Best Creatine for Women

Discover which creatine supplements are best for women’s weight loss, muscle gain, strength, and endurance.

by
Last updated: Aug 10th, 2022
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In this Review

Summary of recommendations
Creatine supplements: top considerations
How our top recommendations compare
Are creatine supplements a good choice for you?
Who shouldn’t use creatine supplements
How do creatine supplements work?
What to expect from a creatine supplement
Are creatine supplements safe?
Transparent Labs Creatine HMB
Evlution Nutrition Creatine5000
Thorne Research Creatine
Optimum Nutrition Micronized Creatine Capsules
Swolverine Kre-Alkalyn
Onnit Creatine Monohydrate
Frequently asked questions about creatine supplements
Why you should trust us
Best Creatine for Women

Over half of women in the U.S. are currently trying to lose weight and get in shape. If you’re one of them, you’ve probably heard of creatine supplements. Creatine is a naturally occurring amino acid derived from foods like meat and fish and produced by the human liver, kidneys, and pancreas.

Synthetically manufactured creatine supplements provide up to five times the 1g of creatine your body can produce daily, improving strength, muscle mass, and athletic performance. Creatine has benefits beyond the gym, however. It also reduces the frequency of injuries and muscle cramping during workouts and improves brain, bone, and skin health.

Creatine supplements can be an excellent benefit to vegetarians and the aging population, providing protection against muscle weakness associated with illness and improving recovery after surgery.

This guide breaks down the pros, cons, and details of the top six creatine options for women based on quality, safety, pricing, and customer satisfaction. If you're on the go, glance over our winning recommendations below.

Summary of recommendations

Our Top Picks
Transparent Labs logo
Transparent Labs Creatine HMB

Transparent Labs Creatine HMB comes first in ingredient quality, transparency, and overall taste.

Transparent Labs is a trusted name in the supplement industry. Their creatine blend is vegan-friendly and free from artificial sweeteners, preservatives, and coloring. Get free shipping on orders over $99. You’re covered by a 60-day money-back guarantee.

Creatine supplements: top considerations

We considered four primary criteria to evaluate our top choices in women's creatine supplements: quality, cost, safety, and customer satisfaction. Seeing how these favorite brands performed gives you a better idea of what may work for you.

Quality

Winner: Transparent Labs

Quality is the most critical factor when choosing any health and wellness product, particularly dietary supplements. Knowing that a brand is dedicated to sustainably sourcing high-quality ingredients and maintaining Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) takes away any second-guessing about its quality.

Transparent Labs is one such company. As implied by its name, the company is dedicated to full transparency in its labeling, refusing to hide behind proprietary blends. Transparent Labs Creatine HMB stands above the competition based on its added ingredients for optimum athletic performance and muscle retention.

Creatine HMB provides 5,000mg of creatine monohydrate per serving and 1,500mg of HMB (hydroxy methyl butyrate), which aids in muscle retention. Other ingredients include vitamin D and BioPerine (black pepper extract), which promote the body's absorption of supplements.

Finally, Transparent Labs is the only brand among our top picks that offers a variety of flavors for its powder blend, making it more palatable than unflavored options. And with 11 flavors to choose from, you will likely not get bored with this product.

Cost

Winner: Thorne Research

Cost is the second factor we consider in assessing products. Everyone wants quality supplements, but reaching a compromise between a product's efficacy and your budget can be pretty tricky. In evaluating the best creatine supplements for women, we've included various price points to give our readers options for every budget.

The most cost-effective option in our winner's circle is Thorne Research Creatine. At just $0.40 per serving, Thorne is affordable and effective. This manufacturer also provides additional savings when you enroll in its auto-ship subscription plan. Subscribing to one product earns 10% savings on each refill order, and if you subscribe to three or more products, you get 20% off refills.

Thorne also provides customers full ingredient transparency and backs its products with a 60-day money-back guarantee. It offers free shipping in the U.S. for single orders over $99 or subscription orders of any amount.

Lastly, Thorne is not only the cheapest option but also among the safest and best for athletes, with rigorous third-party testing to maintain its NSF Certification for Sport.

Safety

Winner: Onnit

The FDA does not closely regulate dietary supplements as it does with medications and food. Hence, it's essentially up to you to determine how safe a product may be and whether it has significant drug interactions and side effects.

When choosing any dietary supplement, we recommend consulting your physician first. This applies particularly to individuals with chronic health conditions, food allergies, or ongoing medication requirements. Most creatine supplement manufacturers recommend that pregnant or lactating mothers and individuals with certain health conditions avoid using their products.

When assessing a supplement's safety, we consider how it manages:

  • Manufacturing methods
  • Ingredient transparency
  • Food allergens
  • Fillers and additives
  • Third-party testing

Onnit Creatine Monohydrate checked many boxes among our criteria for safety. This supplement is Informed Sport Certified, meaning it has been third-party tested for contaminants or banned substances in professional sports organizations. It is also dairy-free, soy-free, and vegan-friendly.

Onnit Creatine Monohydrate is also widely available from pharmacies and online retailers, which is a blessing for those who can't afford its $14.75 shipping rate on orders under $150. If you subscribe to Onnit's auto-ship subscription plan, you'll earn 15% off each order. And if you find a stack that works for you for over $150, you can enjoy a shipping waiver.

Customer service and satisfaction

Winner: Optimum Nutrition

Ideally, dealing with a manufacturer's customer service would never be an issue because the product would work for everyone who tried it. But unfortunately, not all products work for everyone, and knowing that a company guarantees customer satisfaction can make the difference between a mistake and a costly mistake.

Our winner for customer service and satisfaction is Optimum Nutrition Micronized Creatine Capsules. Optimum Nutrition provides a 30-day, 100% satisfaction guarantee on orders that still contain 75% of the product. Returns only apply to purchases made directly from Optimum Nutrition.

You can reach Optimum Nutrition Customer Service by phone between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. or online chat between 8:30 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. CST.

How our top recommendations compare

The chart below shows how our favorite brands compare in terms of cost, customer satisfaction, discounts, and quality assurance. Your choice will depend on your budget, lifestyle, and dietary preferences.

The cost comparisons below are based on single purchases of each product and do not account for subscription plans or bulk purchases, which can often provide significant savings.

Are creatine supplements a good choice for you?

Many bodybuilders and athletes take creatine to enhance their strength and athletic performance, but can it benefit "regular people" too, particularly women? The answer is that it certainly can.

Creatine will help you build muscle and enjoy longer, more rigorous training sessions at the gym, but there are benefits beyond fitness. Creatine can help women with depression and mental fatigue, and it can help prevent bone and muscle loss in postmenopausal women.

Creatine offers a bounty of benefits, including:

  • Improved athletic performance
  • Better brain, skin, and bone health
  • Muscle and strength development
  • Improved recovery from injuries, surgery, or pulled muscles
  • Reduced fatigue
  • Greater physical endurance

Additionally, creatine supplementation has demonstrated abilities to improve health in individuals struggling with:

  • Heart disease
  • Cancer
  • Muscular dystrophy
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • COPD
  • ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease)
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Certain brain disorders and neuromuscular conditions

Who shouldn’t use creatine supplements

Just as many women will benefit from creatine supplementation, some women should avoid it because of chronic health conditions, including:

  • Liver disease
  • Diabetes
  • Kidney problems

Those who are pregnant or nursing and children under 18 should also avoid the supplement.

Creatine interacts with several medications and supplements. If you currently take or plan to take the following products, you should discuss the potential health impacts with your physician before adding creatine to your daily regimen.

  • Caffeine
  • Diuretics
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
  • Cimetidine (Tagamet)
  • Drugs affecting the kidneys
  • Probenecid

In short, if you have any concerns about taking creatine supplements, you should discuss them with your doctor. If your doctor has concerns, you should avoid creatine altogether.

How do creatine supplements work?

Creatine is a combination of three amino acids that the body naturally produces on its own:

  • Arginine
  • Glycine
  • Methionine

However, the creatine that our liver, kidneys, and pancreas make is only about 1g daily and is insufficient to improve athletic performance significantly. The primary source of creatine in foods comes from:

  • Fish (tuna and salmon in particular)
  • Lean red meat
  • Milk
  • Eggs
  • Wild game

Looking at that list, you may wonder how vegetarians obtain enough creatine to be healthy. Ultimately, vegetarians and vegans benefit the most from supplementation to fill the dietary gap. Older adults struggling with bone and muscle loss can also reap many rewards from creatine supplements.

Since creatine supplements hit the mainstream market in the 1990s, manufacturers have refined different chemical forms of creatine to ensure greater bioavailability, improve functionality, and bypass common gastrointestinal side effects, like bloating and stomach upset.

Below, we’ll examine the different formulas of creatine supplements to help you narrow down which products will benefit you the most.

Creatine monohydrate

Creatine monohydrate is the most common form of creatine in dietary supplements because it is also the most cost-effective choice. This form of creatine has been widely researched, with evidence showing that creatine monohydrate has more physiological impact than other forms.

Creatine ethyl ester

Creatine ethyl ester is a combination of creatine bonded to ester salts, which some believe to be better digested and absorbed than creatine monohydrate. However, studies have shown that creatine ethyl ester is equally effective as creatine monohydrate.

Creatine hydrochloride (HCL)

Creatine hydrochloride (HCL) combines creatine with hydrochloride molecules, lowering the pH levels of the supplements. HCL may be absorbed more efficiently in the body because of its solubility in water. Most HCL powders or capsules on the market require just 1g or less per serving, compared to 5g or more for creatine monohydrate. This is because of their better absorption by the body. Creatine hydrochloride may be an excellent choice for individuals who have tried creatine monohydrate but couldn't continue its use due to gastrointestinal reactions.

Buffered creatine

Buffered creatine is known best by the patented product names of Kre-Alkalyn or Crea-Trona. These formulations have a higher pH and are promoted as more bioavailable and effective than creatine monohydrates, as they are easier on the stomach and produce fewer gastrointestinal side effects.

Other formulas

There are more forms of creatine, including creatine magnesium chelate and liquid creatine, but these forms do not apply to any of our top choices for women.

What to expect from a creatine supplement

When you take creatine supplements, you can expect improved exercise performance, less muscular cramping and injuries, and quicker recovery after training sessions.

One of the adverse side effects of creatine is weight gain due to water retention. It may also impact the kidneys and liver, so individuals with liver or kidney disease should avoid creatine supplements.

Lastly, if you suffer from depression, creatine supplementation may help. A 2019 study published by Biomolecules showed that creatine might have an essential antidepressant effect and is an effective adjunctive treatment alongside neurostimulation techniques such as ECT and TMS.

Are creatine supplements safe?

Creatine is among the most-researched dietary supplements and is considered generally safe for healthy adults. However, these products can lead to several side effects and are inappropriate for:

  • Children
  • Pregnant or nursing mothers
  • Individuals with diabetes, liver disease, or kidney disease

If you experience any adverse side effects, you should stop using the supplement and talk to your doctor. Side effects you may experience when taking creatine supplements include:

  • Muscle cramping
  • Nausea
  • Bloating
  • Weight gain
  • Muscle strains
  • Dizziness
  • Diarrhea
  • Liver dysfunction
  • Kidney damage
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Purpuric dermatosis

Transparent Labs Creatine HMB

Best overall and best tasting

Pros

  • Provides 5,000mg of creatine monohydrate per serving

  • 1,500mg of hydroxy methyl butyrate (HMB) aids muscle retention

  • 11 tasty flavors to choose from (including unflavored)

  • Transparent ingredient labeling

  • Vegan-friendly

  • Third-party tested

  • 60-day money-back guarantee

  • Free shipping on orders over $99

Cons

  • More expensive than other brands

  • Shipping can be costly on orders under $99

  • Doesn't contain creatine hydrochloride

We chose Transparent Labs Creatine HMB as our overall winner and best-tasting supplement based on several attributes. Transparent Labs is a highly respected company committed to ingredient transparency with no proprietary blends to hide behind. Creatine HMB is vegan-friendly and doesn’t contain artificial sweeteners, preservatives, or coloring. And with 11 flavors to choose from, you won't be lacking in variety.

Ingredients and benefits

Transparent Labs Creatine HMB provides 5,000mg of creatine monohydrate per serving plus 1,500mg of hydroxy methyl butyrate (HMB) for muscle retention. Other ingredients include:

  • Vitamin D (13mcg)
  • Bioperine (5mg)
  • Malic acid
  • Citric acid
  • Natural flavors
  • Stevia extract
  • Beta-carotene

While Transparent Labs Creatine HMB is more expensive than many competitors, it also contains more ingredients to help you achieve your fitness goals. HMB supplementation has positive effects on building and retaining muscle and strength.

Recent studies show that HMB effectively helps the older population recover from illness and medical procedures. Studies have likewise demonstrated that vitamin D supplementation aids muscle protein synthesis.

Transparent Labs Creatine HMB supports the following health benefits:

  • Muscle growth and retention
  • Strength and endurance
  • Fat mass reduction
  • Prevention of muscle depletion

Pricing

Transparent Labs currently offers Creatine HMB as a one-time purchase, but it is eligible for bundle savings with a subscription. One 0.62lb container with 30 servings costs $44.99. Buying from the company website ensures you get the 60-day customer satisfaction guarantee, and all orders over $99 include free shipping in the U.S. Shipping for orders under $99 starts at $7.99.

Evlution Nutrition Creatine5000

Runner-up overall

Pros

  • Provides 5g of high-quality micronized creatine in each serving

  • Relatively inexpensive ($0.83 per serving)

  • Contains no additives or flavoring

  • Offers capsule and powder options

  • Manufactured in a cGMP facility

  • Bundle & Save earns 20% off purchases of three or more products

  • Premade bundles provide an additional 10% off

  • Free shipping on orders over $74

Cons

  • Not certified as vegan-friendly

  • Only offers unflavored powder

  • No satisfaction guarantee

While Transparent Labs Creatine HMB was our overall winner based on its additional ingredients, we chose Evlution Nutrition Creatine5000 as our runner-up based on an opposite approach. Creatine5000 provides 5g of high-quality micronized creatine in each serving and absolutely nothing else. With no flavorings, preservatives, or fillers, you can rest assured that you're getting a 100% pure supplement. The lack of flavors also means you can easily stack this creatine formula with protein powders and other supplements without clashing tastes.

Ingredients and benefits

Each serving of Evlution Nutrition Creatine5000 contains 5g of micronized creatine with no stimulants or sugar. It provides the following benefits:

  • Aids in lean muscle growth
  • Enhances athletic performance
  • Boosts strength, power, and endurance
  • Replenishes ATP levels in the brain for improved mental focus and performance

Pricing

Evlution Nutrition does not offer a standard subscription option for savings, although purchasing the product in bundles earns 20% off. You'll need to buy three or more products to earn this discount. Creatine5000 costs $24.99 for a 30-serving jar, which is $0.83 per serving.

The company also offers regular sale prices, such as the current sale on 30-serving jars at $19.99, dropping the cost per serving to $0.67. Shipping starts at $5.99 per order, and Evlution Nutrition provides free shipping on orders over $74.

Thorne Research Creatine

Best budget pick and best for athletes

Pros

  • Least expensive option among our top picks

  • Each serving provides 5g of creatine monohydrate

  • Contains no added flavors, coloring, or fillers

  • NSF Certified for Sport

  • Third-party tested

  • Powder has zero taste, making stacking easier

  • Free ground shipping in the U.S.

  • 60-day money-back guarantee

Cons

  • Unflavored option only

  • No longer contains Creapure

  • Not certified as vegan-friendly

Thorne Research Creatine is the least expensive option among our top picks and the best supplement for athletes. Thorne Research is a highly-trusted company that manufactures its products in cGMP facilities. It provides third-party testing to ensure its supplements are free of contaminants, added flavors, coloring, or fillers. Thorne Research Creatine is the only NSF Certified for Sport brand in this guide, meaning that it is safe for professional athletes in competition.

Ingredients and benefits

Like Evlution Nutrition Creatine5000, Thorne Research Creatine provides 5g of creatine monohydrate in each serving. It contains no added preservatives, flavoring, or colors. You can easily stack this tasteless powder with protein shakes or other supplements.

Thorne Research Creatine provides the following health benefits:

  • Promotes power, strength, and endurance
  • Supports cognitive function
  • Promotes lean body mass and healthy body composition, especially for older people
  • Promotes cellular energy production
  • Reduces dehydration and muscle cramps
  • Reduces injury to muscles, bones, tendons, and nerves

Pricing

Thorne Research promotes its auto-ship subscription for up to 20% off all refill orders. Purchasing Creatine as a monthly subscription order earns 10% off all subsequent purchases. If you subscribe to three or more products, you earn 20% savings. Subscription discounts do not apply to the initial product purchase, only to subsequent orders.

One 1lb jar of Thorne Creatine includes 90 servings, far more than most competitors.

Enrolling in the subscription program provides free shipping, although Thorne Research offers free ground shipping on all orders in the contiguous U.S.

Optimum Nutrition Micronized Creatine Capsules

Best capsule

Pros

  • Offers both capsules and a powder formula

  • Zero calories or carbohydrates

  • Transparent ingredient labeling

  • 10-20% savings on orders over $75

  • 15% off your first order when you subscribe to the company newsletter

  • 30-day money-back guarantee

  • Free shipping on orders over $75

Cons

  • Two-capsule dosage contains just 2.5g of creatine monohydrate

  • Capsules are more expensive than powder formula

  • No subscription savings

Optimum Nutrition Micronized Creatine Capsules offer an alternative to powders, which many people appreciate for convenience. They require no mixing or special shaker bottles and can be taken quickly at the gym. Optimum Nutrition also offers a powder formula that costs significantly less than the capsules. This vegan-friendly supplement is tested for banned substances by major sports organizations and contains zero calories. Optimum Nutrition offers several ways to earn savings:

  • Bulk purchases
  • Discounts for subscribing to the company newsletter
  • Up to 20% off on orders over $150

Ingredients and benefits

Each two-capsule serving provides 2.5g of 100% pure creatine monohydrate and offers the following benefits:

  • Supports strength and athletic performance
  • Helps build muscle
  • Boosts endurance
  • Benefits brain health
  • Easy to take on-the-go

Pricing

While Optimum Nutrition does not offer a subscription discount, you can purchase Micronized Creatine Capsules in amounts of 100, 200, or 300. The cost per serving goes down relative to buying in greater bulk. You can also earn additional savings (10-20%) on orders over $75.

Optimum Nutrition provides free shipping on orders over $75. For orders below $75, shipping starts at $5.99.

Swolverine Kre-Alkalyn

Best for high-intensity interval training (HIIT)

Pros

  • Vegan-friendly

  • No added flavoring, coloring, or fillers

  • Manufactured in a cGMP facility

  • Free shipping on orders over $99

  • May increase weightlifting performance by up to 14%

  • Features a patented pH-balanced form of creatine that is easily absorbed and digested

  • 15% off with Subscribe & Save membership

Cons

  • Subscription purchases include shipping fees if they're under $99

  • Unflavored only

  • More expensive than some alternatives

Swolverine Kre-Alkalyn features a pH-balanced form of creatine that provides better digestion and absorption. We chose this product as the best for HIIT based on its ability to increase VO2 max (how much oxygen your body absorbs during workouts). Kre-Alkalyn's easier absorption aids in eliminating some of the side effects of creatine monohydrate and other forms of creatine, which include stomach upset, bloating, and nausea. We recommend Swolverine Kre-Alkalyn for CrossFit athletes and those undertaking high-intensity interval training.

Ingredients and benefits

Swolverine is a trusted brand that provides ingredient transparency and even features scientific studies on its website to demonstrate Kre-Alkalyn’s effectiveness. Each serving provides 3,000mg of creatine in the form of Kre-Alkalyn with no fillers or additives. It offers the following benefits:

  • Promotes greater strength and power
  • Improves exercise endurance and athletic performance
  • Supports ATP regeneration, improving brain health
  • Increases the content of creatine phosphate in muscle by 20%
  • Improves bioavailability (1.5g of Kre-Alkalyn is equal to 10-15g of creatine monohydrate)

Pricing

Swolverine offers a Subscribe & Save membership that reduces prices by 15%. It also offers an interest-free installment plan through Shop Pay so that you can pay four installments of $17.49 every two weeks.

Swolverine's shipping fees start at $6.99 for orders under $99, including Subscribe & Save memberships. The company provides free shipping on orders over $99.

Onnit Creatine Monohydrate

Best for vegans

Pros

  • Vegan-friendly, dairy-free, and soy-free

  • Relatively inexpensive ($0.50 per serving)

  • Subscribe & Save membership earns 15% off each order

  • Informed Sport Certified

  • Widely available from pharmacies and online retailers

  • Transparency of ingredient labeling

  • 90-day money-back guarantee

  • Free shipping on orders over $150

Cons

  • Unflavored option only

  • Shipping fees can be cost-prohibitive on orders under $150

Onnit Creatine Monohydrate won our category for the best vegan supplement, delivering 5g of micronized creatine monohydrate (provided by Creapure) in a flavorless powder formula. We appreciate Onnit's dedication to excellently sourced, high-quality ingredients. Onnit Creatine Monohydrate is third-party tested to retain its Informed Sport Certification, making it one of the safest options among our top picks.

Ingredients and benefits

Each two-scoop serving of Onnit Creatine Monohydrate provides 5g of micronized creatine monohydrate with no fillers or additives. It promises the following health benefits:

  • Improved body composition and performance in resistance exercise
  • Enhanced muscle growth
  • Increased endurance and athletic performance
  • Sustained jumping power during workouts
  • Reduced muscle fatigue

Pricing

Onnit Creatine Monohydrate is readily available on store shelves and online marketplaces, making it convenient if you purchase locally. And you may want to do so, as Onnit's shipping fees can easily double the cost of your order if it's under $150. If you choose to purchase this product directly from Onnit, enrolling in the company's Subscribe & Save plan reduces the prices of each order by 15%.

Shipping on single orders of Onnit Creatine Monohydrate can be exorbitant on orders under $150. For instance, our testers purchased a single product order for $14.99, and their shipping fees were $14.75. Based on those rates, you may be better off buying this Onnit supplement from your local pharmacy or Amazon.

Frequently asked questions about creatine supplements

Why you should trust us

Over the past two decades, Innerbody Research has helped tens of millions of readers make more informed decisions involving staying healthy and living healthier lifestyles.

We extensively test each health service or product we review. We try our best to give you, our readers, an unbiased exploration of at-home health options, free of marketing jargon or gimmicks. We evaluate products and services based on their adherence to quality, the latest medical evidence and health standards, and a simple question: would we buy the product or service ourselves if it weren’t part of our job, and would we recommend it to family and friends?

Additionally, like all health-related content on this website, this guide was thoroughly vetted by one or more members of our Medical Review Board for accuracy.