  10. Sweet potatoes

Why Do I Experience Tingling After Taking Pre-workout Supplements?

Many people complain of a tingling sensation after taking pre-workout supplements. The tingling sensation is caused by an ingredient called beta-alanine. Beta-alanine is used in pre-workouts to offset soreness and muscle fatigue.

In order to perform its task, beta-alanine works at the cellular level and keeps the pH within the muscle from getting too acidic. This effect, which helps delay neuromuscular fatigue and enhances performance, also causes the infamous tingling sensation.

However, there’s no need to be worried about this tingling sensation. This is because it’s temporary and harmless to the body.

It’s most likely to feel the tingling sensation when the beta-alanine dose is higher than 2g per serving.

Related: Here is why pre-workout makes you poop.


All said and done, we would conclude that pre-workouts are a good way to boost your exercise performance if you’re a gym nut. They’re specially formulated to improve athletic performance and are thus often preferred by sportsmen, bodybuilders, trainers, and athletes.

Just like any other supplement, there’s an unpopular opinion about pre-workouts. Some people consider them ineffective and unhealthy. Some think they’re too much of an investment and thus prefer natural alternatives over supplements.

We have shared everything about pre-workout with you, along with a list of the best cheap pre-workout supplements. Now the decision remains up to you as to whether or not you want to make them a part of your exercise routine.

I hope this information will help you make a wise and informed decision!

Also, check out Steve Howey’s workout.

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