What’s the Best Cold Medicine? Top 7 Revealed


Jun 07
Flu and Cold Medicine

No one likes being sick. However, no matter how careful or health conscious you are, you’re going to feel under the weather from time to time. Here are some of the best cold medicine that you should consider to take.

Luckily, there are many common medicines for those icky situations. You can take pills, drink syrups, or even employ at-home remedies.

Though just about every box in the packed medicine aisle will provide you some amount of relief, you don’t want some relief. You want a full remedy that will keep you on your feet no matter how bad your flu gets.

​Best Cold Medicine Comparison Table

That is what the best cold medicine options outlined in this guide offer.

The Best Cold Medicine - How We Chose Our Ratings

Cold Girl holding a medicine

Image by Alexandr Litovchenko from Pixabay

Every cold medicine works towards the same goal, but that does not mean they all provide similar results. Some work quickly, some take quite a while, and some are only made to target specific symptoms.

To ensure quality on this list, every single entry was tested for the time it took to kick in, power, efficiency, as well as any additional benefits like taste or smell.

As an added measure, to be considered the best cold medicine, a brand needed to either provide strong relief against large flu symptoms, or be extremely effective at taking down one or two.

The following options come highly reviewed as well.

Vicks DayQuil Cold & Flu Multi-Symptom Relief, 48 LiquiCaps - #1...
  • NON-DROWSY, DAYTIME RELIEF. DayQuil Cold & Flu LiquiCaps help you get your...
  • POWERFUL 6-SYMPTOM RELIEF. Temporarily relieves common cold & flu symptoms,...
  • #1 PHARMACIST RECOMMENDED over-the-counter cold & cough medicine from...

5/5 Stars

Kicking off our best cold medicine list is perhaps the number one name in all homecare products, Dayquil. There are different ways to take Dayquil, it is available in both pill and liquid form, and they each work well to combat the most problematic flu symptoms.

All of the best cold medicine options are somewhat specialized in that they are particularly good at handling one task. Some combat mucus, while some are good for coughs or sore throats. However, what sets Dayquil apart is its ability to take on all parts of the cold with ease.

This product is perfect for those who need to keep going about their usual routine despite their symptoms. Though everyone may want to lie in bed and rest while sick, that isn’t always a realistic option.

Dayquil, which fights everything from nasal congestion to cough to aches and pains, helps you stay on your feet. Every dose (two capsules) provides you with four hours of relief. That period offers plenty of time to handle family, work, or school.

Another aspect that helps reinforce that is Dayquil works extremely quickly. Some lesser medicines will leave you feeling down in the dumps for hours. With this, you don’t have to wait too long to curb your symptoms.

Many consider this product to be the best cold medicine out there, and there is no doubt that popularity comes from great results.

Vicks NyQuil Cough, Cold & Flu Nighttime Relief, 48 LiquiCaps - #1...
  • POWERFUL NIGHTTIME RELEIEF. NyQuil Cold & Flu Liquicaps temporarily...
  • #1 PHARMACIST RECOMMENDED over-the-counter cold & cough medicine from...

5/5 Stars

Right behind Dayquil is its nighttime counterpart, Nyquil. This product, though extremely similar in name and function to Dayquil, gets its own section because it offers something very few of the best cold medicine products can: a great night’s sleep. 

Most common flu or cold medicine brands help relieve symptoms. That’s great, but it can be a hassle if such remedies wear off in the middle of the night. Nyquil actively steps around such issues because, in addition to medicine, it is a fantastic sleep aid.

When you’re sick, you need your energy. That doesn’t just mean keeping strong during the day, it also means making sure that you’re not up all-night coughing and sneezing.

No matter how much medicine you take during the day, it is easy to constantly wake up every few hours. That then causes you to lose sleep, which makes you weaker (and sicker) during the day.

Nyquil is the best way to avoid that cycle. As with its counterpart, this medicine hits just about every single flu symptom, ranging from runny nose to sore throat to fever.

That large net, combined with the way it helps you sleep, instantly puts Nyquil on the list as one of the best cold medicine products you can buy.

Sambucol Black Elderberry Cold & Flu Relief Tablets 30 Count,...
  • Contains (1) box of (30) quick dissolve tablets of Sambucol Black...
  • Sambucol Black Elderberry Cold & Flu Relief provides fast, temporary,...
  • Recommended for the whole family, Sambucol Cold and Flu Relief can be used...

5/5 Stars

Sliding into the number two slot is Sambucol Cold & Flu Relief. Though that company is not a name you may recognize right away, this brand earns its spot on this list because of how well it works to cut down on some of the most annoying and persistent cold and flu symptoms.

Made with elderberry, a substance known for its natural ability to get rid of cold symptoms and boost your immune system, this product is made to be taken as soon as any signs of the illness show up.

Just as your nose gets runny or throat gets sore, you take the quick dissolve the tablets to head off problems before they get worse.

As this medicine has all-natural ingredients, the tablets are non-drowsy, good for vegetarians, and not habit-forming. There are also no known side effects, which may put people off certain other medications.

As such, Sambucol is a great way to ease a worried mind. It is especially great for children.

These tablets require no water to take, which makes them a great choice for people out on the go. You never know when a cold is going to strike, so it is always handy to have access to a way to feel better.

Every member of the family above the age of three (recommended age is 4 and up) can take these tablets anywhere, anytime. They offer quick, immediate relief from things like congestion, chills, and fever.

Theraflu MultiSymptom Severe Cold Relief Medicine/Nighttime Severe...
  • Non-drowsy multisymptom & nighttime cold & cough relief medicines for...
  • Severe cold, flu & cough medicine, relieves symptoms such as: sore throat,...
  • Temporarily reduces fever associated with cold & flu symptoms

5/5 Stars

Many people agree that one of the best ways to fight a cold is with lots of liquids. For those who take that advice (and even for those who normally don’t) there is Theraflu Multi-Symptom.

This makes the debate of the best cold medicine because, much like Dayquil, it sets out to tackle all of the common problems that comes with colds. You do not get something that only helps with one symptom, you get a product that can handle a little bit of everything.

Theraflu comes in packet form, which you open and then mix with 8 ounces of warm water to form a “tea” of sorts. The concoction not only tastes good (which helps it go down easily) but it also relieves just about every single cold or flu symptom associated with coughing, congestion, and sore throats.

One of the biggest known issues with common cold medicine is that they are hard to take. Theraflu goes down as any soothing late-night tea.

In addition, this product also has acetaminophen. That extra ingredient, namely used in Tylenol, helps it combat fever, as well as numerous aches and pains. No matter what issues your cold is causing, you’ll find a way to combat them with this product.

That’s not all. Theraflu also shines because it provides twelve packets for both day and nighttime use. This prevents you from becoming drowsy at the wrong time and enables you to keep your daily routine despite your illness.

As with any best cold medicine, this is also available in pill or syrup forms if you prefer such options. However, the tea promotes liquids to combat your symptoms on two different levels.

Tylenol Cold Congestion Caplets, 24 Count (Pack of 48)
  • Provides temporary relief of cold and flu symptoms
  • Each caplet contains 325 mg of the pain reliever acetaminophen
  • 200 mg of the expectorant guaifenesin

4.5/5 Stars

As mentioned in the above section, acetaminophen is one of the best products when it comes to handling or staving off cold symptoms. It is that reason why many consider Tylenol Cold + Head the best cold medicine around.

​Tylenol (which comes with 24 caplets) provides all of the excellent pain relief you would expect from Tylenol, while giving you extra relief against general symptoms.

This is particularly useful for people who have a lot of the general pressure that comes with a head cold as a way to immediately alleviate general discomfort. It is also perfect for people who need to stave off sore throats, which extends its versatility.

If you prefer taking pills, or if you already know that Tylenol works for you, this is the best way to go about fighting a persistent cold that is concentrated in your nose or head area.

There is no doubt that some of the other best cold medicine options are more wide-reaching that Cold + Head, but they cannot as easily dispatch a headache or sinus pressure like this one. The far-reaching medicine can also be used against more general issues in a pinch.

As an additional bonus, this product has guaifenesin. Where the acetaminophen handles aches, guaifenesin combats coughs and actively clears out mucous and phlegm.

That one-two punch works quickly, and enables you to bounce back without any drowsiness you’d experience from similar products on the market.

Genexa Multi-Symptom Cold Relief: Homeopathic Cold Medicine for...
  • Cold Crush helps treat a variety of common cold symptoms including...
  • Using a first of its kind organic technology that has removed the...
  • Genexa medicines are safe and non-habit forming

4.5/5 Stars

There are many cold medicines out there, and they take many different forms. Though most of the big name brands covered in this list are made through traditional methods, our number five best cold medicine, Genexa Cold Crush, is all natural.

This option gets its marks for various reasons. Not only is it extremely useful, but it is the only certified organic cold medicine on today’s market. It is a homeopathic formula specifically crafted to give instant relief from cold symptoms, which is does with flying colors.

Though this helps with all symptoms across the board, it best targets a runny nose and should be used to handle congestion. That gets rid of perhaps the most annoying cold symptom out there, allowing you to feel a bit better during the day or night.

Genexa comes in chewable tablets, as well as a 100% money back guarantee. That backing, combined with the excellent formula and great taste, means they go above and beyond what similar, more expensive options offer.

Robitussin Peak Cold Adult Cough + Chest Congestion DM (12 fl. oz....
  • Robitussin Adult Cough + Chest Congestion DM liquid cold medicine, 12 fl....
  • Controls and relieves coughs due to minor throat and bronchial irritation...
  • Helps thin and loosen mucus for a more productive cough

4/5 Stars

Last but not least is Robitussin Max Strength.

While a bit more specialized than some of the above options (which is to be expected from a cough company) this bottle still makes the list because of how effectively it deals with coughs and chest congestion.

Think of this item as a silver bullet specifically designed to help you when your cold moves down into your chest. Not only does it offer quick relief, it also breaks up mucus to promote faster healing.

That one-two punch comes from the special formula that, due to its power, is only recommended for ages 12 and up. Even so, it is hard to find so much strength inside one of the brand names.

Another aspect worth noting is that this also comes in a tasty raspberry flavor that everyone will enjoy.

Buyer’s Guide to the ​

Best Cold Medicine 

Boy Sneezing

Every single choice in this guide offers fast relief. However, there are some other options on the market that you can explore. 

If you do wish to branch out, it is important to focus on how well the medicine you want to buy works, if it targets your symptoms, and how quickly it kicks in.

Nobody wants to wait around for their medicine to do its thing, nor do they want to take something that isn’t going to help them in the long run.

Focusing on those aspects gives you a strong baseline to go off and ensures you’ll get the right remedy for you.

Combating Your Cold 

Thermometer and capsule

Image by Steve Buissinne from Pixabay  

When it comes to finding the right cold medicine, you need something that gives great results fast. That is the highest mark, and is the attribute that stands out above all others.

Every single cold medicine in this article works quickly to effectively target your cold. That then gives you a better day or night (depending on the brand) and helps you move through your sickness more easily.

Everyone is bound to get the flu at some point in time, but that does not mean you have to suffer through it. There are many ways to seek relief, and they all work wonders.