Creatine HCL vs Monohydrate: Which Is Better?

by Matt Wilson
Last Updated: 18/04/2021
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You have just learned about creatine and someone told you that there is more than one form of it. Like us, you asked that person: Can you name some studies about that?

Since there is little scientific evidence about creatine hydrochloride (HCL), you stumbled upon this article with high hopes that the person who wrote it knows what he’s talking about.

You are a wise person, make yourself comfortable because reading this article is going to be just like taking creatine – you will have more power, only this time you will gain valuable information.

In this article, you are going to find out which supplement is better for muscle gains and which can produce greater benefits in a workout.

The Difference Between Creatine HCL and Monohydrate

We all know what is creatine, right? No? Ok, creatine is similar to amino acids which are constituents of protein.

This substance is crucial for energy production in your organism. 

While there are many forms of creatine such as creatine ethyl ester, creatine magnesium chelate, etc when it comes to sports nutrition, creatine monohydrate is widely studied and the most popular form of creatine.

The popular consensus is that among many creatine supplements, monohydrate creatine is the best one in terms of its benefits, desired results and overall effects. 

However, there is a claim that creatine monohydrate, even though quite powerful, isn’t perfect and has its own shortcomings.

This brings us to the hydrochloride. Creatine hydrochloride is created to solve some side effects of creatine monohydrate such as water retention.

As we said, the main reason why this substance was introduced is to solve the problem of water retention, which is the problem that many people have when using creatine.

Creatine HCL’s main advantage is its solubility which means that it is more soluble in water than monohydrate. One study found that it is 38 times more soluble than creatine monohydrate [1].

When consumed, this substance dissolves faster than monohydrate and as an effect can be absorbed by muscle cells way quicker allowing you to consume less water, reduce water retention and experience fewer side effects.

What Is Creatine HCL Used For?

As any form of creatine, this one is used primarily as a supplement for more energy and enhanced performance.

Many supplements can produce stomach ache and may cause you to stop your exercise (instead of running on a treadmill you will be running to the bathroom). If you experience such problems, you can use this substance and see the results that stem from it.

Taking supplements for better results, effective training and overall more productive workout can force you to take more supplements in one dose than your body can actually handle.

For example, for faster benefits such as muscle growth or strength gains, it is recommended to consume monohydrate in a loading phase which means taking a large amount of creatine over a period of 7 days.

After the loading phase, you can take less creatine but the side effects can occur depending on the use and your particular dose.

With this substance, you can take smaller doses while having similar benefits in terms of body strength, endurance or overall performance.

Is Creatine HCL Better?

One research showed that while both HCL and creatine monohydrate can improve performance and increase strength, the former has a significant effect on body composition in recreational weightlifters [2].

In this study, a group of weightlifters had a four week resistance training program. During that time, each group was given a different daily dosage of creatine.

The first group took 5g of monohydrate, the second consumed 5g of HCL and a third group had 1.5 g of the same substance.  

The conclusion of this research was that HCL has a greater effect in small doses.

Taking 1. 5 grams of it increased bench press. Taking 5 grams of the same substance or less is more effective in decreasing fat mass (in comparison to taking creatine monohydrate). 

We can conclude from this research that taking HCL for the purpose of weight lifting may be more effective than taking creatine monohydrate (in some cases).

Read: Beta Alanine vs Creatine: Which Is Best for Performance?

Will Creatine HCL Make You Bigger?

Many guys are asking the same question when they conclude that the girl from last night is not texting them back. Other supplements can help with this issue, not creatine.

If you want to have a bigger.. muscle, which means, helping your body to produce more muscle mass, then, the research is clear and creatine can absolutely help you with that [3].

As for any creatine supplementation, using HCL creatine will increase your muscles and improve your performance.

The only problem is that there are not enough studies conducted in regards to the use of this substance when it comes to high-intensity workout sessions.

Most of the studies, as mentioned, are focused primarily on creatine monohydrate and its possible increase of strength and power.

When Should I Take Creatine HCL?

On your workout days, wait until you’ve finished with the workout (but take it just after you’ve finished!). 

You can use it in smaller doses because you don’t need a lot of this supplement due to its fast solubility.

We recommend to take up to 2 grams of this supplement in the morning and consume it every day after the initial intake.

You can use creatine HCL with water and combine it with your protein based meals. 

Related articles:

What Are the Best Times To Take Creatine?

Creatine Cycle: What Is It & Should You Do It?

The Bottom Line

Supplementing with creatine is beneficial for your workout regardless of the particular form or the exact type of this supplement you are using.

As mentioned, one study found that using HCL can be more beneficial for lifting weights. We also learned that it can reduce possible side effects and can be consumed in smaller doses. 

Also, it is great for muscle gain and can fix the problem of water bloating that other forms of creatine have trouble with.

Overall it is a great way to improve your workout with less substance in your body. No definitive answer can be given since there is no study that proved the effectiveness (or major differences in its effect) of it on humans versus other types of creatine. 


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