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Creatine Pills vs Powder: Which Is More Effective?

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Creatine is one of the most popular and widely researched sports supplements available, and for good reason. It comes in 2 main forms, and deciding between creatine pills vs powder may be difficult.

When first starting to take creatine, you may have several questions like, are creatine capsules good? Do creatine pills work as well as powder? In this article, we’ll be covering the pros and cons of these different forms of creatine so you can decide which one is right for you. Keep reading to have all your questions about creatine powder vs pills answered.

The difference between creatine pills vs powder comes down almost entirely to their form. Creatine pills are just creatine powder put into a capsule form, so both supplements will have the same effects. What’s right for you will come down to which is more convenient to take.

supplements in capsules and in powder

What Are Creatine Pills?

Before getting into the difference between creatine powder vs pills, we’ll quickly cover what creatine is. Creatine is a compound derived from amino acids which helps to give your muscles energy. While your body naturally produces creatine, as well as getting some through eating meat, it only keeps about ¾ of its stores filled without supplementation. You need to fully saturate your stores to get noticeable training effects, which is most easily done through supplementing with 3-5g of creatine a day, either through creatine pills or powder. Benefits of creatine include improved high intensity exercise performance, as well as improved recovery.

As you may imagine, creatine pills are simply creatine powder in a capsulated form. While they are less common than a standard creatine powder, they are becoming increasingly popular for their convenience and ease of use. They are typically a similar price to standard creatine powder at less than $1 per serving, making them a great alternative if you don’t enjoy mixing creatine into a drink. Another upside is that they are usually dosed at 1g per capsule, making it easier to take specific doses if you’re looking to take slightly less than a standard 5g scoop.

What Is Creatine Powder?

Creatine powder is the more standard form of creatine that the vast majority of users take. Ultimately, deciding between creatine capsules or powder will just come down to a matter of personal preference, as both supplements are virtually identical in many ways.

While some people will prefer taking pills over powder, taking 3-5 pills everyday to get your dose of creatine may not be appealing to everyone. Instead, mixing a single scoop of creatine powder with a glass of water is as simple as it gets. Similar to pills, most creatine powders will be less than $1 per serving, making them one of the best budget-friendly supplements you can buy. As we mentioned, powder may be slightly more difficult to dose accurately than pills, but this shouldn’t be a major factor for most users taking a standard 5g serving everyday.

creatine powder in scoop

Creatine Pills Vs Powder

Ultimately, creatine pills and powder are very similar supplements, with both being a great way to saturate your creatine stores. Which one is right for you comes down largely to personal preference. However, you may still be wondering “is creatine powder or pills better?” If so, we’ll be covering some factors to consider down below.

CriteriaCreatine PillsCreatine Powder
Training EffectsIdentical training effects given the same dosesIdentical training effects given the same doses
CostUsually slightly less than $1 per serving< $1 per serving. Deluxe creatine powders with extra ingredients ~ $1-2 range
Ease of UseMay be easier and more convenient to some, although 3-5 pills a day may be a lot for othersMixing a single scoop of creatine in a glass of water is completely effortless for most
FlavorNot flavoredUnflavored and flavored options
Additional IngredientsIt’s most common for creatine pills to solely feature creatine, which may be a plus for those looking for a basic supplementSome deluxe creatine supplements feature extra ingredients such as HMB. Creatine is also a common ingredient in other supplements like pre-workout

1. Training Effects

If you’re concerned about experiencing different training effects based on taking creatine pills or powder, don’t be! These are the same basic supplement just put into slightly different forms. As long as you’re taking similar doses (ideally 3-5g a day), the training effects of creatine capsules or creatine powder should be virtually identical.

athlete holds supplements in capsules

2. Cost

Similar to training effects, the cost of creatine pills and powder will be very similar. For the most part, both supplements will cost less than a dollar for a standard 5g serving size. It’s worth noting that for more deluxe supplements (like the creatine powder covered in-depth down below), prices can range slightly higher into the $1-2 range. For the most part, however, creatine is one of the most affordable and effective supplements available, regardless of what form it’s in.

3. Ease Of Use

Again, this is largely a matter of personal preference. While some people will likely prefer taking pills to mixing powder into a drink, taking 3-5 pills every day to get your dose of creatine in can be a lot. For ease of use, we believe simply mixing a scoop of creatine into a glass of water will be preferable for the majority of people.

creatine dosage calculator

Loading Phase:

Maintenance Phase:

4. Flavor

While most creatine supplements are unflavored regardless of form, some more deluxe creatine supplements do come in flavored options. As far as we know, there aren’t any flavored creatine pills available on the market. Therefore, if you’re looking for a flavored supplement, a creatine powder is your best bet.

5. Additional Ingredients

Similar to flavor, there don’t appear to be many creatine pills available that contain additional ingredients beyond a serving of creatine. More deluxe creatine powders, on the other hand, often contain plenty of additional ingredients including things like HMB and Vitamin D. Creatine is also commonly included in other powdered supplements like pre-workouts alongside ingredients like caffeine, beta-alanine, and l-citrulline.

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Creatine Pills Vs Powder: Summary

Ultimately, if you can’t decide between creatine tablets or powder, keep in mind they are essentially the same basic supplement just in slightly different forms. With this being said, the majority of people will likely prefer the ease of a powdered supplement over pills.

Pros/Cons Of Creatine Pills

Positives:

  • Great training benefits
  • Comes at an affordable price
  • Some people will prefer taking pills over mixing powder in a drink

Could be better:

  • No flavored options available
  • Usually will not contain any additional ingredients
  • Not suitable for vegans if the capsules contain gelatin

Pros/Cons Of Creatine Powder

Positives:

  • Great training benefits
  • Comes at an affordable price
  • Incredibly easy to use by mixing into water or any other beverage
  • Some flavored options
  • May contain some additional active ingredients
  • Suitable for vegans

Could be better:

  • Some people will prefer taking pills over mixing powder in a drink
  • More deluxe powders can be somewhat pricey
  • May contain various artificial ingredients

Creatine Pills vs Powder: When to Use Each?

Whether you’re taking creatine pills or powder, the use cases are the same. Any athlete looking to improve their performance will likely benefit from creatine.

Creatine is a saturation supplement, meaning you need to take it consistently over a long period to experience significant effects. 3-5g of creatine daily should be enough to fully saturate your muscles within 2-4 weeks. This will lead to increased high-intensity exercise performance and better overall recovery.

Keep in mind that it doesn’t matter when in the day you’re taking creatine, or if you miss a dose here and there. As long as you’re taking it consistently over a long time period, you should be keeping your creatine stores fully saturated.

1. Best Creatine Powder – Transparent Labs Creatine HMB

transparent labs bottle sample
  • Form: Powder
  • Type: Monohydrate
  • Other Ingredients: HMB, Vitamin D
  • Servings per Container (for 5 g): 30 or 60 servings
  • Company Founded: 2015 
  • Recommended by Athletes: Hafþór Júlíus BjörnssonPat LiPAULINA

Our pick for the best overall creatine powder comes from Transparent Labs with their Creatine HMB supplement. Keep in mind this is a more deluxe supplement, which is reflected in its price. However, you can be confident you’re getting excellent value for your money, as Transparent Labs is one of the most consistently high-quality supplement brands around.

In terms of creatine content, you’re getting a standard 5g dose in each serving, putting it in the optimal range for saturating your muscles. On top of this, you’re getting the added benefits of 1.5g of HMB and 12.5mcg of Vitamin D as well.

Similar to creatine, HMB has been shown to increase strength and lean body mass with consistent use, making it the perfect partner to creatine. Also, while you may not expect it, Vitamin D plays a valuable role in building muscle, as well as overall bone health and disease prevention.

transparent labs supplements on table
photo by @hunterzblack

On top of having some additional ingredients, the extra benefit of this deluxe supplement is that it comes in 11 flavors, including unflavored if you want to keep it basic! Like all of Transparent Labs products, this is also formulated with no artificial ingredients whatsoever.

As we mentioned, this is on the more expensive side when compared to other creatine powders at around $1.50 per serving. However, you will be getting an undeniably high quality form of creatine for your money.

2. Best Creatine Powder – Huge Supplements Creatine Monohydrate Pills

Huge creatine supplement sample
  • Form: Capsules
  • Type: Creatine Monohydrate
  • Other Ingredients: Gelatin, Silica, Magnesium Stearate
  • Servings per Container: 150 Capsules
  • Price per Serving: $0.93

Next, if you’re interested in trying creatine pills over powder, our top pick is Huge Supplements’ Creatine Monohydrate Pills. Similar to Transparent Labs, Huge is one of the most popular supplement brands around, so let’s see how their creatine pills stack up.

In each serving you’ll be getting 5g of creatine monohydrate split over 5 pills. This makes Huge great if you’re looking to take a smaller serving every day. However, keep in mind that 3-5 pills every day may be more difficult to get down than a simple scoop of creatine mixed with water. This product also doesn’t feature any additional flavors or ingredients if this is something you’re interested in.

In terms of price, this is a more budget friendly option compared to Transparent Labs because of its simplicity. It falls more towards the average price for standard creatine supplements at around $0.93 per serving.

FAQ

Is Creatine Better As A Pill Or Powder?

This completely comes down to a matter of personal preference. There won’t be any major differences in effects between creatine pills or powder. Whichever product seems more convenient to you, and whichever product offers better value for your money should be the one you go with.

Are Creatine Pills As Good?

Yes! Creatine pills are even when compared to creatine powder in nearly every way. If you’re interested in flavors or additional ingredients, then powder may be a better option, but otherwise they are very similar supplements.

What Is The Best Form Of Taking Creatine?

Whether it’s in pill or powder form, in our opinion the best form of creatine is monohydrate. This is because it’s the most long-standing, well-researched, and affordable form of creatine on the market. Don’t fall for marketing gimmicks like Creatine HCL which will cost you more for essentially the same supplement.

Conclusion

Overall, creatine pills and powder are nearly identical supplements that are simply in slightly different forms. They don’t differ much in price or effects, so whichever supplement seems more convenient to you will be the better option. Just keep in mind that creatine powder is more likely to have flavored options and additional ingredients. Regardless of which type you choose, creatine is widely regarded as one of the most effective sports supplements you can take.

Our top pick for a high quality creatine powder is Transparent Labs Creatine HMB, while our recommendation for creatine pills is Huge Supplements Creatine Monohydrate Pills.

Are you considering starting to use creatine, or do you already take the supplement? Which form do you recommend, pills or powder? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

Also read:

References:

  1. Richard B. Kreider PhD, Creatine: State of the Science at the Millennium (Human Movement Sciences and Education, 2000), 7.
  2. Richard B Kreider, Douglas S Kalman, Jose Antonio, Tim N Ziegenfuss, Robert Wildman, Rick Collins, Darren G Candow, Susan M Kleiner, Anthony L Almada, Hector L Lopez, “International Society of Sports Nutrition position stand: safety and efficacy of creatine supplementation in exercise, sport, and medicine” National Library of Medicine, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28615996/ (accessed Jun 13, 2017).
  3. Jasmine S Thomson, Patricia E Watson, David S Rowlands, “Effects of nine weeks of beta-hydroxy-beta- methylbutyrate supplementation on strength and body composition in resistance trained men” National Library of Medicine, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19387396/ (accessed May 23, 2009).
  4. “Vitamin D” Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/vitamin-d/ (accessed March, 2023).
  5. Daniel McDonough, DEFENSE COMMITTEE AND FINAL READING APPROVALS (BOISE STATE UNIVERSITY GRADUATE COLLEGE, 2017), 104.
  6. Photos are made by Torokhtiy Media Team

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Oleksandr Maksymenko

Author: Oleksandr Maksymenko
Certified Sports Nutritionist,
MSc Sports Dietetics

Experience: 7 years
Specializing in: Weight management, Fitness / Sports nutrition

Oleksandr is a professional fitness nutritionist certified by the Fitness Professional Association (FPA). He follows the principles of evidence-based dietetics and fosters a healthy relationship with food in his clients, ensuring there are no strict prohibitions on their favorite foods or frequent lapses. His primary goal is not only to achieve results for you but also to sustain them over the long term, all while enjoying tasty and delicious food.

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