6 Best Protein Powders

6 Best Protein Powders

When it comes to weight loss, fat-burning, and slimming down, NOTHING beats protein powder! According to the experts, "A high protein intake boosts metabolism, reduces appetite and changes several weight-regulating hormones." Between these three things, you've got everything you need to get in shape.

Sounds awesome, right?

Of course, finding the best protein powder is easier said than done. The truth is that there are SO MANY different types of protein.

Now you may be wondering, how do you know which variety of protein powder is right for you? Finding the best protein powders is a bit like trying to find the "best" vehicle: every one of them has something awesome to offer.

Now:

Below, we've done the work of combing through hundreds of protein powders, reading reviews, and testing products to help you determine which will work best for you. We examined the specifications of each protein powder carefully, weighing the pros and cons to ensure we selected only the best. 

Read on to see our list of the best protein powders for you.

6 Best Protein Powders

  • 6. Orgain Organic Plant Based Protein Powder
  • 5. NOW Foods Soy Protein
  • 4. Sunwarrior Warrior Blend
  • 3. Jay Robb Egg White Protein Powder
  • 2. Garden of Life Meal Replacement
  • 1. Optimum Nutrition Gold 100% Whey Protein

Best Organic Protein Powder

#6

Orgain Organic Plant Based Protein Powder

Best Organic Protein Powder: Orgain Organic Plant Based Protein Powder
Get from Amazon
102 Bought
Function
9.0
Nutritional Value
9.0
Features
9.5
Value
9.5
Overall
93%
93 % Editor Score
80 % User Score

Why People Love it

  • 100% USDA-Certified Organic ingredients; Kosher, Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, and non-GMO
  • Excellent source of protein for vegan bodybuilders and athletes
  • Chocolate flavor is creamy and delicious; tastiest vegan protein around

This is a vegan/vegetarian protein powder, rich in chocolate flavor, and created using all USDA Organic ingredients. Additionally, this stuff is easy on digestion, affordable, and features an excellent nutritional profile.

Chalky texture, and strong Stevia aftertaste.

Expert Ratings

Function

9.0 / 10

This organic protein powder is ideal for those who want to “eat clean”. Not only is it 100% USDA-certified organic and free of dairy, gluten, and GMO ingredients, but it’s also made from plant-based proteins like hemp, brown rice, chia seeds, and peas. This makes it an easily-digested protein that contains all the nine essential amino acids needed to produce muscle. Ideal for athletes, bodybuilders, and anyone on a vegan or vegetarian diet!

Nutritional Value

9.0 / 10

In each scoop of protein powder, you get 21 grams of protein and 5 grams of BCAAs—a solid dose of amino acid, indeed. While it’s not on par with most whey proteins (which contain more like 25 to 30 grams of protein per serving), it also contains 5 grams of fiber and just 3 grams of carbs. Best of all, it’s a solid 150 calories per scoop!

Features

9.5 / 10

The Creamy Chocolate Fudge flavor makes this the best-tasting vegan protein powder on the market. The flavor comes from organic cocoa powder, and has added organic flavorings (Stevia, rosemary extract, monkfruit, etc.) that bring a sweetness and richness you won’t find in other vegan proteins. However, the texture can be a bit chalky if not mixed in a blender, and there is that Stevia aftertaste many people just can’t enjoy.

Value

9.5 / 10

At $21 for 2 pounds of protein powder, this is a VERY well-priced product indeed. It costs roughly the same as a quality whey protein, but is fully organic and offers vegetarians a good-tasting solution for their protein needs.

Overall Editor Score

9.3 / 10

Best Soy Protein Powder

#5

NOW Foods Soy Protein

Best Soy Protein Powder: NOW Foods Soy Protein
Get from Amazon
264 Bought
Function
9.0
Nutritional Value
9.0
Features
9.0
Value
9.0
Overall
90%
90 % Editor Score
82 % User Score

Why People Love it

  • Ideal for anyone who wants a plant-based protein powder
  • One of the cheapest protein powders on the market
  • No taste; mixes with any liquid (juice, water, soup, stew, etc.)

For vegans, vegetarians, and the lactose intolerant, this soy protein powder is the perfect alternative. One container contains two pounds of powder, which works out to 37 servings. Additionally, this protein is kosher, made with no animal products, decent taste despite being unflavored, not too sweet, VERY cheap, clean and lean protein.

Doesn't mix well, texture is a bit grainy unless blended.

Expert Ratings

Function

9.0 / 10

For those who want a plant-based alternative to whey and casein protein, soy is a decent option to consider. While there are concerns over GMO products and phytoestrogens (which some believe can cause hormonal imbalances), soy protein is one of the best plant-based proteins. It has a better nutritional profile than pea or hemp protein, and it's more easily digestible.

Nutritional Value

9.0 / 10

You get 24 grams of soy protein per serving, but it's a fairly low-calorie option--ideal for those trying to watch their calorie intake.

Features

9.0 / 10

One of the great things about this protein is the fact that it's unflavored. You can mix it with any liquids and ingredients and it won't add over-strong flavor to your smoothies. But if you add it into a cup of milk or water, it won't taste "iffy". Though be warned: it only mixes well in a blender. If you try to mix it with a spoon or even in a Blender Bottle, it may come out a bit grainy.

Value

9.0 / 10

At just $22 for 2 pounds, this is one of the best cheap protein powder options around! The fact that it's soy may be a turn-off for some, but it's a good option for anyone who wants to avoid animal products. It's fully vegan and vegetarian!

Overall Editor Score

9.0 / 10

Best Raw Protein Powder

#4

Sunwarrior Warrior Blend

Best Raw Protein Powder: Sunwarrior Warrior Blend
Get from Amazon
87 Bought
Function
9.0
Nutritional Value
9.0
Features
9.5
Value
8.5
Overall
90%
90 % Editor Score
86 % User Score

Why People Love it

  • The best plant-based, unprocessed protein
  • Excellent nutritional profile; rich in nutrients and low in sugar and calories
  • All flavors (vanilla, chocolate, etc.) are fully natural; decent taste

Great for both a pre- and post-workout supplements, contains only raw plant-based ingredients, 100% non-GMO, dairy and gluten-free, vegan/vegetarian-friendly, plus easy on your digestive tract.

The flavor isn't quite as "natural" as advertised; and this protein is one of the most expensive on our list. 

Expert Ratings

Function

9.0 / 10

This raw, unprocessed protein is made with all natural plant-based ingredients, making it an ideal option for those on a Raw Diet, Vegetarian/Vegan diet, or anyone who wants to “eat clean”. All of the ingredients are USDA-certified Organic, 100% non-GMO, and the protein powder is free of soy, gluten, and dairy. It’s the perfect protein powder for individuals with food sensitivies or on restrictive diets!

Nutritional Value

9.0 / 10

Not only does this plant-based protein contain 19 grams of protein per scoop (a tad on the lower end, but still enough for muscle-building), but you get 5 grams of BCAAs, 60% of your Vitamin C DV, and plenty of Medium-Chain Triglycerides (MCT) for faster fat-burning. With just 100 calories per serving, it’s as good as it gets!

Features

9.5 / 10

Mix this protein in a blender or Blender Bottle, and you’ll find it’s smooth and easy to drink. The natural flavor may bring out the Stevia aftertaste, but you can’t help but love the rich raw cocoa flavor of the chocolate-flavored protein powder. It’s easy on your digestion, rich in nutrients, and great for a quick protein pick-me-up before or after your workout.

Value

8.5 / 10

This is one of the biggest downsides of the product. The price tag is $45, but you get just over 2 pounds. Still, if you can afford the higher cost, it definitely delivers excellent value in terms of nutrition and quality.

Overall Editor Score

9.0 / 10

Best Egg Protein Powder

#3

Jay Robb Egg White Protein Powder

Best Egg Protein Powder: Jay Robb Egg White Protein Powder
Get from Amazon
92 Bought
Function
9.0
Nutritional Value
9.0
Features
8.5
Value
9.0
Overall
89%
89 % Editor Score
89 % User Score

Why People Love it

  • Vegetarian-friendly; perfect for anyone who can't digest whey protein
  • Good flavors, plus an unflavored option
  • Excellent nutritional profile

Ideal for the lactose-intolerant, highly efficient and easily digestible protein, good for lean muscle, mixes easily, clean and free of artificial ingredients, and comes in a variety of tasty flavors.

Sweetened with Xylitol.

Expert Ratings

Function

9.0 / 10

Egg protein is the best option for those who can't handle the lactose in whey protein. It's still an animal product-based protein, so it provides all nine essential amino acids at once. But the fact that it's from egg whites means it's lower in fat and calories than whey protein powder. 

Nutritional Value

9.0 / 10

With this protein powder, you get a whopping 24 grams of protein per serving, along with 4 grams of carbs. It's made with non-GMO ingredients, and is 100% free of sugar, fillers, artificial ingredients, dairy, lactose, hormones, and chemicals. It's as natural as it gets for egg protein!

 

Features

8.5 / 10

This protein is easily digested (egg whites always are), so it's ideal for both pre- and post-workout protein shakes. It can deliver the energy you need to get through your workout or provide the amino acids needed for recovery.

Some users dislike the "artificial" sweetness of the protein, but that comes from Xylitol and Stevia rather than chemical sweeteners. The protein is filling, tasty, and mixes easily with any liquid--even water!

Value

9.0 / 10

At $43 for just 21 servings (24 ounces), this is one of the priciest protein powders on our list. However, its delicious flavor and excellent nutritional profile makes it a good option if you don't mind spending a bit more.

Overall Editor Score

8.9 / 10

Best Vegan Protein Powder

#2

Garden of Life Meal Replacement

Best Vegan Protein Powder: Garden of Life Meal Replacement
Get from Amazon
27 Bought
Function
9.4
Nutritional Value
9.5
Features
9.4
Value
9.2
Overall
94%
94 % Editor Score
93 % User Score

Why People Love it

  • Comes in 4 delicious tasting flavors
  • Contains 20 grams of clean, organic plant-based protein
  • Completely raw and organic meal replacement

Garden of Life contains 44 superfoods, 20 grams of protein, 6 grams of fiber, and less than 1 gram of sugar! It tastes good and is perfect for anyone who is constantly on the go but still wants to stay on track with their health goals. 

The original formula was reported to have high traces of heavy metal. Garden of Life has since changed its methods and list all product heavy metal tests on their website. 

Expert Ratings

Function

9.4 / 10

This protein powder is perfect for satisfying hunger, managing weight, and maintaining proper health. This power packed powder helps to boost energy levels and build lean muscles. 

Nutritional Value

9.5 / 10

Garden of Life is committed to providing 100% clean food. This powder contains 20 grams of protein, 44 superfoods, 6 grams of fiber, 13 raw sprouted ingredients, 21 vitamins and minerals, and less than 1 gram of sugar! 

This Organic Raw Plant Based Protein Powder is jam-packed with goodness. It is Organic, gluten-free, Star-K kosher, vegan, dairy free, soy free, Informed Choice Certified, and a non-GMO whole food protein. 

Features

9.4 / 10

This powder is completely 100% plant-based and is the perfect formula for vegans or people looking to eat more plant-based. This protein powder mixes perfectly with water or unsweetened almond milk. 

Value

9.2 / 10

This protein powder costs about $1.14 per ounce. It's a little pricier than some of our other protein powders, but we truly feel it's worth the extra dollars. 

Overall Editor Score

9.4 / 10

Best Whey Protein Powder

#1

Optimum Nutrition Gold 100% Whey Protein

Best Whey Protein Powder: Optimum Nutrition Gold 100% Whey Protein
Get from Amazon
133 Bought
Function
9.5
Nutritional Value
9.0
Features
9.0
Value
9.5
Overall
93%
93 % Editor Score
96 % User Score

Why People Love it

  • Rich, chocolate-y flavor masks most of the "protein" taste
  • Filling and satisfying; great as a meal replacement or hunger-buster
  • Very high quality protein

Easily digestible, low in cholesterol, delivers A LOT of amino acids, easy to mix, delicious flavor, affordable, and above all ideal for post-workout smoothies and shakes.

Sweet and contains sucralose (which can harm digestion and may have nasty side effects).

Expert Ratings

Function

9.5 / 10

The purpose of this supplement is to provide you with a hefty dose of the amino acids you need to build muscle. You'll find that it's one of the best, most balanced protein powders around, and it is beautifully effective at suppressing your hunger. It's not only one of the best workout supplements for men who want to promote muscle repair and recovery, but it's also a great meal replacement. It contains enough protein and carbs to serve as a meal or snack all on its own.

As an added bonus, the fact that it's whey protein means that it's quick-acting, and will be easy on your digestive system. Unless you're lactose-intolerant, there's very little risk of digestive problems caused by this supplement.

Nutritional Value

9.0 / 10

This 100% gold standard whey protein is one of the best bodybuilding supplements around, thanks to the fact that it contains 24 grams of protein and 5 grams of Branch-Chain Amino Acids per serving. There's just 1 gram of fat and 3 grams of carbs in each scoop, all for just 120 calories. Mix it with a glass of milk, and you have a nearly-complete meal that will promote effective muscle-building.

Features

9.0 / 10

The double-rich chocolate flavor alone makes this an awesome choice. It may be a bit sweet (thanks to the artificial sugars), but it has a nice taste that is ideal for those who don't want a supplement that tastes too much like whey. Talk about delicious protein shakes and smoothies!

Value

9.5 / 10

At $30 for 2 pounds of the supplement, this is one of the best-priced protein powders on the market. You get roughly 30-40 days' supply of protein powder, and it's high quality protein that will yield real, visible results in your weight loss and muscle-building! The best whey protein powder for sure.

Overall Editor Score

9.3 / 10

Faveable Ratings: 6 Best Protein Powders

6 Best Protein PowdersFunctionNutritional ValueFeaturesValueOverall
Optimum Nutrition Gold 100% Whey Protein Thumbnail
Best Whey Protein Powder
#1Optimum Nutrition Gold 100% Whey Protein
9.5
9.0
9.0
9.5
93
Garden of Life Meal Replacement Thumbnail
Best Vegan Protein Powder
#2Garden of Life Meal Replacement
9.4
9.5
9.4
9.2
94
Jay Robb Egg White Protein Powder Thumbnail
Best Egg Protein Powder
#3Jay Robb Egg White Protein Powder
9.0
9.0
8.5
9.0
89
Sunwarrior Warrior Blend Thumbnail
Best Raw Protein Powder
#4Sunwarrior Warrior Blend
9.0
9.0
9.5
8.5
90
NOW Foods Soy Protein Thumbnail
Best Soy Protein Powder
#5NOW Foods Soy Protein
9.0
9.0
9.0
9.0
90
Orgain Organic Plant Based Protein Powder Thumbnail
Best Organic Protein Powder
#6Orgain Organic Plant Based Protein Powder
9.0
9.0
9.5
9.5
93

Best Protein Powder Buying Guide

Whether you’re trying to lose weight, burn excess fat, or gain muscles, the amount of protein you consume every day could spell the difference between satisfaction and disappointment. You could be putting in the hours at the gym day in, day out, but if you’re not getting enough of this macronutrient, you’ll most likely miss out on optimum results.

Protein powders remain to be one of the most indispensable supplements for those who are trying to get fit and healthy. Now more than ever, people are cognizant of the important role that it plays in muscle building and weight loss.

Shopping for the best protein powder will bring you face-to-face with a myriad of different formulations, concentrations, and even flavors. Whether you are lactose-intolerant, a vegetarian, or an average Joe, running out of options is pretty much impossible these days.

In this guide, we’ll help you navigate those protein-stacked shelves with an informed mind. Read until the end to find out what you need to know about the different kinds of protein powder, as well as how to maximize its benefits to achieve your fitness goals.

Protein Powder for Weight Loss

If you’re trying to lose weight, you might have already heard that upping your protein intake will help you achieve your goals. However, we all know that trying to get all the protein you need from food sources can be difficult and, needless to say, expensive.

That said, protein powder can help you achieve the minimum required protein intake you need in a day to lose some weight. If you didn't already know, a high-protein diet will boost your metabolism, help reduce your appetite and make you eat fewer calories in total.

What’s more, protein has a high thermic effect, which means you burn more calories digesting protein than digesting carbohydrates and fats.

Protein Powder for Muscle Building

Your body needs amino acids to build new muscles and retain existing ones. Because protein is packed with amino acids, increasing your protein intake will not only help maximize your “gains,” but it will also speed up the recovery process in between workouts.

Choosing The Right Protein Powder for You

Complete vs. Incomplete Protein

As mentioned above, protein is made up of building blocks called amino acids. These amino acids are what your muscles actually use to repair and grow itself. It follows, then, that you should consider not only the amount of protein you're getting from a supplement, but also its quality as far as amino acids are concerned.

Moreover, it's important to know that there are different types of amino acids, and that our body cannot produce nine of them on its own. As such, these nine types  should be consumed from food. Amino acids that have to be obtained from external sources are called essential amino acids.

How is this relevant? Well, some types of protein contain all nine essential amino acids—and we call them complete proteins. Some, called incomplete proteins, contain some essential amino acids, but not all.

Protein Concentrate vs. Isolate

Another set of terminologies that you may encounter when shopping for the best protein powder involve the words “isolate” and “concentrate.” When a certain product is labeled as a concentrate, it contains around 70 to 85 percent pure protein. An isolate, on the other hand, contains a higher concentration of protein—usually 90 to 95 percent.

So, what is the rest of the powder made up of, you may ask? Well, the remaining parts consist of a combination of carbohydrates and fat. Also, note that because isolates are a purer form of protein, they’re usually more expensive than concentrates.

If you’re on a tight budget, buying a concentrate is the obvious choice. However, if you’re on a strict diet that requires you to minimize the carbs and fats you consume, buying protein isolate is the way to go.

Still having a hard time deciding? Some products—called “blends”—offer a mix of isolates and concentrates. This option gives you a middle ground if you’re finding it hard to make a choice.

Biological Value

As you do your research about protein supplements, you might also come across terms like “BV rating” or “BV value.” BV stands for Biological Value, which measures the proportion of protein from a specific source that becomes incorporated into the proteins of your body.

In a nutshell, a protein source’s biological value will tell you how easily the digested protein can be used by your body in protein synthesis. A protein source is more readily usable the higher its BV rating is.   

Different Protein Sources Used in Protein Powders

Whey protein, which is perhaps the most popular source used in protein powders, is widely regarded as the best for everyday use. It delivers all of the essential amino acids, has an excellent BV rating, and is easy to digest. Whey protein is derived from milk products.

Casein protein is another source of protein that’s isolated from milk. Composed of 92% protein, it has a thicker taste and is slower to digest than whey. Although its BV value is lower than whey’s, it is more ideal for bodybuilding and weight gain.

Soy protein is one of the most popular sources of protein for people who aren’t into milk-based concentrates. It is fast-digesting and high quality, but it is not a complete protein. This is why it’s not the best source for those who are trying to build muscle.

Pea protein is popular among vegetarians. This gluten-free source is also lactose- and cholesterol-free. It is easy to digest and supplies a nice amount of amino acids.

Egg albumin provides protein that is derived from the egg white. Its relatively-high essential to non-essential amino acid ratio makes it another popular choice for bodybuilders. If you’re lactose-intolerant, egg albumin is another great alternative to the more popular casein and whey.

Wheat protein is another plant-based source that is perfect for vegetarian athletes and bodybuilders. It is cholesterol- and lactose-free and is high in glutamic acid.

Hemp protein is an interesting protein source because it contains Omega 3 and 6 essential fatty acids. It’s also high in fiber. The downside? It offers lower levels of amino acids compared to other plant-based protein sources.

Single-vegetable protein sources like soy and hemp are incomplete protein sources. However, this doesn’t mean that vegetarians are doomed to a lifetime of subpar protein supplementation. Many plant-based protein powders combine several sources in order to deliver a complete supplement to their patrons.

How Much Protein Should You Have?

Most protein powders set their serving sizes at around 30g, which is the ideal amount for protein synthesis and repairing muscle damage after training.

If the recommended total daily protein intake is what you’re after, this will vary depending on your fitness goals, weight, activity level, age, and muscle mass. But just to give you an idea, here are the average recommendations according to the desired results:

  • If you want to lose weight, 1.76 to 2.2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight is recommended.
  • For building muscles, 2.2 to 2.6 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight is advised.
  • If you want to simply maintain your current weight, 1.1 to 1.5 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight is ideal.

When’s The Best Time of the Day to Take Protein?

You should take your protein supplement after training since your muscles need it the most at this time. Make sure to drink your protein shake within 30 minutes after the end of your gym session to make the most out of your workout. The influx of amino acids in your system will initiate recovery and muscle building.

Some people also like to take protein powder before their workout. Drinking a protein shake 45 minutes before going to the gym will help improve your energy levels, leading to better performance later on.

You may also opt to take protein powder at other times—especially during rest days. We recommend breaking your fast in the morning with a scoop of your favorite protein powder since a high-protein breakfast is beneficial for weight loss and muscle building.

Protein Powder Expert Tips

  • Protein powders are classified as a supplement for a reason: they must supplement a healthy diet. Whole foods, such as meat, eggs, polutry, almonds, and fish, are still the best source of protein. Gulping down loads of protein powder and hoping that it overrides the effects of having a crappy diet will do you no good.
  • Always read the label! To get the most bang for your buck, go for protein powders that contain a minimal amount of “other” ingredients.
  • Use a blender or a dedicated shaker bottle to prepare your protein drink or smoothie. Don’t just mix the powder into a glass of water using a spoon.
  • Don’t be afraid to try out different flavors. Many flavored protein powders are delicious yet surprisingly low in sugar. Again, reading the label before making a purchase is key. Beware of sweeteners like cane sugar, corn syrup, and maltodextrin.
  • Beware of consuming too much protein if you suffer from kidney disease. You likely won’t be able to tolerate ingesting high amounts of protein at one time. As such, you should stick to powders that have a lower protein content (not more than 15 grams per serving).

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Article Staff

Fitness has come hard for Andy; he's had to work for it. But, his trials have led him to becoming a martial artist, a NFPT-certified fitness trainer, and a man passionate about exercise and healthy living. That’s why he’s our resident fitness expert.

His favorite food is lettuce-leaf steak tacos – though he’ll admit to a love of hot wings if you leverage the right pressure.

We know him as the guy who understands British humor and wishes everyone was as passionate about life as he is. His previous forays into the worlds of international business and education have left him wildly optimistic. And, if that wasn’t enough, he's also a best-selling, award-winning author of fantasy novels! Can you say renaissance?

Editor Jenna Holtz
Researcher Ronnie Langston
Art Director Cherry Barbacena

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