WHEN WE TALK about fitness and diet, we often land on protein. And for good reason, as the macronutrient carries immense health benefits.
Protein builds muscle and maintains muscle, gives a boost in the hormone and brain chemical-building departments, and can help with weight loss.
Protein also raises your metabolism more than most nutrients as it is digested. That means it can power you through the day, that workout, that pickup game―whatever physical activity you're up to.
How can you get it? Well, protein-rich foods include things like meat, fish, eggs, yogurt, nuts, and soy products. But you can also consume it in bars and in powder form, our focus here. Ahead are a few protein powders to consider.
Best Whey Protein Powders | Best-Tasting Protein Powders | Best Pea Protein Powders | Best Vegan Protein Powders | Best Protein Powders
NOW Sports Whey Protein Concentrate NOW Sports Whey Protein Concentrate $18 at iHerb
This version is unflavored, so consider it a blank canvas you can play around with. Doctor is up with fruits, veggies, and some sweetener. Whey is a good option as it has a high amino acid content, which can both build and preserve muscle mass. This protein is also Informed Sport Certified.
Bob's Red Mill Plant-Based Almond Protein Powder Bob's Red Mill Plant-Based Almond Protein Powder $35 at Walmart
An almond-based powder, this one from beloved Rob's Red Mill boasts 20 grams of protein per serving. It's full of calcium and fiber and tastes great on its own or mixed into smoothies, peanut butter, or baked goods.
Four Sigmatic Protein Four Sigmatic Protein $50 at
If you're looking for a great-tasting vegan protein, this is it. The Four Sigmatic option is well-reviewed and pulls its power from a variety of natural sources, including mushrooms.
For the DIY protein-seeker, this is an excellent way to go. Gainful personalizes your nutrition based on your taste, ensuring that you'll get a protein source that you look forward to taking every day.
Koia Protein Ready to Drink Smoothies Koia Protein Ready to Drink Smoothies $5 at Instacart
Sometimes, you just don't have the time to mix your own smoothie. Enter Koia Protein Smoothies, which taste fantastic and are ready to drink. They pack 18 grams of protein a piece and are made from plant-based sources, coming in intriguing flavors like chocolate banana.
How much protein should you eat for weight loss?
The exact amounts depend on weight-loss goals and how active you are, but there's a general formula. Roughly 1 gram of protein per pound of target body weight is the going rate. That translates to 175 grams a day for a 175-pound male.
That's a lot of steak. Because the figure can be hard to reach with just food, supplements like powder can come into play. Mix it up with your favorite yogurt and fruit combo for a good, protein-rich smoothie.
What's the best protein powder for weight loss?
There are a few key factors to consider:
Based on preference and diet, you'll want to choose between dairy-based, vegetarian, vegan, and in some cases ready-to-drink powdered protein forms. Check out the serving figures and make sure it's third-party certified.
Avoid excess sugar. You're essentially hunting for a meal here, not a sports drink. Powders ought to have 3 grams of sugar or fewer per serving. You can always sweeten your mix with something like fruit, agave syrup, or honey.
We suggest adding a milk for additional protein. Cow's milk and plant-based milk are great options.
What Is The Best Protein Powder?
What is the best protein powder? It's a question I am often asked, and it's an answer that always starts with 'It depends'...
Do you want a protein powder to help you bulk up? Or to trim down? Are you OK with dairy or looking for a vegan friendly milk free protein powder?
Are you price conscious or simply looking for the best money can buy?
I decided to answer this question once and for all.
Below I have shared what I believe to be the best protein powder for every purpose - including the best protein powder for performance, the best protein powder for fat loss, the best protein powder for vegans and much much more.
Before We Begin: The Benefits of Protein Powder
Before we begin, what are the benefits of using a protein powder?
There are a few non-scientific reasons one might use a protein powder, and these include:
Convenience - being able to drink your calories and protein intake where-ever and whenever.
- being able to drink your calories and protein intake where-ever and whenever. Rapid absorption - protein powders are designed to be absorbed by the body quickly.
- protein powders are designed to be absorbed by the body quickly. Portability - you can pack a scoop of protein powder in your gym bag or briefcase, just mix in a cup or shaker with water and you have your protein hit.
- you can pack a scoop of protein powder in your gym bag or briefcase, just mix in a cup or shaker with water and you have your protein hit. Flavour - if you are looking at increasing protein intake, chicken and eggs can become rather bland, protein powders allow you to increase the variety in your diet.
- if you are looking at increasing protein intake, chicken and eggs can become rather bland, protein powders allow you to increase the variety in your diet. Cost - whilst not always true, often protein powders can be a cost effective way of getting extra protein into your diet.
All that is good and well, but what about the real benefits of protein powder - why use protein powder in the first place?
Let's take a look at the scientific benefits of protein use:
Aesthetic improvements - Protein powder has been shown to increase strength and muscle mass (1) and also lower body fat levels (2).
Protein powder has been shown to increase strength and muscle mass (1) and also lower body fat levels (2). Boost health and immune function - protein powder has been shown to reduce blood pressure (3), boost immune function (5) and increase glutathione levels (a powerful anti-oxidant) (4),
protein powder has been shown to reduce blood pressure (3), boost immune function (5) and increase glutathione levels (a powerful anti-oxidant) (4), Lowers appetite - Protein powder even helps keep you feeling full (6) and helps lower food cravings (7).
What To Look For When Buying Protein Powder
Chances are you are reading this article because you are overwhelmed and confused when it comes to protein powders...
There are so many brands, types, companies and flavours on the market.
Do you go with a whey protein or plant based? If whey, do you go for cows milk or goats? And then do you go with whey concentrate or isolate? What about hydrolyzed whey?
And then what brand is the best?!
It can be extremely overwhelming, and below I'm going to help you find the right product for your goal.
When it comes to finding the best protein powder, there are a few things you have to consider:
1. Source Of Protein Powder:
Do you want to go with an animal based protein powder, such as a whey powder or a collagen based powder? Or do you want to go animal free and find a plant based protein?
Typically whey (derived from animals milk) is the best type of protein (for performance, and absorption), but some plant based proteins have improved to the point of similar performance of whey protein.
If you are happy going with animal based protein powders, your options include whey, bone broth/collagen, egg proteins and even protein powders derived from blood.
If you want to go down the plant route, then the main options are rice protein, hemp protein, soy protein or pea protein. Though most manufacturers wisely make a blend of these plants to create a complete protein source.
In a nutshell, if you're not a vegan, go with an animal based protein. I explain why animal based proteins are superior to plant proteins in my article In Search For The Highest Quality Protein (And The Issues It Causes For Diet Guidelines)
2. Types Of Protein Powder
You've chosen your source of protein powder, now you have to decide what type of powder you want.
If you decide to go with an animal milk protein then you can choose between a whey protein or a casein protein.
Whey proteins are faster absorbing (and typically better tasting) whereas casein proteins are slower absorbing so great as a meal replacement shake.
Now comes the quality component. Not all whey proteins are equal. Likewise with plant based proteins.
For example, if you are going with a soy based plant protein, you should know that most soy on the market is GMO and laced with glyphosate. I talk about the dangers of soy in my article 13 Reasons Why Soy Is The Worst Food In The World.
Knowing this, you will want to ensure you source an organically produced soy protein.
When it comes to animal proteins, the main thing to look for is whether the animals that provided the milk ate a natural pasture based diet. If not, milk quality will be very different. So look for 'pasture raised' or 'grass fed' on the label.
Failing that, if the whey is from cows in New Zealand or Ireland, there is a good chance the animals ate a natural pasture based diet.
4. What Else Is Added?
Protein powders are a commodity product, so manufacturers will add various ingredients to their mix so they stand out from the crowd.
Maybe the powder has been blended with creatine, or sugars, or vitamins or some other ingredient.
For some, this can be a good thing. If you are looking at putting on fat, those extra carbs could be a great addition. However, if you're health conscious and just looking for a pure 100% protein powder, then added carbs and ingredients (with questionable quality) is a big turn off.
Likewise, you have to look at for added fillers, additives and flavour enhancers. Some protein manufacturers help with taste by added artificial sweetness such as Splenda. Sure this means there are less sugars in the mix, but you are ingesting a chemical instead.
It's important to look beyond the front label, and check the ingredients list. That protein powder you are buying may only be 60% protein...
5. Everything Else...
If that list wasn't long enough, you still need to factor in:
trust worthiness (some protein powders have been independently tested to reveal the protein amount is far less than they claim!)
But don't despair, I have done all the hard work for you and - taking in to consideration all these factors - I have found the best protein powder for your goal!
The Best Protein Powders For Every Goal:
Everyone has different goals and objectives, so find the goal for you and read my protein powder recommendation.
Note - some of the links are affiliate links, but I assure you every product is the best I could find for each goal. If you are buying from use discount code BHS654 to save on your order.
What Is The Best Protein Powder For Muscle Gain?
For muscle gain, you want quick acting, well absorbed, full spectrum protein. You may also want a powder with a few added carbs or creatine to help with that muscle synthesis.
Health should always be a factor, no matter what the goal, so you want quality ingredients without any toxic fillers.
Based on this, I would go with a grassfed whey protein concentrate (WPC)
I like the concentrate over the purer isolate as 1) it's generally cheaper, 2) it has better flavour, 3) the few grams of carbs in the WPC are not of any concern if your goal is muscle gain and 4) the WPC also has a teeny tiny amount of fat - which is chock full of natural vitamins and minerals.
It a nutshell I would be looking for a grass-fed WPC with minimal added ingredients.
Something like ReserveAge Nutrition, Grass-Fed Whey Protein would be a go-to choice here.
It's grass fed New Zealand whey concentrate & the only added ingredients are natural flavours. Another similar product is Jarrow Formulas, Grass Fed Whey Protein. And if you're worried about the lecithin in the above product, then go with Vital Proteins Organic WPC
If you go through a lot of protein powder, then you may want to consider the Bulk Supplements Grassfed Whey product. Note, this is WPI, not WPC though.
Also - if muscle gain is your goal, be sure to read my article Five Foods You Need To Eat To Grow Muscle Naturally
What Is The Best Protein Powder For Weight Loss?
If you want a protein powder to help you lean down, then you want something that has full spectrum amino acids, without any carbs and minimal fats. You want pure protein for muscle synthesis and appetite suppressing properties - and that's it.
There are two options here (well 3 actually). The first is a clean Whey Protein Isolate such as Now Foods Natural Organic Whey.
It's important to go with an organic powder, as we know toxins can make you fat.
The second choice is to get a protein powder that has some fat burning agents in it. Personally, I don't like this idea, as these products often contain potentially harmful stimulants. Also, I couldn't find a quality powder that had such additives in it.
If you want to go down this route, instead I would recommend the Now powder above, and use a product such as Kion Lean in conjunction with the powder. Also, be sure to read my article How To Lose Weight In A Natural, Healthy Way.
The third option applies if you are looking at dropping to ultra low levels of body fat for a bodybuilding show) you may even consider skipping the protein powder altogether and taking an essential amino acid blend such as the Thorne EAA Amino Complex product.
When I was dieting for my bodybuilding shows, I would take a scoop of this prior to a training session and again during training and then fast for an hour or so post training to maximise the fat burning effects from growth hormone.
What Is The Best Protein Powder For Performance & Recovery?
To be honest, even if I was an Olympic athlete the ReserveAge Nutrition, Grass-Fed Whey Protein powder I mentioned above would do me fine.
However, if you are seeking something that is super fast absorbing, you could look at Hydrolyzed Whey Protein Isolates. These are absorbed into the body slightly faster than a standard WPI.
Most hydrolysed whey proteins are aimed at bodybuilders not worried about health - so these protein powders have a bunch of fillers, flavours and various other ingredients.
Personally, I wouldn't use or recommend these.
The only additive free Hydrolyzed WPI I could find was the Bulk Supplements Hydrolyzed Whey Protein Isolate Powder.
Though to be perfectly honest with you, if performance and rapid recovery is your goal, a standard WPI or even WPC would suffice. Actually, I would use a high quality WPC (like the ReserveAge product I mentioned above) alongside the Thorne EAA Amino mix - take the Aminos pre and during training for optimal rapid absorption, and then have the WPC hit after training.
What Is The Best Slow Release Protein Powder?
Casein protein powders are slower absorbing but still provide similar benefits of a whey protein powder.
Unfortunately, like the hydrolyzed whey above, there aren't many health conscious casein protein powders on the market. Most of the casein products are filled with junk fillers.
There is however the Bulk Supplements Pure Casein Protein Powder.
It doesn't come from grass fed or organic cattle, so that is a bit of a turnoff, but it's the best I could find (if you know of an organic grassfed casein, please let me know in the comments below and I will update this).
What Is The Best Protein Powder For Overall Health & Wellness?
For this, I like Dr. Mercola's Miracle Whey.
This is a WPC protein (from New Zealand grass fed cows) mixed with an NZ colostrum powder (high in immune factor IgG) with a small amount of organic ancient grains blended in.
The only downside is that it's not organic whey. Fortunately, NZ cows are free of artificial growth hormones such as rBGH, and this is Dr. Mercola's product (who is a health nut!) so for those reasons the Miracle Whey gets my recommendation here.
What Is The Best Protein Powder For Those On A Budget?
Simple - drink chocolate milk instead.
If you're looking at using protein powders to help with your gym recovery- and can't afford another supplement in your stack - then you may be interested in a 2012 paper titled 'Chocolate milk: a post-exercise recovery beverage for endurance sports.'
This study found that chocolate flavoured low fat milk consumed by endurance athletes aided in recovery by replenishing glycogen stores and helping with muscular damage.
It's important to note that this study was looking at endurance athletes, and the chocolate milk was high in sugars. No comparison was done between milk and high quality protein.
So if you're on a tight budget, grab some chocolate flavoured milk after your next workout session!
The problem with this approach is around milk quality. Chances are the milk isn't organic, raw, grass-fed and flavoured with organic cocoa right?!
In which case, a low cost, well priced whey concentrate is probably your best bet.
For this, I would go with the Now Sports WPC powder. It's $18.16 for 1.5lb on Oh, and if you use iHerb discount code BHS654 you will save $5 off this order.
If you are looking for a higher quality, yet still low cost option, then I would suggest you go with the Grass Fed version of this NOW product. It is $23.74 for 1.2lb, but use code BHS654 and it will come down to $18.
What Is The Best Protein Powder For Lactose Intolerant?
You have two choices here, you can go with a plant based protein powder, or you could go with a powder that is low in lactose and absorbed better by the gut.
If you want to go with a plant based powder, read on to find my recommendation for that.
If you want to stick with higher quality animal proteins, then you could do one of two things.
If your intolerance isn't severe, you could try a Whey Protein Isolate (WPI) or a Hyrdolysed Whey Protein. WPI has virtually no lactose in it, and most people that can't drink milk are fine with WPI.
My WPI recommendation is Whey Protein Isolate such as Now Foods Natural Organic Whey.
A step above this is hydrolysed whey protein, as this has been partially digested protein isolate and is very gentle on the stomach. If you want to try this I would recommend Bulk Supplements Hydrolyzed Whey Protein Isolate Powder. But note that it's not grass-fed, so there is a health quality trade off here.
The other option is goat protein powder. Goats milk (and hence the whey) is better absorbed by the human gut. A lot of people who can't drink cows milk are fine drinking goats milk for instance.
Here I would recommend Mt. Capra's Goat Whey Protein.
This is non-GMO, antibiotic and hormone free goat protein. Mt Capra also does a pre-digested version called Caprotein, Premium Goat-Milk Protein, so you may want to consider that option as well.
What Is The Cleanest, Purest Protein Powder On The Market?
If you're just looking for clean whey without any fillers or other ingredients then I would recommend Vital Proteins, Unflavoured Organic Whey Protein Concentrate.
This is simply pure Organic WPC. Nothing else. Not even a flavour!
If you are looking at saving on the price (and ordering larger sizes) then have a look at Bulk Supplements Organic WPC.
What Is The Best Protein Powder For Those That Don't Want To Use A Protein Powder?
Perhaps you are sick of having tubs of protein in your pantry, or maybe you just hate downing shakes after your workout.
If this is the case, then I suggest you look at my response to 'protein powders for those on a budget' and also my 'performance and recovery' recommendation.
In a nutshell, drink quality milk and take an essential amino acid mix.
What Is The Best Protein Powder For Woman?
The same as the best protein for men! Gender doesn't make a difference when it comes to choosing the best protein powder.
See through the marketing hype, and use the above or below recommendations based on your goal.
What Is The Best Protein Powder For Meal Replacement Use?
This is a tricky one. If you are just looking for a protein powder to add to your smoothie, then I'd go with something like ReserveAge Nutrition, Grass-Fed Whey Protein.
But if you are looking for an 'all in one' powder that can replace a meal on its own then there are a few options.
You could look at a product such as Ambronite - which is a 'drinkable supermeal' made out of high quality, nutrient dense raw ingredients.
Or the Garden of Life 'Raw Organic Meal' powder is chock full of organic products.
Meal replacements powders are an industry in their own right, so there are so many options it is crazy. Personal preference will play a big part in determining whether you like an MRP or not, so you may have to experiment to find what you like best.
Otherwise, be sure to check out my go-to smoothie recipe that you can whip up in a minute!
What Is The Best Plant Based Protein Powder?
If you are wanting to avoid animal based protein powders, then you will want to go with a plant based protein powder.
There are many disadvantages to plant based proteins, I'm not going to cover it here as I have done so in the following three articles:
But if you still insist that plant based protein powders are the path you want to take, then my recommendation for a plant based protein powder would be Genuine Health Corporation, Fermented Vegan Protein +.
I like this as it uses a range of plant protein sources (pea, brown rice, hemp, quinoa, alfalfa, spirulina and mung bean sprouts) - ensuring full amino acid counts.
But best of all, these plant sources are fermented - ensuring optimal absorption by the human gut.
I will admit though, the plant protein powder space is extremely crowded, and I'm sure there are many more great products on the market. I simply don't have the time (or desire) to review all these products.
So if you have a plant based protein powder that you think is the best, feel free to leave it in the comments box below (and make sure you explain why it's the best!)
Overall: What Is The Best Protein Powder?
If I could only have one protein powder, I would go with the ReserveAge Nutrition, Grass-Fed Whey Protein.
It's from grass fed cows, it's a concentrate so it still has some of the good fats and sugars, it's free from junk additives and it's a good price.
For most people out there, this will tick all the boxes - price, taste, performance and health benefits.
The only people that won't like this will be those who can't tolerate lactose.
But overall, this would be my top pick!
That's A Wrap: Finding The Best Protein Powder
I hope this article has helped you find the best product for your needs.
If you liked this article, please give me a thumbs up below, and feel free to share it with your friends on social media.
If you like these sort of articles, I invite you to explore my site and subscribe to my value packed newsletter!
Oh and be sure to leave your comments down below.
Found This Interesting? Then You Might Like:
This blog post was written by Alex Fergus. Alex is a ISSN Sports Nutrition Specialist, Fitness Professional and certified Superhuman Coach who continues to expand his knowledge base and help people across the world with their health and wellness. Alex is recognized as the National Record Holder in Powerlifting and Indoor Rowing and has earned the title of the Australian National Natural Bodybuilding Champion. Having worked as a health coach and personal trainer for over a decade, Alex now researches all things health and wellness and shares his findings on this blog. Learn more about Alex's Credentials HERE.
3. International Dairy Journal November 2010, Volume 20, Pages 753-760
Sydney Kaiser Sydney Kaiser
*TreadmillReviewGuru helps consumers find the best home fitness products. When you buy a product we recommend, we may earn a commission.
Last Updated: November 21, 2022
Supplementing your diet with a protein powder can help you build muscle, recover after a workout, aid in weight loss or mass gain, improve performance, and if you’re like me – help you consume more protein throughout the day. Using a protein powder has numerous health benefits, but not all are created equal. It all depends on which type of protein and ingredients are right for you, so we’ve created this list of the best protein powder in order to help you find your ideal protein powder.
Why You Should Trust Us
Our team here at Treadmill Review Guru, consists of certified sports nutritionists, fitness experts, and enthusiasts. We’re passionate about everything involved in health, wellness, and exercise. That is why we want to share our knowledge and experience with others. We research, test, and review all kinds of equipment and products so that we can provide you with insight into what brands and products you should consider based on our experience and knowledge.
The Best Protein Powders For 2022
Sneak Peek of the Best Protein Powder:
Best Protein Powder of 2022 – Our Experts Top Picks
Here is our list of the Best Protein Powder of 2022, our top choices for protein are on this list.
Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Whey is really the best all-around protein powder. It’s affordable, has an excellent macronutrient profile, high-quality protein, and comes in plenty of different flavors. No wonder it’s a favorite and so popular. It also doesn’t hurt that Optimum Nutrition has been producing supplements for over 30 years.
ON’s Gold Standard uses a blend of protein that consists of whey protein isolate and concentrate, as well as whey peptides. Whey isolate is the main source of protein, which has less fat and carbohydrates, making it ideal if you’re looking to supplement more protein into your diet. It’s also low in calories at only 120 per scoop. Whey isolate is also low in lactose, however, this protein isn’t completely lactose-free. The Gold Standard does have 24 grams of protein per serving, as well as naturally occurring BCAAs (branched-chain amino acids) and all the essential amino acids for muscle repair.
Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Whey protein is formulated to support muscle recovery and growth. We love that it comes in 2, 5, and 10 lb tubs. Plus, with over 15 flavors to choose from, you’re sure to find a flavor you like.
Pros Each serving has 24 grams of whey protein making it excellent for muscle growth and recovery.
Each serving has 24 grams of whey protein making it excellent for muscle growth and recovery. It is available in different-sized tubs at affordable prices as well as to purchase at one time or routinely.
It is available in different-sized tubs at affordable prices as well as to purchase at one time or routinely. Every serving has quality, fast-digesting protein, BCAAs, and essential amino acids.
Every serving has quality, fast-digesting protein, BCAAs, and essential amino acids. It mixes well with either a blender, shaker, or even with just a spoon. Cons It isn’t best for those who are lactose intolerant.
It isn’t best for those who are lactose intolerant. It contains soy and artificial sweeteners.
Nutritional Facts: *Differs slightly depending on flavor: Serving Size: 1 scoop (29 servings per container)
Protein: 24 grams
Fat: 1.5 grams (0.5 grams saturated fat)
Carbohydrates: 3 grams
Flavors: double-rich chocolate, cookies & cream, chocolate malt, delicious strawberry, unflavored, extreme milk chocolate, vanilla ice cream, strawberries & cream, rocky road, banana cream, strawberry banana, french vanilla creme, chocolate mint, mocha cappuccino, chocolate coconut, coffee, white chocolate, and chocolate peanut butter
Optimum Nutrition is known for making quality, popular protein powders and their Gold Standard 100% Whey is no exception. If you’re looking to enhance your performance and the results you see at the gym, then this protein powder is a great option. We proudly consider ON Gold Standard as the best overall protein powder on this list.
This next protein is backed by some impressive names, maybe you’ve heard of them: Arnold Schwarzenegger, LeBron James, Lindsey Vonn, and Cindy Crawford. They’re co-founders of Ladder. We really like that Ladder Whey Protein consists of 26 grams of protein per serving. We’ve named it the best whey protein on this list because it uses 100% whey isolate making it higher in protein and slightly lower in carbs and fats.
Per serving, Ladder Whey Protein has 5 grams of carbohydrates and just one gram of fat. It’s also fairly low in calories at just 140 per scoop or packet. Ladder is very beneficial for exercise and muscle recovery because it contains essential amino acids and BCAAs to help your muscles repair after workouts. Plus, it also has tart cherry which has been shown to help with muscle soreness. We really like that Ladder Whey Protein is free of artificial flavors and GMOs. The whey isolate is from grass-fed beef as well, even though this protein powder has a very low-fat content.
Ladder offers a percentage off the total cost when you subscribe to get the protein every 30, 45, or 60 days. This way, you’ll never miss a day. Ladder Whey Protein comes in a bag with a scoop as well as on-the-go packets so you can take it as soon as you’re done at the gym or while traveling.
Pros This whey protein uses whey isolate and provides 26 grams of protein per serving.
This whey protein uses whey isolate and provides 26 grams of protein per serving. It is great for performance and muscle recovery because of its ingredients like tart cherry as well as the amino acids it provides.
It is great for performance and muscle recovery because of its ingredients like tart cherry as well as the amino acids it provides. It comes in a larger bag and smaller packets for traveling.
It comes in a larger bag and smaller packets for traveling. No GMOs or artificial sweeteners or soy are in this protein powder. Cons It is more expensive than other protein powders on this list.
It is more expensive than other protein powders on this list. It has a slightly higher carb content per serving than other protein powders.
Nutritional Facts: *Differs slightly depending on flavor Serving Size: 1 scoop (30 servings per container)
Protein: 26 grams
Fat: 1 gram (0.5 grams saturated fat)
Carbohydrates: 5 grams
Flavors: chocolate and vanilla
Ladder Whey Protein not only catches attention because of the brand’s founders, but it has some thoughtful ingredients that make it beneficial for athletes and active folks in general. It’s recommended to take it after a workout for the best results.
If you’re looking for another effective protein besides whey that’s derived from milk, then our pick for the best casein protein is one to consider. The Dymatize Elite Casein Protein is a complete protein that contains all the essential amino acids that our bodies need to optimally function. The micellar casein is slowly digested to help you feel fuller longer, too.
The 100% micellar casein in Dymatize Elite Casein Protein is great if you’re looking to build muscle. Per serving Dymatize includes 25 grams of protein. Depending on which of the four flavors you choose from, the calories differ slightly, but you’ll still get only about 130 calories per serving. The carbohydrates are also very low at about 2 grams. Speaking of the flavors, there is smooth vanilla, rich chocolate, cinnamon bun, and cookies & cream so you can choose a more classic flavor or step outside the box a little.
Dymatize Elite Casein Protein is a great choice if you want a protein powder from a popular brand that ensures its products are free of banned substances.
Pros This protein is 100% micellar casein protein that includes all of the essential amino acids.
This protein is 100% micellar casein protein that includes all of the essential amino acids. Casein is slow digesting which is great if you want to feel fuller longer and also reduce muscle breakdown.
Casein is slow digesting which is great if you want to feel fuller longer and also reduce muscle breakdown. It comes in 2 and 4-lb tubs that are sold individually or through a subscription so you never have to worry about running out.
It comes in 2 and 4-lb tubs that are sold individually or through a subscription so you never have to worry about running out. There are multiple flavors to choose from. Cons It only comes in large tubs.
It only comes in large tubs. It contains soy and artificial sweeteners.
Nutritional Facts: *Differs slightly depending on flavor Serving Size: 1 scoop (30 servings per container)
Protein: 25 grams
Fat: 1.5 grams (0 grams saturated fat)
Carbohydrates: 2 grams
Flavors: smooth vanilla, rich chocolate, cinnamon bun, cookies & cream
Casein protein can help your muscles avoid breaking down by supplying your body with protein over a longer period of time. You’ll get plenty of protein per serving so if you’re looking to build muscle and stay fuller longer from your shake, then we recommend checking out Dymatize Elite Casein Protein.
Animal products like dairy can be hard to digest even if you’re not lactose intolerant. Plus, if you’re vegan, it’s important to be able to find a protein powder that aligns with your dietary needs. Vega Protein is an excellent plant-based protein and our pick for the best vegan protein. The protein is primarily pea protein, along with pumpkin seed, sunflower seed, and alfalfa protein.
For each serving, you’ll get 30 grams of complete protein filled with all essential amino acids and even probiotics to help support your gut health. It also contains only 4 grams of carbs per scoop and around 3 grams of fat. Vega Sport is great for aiding in muscle rebuilding and recovery. It will also help with muscle soreness with the added tart cherry. You can make a one-time purchase or routinely get shipments so you don’t run out.
In a shaker bottle or smoothie, Vega Sport Premium Protein mixes pretty well and it comes in chocolate, mocha, peanut butter, and vanilla flavors. Mocha might be my favorite.
Pros The protein is derived from peas, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and alfalfa to be vegan, dairy-free, soy-free, and gluten-free.
The protein is derived from peas, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and alfalfa to be vegan, dairy-free, soy-free, and gluten-free. It includes a whole 30 grams of protein per serving complete with all essential amino acids and BCAAs.
It includes a whole 30 grams of protein per serving complete with all essential amino acids and BCAAs. This protein is great even if you aren’t vegan, and digests easily.
This protein is great even if you aren’t vegan, and digests easily. It can be used to supplement your diet or even as a meal replacement. Cons Some users claim they aren’t a fan of some flavors’ taste.
Nutritional Facts: *Differs slightly depending on flavor Serving Size: 1 scoop (20 servings per container)
Protein: 30 grams
Fat: 3 grams (0.5 grams saturated fat)
Carbohydrates: 4 grams
Flavors: chocolate, mocha, peanut butter, and vanilla
Vega Sport Premium Protein is a great option if you’re vegan or if proteins like whey don’t agree with your stomach. Plus, if you’re on the keto diet , this protein has a good macronutrient ratio to help keep you in ketosis while supplying you with plenty of protein.
Another vegan, plant-based protein option is Orgain Organic Protein. Orgain offers 21 grams of protein per serving and includes a blend of protein derived from pea, brown rice, and chia seeds. This makes it a complete protein with all essential amino acids. This protein comes in a variety of different flavors and even pumpkin spice for those who particularly love fall things. Even though this protein has a little higher carbohydrate content at 15-16 grams per serving, you’ll get extra fuel for energy. This protein can also be used as a meal replacement, too.
We’ve awarded Orgain Organic Protein as the best plant-based protein because it uses organic plant-based protein and is gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, GMO-free, and contains no added sugar. Orgain is also pretty affordable. It comes in travel packs and 1 and 2-lb tubs on Amazon. When you select “subscribe & save”, you can pick how often you want it delivered and even get it as often as every 2 weeks, in case you run through it fairly quickly.
If you’re looking to add some extra protein into your diet, Orgain Organic Protein will help you achieve this. It can be mixed with water, smoothies, and milk, as well as used in meals for added protein.
Pros This protein is certified organic and plant-based.
This protein is certified organic and plant-based. It can be used in shakes, smoothies, and baked goods.
It can be used in shakes, smoothies, and baked goods. It is affordable and can be purchased individually or routinely.
It is affordable and can be purchased individually or routinely. The protein powder has no added sugar and is free of soy, gluten, dairy, and GMOs. Cons It has a higher amount of carbs per serving than other proteins.
Nutritional Facts: *Differs slightly depending on flavor Serving Size: 2 scoops (20 servings per container)
Protein: 21 grams
Fat: 5 grams (1 gram saturated fat)
Carbohydrates: 16 grams
Flavors: chocolate, chocolate coconut, creamy chocolate fudge, pumpkin spice, vanilla, ice coffee, unsweetened, and strawberries & cream
Orgain Organic Protein is a certified plant-based protein that is great for vegans, vegetarians, as well as those who eat animal products. This can be a great alternative for those whose digestive systems don’t agree with milk-based protein powders.
For those looking to gain weight and put on some size, BSN True-Mass Weight Gainer is an enticing option. One serving (3 scoops) will provide you with 700 calories, 150 of those calories coming from fat. 46 grams of protein is in every serving, along with 90 grams of carbohydrates. With macros like this, we’ve awarded the BSN True-Mass Weight Gainer as the best mass gainer among our best protein powders.
This mass gainer protein uses a blend of whey concentrate, hydrolyzed whey protein, whey isolate, milk protein isolate, micellar casein, calcium caseinate, egg whites, and glutamine peptides. With this blend of protein, you’ll get all the amino acids needed to build muscle as well as carbs to help your body absorb those amino acids.
BSN True-Mass Weight Gainer can be mixed with water, milk, or any other beverage. The flavors include chocolate milkshake, strawberry milkshake, vanilla ice cream, and cookies & cream. We highly recommend taking advantage of the “subscribe & gain” option to get a percentage off each purchase and to make sure you never run out.
Pros For those looking to increase their mass, this protein powder has a nice amount of calories and a great macronutrient ratio.
For those looking to increase their mass, this protein powder has a nice amount of calories and a great macronutrient ratio. It comes in yummy flavors and has many reviews complimenting the taste.
It comes in yummy flavors and has many reviews complimenting the taste. The protein is a blend that should aid in muscle growth and recovery, plus it’s fast digesting.
The protein is a blend that should aid in muscle growth and recovery, plus it’s fast digesting. There are 46 grams of protein in every serving, along with 700 calories for help with putting on some size. Cons It is expensive compared to other protein powders.
It is expensive compared to other protein powders. It contains dairy, egg, wheat, and soy so it won’t work for those with dietary restrictions to those ingredients.
Nutritional Facts: *Differs slightly depending on flavor Serving Size: 3 scoops (16 servings per container)
Protein: 46 grams
Fat: 17 grams (4 grams saturated fat)
Carbohydrates: 90 grams
Flavors: chocolate milkshake, strawberry milkshake, vanilla ice cream, and cookies & cream
Gaining muscle and putting on size doesn’t only come from lifting in the gym, but from what you consume. BSN True-Mass Weight Gainer can help aid you in these goals and support your body for optimal muscle growth and recovery from your workouts.
Those on the keto diet who are looking for the best keto protein powder have come to the right place! Kiss My Keto Collagen Powder has not only landed this award here, but it also is at the top of our list of best keto protein powders.
If you’re looking to keep your carbohydrates low for ketosis or just for your own goals, Kiss My Keto only has 2 grams of carbs and 70 calories per serving. While this protein isn’t the best for building muscle because it only comes with around 10 grams of protein per scoop, the grass-fed bovine hydrolyzed collagen is wonderful for supporting your bones and joints. We don’t recommend using this protein powder as a meal replacement, but it is excellent as an additional supplement to your daily diet.
Kiss My Keto Collagen Powder is filled with MCT oil for the body to use as a source of energy. MCTs also have other health benefits like aiding in heart health. Plus, for those who have a hankering for sweets, the flavors come in chocolate and birthday cake to help you there.
Use our code GURU at checkout to get 10% off your order from Kiss My Keto!
Pros In addition to protein, you’ll get added health benefits from the collagen and MCT powder.
In addition to protein, you’ll get added health benefits from the collagen and MCT powder. It is very low in carbs making it great for those trying to stay in ketosis.
It is very low in carbs making it great for those trying to stay in ketosis. You can purchase it separately or subscribe to get it delivered every 15, 30, 45, or 60 days.
You can purchase it separately or subscribe to get it delivered every 15, 30, 45, or 60 days. It’s flavored with stevia and doesn’t have any added sugars. Cons It has a lower amount of protein per serving than other powders on this list.
It has a lower amount of protein per serving than other powders on this list. We don’t recommend it to be used as a meal replacement because it’s low in calories.
Nutritional Facts: *Differs slightly depending on flavor Serving Size: 1 scoop (20 servings per container)
Protein: 10 grams
Fat: 4 grams (4 grams saturated fat)
Carbohydrates: 2 grams
Flavors: chocolate, and birthday cake
For those following the keto diet, and even those who aren’t, Kiss My Keto Collagen Powder is one to check out if you want to supplement your body with collagen protein and MCTs to support your joints, and even your hair, skin, and nails.
For those looking to get a great amount of protein while not consuming a large number of calories should check out Naked Nutrition’s Naked Protein. It only provides 110 calories for every serving but will pack you 25 grams of protein. Naked Protein Powder Blend uses whey concentrate, micellar casein, and egg white protein to provide you with the amino acids that your body needs for proper muscle support.
This blend is also a complex protein powder that includes fast, medium, and slow digesting protein. This will allow you to get those essential amino acids over a long period of time. It will also help you feel fuller longer – talk about a bonus when getting a low amount of calories!
What really makes Naked Protein impressive is its very low ingredient list. Beyond the proteins I mentioned, sunflower lecithin is the only other ingredient. It is unflavored but can be mixed with any beverage, or even just water. Naked Nutrition also recommends adding it to smoothies and using it when baking.
Pros Each serving is only 110 calories with 25 grams of protein.
Each serving is only 110 calories with 25 grams of protein. The protein is a blend of whey, casein, and egg protein to support your muscles over a longer period of time.
The protein is a blend of whey, casein, and egg protein to support your muscles over a longer period of time. It includes a small list of ingredients without added sugars, sweeteners, additives, or hormones.
It includes a small list of ingredients without added sugars, sweeteners, additives, or hormones. It is pretty affordable and can be purchased routinely or individually as needed. Cons It only comes in unflavored.
Nutritional Facts: Serving Size: 2 scoops (16 servings per container)
Protein: 25 grams
Fat: 1.5 grams (0 grams saturated fat)
Carbohydrates: 1 gram
Naked Protein from Naked Nutrition has a short ingredient list paired with a low amount of calories. This protein helps take the guesswork out of reading labels. If you’re looking to consume a lower amount of calories while still ensuring you’re getting enough protein, this is our top recommendation.
Taking a collagen supplement has numerous health benefits like supporting your joints, and bones, and even helping osteoarthritis. As we age, we tend to lose muscle, and taking collagen can help you maintain your muscle mass as well. Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides have earned the title as best collagen peptides because they’re popular and include some impressive ingredients.
To start, collagen is best taken with vitamin c to help your body absorb the collagen consumed. Well, Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides include vitamin c and even hyaluronic acid with the dissolvable unflavored option. This way your body can actually use and benefit from the collagen peptides that you give it in Vital Proteins. You can even take it if you’re on the keto diet.
While the unflavored option is definitely the most used and rated on Amazon, Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides come in other flavors such as chocolate, vanilla, and lemon. With every serving, you’ll receive 20 grams of collagen peptides, 18 grams of protein, and a low amount of calories (70-90 depending on the flavor). If you’re looking to slip in some additional protein and health benefits without really noticing, then check out Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides.
Pros Each serving comes with 20 grams of collagen peptides and 18 grams of protein.
Each serving comes with 20 grams of collagen peptides and 18 grams of protein. Collagen is excellent for supporting healthy bones, joints, hair, skin, nails, and more.
Collagen is excellent for supporting healthy bones, joints, hair, skin, nails, and more. The unflavored is popular and dissolves making it a convenient way to add extra protein daily.
The unflavored is popular and dissolves making it a convenient way to add extra protein daily. It doesn’t contain any fat or carbs, so it can be helpful with macro tracking. Cons This protein has a low amount of calories and isn’t best to be used as a meal replacement.
This protein has a low amount of calories and isn’t best to be used as a meal replacement. Collagen peptides aren’t complete proteins with all essential amino acids.
Nutritional Facts: *Differs slightly depending on flavor Serving Size: 2 scoops (27 servings per container)
Protein: 18 grams
Flavors: unflavored, unflavored + HAVC, vanilla, chocolate, and lemon
We recommend Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides if you want to get in extra protein and reap some awesome health benefits without really noticing. The unflavored, dissolvable peptides allow you to mix them in any liquid.
Looking for grass-fed whey? Transparent Labs Whey Protein Isolate is our pick for the best grass-fed protein powder. This protein is made from hormone-free whey and has 28 grams of protein in each serving. This grass-fed protein is made from whey protein isolate to offer very little carbs and fat. This is great if you’re looking to up your protein for the day while saving your carbs and fats for consuming foods. Or for a lean muscle build.
Transparent Labs Whey Protein Isolate doesn’t include artificial sweeteners and has less lactose. This means that those who are lactose intolerant or have digestive issues when they have whey protein might have better success and less discomfort with this protein.
This whey protein isolate is fast to digest but great for building and maintaining muscle. We like that it comes in a variety of delicious flavors like cinnamon french toast, chocolate peanut butter, french vanilla, mocha, and even oatmeal chocolate chip cookie.
Pros This whey protein isolate is made from 100% grass-fed American cows.
This whey protein isolate is made from 100% grass-fed American cows. There are 28 grams of protein per serving and it is fast digesting.
There are 28 grams of protein per serving and it is fast digesting. You can save on every purchase when you sign up to get this protein consistently.
You can save on every purchase when you sign up to get this protein consistently. The low fat, carbs, and calories make this great for a cut or a lean bulk. Cons Not recommended if you have an allergy to dairy.
Not recommended if you have an allergy to dairy. The fast-digesting protein and lower calories might not make this best for meal replacement.
Nutritional Facts: *Differs slightly depending on flavor Serving Size: 1 scoop (30 servings per container)
Protein: 28 grams
Fat: 0.5 grams (0 grams saturated fat)
Carbohydrates: 1 gram
Flavors: milk chocolate, cinnamon french toast, strawberry, chocolate peanut butter, mocha, vanilla peanut butter, french vanilla, and oatmeal chocolate chip cookie
Transparent Labs Whey Protein Isolate has less lactose while being derived from grass-fed cattle. For those looking to lose weight, this protein can help you get plenty of protein to maintain muscle mass without added carbs and fat.
Supplementing your diet with a protein shake is great, but you actually have to drink it to experience the benefits. Ghost Whey Protein has the best flavor variety in a protein powder that we’ve seen. You can select from flavors like cereal milk, Chips Ahoy!, cinnamon cereal milk, coffee ice cream, fruity cereal milk, Nutter Butter, and oreo to name a few.
Not only is there a huge variety of flavors, but reviews claim this protein is delicious in several of the flavors. Okay, but what about what’s in it? Well, Ghost Whey Protein has 25 grams of whey protein isolate, concentrate, and hydrolyzed whey. It contains a pretty low amount of calories, fat, and carbohydrates per scoop as well. Although these differ slightly depending on the flavor.
You can of course mix up this protein with water in your shaker, but Ghost also encourages trying their whey protein in smoothies, baked goods, and even making protein oats, ice cream, and pancakes – yum! Ghost Whey Protein is pretty affordable and can be purchased through a subscription or individually.
Pros This whey protein comes in a variety of unique, delicious flavors.
This whey protein comes in a variety of unique, delicious flavors. Every serving is packed with 25 grams of whey protein from whey isolate, concentrate, and hydrolyzed whey.
Every serving is packed with 25 grams of whey protein from whey isolate, concentrate, and hydrolyzed whey. When purchased routinely, it comes at a discounted price.
When purchased routinely, it comes at a discounted price. It has a pretty low calorie, fat, and carbohydrate amount per serving. Cons This protein might not be best for those who are lactose intolerant or have sensitivities to whey.
This protein might not be best for those who are lactose intolerant or have sensitivities to whey. Not all flavors are soy and gluten-free.
Nutritional Facts: *Differs slightly depending on flavor Serving Size: 1 scoop (26 servings per container)
Protein: 25 grams
Fat: 1.5 grams (1 gram saturated fat)
Carbohydrates: 4 grams
Flavors: cereal milk, Chips Ahoy!, cinnamon cereal milk, coffee ice cream, fruity cereal milk, marshmallow cereal milk, milk chocolate, Nutter Butter, oreo, and peanut butter cereal milk
Ghost Whey Protein contains a blend of whey proteins and offers 25 grams per serving. We like its macronutrient ratio and all of the flavors it comes in.
Whey protein has numerous benefits such as providing your body with a complete protein filled with all amino acids, and it helps build and maintain muscle mass. A downside to consuming whey protein however is that it can cause some digestive problems like bloating and abdominal pain. Whey is derived from milk so it typically isn’t best for folks who are lactose intolerant. Whey isolate is processed to have a lower amount of fat and lactose and a higher amount of protein. So, those who experience sensitivities with whey concentrate should check out Isopure Whey Protein Isolate.
We’ve awarded it as the best whey isolate protein on this list because Isopure Whey Protein Isolate has a high amount of protein and low amount of calories. It even has no fat or carbs. Each serving provides you with 26 grams of quality whey protein isolate and just 110 calories.
Isopure Whey Protein Isolate comes in 1 and 3 lb tubs. We recommend taking advantage of the “subscribe & gain” to never run out of your protein powder. Plus, it’s available at a discounted price when you take advantage of this feature.
Pros The protein offers 26 grams of whey protein isolate for every serving, making it a better alternative for those who are lactose intolerant.
The protein offers 26 grams of whey protein isolate for every serving, making it a better alternative for those who are lactose intolerant. It can be added to foods or mixed with beverages.
It can be added to foods or mixed with beverages. There are no added sugars or sweeteners.
There are no added sugars or sweeteners. It’s available at a cheaper price when purchased routinely. Cons This isn’t best for those with a milk allergy.
This isn’t best for those with a milk allergy. It only comes in unflavored.
Nutritional Facts: Serving Size: 1 scoop (47 servings per 3 lb container)
Protein: 26 grams
Fat: 0 grams (0 grams saturated fat)
Carbohydrates: 0 grams
Isopure Whey Protein Isolate is a great option to look into if whey proteins normally upset your stomach. This protein comes unflavored so you can sneak it into food and beverages for an added protein boost.
Things To Keep In Mind When Picking The Best Protein Powder For You
Not all protein powders are created equal, and with all the different types, some might be better for you than others. When selecting a protein powder it’s important to consider the following.
First and foremost, you should factor in what your goals are. Do you want to build muscle? Maintain? Gain or lose weight? Help your muscles recover faster? Do you want to gain added health benefits like stronger bones, joints, and healthier hair and skin? Different types of protein powders have different benefits and ingredients so you want to be sure these align with your goals.
Now, let’s get into the different types of protein powders and their benefits. When you think of protein shakes, you might think of whey protein. It’s popular and packed with benefits that provide your body with complete protein and all amino acids needed to build and repair your muscles.
Whey is available in different forms such as concentrate, hydrolyzed, and isolate. Since whey is derived from milk those with an allergy to dairy should steer clear. Folks who are lactose intolerant or have sensitivities to dairy might not feel their best when taking whey. Whey isolate however has a lower amount of lactose making it a better option for those with intolerances.
Whey protein is digested quickly in the body and absorbed quickly, making it best to consume after workouts when your muscles need to repair. Casein protein is also from milk, but it is digested slowly. This can help you feel fuller longer and provide your body with a steady absorption of amino acids.
Other proteins that come from animal sources are egg white protein and collagen protein. Egg protein is high in protein and includes all essential amino acids. Collagen however is an incomplete protein that doesn’t have all the needed amino acids. Collagen protein does have a lot of health benefits and can help strengthen your joints and bones though. It can be great to take as a supplement to a diet that already contains complete protein sources from whole foods for added health benefits.
While all these protein powders are excellent if you consume animal products, for those who don’t, vegan and plant-based proteins are best. These proteins often consist of brown rice, pea, and seed proteins. Together, these types of proteins are considered complete with all essential amino acids. Plant-based protein powders are great if you’re vegan and even if you’re not. Plus, these can be more friendly to your digestive system than milk proteins.
Calories and Ingredients
If you’re trying to gain mass, you probably aren’t going to consume a super low-calorie protein shake right? The same is also most likely true if you’re hoping to lose weight and fat, you probably wouldn’t take a mass gainer protein. Some proteins are packed with calories like mass gainers, while others like collagen peptides for instance have very few calories.
If you want to use your protein shake as a meal replacement, you probably want enough calories, protein, and some fat and carbs to help hold you over until your next meal. Certain proteins like whey isolate have a lower amount of fat and carbs, while some plant-based proteins have a higher amount of carbs. MCT oil is also found in some protein powders to help provide healthy fat, keep you fuller longer, and give additional benefits like added energy as well as lower your risk of heart disease.
If you spend a lot of time in the gym, you might want to look into a protein powder that has BCAAs (branched-chain amino acids) and ingredients like tart cherry to help your muscles recover from your workouts. There are even protein powders that include probiotics.
It’s always important to check the label and read the ingredients. Sugar and other additives can be found in some protein powders which might not align with your goals, especially if your goal is to consume less sugar. There are also powders that contain gluten and soy, so it’s important to look into this if you have any dietary restrictions.
Flavor and Taste
As you might have noticed above, some protein powders come in fun flavors as well as unflavored. Protein powders also aren’t exclusively used in shakes either. You can add some protein powders to baked goods and even ice cream. Adding protein powder to your food might be a more tolerable way for you to consume it rather than just mixing it in water. Or picking a dissolvable one might be the best option if you don’t want to notice when you’re taking it. However you choose to consume your protein powder doesn’t matter as long as it works for you and your goals.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which Protein Powder Is Best?
On our list of the best protein powder, we’ve awarded Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Whey as the best overall protein powder. It supplies you with 24 grams of complete whey protein per serving, comes in different flavors, and is popular. It includes all essential amino acids and BCAAs to support muscle maintenance, growth, and recovery.
When Should You Take Protein Powder?
Some protein powders are digested at different rates and include additional ingredients to aid in muscle recovery. While these types of protein powders are often recommended to take after a workout, however, studies have shown that it’s most important to consider your total protein intake per day rather than worrying about taking it only before or after your workouts. This means that whenever time works for you to consistently take your protein powder and get in enough protein per day is best.
Is It Better To Drink Protein Powder With Water Or Milk?
It depends on your goals. Mixing your protein powder with water can help if your goal is weight or fat loss while mixing your protein powder with milk can help you get more calories and fat if your goal is to add mass and gain weight.