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- High-quality whey protein powders have a taste you can tolerate, pack in maximum protein with minimal extras, and they work well in beverages and baked goods.
- The Cellucor Whey Protein Isolate & Concentrate Blend Powder is our top pick because it mixes smoothly, tastes great, and only costs three cents per gram of protein.
Whether you are a picky eater, athlete, elderly, or just want to suppress your appetite, boosting your protein intake can help keep your muscles healthy and increase your muscle mass. Whey protein powder is one of the most effective and inexpensive ways to add protein to your diet.
Whey protein comes from the liquid left over from the cheesemaking process. This liquid is dried into a powder. Since whey is basically the gross, acrid part of milk, the best supplement companies then introduce flavors and sweeteners to the powder while keeping fat, calories, and carbohydrates to a minimum.
There are three main types of whey protein:
- Whey protein concentrate (WPC): This is a concentrated protein that keeps more of the nutrients.
- Whey protein isolate (WPI): This is similar to WPC, but most of the carbohydrates, fat, and fat-soluble vitamins have been removed so the powder has a higher percentage of protein.
- Whey protein hydrolysate (WPH): WPH is considered “pre-digested” since it breaks down peptides — the building blocks of proteins — to help with quicker absorption.
The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for protein is about a gram for every three pounds of body weight. So, if you weigh 180 pounds, that would equate to 60 grams of protein per day. Experts suggest taking up to twice that can still produce benefits. However, before you significantly up your protein intake, you should check with your healthcare professional since people with certain maladies, such as calcium deficiencies or low blood pressure, could experience adverse effects from whey protein.
We recommend buying the whey protein powder you like through Amazon’s “Subscribe & Save” program if possible since it can save you up to 15%. At any time, you can cancel your subscription. My favorite part about this program is that it automates ordering products that I have to replenish regularly. For instance, if you take a serving of protein powder every day and there are 30 servings in a container, you can have a new tub delivered every month without lifting a finger.
All of the prices quoted in this guide are based on the current price for the most popular flavor and size of the powder. Prices are subject to change, and you can cut the cost of some powders by choosing to subscribe.
To figure out the cost per serving on your own, take the product’s price and divide it by the number of servings in the container. Since the amount of protein per serving varies by brand, it’s also useful to look at the cost per gram of protein. This is easy to calculate by dividing the cost per serving (as calculated above) by the number of grams of protein per serving.
While researching the best whey protein powders, we looked at hundreds of expert and buyer reviews and ratings of dozens of brands. Our guide features powders that have a taste you can stomach, a high protein content, and minimal fat, carbs, and calories.
Here are the best whey protein powders you can buy:
- Best whey protein powder overall: Cellucor Whey Protein Isolate & Concentrate Blend Powder
- Best grass-fed whey protein powder: Legion Whey+ Isolate Protein Powder
- Best tasting whey protein powder: Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Whey Protein Powder
- Best fat-free whey protein powder: Myprotein Impact Whey Isolate Protein
- Best digestion-friendly whey protein powder: Dymatize ISO 100 Whey Protein Powder
Read on in the slides below to check out our top picks.
The best whey protein powder overall
Why you’ll love it: If you’re looking for a powder that mixes easily and tastes great, Cellucor Whey Protein Isolate & Concentrate Blend Powder is one of the best and most affordable options.
The Cellucor Whey Protein Isolate & Concentrate Blend Powder not only tastes good and has 24 grams of protein per serving, but it’s also the most affordable option in our guide at 71.4 cents per serving and 3 cents per gram of protein. Each serving also only has 1.5 grams of fat, 4 grams of carbs, and 120 calories.
There are seven flavors to choose from, including whipped vanilla, molten chocolate, and cinnamon swirl. Cellucor recommends mixing two scoops with five to six ounces of your preferred beverage, but you can adjust the amount of liquid to fit your tastes. The company also suggests mixing the powder with yogurt, oatmeal, and pancakes.
The Wirecutter recommends the Cellucor Cor-Performance Whey because it did well in the site’s taste tests. The reviewer notes that the texture is smooth, thick, and foamy. BarBend’s reviewer found it mixed easily, tasted great, and was relatively inexpensive. However, he did note that there is a fair amount of sodium (130 mg) and didn’t like that it has sucralose, an artificial sweetener.
More than 1,000 Amazon buyers have left positive reviews of the Cellucor Cor-Performance Whey. JW, the most helpful reviewer, has tried several different protein powders, and this is his favorite. He enjoys the taste of cinnamon swirl and found it was excellent in waffles and lattes. JW notes that the smooth consistency is unparalleled by other brands.
Many other buyers call this the best protein powder they’ve tried. One commenter said the protein was able to help boost her muscle growth and after-workout recovery.
Pros: Great taste, affordable, mixes smoothly, 24 grams of protein per serving, excellent for baking
Cons: 130 mg of sodium per serving, contains artificial sweeteners
The best grass-fed whey protein powder
Why you’ll love it: Legion Whey+ Isolate Protein Powder is made with milk from grass-fed cows raised on small Irish dairy farms and has minimal added ingredients.
One 30-gram serving of Legion Whey+ Isolate Protein Powder gives you 22 grams of protein, while only adding 100 calories, one gram of fat, and three grams of carbs to your daily total.
There is no sugar in this powder. Instead, it’s sweetened with Stevia, a plant-based sugar substitute that is generally considered healthier than artificial sweeteners. The powder is also free of antibiotics, hormones, and GMOs. If you’re not satisfied for any reason, Legion Athletics offers a full refund within 90 days of your purchase date.
Very Well Fit recommends the Legion Athletics Whey+ Protein Powder because in its tests the consistency of the mix was excellent, and the reviewer didn’t experience any aftertaste. However, she did note that she wished the flavor was a bit stronger.
Best Pre-Workout for Women also complained about how this powder tasted, but the reviewer still recommends it because of the small ingredient list and the high protein content.
About 85% of the people who reviewed the Legion Athletics Whey+ Protein Powder on Amazon gave it five stars. The most common comment from buyers is that they appreciate how few calories are in it and that there’s no sugar. Many buyers of the chocolate peanut butter flavor say that they like the taste. They say it’s similar to chocolate milk with telltale protein notes to it. One reviewer appreciated that it was a healthy way to satisfy her chocolate cravings.
Comments about the price are all over the board suggesting that it regularly fluctuates. So, keep your eye out for good deals. Currently, it’s the most expensive option in our guide at $1.76 per serving and 7.6 cents per gram of protein.
Pros: Grass-fed, mixes well, no sugar, low-calorie, 90-day money-back guarantee, lactose-free
Cons: Expensive, complaints of unsatisfying taste, 180 mg of sodium per serving
The best tasting whey protein powder
Why you’ll love it: The Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Whey Protein Powder packs 24 grams of protein into each serving and is one of the better-tasting powders according to experts and buyers.
The Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Whey Protein Powder gets its sweetness from a little bit of sugar (1 gram per serving) and acesulfame potassium, which is an artificial sweetener also known as Ace-K.
Each serving has 120 calories, a gram of fat, three grams of carbs, and most importantly 24 grams of protein. At 78.2 cents per serving and 3.3 cents per gram of protein, this is one of the most affordable options on our list. Optimum Nutrition has also curated a number of recipes in which you can use the powder.
The Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Whey is The Wirecutter‘s top pick for whey protein powders. The reviewer found the powder met safety and accuracy criteria, had a pleasant texture, and tasted the best of the 10 powders in her taste test. Her main complaints are that you have to dig the scoop out of the container and the taste is a bit sweet. Several other expert sites also recommend this brand, including BarBend, NutriProtein Supplement, and USA Home Gym.
More than 13,000 people have left four- or five-star reviews of the Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Whey on Amazon. There are several buyers who say this is the best protein they’ve ever tried. However, there are numerous complaints that the formula has changed recently.
The most helpful reviewer, in a review from over two years ago, pointed out that the blend of digestive enzymes was replaced by ingredients like salt and the artificial sweetener sucralose. Another buyer in a more recent review argued that the formula has not changed for double rich chocolate (and the label backs this up). Yet, he does warn against flavors like cake batter, ice cream, and banana.
Pros: Tastes good, relatively affordable, safe ingredients
Cons: Complaints about the formula changing, contains an artificial sweetener
The best fat-free whey protein powder
Why you’ll love it: The Myprotein Impact Whey Isolate Protein is a great option if you want as much protein packed into each scoop as possible without extra fat, carbs, or calories.
Depending on the flavor you choose, the Myprotein Impact Whey Isolate Protein fits up to 22 grams of protein into each 25-gram serving.
It does this with little or no fat or sugar and only 90 calories per serving. The sodium content is also low at 25 mg per serving. At $1.06 per serving and 4.8 cents per gram of protein, this is one of the more expensive alternatives on our list.
Labdoor independently tests dozens of whey protein powders, and the site recommends the Myprotein Impact Whey Isolate because it scored high in Labdoor’s ingredient safety, nutritional value, and product purity tests. The testers found there were 21.9 grams of protein in every 25-gram serving.
Fuelboard says this powder provides the best value for his money in his experience. He notes that after taking 2 or 2.5 scoops per day, he’s experienced significant muscle gains.
Approximately 82% of the Myprotein Impact Whey Isolate reviews on Amazon are positive. One buyer liked that the powder is easy to mix and tastes great without being too sweet. He also found the texture to be smooth, and it sat well in his stomach. There are a few complaints, though.
One reviewer warns buyers to make sure they are getting the whey isolate and not just the whey concentrate. If you follow our links, you should be fine. Another buyer complained that the protein she received had different ingredients than what was advertised.
Pros: Safe ingredients, excellent product purity, a high concentration of bound protein, fat-free, low in sodium
Cons: Concerns about quality control, contains artificial sweetener
The best digestion-friendly whey protein powder
Why you’ll love it: If you’ve found protein powders leave your stomach feeling queasy, consider the lactose-free Dymatize ISO 100 Whey Protein Powder.
The Dymatize ISO 100 Whey Protein Powder is not the only lactose-free option on our list — the Legion Athletics powder is also lactose-free — but it’s the only one that uses hydrolyzed isolate protein, which is supposed to help with digestion and absorption.
Each serving has 25 grams of protein, less than a gram of fat, 120 calories, and 2 grams of carbs, including less than 1 gram of sugar.
There are 13 flavors to choose from, including cinnamon bun, fudge brownie, gourmet chocolate, and chocolate coconut. At 91.7 cents per serving and 3.7 cents per gram of protein, it’s in the middle of the pack price-wise.
Labdoor recommends the Dymatize ISO 100 as one of the best whey protein powders. In its tests, the powder had high scores for nutritional value and product purity, including less than 1 part per million of six harmful substances. Around 91% of the calories in this powder come from its protein content.
The reviewer at Best Pre-Workout for Women found the flavors were sweet, bold, and tasted as advertised. Her favorite is the cookies and cream flavor.
There are more than 2,000 five-star reviews of the Dymatize ISO 100 on Amazon. One reviewer with decades of experience in the pharmacy and biotech fields noted that most supplements are marketing trickery, but for him, this was not the case with Dymatize. He appreciated that it helped with his muscle gains as he lifted weight and that it didn’t cause him gastrointestinal distress.
There are a few quality control complaints from a few years ago about foreign objects in the powder and broken seals. The complaints are not found in more recent reviews, though.
Pros: Lactose-free, 91% of calories are from protein, less than a gram of sugar and fat
Cons: Complaints of foreign objects found in the powder, contains an artificial sweetener, 160 mg sodium per serving
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