The Best Whey Protein Powder You Can Buy, Ranked

You’ve just finished an insane workout and you’ve got a serious pump going. If you’re like most guys, you’re gonna reach for a protein shake. Truth is, muscle isn’t built in the weight room, it’s built after you leave the gym, and depends largely on what you’re refueling those muscles with.



Not all protein is created equal, though. Whey protein powder is known as the gold standard for getting bigger and building muscle. It’s derived from cow’s milk, and actually contains two main types of protein, whey (20%) and casein (80%). After being separated during cheese production, whey (the liquid portion) goes through various processing steps to become what people know as whey protein powder.

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Now here’s where it can get unhealthy. Whey protein doesn’t taste very good on it’s own, so that’s why most commercial protein powders have added flavors, ingredients, and sugars. Any powder that’s labeled as whey protein isolate or hydrolysate is the purest form of whey powder. There are three main types of whey protein powders:

Whey Protein Concentrate: About 70–80% protein—contains some lactose and fat but usually has the best flavor.
Whey Protein Isolate: 90% protein or higher—contains less lactose and fat
Hydrolysate: Also known as hydrolyzed whey, this type has been pre-digested so it gets absorbed faster.

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With so many whey protein powders available in the marketplace, it can be tricky to find the right one. Oftentimes when it comes to supplements, you get what you pay for. Cheap store-brand protein powders are usually of lower quality and contain many additives and lower amounts of actual whey protein. So how do you pick out the right one? Use these rules to help guide your decision:

Look at the ingredient label: It should be pretty simple with whey protein being the first ingredient
Look for protein powders that don’t have a lot of added sugar or artificial ingredients. If you’re looking to add carbs, then add them yourself in the form of milk, fruits, or natural honey.
Look for a powder that contains at least 20 grams of protein per serving
Look for a company that lists the amino acid profile on the label or on their website, and make sure there’s a high leucine content per serving (at least 2 grams)
Choose powders that are third party tested for quality and safety assurance like NSF Certified for Sport or Informed Choice. These companies test the products for banned substances and make sure that what’s on the label is actually in the product.

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We’ve done the tough work for you and these are the best whey protein powders you can buy.

Jordan Mazur, M.S., R.D., is the coordinator of nutrition and team sports dietitian for the San Francisco 49ers.

1. Momentous Absolute Zero – Grass Fed Whey Protein Chocolate

Momentous prides itself in having the cleanest, most transparent supplements on the market. You can even go on their website to find out where each ingredient is sourced from. They’ve removed any unnecessary additives or preservatives, so you’re getting the cleanest grass-fed whey protein on the market. On top of it all it’s NSF Certified for Sport and Informed Choice.


Courtesy of Momentous

2. biPro Whey Protein Isolate Unflavored

This is also a solid natural choice. biPro’s whey protein isolate has two ingredients: whey protein isolate and sunflower lecithin. They also have a clean label promise that guarantees it has zero grams of sugar, only natural sweeteners and flavors. You get the highest quality protein void of fillers. It’s also NSF Certified for Sport.


Courtesy of biPro

3. Klean Athlete Isolate Unflavored

Klean Athlete Isolate is as pure as it gets. It contains only two ingredients: whey protein isolate and sunflower lecithin (a natural ingredient used to keep the powder from separating). There are no artificial sweeteners or flavors. This powder is a great way to add protein and amino acids to your daily smoothies, too. It’s also NSF Certified for Sport.


Courtesy of Klean Athlete

4. Thorne Whey Protein Isolate Chocolate

Thorne Whey Protein Isolate is a clean product that’s low in sugar, calories, and fat. It has great flavor and is easy to mix, making it a great option for stashing in your gym bag and mixing in a shaker bottle post-workout. It’s also NSF Certified for Sport.


Courtesy of Thorn

5. Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Isolate

One of the best, affordable options is ON Gold Standard Isolate. It contains a combination of whey isolate and hydrolyzed isolate, so it’s a fast-digesting complete protein powder containing no more than 1 gram of carbs, less than 1 gram of fat, and more than 80% of pure protein per serving. It’s third party tested by Informed Choice for banned substances and quality.

[$2 per serving;]

Courtesy of Optimum

6. Performance Inspired Whey Isolate

Each serving packs 25 grams of whey protein isolate with only 1 gram of sugar and 1 gram of fat. With a great digestibility and protein content, this isolate makes for a great option for post-workout muscle building. On top of it all, it’s also tested by Informed Choice for banned substances.


Courtesy Image

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