Shifted Whey Protein Isolate with dumbbells on the background

The Best Protein Powders For 2024: Whey, Casein, Vegan, And More

The number of protein products on the market can be overwhelming. Have you ever been inside a GNC store to find protein?

If yes, then you know what I’m talking about; your local supplement store might be more focused on their sales commission than your physical goals. And finding quality protein powder is crucial to getting the most out of it.

Table of Contents

Key Point: In this article, we provide everything you need to know to evaluate different protein powder products and find the best options for your specific needs.

Reviews of the Best Protein Powders on the Market

We’re covering several of the top protein powders in this article, and if you want our top pick, here it is: For the best overall great tasting, low-calorie protein for this year, we’ve chosen Shifted Whey Protein Isolate

Shifted Whey Protein Isolate with dumbbells on the background

Take a look at the table below for our favorite protein powder options:

Brand
Best Overall
SHIFTED Whey Protein Isolate
Best Cold Filtered
True Nutrition Whey Protein Isolate Cold Filtration
Best Value
Dymatize Elite 100% Whey
Product
SHIFTED Whey Protein Powder, 100% Pure Whey...
True Nutrition - Whey Protein Concentrate - 100%...
Dymatize Elite 100% Whey Protein Powder, 25g...
Flavor
Chocolate Milk
Chocolate Fudge Brownie
Vanilla
Special Features
Highly bioavailable protein source
Effective in promoting muscle growth
Good pre, post-workout, or anytime
Best Overall
Brand
SHIFTED Whey Protein Isolate
Product
SHIFTED Whey Protein Powder, 100% Pure Whey...
Flavor
Chocolate Milk
Special Features
Highly bioavailable protein source
Price
Best Cold Filtered
Brand
True Nutrition Whey Protein Isolate Cold Filtration
Product
True Nutrition - Whey Protein Concentrate - 100%...
Flavor
Chocolate Fudge Brownie
Special Features
Effective in promoting muscle growth
Price
Best Value
Brand
Dymatize Elite 100% Whey
Product
Dymatize Elite 100% Whey Protein Powder, 25g...
Flavor
Vanilla
Special Features
Good pre, post-workout, or anytime
Price

Editor’s Choice: Best Overall: SHIFTED Whey Protein Isolate

  • Ingredient Quality: 100/100
  • Rave Score: 98.3

Our favorite form of protein is whey protein isolate. In our minds, it is simply the superior form of protein–it’s easily digestible, it’s the purest form of whey, it’s rich with essential amino acids, and it’s affordable. With this in mind, we wanted to find the best whey protein isolate powder on the market.

SHIFTED Whey Protein Powder, 100% Pure Whey...

We took a chance on reviewing their products but in testing SHIFTED’s two flavors of whey protein isolate, we were pleasantly surprised and seriously impressed.

What stands out the most about SHIFTED 100% WPI formula is just how great it tastes. Both the chocolate milk and the cookies and cream taste like delicious dessert milkshakes — but without the overwhelming sugariness that many brands overshoot.

Not only that but we also found that both WPI flavors mixed incredibly well with very little clumping. After mixing a scoop into water, we were able to remove 90% of the clumps by just stirring it with a spoon (and 100% with a shaker bottle). 

If you have been a longtime protein powder user, you know how annoying it can be to take a ship of your protein shake only to get a mouthful of powder clumps. So this was a big win in our book.

SHIFTED’s WPI currently comes in two flavors:

  • Chocolate Milk
  • Cookies and Cream

What do you get with each tub? 

  • 20 Servings
  • 25 Grams per serving of high quality, complete whey protein isolate
  • 12 Grams per serving of essential amino acids
  • 5.5 Grams branched chain amino acids

One of the nicer things is that Shifted’s WPI comes in a small enough tub that it will conveniently fit in your gym bag.

And as of December 2023, Shifted is running a discount on their line of WPI products. You can pick up a 20 serving tub for $34.95, which is less than 7 cents per gram of protein. This makes it a competitively priced WPI powder that will be a permanent resident on our supplement shelf from here on out!

Shifted Whey Protein Isolate powder beside a blender and an empty water bottle

Pros

  • High protein content with essential BCAAs in each serving supports muscle building and recovery
  • Rapid absorption and easy digestion make it a convenient choice post-workout
  • The flavors are tasty and mix easily, suitable for any time of the day
  • Pure whey isolate and concentrate ensure maximum protein effectiveness

Cons

  • May contain lactose, making it unsuitable for those with severe lactose intolerance
  • Limited to whey protein, which may not appeal to those seeking plant-based options

Read our full review of SHIFTED WPI

SHIFTED Whey Protein Powder, 100% Pure Whey...
  • SUPERIOR PROTEIN POWDER: SHIFTED's premium protein formula is made up of 100% Whey Protein Isolate,...
  • DELICIOUSLY FLAVORED PROTEIN POWDER: SHIFTED's Whey Protein fuels your muscles and satisfies your...
  • HIGH PROTEIN POWDER: SHIFTED's Protein Isolate is packed with 25g of high-quality and easily...

Best Cold Filtered Protein Powder: True Nutrition Whey Protein Isolate Cold Filtration

  • Ingredient Quality: 100/100
  • Rave Score: 97

True Nutrition Whey Protein Isolate undergoes two cold-water filtration processes to remove unwanted fat and lactose, yielding an ultra-pure final product. This low-temperature processing method also prevents nutrient degradation as a result of exposure to high heat.

True Nutrition - Whey Protein Concentrate - 100%...

More importantly, True Nutrition is committed to quality and batch tests all of its raw ingredients through third-party labs.

Additionally, all its products are manufactured in-house, so no middle-men get in the way. And who says a quality protein can’t taste great, as well?

You’ll have multiple mouthwatering flavor options to choose from, including:

  • Chocolate Fudge Brownie
  • Lemon Cake
  • Cookies and Cream
  • Strawberry Sorbet
  • Cinnamon Bun
  • Café Mocha
  • Chocolate Covered Banana
Close up of True Whey Protein Powder beside a water bottle filled with protein shake

Pros

  • High-quality whey protein isolate undergoes cold-water filtration, removing unwanted fat and lactose
  • Ultra-pure final product due to the low-temperature processing that prevents nutrient degradation
  • Commitment to quality with batch testing of all raw ingredients through third-party labs

Cons

  • The focus on whey isolate might not suit those with lactose sensitivity or dairy allergies, despite the reduced lactose content
  • Limited appeal for individuals looking for plant-based or alternative protein sources
True Nutrition - Whey Protein Concentrate - 100%...
  • PREMIUM QUALITY. FANTASTIC VALUE. True Nutrition’s Whey Protein Concentrate is an excellent source...
  • MAXIMIZE MUSCLE GROWTH AND RECOVERY. Containing all essential amino acids, especially rich in...
  • MIXES EASILY & QUICKLY DIGESTED. Easily mixed in a shaker bottle, TN’s Whey Protein Concentrate is...

Best Value Protein Powder: Dymatize Elite 100% Whey

  • Ingredient Quality: 85/100
  • Rave Score: 86.6

If your primary concern in a protein supplement is the cost per pound, look no further than Dymatize Elite 100% Whey. Considering how pricy protein powder has gotten in recent years, it’s refreshing to see that Dymatize still offers a high-quality whey protein that doesn’t break the bank.

Dymatize Elite 100% Whey Protein Powder, 25g...

Amine Rahal from Gymless.org has been using this protein powder for over 10 years and highly recommends it: 

“I’ve always been a big fan of Dymatize, including their Elite 100% Whey product line. I’ve used it since the early 2010s, and I’ve never looked back. Some of their flavors, including mint chocolate, is among the best I’ve ever tasted among isolate wheys.”

Each serving of Dymatize Elite Whey contains 25+ grams of protein from whey concentrate, whey protein isolate, and hydrolyzed whey for ultra-rapid digestion and absorption. You also won’t be skimping on taste, either—users praise Dymatize for having one of the best-tasting whey protein powders on the market, and a myriad of flavors to choose from, including:

  • Rich Chocolate
  • Chocolate Peanut Butter
  • Chocolate Cake Batter
  • Chocolate Fudge
  • Cookies and Cream
  • Gourmet Vanilla Protein
  • Cafe Mocha
  • Snickerdoodle
  • Smooth Banana
  • Vanilla Cupcake
  • Strawberry Blast
  • Raspberry Cheesecake
Woman taking out a scoop of Elite 100% whey protein powder

Pros

  • Cost-effective: Dymatize Elite 100% Whey offers a high-quality protein at a more affordable price
  • High Protein Content: Each serving provides over 25 grams of protein from whey concentrate, whey protein isolate, and hydrolyzed whey
  • Rapid Digestion and Absorption: Includes hydrolyzed whey for ultra-rapid digestion

Cons

  • Ingredient Quality: Rated 85/100, which, while still good, is lower than some premium brands
  • Focus on Whey: Not suitable for those with lactose intolerance or those seeking plant-based protein options
Dymatize Elite 100% Whey Protein Powder, 25g...
  • Good pre, post-workout, or anytime for high-quality protein supplementation

Best Casein Protein Powder: Kaged Muscle Kasein

  • Ingredient Quality: 95/100
  • Rave Score: 94.8

Kaged has established itself on the supplement scene as a no-nonsense, high-quality provider of highly effective supplements.

Kaged Muscle, Premium Kasein Protein Powder,...

Their Kaged Kasein is a great example of their ability to take a product that many companies dismiss as a lower-quality, cheaper product. Instead, they offer a product of the highest quality and add additional processing steps so that you know you’ve received a superior product.

Kaged Kasein is an ultra-premium cold-processed Micellar Casein Isolate that is carefully manufactured from an innovative microfiltration process.

This filtration method preserves the protein’s structural integrity, ensuring that the finished product maintains its natural micellar structure as it is found in milk. Kasein could just be the anti-catabolic protein that you’ve been looking for to round out your around-the-clock nutrition plan. It’s available in two popular flavors:

  • Chocolate Shake
  • Vanilla Shake

Pros

  • High-quality protein source
  • Innovative filtration process
  • Anti-catabolic properties
  • Reputable brand

Cons

  • Limited flavor options
  • Premium price
Kaged Muscle, Premium Kasein Protein Powder,...
  • ANTI-CATABOLIC – Each serving contains 25 g of ultra-premium cold-pressed micellar casein isolate...
  • IMPROVE MUSCLE RECOVERY – KAGED MUSCLE KASEIN is a complete protein that gives you essential amino...
  • MAXIMIZE MUSCLE GAINS – Scientifically proven to boost protein synthesis and enhance gains in size...

Best Protein Powder for Men: Kaged Re-Kaged

  • Ingredient Quality: 90/100
  • Rave Score: 91.3

Kaged Muscle has taken the market by storm in recent years due to an exponential growth in supplement offerings, so there should be no surprise it shows up twice on our ranking.

Post Workout Protein Powder, RE-KAGED Whey Protein...

Re-Kaged is the brand’s protein aimed at the serious athlete, designed to supercharge muscle growth through rapid delivery of BCAAs and EAAs from 28 g of non-GMO whey protein isolate per serving. This is why we’ve named it RAVE’s best protein powder for men.

Re-Kaged contains the potent digestive enzyme ProHydrolase, which breaks down (hydrolyzes) whey protein into smaller peptides for enhanced absorption.

And to further maximize recovery and muscle growth, Re-Kaged provides a combined 6 g of fermented L-glutamine, BetaPower betaine anhydrous, and Creatine HCl. You can choose between strawberry lemonade, orange creme, and fruit punch flavors.

Pros

  • High protein content
  • Rapid delivery of BCAAs and EAAs
  • Contains prohydrolase
  • Additional muscle support ingredients

Cons

  • Limited flavor variety
  • Focus on whey protein
  • Pricier than other options
Post Workout Protein Powder, RE-KAGED Whey Protein...
  • SUPERCHARGE YOUR GROWTH*: RE-KAGED is a powerful whey protein powder designed to rapidly increase...
  • MIXES EASILY & TASTES AMAZING: There is simply no other whey protein powder like RE-KAGED. Not only...
  • HIGH-QUALITY WHEY PROTEIN THAT WORKS FAST*: You’ve only got 60 minutes to start taking advantage...

Best Protein Powder for Women: NLA Her Whey

  • Ingredient Quality: 85/100
  • Rave Score: 90.6

Finally, a protein shake that isn’t just for the gym bros! Women now have protein supplements that are tailored to their unique needs, and a good protein powder for women is foundational to achieving your fitness goals. NLA Her Whey is gluten-free and scientifically formulated to support lean muscle growth, enhance muscle recovery, and fuel your workouts.

Her Whey (Chocolate Eclair) -1.7 lb tub-Whey...

Her Whey is made with whey isolate, which is easy on the stomach and rapidly absorbing. It is also low in carbohydrates, so you won’t have to worry about unnecessary calories tallying up.

There’s also added fiber to encourage satiety and reduce food cravings. NLA Her Whey is rounded with an extensive profile of vitamins and minerals, BCAAs, and glutamine.

This is an all-around top performer for the ladies out there, which is why we’ve named it RAVE’s best protein powder for women. Not to mention, it comes in several delectable flavors:

  • Blueberry Muffin
  • Chocolate Éclair
  • Vanilla Cupcake
  • Maple Donut
  • Peanut Butter Banana Split

Pros

  • Tailored for women
  • High-quality whey isolate
  • Low in carbohydrates
  • Comprehensive nutritional profile
  • Delicious flavors

Cons

  • Ingredient quality rating
  • Limited to whey protein
Her Whey (Chocolate Eclair) -1.7 lb tub-Whey...
  • 💪🏼 CHOCOLATE ECLAIR HER WHEY - 1.7 lb tub - 25 standard servings (20 protein per serving)
  • 💪🏼 GREAT TASTE - The most delicious, high quality, healthy CHOCOLATEY protein meal replacement...
  • 💪🏼 SPECIFICALLY FORMULATED FOR WOMEN - NLA For Her Whey protein is scientifically formulated...

Best Protein Powder for Bulking: Jacked Factory Authentic Mass

Ingredient Quality: 84/100

Rave Score: 91.3

If you’re in the bulking game, protein is crucial, but you’re going to need a lot more than just that! You also need nutrient-dense calories – and lots of them.

Jacked Factory Authentic ISO Grass Fed Whey...

Jacked Factory has set a new precedent in mass gainer powders with Authentic Mass, a high-quality protein powder for bulking up (the good way).

Personal trainer Jason Cage recommends this as a go-to protein powder:

“Jacked Factory Authentic ISO is the perfect post-workout shake as it has no fillers, and all the animals involved in production are grass-fed. This allows maximum nutrients and no filler, which is a problem with a lot of protein powders on the market.

Many don’t contain very much in regards to quality nutrients and are filled out with a lot of unhealthy additives. This is certainly not the case with this powder though, so your hard work will not go to waste.”

Contrary to typical weight gainer supplements that are loaded with corn maltodextrin and dextrose with little else in the way of muscle-building nutrition, Authentic Mass is made with clean carbs from sweet potato powder, non-GMO tapioca maltodextrin, oat bran, and Carb10 pea starch, plus whey protein isolate/concentrate and healthy fats in the form of goMCT powder.

Packing 52 g of carbs, 36 g of protein, and 4 g of fat per serving, Jacked Factory Authentic Mass is poised to take over as the top mass gainer powder money can buy. The icing on the cake is it tastes delectable (vanilla and chocolate flavor options) and is easy to digest thanks to its proteolytic enzymes.

Pros

  • High-quality ingredients
  • Balanced nutritional profile
  • Cost-effective
  • Tasty flavor options
  • Easy to digest

Cons

  • Only ideal if you want to bulk up
Jacked Factory Authentic ISO Grass Fed Whey...
  • Ultrapure Grass-Fed Whey Protein Isolate Powder: Authentic ISO is a clean, delicious, fast-acting,...
  • 25g of Protein per Serving: Authentic ISO is not your typical cheap-grade whey protein powder. Our...
  • Enhance Recovery, Increase Strength, and Perform Your Best: Authentic ISO protein powder gives you a...

Best Protein Powder for Weight Loss: Garden of Life Organic Fit

  • Ingredient Quality: 100/100
  • Rave Score: 87.3

Garden of Life brand offers an extensive line of vegan, organic, plant-based supplements, and its recent foray into the weight-loss arena with Organic Fit feels apropos.

Garden of Life Raw Organic Fit Vegan Protein...

This certified USDA organic, raw, plant-based, vegan, high-protein powder is designed specifically for weight loss and health-conscious consumers.

Organic Fit is made with 13 raw, sprouted, organic ingredients. More than just a protein, Organic Fit includes green coffee bean extract, chromium, and organic cinnamon, all of which are natural ingredients that support weight loss, maintain healthy blood sugar, boost your energy, and control sugar cravings.

Organic Fit protein features a range of plant-based protein sources that are processed in a temperature-controlled environment, retaining their natural amino acid profile. Organic Fit is available in the following flavors:

  • Chocolate Cacao
  • Vanilla
  • Coffee
  • Original

Pros

  • High-quality organic ingredients
  • Specifically designed for weight loss
  • USDA organic and vegan
  • Temperature-controlled processing
  • Variety of flavors

Cons

  • Meant for a specific target audience
  • Premium pricing
Garden of Life Raw Organic Fit Vegan Protein...
  • A vegan high protein shake designed to enhance your diet & exercise program, empowering you to boost...
  • Contains Clinically Studied Organic Svetol Green Coffee Bean Extract to burn fat naturally and...
  • Smooth tasting vegan protein powder with 8g Organic Whole Food Fiber to satisfy hunger, and help you...

Best Meal Replacement: Garden of Life Raw Organic Meal

  • Ingredient Quality: 100/100
  • Rave Score: 89.8

A good meal-replacement shake needs to have all your macros covered. Garden of Life’s Raw Organic Meal offers this and then some in its organic, raw, superfood meal replacement solution. It is loaded with macro and micronutrients to help you satisfy hunger, manage weight, and feel good in the process.

Garden of Life Raw Organic Meal Replacement Shakes...

Each serving contains 20 grams of protein per scoop from 13 raw sprouted ingredients, along with greens, healthy fat, 7 grams of organic fiber, probiotics, enzymes, and twenty-one vitamins and minerals.

Organic Meal features forty-four superfoods overall and will satisfy your hunger, keep you full, boost energy levels, and provide you with the protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals you need. It is available in:

  • Chocolate Cacao
  • Vanilla
  • Vanilla Spiced Chai
  • Lightly Sweet

Pros

  • Comprehensive nutrition
  • Organic and raw ingredients
  • Meal replacement solution
  • Supports overall well-being
  • Variety of flavors

Cons:

  • Specific use
  • Higher price point
Garden of Life Raw Organic Meal Replacement Shakes...
  • WHAT’S THE SCOOP: Why have a snack when you can have the whole meal? This all-in-one protein shake...
  • DOWNRIGHT DELICIOUS: We’re taking a stand against chalky and bringing tasty back; Not only is Raw...
  • SHAKE IT UP: Raw Organic Meal has been shaken up to provide improved texture and mixability; Organic...

Best Grass-Fed Protein Powder: Transparent Labs 100% Grass-Fed Whey Isolate

  • Ingredient Quality: 100/100
  • Rave Score: 97.6

Transparent Labs’ commitment is to complete formula transparency with science-based ingredients at clinically effective doses. The experts at Transparent Labs are firm about never using any artificial sweeteners, food dyes, or additives.

Transparent Labs Grass-Fed Whey Protein Isolate -...

They have accomplished this and more with their 100% Grass-Fed Whey Isolate, which is sourced entirely from grass-fed American cows that are naturally fed and hormone-free, yielding one of the purest and cleanest whey protein powders on the market.

It is ideal both for general use and for athletes supporting their fitness goals.

Additionally, TL Grass-Fed Whey features one of the highest protein-by-weight ratios at 28 grams of protein per 32-gram scoop — that’s a whopping 88% protein content! Best of all, the protein powder is available in several delicious flavors, including:

  • Chocolate Peanut Butter
  • Milk Chocolate
  • Strawberry
  • French Vanilla
  • Mocha
  • Salted Caramel
  • Cinnamon Pasty
  • Cereal Splash
Man holding a bottle of Transparent Lab 100% Grass Fed Protein Isolate

Pros

  • High-quality whey source
  • High protein content
  • Free from artificial additives
  • Ideal for various users

Cons

  • Highter price point
  • Specific to whey
  • Limited appeal for simple flavors
Transparent Labs Grass-Fed Whey Protein Isolate -...
  • Naturally Flavored Clean Protein Powder: Made from naturally-fed, hormone-free whey, free of...
  • 28g of Protein Per Serving: Transparent Labs Whey Protein Isolate is sourced from 100% grass-fed,...
  • Enhance Recovery, Increase Strength: Transparent Labs 100% Grass-Fed Whey Protein Isolate gives you...

Best Vegan Protein Powder: Orgain Organic Protein

  • Ingredient Quality: 100/100
  • Rave Score: 91.1

If you’re on the vegan train, there’s some good news — vegan protein powder is now more popular than ever! Orgain Organic Protein comes in as the top vegan protein powder money can buy, and many consumers agree that it’s a great-tasting product with an impressive nutrient profile.

Orgain Organic Vegan Protein Powder, Vanilla Bean...

So, if it doesn’t contain whey, one of the most popular protein sources on the market, what’s in it? Well, plants! The protein in this formula comes from organic peas, brown rice, and chia seeds.

At 21 grams of plant-based protein per serving, you can’t go wrong! The formula is also completely free of artificial sweeteners, binding agents, coloring, or additives of any sort, and it has received several awards and recognitions for quality and taste.

The extensive flavor options include:

  • Creamy Chocolate Fudge
  • Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup
  • Iced Matcha Latte
  • Sweet Vanilla Bean
  • Vanilla Almond
  • Cookies and Cream
Person holding a protein shake in a water bottle beside a bottle of Orgain Organic Protein powder

Pros

  • High-quality vegan protein
  • Impressive nutrient profile
  • Free of artificial additives
  • Award-winning quality and taste
  • Variety of flavors

Cons

  • Specific to plant-based diets
  • Limited appeal for non-vegan consumers
Orgain Organic Vegan Protein Powder, Vanilla Bean...
  • Includes 1 (2.03 pound) Orgain organic plant based vanilla bean protein powder
  • 21 grams of organic plant based protein (pea, brown rice, chia seeds), 2 grams of organic dietary...
  • USDA organic, vegan, gluten free, dairy free, lactose free, low net carbs, no added sugar, soy free,...

Best Hemp Protein Powder: Nutiva Organic Hemp Seed Protein

  • Ingredient Quality: 100/100
  • Rave Score: 92.2

Nutiva Organic Hemp Seed Protein is a great alternative to traditional dairy-based protein sources, especially if you follow a plant-based diet.

Nutiva Organic Cold-Pressed Raw Hemp Seed Protein...

Nutiva Organic Hemp Seed Protein is vegan-certified and made with non-GMO, cold-pressed hemp seeds, yielding a high-protein, high-fiber product that dissolves best in water at room temperature (try mixing first and then adding ice). It can also be easily added to baked goods, pancakes, and hot cereals for a nutrient-dense protein boost.

Each serving contains 15 grams of protein with a complete amino acid profile and 8 grams of dietary fiber. It is not offered in flavored options and has what most would call an “earthy” taste, but you can make it more palatable by adding it to recipes or making a green smoothie with fruits and veggies.

Pros

  • Plant-based protein source
  • High-quality ingredients
  • Nutrient-dense
  • Versatile use
  • Complete amino acid profile

Cons

  • Limited flavor options
  • Unique taste that can take time to get used to
Nutiva Organic Cold-Pressed Raw Hemp Seed Protein...
  • Nutiva Organic, Cold-Processed Hemp Seed Protein is a sustainable source of amino acids, fatty...
  • Nutiva’s all-natural cold press extraction process yields a clean, plant-based protein that's high...
  • Nutiva Organic, Cold-Processed Hemp Seed Protein is an ideal source of Omega 3 fats and...

Best Animal-Based Protein Powder: Naked Nutrition Goat Whey

  • Ingredient Quality: 100/100
  • Rave Score: 88.6

Another alternative to conventional cow-derived whey protein sources comes from a relatively new niche in protein powder supplements: goat protein powder. Naked Nutrition Goat protein is derived from the milk of pasture-fed goats raised on Wisconsin dairy farms.

NAKED nutrition Naked Goat - Pasture Fed Goat Whey...

Naked Nutrition Goat Whey is undenatured and independently tested for heavy metals as well as common food allergens, such as soy and gluten.

You won’t find any artificial flavors or sweeteners in this clean whey protein powder. All of the protein in Naked Goat Whey comes from cold-processing (acid and bleach-free) goats’ milk, resulting in one of the cleanest whey protein powders you can find anywhere.

With 23 grams of protein and 4.6 grams of branched-chain amino acids per serving (30 g), this is an exceptional alternative to traditional whey protein powder.

Naked Goat Whey is available in chocolate and vanilla flavor options (which are sweetened only with coconut sugar), or unflavored.

Pros

  • Alternative protein source
  • High-quality processing
  • Free from heavy metals and allergens
  • No artificial additives
  • High protein content

Cons

  • Limited flavor variety
  • Specific taste
  • Premium pricing
NAKED nutrition Naked Goat - Pasture Fed Goat Whey...
  • ONLY ONE INGREDIENT: 100% Grass Fed Goat Whey Protein with no additives. Naked Goat contains no...
  • ALL NATURAL GOAT WHEY PROTEIN: Our Pasture Fed Goat Whey is sourced from small dairy farms in...
  • MAXIMUM NUTRITION: 23g of Protein, 1g of Sugar, 2g of Carbs, 110 Calories, and 4.6g of BCAAs...

Best Natural Protein Powder: Legion Whey+

  • Ingredient Quality: 100/100
  • Rave Score: 88.2

Legion Whey+ is at the forefront of protein powder innovation with its emphasis on natural, high-quality ingredients. This chocolate whey isolate is crafted from 100% whey protein isolate obtained from grass-fed cows in Ireland. Each serving provides 22 grams of protein while maintaining only 100 calories, making it an excellent choice for those seeking a potent yet lean protein source.

LEGION Whey+ Chocolate Whey Isolate Protein Powder...

Not just a mere supplement, Legion Whey+ represents a commitment to natural, ethical production. It’s a product that supports muscle growth and overall health without compromising on quality or ethics. It’s non-GMO, lactose-free, sugar-free, and devoid of artificial additives, ensuring a clean and pure protein experience.

The product is backed by 15 peer-reviewed scientific studies, attesting to its purity, potency, and effectiveness. Legion Whey+ not only offers a delicious taste but does so without resorting to chemical additives, aligning with both health goals and environmental responsibility.

Pros

  • Pure protein with no added sugars or artificial ingredients
  • Rich in essential amino acids and BCAAs for muscle growth
  • Ideal for those on low-carb diets
  • Delicious taste without chemical additives
  • Environmentally responsible and ethically sourced
  • Backed by scientific research and lab-tested for purity

Cons

  • Premium pricing compared to some alternatives
  • Limited to whey isolate, which might not suit all dietary preferences
LEGION Whey+ Chocolate Whey Isolate Protein Powder...
  • Pure Whey Protein Chocolate in Every Scoop: LEGION Whey+ Whey Isolate Protein Powder is made from...
  • Get Fit with WHEY+: Our pure whey protein powder isolate is great for those who value natural &...
  • Supports Muscle Growth & Recovery: Our protein powder whey isolate contains an abundance of...

Best Whey Protein for Muscle Growth: Jacked Factory Authentic Whey

  • Ingredient Quality: 100/100
  • Rave Score: 82.0

Jacked Factory Authentic Whey is more than just a protein powder; it’s a comprehensive solution for those aiming to enhance muscle growth, recovery, and strength. This product masterfully combines whey protein isolate and whey protein concentrate, ensuring rapid absorption and a rich supply of essential amino acids vital for muscle protein synthesis.

Jacked Factory Authentic Whey Muscle Building Whey...

This protein supplement stands out for its effectiveness and purity. The high-quality protein blend is delicious and designed for maximum efficiency. Whether used post-workout or as a daily supplement, Jacked Factory Authentic Whey is a reliable choice for anyone serious about achieving their fitness goals.

Pros

  • Contains 24 grams of protein per serving, ideal for muscle building
  • Low in fat and sugar, catering to health-conscious consumers
  • Offers excellent mixability and a delicious flavor profile
  • Suitable for keto diets and versatile in recipes
  • Manufactured in a cGMP-Certified Facility
  • Comes with a 100% Hassle-Free Money-Back Guarantee

Cons

  • Contains lactose
  • Focused solely on whey protein
Jacked Factory Authentic Whey Muscle Building Whey...
  • Delicious Whey Protein Supplement: Authentic Whey is unlike your run-of-the-mill whey protein...
  • Post Workout Recovery & Muscle Growth: Authentic Whey is a premium whey protein powder that is ideal...
  • 100% Whey Protein Isolate & Concentrate: By using Authentic Whey protein powder, you give your body...

Best Tasting Protein Powder: XWERKS Grow

  • Ingredient Quality: 100/100
  • Rave Score: 81.8

XWERKS Grow is a cut above in protein powders, especially for those who prioritize taste and effectiveness. Sourced from grass-fed cows in New Zealand, a region known for its high dairy standards, this whey protein isolate is nutritious and delicious.

Xwerks Grow: Whey Protein Isolate Powder -...

This product benefits athletes and fitness enthusiasts who seek a protein supplement that supports muscle growth and recovery without compromising flavor or quality. XWERKS Grow is distinguished by its commitment to natural ingredients and its ability to deliver results while being easy on the stomach.

It has 25 grams of protein and over 6 grams of BCAAs per serving, and it comes in a variety of flavors like vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, and peanut butter.

Pros

  • Keto-friendly, making it a great option for those on low-carb diets
  • Free from artificial sweeteners, flavors, or coloring, ensuring a natural taste
  • Soy and gluten-free, processed without acid or bleach, highlighting its purity
  • Each container provides 30 servings, which translates to great value
  • Environmentally conscious sourcing adds to its appeal among health-aware consumers

Cons

  • High price point
  • Its focus on whey protein might limit its appeal to those on plant-based diets
Xwerks Grow: Whey Protein Isolate Powder -...
  • UNMATCHED PROTEIN POWER: Our Xwerks Grow chocolate whey protein isolate powder delivers an...
  • ALLERGY-FRIENDLY & KETO-SUITABLE: Designed with dietary needs in mind, our protein powder is both...
  • TASTY FLAVOR SELECTION: We offer our protein powder in four tasty flavors: vanilla, chocolate,...

Best Plant-Based Protein for Muscle Recovery: Ritual Essential Protein Daily Shake 18+

  • Ingredient Quality: 100/100
  • Rave Score: 81.4

Ritual's Essential Protein Daily Shake 18+ has redefined what a vegan protein powder can be. This plant-based formula supports muscle growth and recovery and provides a clean, sustainable source of protein. It’s ideal for those who want to fuel their bodies with essential nutrients in a more environmentally and ethically conscious way.

Ritual 18+ Vegan Protein Powder with BCAA: 20g...

It offers 20 grams of organic pea protein per serving, sourced from regeneratively farmed peas in the USA. Along with this, it features a complete amino acid profile, including 8g of essential amino acids and 4g of BCAAs.

Its blend of great taste, easy mixability, and effectiveness in promoting muscle recovery and growth makes it a standout addition to your nutrition routine.

Pros

  • Zero net carbs and sugar-free, making it ideal for various dietary preferences
  • Hand-crafted vanilla flavor layered with caramel and spice for a delightful taste
  • Free from GMOs, stevia, sugar alcohols, artificial colors, and sweeteners
  • Certified by Informed Sport and rigorously tested for heavy metals
  • Formulated specifically to support muscle building and recovery
  • Supports brain health with added Choline

Cons

  • More expensive than other protein powders
  • The texture and taste profile of plant-based proteins may vary and might not suit everyone’s preferences
Ritual 18+ Vegan Protein Powder with BCAA: 20g...
  • Essential Protein Daily Shake 18+ is the clean, traceable plant-based protein to help form lean...
  • Made Traceable: Our world-class scientists scoured the globe for high quality ingredients when...
  • Delicious Flavor Experience: Layers of sweet vanilla, subtle nuances of caramel and hints of spice...

Best Collagen Protein Powder: Transparent Labs Grass-Fed Collagen Hydrolysate

  • Ingredient Quality: 100/100
  • Rave Score: 81.4

Transparent Labs Grass-Fed Collagen Hydrolysate emerges as a standout supplement in the growing market of collagen proteins. It’s specifically formulated to counteract the natural decrease of collagen production in the body, focusing on delivering bioactive peptides that are crucial for skin health and supporting connective tissues.

This collagen powder is a superb option for anyone looking to naturally address the signs of aging. It not only prioritizes skin health but also offers potential benefits for overall physical well-being. The clean formula and commitment to ethical sourcing further establish it as a preferred choice among health-conscious individuals.

Pros

  • Sourced from grass-fed, pasture-raised cows, ensuring high-quality ingredients
  • Aims to promote skin health by reducing wrinkles and sagging
  • May aid in athletic recovery, and support bone structure and joint health
  • Completely free from artificial sweeteners, colors, and preservatives
  • Gluten-free and non-GMO, aligning with various dietary needs

Cons

  • Impact on bone and joint health might be less significant compared to its skin health benefits
  • Might be a more expensive option relative to other protein supplements
  • Not suitable for vegetarians or vegans due to its animal-based source

Best Gluten Free: Huge Supplements Whey Protein Concentrate Powder

  • Ingredient Quality: 100/100
  • Rave Score: 81.2

Huge Whey Protein Concentrate Powder is a high-caliber supplement designed to foster lean muscle growth, enhance recovery, and boost performance. It’s an indispensable resource for athletes, bodybuilders, and anyone focused on improving their physique and muscle mass.

Huge Supplements Whey Protein Concentrate Powder -...

It delivers 25 grams of top-tier whey protein per serving, supporting muscle growth. It also includes 5 grams of BCAAs, vital for muscle recovery and development.

This whey protein powder is a superior choice for those committed to building muscle and accelerating workout recovery. It combines high-quality whey protein with essential BCAAs, and its range of delicious flavors ensures a satisfying and effective way to meet protein requirements and support mass-building objectives.

Pros

  • Easy to mix into smoothies
  • Provides a balanced calorie count (120 to 150 per serving, depending on the flavor)
  • Offers a gluten-free formula, accommodating those with dietary restrictions
  • Presents a well-rounded nutritional profile per serving: 25g Protein, 2g Total Fat, 2.5g Total Carbohydrates, along with additional nutrients

Cons

  • May not be the best option for individuals with lactose intolerance
  • Calorie content varies by flavor
Huge Supplements Whey Protein Concentrate Powder -...
  • PREMIUM QUALITY WHEY PROTEIN POWDER: Our superior protein supplement contains quality ingredients...
  • BUILDS MUSCLE MASS: Our bodybuilding formula contains high protein content to support building...
  • CLINICALLY DOSED: Hit your daily protein macros with clincally dosed servings to fuel your fitness...

How We Found the Right Products to Review

In our quest for the perfect protein powder, we focused on mixability, the best tasting protein powders, overall effectiveness, and the quality of ingredients. 

Shifted Whey Protein Isolate excelled in all these areas. It mixed effortlessly without clumps, offered pleasant, balanced powder flavors, and effectively satiated hunger. Importantly, it aligned well with our fitness goals, supporting muscle recovery and growth without adding unnecessary calories. This hands-on experience underscored its superiority in both quality and performance.

Protein PowderProtein Content Per ServingFlavor OptionsSpecial Characteristics
SHIFTED WPI25 gramsChocolate Milk, Cookies and CreamHigh BCAA content, easy mixability
True Nutrition Whey Protein Isolate30 gramsOver 5, such as Chocolate Fudge Brownie & Café MochaCold-water filtration, batch tested
Dymatize Elite 100% Whey25+ gramsOver 5, including Snickerdoodle & Strawberry Cost-effective, high protein from whey concentrate
Kaged Muscle Kasein26 gramsChocolate Shake, Vanilla ShakeCold-processed Micellar Casein Isolate
Kaged Re-Kaged28 gramsStrawberry Lemonade, Orange Kream, Fruit PunchContains ProHydrolase, additional muscle support ingredients
NLA Her Whey28 gramsBlueberry Muffin, Chocolate Éclair, Vanilla Cupcake, Maple DonutTailored for women, comprehensive nutritional profile
Jacked Factory Authentic Mass36 gramsVanilla, ChocolateHigh in carbs and protein, cost-effective
Garden of Life Organic Fit28 gramsChocolate Cacao, Vanilla, Coffee, OriginalOrganic and vegan, designed for weight loss
Garden of Life Raw Organic Meal20 gramsChocolate Cacao, Vanilla, Vanilla Spiced Chai, Lightly SweetMeal replacement, organic and raw ingredients
Transparent Labs 100% Whey Isolate28 gramsOver 5, such as Chocolate Peanut Butter & Cereal SplashHigh protein content, no artificial additives
Orgain Organic Protein21 gramsOver 5, such as Iced Matcha Latte & Cookies and CreamVegan, free of artificial additives
Nutiva Organic Hemp Seed Protein15 gramsUnflavoredPlant-based, complete amino acid profile
Naked Nutrition Goat Whey23 gramsChocolate, Vanilla, UnflavoredDerived from goat milk, no heavy metals and common allergens
Legion Whey+22 gramsNot SpecifiedNon-GMO, lactose-free, sugar-free
Jacked Factory Authentic Whey24 gramsChocolate Peanut ButterHigh in BCAAs, gluten-free
XWERKS Grow25 gramsVanilla, Chocolate, Strawberry, Peanut ButterSourced from grass-fed cows, keto-friendly
Ritual Essential Protein Daily Shake 18+20 gramsVanillaOrganic pea protein, zero net carbs, sugar-free
Transparent Labs Collagen Hydrolysate10 gramsNot SpecifiedPromotes skin health, sourced from grass-fed cows
Huge Supplements Whey Protein25 gramsChocolate Peanut ButterHigh BCAA content, gluten-free
Transparent Labs Casein25 gramsNot SpecifiedSlow-digesting, naturally flavored and sweetened

Benefits of Protein Powders

Protein powders offer a convenient and efficient way to increase protein intake, especially beneficial for individuals with high protein needs, such as athletes, bodybuilders, and those recovering from injury. They aid in muscle repair and growth, enhance recovery after exercise, and can contribute to a more balanced diet when used correctly.

Protein powders are crucial for muscle building and repair, and may also include additional nutrients that support overall health. 

Additionally, protein powders can serve as a valuable tool for those seeking weight management. They can promote satiety, helping to curb hunger and reduce overall calorie intake.

Elite 100% Whey protein powder beside a pair of dumbbells and a water bottle filled with protein shake

What Type of Protein Powder Is Best?

Protein powders are popular choices for fitness enthusiasts and gym-goers alike who want to build muscle and improve athletic performance.

As Roxana Ehsani, a Miami-based certified sports dietitian and adjunct professor at Virginia Tech, puts it;

“Protein shakes are convenient, on-the-go nutrition in a cup or bottle.”

This highlights the versatility and practicality of protein powders in our fast-paced lifestyles.

With that said, protein powder isn’t just for the gym bros and health nuts out there; protein is also an essential macronutrient that everyone needs daily for optimal health and longevity. 

This is why the best protein powders are such popular nutritional supplements, especially for those who struggle to consume enough protein through whole foods.

A good protein powder can also be a convenient meal replacement for when you’re on the go or pressed for time.

With that in mind, there is no type of protein powder that is best for everyone. A multitude of factors must be considered, notably:

  • Where the protein comes from
  • Protein content per serving
  • Ingredient quality

Bottom Line: To choose the best protein powder, you need to determine which protein sources suit your lifestyle and goals.

You should also opt for protein powders that have as few ingredients as possible. Less is more when it comes to all the “additional” ingredients you find in protein powder.

Check the ingredient panel and verify that it’s not loaded with added sugars, artificial colors, or other unnecessary junk. 

Types of Protein Powders

Whether for muscle building, weight loss, or simply ensuring adequate protein intake, understanding the different types of protein powders can help in making an informed decision to suit personal health and nutritional needs.

Animal-Based Protein Sources

The most common animal-based protein sources in protein powder include:

  • Whey protein
  • Casein protein
  • Milk protein (a mixture of whey and casein)
  • Egg protein
  • Beef protein
  • Collagen peptides (bovine, porcine, or marine)

Aside from collagen peptides, all of these are good sources of essential amino acids that help build muscle and support recovery after a tough workout.

Whey protein has the highest biological value of any protein source, followed closely by egg protein and casein protein.

Person scooping protein powder from a bottle

Jason’s top factor he looks for when choosing a protein powder is that it’s whey protein:

“When I look for a protein powder, the number one thing I look for is a Whey protein powder. Essentially, a whey powder will optimize muscle protein synthesis.

This is the process of your body adapting to exercise, [which is] your optimal window of recovery and progression from a workout. This process can last anywhere between 24 – 36 hours (give or take), and with whey protein, this time is optimized for recovery and growth.”

Takeaway: Always start the evaluation process by checking protein sources. Whey protein is the clear winner, but other protein sources offer value, too.

What About Collagen Protein Powder?

Collagen is unique because it is rich in amino acids like alanine, glycine, and proline, which are major constituents of connective tissues like tendons, ligaments, and bone, though not skeletal muscle tissue.

Thus, you shouldn’t rely on collagen protein powders for muscle building or meeting your dietary protein needs. 

The purported “anti-aging” benefits of collagen supplements for skin, hair, and joints remain controversial, so it’s best to approach these “protein powders” with caution.

Plant-Based Protein Sources

Vegans and those who follow a strict plant-based diet should avoid whey, beef, egg, and casein proteins since those proteins are derived from animals. The good news is plenty of plant-based protein powders are out there. 

Something to keep in mind when choosing a vegan protein powder is that plant proteins typically have an “incomplete” profile of essential amino acids.

This means they lack one (or more) of the amino acids necessary for muscle protein synthesis — in other words, one of the “building blocks” of muscle tissue is missing or negligible in plant-based protein. 

Vegan Protein Powders

Never fear Vegans, you can still get complete protein synthesis!

Thankfully, vegans can work around this conundrum by choosing a vegan protein powder with multiple plant protein sources that complement one another and create a “complete” amino acid balance. 

Such plant-based protein sources include:

  • Pea protein
  • Brown rice protein
  • Hemp protein

Pea protein isolate is arguably the best plant-based protein.

Man pouring a scoop of protein powder into a water bottle

It’s made in an eco-conscious manner from yellow split peas and has a high biological value for humans, not to mention it’s rich in essential amino acids and ideal for those who are allergic to dairy and eggs.

Moreover, research suggests that consuming pea protein reduces blood pressure and improves renal function by inhibiting angiotensin-converting enzymes (ACE).

Bottom Line: Frankly, even those who don’t follow a vegan diet stand to benefit from pea protein.

What About Soy Protein Powder?

Despite the common misconception that it increases estrogen levels, soy protein powder is a viable plant-based protein.

In fact, soy protein is demonstrably beneficial for both men and women, especially for cardiovascular and metabolic health.

However, it’s best to limit your soy protein intake to 40 grams or less per day, particularly if you’re male.

How to Use Protein Powders

There are myriad ways to use protein powder. Naturally, the most practical way is to make a protein shake.

Simply mix the powder into a liquid, either water or milk, and stir or shake it up with a spoon, blender, or shaker bottle. 

Protein shakes are undoubtedly convenient and how most people use their protein powder.

Now, if you want to live life on the edge and add more protein-packed flavor to your diet, try mixing protein powder into things like:

  • Yogurt
  • Oatmeal
  • Soups
  • Cottage cheese

Believe it or not, you can use protein powder in tons of recipes, especially when baking things like bread, muffins, and cake. 

Bottom Line: Intuitively, you’ll need to determine if the flavor of the protein powder makes sense in what you’re adding it to. For instance, chocolate-flavored protein powder might not mesh well with chicken noodle soup.

When to Take Protein Powder

Protein powders are dietary supplements meant to help people meet their total daily needs of protein.

The time you take protein powder isn’t a big concern as long as you consume enough protein throughout the day. Most gym-goers, athletes, and fitness enthusiasts find that slamming a whey protein shake after finishing their workout is a nice “treat” that kickstarts the muscle-building process, but protein powders can be used anytime. 

However, there is good evidence that taking at least 20 grams of whey protein powder shortly before and/or after hitting the gym improves muscle building, performance, and recovery.

This would generally be considered the “best” time to take whey protein powder.

True Whey Protein Powder beside a water bottle filled with protein shake

When to Take Other Forms of Protein

Whey protein concentrate and whey protein isolate are rapidly digested and contain all the essential and non-essential amino acids. 

For the veggie lovers out there, brown rice protein is a great alternative to whey protein powder after you hit the gym.

In fact, a recent study showed that people taking either rice protein isolate or whey protein isolate after resistance-based exercise had virtually identical improvements in lean body composition (fat-free body mass) and exercise performance (strength and power) over the course of eight weeks.

Casein protein powder is typically the better nighttime option since it’s slowly digested and absorbed, helping recovery while you sleep. 

Similar to whey protein, casein contains a complete profile of amino acids for supporting muscle growth and recovery.

Beyond that, simply take protein powders as needed throughout the day to keep you on track towards your protein intake goal.

Bottom Line: Remember, even if you’re using the best protein powder out there, it will not make up for slacking on your diet. 

Even the best protein powder product will provide diminished results if used incorrectly. So let’s take a look at some final points.

Is Protein Powder Safe?

Assuming you’re taking a good protein powder that isn’t loaded with allergens or other unnecessary additives, chances are your powder will be well-tolerated, and you’ll experience few, if any, adverse effects.

In some cases, protein powder can cause flatulence, bloating, cramps, and diarrhea.

Note that this typically only happens if the protein powder contains excess amounts of lactose, wheat, or other indigestible/intolerable ingredients.

Skin reactions are also possible, particularly if the protein powder contains something you’re allergic to. To avoid any unwanted side effects, be sure to get a high quality supplement.

Furthermore, since dietary supplements are not officially regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), companies can be less than forthright about what their products contain.

That’s why choosing a protein powder from a brand with a respectable reputation for making quality nutritional supplements is imperative.  

Always check with your doctor if you’re pregnant, breastfeeding, have a medical condition, or take any prescription medications before you start taking protein powder (or any supplement).

The ingredients in protein powder may interact with certain medications or exacerbate the symptoms of some medical conditions, notably renal dysfunction. 

What Is the Most Effective Protein Powder?

The effectiveness of a protein powder depends on individual goals. Whey Protein Isolate is widely regarded as highly effective due to its high protein content, complete amino acid profile, and rapid absorption, making it ideal for muscle building and recovery.

What Protein Powder Gives the Best Results?

For muscle growth and recovery, Whey Protein, rich in essential amino acids and BCAAs, often yields the best results. Casein is preferred for sustained protein release, beneficial for muscle maintenance and overnight recovery.

What Should You Look For in Protein Powders?

When choosing a protein powder, consider the protein source (e.g., whey, casein, soy, pea), ensuring it aligns with dietary preferences and allergies. Look for the protein content per serving and opt for powders with minimal added sugars and artificial ingredients. Also, check for third-party certifications or testing to ensure product quality and safety.

Amine also recommends:

“Look at customer reviews, but also check how long the company has been around for. The top companies in the industry, such as Dymatize and Optimum Nutrition, have been around for decades because they offer trustworthy, great-tasting products.”

Final Note

Pay attention to how your body responds when you use a new protein powder.

If you find that whey protein concentrate makes you gassy and bloated, try a different protein powder with other protein sources instead.

Ultimately, you’ll only figure out which protein powder works best for you by trying different products and assessing your response. 

Remember, protein is a vital macronutrient that we all need for optimal health, longevity, and athletic performance.

Active individuals who want to build muscle should aim for a daily intake of about 0.8-1.2 grams of protein powder per pound of body weight. Those who just want to maintain their wellness and live a healthy lifestyle can get away with about half that amount.

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Elliot Reimers

Elliot Reimers is a NASM Certified Nutrition Coach (CNC) and M.S. candidate at Michigan State University, where he is studying Molecular Pharmacology and Toxicology. He has been a freelance science writer since 2013, centering on the topics of nutritional science, dietary supplementation, fitness, and exercise physiology. He received his B.S. in Biochemistry from the University of Minnesota and is an inveterate “science nerd” who loves fitness. He is passionate about coaching and educating people about how to live healthier, be smarter about what they put in their bodies, and perform better. In his spare time, you’re most likely to find Elliot hoisting barbells, hiking the mountains of beautiful Colorado, or working on content for Simply Shredded.