20 Crystal Light Mixes, Ranked

Crystal Light seems kind of like magic — simply tip a sachet of mystery powder into your bottle of water, shake, and suddenly your boring water is transformed into a fruity, sweet drink in a fun color. This drink mix doesn't even add many calories; most of the varieties we sampled ranged between 5 and 10 calories per serving. If you have trouble drinking enough water to stay hydrated, Crystal Light might be a good way to get yourself to consume more fluids (though plain water is still the healthiest choice, per Healthline). Some even include a little caffeine so you get a burst of energy with your water.

With such a large number of Crystal Light flavors on the market (our local supermarket sold 20 different types), we had to wonder if they were all good. Spoiler alert: They're not all great, though most are at least okay. We sampled all the Crystal Light drink mixes we could find so you'll know which ones to reach for the next time you want to enhance your water. Here they are, ranked from worst to first.

20. Peach Iced Tea

To put it simply, we don't recommend Crystal Light Peach Iced Tea. Our concerns began when we first poured the powder into a glass — it smelled alarmingly like a peach-flavored cigar, tobacco and all. Adding water improved things somewhat, but this is still our least favorite of the Crystal Light varieties we sampled.

Peach iced tea is a perennial convenience store favorite, and we like it from other brands; the execution of Crystal Light's version just misses the mark. The tea flavor is barely present. It doesn't have any of the bite of real, fresh-brewed black tea. The peach component dominates, which isn't a good thing. It tastes like the vague memory of a gummy peach ring. Overall, this is not a very flavorful beverage, which would be fine for certain flavors, but we want our peach iced tea to be potent.

19. Grape

Crystal Light offers two grape varieties: caffeinated Grape and another without caffeine that's labeled as Concord Grape. The caffeinated Grape flavor we're discussing right now has the advantage of giving you energy, but if you're choosing purely based on taste, it's the inferior option.

Grape Crystal Light delivers much more grape aroma than it does grape flavor. It almost smells like real grapes, but its taste doesn't measure up. It actually tastes more citrusy than grapy, with lots of acidic kick. You get a little hint of grape soda, but that's it as far as grape flavor goes. If it wasn't purple, we're not even sure we'd guess that it was supposed to be a grape beverage. It's our least favorite caffeinated Crystal Light.

18. Lemon Iced Tea

We love iced tea with a little lemon in it, but Crystal Light's version is pretty disappointing. The black tea in this drink mix has the same problem as the Peach Iced Tea: It's too weak to be satisfying. You'd think that the lemon flavor would be strong at least — Crystal Light sells many potent citrus-flavored beverages, even if they don't always taste supernatural. However, the lemon component of the lemon tea is strangely muted. It lacks acidity; it's more of a lemon oil fragrance than a real flavor.

The Lemon Iced Tea isn't straight-up bad like the Peach Iced Tea, but there's no reason to buy it when there are so many other, better lemon teas on the market. Go for Brisk, Arizona, or Snapple instead.

17. Lemonade

Crystal Light's classic lemonade has the same fluorescent yellow hue and unnatural citrus flavor as numerous other powdered lemonade mixes. It's like Country Time lemonade without all the sugar.

We're not above fake-tasting lemonade — it reminds us of childhood birthday parties and has a certain nostalgic appeal. However, Crystal Light's other lemonade options have superior flavor to this one. The regular lemonade tastes mostly like citric acid with a little hint of what might be lemon oil. It's quite sour; too much of this would probably give us heartburn. Once your mouth processes the sourness, the strange aftertaste of artificial sweeteners comes to the fore. If you're a big fan of dollar-store lemonade, this drink replicates that experience, but for the rest of us, there are better options out there.

16. Citrus

Do you love Tang but wish it were caffeinated? If so, Crystal Light has made the perfect product for you. This flavor may be labeled as Citrus, but there's only one fruit we taste in it: (fake) orange. It's pretty sour — more acidic and less sweet than real orange juice. Citrus Crystal Light is reminiscent of watered-down SunnyD.

The taste is less aggressively fake than some other Crystal Light flavors; if you're not paying attention, it can pass as a real orange juice product. If anything we wish this one was a little sweeter so it had less citric acid burn. Despite the lack of sweetness, it does have a noticeable aspartame/sucralose aftertaste. Some other Crystal Light varieties are better at camouflaging artificial sweeteners.

15. Raspberry Lemonade

Crystal Light sells three different types of pink lemonade: Raspberry, Strawberry, and one simply described as "Pink." Raspberry is our least favorite of the three, though it's not terrible. Its main issue is that it tastes too much like the regular yellow lemonade, with all the Country Time taste you've come to know and tolerate. The raspberry essence just isn't enough to improve Crystal Light's basic lemonade all that much.

This isn't to say that the raspberry lemonade isn't slightly better than the classic lemonade — it's definitely tastier. The main difference is that it's less sour, which makes it easier to drink. The raspberry is hard to detect, but it does lend a slightly floral bitterness to the aftertaste that adds a bit of complexity.

14. Wild Strawberry

Strawberry always strikes us as an odd choice for a beverage flavor. We think of it much more as a candy flavor than something to use in drinks (unless it's being used to make lemonade pink).

Crystal Light's caffeinated Wild Strawberry drink mix does nothing to change our opinions about strawberry beverages. It tastes a lot more like Strawberry Starburst than it does a wild strawberry growing in a field. We like Strawberry Starburst, so we don't find the fake strawberry off-putting, but it still wouldn't be our first pick for a refreshing caffeinated beverage. The drink isn't as sweet as we feared it would be based on its candy-like aroma. In fact, it has an almost excessive amount of citric acid tang. Ultimately, this isn't our favorite Crystal Light, though there are plenty of worse options.

13. Sweet Tea

Crystal Light isn't lying when it calls this variety sweet — it approximates the saccharine, syrupy pitchers of tea they serve in every casual restaurant in the South. Fortunately, this version of sweet tea is nearly calorie-free and won't spike your blood sugar. The sweetness at least gives it some oomph that the other black tea flavors lack. However, we struggled to finish our glass because the tea component didn't contribute enough bitterness to counteract all the aspartame and sucralose.

The label of this drink mix includes imagery of lemon slices and mint. We're not sure if that's a serving suggestion or if those flavors are actually supposed to be in the mix. We definitely don't taste any mint in the Sweet Tea. It does have a little tang, but we can't tell if that's from lemon flavoring or just a byproduct of the citric acid that's one of the main ingredients in every variety of Crystal Light.

12. Mango Passionfruit

We don't know what passionfruit is supposed to taste like, and we bet most people who live outside of the tropical climate where it grows don't know either. But putting passionfruit on the label of a processed beverage makes it seem fancy and special, which we'd guess is the main reason for its inclusion in this Crystal Light drink mix.

Taste-wise, this Crystal Light is a cross between mango and red fruit punch. It mostly tastes like generic mixed fruit with a vague tropical character. If we want fruit punch, we'll stick with the actual Fruit Punch Crystal Light rather than Mango Passionfruit, which feels like it's not sure what it's supposed to be. The Mango Passionfruit does have a mild tea-like bitterness in the aftertaste that sets it apart, but it doesn't really add much to the experience.

11. Strawberry Pineapple Refresh

This tastes the least like its supposed fruit inspiration of any of the Crystal Light flavors we reviewed for this article. It doesn't have any strawberry character and bears little resemblance to pineapple. You get a little bit of pineapple aroma, but it doesn't have any of the bracing acidity and brightness of the real fruit. This is sort of strange since Crystal Light doesn't shy away from acidity in many of its other drink mixes. It sort of tastes like you added extra sweetener to the syrup from canned pineapple and then watered it down a bunch.

The flavor of Strawberry Pineapple Refresh is so muddled that we'd probably guess it was supposed to be mango if we tasted it blind. It's sweet and insipid — not unpleasant, but not memorable either.

10. Blackberry Lemonade

Is this lemonade? It doesn't look like lemonade, and it doesn't much taste like lemonade. Beyond a little bit of acidity at the end (which pretty much all Crystal Light mixes have), this drink has very little citrus or lemon flavor. It doesn't scream blackberry either.

The strongest taste in Blackberry Lemonade Crystal Light is a kind of generic mixed-berry flavor. It also tastes like Red (as in Red Kool-Aid): a red fruit flavor that owes allegiance to no single real-world fruit. This all adds up to the Blackberry Lemonade tasting a lot more like a fruit punch than like what the label would lead you to believe. It's not bad, but it is confusing, and we could see people who buy it expecting blackberry flavor ending up disappointed.

9. Strawberry Lemonade

The Strawberry Lemonade has much more of a classic pink lemonade flavor profile than the Raspberry Lemonade did. It has some lemon taste, but it's not super sour, and the strawberry really comes through. The strawberry flavor is the same Starbust-esque candy taste as was in Wild Strawberry Crystal Light, but we find it a lot more pleasant when mixed with lemon than we did on its own.

The flavor of this drink was deeply familiar to us, and we struggled to figure out why. Did it remind us of a melted popsicle? No, not exactly. Suddenly, it came to us: Strawberry Lemonade Crystal Light tastes almost exactly like sherbet. It would probably make a tasty frozen treat if you poured it into ice trays or popsicle molds. As a drink, it's middle-of-the-pack.

8. Raspberry Iced Tea

This is the second-sweetest of Crystal Light's tea offerings, surprisingly much sweeter than the Peach Iced Tea. The fruity raspberry notes dominate the mild black tea flavor. This has less of the bitter aftertaste that's present in some of the other raspberry varieties, perhaps because the sweetness of this one is amped up. Raspberry complements the black tea pretty well, though it would work better if the tea flavor was a little stronger.

We enjoyed our first few sips of this quite a bit, but as time went on, it became harder and harder to drink because of its overwhelming sweetness. It's not quite as intense as the Sweet Tea, but we'd still prefer a little less aspartame. However, we appreciate that it is at least more flavorful than some of the other Crystal Light black teas.

7. Raspberry Green Tea

We like this more than any of the black tea options, perhaps because we expect green tea to taste milder. The weakness of the tea flavor in Crystal Light's attempts at black tea irks us because we like black tea to be strong and bitter. Green tea is inherently a lighter flavor.

The two flavor components of this Crystal Light variety are equally balanced with each other. The fake raspberry is present and lends a combination of sweetness and bitterness, somewhat like real raspberries do. The green tea (there's actually instant green tea in this) gives the drink a bit of a floral character. Overall, it's well-executed, but there's another green tea flavor we enjoy more. We just find that raspberry and green tea don't make for the most harmonious combination. However, other people may find this flavor more successful than we do.

6. Concord Grape

Now this is what a grape powdered drink mix is supposed to look and taste like. Don't give us the weak taste of the Crystal Light caffeinated Grape — we want to go full Kool-Aid, and Concord Grape delivers. Its shamelessly fake dark purple color tells you all you need to know about how it will taste: Not at all like grapes, but quite a bit like grape soda.

Crystal Light Concord grape is so sweet that it reminds us a little bit of Manischewitz Concord grape wine, though it lacks the latter product's thick, syrupy texture (which is for the best). It's on the edge of being too sweet for us, but we expect that in a grape beverage, so we won't dock it too much for that.

5. Blueberry Raspberry

Blueberry Raspberry has the most restrained amount of food dye of any of the Crystal Light varieties, merely tinting our water a pale, translucent blue. The flavor is similarly understated. The raspberry comes through much stronger than the blueberry, which makes sense — real raspberries tend to be more potent than fresh blueberries too. We're glad this Crystal Light doesn't go overboard on the fake blueberry flavor, as it can become unpleasantly strong if overused.

The faint hint of blueberry that is there adds a nice touch of sweetness to the stronger raspberry flavor, which is more bittersweet and tangy. This is probably the least sweet of any of the Crystal Light mixes, which is kind of nice. It tastes like flavored water rather than a sugary fruit drink.

4. Fruit Punch

Many of the Crystal Light flavors invoke childhood memories in us — for better and for worse. We didn't necessarily have the most discerning palates as kids, so some tastes don't hold up to our adult scrutiny. But when the nostalgic flavors hit, they really hit, and that's the case for Crystal Light Fruit Punch.

This drink is the exact shade of nuclear red that the fruit punch you drank growing up was, and the flavor matches the color. It tastes exactly like we remember Hawaiian Punch tasting, though perhaps a bit less syrupy-sweet. The punch has hints of mixed citrus, orange, pineapple, and Red Kool-Aid. It's on the sweeter end of the Crystal Light spectrum but has enough citric acid to taste balanced. It doesn't go over the deep end like the Sweet Tea.

3. Pink Lemonade

The Pink Lemonade basically tastes like a slightly sweeter version of regular lemonade. It has no noticeable artificial sweetener flavor — if we didn't know it was sweetened with aspartame, we would assume there was sugar in it.

We're unsure if the pink is supposed to connote any additional fruit flavor besides lemon; the label is decorated with pink lemons, which technically exist, though not as depicted on Crystal Light's packaging. For whatever reason, this product tastes less cheap and fake than the standard yellow lemonade from Crystal Light. We're not sure if it's because the additional sweetness masks the artifice of the lemon or if this product is made with different lemon flavoring compounds, but this is our favorite of the company's lemonade offerings.

2. Peach Mango Green Tea

Peach Mango Green Tea is the ultimate Crystal Light tea flavor. The green tea is present but not intense, laying down an earthy backdrop for the peach and mango. The fruit doesn't make its presence felt as strongly in this flavor as it did in the raspberry green tea. Instead, it provides a gentle peachy sweetness and some tropical tartness without overwhelming the green tea flavor.

There's something about peach and mango that just complements green tea wonderfully. The fruit and tea don't clash at all. This Crystal Light variety reminds us a lot of a less-sweet Arizona Iced Tea, even though Arizona doesn't sell this exact flavor. It's a refreshing summer sipper that is just flavorful enough to be interesting without completely bombarding your palate.

1. Peach Mango

This is a top-tier Crystal Light flavor. Peach Mango is a combination we're used to from drinking cheap juice mixes from other companies, so we don't mind it tasting a little fake; if anything, fake mango unlocks some nostalgic childhood memories. And to be fair, this isn't one of the faker-tasting Crystal Lights. The mango component is actually somewhat convincing, and it's much stronger than the peach.

That's a good thing, as we saw from the Peach Iced Tea that Crystal Light doesn't necessarily do well at recreating the flavor of a ripe peach. What the peach does seem to do is counteract some of the bracing acidity of the mango flavoring. The combination works really well and makes for a delightful tropical fruit punch. We have no qualms with placing this in the number one spot on our ranking.