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OTE Orange Hydro Tabs

8
£7.50

VERDICT:

8
10
Very good hydration tablets, with InformedSport batch testing for peace of mind
Good salt mix
Nice flavour
Light tasting
InformedSport tested
You can get better value
Weight: 
98g

At road.cc every product is thoroughly tested for as long as it takes to get a proper insight into how well it works. Our reviewers are experienced cyclists that we trust to be objective. While we strive to ensure that opinions expressed are backed up by facts, reviews are by their nature an informed opinion, not a definitive verdict. We don't intentionally try to break anything (except locks) but we do try to look for weak points in any design. The overall score is not just an average of the other scores: it reflects both a product's function and value – with value determined by how a product compares with items of similar spec, quality, and price.

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OTE's Orange Hydro Tabs taste good and have a diverse mix and concentrations of different salts to keep you hydrated. As far as hydration tablets go, they offer pretty much everything you really need, though there are better value options out there.

The thing about hydration tabs is that, broadly speaking, they all do very similar things and have very similar contents. You get a blend of salts – usually sodium, potassium, magnesium and a few others besides – in a low-carbohydrate formula that dissolves into water to create a solution that more closely matches the body's water-salt balance.

It's better to take on this blend of salts along with water, because they both play a key role in hydration – too much water and not enough salt and you (ironically) dehydrate, while too much salt and not enough water also results in dehydration.

> Cycling hydration: Is 1 water bottle or 2 best on long rides?

Every hydration tab is a little different in the search for a balance that delivers optimal performance to 'most' people (of course, everyone sweats differently, losing water and salt and different rates in different conditions, which makes finding a generally optimal blend without having been through extensive testing practically impossible). That said, OTE has a tablet that on paper looks like it covers the major bases that will serve the majority of us!

A quick check of the ingredients shows that it delivers 0.66g of salt per tablet (mixed with 500ml water), incorporating a blend of potassium (22mg), magnesium (7mg) and calcium (30mg) alongside the usual sodium, plus 1.5mg of zinc too. You also get some low doses of vitamins B1 (0.2mg, 18% RDA), B2 (0.3mg, 21% RDA) and B6 (0.4mg, 15% RDA) to support the body's efficient release of energy.

This is alongside the usual sweeteners and stabilisers, although there are no horror ingredients – OTE sticks to using natural flavourings, and I can report that the orange flavour is tasty without being cloying or lingering. I generally ride with plain water to swig after a flavoured drink, but here it isn't actually necessary. I could carry two bottles of solution quite happily, if I wanted to.

More flavours

OTE also kindly provided its lemon and blackcurrant flavours for a try – they carry a practically identical nutrition profile, so it's the flavours we're sampling here – and these are nice variations. Everyone will have their personal preference, but I'd be quite happy to change up the flavours with each ride. If I had to pick only one, I'd say the orange flavour just wins out because it tasted slightly better when the solution had warmed up in the sun. But again, it really is down to personal preference.

Do they work? Well, yes. Like any other hydration tablets that I've used from numerous brands over the years, I felt fresher and more alert as the ride wore on than I would normally carrying just plain water, with salt deposits on my skin, jersey and shorts by ride's end showing that my body is processing what I'm putting in it.

One real upside of OTE's Hydro Tabs is the InformedSport batch testing, the industry standard test that protects elite athletes from accidentally picking up products outside of doping regulations. If nothing else, it's a strong reassurance for them, while for less competitive folk it's an extra sign of quality whether we strictly need it or not.

Value

A tube of 20 4g tabs costs you £7.50. That's better value than Nuun's Active tabs given you get 10 tabs with Nuun for £6.99, but worse than Wiggle's own brand tabs which are currently nearly half the price at £3.99 for 20.

I've actually used both of those products in the past few years, and given the practically negligible difference in performance and effectiveness that I can detect, it's hard to look past the Wiggle tabs if you don't mind going for a product marketed by a non-specialist brand, and the InformedSport tag really doesn't bother you.

That said, if you prefer the comfort of an established nutrition brand and any perceived and real expertise that could deliver, plus the InformedSport seal of approval, OTE's Hydro Tabs are a solid option.

Conclusion

OTE's Hydro Tabs are pleasant tasting, well-profiled hydration tablets that do a good job with few (if any) drawbacks. There are plenty of products out there that do a very similar job, and value could arguably be slightly better, but these hydration tablets can work well for the vast majority of riders.

Verdict

Very good hydration tablets, with InformedSport batch testing for peace of mind

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road.cc test report

Make and model: OTE Orange Hydro Tabs

Size tested: 20 tabs

Tell us what the product is for and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?

OTE says: "Hydro Tabs have been developed for use during all sports where maintaining hydration status is important to maintaining performance. They are also perfect for using when you are exercising in hot or humid conditions, or working outdoors. With only 8kcal per tablet, you need not worry about using these tabs.

'Hydro Tabs can also be used pre-exercise to ensure you are hydrated before your workout, especially leading into long, hard endurance events."

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

OTE lists:

- VEGETARIAN

- VEGAN

- GLUTEN FREE

- DAIRY FREE

- KOSHER

Rate the product for performance:
 
9/10

These days hydration tablets all do much the same thing, but these are equal with the best low-calorie drinks out there.

Rate the product for value:
 
5/10

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

Very well, I can't complain really. The salt tablet stays in solution well (no deposits at the end of a drink that I noticed).

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Good salt mix, nice flavour, light tasting, InformedSport tested.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

A little pricey compared with Wiggle's own brand tabs.

How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?

A tube of 20 4g tabs costs you £7.50, which is good value compared to Nuun's Active tabs, given you get 10 tabs with Nuun for £6.99, but Wiggle's own brand tabs are nearly half the price at £3.99 for 20.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider buying the product? Yes

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes

Use this box to explain your overall score

These hydration tablets do a great job of keeping your hydrated. I think the InformedSport batch testing just lifts it to an 8 score, although there are better value options that will do the same job.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 30  Height: 188cm  Weight: 80kg

I usually ride:   My best bike is:

I've been riding for:   I ride:   I would class myself as:

I regularly do the following types of riding:

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