Dehydration affects about 75% of adult Americans. It’s one of the top causes of hospitalization, complicates many medical conditions, and is easily worsened by even the healthiest of activities. Whether you’re hungover, recovering from a stomach bug, or recovering from a marathon, it’s critical to stay properly hydrated.
Of course, just water won’t always cut it. When you’re too dehydrated, flooding your body with water might cause more problems than it cures. That’s where Liquid IV comes in – an electrolyte- and vitamin-heavy oral rehydration solution with low calories and big nutritional benefits. Should you add it to your routine? And with so many similar products on the market – many of which are already household names – it may be hard to decide whether to make the switch.
We investigated Liquid IV and will describe and explain all of the pros and cons to help you decide.
- Provides five essential vitamins and three times the electrolytes of traditional sport drinks
- Free shipping no matter what
- Donates an equal amount of product to vital causes with every order
- Extremely sustainable practices at all points in their supply chain
- 25% off all subscription orders
- Receive 20% off your first order when you sign up for their email newsletter
- Contains stevia, which can cause digestive discomfort for some
- Costs more than a premade sports drink
- Expedited shipping is expensive without dramatically reducing transit time
Liquid IV is a healthy alternative to sugar-heavy sports drinks, offering large amounts of electrolytes and vitamins to assist your body in rehydrating after a heavy workout or bout of sickness. It’s not the least expensive option out there, but the effectiveness of the product – especially when combined with Liquid IV’s big heart, deep dedication to charity, and strong sustainable practices – makes the moderate cost well worth it. With nine standard flavors across four different types of Liquid IV (and constantly rotating seasonal flavors), you’re bound to find something that works for you.
Liquid IV provides what you need to replenish after a hard workout or illness, without the added sugar you’ll find in traditional sports drinks.
Liquid IV’s non-GMO electrolyte powders come in a variety of flavors with specific benefits so you can hydrate, energize, boost your immune system, and sleep easier. And enjoy free shipping, too.
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 we review. We try our best to give you an unbiased exploration of at-home health services, free of marketing jargon or gimmicks. We evaluate products and services based on our 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 review of Liquid IV was thoroughly vetted by one or more members of our Medical Review Board for accuracy.
Liquid IV is a supplemental powder you can add to water for ultimate hydration. As the sole product launched by Liquid IV in 2015, this oral rehydration solution was designed to help you get rehydrated fast. Each box contains ten packets of crystalline powder, which you’ll add to 12 oz of water as a supplement.
Liquid IV’s main mission is one of selflessness: for every purchase you make, Liquid IV donates an equal amount. Their worldwide giveback strategies range from homeless shelters in their Los Angeles neighborhood to hurricane victims to supporting hospital workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, they have an interactive global map so that you can easily see exactly where their donations are going. As of September 2021, Liquid IV has donated 16 million servings of their product worldwide.
Sustainability and ethical sourcing are also two critical factors behind Liquid IV. Whether you’re looking at their sustainably sourced 100% compostable cardboard, matcha from a family farm in Kagoshima, Japan, or reduced-waste travel, Liquid IV has taken steps to minimize their impact on the environment at every step in their supply chain.
Liquid IV, as an oral rehydration solution, aims to get water into your body faster in the digestion process to increase your water intake without having to drink more. Each packet contains three times the electrolytes of standard sports drinks with half the sugar and calories. Electrolytes are important for regulating muscle contractions, bodily pH, and nervous system function.
This means that you’re getting more bang for your buck, staying hydrated without flooding the body with unnecessary sugars.
If you’ve just finished a hard workout, you might be inclined to reach for a giant bottle of water afterward. But chugging plain water won’t always replace the electrolytes you’ve lost through your sweat. Your body needs sodium, potassium, and chloride in order to function at its best. When you’ve lost a lot of these through sweating or a stomach bug, replenishing your electrolytes can help prevent muscle cramps, fatigue, and further nausea. Electrolytes can also importantly allow your body to begin digesting water earlier, as sodium and potassium allow water to cross from the stomach into your bloodstream faster than would otherwise happen.
This is where Liquid IV is so useful. By combining a precise ratio of sodium, glucose (sugar your body can absorb), and potassium, the solution creates an osmotic force that creates enough osmotic pressure to let the water cross over earlier than other rehydration solutions. This technology is well understood, and Liquid IV takes direct advantage of it. They have a minimal sugar content, which is important because higher sugar contents can worsen stomach ailments. Most of us won’t experience something as severely dehydrating as cholera, but the CDC recommends taking in 100mL of a healthy oral rehydration solution like Liquid IV every five minutes until you’re stable.
Any risks of side effects from Liquid IV are extremely low. Over-hydrating is possible, mostly affecting serious athletes and those with kidney or liver disease, but requires an excess of water that dilutes and pushes out the body’s electrolytes. When you’re replenishing those electrolytes, it’s much, much harder to experience any negative effects of drinking too much water.
Liquid IV has four main versions of their titular product:
- Hydration Multiplier
- Hydration Multiplier+ Immune Support
- Energy Multiplier
- Sleep Multiplier
When you’ve filled your cart and are ready to check out, Liquid IV accepts all major credit cards, Shop Pay, Amazon Pay, and PayPal.
As the classic, standard formula, Hydration Multiplier provides three times the electrolytes and five essential vitamins (B3, B5, B6, B12, and C) in one stick. Each serving also contains 500mg of sodium (22% of the daily recommended amount) with only 45 calories. However, it does have 11g of added sugar – most of which comes from table sugar, but some of which is from stevia, an alternate sugar that can cause digestive discomfort in some. It’s not a horrible amount of sugar, especially considering that glucose is necessary to help electrolytes get absorbed, and most other electrolyte drinks contain anywhere from 0 to 75g of sugar.
The Hydration Multiplier box contains 16 one-serving sticks of Liquid IV Hydration Multiplier and costs $24.47 ($1.53/serving). You can order multiple boxes at a time from Liquid IV’s site for a slight bulk discount.
Hydration Multiplier offers the most flavors out of any Liquid IV product. It comes in a wide range of bright, fun flavors, including:
- Lemon Lime
- Passion Fruit
- Acai Berry
- Limited Edition Caramel Apple
- Limited Edition Golden Cherry
- Limited Edition Piña Colada
Hydration Multiplier+ Immune Support
If you’re interested in giving your immune system a little bit of a boost, whether you’re trying to fight a bug or keep yourself from catching one, Liquid IV has you covered. The Hydration Multiplier+ Immune Support packet has all of the same potent ingredients as the Hydration Multiplier formula, but adds more vitamin C (maxing out at 504mg per serving, a high dose appropriate for strong immune support). It also adds zinc, which is well-known to support immune function, particularly in combination with vitamin C.
Hydration Multiplier+ Immune Support also adds Wellmune, a fiber derived from baker’s yeast. Wellmune and other yeast beta-glucans have been shown to increase immune functioning and help decrease respiratory symptoms in those with colds and flus, so while it may not help to settle your stomach, it can ease your body’s fighting against plenty of other viruses.
Currently, it is only available in a tangerine flavor, and each package contains 14 sticks (compared to Hydration Multiplier’s 16) at $24.99 ($1.78/stick). You can also order multiple packs at a time for slight discounts.
The biggest difference between Hydration Multiplier and Energy Multiplier is that the latter contains about 100mg of caffeine, which is comparable to the average cup of coffee. Coffee is a diuretic, meaning you flush water out of your system easier, so it’s easy to worry that caffeine might dehydrate you more than you’re getting back. However, while caffeine has a little bit of a diuretic effect, it doesn’t dehydrate you in any meaningful way. Even with a cup of coffee, you get back more water through drinking than you lose from the diuretic.
The caffeine in Energy Multiplier comes from matcha and guayusa (holly leaves traditionally brewed like tea). This hydration supplement has less sugar than the traditional Hydration Multiplier at a total 8g per serving, which is even better for you without sacrificing taste or other health benefits.
Each Energy Multiplier comes in bags of 14 sticks at $24.99 ($1.78/stick), though you can order in bulk for a slight discount. Like Hydration Multiplier+ Immune Support, Energy Multiplier only comes in one lemon ginger flavor.
One of the more unique types of oral rehydration supplement, Liquid IV has a sleep-promoting nighttime version called Sleep Multiplier. This lemon blueberry flavored supplement includes melatonin, L-Theanine, and valerian root into their standard Hydration Multiplier for better hydration right before bed. Both melatonin and valerian root are well-known for inducing sleep quickly and efficiently without the need for additional pharmaceuticals, introducing healthy alternatives into your daily routine.
Sleep Multiplier comes in smaller boxes than any of the other Liquid IV products with 10 sticks per pack at $19.99 ($2.00/stick). Like with all of the other blends, however, you can order it in bulk at a slightly cheaper cost per stick.
Want to try multiple flavors of Hydration Multiplier but intimidated by the price? Liquid IV offers the option to build your own multiplier bundle, where you can purchase between two and six boxes of any Multiplier product for significant discounts.
- Two boxes (starting at $44.05 or $1.38/stick)
- Four boxes (additional 15% off, starting at $83.20 or $1.30/stick)
- Six boxes (additional 20% off, starting at $117.46 or $1.22/stick)
There are also premade bundles, many of which include additional goodies like a Liquid IV branded beanie, bib, or stainless steel water bottle to keep you properly hydrated.
Subscribe & Save
If you know that you’ll want to use Liquid IV regularly, or if you want to always have a supply on hand for post-workout rehydration, Liquid IV makes recurring orders easy. They offer a Subscribe & Save program, where you can schedule your favorite products to arrive every one or two months. Plus, you’ll earn an extra 25% off every order when you schedule it.
If you decide that Liquid IV isn’t for you, or if you’re not using it as frequently as you’d thought, you can skip, modify, or cancel your shipments at any time without penalty. If you’ve already got a package in the mail, however, you won’t be able to cancel it.
At this time, Subscribe & Save is only available for Liquid IV oral rehydration solution packets – not any apparel or trinket merchandise. Bundles that contain hats, bibs, water bottles, or other gifts aren’t eligible for Subscribe & Save either.
No matter the size of your order or where you’re located, Liquid IV provides free shipping for all. This shipping takes three to six business days to arrive on your doorstep, which includes one to two days for processing (meaning your package will be in transit for one to four days).
If you need your Liquid IV sooner, you can expedite your shipping for an additional $15. This will guarantee that you get your package in two to three business days. While it cuts down on the longer end of estimated delivery times, this option doesn’t dramatically change how long it’ll take to get to your destination. Most boxes are shipped within one to three days of placing your order.
Need your Liquid IV today? You can find them at many grocery stores, pharmacies, and other big box stores, including the Kroger chain, CVS, Whole Foods, and Target.
We believe it’s a good value. Liquid IV might be more expensive than premade solutions you can buy by the bottle, but it has ten times the servings. When you break down the cost per serving, Liquid IV still outranks its more-expensive packet-style additive competitors. Plus, it’s got more bang for your buck, with an additional five vitamins, three times the electrolytes, and six fun and accurate flavors. If you’re dehydrated and looking for ways to quickly rehydrate, Liquid IV is a fantastic option.
On its face, Liquid IV feels like the sort of product you might be able to make at home: mix some salt and sugar into coconut water and pretend it tastes good. But when Liquid IV has already done it for you, with great science, great morals, and great flavors, why would you? Their small packet design makes it easy to keep in your purse or pocket, convenient for travel. And when you’re dehydrated, spending time formulating a beverage will be much less appealing than using a product that’s already done the work.
While no communication over the Internet is perfect, Liquid IV takes all “commercially reasonable” steps to protect your privacy before, during, and after every purchase.
At Innerbody Research, we customize our evaluation criteria depending on the type and nature of the health-related service. For health-related products and services, we have five areas that we use for our evaluations, including:
Quality: How well does the company deliver its core service(s) and product(s) to the customer? For testing services, does the company adhere to the latest and most advanced testing technologies and achieve a very high degree of accuracy? For non-testing telehealth services, is the quality of the service and/or product high enough that we would recommend it to loved ones without hesitation? If not, why not?
User-friendly: How intuitive and user-friendly is the service? Does the device/program/app/website achieve a good degree of user-friendliness for its customers?
Value: Are you getting your money’s worth? Are there any hidden costs or charges? Does the company offer discounts?
Privacy: If health data is stored, will your data be stored securely? Are payments secure?
Customer support: Particularly in situations where ‘one size fits all’ doesn’t make sense, how well does the company help to make the service ideal for you?