The first steps to a lean physique are a calculated diet and an organized training split. Neglect those two essential points, and no amount of fat-burning pills will get you an inch closer to ripped. However, if your diet and training are dialed in, then a fat burner can help to push you over the finish line. Of course, you need to know what you’re buying and, more importantly, why.
We took the guesswork out of the process by listing out six of the best fat burners. They contain ingredients that have been shown to work. Also, they won’t break the bank. Further down, we explain how fat burners work and dive a bit deeper into the ingredients that are in them.
Editor’s note: The content on BarBend is meant to be informative in nature, but it should not be taken as medical advice. The opinions and articles on this site are not intended for the diagnosis, prevention, and/or treatment of health problems. It’s always a good idea to talk to your doctor before beginning a new fitness, nutritional, and/or supplement routine.
A successful cut means losing fat and retaining as much muscle as possible, and some formulas are better equipped for this task than others.
Bun Lab Pro is that formula. It contains common fat-burning ingredients — such as chili pepper extract and black pepper extract, which increase your body’s temperature to boost calorie-burn. But this formula also has HMB (Hydroxymethylbutyrate), which is thought to be linked to muscle retention and even growth. (1)
Burn Lab Pro Fat Burning Support
This formula includes HMB, an ingredient shown to help retain and build muscle mass. Keep your hard-earned muscle even on a strict diet.
Some brands hide quality ingredients in blends, so you don’t really know what and how much you’re getting. This is why brands that value transparency — in ingredients and dosing — are valuable.
Transparent Labs offers up quality in the right quantity. There are ingredients such as green tea extract, which we like since it increases fat oxidation and thermogenesis, such as cayenne pepper and caffeine. (2) In addition to listing the full doses, Transparent Labs also provides in-depth explanations and studies on the ingredient’s efficacy.
Transparent Labs Fat Burner
This fat burner contains research suggested ingredient amounts and comes at a reasonable price. Use the code BARBEND10 to get 10% off!
Expensive isn’t always synonymous with quality. We found a product that will fit most people’s budget.
The ingredient list is pretty short — there are just five — but they’re all geared towards thermogenesis. Thermogenesis is a fat loss method that fat-burning supplements use. It works by picking ingredients that raise the body’s internal temperature to burn more calories (as it requires energy to cool down). It has green tea leaf extract, cayenne pepper, caffeine, and black pepper fruit extract. It’s not stimulant-free.
Jacked Factory BURN-XT
Jacked Factory’s formula will save you money, but not at the expense of quality and efficacy.
If you prefer a non-stimulant formula because you workout at night or get the jitters, there are formulas for you.
Some people either want zero stimulants or would rather get their stimulants from sources such as coffee or pre-workouts. Legion forgoes caffeine and other stims and instead relies on green tea leaf extract and synephrine to boost fat oxidation and then 5-HTP and L-Tyrosine, which may suppress one’s appetite. The one major downside, a serving is five — five! — pills.
Legion’s Phoenix comes with an extra absorbable form of synephrine and a high dosage of EGCG to promote its fat burning properties. Use code “BARBEND” for 20% off!
Sometimes (read: almost always) quality will cost you. If you can afford it, investing in a fat burner that boasts great ingredients with useful extras may be worth the extra cost.
This is a pretty complete fat burner. It’s got the usual cast of characters — cayenne pepper, green tea, and caffeine. But this fat burner also boasts extra ingredients such as Rhodiola SP, which aids fat loss and relaxation, and the nootropic DMAE may also improve mood. Of course, this product isn’t cheap with so many quality ingredients and in such full doses.
Best Premium Pick
Clinically-backed and chockfull of the right doses of the right ingredients, PhenGold is a premium buy for those serious about burning fat.
There’s no way around it; eating to lose weight can suck and often leave you feeling hungry. The right fat burner can help to curb those cravings.
Pretty much all of the ingredients on this list are status quo, but Lean Bean differentiates itself by overcoming hunger cravings. This formula uses a dietary fiber called Glucomannan, which swells the stomach slightly to create a feeling of fullness. Lean Bean offers up three grams of the specific fiber, which is more than you’ll find in other brands.
Best For Suppressing Hunger
This fat burner includes multiple ingredients to promote fullness and increase fat burning, such as garcinia cabogia, turmeric, and much more.
How Fat Burners Work
In choosing the best fat burners, we take into account ingredients and dosing based on research and how much a fat burner actually costs. We’ll admit that fat burners aren’t an absolute necessity, but if you’re in the market for them, then we’re still going to dig deep to find you the best options available.
If an ingredient is solid, but it’s in an amount that five-times less than what the science says is effective — then what good is that? We strive to choose products that offer the right ingredients in the right doses and priced accordingly.
If we don’t know the dose, it’s hard to know just how effective the fat burner is. For that reason, fat burners that rely on proprietary blends were considered unfavorable. We want you to know what you’re getting and exactly how much.
The price tag of your fat burner will depend on the ingredients in the bottle. A more expensive fat burner most likely contains more ingredients and a higher dose of that ingredient well. We aimed to provide fat burners mostly in the middle and a premium and budget option, too.
There are three primary ways that a fat burner can help to drive fat loss. Here’s a break down of each.
A fat burner won’t actually burn fat off of your body. That said, fat is an energy source that your body stores to use. Having your macros dialed in and training hard will always do the job, but certain ingredients in fat burners have been shown to coax your body into using (or oxidizing) stored fat. Specifically, green tea extract — well, the compound EGCG, found in green tea — and L-carnitine.
Your body burns calories simply by regulating normal functions, such as breathing, your organ’s functions, and your internal temperature. Most fat burners include capsaicin (extracted from chili peppers) and caffeine to increase your body’s internal temperature. In doing so, your body will work a bit harder to cool down and burn more calories. The amount of extra calories you can burn from thermogenesis isn’t many, but they can add up over time. This is especially true if you’re already in a drastic caloric deficit and don’t want to reduce your food intake anymore. At that point, an extra 50 to 100 calories a day may help.
You need to eat fewer calories than you burn to lose weight. There’s no way around that. And eating a calorie deficit can be tough. This is why many fat burners contain ingredients like 5-HTP, fiber, and psyllium to help you feel full. That way, you’re less likely to give in to boredom and mindlessly eat.
Before clicking “purchase,” be on the lookout for these ingredients in your fat burner.
Most fat-burners offer up caffeine in doses between 100-200 milligrams because of its ability to increase thermogenesis and boost energy. One study found that by taking caffeine, your body may burn extra calories each day (though, only 100 or less, but that can add up.) (3) Some people prefer to get their caffeine from another source, so they have control over when they take it. Say you take your fat burner in the morning but train at night; then, it makes sense to save your pre-workout before your workout.
Capsaicin is a compound in chili peppers that may increase your body’s internal temperature, adding up to another five to 50 calories burned per day. (4)
You won’t find this in many fat burners, but HMB, a chemical produced when the body breaks down the amino acid leucine, may help preserve muscle tissue when you’re in a caloric deficit. (1) You can also buy this supplement separately and take it in tandem with a fat burner.
Green tea extract itself may benefit your brain and heart, making it a generally beneficial health supplement. (5)(6) However, green tea extract contains a compound called EGCG, specifically shown to increase fat oxidation (albeit, in obese individuals). (7) Some fat burners offer just EGCG, and some list green tea extract.
CLA is an omega fatty acid. It’s popular in the fitness community for its ability to aid in weight loss. (8)
Because they’re a supplement, fat burners aren’t regulated by the FDA. That said, most fat burners include common ingredients in reasonable doses. What you shouldn’t do is stray from the recommended dosage and take more. That won’t get you ripped faster, but it may make you ill.
Nope. Following your macros, training hard, and even upping your daily step count should come first. You cannot — we repeat, cannot — take a pill or powder and see results. If you eat well and train a few times a week, however, a fat burner may help expedite the process a little bit.
Again, no. If you’re going to have a cheat meal, then have your cheat meal. If you feel like you need to offset the damage of a single meal, then maybe a better question to ask yourself is, “Should I be eating this?”
Dulloo AG, Geissler CA, Horton T, Collins A, Miller DS. Normal caffeine consumption: influence on thermogenesis and daily energy expenditure in lean and postobese human volunteers. Am J Clin Nutr. 1989 Jan;49(1):44-50. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/49.1.44. PMID: 2912010.
Thielecke F, Rahn G, Böhnke J, Adams F, Birkenfeld AL, Jordan J, Boschmann M. Epigallocatechin-3-gallate and postprandial fat oxidation in overweight/obese male volunteers: a pilot study. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2010 Jul;64(7):704-13. doi: 10.1038/ejcn.2010.47. Epub 2010 Apr 7. PMID: 20372175.