Summit Red Thunder Energy Shot

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Americans don’t get enough sleep. That’s a problem.

Neither of those statements is a matter of much dispute. Repeated studies have shown that adults need seven to nine hours of sleep per night. Getting less than seven hours is linked to a number of maladies, including increased weight, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, depression, and possibly even dementia.

We know we need sleep. We also don’t always do a great job getting it. Americans are notorious for trying to hack their way through adequate rest. This is probably no more obvious than in the robust caffeine economy that permeates our society. In 2022, Americans spent $110 billion on coffee alone, or a little over $300 million per day. Drive by any Starbucks on a weekday morning and you’ll believe it.

In 2004, Indian-American entrepreneur Manoj Bhargava launched a company devoted to manufacturing a new product called 5-hour Energy. 5-hour Energy purported to contain as much caffeine as a 12-ounce cup of coffee in less than 2 ounces of energy drink. The drinks exploded in popularity, eclipsing $1 billion a year in sales by 2012. Today, you can find the little bottles in grocery stores, pharmacies, and gas stations.

There is lingering debate over the safety of 5-hour Energy, especially if consumed alongside other caffeinated beverages. The company itself recommends no more than two bottles a day. Too much caffeine can be linked to a number of problems, ranging from nausea to, in extreme cases, chest pain and convulsions.

Still, the stuff sells. In fact, it sells well enough that companies have tried to imitate 5-hour Energy.

Including Aldi.

Summit Red Thunder Energy Shot is an Aldi Regular Buy. You can find it in stores all the time. It comes in a mixed case of flavors, with each 2-ounce bottle sold individually for 89 cents. That comes out to about 44.5 cents an ounce.

Aldi’s price is a lot lower than the name brand. 5-hour Energy currently comes in 1.93-ounce bottles. Even buying in bulk, 5-hour Energy Regular Strength costs more than $1 per ounce ($2 a bottle) on Amazon and 96 cents an ounce ($1.86 a bottle) at Walmart. In addition, the Extra Strength 5-hour Energy is a little more expensive than the Regular Strength, while the Aldi shots are the same price across the board. If you really want coffee-level caffeine in a tiny bottle, Aldi is the cheapest option I can find.

Aldi currently sells three varieties: Berry, Extra Strength Berry, and Extra Strength Grape. As is often the case, Aldi does a pretty shameless job imitating the name brand’s packaging.

Aldi Regular Strength.

We noticed that the Aldi Regular Strength shot had 138 mg of caffeine, less than the 200 mg of Regular Strength 5-hour Energy. However, the Aldi Extra Strength shot had 230 mg of caffeine, identical to Extra Strength 5-hour Energy. We’re not sure why one is the same while the other is not.

Aldi Extra Strength.

The Aldi drinks all contain water, natural and artificial flavors, sucralose, and three preservatives: sodium benzoate, potassium sorbate, and calcium EDTA. These are the same ingredients as 5-hour Energy.

Nutritionally, the drinks have niacin, vitamin B6, folic acid, and vitamin B12. They also have an “energy blend” of taurine, Glucuronolactone, malic acid, N-aceytl-tyrosine, L-phenylalanine, caffeine, and citicoline. Other than folic acid, all of these are also found — and in by all accounts the same proportions — in 5-hour Energy. The Aldi drink has zero calories compared to the 5-hour Energy’s four calories per bottle.

Nutrition information and ingredients: Regular Strength. (Click to enlarge.)

Nutrition information and ingredients: Extra Strength. (Click to enlarge.)

Both Aldi bottles, like their name-brand counterparts, have warnings about consumption. In particular, both warn against consuming more than two bottles a day and advise spacing them several hours apart. The bottle also warns against consuming if you have various risk factors, including if you are pregnant or under 18. The Aldi shots, like 5-Hour Energy, warn of a Niacin Flush, a temporary and harmless side effect of high niacin consumption.

Warnings. (Click to enlarge.)

Warnings. (Click to enlarge.)

In one of our typical reviews, it’s at this point that we would talk about how well the product works, including taste and — in this unique case — effectiveness. We’re not doing that here. We’re not entirely comfortable with these concentrated energy drinks because of the high caffeine content and its associated risks, and none of our writers had interest in testing or comparing them to 5-hour Energy. That’s just us. We can say, though, that if you are a 5-hour Energy user, this looks very much like a 5-hour Energy clone.

The Verdict:

By all outward appearances, Summit Red Thunder Energy Shot is a close imitation of 5-hour Energy. Its ingredients and nutrition information are nearly identical, and while the Regular Strength bottle has less caffeine than the 5-hour counterpart, the Extra Strength is the same. In addition, the Aldi bottles are less than half the cost of the name brand.

We didn’t try the energy shots on account of our unease about downing concentrated caffeine like this, but this sure looks like a promising option for energy drink fans. We’re always interested to hear what 5-hour Energy afficionados think of the Aldi stuff in the comments.

About Joshua

Joshua is the Co-founder of Aldi Reviewer. He is also a writer and novelist. You can learn more about him at

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