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5 Hour Energy vs Red Bull

Charl Joost
Last Updated: February 25th, 2023

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5-hour Energy shot (2oz) and Red Bull Energy Drink ( 8oz) are forms of energy drinks containing stimulant compounds, most commonly caffeine, and marketed as providing mental and physical stimulation.

Energy drinks have become an enormous industry targeting teens and young adults. Men between 18 and 34 consume the majority of these beverages. Global energy drink sales are estimated to reach $53.1 billion by the end of 2022.

Exploring 5 Hour Energy Vs Red Bull is comparing two of the most popular energy drinks in this rapidly expanding market. This article will discuss the benefits and potential health risks of both products to assist you in deciding which product is best for you.

5-hour Energy is an American- made energy shot manufactured by Living Essentials LLC. The company was founded by CEO Manoj Bhargava and launched in 2004 and was the first 5-hour energy drink. By 2012 retail sales had grown to an estimated $ 1 billion

5-hour Energy is a small 2-fluid-ounce energy shot that contains 200 mg of caffeine and only four calories, and manufacturers claim the drink will give 5 hours of energy to help you make it through the day.

Red Bull is a brand of energy drink sold by an Austrian company, Red Bull GmbH. As of 2019, with a market share of 38%, it is the most popular energy drink worldwide, with sales exceeding 100 billion cans since its inception in 1987.

“Red Bull Gives You Wings” is a famous advertising slogan known and remembered by people worldwide.

The origin of Red Bull traces back to a similar drink from Thailand called Krating Daeng. While on business in Thailand, Dietrich Mateschitz purchased a can of  Krating Daeng and claimed it cured his jet lag.

Mateschitz sought to create a partnership with Chaleo Yoovidya, the pharmacist who had first introduced Krating Daeng to Thailand in 1976. He formulated a carbonated product that would be more acceptable to the western world.

Yoovidya and Mateschitz founded Red Bull GmbH in 1984.  The brand name Red Bull refers to Krating Daeng as Krating is a large species of wild bovine known in English as a gaur or Indian bison. In Thai, Daeng means red.

Sales of Red Bull in Europe started in 1987, and in 1997 operations began in the United States. Red Bull GmbH is still owned and controlled by the heirs of Yoovidha and Mateschitz.

What are they made of?

5-hour Energy

what are they made of

The following is a list of ingredients in a 2oz bottle of 5-hour Energy, plus an explanation of each ingredient’s benefits if any. 5-hour Energy is defined as a dietary supplement.

  1. Niacin (vitamin B3) – 30mg = 150% of RDV (Recommended Daily Value) helps the body convert food into energy.
  2. Vitamin B6 – 40mg = 2000% of RDV plays a role in forming red blood cells and using oxygen, improving mood and energy levels
  3. Folic Acid (vitamin B9) – 400 mg = 100% of RDV helps the body produce red blood cells.
  4. Vitamin B12 – 500mcg = 8333% of RDV helps the body convert food into energy.

B vitamins help your body convert food into usable energy and are therefore extremely important. If you are deficient in any of the above B vitamins, you will feel tired, but a deficiency in these vitamins is rare if you follow a balanced diet.

If you have sufficient vitamin B levels, ingesting extra vitamin B won’t increase your energy levels. As vitamin B is water-soluble, the vast majority of vitamins you consume via a shot of 5-hour Energy you will excrete as urine.

A single shot with its high levels of vitamin B will not make you feel energized if you have a vitamin B deficiency. Dealing with vitamin B deficiency takes time and requires changes in your daily diet or supplementation.

  1. Taurine is the first ingredient listed as part of the “EnergyBlend.” Found in 5-hour Energy. Taurine is an essential amino acid, and studies have found that it improves mental performance when combined with caffeine. It helps you calm down
  2. Glucuronic Acid occurs naturally in humans and acts as a building block for specific proteins. 5-hour Energy claims that it reduces lethargy; however, researchers are uncertain.
  3. Malic Acid occurs in many fruit and vegetables, and proponents claim it can promote energy. However, there is no documented proof that this is the case.
  4. N-Acetyl L Tyrosine transmits nerve impulses to the brain. However, no documented proof is available that supplementing these ingredients will improve brain function.
  5. L-Phenylalanine increases alertness.
  6. Citicyclone occurs naturally in humans and supports brain function, and studies show that supplementing Citicyclonedoes has minor positive effects

The ingredients listed above are part of the “Energy Blend,”  Although these six ingredients may have a negligible effect on boosting energy, the final element in the Energy Blend, Caffeine, provides the alertness claimed by 5-hour Energy.

  1. Caffeine is a powerful stimulant that can improve physical strength and endurance. It works by stimulating the brain and central nervous system, helping you stay alert and prevent the onset of tiredness. A 2-Fluid oz 5-hour Energy drink will contain 200mg of caffeine
  2. Sucralose is an artificial sweetener known as Splenda. There is no sugar in 5-hour Energy and claims that the shot has only four calories

Red Bull Energy Drink

red bull energy drink

The following are ingredients in a can of 8-ounce Red Bull Energy Drink.

  1. Niacin (vitamin B3) – 18mg = 140% of RDV (Recommended Daily Value)
  2. Vitamin B6 – 40mg = 360% of RDV
  3. Pantothenic Acid (vitamin B5) – 6 mg = 70% of RDV
  4. Vitamin B12 – 120% of RDV

These B vitamins are well known for helping your body convert food into useable energy

  1. Sugar beet is used to produce the sugar used in a Red Bull Energy Drink. There are 27 grams of sugar in a can of Red Bull, making it very sweet and has 100 calories. Sugar-free Red Bull contains the artificial sweeteners aspartame and acesulfame K in place of sugar.
  2. Taurine is an amino acid naturally made in the human body. Many believe Taurine is a stimulant like caffeine but has the opposite effect. This ingredient is added to Red Bull as a nervous system depressant, stimulating the brain and helping you calm down.

A can of Red Bull contains 1000mg of Taurine. Although France banned Red Bull Products containing Red Bull for a while, the ban no longer exists.

Furthermore, the standard safe dosage range for Taurine is 500-3000 mg daily; thus, the 1000mg of Taurine in Red Bull is well within the required field.

  1. Caffeine is naturally present in many plants, such as coffee and tea. Caffeine helps improve concentration and alertness while improving physical strength and endurance.

One eight-fluid ounce can of Red Bull contains 80 mg of caffeine,  whereas a cup of  Filter Coffee of the same volume would contain 113mg of caffeine.

  1. Artificial Colors & Flavors are combined with natural flavors in every version of Red Bull.

How are they Similar

Red Bull and 5-hour Energy are among the most popular in the energy shot market, and their sales and market share are the highest worldwide for energy shots.

Price, Size, Color, and Variations

5-hour Energy claims around 75% of the shot market and is sold as a 1.93oz shot. The regular Energy shot contains 215mg of caffeine, and the Extra Strength contains 240mg of caffeine. The prices listed below are for 5-hour Energy shots in 12 and 24 packs.

The following flavors are available:

5-hour Energy Regular: Berry, Citrus-Lime, Grape, Orange, Pink Lemonade, and Pomegranate.

5-hour Energy Extra Strenght: Apple Pie, Berry, Blue Raspberry, Grape, Peach-Mango, Sour Apple, and Strawberry-Watermelon.

5-hour Energy Decaf: Is only available in citrus.

RedBull Energy Drink dominates the market share in energy drinks in terms of sales. In 2018 almost 7 billion cans of the drink that “gives you wings” were sold in over 100 countries.

In addition, Red Bull has introduced a Sugar-Free and Total Zero variety. Furthermore, there are several Edition flavors available – flavors described in parenthesis

how are they similar

Although Red Bull can be sold as a single can, the prices listed are retail prices for 12 or 24 can packs.

5-hour Energy – Regular Strength 12 x 1,93oz $28
5-hour Energy – Regular Strength 24 x 1.93oz $51
5-hour Energy – Extra Strength 12 x 1.93oz $33
5-hour Energy – Extra Strength 24 x 1.93oz $54
5-hour Energy –  Decaf 12 x 1.93oz $33
Red Bull Energy Drink 24 x 8.4oz $34
Red Bull Energy Drink 24 x 12oz $48
Red Bull Energy Drink 12 x 16oz $32
Red Bull Energy Drink 12 x 20oz $45
Red Bull Sugar-Free 24 x 8.4oz $33
Red Bull Total Zero 24 x 12oz $57
Red Bull Energy Drink 12 x 16oz $32
Red Bull Blue (Blueberry) 24 x  8.4oz $39
Red Bull Yellow Edition (Tropical) 24 x  8.4oz $39
Red Bull Green Edition  (Apple & Kiwi) 24 x  12oz $57
Red Bull Red Edition (Cranberry) 24 x  12oz $57
Red Bull Orange Edition (Tangerine) 24 x  12oz $57
Red Bull Energy Drink 12 x 16oz $32
Red Bull Energy Drink 12 x 16oz $32

How to Drink 5-hour Energy and Red Bull Energy Drink

how to drink

5-hour Energy has a high caffeine level, and manufacturers advise that you take half a bottle for moderate energy and a whole bottle for maximum energy.

5-hour also declares not to exceed two shots daily, with shots consumed several hours apart.

Red Bull can boost energy, alertness, and focus and has become popular among people seeking a wake-up in the morning or a mid-day boost.

In addition, it can be helpful when taking long trips and studies indicate that consuming Red Bull an hour before exercise does help improve your performance.

Red Bull should be consumed in moderation, preferably no more than two 8.4oz cans daily. Because one can have 27grams of sugar which is very high, having more than two cans per day could cause health problems.

The daily recommended caffeine intake is 400mg. A can of 8.4oz Red Bull has 80mg of caffeine, meaning you can have five cans daily.

You will exceed your daily caffeine intake if you have three cups of coffee. An average cup of coffee will have 100mg of caffeine.

Mixing alcohol with Red Bull, such as Vodka, has become popular. However, when mixing alcohol with caffeine, the caffeine can mask the depressant effects of alcohol. As a result, they may drink more alcohol than they realize, thus impairing their judgment.


An alternative to 5-hour Energy is Bang Energy Shot, a 3oz carbonated shot that was among the top five energy shots in 2020.

The following are alternatives to Red Bull Energy Drink:

Monster Energy is an energy drink created by Hansen Natural Company. In 2019 it was the second highest-selling energy drink worldwide.

Rockstar is an energy drink created in 2001 and based in Purchase, New York. In March 20220, PepsiCo announced it had agreed to acquire Rockstar for $3.85 billion.

5 Hour Energy Vs Red Bull – FAQ’s

Which came first?

Red Bull started sales in Austria in 1987 and launched in the United States in 1996. 5-hour Energy began sales in 2004.

Which is Stronger?

5-hour Energy has 215mg of caffeine in a 2oz bottle, whereas Red Bull Energy Drink has 80mg caffeine in an 8.4oz can.

Which is Most Popular?

Red Bull is the most popular energy drink brand worldwide, with a 38% Market share in 2019.

About The Author

Charl Joost

Charl is a trainer, public speaker, and professional writer. While he has been coached to niche down, he has many passions. These include golf, gardening, technology, and a decent cup of coffee or two. Charl loves to learn about new products and tries everything he writes about.

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