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Let me give a piece of advice to all the men out there: Don’t fall for protein powders that make claims of helping you grow muscles in no time. The truth is that those companies spend most of their money on marketing. 

The best protein powder for men contains high-quality ingredients and is backed by science, not some shredded dude or a celebrity. Our group of certified personal trainers, competitive triathletes, and dietary professionals have sifted through the hundreds of protein powders on the market to give you our top 14 picks that will work for all types of men, regardless of their size, training experience, or fitness levels. 

The Garage Gym Reviews supplement testing methodology takes these four factors into consideration.

  • Formulation: What ingredients are in it, and are they backed by research?
  • Dosages: Are there clinically-endorsed doses of each ingredient?
  • Solubility: Does it dissolve in the recommended amount of liquid?
  • Taste: Is it yummy?

Medical disclaimer: This article is intended for educational and informational purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for medical advice. For health advice, contact a licensed healthcare provider. GGR also recommends choosing a product that has been third-party tested for quality.

RELATED: Best protein powder for women

The 14 Best Protein Powders for Men

Best Overall Protein Powder for Men: Transparent Labs 100% Grass-Fed Whey Protein Isolate 

Good for: Bodybuilders or any man whose main fitness goal is muscle building

Best Overall

Transparent Labs 100% Grass-Fed Whey Protein Isolate

GGR Score: 4 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • High-quality whey protein isolate
  • 28 grams of protein per serving
  • 15 flavors to choose from
  • $1.99 per serving

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • High-quality protein
  • No artificial sweeteners, food dyes, or preservatives
  • Lots of flavors to choose from
  • Good customer reviews
  • Whey isolate may be easier to digest for some people

Cons

  • Price per serving on the high end

Bottom Line

Transparent Labs 100% Grass-Fed Whey Protein Isolate is a clean, high-quality protein powder that contains 28 grams of protein per serving.

With zero grams of fat, a minimal number of carbs, and 28 grams of protein in most flavors, Transparent Labs 100% Grass-Fed Whey Protein Isolate is an easy choice for those looking to build muscle or lose weight. 

As you can tell by its name, this protein supplement uses whey protein isolate, which is a type of protein that has had a majority of the lactose removed from it. This not only results in a low-carb, low-fat protein powder, but could also be safe for those who normally can’t stomach dairy products, as pointed out in this February 2023 study4.

Certified nutrition coach and GGR performance editor Anthony O’Reilly grabbed the limited-edition Peppermint Hot Chocolate flavor of Transparent Labs whey protein and enjoyed it even when the weather didn’t call for hot cocoa. “All you need is a fireplace and a Christmas tree to complete the scene with this protein powder,” Anthony says. Anthony, who’s also a certified personal trainer, gave his full thoughts on this protein powder in his Transparent Labs protein review.

transparent labs protein bottle in hand

Transparent Labs has built a reputation for being…well, transparent with its ingredients and nutrition labels. There are only five ingredients in each container and the dairy is sourced from cows that are grass-fed, hormone-free, and antibiotic-free. That’s why it gets a 5-out-of-5 for ingredients and formulation.

It’s free of artificial ingredients, fillers, dyes, or preservatives, though it’s not a great source of vitamins and minerals so you’ll want to make sure you’re getting those from other food sources or a multivitamin

Some people might experience digestive problems due to the use of stevia, but myself and other customer reviewers barely noticed it when tasting this protein powder.

Price per serving$1.99 
FlavorsMilk Chocolate, Chocolate Peanut Butter, Cinnamon French Toast, Strawberry, Mocha, Vanilla Peanut Butter, French Vanilla, Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie 
Protein28 g
Protein sourceWhey protein isolate
Carbs2 g
Fat0 g
Total Calories120

Best Natural Protein Powder for Men: Legion Whey+

Good for: Anyone looking for a protein powder free of additives or harmful ingredients

Natural

Legion Whey+

GGR Score: 4 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Sourced from small dairy farms in Ireland
  • Over 5 g of BCAAs per serving
  • Non-GMO and animal welfare approved
  • Third-party tested for banned substances

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Low in carbs and fat
  • Natural ingredients
  • Money-back guarantee
  • Made with ethically-sourced milk
  • Lots of flavor options

Cons

  • Comparably high cost per serving
  • May be clumpy when mixed
  • Some flavors have mixed reviews

Bottom Line

Legion Whey+ is a clean, sustainable protein powder that also is macro-friendly and a great option for anyone looking for a clean protein supplement.

Legion Athletics dedication to an all-natural protein powder begins by sourcing their dairy from small Irish farms, which, as this June 2013 study5 points out, is associated with better milk quality. 

Furthermore, it has a Labdoor Tested for Purity certification to show that it’s been tested for heavy metals and other harmful substances, is safe for athletes, and has been tested for THC (the psychoactive compound in marijuana—and yes, some supplements may contain very small amounts of it). 

Legion has a Truly Grass-fed certification, which shows that the cows have a mostly grass-fed diet that leads to higher antioxidant content6 in the dairy they create. They’re also free of any antibiotics, hormones, or other harmful substances.  We awarded Legion Whey+ a 5-out-of-5 on its formulation and third-party testing for these reasons—we’re big fans of transparent supplement companies.

legion whey protein pour

Certified nutrition coach Anthony O’Reilly says this taste like a clean protein powder, and the Cinnamon Cereal flavor provided a bit of nostalgia. “It tastes like Cinnamon Toast Crunch, but specifically when you get to the bottom of the bowl when the cereal flavor really seeps into the milk,” says Anthony, GGR’s performance editor, who wrote our Legion whey protein review.

The nutritional content varies by flavor, but you can’t go wrong with any of the 17 choices Legion offers—you get anywhere from 22 to 24 grams of protein, 2 to 4 grams of carbs, and up to 5 grams of fat. That last one is on the higher end of what we like to see in protein powders, but we wouldn’t worry about it too much so long as the rest of your diet has moderate amounts of fat. 

Price per serving$1.99
Flavors17
Protein22-24 g (varies by flavor) 
Protein sourceWhey protein isolate
Carbs2-4 g (varies by flavor) 
Fat0-5 g (varies by flavor) 
Total Calories110-130 (varies by flavor)

Best Low-Carb Protein Powder for Men: Jacked Factory Authentic Whey

Good for: Men trying to reduce their carbohydrate intake

Low Carb

Jacked Factory Authentic Whey

GGR Score: 4 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • 24 g of protein per serving
  • Low-fat and low-carb
  • Costs $1.50 per serving
  • Five flavors
  • Artificial aftertaste

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Low-carb
  • Five flavors
  • 24g of protein per serving
  • No fillers or thickening agents

Cons

  • Some artificial ingredients
  • Has an artificial aftertaste

Bottom Line

Jacked Factory Authentic Whey is a low-carb, high-protein supplement that comes in five flavors at an affordable price.

Flavored protein powders can sometimes introduce carbs and sugar into the equation, but Jacked Factory Authentic Whey has a maximum of 2 carbs per serving and zero grams of added sugar. That’s not to mention that it only costs $1.50 per scoop to help keep your wallet and muscles as big as you want them. 

They use stevia and sucralose, and honestly you can taste it in some of their flavors, but again, it’s nothing to worry about so long as you’re not consuming too much of these sweeteners throughout your diet. 

Certified nutrition coach and personal trainer Anthony O’Reilly scored this a 4-out-of-5 when it came to the flavor department. He went with Fruity Cereal Splash, and while it reminded him of a Froot Loops bowl there was a slight artificial aftertaste. “It wasn’t anything too bad but it’s noticeable,” says Anthony, GGR’s performance editor. “On the bright side, I felt no rumblings after drinking it.”

Things like Xanthan gum are used as a thickening agent and have little to no nutritional value, so we wouldn’t worry about it too much. 

jacked factory whey

Jacked Factory uses a protein blend of whey protein concentrate and whey protein isolate, the latter of which is generally more easily digestible4. People who are lactose intolerant should consult with their physician before consuming this protein powder, but myself and other customer reviewers experienced no digestive problems when drinking it. 

Read more about this protein supplement in our Jacked Factory Authentic Whey review.

Price per serving$1.50
FlavorsVanilla, Fruity Cereal Splash, Salted Chocolate Caramel, Orange Ice Cream, Chocolate
Protein24 g
Protein sourceWhey protein isolate, whey protein concentrate
Carbs1-2 g (varies by flavor)
Fat2 g 
Total Calories110

Best Protein Powder for Men for Weight Loss: Ritual Essential Protein 18+

Good for: Those who are cutting or on a weight loss journey 

Best for Weight Loss

Ritual Essential Protein Daily Shake 18+

GGR Score: 4.4 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Organic pea protein powder
  • 20 g of protein per serving
  • Formulated to support adults 18-49
  • Third-party tested
  • 150 mg of choline per serving 

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Soy-free, gluten-free, and vegan-friendly
  • No artificial sweeteners
  • Complete amino acid profile
  • Non-GMO
  • USA-grown peas

Cons

  • Only comes in one flavor
  • Price per serving is on the high end

Bottom Line

Ritual’s Essential Protein Daily Shake 18+ is specifically designed for 18-to-49 year-olds with 20 grams of protein per serving and 150 milligrams of chlorine (to support brain and nervous system function). This protein powder from Ritual is third-party tested and Informed Sport Certified, which means this formula has been screened for over 250 banned substances.

Ritual Essential Protein 18+ comes in at 115 calories per serving, which is at the lower end of the more than 75 protein powders we’ve tested. Plus, it has 20 grams of protein that, according to this May 2008 study,12 can help you feel more full than carbs or fats. If you’re full, you’re less likely to eat more calories, and as a result, have an easier time achieving a caloric deficit—when you burn more calories than you consume—which is crucial for weight loss.

Yes, it’s pea protein and most of the time that can’t be considered a “complete” protein source because it’s low in the amino acid methionine—but Ritual adds an extra helping of this amino acid to create a high-quality protein for weight loss.

ritual essential shake 18+ in blender next to bag

The protein powder only comes in one flavor, vanilla, but weightlifting coach and GGR Head of Content Kate Meier says it’s a 4 out of 5 on taste and makes an excellent accompaniment to her morning smoothie. “It’s not super plant-y or hemp-y like some plant-based proteins are,” she says. “The taste is definitely detectable, but not overly strong.”

Read our Ritual Protein Powder Review for more information.

Price per serving$2.66
FlavorsVanilla
Protein20 g 
Protein sourcePea protein
Carbs3 g 
Fat2 g
Total Calories115

Best Flavored Protein Powder for Men: XWERKS Grow

Good for: Men looking for a great-tasting and high-quality protein powder 

Tasty!

XWERKS Grow

GGR Score: 4.25 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Natural, healthy, convenient, and tasty way to get protein
  • Uses a microfiltration process to preserve critical biological nutrients in raw whey
  • Removes unwanted fats and carbohydrates
  • All flavors are naturally sweetened
  • Nicely flavored, easily digested, and low-carb protein powder
  • Promotes muscle growth and repair

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Keto-friendly
  • Naturally sweetened
  • Sourced from naturally raised grass-fed cows
  • Tastes great
  • Soy- and gluten-free
  • Convenient

Cons

  • Expensive

Bottom Line

XWERKS Grow whey protein isolate provides a solid blend of amino acids, vitamins, and minerals in a whey protein isolate. It comes in a widely-loved range of flavors which are naturally sweetened, so they’re easily digested.

I’ve lost track of the number of protein powders I’ve tasted in my role as a certified nutrition coach and personal trainer, but XWERKS Grow chocolate flavor is easily the best-tasting protein powder I’ve had in my life. Imagine if someone took Yoohoo and made a protein version of it—that’s what this tastes like. It’s also incredibly easy to mix and not once have there been any clumps left behind in my shaker bottle. 

It’s not just the chocolate flavor that tastes amazing a gets a 5-out-of-5 in the tasting department, either. Hundreds of Amazon customer reviews state every flavor is delicious, and one all-caps review has me really wanting to try the peanut butter flavor. Find out more in our XWERKS Grow Whey Protein review.

xwerks grow

XWERKS gets their dairy from New Zealand, which has laws preventing cows from being near hormones, pesticides, or antibiotics.7 It also utilizes a special filtration process that removes most of the carbs and fats, though the peanut butter flavor does have 2 grams of each (and a slightly lower protein content at 23 grams). 

The filtration process keeps key nutrients like alpha-lactalbumin and immunoglobulins intact. A March 2018 review8 found that alpha-lactalbumin was necessary for human growth (now you see where XWERKS got the name). Your body needs immunoglobulins to help fight various diseases and viruses, according to this book9 dedicated to the topic.   

Price per serving$1.96
FlavorsChocolate, Vanilla, Peanut Butter, Strawberry
Protein25 g (Peanut butter has 23g)
Protein sourceWhey protein isolate
Carbs1 g (Peanut butter has 2g)
Fat0 g (Peanut butter has 2g) 
Total Calories110

Best Budget Protein Powder for Men: Nutricost Whey Protein Concentrate

Good for: Men who are on a budget looking for quality protein

Best Budget

Nutricost Whey Protein Concentrate

GGR Score: 4.6 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • 25 grams of whey protein concentrate per serving
  • Available in 5 flavors, including unflavored
  • High-quality ingredients and third-party testing
  • Supports lean muscle growth and recovery after workouts

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Non-GMO and gluten-free
  • Manufactured in GMP-compliant facility
  • Unflavored option only contains one ingredient, instantized whey protein concentrate

Cons

  • Whey concentrate may not mix as well as whey isolate
  • Flavored options are higher in calories than other whey proteins

Bottom Line

Nutricost Whey Concentrate contains 25 grams of high-quality whey protein concentrate, available in five flavors. It's gluten-free, non-GMO, manufactured in a GMP-compliant facility, and third-party tested.

It’s pretty tough to find a protein that’s under one dollar per serving. However, Nutricost has made it happen. Their 5-pound tubs on Amazon are available at a price that gets the price per serving down to about $0.78—wow.

It’s whey concentrate, so it’s not as pure as whey isolate—it’ll have a bit more fat typically—but this whey protein still has a whopping 25 grams of protein per serving. Perry Nix, MS, RD, also adds that, “Whey protein concentrate is a complete protein that contains all nine essential amino acids, including branched-chain amino acids, which are crucial for muscle growth.” Whey concentrate will help build your muscles just like whey isolate.

Pouring Nutricost Whey Concentrate into a cup

Kate Meier, GGR director of content and certified personal trainer, tried the chocolate peanut butter flavor, and gave the protein a 5 for taste and solubility. Not a fan of peanut butter, she notes that the peanut flavor wasn’t overpowering. She also adds, “The protein mixes extremely well, even in a shaker cup.”

This budget-friendly protein comes in five flavors, including unflavored. The unflavored protein receives the highest marks in formulation—a 5 out of 5. Although each flavor still has 25 grams of protein, all other flavors have artificial ingredients, earning them a 4 out of 5. If you’re avoiding artificial flavors and sweeteners, you might want to go with the unflavored whey protein concentrate.

Price per serving$0.78
FlavorsChocolate, Vanilla, Unflavored, Chocolate Peanut Butter, Stawberry Milkshake
Protein25 g
Protein sourceWhey protein concentrate
Carbs1 g (can vary by flavor)
Fat2.5 g (can vary by flavor)
Total calories140

Best Plant-Based Protein Powder for Men: KOS Vegan Protein

Good for: Men who live a plant-based lifestyle 

No Whey

KOS Vegan Protein Powder

GGR Score: 4 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Multi-source vegan protein powder 
  • USDA-certified organic, soy-free, gluten-free, dairy-free, non-GMO
  • Digestive support via DigeSEB to help maximize absorption

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Manufactured in the USA
  • Superfood-infused
  • 20 g protein per serving
  • Chocolate flavor is rich
  • Enhanced with digestive support enzymes
  • Under $1.50 per serving

Cons

  • Customers say it has a gritty/chalky flavor
  • Some users reported protein gave them stomach issues
  • Reports of strong sweetness and bad aftertaste

Bottom Line

KOS is a vegan protein with a lot of positive reviews, but a number of people experienced stomach issues using this protein powder.

If you live a plant-based lifestyle, are interested in becoming vegan, or just want to find a high-quality and great-tasting vegan protein powder, there’s nothing better than Vega Sport Premium Protein. 

Vegan protein powder has a slight disadvantage as most plant-based protein sources, with the exception of soy, are deficient in some amino acids (the building blocks of protein molecules).

But since soy is a common allergen, KOS uses what are known as complementary proteins, or various protein sources that when combined together create a complete protein to give you all the essential amino acids necessary for building and maintaining muscle mass. This particular vegan protein powder for men uses pea protein, flax seed protein, quinoa protein, pumpkin seed protein, and chia seed protein.

kos vegan protein review

Certified sports nutrition coach and competitive triathlete Amanda Capritto isn’t the biggest fan of vegan protein powders but she gave KOS Chocolate a 3 out of 5 on flavor because it had a rich chocolate taste that wasn’t earthy like other non-dairy protein shakes.

Amanda also notes in her KOS Vegan Protein review that a full serving is two scoops, which is a lot of powder.

KOS also has a blend of digestive enzymes that may help with digestion, according to this January 2019 meta-analaysis15.

Need a more portable protein supplement? Check out our No Cow protein bar review.

Price per serving$2
FlavorsBlueberry Muffin, Chocolate, Chocolate Chip Mint, Chocolate Peanut Butter, Salted Caramel Coffee, Vanilla, Unflavored
Protein20 g
Protein source Pea protein, flax seed protein, quinoa protein, pumpkin seed protein, and chia seed protein.
Carbs9 g
Fat7 g
Total Calories160

Best Protein Powder for Male Athletes: Onnit Grass-Fed Whey Protein

Good for: Male athletes 

For Athletes

Onnit Whey Protein

GGR Score: 4.4 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Sourced from New Zealand grass-fed cows
  • Made with whey protein isolate to filter out fats and carbs
  • Offers a complete amino acid profile
  • Website offers a subscription option to save money and auto-ship

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Low in carbs
  • High in leucine
  • Whey isolate gets to muscles faster
  • Non-GMO

Cons

  • High cost per serving
  • Can cause digestive issues for some people
  • The Mexican Chocolate flavor has mixed reviews

Bottom Line

Onnit Whey Protein is a great protein option for those looking for a grass-fed protein, however there are cleaner grass-fed protein powders on the market that are lower in cost.

Onnit Grass-Fed Whey Protein bears the Informed Sport certification, meaning it’s safe for male athletes who want to ensure their supplements are free of any banned substances. The Informed Sport certification process checks for more than 250 banned substances.

Although rare, some supplements (protein powder included) may contain ingredients that are banned in certain sports. Every sport has different rules on what and how much of certain substances their athletes are allowed to take, so instead of spending your precious time scanning the ingredient list, it’s much easier to look for the Informed Sport mark. Other certifications to look out for include Informed Choice, NSF Certified for Sport, or BSCG.

GGR senior fitness writer Amanda Capritto is a competitive triathlete who’s super-strict about her supplementation, and Onnit Grass-Fed Whey Protein is a win in her book. “The Mexican Chocolate actually tastes different from other chocolate protein powders, which I honestly wasn’t expecting,” Amanda says. “It’s rich when mixed with whole or oat milk.”

An image of Onnit grass-fed whey

There’s also no need to worry about the presence of antibiotics or steroids in the milk used to create this protein. Onnit sources their dairy from New Zealand, which has some of the strictest dairy laws in the world7 that prevent cows from being exposed to antibiotics, pesticides, or hormones. 

The use of whey protein isolate means it’s more easily digested than whey concentrate and may be safe for those with dairy sensitivities, but Onnit takes it a step further by adding a digestive enzyme blend that, among other things, contains protease and papain. Both have been linked with improved gut health10. In fact, Amanda scored it a 5-out-of-5 when it comes to digestion — “I felt nothing,” she says.

There’s another ingredient that we don’t see often in protein powders: lactobacillus acidophilus. This probiotic strain found in yogurt can help treat a number of digestive disorders, according to a November 2020 study,11 including chronic diarrhea. We’re not sure what, if any benefit it has when added to protein powder, but it could help some people who often have trouble digesting dairy products. 

Read our Onnit grass-fed whey isolate review for more of our thoughts on this product.

Price per serving$1.99
FlavorsVanilla, Mexican Chocolate 
Protein20 g
Protein sourceWhey protein isolate
Carbs3-5 g
Fat2 g
Total Calories110

Best Protein Powder for Men for Digestion: Momentous Grass-Fed Whey

Good for: Those who are looking for an easily digestible protein powder 

Best for Digestion

Momentous Grass-Fed Whey

GGR Score: 4.08 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Grass-fed whey protein isolate 
  • Cold-pressed with a micro-processing filtration 
  • ProHydrolase enzyme blend 
  • Protein is sourced from Irish cows

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Clean
  • Third-party verified
  • Mixes well
  • High-quality
  • Bioavailable

Cons

  • Unflavored may clump when mixing
  • Expensive

Bottom Line

If you are willing to pay a premium price for a high-quality grass-fed whey protein, the Momentous brand is a solid choice.

Momentous Grass-Fed Whey is another protein powder that utilizes the more easily-digestible and mostly lactose-free form of whey protein known as whey protein isolate4. It also contains other ingredients that may help people who sometimes experience stomach problems when drinking protein powder. 

There is 200 milligrams each of protease, a digestive enzyme. An October 2022 study6 found these enzymes could support improved gut health and reduce digestive issues when taken as a supplement—but Momentous already included it for you, so no need to drive to the nutrition store. All that means Momentous earns a 5-out-of-5 for ingredients and formulation.

“It tastes very much like cocoa; it tastes a lot like hot chocolate (only we mixed it with ice cold water),” says GGR Head of Content and competitive weightlifter Kate Meier, who rated it a 4 out of 5 on taste. “I would buy this and I’d drink this again based on taste. Goes down really smoothly, really easily.”

Momentous Whey Protein

This protein powder is also one of the finest and easiest to mix of the more than 50 protein powders we’ve tested. Certified personal trainer Anthony O’Reilly is able to thoroughly incorporate it into his morning iced coffee with his straw—so a shaker bottle will obliterate all clumps and provide a smooth protein drink. A 5 out of 5 for solubility.

The $2.47 per-serving cost is on the more expensive side, but it might be worth it to avoid paying the price with your digestive tract. Our Momentous Essential grass-fed whey protein review has more information.

Price per serving$2.47
FlavorChocolate, Vanilla
Protein20 g 
Protein sourceWhey protein isolate
Carb3 g 
Fat> 1 g
Total Calories100

Best Casein Protein Powder for Men: Legion Casein+

Good for: Men who want a casein protein powder that will keep them full 

Case(in) Closed

Legion Athletics Casein+ Protein Powder

GGR Score: 4.5 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Milk-derived casein protein powder
  • Thick texture
  • 5 flavor options
  • Sourced from grass-fed cattle
  • 25 g protein per serving 
  • 5 grams of BCAAs and 11.4 grams of EAAs per serving

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Sourced from grass-fed cattle
  • 100% micellar casein
  • Tasty flavor options
  • Smooth, rich, creamy texture
  • Analyzed for purity and potency in an ISO 17025 accredited lab
  • 0g added sugar
  • Includes BCAAs and EAAs
  • Subscribe-and-save option

Cons

  • Casein protein is significantly thicker than whey
  • Casein can cause bloating and gas, especially upon initial use
  • Takes quite a bit of shaking to get rid of all clumps

Bottom Line

Legion Athletics Casein+ Protein Powder comes in several delicious flavors, and we’re fans of the Banana Cream Pie. Casein can be consumed as a shake, or with less water, like a pudding. This protein has 25 grams of protein per 110-calorie serving.

A study in the Journal of Nutritional Science16 found that casein protein powder was digested much slower than whey protein powder, meaning it kept people fuller for longer (you’ll sometimes see casein in meal replacement powders for this very reason). Legion’s Casein+ protein powder was our favorite casein protein powder because it comes from grass-fed cows and has been tested for harmful and banned substances. 

Legion Casein 1

Grass-fed dairy has more antioxidants than grain-fed dairy, but another reason to seek out these types of products is they have a better omega-3/omega-6 ratio. Both types of omega fatty acids are what are known as “good” fats, but you want more omega-3s in your diet than omega-6s. 

This February 2018 study17 found grass-fed dairy had a more optimal omega-3/omega-6 ratio than milk from grain-fed cows. Omega-3s have been linked with improved heart and joint health18, and may even help reduce the frequency of certain types of headaches. 

“The Banana Cream Pie flavor tastes more like an underripe banana than a dessert but still tastes really good,” says GGR performance editor and certified nutrition coach Anthony O’Reilly. “This has been my nighttime protein powder for quite some time now and I wake up still feeling full.”

If you’ve never had a casein protein powder before, just know they’re generally much thicker and take more time to blend than their whey counterparts. Anthony still found mixing his to be easy, and gave it a 5-out-of-5 for solubility (though a shaker ball is still highly recommended).

Check out our full Legion Casein+ review for more.

Price per serving$2.00
FlavorsCinnamon Cereal, Dutch Chocolate, Banana Cream Pie, French Vanilla, Strawberry
Protein24-26 g (varies by flavor)
Protein sourceCasein protein
Carbs2-5 g (varies by flavor)
Fat0-2 g (varies by flavor)
Total calories110

Best Protein Powder for Men with BCAAs: Optimum Nutrition 100% Gold Standard Whey

Good for: Men looking for a solid protein powder with branched-chain amino acids

Budget Pick

Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Whey

GGR Score: 4.2 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Contains 3 different kinds of whey protein
  • Tested for banned substances
  • Over 5 g of BCAAs per serving
  • Instantized to help prevent clumping

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Affordable
  • High in protein
  • Plenty of flavor options
  • Low in carbs

Cons

  • Some users say it's overly sweet
  • Contains artificial flavors
  • Most flavors contain sucralose

Bottom Line

Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Whey is a team favorite for its budget-friendly prices and taste. Our team has tried multiple Optimum Nutrition flavors, and every one is ranked a 4 or 5 out of 5.

Boasting more than 5 grams of branched-chain amino acids each serving, Optimum Nutrition’s Gold Standard gets our pick for the best protein powder for men with BCAAs. Along with a healthy dose of BCAAs, Optimum Nutrition has 24 grams of protein per serving. Plus, it’s relatively inexpensive, as well, costing close to a dollar per scoop, especially if you buy it in larger containers.

RELATED: Does protein powder expire?

For those wondering, “Why on Earth would I buy a 73-serving bag of chocolate flavor protein powder,” there are two answers. Besides the lower per-serving cost, protein powder can last up to a year when stored in the right conditions (at room temperature in a cool, dry place). In other words, you don’t have to worry about it going bad like you do with meat or eggs. That’s a win-win in our book and one of the many reasons Optimum Nutrition gets a 5-out-of-5 on price.

Nicole Davis, GGR senior editor, and certified personal trainer, has tried multiple Optimum Nutrition flavors but said the Delicious Strawberry is one of her favorites. “I wouldn’t have normally picked this flavor but my husband said this was his favorite protein back in the day and it didn’t disappoint. Even my kids liked it.” We can’t think of a better endorsement than that.   

optimum nutrition whey

Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard uses artificial sweeteners, preservatives, fillers, among their other ingredients, so if you’re wanting natural ingredients, you may want to avoid. They’re present in very small quantities, so it shouldn’t be much to worry about for most people. 

Check out our Optimum Nutrition 100% Whey Gold Standard review for our full thoughts about this protein powder.

Price per serving$1.08-$1.66 (depending on container size)
Flavors19
Protein24 g 
Protein sourceWhey protein concentrate, whey protein isolate, hydrolyzed whey protein
CarbsVaries by flavor
FatVaries by flavor 
Total Calories120-130

Best Grass-Fed Protein Powder for Men: Earth Fed Muscle

Good for: People who prefer grass-fed dairy supplements 

Grass-Fed

Earth Fed Muscle Ca-Cow

GGR Score: 4.5 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Protein from whey
  • Grass-fed and sustainable
  • Clean ingredients
  • No fillers or synthetic ingredients 
  • GMP certified

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Easily mixed
  • Hormone-free
  • Only 4 ingredients
  • Soy and gluten-free

Cons

  • Relatively expensive
  • Stevia may cause digestive discomfort for some people
  • Some users report difficulty mixing in cold liquid

Bottom Line

With an average protein content and a higher cost per serving, this protein powder is better for those looking for a clean protein option rather than those just looking for great-tasting protein.

The biggest reason for us awarding Earth Fed this distinction is the Truly Grass-Fed certification on the container. This certification tells us the cows that produced this dairy spent most of their time outside eating grass as nature intended, and that the cows don’t come into contact with antibiotics or synthetic hormones. This protein also has an Animal Welfare-approved certification, so we know the cows are well taken care of.

Why is having grass-fed cows so important? New York City-based registered dietitian Laila Ouldibbat says it’s because dairy from grass-fed cows is more nutritious than milk from grain-fed livestock. “When cattle are grass-fed, health-promoting phytonutrients (antioxidants with the potential to heal and protect) are found in their meat and milk,” she says6.

earth fed muscle protein

Studies have also shown that grass-fed dairy has more omega-3 fatty acids than grain-fed dairy and that omega-3s may have anti-inflammatory properties and support brain, heart, and joint health1.

GGR Head of Content and competitive weightlifter Kate Meier has been using Earth Fed Muscle for more than five years and it’s easily a 5-out-of-5 on taste for her—even when mixed with water (which, blech, but to each their own). “You can tell there isn’t a bunch of crap in it,” Kate says. “Also, even blended with water, this protein has a very smooth, rich taste. I can drink just this and water and be a happy camper!”  

The use of whey protein isolate means it’s more easily digested than whey concentrate and may be safe for those with dairy sensitivities4. Earth Fed is also a rather simple protein, only containing around five ingredients (the exact number varies by flavor). Don’t be concerned about the sunflower lecithin—Earth Fed uses less than a gram and it’s in there to prevent the powder from clumping.

Read our Earth Fed Muscle review for our full thoughts on this protein supplement.

Price per serving$2.06
FlavorsChocolate
Protein25 g 
Protein sourceWhey protein isolate
Carb3 g 
Fat0.5 g
Total Calories120

Best Unflavored Protein Powder for Men: Naked Nutrition Naked Whey

Good for: Anyone looking for an unflavored protein powder 

Unflavored

Naked Nutrition Naked Whey

GGR Score: 4.25 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Flavorless option
  • No artificial flavors, colors, or sweeteners
  • Sourced from small dairy farms
  • Cold processed to limit contamination
  • Only 3 ingredients (unflavored has 1)

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Relatively low cost per serving
  • GMO-free
  • Non-denatured
  • Zero additives

Cons

  • Can be foamy when mixed
  • Limited flavor options
  • Some reviews mention errors on the product label

Bottom Line

Naked Nutrition Naked Whey is a great natural protein powder if you are looking for a flavorless protein option.

Sometimes you just want to add protein to your morning smoothie without changing the flavor, and for that we recommend Naked Nutrition Naked Whey. Unlike some unflavored protein powders that often contain other ingredients and additives, Naked Whey is exactly that—whey, and nothing else. 

“This is truly an unflavored protein powder,” says certified personal trainer Anthony O’Reilly, who’s tried hundreds of protein powders. “I wouldn’t recommend drinking it straight as it has a powdery texture, but it goes great with smoothies.”

Since it’s unflavored, that means you can be sure this protein powder is gluten-free, non-GMO, and soy-free. It also has the Informed Choice Trusted By Sport certification that shows it’s safe for athletes to consume without fear of accidentally ingesting any banned substances. That gives it a perfect 5-out-of-5 score when it comes to third-party testing and certifications.

Naked Whey uses whey protein concentrate, which unlike whey protein isolate still has much of the lactose (i.e., carbs and sugar) and fat naturally found in whey. That’s not the worst thing in the world, especially since carbs and fats are necessary for different bodily functions, but it’s something to keep in mind if you’re counting your macronutrient intake. 

Naked whey 1

We also love when protein powder manufacturers clearly state their amino acid profile, as is the case with Naked Whey. Another advantage is that Naked Nutrition uses grass-fed cows—which a February 2021 review6 found contained a higher number of phytonutrients than grain-fed cows. The same review stated that phytonutrients were linked with a reduced disease risk and may support heart health6.

Price per serving$1.24
FlavorUnflavored
Protein25 g 
Protein sourceWhey protein concentrate
Carb3 g 
Fat2 g 
Total Calories120

Best Protein Powder for Men for Muscle Gain: Kaged Re-Kaged

Good for: Men who are looking to increase their protein intake

Muscle Gain

Kaged Re-Kaged

GGR Score: 4.15 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Recovery blend includes L-glutamine, digestive enzymes, and creatine HCI
  • Formulated to build lean muscle and improve recovery time 
  • Scientifically-researched ingredients at appropriate ratios
  • Unique flavors: strawberry lemonade, iced lemon cake, and orange kream
  • Banned-substance free

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Mixes well
  • Unique flavors
  • Reportedly highly effective
  • Only 1 gram of sugar
  • Contains L-glutamine and creatine

Cons

  • Too sweet for some people
  • Contains sucralose
  • May cause digestive issues

Bottom Line

If you are looking for a post-workout product that not only improves recovery but also is designed to build muscle mass, Kaged Re-Kaged may be the right option for you.

Men generally have more lean muscle mass than women, as stated in this 2017 review1, which means they need more protein to maintain it. Kaged Re-Kaged has 28 grams of protein per serving, which ties for the highest amount on this list. 

It’s not just the amount of protein, however, that makes Re-Kaged our top choice for men looking to gain muscle. It also comes with creatine and betaine, two ingredients often found in pre-workouts and not protein powders. As the International Society of Sports Nutrition points out in this 2017 review2, creatine has consistently been linked with increased strength and muscle mass, and may help improve recovery after intense resistance training exercise. 

Betaine, according to this August 2013 study3, may support improved muscle endurance and strength.    

Re-Kaged is marketed as a post-workout supplement, but we believe it can be taken at any time of the day to help support your fitness goals

Anthony O’Reilly, certified personal trainer and GGR performance editor, wishes he could give the Orange Kream flavor a 10-out-of-5. “It honestly tastes like using orange soda and vanilla ice cream to create an ice cream float, and I was very sad when I ran out of this stuff,” Anthony says in our Re-Kaged review. “This was my go-to post-workout protein powder.”

re-kaged on counter

The one big downside is the per-serving cost: $2.25. That’s much higher than the $1.30-$1.99 price range we see for most protein powders, but you’d be hard pressed to find a protein supplement that contains ingredients proven to help with building muscle and strength. Oh, and did we mention the high amount of protein? Well, it’s worth repeating. 

Price per serving$2.25 
FlavorsStrawberry Lemonade, Orange Kream, Iced Lemon Cake 
Protein28 g 
Protein sourceWhey protein isolate
Carbs2-3g (varies by flavor)
Fat1 g
Total Calories140

Other Protein Powders for Men We Researched

Here’s a sneak peek at a few of the other protein powders we considered for this list, but ultimately decided against for various reasons. 

  • Muscle Milk Genuine Protein Powder: Muscle Milk Genuine Protein Powder is a better fit for someone looking for a meal replacement protein powder—that is, a protein powder that’s a bit higher in carbohydrates and fats than your typical protein supplement that can be used as a meal replacement shake.
  • Kaged Kasein: Another great casein protein powder, but we went with Legion Casein based on taste. Kaged Kasein also tasted good, just not as good as Legion.
  • 1st Phorm Phormula 1: A delicious and macro-friendly protein powder, but not one we can recommend to most people since it costs $65 a container.
  • Orgain Organic Grass-Fed Whey: A great choice if you’re looking for an organic protein powder, though it has more carbohydrates than we typically like in a protein powder. That’s not a bad thing, just something to be aware of when shopping for protein supplements.
  • Sun Warrior Protein Warrior Blend: A lower-calorie protein powder that’s great for those trying to lose weight—it just wasn’t our favorite when it came to taste.
  • Performix ioWHEY: Some of our testers loved Performix’s taste, while others said it fell a bit short. Ultimately, the lack of consensus kept it off this list.
  • GNC Lean Shake Burn: A bit too pricey and not tasty enough, at least in our opinion.
  • Ghost Whey Protein: Trendy and nostalgic flavors, but our expert product testers felt it was a bit too sweet and artificial-tasting.
  • Now Sports Whey Protein Isolate: A decent unflavored protein powder, though we felt it had a more noticeable “whey” taste than Naked Whey.
  • MuscleTech Iso Whey Clear: This “clear” protein comes in fruity flavors, rather than the traditional dessert-themed protein powders. While taste is subjective, our expert product testers weren’t in love with the flavor and felt there were too many “floaties” leftover after mixing.
  • Huge Supplements Whey Protein: Huge Whey protein has a bit more carbs and fats than we typically like to see in a protein powder, though it’s a great choice if your main fitness goal is building muscle mass.
  • Cira Bright Whey Protein: A great choice for women—which is why we left it off this list.
  • Dymatize ISO 100 Hydrolyzed Whey: Some nostalgic flavor offerings, though there are better options at this price range.
  • Kaged Plantein: We just didn’t like the taste of this vegan protein powder.
  • Swolverine Whey Protein Isolate: We found this protein powder to be too thin to enjoy.

Now do you believe me when I say we’ve tried literally dozens of protein powders? 

testing protein powders main feature photo

How We Picked and Tested the Best Protein Powder for Men

If you’re wondering how we were able to leave so many protein powders off our list, here’s an inside look at our criteria for the best protein powder for men: 

  • Protein content: We wanted to make sure each choice had a good amount of protein.
  • Overall calorie content: We looked at the total number of calories in each protein powder.
  • Solubility: How well does this product dissolve in the suggested amount of liquid? Are there floaties? Is it grainy? Is it super thick or super thin? Does it separate after a few minutes?
  • Digestibility: While this can be subjective, we made sure none of us experienced any major side effects from these protein supplements. 
  • Protein source: Did the protein powder come from whey protein, egg white, collagen, casein protein, or plant-based proteins (i.e., pea protein, rice protein, chia seeds, or brown rice)?
  • Amino acids: Did the protein powders contain all 12 essential amino acids needed for muscle growth, and were there any branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs)?
  • Price: Price per serving can range from $1.25 on the low end to upwards of $2 on the high end. A $1.90 per-serving cost would get it a 1-2, whereas a per-serving cost of $1.50 or less would get a 4-5.
  • Flavor: Again, this is subjective, but we wouldn’t recommend anything we didn’t like or was universally panned in customer reviews.  
  • Transparency and third-party testing: Since dietary supplements are not approved by the FDA, having an independent third-party lab verify that what’s on the label is what’s in the protein powder is super important, especially for athletes. Transparency also plays a part in this—does the company provide COAs, not use proprietary blends, and generally seem very upfront about what’s used in their protein powder and why?

Benefits of Protein Powder for Men

Here are a few reasons why you might want to consider purchasing a protein powder: 

  • Convenience: Which is quicker: Grilling and eating a steak or whipping up a quick protein shake? That’s right, the second one.
  • Shelf-stable: If kept at room temperature and properly sealed, protein powders can last up to 18 months—much longer than eggs, meat, or other protein sources. 
  • Supports Muscle Growth: Protein can help you maintain and build lean muscle mass.
  • Supports Weight Loss: Because it’s the most satiating macronutrient, protein powder can also be used for those looking to lose body fat

What to Look For in Protein Powder for Men

Here’s how to determine the best protein powder for your needs:

  • Protein content: Find a protein powder that fits your macronutrient goals. 
  • Digestibility: If you’re lactose intolerant, you’ll either want a dairy-free protein powder or one that primarily contains whey protein isolate. 
  • Amino acids: Make sure it contains all 12 essential amino acids.
  • Price: Find one that fits your budget. 
  • Flavor: Make sure you like the taste. 

RELATED: Best protein chips

testing protein powders

FAQs About Protein Powder for Men

Which whey protein is best for men?

Our top pick for the best whey protein powder for men is Transparent Labs 100% Grass-Fed Whey Protein Isolate due to its high protein content, ease of digestion, and lack of artificial ingredients.

Is it good to drink protein powder every day?

Drinking protein powder is fine once or twice a day, but your main focus should be on eating whole foods to obtain a variety of vitamins and minerals needed for bodily functions.

Is it healthy to drink whey protein every day?

So long as you’re not allergic to dairy it’s fine, but make sure you’re also eating whole foods to ensure you’re getting enough vitamins and minerals.

Does protein powder affect hormones in men?

Protein powder doesn’t directly affect men’s hormones, but you’re total caloric intake and macronutrient ratio (how much protein, carbs, and fats you eat) may have an impact on testosterone and other hormones. Talk to your physician if you have any questions about how your diet may affect your hormones.

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any diseases.

References

Further reading

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