We include products we think are useful for our readers. If you buy through links on this page, we may earn a small commission Here’s our process.
Healthline only shows you brands and products that we stand behind.Our team thoroughly researches and evaluates the recommendations we make on our site. To establish that the product manufacturers addressed safety and efficacy standards, we:
- Evaluate ingredients and composition: Do they have the potential to cause harm?
- Fact-check all health claims: Do they align with the current body of scientific evidence?
- Assess the brand: Does it operate with integrity and adhere to industry best practices?
You may be considering a protein powder for weight gain. Our top pick comes from Transparent Labs. Keep reading for a dietitian’s full list of the best options and how to know when you need a mass gainer.
If you’re trying to gain weight, you’ll need to consume more calories than you burn on a daily basis.
For those who have trouble eating enough during the day, mass gainer supplements offer a convenient and effective way to boost calorie intake.
Unlike typical protein powders, mass gainers are rich not only in protein but also in carbs and sometimes in other ingredients, such as healthy fats.
To help you find a product that’s right for your health goals, we rounded up the 10 best protein powders to support weight gain.
Best mass gainers with under 1,000 calories per serving
- Best overall: Transparent Labs Mass Gainer | Skip to review
- Best lower carb: True Athlete Natural Gainer | Skip to review
- Most flavor options: Rival Nutrition Clean Gainer | Skip to review
- Best affordable: Universal Real Gains Weight Gainer | Skip to review
- Customer favorite: Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Pro Gainer | Skip to review
- Best with creatine: MuscleMeds Carnivor Mass | Skip to review
- Best vegan: Iron Vegan Athlete’s Gainer | Skip to review
Best mass gainers with over 1,000 calories per serving
- Best for competitive athletes: Optimum Nutrition Serious Mass Protein Powder | Skip to review
- Best vegan: Naked Mass Vegan Protein Powder | Skip to review
- Customer favorite: Dymatize Super Mass Gainer | Skip to review
Mass gainer protein powders are high calorie supplements designed to help people gain lean body mass.
Most mass gainers contain carbs and protein. Some also contain some calories from fat.
By providing a concentrated source of calories from high quality proteins and carbohydrates, mass gainers may help you gain lean body mass when paired with a regular resistance training regimen (
Mass gainers increase the amount of protein and calories you consume in a day. Consuming more calories and protein increases body weight over time, which, combined with proper resistance training, can help you gain muscle mass (
Research has shown that protein powders can help increase muscle protein synthesis, or the process of building muscle, when used alongside resistance training (
While a mass gainer isn’t necessary to increase muscle mass, it may offer a convenient way to get extra calories and protein.
As stated above, the purpose of a mass gainer is to increase both calories and protein in order to support gains in lean muscle mass (
Choosing a mass gainer that contains more than 1,000 calories per serving will provide a greater surplus than one that contains fewer calories and thus may be an easier option for boosting intake.
For example, if you find it difficult to consume enough whole foods to reach your goals, a mass gainer with 1,000 or more calories per serving may make the most sense.
Alternatively, a mass gainer with fewer calories may work well for you if you’re already consuming a good amount of calories and protein through your diet and you don’t need quite as many supplemental calories to reach your goal surplus.
Some mass gainers are higher quality than others. The products listed below were handpicked by a registered dietitian based on the following criteria:
- Ingredient quality: We included products that use high quality sources of protein such as whey, casein, egg, beef, pea, and brown rice.
- Transparency: All products adhere to health claims and labeling requirements per Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations and are manufactured in facilities that adhere to the current good manufacturing practices (CGMPs) established by the FDA.
- Credibility: The products we chose are made by medically credible companies that follow ethical, legal, and industry best standards.
- Nutritional quality: We chose products with varying amounts of calories, carbohydrates, fats, and protein to meet different nutritional needs.
- Customer reviews: All the products included have mostly favorable reviews.
- Third-party testing: Most of the supplements listed below are third-party tested for purity and quality.
- Vetting results: All the products included here have been vetted to ensure that they meet Healthline’s medical and business standards. You can read more about our vetting process.
A note on price
General price ranges with dollar signs ($–$$$) are indicated below. One dollar sign means the product may be affordable, whereas three dollar signs indicate a higher cost.
- $ = under $3 per serving
- $$ = $3–$5 per serving
- $$$ = over $5 per serving
The prices below reflect the approximate price per serving based on the current market list price (MSRP). As a result, actual prices may vary depending on where you shop.
If you have a tough time gaining weight and are considering a mass gainer supplement, you might want a higher-calorie option.
Here are the top 3 mass gainers that boast more than 1,000 calories per serving.
Here is a quick look at how our top picks compare:
|Price range||Protein source||Third-party tested||Calories per serving||Carbs per serving (g)||Protein per serving (g)|
|Transparent Labs Mass Gainer||$$$||whey||yes||790||114||53|
|True Athlete Natural Gainer||$$||whey||yes||510||70||35|
|Rival Nutrition Clean Gainer||$||• whey|
|Universal Real Gains Weight Gainer||$||• whey|
|Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Pro Gainer||$$||• whey|
|MuscleMeds Carnivor Mass||$$||beef||yes||710||125||50|
|Iron Vegan Athlete’s Gainer||$$||• pea|
• brown rice
|Optimum Nutrition Serious Mass||$$$||• whey|
|Naked Mass Vegan Protein Powder||$$$||• pea|
• brown rice
|Dymatize Super Mass Gainer||$$||• whey|
When purchasing a mass gainer protein powder to support your weight gain efforts, there are several factors to consider, including:
- Is it third-party tested? It’s best to choose a product that has been third-party tested to ensure you’re getting the best quality. Some well-known third-party testing organizations are NSF International, Informed Choice, Eurofins Scientific, and Analytical Resource Laboratories. If a product is not third-party tested, try to find one made in a reputable facility, such as a CGMP- or UL-certified facility.
- How many extra calories do you need? Make sure to talk with a registered dietitian or another healthcare professional to determine how many additional calories you need per day to help reach your weight goals.
- What is the serving size? While some powders are more concentrated, others require adding up to four scoops per serving. Consider what volume is realistic for you to consume on a regular basis.
- How is it sweetened? If having a natural product is important to you, you may want to opt for one that is sweetened with stevia or regular sugar rather than artificial sweeteners such as sucralose and acesulfame potassium.
- What is the protein source? Be sure to choose a product that uses a high quality source of protein such as whey, casein, egg, beef, pea, or brown rice, as well as one that will meet your needs and preferences. For example, if you prefer to avoid dairy or animal products, opt for a vegan-friendly product.
- What is the nutrient profile? Mass gainers vary in the amounts of protein, carbs, and fat they contain. Consider your dietary needs and choose a product that best fits those needs.
- What other ingredients does it contain? Some products contain artificial colors, additives, and preservatives, which some people prefer to avoid. Also, consider whether you want a product that contains added vitamins and minerals.
You can mix mass gainer protein powders with water or your liquid of choice, though each product will include specific instructions for preparing and consuming it.
Mass gainers contribute a large number of calories on their own. However, it can also be helpful to mix the powder with milk or blend it into a smoothie with ingredients such as fruits, vegetables, or nut butters for extra calories and nutrients.
Unless a healthcare professional recommends otherwise, it’s best to stick with just one serving of protein powder per day.
Consuming more than one serving per day could contribute to unwanted side effects, such as bloating, and lower the quality of your diet by replacing whole foods, which are rich in important nutrients.
As for timing, the best time to take a mass gainer for weight gain is when it’s most convenient for you. However, if you’re looking to build muscle, some research suggests that it’s most beneficial to consume protein powder shortly after completing a strength training workout (
Below are some commonly asked questions about mass gainers.
How much mass gainer should you take daily to gain muscle mass?
There’s no blanket recommendation for the amount of mass gainer to take each day to gain muscle mass. However, research suggests that increasing calories and protein will help promote muscle gain (
Depending on your current intake and the number of calories and protein you’re aiming to consume, you’ll be able to determine how much mass gainer might be best for you.
Be sure to follow the instructions on the individual product for the best results.
What’s the difference between a mass gainer and protein powder?
Protein powders are designed to provide a convenient source of protein. Mass gainers provide protein as well as a lot of calories, from carbs and fat, to promote weight gain.
What are mass gainer side effects?
There is currently no specific research on the side effects of mass gainers. However, they are often very high in calories. If you’re not used to that, you could experience an upset stomach.
It might be a good idea to slowly increase your use of a mass gainer supplement to let your stomach adjust to the increase in calories.
If you’re having trouble gaining weight, you may not be consuming enough calories.
While it’s possible to meet your calorie needs through food alone, some people find mass gainer supplements helpful for reaching their weight goals.
To find the product that’s right for you, you’ll want to consider a variety of factors, including nutritional quality, serving size, available flavors, and third-party testing.
We also recommend talking with a healthcare professional before adding a new supplement to your daily routine.