C4 vs. N.O.-XPLODE – Which One Should You Pick?

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By Ryan Brennan

Reviewed by Juliana Tamayo, MS, RDN - Last Updated

C4 vs. N.O.-XPLODE

Do you lack the energy and focus to truly get the most out of your workout routine? Are you not getting the results you expected when you started going to the gym and feel it might be related to your performance? If you could receive an instant boost of energy and alertness, would you?

Whether you’re a professional athlete looking to advance in your sport, an overweight individual looking to lose some weight, or a skinny individual looking to bulk up, achieving your goals and getting the results you want is going to take an extreme amount of time, energy, and effort. 

They say nothing comes easy in this world, and the fitness community is no different. While it’s an extremely rewarding process and is essential to a long, happy, and healthy life, that doesn’t mean it comes cheap. And while some people can handle it, other people require a boost. That’s where pre-workout supplements come in to help.

Pre-workout supplements are designed to provide you with the energy you need to get through your day and your intense workouts. As with many supplements nowadays, though, the pre-workout market is saturated with great and not-so-great options. To make your choice a bit simpler, we’re going to take a closer look at two popular options, C4 from Cellucor and N.O.-XPLODE from BSN. Which of these pre-workouts is worth using? That’s what we’re here to find out in this comparison of C4 vs. N.O.-XPLODE. Let’s get started!

Pre-Workout Energy

C4 vs. N.O.-XPLODE: About the Supplements

With pre-workout supplements, professional athletes and fitness enthusiasts can maximize their efforts inside the gym. It’s the helping hand you didn’t know you needed during each rep of each set. You’ll feel more in control of your workout with newfound energy, focus, and motivation. 

Of course, no two pre-workout supplements are created equal. Like any other product available to customers today, pre-workout formulas have their fair share of disappointing and dangerous formulas. It’s up to the customer to weed out the good from the bad before making a purchase.

Luckily, we’re here to help as we highlight two of the most popular pre-workout formulas on the market today — C4 and N.O.-XPLODE. They both come with a unique formula and unique benefits that could help improve your athletic performance and energy levels. 

What is C4?

C4 is a popular pre-workout supplement that’s brought to you by Cellucor — a company that’s owned by a larger sports nutrition brand called Nutrabolt. Cellucor officially launched in 2009 in GNC and released their first pre-workout supplement two years later in 2011. 

Cellucor C4

Over the past decade, they’ve released a number of different formulas under the Cellucor C4 brand — including C4 Original, C4 Ultimate, C4 Extreme, C4 Ripped, C4 Sport, C4 Dynasty MMXX, Cellucor Super HD, and NO3 Ultimate. They also have ready-to-drink energy drinks and energy shots. 

The formula we’ll be discussing today is their C4 Original supplement, which is one of their best sellers. It was released in 2014 as part of Cellucor’s fourth-generation ‘G4 Series.’ If you lack energy and need a boost before your workout begins, Cellucor C4 could be just what you need.

What is N.O.-XPLODE?

N.O.-XPLODE is a pre-workout supplement brought to you by Bio-Engineered Supplements and Nutrition, Inc. (BSN). Founded in 2001, the company has produced some of the most popular pre-workout formulas and has won dozens of sports nutrition awards as a result. 


The BSN brand has grown to extreme heights over the past 20 years and continues to expand to this day. They currently distribute products in over 90 countries globally and ship to over 40,000 retailers across the nation. They’ve become a major player in the supplement industry

As for BSN N.O.-XPLODE, it originally launched in 2004 and has been updated several times over the past 15+ years. It’s designed to give you energy you never knew you had and helps you break through barriers you didn’t know were possible. It’s potent, and it might be right for you.

C4 vs. N.O.-XPLODE: Comparison

C4 and N.O.-XPLODE are both pre-workout supplements designed to boost your energy levels, enhance your athletic performance, and improve your focus while at the gym. They’re easy to take and easy to add to your daily routine, which is why people buy them!

While the two formulas share some of the same ingredients, they’re far from being similar and come with way more differences. C4, for example, is a much more basic 12-ingredient formula. N.O.-XPLODE, on the other hand, is much more complex with 40+ ingredients. 

Don’t worry; we’re going to detail everything you need to know about these two supplements and how they match up with one another — including the ingredients, their doses, and nutrient forms, the benefits, the customer reviews, the value, and everything else in-between. 

C4 vs. N.O.-XPLODE: Supplement Formulation

The first order of business is stripping down each supplement and judging them based on their most important trait — the ingredient label. It tells you most of what you need to know about a pre-workout supplement and is what separates a quality formula from a disastrous formula. 

As for C4 and N.O.-XPLODE, you’re going to notice a lot of similarities between the two formulas. At the same time, there are a lot of differences, and you’ll come to realize that they’re designed for two completely different people — so let’s take a closer look at each one!


  • Both formulas contain Vitamins B3, B6, B9, and B12 to improve energy metabolism.
  • Both formulas contain Beta-Alanine to reduce muscle fatigue.
  • Both formulas contain Creatine to increase strength and improve muscle recovery.
  • Both formulas contain Caffeine to increase energy and alertness.
  • Both formulas contain L-Tyrosine to enhance performance under stress.


  • C4 contains 150mg of Caffeine Anhydrous, while N.O.-XPLODE contains 275mg. 
  • C4 contains 1,600mg of Beta-Alanine, but N.O.-XPLODE uses it in a proprietary blend.
  • C4 contains 1,000mg of Creatine, but N.O.-XPLODE uses it in a proprietary blend.
  • C4 contains 30mg of Vitamin B3, while N.O.-XPLODE contains 20mg.
  • C4 contains 500mcg of Vitamin B6, while N.O.-XPLODE contains 2,000mcg.
  • C4 contains 250mcg of Vitamin B9, while N.O.-XPLODE contains 330mcg.
  • C4 contains 35mcg of Vitamin B12, while N.O.-XPLODE contains 6mcg.

Nutrient Forms

  • Both formulas use Caffeine Anhydrous, which is the dehydrated form of Caffeine.
  • Both formulas use Beta-Alanine in the form of CarnoSyn®. 
  • Both formulas use N-Acetyl-L-Tyrosine.
  • N.O.-XPLODE uses Creatine Monohydrate and Creatine Anhydrous, while C4 uses Creatine Nitrate.
  • N.O.-XPLODE contains Vitamin B3 in the form of Nicotinic Acid, while C4 contains Niacinamide. 
  • N.O.-XPLODE contains Vitamin B6 in the form of Pyridoxine HCl, while C4 contains Pyridoxal-5 Phosphate.
  • Both supplements contain Vitamin B9 in the form of Folic Acid.
  • N.O.-XPLODE contains Vitamin B12 in the form of Cyanocobalamin, while C4 contains Methylcobalamin.

C4 Supplement Formulation Differences

  • C4 contains 250mg of Vitamin C to improve the immune system.
  • C4 contains 1,000mg of Arginine Alpha-Ketoglutarate to increase nitric oxide levels.
  • C4 contains Velvet Bean Extract (proprietary blend) to increase muscle growth and improve muscle recovery.
  • C4 contains Theacrine (proprietary blend) to reduce fatigue and improve athletic performance.
Cellucor C4 Supplement Facts

N.O.-XPLODE Supplement Formulation Differences

  • N.O.-XPLODE contains Vitamins D, B1, and B5. 
  • N.O.-XPLODE contains Calcium, Magnesium, Sodium, and Potassium.
  • N.O.-XPLODE contains a Myogenic Matrix proprietary blend of Creatine, Taurine, Di-Calcium Phosphate, Di-Sodium Phosphate, AstraGin, and Panax Ginseng.
  • N.O.-XPLODE contains an Endura Shot proprietary blend of Beta-Alanine, Potassium Bicarbonate, Sodium Bicarbonate, Magnesium Oxide, and Cholecalciferol.
  • N.O.-XPLODE contains a Thermic Energy proprietary blend of N-Acetyl-L-Tyrosine, L-Tyrosine, Caffeine Anhydrous, and Grapefruit Bioflavonoid Complex.
  • N.O.-XPLODE contains a N.O. Alpha Fusion proprietary blend of L-Citrulline Malate, Danshen Extract, Grape Skin Extract, Indian Gooseberry Extract, and Hawthorn Extract.
  • N.O.-XPLODE contains a Shock Composite proprietary blend of DMAE Bitartrate, DL-Phenylalanine, Nicotinic Acid, Calcium D-Pantothenate, Toothed Clubmoss Extract, Thiamin HCl, Pyridoxine HCl, and Cyanocobalamin.
BSN N.O.-XPLODE - Supplement Facts

C4 vs. N.O.-XPLODE: Supplement Benefits

Alright, we’ve had an opportunity to admire each formula, and we now have a firm idea of how C4 and N.O.-XPLODE stack up against one another. We understand what to expect from each formula from an ingredient standpoint and understand the various similarities and differences between them.

Now, you’re likely wondering how those ingredients translate to your workout and overall athletic performance. What types of benefits do those ingredients provide? What type of results can you expect when taking each of these formulas? Don’t worry; we have all the answers below.

Cellucor C4 vs. BSN NO Xplode - Increased Energy Levels & Focus

C4 Benefits

  • Increased Energy Levels & Endurance
  • Increased Motivation & Focus
  • Reduce Muscle Fatigue & Improve Muscle Recovery
  • Improve the Immune System
  • Increase Nitric Oxide Levels & Enhance Pumps
  • Improve Ability to Perform Under Stress
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N.O.-XPLODE Benefits

  • Intensify Focus & Concentration
  • Increase Energy Levels & Endurance
  • Increase Metabolism & Promote Thermogenesis
  • Increase Nitric Oxide Production 
  • Improved Blood Flow & Circulation
  • Reduce Muscle Fatigue & Improve Muscle Recovery

C4 vs. N.O.-XPLODE: Customer Feedback & Reviews

Every single person that has ever tried a supplement has an opinion about that supplement based on the experience they had with it. The more people that try that supplement, the more opinions and customer reviews you have. Ideally, those reviews will turn out positive. 

To a potential buyer, those customer reviews play an important role in the decision to buy or avoid. Bad or good, they give the potential buyer an inside look at the experiences other people had with the formula. That can be valuable information to someone interested in the supplement.

C4 Customer Reviews

If you head over to the official Cellucor website, they have a ton of customer reviews listed right on the Original C4 product page. Of the 548 reviews, only 39 of the customers rated it 3.0/5.0 stars or below. 437 of the customers rated it 5.0 stars, and 72 customers rated it 4.0 stars. 

We can also get a good look at how customers like or dislike C4 by looking at Amazon. Their Fruit Punch flavor has an average rating of 4.5/5.0 stars with over 1,850 reviews, while the Orange Burst flavor has an average rating of 4.6/5.0 with over 630 customer reviews.

Cellucor C4 Customer Reviews

N.O.-XPLODE Customer Reviews

Although the official website for N.O.-XPLODE doesn’t feature as many customer reviews as Cellucor, they do have 15 reviews listed on its product page. Of those 15 reviews, 12 of them rated it 5.0/5.0 stars, and the other three customers rated it 4.0/5.0 stars. They all enjoyed it. 

The good news is Amazon comes in clutch with the customer reviews for N.O.-XPLODE. They’ve earned a 4.5/5.0 star rating with over 10,500 customer reviews. Only 11% of the customers rated it 3.0 stars or lower, while 74% of the customers rated it a perfect 5.0. 

BSN N.O.-XPLODE Customer Reviews

C4 vs. N.O.-XPLODE: Other Considerations

The supplement formulation, the supplement benefits, the customer reviews — we’ve talked a lot about C4 and N.O.-XPLODE. With that said, there are a few things we have yet to share with you that are worth mentioning. Who knows, they could make or break your decision.

Ideally, you’re going to want a supplement that doesn’t feature a large scoop of powder, one that’s manufactured in a GMP-certified and FDA-approved facility, and one that’s safe to take on a daily basis. If it has Caffeine in it, you should aim for under 200mg — 100mg if possible. 

C4 Considerations

  • Small serving size (just 6.5 grams of powder)
  • 150mg of Caffeine
  • Available in Orange Burst, Fruit Punch, Cherry Limeade, Pink Lemonade, Watermelon, Icy Blue Razz, and Strawberry Margarita
  • 30 servings per tub (one month)
  • Proprietary blend (don’t know Theacrine, N-Acetyl-L-Tyrosine, and Velvet Bean Extract doses)
  • Free shipping on orders above $55 and subscriptions

N.O.-XPLODE Considerations

  • Large serving size (18.5 grams of powder)
  • 275mg of Caffeine
  • Available in Blue Raspberry, Fruit Punch, Grape, Green Apple, and Watermelon
  • 30 or 60 servings per tub (one or two months)
  • Uses five proprietary blends, only know the exact dose of Caffeine 
  • Equipped with advanced show-stopping technology

C4 vs. N.O.-XPLODE: Supplement Value

Don’t worry; we didn’t forget to talk about one of the most important things when searching for a new pre-workout formula — how much it’s going to cost you. Especially if you plan on taking it daily or multiple times per week, you want to know what type of investment you’re making. 

N.O.-XPLODE isn’t available for purchase on the official BSN website. It is, however, available on Amazon, iHerb, the Vitamin Shoppe, GNC,, and much more. It’ll generally cost you between $35-$45 for a 30-serving tub or between $55-$65 for a 60-serving tub. 

BSN N.O.-XPLODE Amazon Price

On the other hand, C4 is available for purchase on the official Cellucor website here. A 30-serving tub will cost you $29.99, and a 60-serving tub will cost you $49.99. You save 20% off and receive free shipping when signing up for a subscription—free shipping on orders above $55.

Cellucor C4 Website
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C4 vs. N.O.-XPLODE: Which Supplement Is Better?

Although the N.O.-XPLODE and C4 supplements claim to do the same things, they’re designed for two completely different people. What appeals to one person might be dangerous to the next person, so it’s important to make sure the formula is right for you. 

For example, the 275mg of Caffeine in N.O.-XPLODE makes it a dangerous option for those that already drink a lot of Caffeine each day (even as little as one cup of coffee). You should never exceed 400mg of Caffeine in one day, so C4 is a better option. 

C4 is also a much more simple formula, which will appeal to a lot of people. It doesn’t feature as many proprietary blends, and there aren’t a lot of ingredients with little-to-no scientific evidence or research, which is what makes up a lot of the BSN N.O.-XPLODE formula.

Overall, C4 is the better option — the cheaper option, as well. You’ll get that energy boost, and you’ll see your athletic performance improve, but you won’t be pushing it, and it’ll still be safe for your body. Just remember, watch that caffeine intake and only take one scoop!

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Ryan Brennan

Ryan Brennan is a health and fitness writer with both personal and professional experience in the field. His passion for nutrition stems from personal experiences dealing with malnutrition, low energy, and other health complications. Through research and experimentation, Ryan was able to overcome these issues and take control of his health. He now aims to help others do the same. Ryan has been writing about nutrition, fitness, and supplementation for the past 7 years. He also has experience in the field, serving as the manager of a high-end fitness facility in Las Vegas, NV where he currently resides.