My Nuun vs Liquid IV Review

I never thought about writing a review of Nuun vs Liquid IV until a few things happened. Well, first of all, I’d never even heard of either hydration product until I got full into the Peloton cult. 

Once I started doing Power Zone Training on my Peloton bike, that’s when Nuun showed up on my radar. Usually, when we were doing longer Power Zone rides with Matt Wilpers, he would recommend bringing a banana along and having something extra in your water like Nuun tablets.

A few years after that, my daughter Annie, a hardcore fitness enthusiast and athlete (much like Matt Wilpers), introduced me to Liquid IV electrolyte drink mix. She swears by it as her hydration drink.

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Why I decided to try Nuun vs Liquid IV

So, what led me to decide to try and compare Nuun vs Liquid IV? After injuring myself last year and slowly getting back into exercising, I realized how out of shape I was. In addition, I also realized that my hydration routine was out of whack. 

Plus, now that I was on a Power Zone Challenge team again and riding longer and harder, drinking straight water just wasn’t cutting it for me. Finally, I was on medication that was dehydrating me so my mouth always felt dry, despite my drinking tons of water.

My doctor suggested I try drinking a product with electrolytes. If ever there was a time to try a hydration product, now was it.

Purchasing the products

I knew that I could buy Nuun and Liquid IV on Amazon. However, I wanted to see if I could find them at Target. 

Guess what? Target won and the same day that I decided to do the taste and product comparison, I had everything I needed.

What flavors of Nuun and Liquid IV did I get

I wanted to buy the same or similar flavors of each product. Therefore, I felt I could do a better side by side review.

Unfortunately, Target didn’t stock any “apples to apples” options. So, I did the best I could. 

This is what I bought:

In each instance I bought one product that was a straight-up hydration product. And then I bought one each that had some sort of caffeine or “energy” element to it. 

I’ll be honest–the product blurb sucked me in, for the energy products. It talked about midday pick ups without reaching for coffee. OK, sign me up.

FYI, the caffeine source in both is from green tea. So, if you’re looking for a jolt like you might get from cold brew coffee, that’s just not going to happen.

Liquid IV vs Nuun as a drink

Each of these products comes packaged differently. Liquid IV is a powder in a long, skinny packet–kind of like if you’ve ever made Crystal Light. You add water and stir.

On the other hand, Nuun comes in a plastic cylinder with a flip top. These are effervescent tablets that dissolve in water. So, no stirring needed. 

Interestingly, the drink itself is not sparkling. Once it is done dissolving, your water is flat, not fizzy.

Because of the different delivery systems, the Nuun was much easier to drink off the bat. The tablet dissolved quickly, and I could stick my straw in and start hydrating. 

On the other hand, because I hadn’t stirred the Liquid IV enough, I got a big blob of powder with my first drink via straw. Blech. That’s totally user error, not Liquid IV’s fault. I learned quickly the power of sufficient stirring if I wanted the drink to taste good. The next time I tried the Liquid IV, everything tasted much better because I did a better job with stirring.

How did I feel after Nuun and Liquid IV

During the recent Power Zone challenge, I decided to use two “long ride” classes to try out each product. Keep in mind that these days, long rides are 45 minutes. See the aforementioned part of me being out of shape. 

Testing both products during a Peloton class

On one ride, I add the Nuun fruit punch tablet to my water bottle. On the next ride, the next day, I added the Liquid IV grape powder to my water bottle and mixed well. I didn’t want to be choking on unmixed and undissolved powder during the ride.

Both drinks were delicious, though the Liquid IV grape was tastier. Also, the “mouthfeel” of Liquid IV reminded me of drinking Vitamin Water, which I did during my colonoscopy prep. That mouthfeel definitely addressed my dry mouth feeling of being dehydrated.

On the other hand, the Nuun mouthfeel was crisp and light. Which if that’s what you want, is great. It didn’t work for me. In fact, after the ride where I drank Nuun, I continued to crave water once I’d finished my 20 ounces of Nuun. 

After drinking the 20 ounces of water with Liquid IV on that other road? Well, I didn’t finish the whole bottle on the ride (which I think says something). After the ride, I finished the drink and I was fine. In fact, I don’t think I felt I needed another drink until hours later when I had lunch. The Liquid IV really did a good job of keeping me feeling hydrated.

Finally, I realize that the instructions for both products say to mix in 16 ounces of water. However, I found the flavors too strong with just 16 ounces, which is why I went with a slightly bigger container and used 20 ounces of water.

Liquid IV ingredients

liquid IV on peloton bike

So what are the ingredients in the Liquid IV powder? I grabbed the list of ingredients for the grape flavor directly from Target.com:

  • Pure Cane Sugar
  • Dextrose
  • Citric Acid
  • Salt
  • Potassium Citrate
  • Sodium Citrate
  • Dipotassium Phosphate
  • Tartaric Acid
  • Silicon Dioxide
  • Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid)
  • Rebaudioside-A (Stevia Leaf Extract)
  • Natural Flavor
  • Vitamin B3 (Niacinamide)
  • Vitamin B5 (D-Calcium Pantothenate)
  • Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine Hydrochloride)
  • Vitamin B12 (Cyanocobalamin)

A single packet of Liquid IV has 45 calories, probably because the first ingredient is sugar. The 10-count box from Target was $16.99.

Nuun ingredients

nuun on peloton bike

Here is the list of ingredients of the Nuun fruit punch tablet that I tried out. Again, I grabbed this from Target.com.

  • Citric Acid
  • Dextrose
  • Natural Flavors
  • Monk Fruit Extract
  • Stevia Leaf Extract
  • Beet Juice Powder (For Color)
  • Avocado Oil
  • Riboflavin (For Color)

A single Nuun table has 10 calories–the primary sweetener seems to be Stevia. The 10-count table container was $6.99 at Target.

What are electrolytes

According to Cedars Sinai, “Electrolytes are essential minerals—like sodium, calcium, and potassium—that are vital to many key functions in the body.”

Lots of products claim to include electrolytes. But only by reading labels can you tell if this is true.

So, now that we’ve outlined the ingredients, you can see if they contain these components of electrolytes or not.

For example, on the Liquid IV label, I could see at least two mentions of salt or sodium, plus two mentions of potassium. In addition, there’s calcium and a couple of ingredients with the name carbonate or citrate. Both of these are versions of calcium. 

On the other hand, when I look at Nuun ingredients, I see none of these. 

Here are some idea on what to eat before and after your Peloton workouts.

Liquid IV flavors

Here is a list of flavors you can get Liquid IV in. Note: Liquid IV offers a sugar-free version now. So, some of the flavors listed here come sugar free. 

Finally, Liquid IV makes products for children. My daughters are grown so I don’t want to make any recommendations for parents of young children about using electrolyte solutions like Liquid IV. Therefore, the flavors I’ve listed here are only the ones designed specifically for adults.

  • White peach
  • Lemon-lime
  • Green grape
  • Concord grape
  • Strawberry-lemonade
  • Golden cherry
  • Seaberry
  • Pina colada
  • Strawberry
  • Watermelon
  • Passionfruit
  • Guava fruit
  • Acai berry
  • Tangerine
  • Wild berry
  • Mango Tamarind (with caffeine)
  • Yuzu pineapple (with caffeine)
  • Lemon ginger (with caffeine)

Nuun flavors

There are 13 flavors of Nuun tablets. They are:

  • Citrus fruit
  • Fruit punch
  • Grape
  • Lemon-lime
  • Orange
  • Tri-berry
  • Tropical
  • Watermelon
  • Cherry Limeade (plus caffeine)
  • Fresh lime (plus caffeine)
  • Mango orange (plus caffeine)
  • Wild berry (plus caffeine) or wild berry (without caffeine)
  • Strawberry lemonade

Final thoughts

In hindsight, perhaps I should have been a bit more patient in getting the supplies for this story. Now that I know that you can get the exact same flavors from both Liquid IV and Nuun, I would have done things a bit differently. You know, compare watermelon to watermelon or grape to grape.

On the other hand, it wasn’t the flavors that was an issue for me in comparing Nuun vs Liquid IV. I found all of them delicious. However, from a straight up hydration point of view, I choose Liquid IV over Nuun.

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