Kirkland Signature Energy Shot vs. 5 Hour Energy Extra Strength
Late night at work. Cramming for finals. Long day in Vegas. We’ve all had a moment where we’re crashing and needed a little pick-me-up, and many of us have gone for the 5 Hour Energy shots that are ubiquitous on convenience store checkout counters. While the product is certainly effective, the $3+ price tag for one bottle is on the expensive side. Thankfully, like most successful consumer packaged products, major retailers have come up with a copycat at a lower price. On a recent Brandefy run to Costco, I noticed a Kirkland Signature version of 5 Hour Energy, which immediately piqued my interest; Kirkland Signature is well known for getting overruns from major manufacturers that are identical to the name brand.
Usually the copycats of these energy shots retail in the $2 range, but the Kirkland Signature came in a 48 pack for $30. At $.625 per bottle, that’s a 79% savings, which adds up in a hurry. I drink a lot (too many) of these things, so I snagged the megapack in the hopes of scoring an identical product at a fraction of the cost. A quick scan of the ingredient panel showed that, unfortunately, the two weren’t exactly the same. The “energy blend” in the name brand contained 210 mg of caffeine, while the Kirkland signature was slightly less potent, at 190 mg. The energy blend also contained slightly different ingredients, with the name brand containing the ominous sounding “citocoline”, which is a common ingredient in supplements. Kirkland signature lacked citocoline, but contained “N-Acetyl L-Carnitine”, another common supplement ingredient.
The products also differed in taste, although anyone who has choked down a 5 Hour Energy knows you aren’t buying it for its gourmet flavors. I actually preferred the taste of the Kirkland Signature: it tasted a little sweeter and was similar to a fruit flavored cough drop. The name brand has a more mediciney flavor. I couldn’t tell any difference in effectiveness, with the 10% drop in caffeine for Kirkland Signature not making a noticeable difference.
Overall, the Kirkland Signature served the same purpose at 1/5th the cost, and even tasted better in the process.