Best Caffeine Pills for Survival Alertness

by Tommy Grant

When energy is fading or headaches are taking you out of commission, a boost of energy could help you out. Caffeine pills make it easy to precisely and accurately tackle these so you aren’t held back. There are plenty of brands, types, and dosages to consider.

This is where we come in. We’ve researched the best caffeine pills, compared them, and now the results are in: the overall best, an upgrade option, and a bulk stockpile solution. If you need a boost in a survival situation, one of our picks will bring the energy.

Contents (Jump to a Section)

The Best Caffeine Pills

ProLab Caffeine Tablets

Fast, Inexpensive, and Effective

Tablets of fast-acting caffeine for simple and effective max-dose energy get the job done consistently.

*Price at time of publishing; check for price changes or sales.

ProLab, known for its supplements, makes a simple max-dose caffeine pill with added calcium so it doesn’t upset your stomach. They advise not to take more than three per day for a total of 600mg of caffeine and spaced at least 3 hours apart.

The quality, price, and effectiveness make this the reliable caffeine pill to beat.

Here is everything you get with these potent pills:

  • 100 capsules
  • 200mg caffeine
  • Dicalcium phosphate for stomach settling
  • 2.5″ x 2.5″ x 3.9″
  • 2.1 ounces

With a fast-acting blend that is potent but smooth on the stomach, it’s easy to see why the ProLab Caffeine Tablets top the rest.

Upgrade Caffeine Pills

Genius Extended-Release

Slow Release, All Natural, and Effective

Extended-release lower-dose capsules work great for sustained energy and alertness to avoid the caffeine crash.

*Price at time of publishing; check for price changes or sales.

The extended-release gives the Genius capsules a boost for prolonged energy without a crash. The dose is half of the maximum dosage but can be easily controlled with the time-release capsules. Because of the long release, they advise not to take them 6 hours before sleep- about a 4-hour shift ahead of typical caffeine guidance.

Genius also advised that you can stack a maximum of 6 capsules in a day for some of the best sustained energy you can find.

Here is how this energy boost measures up:

  • 100 capsules
  • 100mg caffeine (slow-release)
  • Non-GMO, Gluten Free, Vegan
  • 3″ x 3″ x 4″
  • 1.6 ounces

If you are looking for energy and alertness for long periods, the Genius Extended-Release Caffeine Pills are the best option with their sustained release.

Bulk Caffeine Pills

Nutricost Caffeine Capsules

Basic, Efficient, and High Value

At less than 5 cents per pill, these bottles are easy to stockpile and store for long-term emergencies.

*Price at time of publishing; check for price changes or sales.

With a dosage limit of two per day, you couldn’t go through these in half a year if you tried. Stockpiling enough caffeine for a lifetime doesn’t take up much room or cost very much when you do it with efficiently packed high-dose bottles.

Thirty bottles would get a crowd through a few decades. With caffeine being a stable cyclic alkaloid, you don’t need to worry much about expiration dates.

Here is how this bottle measures up:

  • 500 capsules
  • 200mg caffeine
  • Non-GMO, Gluten Free
  • 2.75″ x 2.75″ x 5.1″
  • 12.3 ounces

If you are looking to stockpile some caffeine, the Nutricost Caffeine Capsules are the best option.

Everything We Recommend

The Pills We Compared

Our research narrowed the field down to several brands of caffeine pills that we compared: Nutricost, ProLab, NoDoz, Genius, Equate, Mutant, Jet-Alert, BodyTech, and more.

You can see our full list of review criteria below in the What to Look For section, with an explanation for each.

We’re always looking for new and better gear, so if you have caffeine pills that perform, let us know in the comments. We review most of our tested gear annually so we can try to get it in the next roundup round and see if it will beat out our top picks.

What to Look For

The best caffeine pills have a few features to look for:

  1. Value
  2. Effectiveness
  3. Purity
  4. Size/Weight
  5. Versatility

When you get the right blend of these, you can find the perfect tablets to give you an energy boost or to tackle a headache. Below, we break down what each of these features means for the brands that truly set themselves apart.

Value: Cost vs. Benefit

The amount of money you spend on something like a caffeine supplement shouldn’t blow out your entire budget. They are not especially expensive and come in a wide range of prices depending on the quantity you buy.

You can also use a wide range of drinks with caffeine in them, like coffee. I recommend and store coffee myself for daily consumption and use caffeine pills just for first aid applications.

You never want to spend too much money on one resource, even when it comes to first aid, energy supplements, or medication. It’s better to diversify your spending to make sure you are covered for a wide range of scenarios.


Like many other medications, dosage is the main focus when it comes to effectiveness, but it doesn’t account for the entire performance. Absorption time and specific effects can vary by individual, by the type of pill or capsule used, and by how the caffeine was derived.

Still, higher dosages get the job done consistently so most of our picks trended toward the highly-effective 200mg maximum dose.


Most caffeine pills contain some sort of filler, binding agent, or capsule to hold it all together. This can be made of rice or other ingredients and it’s always good to know what is going in your body.

Some brands choose to add calcium or other additives to prevent a sour stomach from a large caffeine dosage.


It’s not practical to pack a whole medicine cabinet in mobile survival kits, so be practical and get the solution that fits in the kit you are designing. Be aware of the size and weight and how it can affect your storage in mobile-first aid kits, especially if they are going to be carried any distance. Every ounce matters.

You can also use pill bottles to hold smaller amounts as long as you are absolutely sure you have the medication labeled well.


Sutures don’t just have to be for sewing up wounds. While it’s not optimal to use up medical supplies, you can use them for cordage in a bind or use them to repair textiles. I’ve seen people use sutures to repair leather shoes, and suturing needles are even easier to use on flat materials like tarps.

Keep an open mind when it comes to resourcefulness and you’ll be able to figure out a solution for nearly any situation.

Can Caffeine be Lethal?

Yes, caffeine is a drug that affects your body and can be lethal in very large doses. The medical limit for caffeine is 80-100 micrograms in the bloodstream, reachable by ingesting 10,000 mg of caffeine (or about 50 max-dose pills).

It also can have undesired side effects well below lethal dose levels including:

  • frequent urination
  • dehydration
  • dizziness
  • headaches
  • rapid heartbeat (palpitations)
  • anxiety
  • irritability

I am caffeine-sensitive, so I pay special attention to my caffeine intake each day and the timing of it. Caffeine is an addictive substance, so prolonged use of high levels of caffeine can cause uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms.

Who Needs Caffeine Pills?

Almost everyone can benefit from a quick energy boost on hand for emergencies, or whenever alertness and attention are needed.

Caffeine pills are suggested for this kit:

First aid kits are stand-alone kits but are also modules found in a huge variety of other survival kits. You could also use caffeine pills in place of coffee where we list those in our other survival kits.

How We Review Products: We research thoroughly before selecting the best products to review. We consult experts in the field for a better understanding of what makes the gear great. Hours on end are spent field testing gear in stressful conditions. We assign performance criteria and impartially rate each tested item. You can support us through our independently chosen links, which can earn us a commission at no extra cost to you. After our review process, some of the items reviewed end up in our giveaways.

Sources and References

All of our experience and the testing we do to determine the best caffeine pills are useless without listing our research sources and references. We leaned on these for the book knowledge that we paired with our hands-on testing and practical survival experience:

Liquori, A., et al. (1997). Absorption and Subjective Effects of Caffeine from Coffee, Cola and Capsules. Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior. Volume 58. Issue 3. Pages 721- 726. (Source)

Mitchell, V., et al. (1974). Drugs and Placebos: Effects of Caffeine on Cognitive Performance. Psychological Reports. Volume 35. Issue 2. Pages 875 – 883. (Source)

Lystrup, R., et al. (2015). Caffeine Toxicity Due to Supplement Use in Caffeine—Naïve Individual: A Cautionary Tale. Military Medicine. Volume 180. Issue 8. Pages 936 – 940. (Source)

The Final Word

Caffeine pills are useful for emergencies and survival kits. When you need a burst of energy to get through a disaster or just overcome a headache, having a stash to perk up quickly can help you out.

Here are a few other gear reviews and guides our subscribers have found helpful:

We presented quite a lot of information, but as always: if you have any questions let us know and we would be happy to help. Our testing found the ProLab Caffeine Tablets to be the best solution given its value, effectiveness, purity, size/weight, and versatility.

Keep exploring, stay prepared, and be safe.

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