For many of us, energy gel is the, uh, ‘glue’ that holds our long runs together. You might have a special place in your heart for a certain brand or flavor, but if you’re a gel novice or looking to expand your horizons, we’ve done the hard work of trying out every brand of gel we carry here at Running Warehouse.
Last week, we rounded up over a dozen energetic RW staffers to test out gels from Clif, GU, Hammer, Honey Stinger, PowerGel, Accel Gel and 2nd Surge. Of course, we didn’t tell our taste-testers which gel was which, because we wanted unbiased feedback. Here’s your guide to tasting the rainbow of energy gel brands and flavors:
Viscosity is an incredibly important factor when it comes to gel enjoyment. Some athletes want a thick, almost frosting-like gel, while others prefer a gel that is closer to the consistency of a juice. If you’re looking for a very viscous energy gel, then try something from Clif or GU, both of which topped the charts in our tests when it came to gel thickness. If you want a gel that has more of a liquid consistency, then try a gel from Accel Gel, 2nd Surge or PowerGel, all of which came back as the least viscous gels. If a more middle-of-the-road consistency is what pleases your palate, then you should be happy with a gel from Hammer or Honey Stinger.
We rated gels on a scale of perceived sweetness. In the chart below, you can see the average score each gel received from our taste testers.
We rated gels on a scale of perceived saltiness. In the chart below, you can see the average score each gel received from our taste testers.
Enjoyment of Flavor
While testing out the objective measurements of the gels, we also logged tester ratings of how much they enjoyed each flavor. Many of our taste testers had a difficult time choosing which gel tasted the best, and not surprisingly nearly every gel flavor had its own fan or two. If you want to go with the crowd, the top three finishers in the ‘enjoyment’ category were 2nd Surge Chocolate, Honey Stinger Gold Honey and Honey Stinger Chocolate.
When it comes to energy gel, what’s your flavor?