Introduction of 5-Hour Energy
5-Hour Energy is a bit of an enigma. It can be hard to categorize with other energy drinks given its unusual presentation as a 1.93-ounce “shot”. While it may lack in size, the little bottle adorned by a rather comical mountain runner certainly packs a formidable, caffeinated punch.
The 5-Hour Energy line of products is produced by a manufacturer called Living Essentials. Founded in 2004 by Manoj Bhargava, it only took eight years to get to over a billion U.S. dollars in sales.
The brand and its CEO, Bhargava, have lived a tumultuous life since its inception. The creator and CEO of Living Essentials has been recorded in multiple interviews discussing the myriad of lawsuits endured by the company.
5-Hour Energy has not always been on the defensive in the courtroom. As recently as 2016, a judge decided in favor of the 5-Hour Energy brand versus Stacker 2 (a diet brand that produces similar energy shots) for infringement with its “6-Hour Energy” marketing.
While the brand and its CEO have had to endure some tense legal moments, 5-Hour Energy still claims around 75% of the energy shot market. This dominance is made clear as almost every convenience and grocery store tout the product near their cash registers.
5-Hour Energy Prices
As 5-Hour Energy has essentially created its own market with few direct energy shot competitors, it may be more beneficial to compare it against products with the same effects and goal (providing a quick, effective boost of energy).
There are two categories to compare something like 5-Hour energy to, a cup of coffee and other full-sized energy drinks. While both are quite obviously larger in size, they pack approximately the same “punch”.
5-Hour Energy vs Coffee
It may be interesting to note that different coffees provide different amounts of caffeine and that is not just considering regular versus decaf. There are many factors that contribute to the caffeine levels such as the amount of time the beans are roasted. Generally the darker the roast, the less caffeine present despite its more intense flavor.
An 8-ounce cup of Starbucks regular coffee, for example, contains about 180 mg of caffeine. A regular cup you might brew at home from a Colombian budget brand typically has about 100 mg.
Comparing those two options to a serving of 5-Hour Energy, which comes in at just under 2-ounces and 207 mg of caffeine, provides some insight on just how strong one shot of 5-Hour Energy is.
Now, for price comparison. A cup (8-ounces, also known as a short in barista lingo) of Starbucks plain coffee is about $1.16 (prices vary by location). The same size cup of a brand like Folger’s costs about nine cents.
As you can see below, if you buy in a bulk package, your cost will be about $2.08 per serving, on average. While the cost is higher than a cup of premium coffee, there is still the extra 25 mg of caffeine to consider.
You may have noticed the Extra Strength 5-Hour Energy option, as well. The comparison there would be to about a 12-ounce serving (tall) of Starbucks regular coffee, which runs around $1.85.
5-Hour Energy vs Other Energy Drinks
Most people that are looking for alternatives to 5-Hour Energy consider another energy product like Red Bull or Monster. So how does a serving of 5-Hour Energy compare with those products?
First, we should compare caffeine content as we did with the coffee options. A serving of Red Bull (8.4-ounce can) weighs in with about 77 mg of caffeine. A can of Monster (16-ounces) provides about 86 mg of caffeine. As you can see, both fall under even half of the caffeine offered by a shot of 5-Hour Energy.
When comparing prices of 24-packs of single-serving cans or bottles, 5-Hour Energy comes out about $16 more expensive, on average. However, if a jolt of caffeine is your aim, there seems to be little comparison across the markets of other caffeinated beverages.
Common 5 Hour Energy Prices List
|Regular Strength 5-hour Energy||12pk||$20 – $30|
|24pk||$49 – $52|
|Extra Strength 5-hour Energy||12pk||$25 – $35|
|24pk||$53 – $55|
5-Hour Energy Drink Ingredients
The most obvious ingredient in a bottle of 5-Hour Energy is caffeine. The Regular Strength is said to have about 207 mg while the Extra Strength offers over 250 mg.
There is a decaffeinated option. There is minimal caffeine (less than found in half a cup of decaf) but the remaining ingredients are the same.
5-Hour Energy is more than just a shot of caffeine, however. While many of the ingredients sound quite scientific, most are natural or synthetically produced naturally occurring ingredients. Here are some other ingredients found in a bottle of the energy shot:
- Vitamins B6 & B12
- Folic Acid
- Glucuronolactone (a natural substance, despite its name)
- Malic Acid (citrus tastes)
- L-Tyrosine (an amino acid)
- Phenylalanine (an amino acid)
- Citicoline (said to improve performance and provide additional energy)
The brand has expanded to include several flavors with the Regular Strength including berry, citrus lime, grape, orange, pink lemonade, and pomegranate. Extra Strength comes in some innovative options like apple pie, berry, blue raspberry, grape, peach-mango, sour apple, and strawberry-watermelon.
For those interested the decaf variety, citrus is the lone flavor available. 5-Hour Energy holds its own against the much larger servings of coffees and other energy drinks. Just remember that while it comes in a small bottle, it packs a big punch!