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Creatine monohydrate is a popular supplement used to increase muscle mass and hydration, along with post-workout recovery, but have you considered other forms of creatine? Kaged uses a patented form of creatine hydrochloride—C-HCL®—which may be more bioavailable, allowing the body to absorb it at a higher rate. 

RELATED: Creatine HCl vs Monohydrate

For our Kaged Creatine HCl review, we asked GGR Head of Content Nicole Davis, a certified personal trainer and certified Precision Nutrition coach, to try it and record her experience. Kaged offers Creatine HCl in powder and vegetable capsule form, but Nicole went classic with the powdered version. 

A scoop of Kaged Creatine HCl rests on the lid in front of the opened container.

Let’s see what she discovered!

Medical disclaimer: This article is intended for educational and informational purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for medical advice. For health advice, contact a licensed healthcare provider. GGR also recommends choosing a product that has been third-party tested for quality.

We Know Creatine Because We Take Creatine

Our experience with the best creatine supplements covers both the good and the bad after testing dozens of products first-hand. This is why we don’t lay out the ingredients and price, but can also speak on the flavor and effects. 

Our team of testers is made up of fitness professionals, dietitians, and personal trainers who know the importance of a high-quality supplement and use our custom GGR supplement testing methodology to rate and review products on a scale of 1 to 5 for categories including:

  • Price per serving
  • Taste
  • Formulation
  • Solubility
  • Customer reviews
  • Third-party testing

Kaged Creatine HCl

Kaged Creatine HCl

GGR Score: 4.35 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Only patented form of creatine HCL
  • Kaged Creatine HCl skips the loading phase
  • Available in capsule form as well
  • Third-party tested
  • Available as Unflavored or Lemon Lime
  • Free from artificial flavors and colors
  • Formulated to avoid gastrointestinal issues

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Only patented form of creatine HCL
  • Clean formula
  • No loading phase
  • Available in capsule form
  • Third-party tested
  • Lemon Lime mixes well and tastes good
  • Helps avoids stomach issues

Cons

  • Expensive

Bottom Line

If you're looking for a pure creatine HCL and are willing to pay for high quality, Kaged Creatine HCl may be for you.

A Quick Look at Kaged Creatine HCl

Kaged is a company that makes supplements with an emphasis on health and serving athletes. That’s why their products are third-party tested, free of GMOs, gluten-free, and made with clean products. Their mantra is “never stop evolving,” which is a testament to the commitment to continuously innovating their products based on the latest science.

Before You Buy

  • Calculate the daily dose you plan to take compared to the dosage
  • Know this form of creatine HCl could either be really good or tough on your stomach based on customer reviews
  • Buying directly from Kaged may give you more discounts and allow you to be eligible for the 60-day return

Is Kaged Creatine HCl Worth It?

This supplement isn’t the “regular creatine” you’re used to; this is creatine hydrochloride. Sounds scary, we know, but it’s a widely used form that’s an alternative to monohydrate. The claim is that Kaged’s patented C-HCl has better rates of absorption. It also only costs about $0.33 per serving. However, it may not be worth the price for most when considering the formulation. 

Great for:

  • People who experience bad bloating with creatine monohydrate
  • Those who want to try an unflavored creatine they can mix with other supplements
  • Budget shoppers who want high-quality at a lower price per serving
  • Individuals who need a thoroughly third-party tested creatine supplement who don’t mind multiple doses

Not recommended for:

  • Those doing a creatine loading phase
  • People who avoid artificial sweeteners in their flavored creatine options
  • Individuals who want a full dose of creatine per scoop

Kaged Creatine HCl Specs

Price per serving$0.33
Serving size1 scoop (1003 mg); 1 serving (750 mg)
Type of creatine Creatine HCl
FlavorsFruit punch, lemon-lime, unflavored, vegetable capsules
Other ingredientsNatural flavors, Sucralose
Third-party tested?Yes, Informed Sport

Experience Using Kaged Creatine HCl

Our team member and tester, Nicole Davis, CPT, PN1-NC, enjoyed using the product but was skeptical about justifying using HCl over creatine monohydrate, saying, “Overall, I think this product is good. Kaged hypes up the HCI form of creatine as being better digested, but I think the research is still out on that—right, Destini?”

A woman pouring a scoop of Kaged Creatine HCl into a shaker glass.

That’s right, Nicole! We’ll go over the science more when we talk about formulation, but there’s no surprise she didn’t feel a difference. She was also doubtful about the value for the price, depending on what you’re looking for in your creatine. “Although the price seems GREAT,” Nicole adds, “when you consider that each serving of this only has 750 [milligrams] of creatine, versus the 3 to 5 you’re supposed to get daily based on research, that drives the price wayyy up.”

Price Per Serving

Nicole rated Kaged Creatine HCl a 5 out of 5 for price per serving, as it’s pretty hard to find a high quality creatine at such a great price—$0.33 for each of the 75 servings. The big problem, though, as we’ll dive into below, is that dosage, which could drastically increase the price depending on your goals. 

Formulation

Nicole gave Kaged a 1 out of 5 here as the creatine supplement is tragically underdosed at only 750 milligrams per serving of their patented pure creatine. 

The International Society of Sports Nutrition1 recommends 3 to 5 grams of creatine per day as the optimal amount of creatine to maintain your creatine levels and give you the benefits of creatine. However, the industry standard for sports nutrition and among athletes is 5 grams, just to make sure muscles are sufficiently saturated without overdoing it.

RELATED: Creatine Monohydrate Dosage

The side label is shown on a container of Kaged Creatine HCl.

It would, therefore, take 7 scoops or capsules of Kaged Muscle creatine to achieve the efficacious dose, which makes it more expensive and can make its use more tricky. Additionally, if you’re in a loading phase with your creatine, not only will you run through those 75 servings fast, but your stomach will probably be hating you by the end of the month.

So why is the dosage so low? Kaged Muscle uses creatine hydrochloride or HCl. Many assert that creatine HCl has more bioavailability (meaning it’s more absorbable in your gut) than creatine monohydrate. Thus, you can get away with taking a lower dose. One 2010 study in the Journal of Dietary Supplements2 found that creatine HCl is 38 times more soluble than creatine monohydrate. 

So, this increased bioavailability may result in little to no bloating compared to monohydrate, but there’s still no solid evidence3 that the form of creatine HCl provides more benefits to performance and muscle growth than creatine monohydrate. Based on a 2021 literature review in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition4, creatine monohydrate is still the best form of creatine you can take. 

Taste and Solubility 

Nicole ranked this creatine supplement a 5 out of 5 in taste. “I tried the Lemon-Lime flavor and really liked it—it was tart and not too sweet. I’ve also recently tried the unflavored kind, and I actually prefer it just for the versatility.” 

A woman is shown drinking Kaged Creatine HCl in a gym.

She also notes how easy it would be to use it with things like your post-workout whey protein. “You can mix it in any type of shake or with a flavored drink—I’ve been putting it in with Kaged Hydra-Charge—and you can’t detect it at all.” Nicole also says the powder has great solubility and rates it 5 out of 5 in this category. 

Side Effects

Nicole didn’t experience any side effects with this creatine supplement. When asked about potential creatine side effects, she says, “None noted, although I didn’t do any loading with this product.”

Third-Party Testing 

Kaged Muscle Creatine HCl receives a 5 out of 5 in the category third-party testing for being tested by Informed Sport. Informed Sport is the same company/lab as Informed Choice, the only difference being their testing frequency and thoroughness. 

Kaged Creatine HCl vs.Transparent Labs Creatine HMB 

Transparent Labs HMB

Transparent Labs Creatine HMB

GGR Score: 4.5 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Uses research-backed doses 
  • Available in 10 fruit flavors as well as an unflavored option
  • Free from artificial sweeteners, colored dyes, fillers, and harmful additives

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • 10 flavors, 1 unflavored option
  • Includes B-Hydroxy B-Methylbutyrate (HMB)
  • 5 grams of creatine monohydrate per serving
  • Contains no added sugar, artificial sweeteners, dyes, or fillers

Cons

  • No stimulant (for those looking for pre-workout boost)

Bottom Line

Transparent Labs’ Creatine HMB puts a unique twist on the more traditional creatine monohydrate by adding HMB to more effectively build strength, stamina and recovery.

Transparent Labs Creatine HMB is a creatine supplement we have reviewed before—check out our in-depth Transparent Labs Creatine review—which is known as one of the best creatine products out there. Though it has more flavors than Kaged Muscle, it is more than 5 times the price. However, it’s important to note that Transparent Labs has the clinically effective dose to give you all of the benefits of creatine

It also has a smaller scoop size, contains HMB, and is sweetened naturally with stevia, while Kaged Muscle Creatine HCl uses sucralose. That said, both have minimal additives and junk and are third-party tested. The only difference between Informed-Sport and Choice is the former tests supplements blindly and regularly before releasing to the public, and Choice does blind, monthly testing.  

Kaged Creatine HClTransparent Labs Creatine HMB
Price per serving$0.33$1.67
FlavorsFruit punch, lemon-lime, unflavored, vegetable capsulesUnflavored, Blue Raspberry, Sour Grape, Tropical Punch, Fruit Punch, Watermelon, Black Cherry, Orange, Hawaiian Splash, Peach Mango, Strawberry Lemonade
Key ingredientsCreatine HCl (Patented C-HCl)Creatine Monohydrate, HMB, bioperine, Vitamin D
Serving size1 scoop (1003 mg)1 scoop (9.9g)
Other ingredientsNatural flavorsCitric acid, natural flavors, malic acid
SweetenerSucraloseStevia
Third-party tested?Yes, Informed-SportYes, Informed-Choice

Customer Experience 

If you order from Kaged, there is a 60-day return policy in which you may request a refund, store credit, or replacement. However, you must pay to ship it back. Returning products through Amazon follows those policies, but they typically do not accept returns on dietary supplements. 

A close up view of someone scooping Kaged Creatine HCl from the container.

Kaged provides customer support via live chat on their website, or you can contact them by calling 844-445-2433 or emailing support@kaged.com.

Ordering Kaged Creatine HCl

You can save 10% through the Subscribe & Save program, which delivers every 4, 6, or 8 weeks and offers free shipping at checkout. You also get free shipping on orders over $75. Otherwise, shipping in the U.S. is $6.49 flat. Orders are conducted with Shopify and ShopPay, which streamlines checkout for those who shop online often. 

Customer Reviews

On the Kaged website, this product currently sits at 4.8 out of 5 stars based on 751 reviews. Reviews are mixed on the flavor, but some reported no bloating compared to monohydrate and thought it was effective at helping with muscle growth. 

On Amazon, Kaged Muscle Creatine HCl is rated 4.2 out of 5 stars based on 4,176 global ratings. Many reviewers tried the vegetable capsules and noted they had similar effects with muscle building, but reviews were mixed on bloating and stomach discomfort along with the cost for what you get.

Final Verdict of Our Kaged Creatine HCl Review

Kaged Creatine HCl is practically pure creatine when you get the unflavored option and doesn’t contain other common ingredients like BCAAs, citrulline, or other essential amino acids. However, this patented creatine HCl has a dose much lower than what science says is effective. 

If you intend to take multiple scoops for the optimal dose, this could make things expensive, as the 75 servings per tub will likely go fast. For the same reason, it isn’t the best creatine to use during a loading phase. 

Bottom line: while we like the effects and taste, the formulation and dosage are hard to get behind. 

  • If you’re on a budget, it might be worth a try to see if you get any muscle building effects
  • Must take about 4 servings to get the minimum effective dose
  • Third-party tested by Informed Sport and patented ingredients

Full Rating

Kaged Creating HCl

If you're looking for a pure creatine HCL and are willing to pay for high quality, Kaged Creatine HCl may be for you.

Product Brand: Kaged

Product Currency: $

Product Price: 24.99

Product In-Stock: InStock

Editor's Rating:
4.35

Kaged Creatine HCl Rating

Price per serving – 5
Formulation – 1
Taste – 5
Solubility – 5
Side effects – 5
Third-party testing – 5
Customer service – 4
Customer reviews – 4.8
Buy Now

Kaged Creatine HCl: FAQs

Is creatine HCl better than creatine monohydrate?

Currently, there’s little research5 that supports that creatine HCl is more effective than monohydrate due to its absorption levels. Which is better will depend upon personal preference. 

Who should not take creatine HCl?

Anyone who has kidney or liver disorders along with those who take prescription medications should consult with a physician before taking any dietary supplement. 

Can creatine HCl cause weight gain?

Creatine HCl may cause less bloating than monohydrate, but the odds are still high of your body weight increasing. The weight gain from creatine is typically not fat but from water or muscle growth. 
RELATED: Does creatine Make You Gain Weight?

Is creatine HCl a pre-workout supplement?

As long as you take creatine close to when you start or finish your workout, the timing doesn’t appear to matter. So, you can take creatine either pre-workout or post-workout if you choose. 
RELATED: When Is the Best Time to Take Creatine?

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any diseases.

References

  1. Kreider RB, Kalman DS, Antonio J, et al. International Society of Sports Nutrition position stand: safety and efficacy of creatine supplementation in exercise, sport, and medicine. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2017;14:18. Published 2017 Jun 13. doi:10.1186/s12970-017-0173-z
  2. Gufford BT, Sriraghavan K, Miller NJ, et al. Physicochemical characterization of creatine N-methylguanidinium salts. J Diet Suppl. 2010;7(3):240-252. doi:10.3109/19390211.2010.491507
  3. França, E. , Avelar, B. , Yoshioka, C. , Santana, J. , Madureira, D. , Rocha, L. , Zocoler, C. , Rossi, F. , Lira, F. , Rodrigues, B. and Caperuto, É. (2015) Creatine HCl and Creatine Monohydrate Improve Strength but Only Creatine HCl Induced Changes on Body Composition in Recreational Weightlifters. Food and Nutrition Sciences, 6, 1624-1630. doi: 10.4236/fns.2015.617167.
  4. França E de, Avelar B, Yoshioka C, et al. Creatine HCl and Creatine Monohydrate Improve Strength but Only Creatine HCl Induced Changes on Body Composition in Recreational Weightlifters. Food and Nutrition Sciences. 2015;06:1624.
  5. Tayebi M, Arazi H. Is creatine hydrochloride better than creatine monohydrate for the improvement of physical performance and hormonal changes in young trained men? Science & Sports, Volume 35, Issue 5, 2020, Pages e135-e141, ISSN 0765-1597, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scispo.2019.07.013.

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