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Whether you’re trying to lose weight or build muscle, protein powder can be a convenient and easy way to increase your protein intake.

While the vast number of protein powders on the market can make the task of choosing one daunting, it also means there are probably several options that will be a good fit for you.

Protein powders are also sourced from different ingredients, some of which may be better suited for specific needs than others.

We chose the best protein powders based on the following criteria:

  • Ingredient quality. We looked for products that are made from high quality ingredients and contain minimal amounts of added sugars and artificial additives.
  • Third-party testing. All the products included are third-party tested for quality, accuracy, and purity.
  • Customer reviews. The protein powders listed below have mostly positive online reviews.
  • Price. We included options to suit a variety of budgets.
  • Vetting. All the products included have been vetted to ensure that they meet Healthline’s medical and business standards.

Here are the 15 best protein powders by type.

Best whey protein powders

Whey is a milk-based protein that’s quickly and easily digested and absorbed, which can help you feel full and energized.

Whey protein can be a good choice to use before or after working out. In fact, studies show that whey protein can help boost muscle growth and improve body composition when paired with resistance training (1, 2, 3).

Naked Whey Protein Powder

Price: $$

Naked Whey Protein Powder is a low carb option marketed to people who want to lose weight and increase muscle tone.

The unflavored version is free of added sugar and contains just one ingredient: whey protein concentrate.

This protein powder gets high marks for its formulation, with reviewers on Amazon noting that it’s easy to mix and has a mild flavor that works well when combined with other ingredients.

Additionally, it’s certified by Informed Choice, meaning it’s free of banned substances and safe for athletes.

It also has a creamy consistency and can be added to milk, yogurt, or smoothies for a quick and easy dessert or snack.

Naked Whey is also available in chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry flavors, all of which are sweetened with organic coconut sugar.

Just keep in mind that this powder may not be a good option for those who have difficulty digesting dairy or prefer to eat organic.

SFH Pure Whey Protein

Price: $$

SFH Pure Whey Protein is noted for its amazing taste, ease of absorption, and ingredient content.

Sourced from grass-fed, free-range cows in New Zealand, this minimally processed whey concentrate doesn’t contain soy, gluten, or artificial ingredients.

Because it’s low in carbs and free of added sugar, it may be a good choice for people on a low carb or ketogenic diet who are looking for an easy way to boost their protein intake.

It’s also certified by NSF International, a third-party organization that sets strict standards for the quality, strength, and purity of supplements.

Keep in mind that those with a food allergy may need to exercise caution, as this powder is manufactured in a facility that also processes tree nuts and fish.

Ladder Whey Protein Powder

Price: $$

Sourced from high quality whey protein isolate, Ladder Whey Protein Powder is a great option for athletes looking to boost their protein intake and performance.

It’s formulated with several strains of probiotics, which are a form of beneficial bacteria that have been shown to support immunity and digestive health (4).

It’s also NSF Certified for Sport, meaning that each batch has been tested for banned substances to ensure safety.

According to reviewers, it mixes very easily and doesn’t have a chalky aftertaste like many other protein powders on the market, so it can be a great addition to your post-workout protein shake.

However, it’s a bit pricier than other supplements and contains a small amount of cane sugar, which may not be ideal for those who prefer to avoid products with added sugar.

Best casein protein powder

Casein is digested and absorbed slowly, which can help you feel full longer. As such, it may help reduce your appetite. The slower digestion and absorption rate may also help support muscle growth and recovery over longer periods (5, 6).

BulkSupplements Casein Protein Powder

Price: $$$

This unflavored casein protein powder may help support muscle growth and aid recovery after your gym session.

BulkSupplements Casein Protein Powder is also a good source of calcium578 mg or 45% of your daily recommended value per serving — which may help improve dental and bone health (7, 8).

It’s also produced in a facility that’s certified by NSF International. According to the company’s website, BulkSupplements products also undergo third-party testing, but the name of the third-party lab isn’t disclosed.

The powder is particularly a good choice for adding to smoothies or batters because it doesn’t clump.

However, it’s not ideal if you prefer a flavored or sweetened protein powder.

Best egg white protein powder

Egg white protein is a great alternative to whey or casein protein, especially for those who have an allergy to dairy products.

NOW Sports Egg White Protein

Price: $$

NOW Sports Egg White Protein Powder is free of dairy, so it’s a good choice if you’re lactose intolerant. It’s also paleo-friendly and free of fillers, additives, and sweeteners.

Additionally, this product is certified by Informed Sport, a third-party organization that tests supplements to ensure that they’re free of banned substances.

The smooth, unflavored powder is a great addition to shakes, smoothies, and baked goods.

Still, some reviews note that it can be somewhat hard to mix, so it may not be suitable for all types of recipes.

Best collagen protein powder

Collagen is a component of muscles, and supplementing with it may help stimulate muscle growth when combined with resistance training (9, 10).

Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides

Price: $$

This bovine collagen peptide protein powder is free of gluten and dairy and easy to digest and absorb.

In addition to being made with non-GMO ingredients, the powder’s collagen is sourced from grass-fed, pasture-raised cows.

This supplement may help support healthy collagen production, which can promote healthy muscles, bones, and joints.

While the chocolate flavor can be used in smoothies and desserts, Vital Protein Collagen Peptides unflavored powder is even more versatile, as you can also add it to savory foods like soups.

Note that while this product is an excellent option if you’re limiting your intake of carbs or calories, it’s a bit more expensive than other varieties of protein powder and may not be ideal if you’re on a tight budget.

Best plant-based protein powders

Plant-based proteins such as rice, pea, and hemp are ideal for people who are vegan or have an intolerance to milk proteins or lactose. Each type of plant-based protein has its own unique benefits.

For example, one study showed that pea protein made from yellow split peas was as effective as whey protein at improving body composition, strength, muscle thickness, and workout performance when used in combination with high intensity functional training (11).

Rice protein powder may have the same muscle-building benefits as whey protein, per a 2020 study involving healthy men (12).

Hemp protein is another great option, as hemp is a complete protein, which means it contains all nine essential amino acids. It’s also easy to digest.

Below are 8 of the best plant-based protein powders to suit a variety of ingredient preferences.

Best pea protein power

Anthony’s Premium Pea Protein

Price: $

This pure pea protein contains iron and all essential amino acids.

It’s also low in carbs, free of added sugar and artificial flavors, and suitable for people who are vegan or need a dairy-free option.

Additionally, Anthony’s Premium Pea Protein is batch-tested and verified gluten-free, making it a good option for those on a gluten-free diet.

The powder also mixes well into smoothies, puddings, or drinks. However, because it’s unflavored and unsweetened, you may want to pair it with ingredients like fruit, nut butter, or cocoa in smoothies.

For this reason, it may not be the best choice for those seeking a simple option that can be mixed into water or a plant-based milk and enjoyed as is.

Ritual Essential Protein

Price: $$$

This protein powder is made from organic pea protein and sourced from non-GMO peas that are grown in the United States using regenerative farming practices, a method of farming that can help restore the health and quality of soil (13).

Not only is Ritual Essential Protein free of added sugar, but it’s also a good source of nutrients like fiber, iron, and calcium.

Plus, it’s certified by Informed Sport, a third-party organization that tests supplements for strength, safety, and purity.

Ritual also prioritizes transparency by providing detailed information about the source and function of each ingredient it uses.

Because it’s a bit pricey, some people may prefer more affordable alternatives. It’s also available in only one flavor, so it may not be as versatile as other protein powders.

Best rice protein powder

ALOHA Organic Plant-Based Protein Powder

Price: $$

ALOHA Organic Plant-Based Protein Powder is formulated with a blend of plant-based proteins sourced from peas, brown rice, hemp seeds, and pumpkin seeds.

The powder contains all nine essential amino acids, in addition to fiber and iron. It’s also free of stevia, soy, and dairy and sweetened with coconut sugar.

Plus, it’s organic, certified vegan, and made without any artificial ingredients.

This powder has a fine consistency and is available in vanilla or chocolate, making it easy to mix into hot or cold drinks and smoothies.

However, while it could be a good option for vegans and vegetarians hoping to ramp up their protein intake, it does contain coconut, which some people with a tree nut allergy may need to avoid.

Best hemp protein powder

Navitas Organics Hemp Powder

Price: $$

In addition to offering 13 grams of hemp-based protein, Navitas Organic Hemp Powder is a good source of magnesium, iron, and fiber. It also contains omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids and all nine essential amino acids.

The powder is suitable for people who require gluten-free options and have digestive sensitivities.

Plus, it has an earthy, nutty taste with no chalky aftertaste and can be used as a flour substitute.

The powder also dissolves well, so it can be a delicious addition to smoothies, yogurt, and baked goods. You can even add it to dips, salads, and soups.

According to the company’s website, Navitas Organics products are third-party tested to ensure quality and safety, though the name of the testing organization isn’t disclosed.

Just keep in mind that it’s a bit lower in protein than other products on this list, which may be a drawback for some.

Best organic plant-based protein powder

Ora Organic Vegan Protein Powder

Price: $$

Ora Organic Vegan Protein Powder features a variety of plant-based ingredients, including peas, rice, sprouted quinoa, amaranth, and hemp seed.

It’s not only suitable for those who are vegan or vegetarian but also a great option for people who are lactose intolerant or who follow a gluten-free diet.

Additionally, this vegan protein powder is certified organic and tested for heavy metals by third-party labs to ensure safety.

It’s also free of artificial ingredients and sweetened with stevia, monk fruit, and brown rice syrup. However, it does contain coconut, which some people may need to avoid.

You can use this powder in smoothies, pancakes, or baked goods or mix it with your beverage of choice, such as oat milk or water.

Best superfood plant-based protein powder

Ground-Based Nutrition Superfood Protein

Price: $$$

Ground-Based Nutrition Superfood Protein Powder is organic, unsweetened, and GMO-free. It’s also vegan and free of gluten, soy, and sugar.

The plant-based powder features raw greens, including kale, broccoli, and spinach, as well as superfoods like spirulina and maca.

It also contains brown rice, sacha inchi, and cranberry proteins, as well as all nine essential amino acids.

Every batch is third-party tested at an accredited lab for heavy metals and contaminants, such as yeast and bacteria.

This protein powder is a bit more pricey than other similar products. Still, people describe it as having a great taste that makes it easy to drink and enjoy.

It comes in unflavored, vanilla, and chocolate options. You can also find recipe ideas on the company’s website.

Best plant-based protein powder for athletes

Vega Sport Premium Protein Powder

Price: $$$

This vanilla-flavored protein powder contains tart cherry powder, which has been shown to decrease inflammation and accelerate post-workout recovery (14).

Vega Sport Premium Protein Powder also contains pea, pumpkin seed, sunflower seed, and alfalfa, and it’s free of dairy, soy, and gluten. It’s a good source of iron and calcium too.

Plus, it’s free of added sugar and is NSF Certified for Sport, meaning it’s a great choice for athletes.

However, it may not be ideal for those with food allergies, as it’s processed in a facility that also handles common allergens such as peanuts, milk, soy, eggs, and tree nuts.

You can mix this powder with your choice of milk or nondairy beverage. You can also add it to your favorite smoothies, shakes, and desserts.

Ladder Plant Protein

Price: $$

Co-founded by Arnold Schwarzenegger and LeBron James, Ladder specializes in producing high quality protein powders formulated specifically for athletes.

This plant-based protein powder features a blend of pea protein and pumpkin protein, along with an assortment of probiotics to support digestive health and increase nutrient absorption (4).

Each batch is tested to ensure safety, and all products are NSF Certified for Sport, meaning that they are free of any banned substances for athletes.

Reviewers note that it tastes great and blends very easily, which could make it a good addition to protein shakes when mixed with milk or water.

However, it is somewhat expensive, and some reviewers note that the packaging and the fine consistency of the powder can be messy.

Best personalized protein powder

Gainful Protein Powder

Price: $$$

Gainful is a subscription-based service that creates customized protein blends formulated just for you, which are sourced from ingredients like peas, brown rice, oat powder, or whey.

The brand’s online quiz collects information about your health goals, lifestyle habits, exercise routine, and dietary restrictions and recommends a protein powder designed to fit your needs.

All protein powders are free of gluten, soy, and artificial flavors and sweeteners. They are also unflavored and can be combined with the brand’s Flavor Boosts, which are available in nine unique varieties.

Although it is more costly than other protein powders, each Gainful subscription includes personalized nutrition and fitness advice, along with access to a registered dietitian.

Keep in mind that protein powder should not be used to replace healthy sources of protein in your diet, because high protein foods also provide other valuable nutrients such as fiber, vitamins, and minerals.

Still, supplements can be an easy and convenient way to increase your protein intake, as there are many ways to use protein powder.

The simplest way is to mix it with a beverage, such as water or milk, or blend it with other ingredients, such as fruits and veggies, to create a smoothie.

You can also mix protein powder into simple foods such as yogurt, oatmeal, or dips.

If you feel like getting creative, experiment with using protein powder as an addition or substitution in your usual recipes. For example, you can use protein powder in soups, veggie burgers, and baked goods.

When is the best time to take protein?

The best time to take protein powder depends on your health goals. You may want to have one large portion or several small portions of protein per day.

If you want to lose weight, you can also try incorporating more high protein foods throughout the day, as studies show that increasing your intake of protein could help reduce appetite and cravings (15).

If you’re using protein powder to improve your athletic performance or endurance, when to consume protein powder largely depends on your overall fitness goals (16).

For example, for muscle building, it’s recommended to consume protein powder within 2 hours after your weightlifting session (17).

Eating moderate amounts of protein throughout the day may also help prevent muscle loss in older adults (18).

Finally, some research suggests that taking protein powder before you go to sleep may help your muscles recover overnight (19).

Protein powders are popular choices for fitness enthusiasts looking to build and strengthen muscle while improving athletic performance.

They’re also popular among people interested in supplementing their diet due to dietary restrictions or simply adding a healthy source of protein to it.

Protein powders can also be a quick and easy way to get protein when you’re pressed for time.

Protein powders are made from various protein sources. To find the protein powder that’s right for you, you’ll need to decide which ingredients are best for your needs.

Animal-based protein powders include:

Meanwhile, plant-based protein powders often include pea, rice, and hemp.

Some blends also include other sources of plant-based protein, such as whole grains, nuts, and seeds.

Look for protein powders that have as few ingredients as possible, and always check the labels carefully and look out for any additives, including sodium, sugars, or artificial colors and flavors.

Additionally, be sure to opt for protein powders that have undergone third-party testing whenever possible.

Athletes may also want to consider choosing a protein powder that has been tested for banned substances by organizations like Informed Sport.

What type is best?

The type of protein powder you choose depends on your dietary needs, health goals, and personal preferences.

For example, vegans should opt for plant-based sources of protein, such as pea protein or brown rice protein. These can also be suitable for people following a dairy-free diet or those who have trouble digesting dairy or lactose.

Meanwhile, studies show that whey protein can help improve body composition, support growth, and speed post-workout recovery, so it’s a great choice for athletes (1, 20).

The specific form of protein may also be important to consider.

Whey protein, in particular, is available in concentrate, isolate, or hydrolysate form, although many supplements contain a combination of the three.

Although whey concentrate and isolate offer similar benefits, whey protein isolate undergoes processing methods that result in a higher concentration of protein and lower amounts of fat, carbs, and lactose. As such, it may be a better option for those limiting these nutrients.

Meanwhile, whey hydrolysate — or hydrolyzed whey — has been partially broken down to ease digestion and speed absorption (21).

Protein powders are generally well tolerated and have few side effects, so they are safe for most people.

However, certain types of protein may affect you, especially in terms of digestion. Certain types of protein can cause gas, bloating, or stomach cramps. Skin reactions are also possible.

Some supplements could contain contaminants, such as yeast or bacteria, which can cause foodborne illness (22).

They may also contain heavy metals, which can negatively affect the health of your kidneys, brain, thyroid gland, and reproductive system if consumed in large amounts (23).

Choosing a high quality product that has undergone third-party testing can help minimize the risk of contamination with these harmful compounds.

If you have a medical condition, are pregnant or breastfeeding, or take any medications that could be affected by protein powders, talk with a healthcare professional before using one.

When trying a new protein powder, pay attention to how your body responds. As with any supplement, you may wish to take a break every so often or alternate between different products.

Many people get plenty of protein through the foods that they eat.

However, if you’re trying to increase your protein intake, having a protein shake or adding protein powder to foods like oatmeal and yogurt can help you meet your needs.

Finally, try to consume plenty of whole, fresh foods, including natural sources of protein and fiber, as well as water.