Whether you're a serious athlete, a weekend warrior or just a dedicated gym goer looking to tone-up, it's a good idea to have some powdered protein on hand. Protein builds muscle, boosts your performance and makes the most out of all your hard work in the gym. And thanks to the high protein content of powdered supplements, having a scoop or two in a shake, smoothie or bowl of oatmeal not only helps build and preserve lean muscle mass effectively, it also aids weight loss efforts by boosting calorie burn and increasing satiety. But when there are so many options on the market, from industrial-sized tubs to indie vegan brands, how's a guy supposed to choose the best protein powder for his needs? After all, not all protein powders are created equal. We sifted through the good, the bad and the ugliest tubs to unearth the ones worth your time.
The Best Options
The Best Tasting
After trying out dozens of options, Paleo Pro continues to top our list of best tasting protein powders. What's maybe more shocking is that they contain no dairy, soy or wheat—just pastured grass-fed beef, egg protein and natural collagen. They also just launched two new flavors as well: a breakfast-ready maple pecan and a mocha mint that's as close to a guilt-free Thin Mint as you can get.
$42.99 by Paleo Pro
The Vegan Superfood
This popular plant-based powder offers up 30 grams of protein per scoop from a mix of pea protein, alfalfa and organic pumpkin and sunflower seeds. It's also supercharged with sport-specific ingredients such as tart cherry, tumeric and quality probiotics—all of which help with post-workout recovery.
$39.99 by Vega
This minimalist powder strips out everything but the actual whey protein itself. There are no additives, sweeteners or flavors so you'll likely want to mix this into a smoothie, oatmeal or chocolate milk to make it palatable. But if you want it pure, this is your best bet. Plus it's grass-fed and cold processed—which, according to the company, ensures that no contamination occurs from chemical detergents, additives or heavy metals.
$21.99 by Naked Nutrition
Most Peanut Buttery
Almost too good to be true, this fine powder is made of nothing but peanuts, yet it contains nearly three times the protein content of your average peanut butter. It's made from organic Spanish variety peanuts grown in Southwest Texas and there are no fillers, flavors or sugar. But there is naturally occurring fiber, magnesium and amino acids, which all come in handy after a workout.
$18.99 by NorCal Organic
For Pre- and
This NSF-certified protein powder offers up 30 grams of protein boosted with creatine, a compound made from amino acids, that studies have shown greatly helps reduce fatigue during heavy lifting as well as boost muscle gains from strength training exercises. Which means you can use this as a pre- or post-workout shake (or split a serving between the two).
$18.99 by Cellucor
Everyone's workout is a little different, right? So why not tailor your post-workout protein shake to your specific needs and goals? This company offers up an easy questionnaire you fill out. They then run it through their system to create the perfect formula, complete with vitamins, minerals and various fruit and vegetable extracts and concentrates. Then it's shipped directly to you once a month.
From $41.25 by iFit
The Most Portable
BiPro's Elite protein powder is a 100% whey protein isolate made through a gentle ion exchange process, taking great care to remove impurities without denaturing the protein. These handy packets are ideal for travel or to stock at work, in your car or your bag. When you're running low on energy or feeling hungry (or have just come from a workout), you can mix it with some water or milk for a satisfying protein shake that offers 20 grams of minimally processed protein with only naturally sourced flavors and sweeteners.
$24.99 (for 12 packets) by BiPro