Head-to-Head: A Comprehensive Comparison of Creatine Monohydrate and HCL

There are several types of Creatine. Among them, Creatine Monohydrate and HCL are the two most popular forms of Creatine that athletes and fitness enthusiasts use.

But when choosing the right one for you, which one to pick? Creatine Monohydrate vs. HCL: which can serve you best to get your desired result?

Creatine HCL is more soluble than Creatine monohydrate and requires a smaller dosage to achieve the same effects. HCL is also believed to be absorbed more quickly by the body than Monohydrate, which may make it more effective at improving athletic performance. Monohydrate is less expensive than HCL.

There are more significant differences between these two supplements. Let’s find out all of them in my article.

Creatine Monohydrate

Creatine monohydrate is a popular dietary supplement combining creatine with water molecules. Creatine works by bonding with phosphoric acid as Creatine phosphate. That creates the energy necessary for a brief, intense workout.

Contrary to some claims, Creatine is not a steroid and doesn’t work similarly. It’s also not a stimulant. Research has consistently shown that Creatine monohydrate supplementation can improve strength, power, and endurance when combined with resistance training.

Creatine monohydrate requires a loading period followed by the maintenance phase. It helps maximize muscle creatine stores quickly.

Individuals with certain medical conditions, such as Parkinson’s disease and muscular dystrophy, may also benefit from Creatine monohydrate supplementation. However, take caution when purchasing supplements, as quality and purity can vary widely between brands.

Creatine monohydrate is not recommended for children or pregnant or breastfeeding women. Besides, stay well-hydrated when using Creatine monohydrate, as dehydration can increase the risk of side effects.

It’s generally safe and well-tolerated. Some individuals may experience mild digestive issues or other side effects. Some people may experience a slight increase in body weight due to increased water retention in muscle tissue.

It’s generally recommended to cycle on and off of Creatine monohydrate use.

Creatine Monohydrate vs. HCL: The Dynamic Duel

Creatine HCL

Creatine HCL is a form of creatine that is more soluble and bioavailable than other forms, making it easier to absorb by the body. Many athletes prefer HCL for its easy mixability. Studies suggest that it may improve strength, power output, and muscle growth.

Creatine HCL is usually dosed at lower amounts compared to creatine monohydrate. The recommended starting dose is 3 grams per day. It can be a more cost-effective option for some people for lower dosages.

However, check the ingredient list of pre and post-workout supplements, as some products may contain smaller amounts of creatine.

It is generally safe but can cause side effects such as nausea, stomach upset, and diarrhea and may interact with certain medications.

With any supplements, talk to your doctor first if you have a medical condition or are taking medications. However, studies suggest that for those experiencing GI discomfort on regular creatine supplements, switching to creatine HCL could be beneficial.

Creatine Monohydrate vs. Creatine HCL: The Comprehensive Comparison

Before you decide which creatine supplement to choose, take a closer look at what each one offers. By doing so, you can make an informed choice that will help you achieve your fitness goals.

Creatine MonohydrateCreatine HCL
Creatine monohydrate is a simple compound of creatine and water.Creatine HCL is a form of creatine that is attached to hydrochloric acid.
It is around 88-90% creatine by weight.It is more soluble and bioavailable than other forms of creatine.
Research shows that creatine monohydrate supplementation can improve strength and power output and reduce muscle damage and soreness after exercise.It is typically dosed at lower amounts than creatine monohydrate, as it is more potent and has higher bioavailability.
It is typically dosed at 3-5 grams per day.It is typically dosed at lower amounts compared to creatine monohydrate, as it is more potent and has higher bioavailability.
It may cause bloating, mild digestive issues (diarrhea, nausea, stomach cramps), or other side effects in some individuals.It may cause side effects such as nausea, stomach upset, and diarrhea in some individuals.
It is widely available and generally considered safe and well-tolerated.It is generally considered safe when taken as directed but may interact with certain medications and cause side effects in some individuals.
It is the most studied and researched form of creatine.It is a newer form of creatine and still requires more research to understand its benefits and potential drawbacks fully.
It is usually less expensive compared to other forms of creatine.It may be a more cost-effective option for some people due to its potency and bioavailability.
It can increase water retention in muscle tissue, leading to slight weight gain.It may also lead to slight weight gain due to increased water retention in muscle tissue.

Who Wins The Battle?

Being a fitness enthusiast for years, I would recommend creatine monohydrate over creatine HCL.

While creatine HCL may work faster and require smaller doses, creatine monohydrate can benefit athletes of all types with varied needs. Studies show that creatine monohydrate can boost energy, help recovery, and support muscle strength and short-energy bursts.

Besides, creatine monohydrate has been extensively researched longer than creatine HCL, making it a potentially safer choice in the long run.

Can You Mix Creatine Monohydrate and Creatine HCL?

Creatine HCL and creatine monohydrate can be taken together. However, it’s not clear if there is any added benefit to mixing the two forms.

While taking the two together, adjust the dosing to reach one full serving between the two products to take them together. For example, if a serving of HCL is 1500mg and a serving of monohydrate is 5g, you can take 750mg of HCL and 2.5g of monohydrate.

However, taking both forms together would just be a waste of creatine. It may be more beneficial to stick with one form of creatine consistently or cycle between the two if interested in trying both.

Creatine Monohydrate vs. HCL: Which Is Right For You?


Is HCL better than monohydrate?

Creatine HCL has greater solubility. So, you can take a smaller dose of HCL than creatine monohydrate to see the same results. The attached HCL also makes the creatine molecule more stable. However, creatine monohydrate is more researched and fits diverse athletes’ needs.

Does HCL creatine increase testosterone?

There is currently no evidence to suggest that HCL creatine increases testosterone levels in humans. While creatine may help increase muscle mass and strength, it does not directly affect testosterone production. Testosterone levels are primarily influenced by genetics, age, and lifestyle choices.


Creatine Monohydrate vs. HCL: which is good for you? Well, these are both Creatines with a minimum significant difference. In fact, you will see more similarities between them. So, choosing the right one ultimately depends on your preference, goal, and health condition.

But whichever Creatine you use, maintain a proper dose and consistency.

Know more about Creatine in our blogs.

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