How do Skratch Labs & Osmo Stack up Against EFS? An Electrolyte Hydration Drink Comparison

Our customers recently asked us how our EFS drink mix compares to a couple new low-calorie ‘hydration drinks’ on the market and asked us to come out with a low-calorie version of EFS drink mix  as an alternative to these drinks.

We found that just a 1/2 serving of EFS Drink gives you more electrolytes, more amino acids, and less sugar for a lot less money.

Because of these requests, we reviewed the most current research to determine the effectiveness of these type of drinks and we also put together an objective comparison.

We found that just a 1/2 serving of  EFS Drink gives you more electrolytes, more amino acids, and less sugar for a lot less money.

We previously compared EFS to other complete fueling drinks here

It’s important to understand that there’s a distinct difference between ‘hydration drinks’ and a complete fuel mix, like EFS.    A ‘hydration drink’ is designed to offer optimal fluid absorption in order to keep athletes well hydrated.  They are just low calorie drink mixes with electrolytes with the sole focus of hydration.   A complete drink, like EFS, offers optimal hydration AND delivers the essential calories that are necessary for endurance training and racing.

We compared these ‘hydration drinks’ to EFS, a complete drink using a 12 oz. serving sizes.   In order to compare these drinks all as ‘hydration’ drinks we use 1/2 serving of EFS and adjusted the competing drinks so all are based on a 12oz serving.  Check out the comparison for yourself here:

Click here for a detailed hydration drink comparison.

From this comparison you can clearly see that if EFS Drink is used at 1/2 strength, it yields more electrolytes, more amino acids, less total sugar and hence a lower osmolality all at a significantly lower cost.    EFS is also the only drink without vitamin C, because the latest research shows it may compromise endurance and performance.

The 1/2 strength EFS is a great way for those athletes who want a low calorie hydration formula to stick to the First Endurance system of products.   Simply mix 1/2 scoop into 12oz of water.


41 responses to “How do Skratch Labs & Osmo Stack up Against EFS? An Electrolyte Hydration Drink Comparison”

  1. Kevin Johansen says:

    As a cyclist that competes primarily in long distance events I have tried both Skratch and EFS. The EFS drink just works better. Better energy for the long haul and I believe its hydration properties are superior as well. I use EFS because it works. Results matter!

  2. Michael says:

    Sometimes the solution is too obvious. I admit, I was one of the guys looking for a lower-calorie version of EFS, especially for hot days but not super-long rides. Looks like this is the perfect solution.

    Gotta say, one of the best things about FE is their willingness to test products and react to scientific data.

  3. Preston Gaylord II says:

    “Like It” Great Product along with their entire line!!!!!!

  4. Paul D Ramos says:

    Can you address the issue of the quality of ingredients in the products, from the standpoint of organics?

    • Robert Kunz says:

      We are a performance company that sources the best and most innovative performance ingredients available. Ingredients like our amylopectin super starch and mineral malates and ultra pure amino acids come with a wealth of clinical studies showing their efficacy. These types of ingredients are simply not offered in organic sources.
      In terms of quality of ingredients and manufacturing we offer the best in the industry but due to the constraints and limited use of these performance ingredients we simply do not have access to and hence do not offer an organic version.

  5. Steve Tibbitts says:

    EFS to me is more palatable and metabolizes better than anything I’ve ever tried. I can’t even count how many times this stuff has saved my bacon when I’m headed with a one way ticked to zombie land. I’ll never use anything else.
    I totally agree with you Michael that the folks at First Endurance are the best. They’re like the quality and service you expect from a boutique. What other company out there will change things up and take action based on the questions and desires of the public……

  6. Jack Sanford says:

    I used EFS drink mix for my last two events (Saints to Sinners and The Tour of Utah’s Ultimate Challenge). The drink mix made all the difference in the world. And, to my delight, all the Ultimate Challenge rest stops had EFS waiting for the riders!

    • Mike Fogarty says:

      The ‘Ultimate Challenge’ was the ideal test for EFS drinks and EFS Liquid Shots. You can’t do 13,000 feet of climbing and 100+ miles at elevation without having your nutrition absolutely nailed.

  7. […] EFS vs Skratch Labs vs Osmo: An Electrolyte Hydration Drink Comparison – First Endurance. […]

  8. Eric Hanson says:

    Awesome comparison. Would never even attempt training, let alone IM races or multiple cycling stage races, without EFS Drink, Liquid Shot, and Ultragen. Please keep it up, and put me on the short list for the EFS Prototype testing!

  9. dodin says:

    From the results/use of these products I’d have to totally agree. EFS works better and doesn’t upset GI system.

  10. dodin says:

    From my results/use of these products I’d have to totally agree. EFS works better and doesn’t upset my GI system.

  11. Adam Figueroa says:

    I have been using ur products especially EFS since the inception of ur company I have tried Scratch Lab & Osmos no comparison to EFS my performance would not be where it still is do to ur proprietory blend
    Thanks so much First Endurance
    It was nice chatting with u Mike a few months ago about this same subget on the phone comparison testing glad u did it to show the sceptics
    Just keep up the great job at FE
    Adam F.

  12. Doug Davis says:

    I have used EFS in my bottles for several years. I used to always cramp late in the race. EFS has the perfect blend of electrolytes and calories! A lot of my friends also enjoy the fact that it is Gluten free.

  13. Nolan Goldberg says:

    I, and much of my cycling team, have used EFS for years. Recently, I went on an easy, 15 mph, 2 hour community ride. I had one bottle of EFS and one bottle of another product that was left in my car by a fellow athlete. At 1 1/2 hours in, I had cramps in my upper, inner leg muscles. EFS works. As Porsche declares, “There is no substitute.”

  14. Michael Busch says:

    Thanks for posting this comparison. It is great to know that you are staying up with the current research so I don’t need to worry about what products to use. Keep up the good work!

  15. Heather Russell says:

    Thanks for the comparison study, this is helpful info. I’ve been using First Endurance products since you started and have since tried other products, including Scratch. When it comes down to it, EFS is the only drink mix I trust on the long endurance mountain bike training rides and races I do.

  16. Tina Pic says:

    What an awesome comparison!! I have been using first endurance products since the beginning as well and with the hydration issue there is so much conflicting information. Makes a lot of sense in that if you are to just cut the amount used you get the same and even more than the other products. Makes EFS a great product in both short and long races. Not only does it taste great but it can do the job of a complete sports drink as well as a lower calorie/better electrolyte alternative. Thanks so much for researching!!

  17. John says:

    First off, you wont find me with anything else in my bottles except for EFS. It tastes great, fuels me just right and does not cause me any GI issues. You cannot just tease us with EFS Pro without giving us a little hint of what the EFS Pro is all about!!

    Second thing is you guys need to come out with a with a nice jersey and bib shorts so we can rep our favorite company while we are riding!!


    • Mike Fogarty says:

      Ok John, you asked for it:

      The new EFS PRO drink mix prototype contains a special carbohydrate source that has a significantly lower osmolality than any other carbohydrate available. Because of this, absorption is improved so you can consume more calories than ever before without gastric distress. In addition, this revolutionary carbohydrate has virtually no sweetness. It’s designed to taste like flavored water, eliminating the dreaded ‘sugar-fatigue’ commonly found with sports drinks.

      If you sign-up to get our newsletter, you’ll get a chance to try it before anyone else.

      We’ll also give more thought to doing a larger run of jerseys and bibs. What size are you?

  18. Mike Belarmino says:

    Hi Mike and Robert..I also tried the other brands and the difference is the extra 10mins performance in race pace during crunch time..well for me it is a very big difference. .thank you very much glad to have FE in my training and competition

  19. Meghann says:

    Hi, guys!
    I’ve been using lighter-flavor/higher electrolyte drink mixes for the last couple years, originally EFS mild grape but have also used Skratch. This works out well for both training and for long-course races, when I add maltodextrin- so I’m super-excited about the new EFS Pro.
    Here’s the important question, and the reason I sometimes wind up with Skratch instead of EFS:

    Why do you put Stevia in some flavors, but not others?
    I was loyal to the mild grape flavor, which does not have Stevia, but can’t always find it when I run out. Stevia does horrible things to me (blood sugar plummets, sweats and shakes ensue rapidly)- and I learned the hard way that the lemon-lime flavor DOES have it, having not read the label when I switched flavors.

    Will the EFS Pro have Stevia?

    • Robert Kunz says:

      Our EFS Grape and Orange flavors don’t contain any stevia. They are also the lightest flavors too. And, though we often get asked to make drinks that are not too sweet, to date EFS fruit punch and lemon lime, both of which have a minute amount of stevia, are the two most-popular and best-selling flavors. In the end it comes down to personal preference and giving customers a wider range of flavors they might like.

      The new EFS PRO uses a proprietary super-low osmolality carbohydrate source that is also has virtually no sweetness at all. It’s quite a challenge to flavor a drink with no sweetness but since our customers requested it we did it. The EFS PRO will be a cucumber water that is practically sweetness-free.

  20. Marc says:

    Best hydration product on the market in my opinion. Not harsh, easy to digest, bottom line it works. Thanks FE, great writeup.

  21. Peter says:

    I’ve been using EFS for many years. I have say that I’ve been using the low carb solution – or 1 scoop mix/24oz bottles during every summer. Being 90-100F/high humidity the standard – the taste is perfect, and to get enough calories for training – 2 bottles/hr always worked including 6-8hrs training rides. And even with 1/2 of the strength for the taste – it’s strong enough for anybody who uses powder form of Pre-race. Everybody is different w/taste, but for anybody who’s looking for low calorie drink – the 1/2 a serving is really good solution – really simple so…

  22. Burke Swindlehurst says:

    EFS has been and will continue to be the bedrock of all of my outdoor adventures. Nothing else comes close.

  23. Kathy Rakel says:

    Awesome and thorough drink comparison. I like to maximize the benefits of anything I put into my body, especially to meet the demands of training and racing. First Endurance has the components to do exactly that. Thanks for the great product!

  24. […] See below for the original study. […]

  25. Plain and simple: First Endurance is the nutrition that allows my body to reach its full potential in training, recovery and racing. Take it from me, they are the best!

  26. aggro-jen says:

    I wish you had included sodium comparisons. As I have Meniere’s disease, I have such a hard time addressing my need for low sodium yet still get my electrolytes (which I know includes sodium). I use a mix with coconut water and have been an EFS for many years (less lately).

    • Mike Fogarty says:

      Hi Aggro-jen,

      EFS drinks have 300mg of sodium per full serving, or 150mg per half-serving. The source of the sodium is ‘sodium chloride.’ Please let us know if you would like any additional info.


  27. Chris Nelson says:


    Do you also have a cost comparison with Gatorade products?



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