The best protein powders for a muscle-building boost

Whip up protein-packed smoothies, pancakes, cookies, and soups.

smoothie protein powder drink
Drink it all the whey down.Tara Evans via Unsplash

It's truly wild to consider the explosive growth of the protein supplement industry. Google searches for "protein powder" went up 5x between January 2009 and January 2019, and all that interest has funded an endless variety of flavors (espresso! rocket pop! peanut butter delight!) and ingredients (whey! peas! hemp!) Despite its rapid ascent, protein powder isn't some ineffective trend, but rather a great dietary add-on for folks looking to build muscle, particularly those who don't eat a lot of animal products or don't have time to get a full post-workout meal. Below are some of our favorites, though there are certainly other great options out there. When choosing a protein powder, consider how it tastes, what it's made from, and what kind of additives and ingredients (like sugar) fill the container.

Chocolate Coconut Whey Protein Powder

Chocolate Coconut Whey Protein Powder
A strong coconut flavor.Amazon

Primal Kitchen protein powder has a surprisingly pure taste, thanks largely to the coconut fat that’s been added. That additional macronutrient also makes your meal more satisfying. This powder has 10 grams of protein per 1-scoop serving, and only 1 gram of sugar.

Garden Of Life Meal Raw Chocolate Organic

Garden Of Life, Meal Raw Chocolate Organic
It’ll keep you full for longer.Amazon

Garden Of Life’s protein powder is made from a mix of pea protein and brown rice protein. It also contains other ingredients that make it particularly filling, like amaranth, buckwheat, millet, quinoa, and chia seeds. All of the ingredients are organic, and it tastes great. There are 20 grams of protein in one serving, and no sugar. It comes in chocolate, vanilla, and a "lightly sweet" flavor that contains an extra 6 grams of protein.

Nutiva Organic Cold-Processed Hemp Protein

Nutiva Organic, Cold-Processed Hemp Protein
Plant-based protein powder.Amazon

Hemp protein can be a good option if you are looking for a plant-based option that is easy to digest. Nutiva Organic’s cold-processed hemp protein contains 10 grams of protein with 5 grams of fiber per serving, so it’s more balanced and will keep you full longer. Another thing to note is that it contains 7 grams of sugar per serving, which is either positive or negative depending on your preference.

GNC Pro Performance 100 Whey

GNC Pro Performance 100 Whey
The best-tasting whey protein.Amazon

A good whey powder can pack the most protein. This one delivers 24g of protein powder per 1-scoop serving. It’s also one of the more affordable options, ringing up at under $1 per serving. It does have a more synthetic taste than the Primal Kitchen protein, but it does its job, particularly when blended with banana and berries.

Jay Robb Egg White Protein Powder

Jay Robb Egg White Protein Powder
An easier way to eat eggs.Amazon

Jay Robb’s protein powder is made from egg white, which could be a good option to try if you don’t like or can’t digest whey protein, pea protein, or dairy. It tastes good, is very easy to blend into smoothies, and will give your drink a creamy consistency. It contains 24 grams of protein in 1 serving, and no sugar. It comes in chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry, as well as an unflavored option.

PaleoPro Paleo Protein Powder

PaleoPro Paleo Protein Powder
Ideal for a strict paleo diet.Amazon

This protein powder is for people who are looking for a powder that isn't whey, soy, dairy, but is gluten-free and paleo-friendly. It has a high amount of protein per serving: 25 grams and no sugar. This protein is made from beef through a process of vaporizing beef broth into droplets. These droplets are then turned into powder. We weren’t quite able to get used to the taste, but if you follow a strict diet, and this matches the criteria of what you can have, then it’s worth giving a try.

Interested in talking about deals and gadgets? Request to join our exclusive Facebook group. With all our product stories, the goal is simple: more information about the stuff you're thinking about buying. We may sometimes get a cut from a purchase, but if something shows up on one of our pages, it’s because we like it. Period.