The ultimate gel taste test: We sampled 21 energy gels so you don't have to

We undertook a comprehensive tasting of the commonly available energy gels, and did our best to find something nice to say about each of them.

Ultimate gel tasting test
(Image credit: Tyler Boucher)

For this piece, we set out to sample as many different energy gels as possible. The goal was to produce tasting notes, similar to what one might find for different vintages of wine, or coffee beans of specific origin. It is, of course, a little different to sample sweet and sticky gels than either coffee or wine, but we tried to enjoy the process as much as we could.

Of the gels we tasted, some are more in the “real food” camp, while others are decidedly “sports science.” Both have benefits depending on when and how you utilize them, though typically the easier to eat the gel is, the better it is suited to harder efforts or race scenarios. Some athletes appreciate a variety of flavors to keep things fresh, while others choose the most neutral or inoffensive option to get in fuel quickly and keep competing.