We test and review fitness products based on an independent, multi-point methodology. If you use our links to purchase something, we may earn a commission. Read our disclosures.

If supplements were ancient Greek gods, then whey protein would be Zeus—more powerful than the rest. Whey protein itself is simply a protein that’s extracted from cow’s milk that contains all the essential amino acids needed for muscle growth and can be found in cheese, soup stocks, and other products. 

Most people know about whey due to their quest to find the best whey protein powder out there, and we’re here to tell you that this is where your search ends. 

Our team of certified personal trainers, competitive weightlifters, and certified nutrition coaches tried more than 75 of the best protein powders (including the best clear whey protein drinks) and consulted with Laila Ouldibbat, a New York City-based registered dietitian who’s pursuing a Ph.D. in Biological Sciences, to find the best whey protein out there. 

The top picks are the ones that scored the highest in our multi-point rating system that looks at:

  • Ingredients and formulation: Does it use high-quality ingredients in research-backed doses? Is there at least 20 grams of protein per serving?
  • Type of whey: Does the protein powder use whey protein isolate or whey protein concentrate? Whey protein isolate has less lactose.
  • Price: How expensive is each serving?
  • Taste: Did we like the flavor?

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.

Our Top 10 Picks for the Best Whey Protein Powder

Best Whey Protein Video Review

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

Good for: People who want to use protein powder as part of a muscle-building plan

For Muscle Gain

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

Our testers love Transparent Labs 100% Grass-Fed Whey Protein Isolate because we know exactly what's in it, and almost every flavor we've tried is a 5 out of 5 on taste. Yes, it's a little more expensive than other protein powders but you get what you pay for.

We love Transparent Labs 100% Grass-Fed Whey Protein Isolate as our best overall pick. It has the largest protein content of any whey protein powder in our roundup with 28 grams, but that’s not the only reason this is our favorite protein powder overall. It also tastes great and mixes well.

Certified nutrition coach and GGR performance editor Anthony O’Reilly rated the limited edition Peppermint Hot Chocolate Flavor a 5 out of 5. “This tastes like something you’d leave out for Santa,” Anthony says. “I love heating up my milk before mixing it with this for a nice winter treat.” The solubility, he adds, is another 5 out of 5.

Another big factor is Transparent Labs’ commitment to using simple, proven ingredients. Case in point, the first ingredient in this protein powder is grass-fed whey protein isolate. Whey protein isolate is one of the most bioavailable forms of protein1 meaning your body can use more of it.

RELATED: What Is Whey Protein?

transparent labs whey isolate protein powder being scooped

Whey protein isolate has also had most of its lactose removed by a special filtration process, so people with lactose sensitivities can consume it with little to no discomfort2 (most of the fat is also removed from the whey during this filtration, resulting in a “leaner” protein powder). Whey protein is also found in high-quality products like protein bars and meal replacement products.

Transparent Labs is popular with consumers and dietary professionals like registered dietitian Laila Ouldibbat. They live up to their name by having a transparent nutrition label and ingredients list, and provide certificates of analysis and composition on their website. Laila also likes that the ingredient list is very short—only five ingredients. 

RELATED: Best Protein Powder for Women

It scores a 3.5 out of 5 for its mid-range price per serving of $1.99, but for many people, the price is worth it. We deep dive into this supplement in our Transparent Labs protein review, so be sure to take a look for more.

Price per serving$1.99 
Flavors14
Protein28 g
CarbsVaries by flavor  
FatVaries by flavor 

Best Natural Whey Protein Powder: Legion Athletics Whey+ Whey Isolate Protein Powder

Good for: Those who want a natural whey protein

Au 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. Many of our testers have brought this with their own money because they love the taste and easy mixability.

Unlike other whey proteins that often contain artificial flavors, sweeteners, preservatives, or fillers, Legion Athletics Whey+ Whey Isolate Protein Powder uses all-natural, high-quality ingredients in many ways. For one, Whey+ has a Truly Grass Fed certification. This mark proves the cows that produce the dairy from which the whey protein isolate is extracted only eat grass (some companies add corn or soy to the cattle’s diet) and spend a high percentage of the year outside on Irish pastures.

Now, certified personal trainer Anthony O’Reilly is a fan of anyone who uses Irish cows, but the 5 out of 5 taste is another reason he’s such a fan of Legion Whey+. “The cereal cinnamon flavor tastes like a bowl of Cinnamon Toast Crunch, but specifically when you get to the bottom of the bowl,” Anthony says. He had no issues with the solubility either.

Bag of Legion Whey+ protein powder and shaker bottle

Even non-Irish people will love this protein powder. Each scoop comes with 22 to 24 grams of protein (depending on the flavor) and low amounts of carbs and fat. 

It also bears a Labdoor Tested for Purity certification, which shows that researchers have checked it for harmful substances such as heavy metals, banned substances, and THC (yes, it can be present in very small amounts in some protein supplements). 

Legion’s protein powder gets a 3.5 out of 5 for pricing. It’s a bit expensive, at $1.99 per serving, but you can save 10 percent by placing it on a subscription order to receive a new one every month (you can pick different flavors and quantities).

Check out our full Legion whey protein review, or the video below, for all of our thoughts on this supplement.

Price per serving$1.99
Flavors16
Protein22-24 g
CarbsVaries by flavor
FatVaries by flavor 

Best-Tasting Whey Protein Powder: XWERKS Grow

Good for: People looking for the tastiest whey protein powder 

Yummy

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
  • Has a smooth and creamy taste
  • 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. Our testers have said this is one of the best-tasting protein powders they've tried, and they've had more than 100.

Whey protein powders have come a long way from their early days of just coming in vanilla or chocolate, and there are quite a few tasty ones out there. But for our money, XWERKS Grow has some of the best-tasting protein powders on the market, earning a solid 5 out of 5 in taste and solubility. 

“The Chocolate flavor reminds me of a richer, more protein-packed version of Yoo-hoo, specifically the type you’d get in those glass bottles,” according to certified personal trainer Anthony O’Reilly. “It’s rich and creamy even when mixed with water, though it should go without saying that milk is the preferred beverage of choice,” he adds.

scoop of Xwerks Grow 1 protein powder

XWERKS Grow doesn’t just taste good, it’s also good for you (we know that sounds like your parents trying to trick you into eating steamed broccoli, but we actually mean it). Each scoop has 25 grams of protein and very low carb and fat content (the exact amount varies by flavor). 

RELATED: Best Protein Powder for Men

XWERKS utilizes a special filtration process that keeps certain nutrients intact, including alpha-lactalbumin, a nutrient found in human breast milk that can help with muscle growth3. At $1.96 per serving, this is one of the pricier options on this list, earning a 3.5 out of 5 on its pricing. Still, with a taste like this, it might be OK to splurge a bit.

Read our full XWERKS Grow whey protein powder review for all of our thoughts on this product.

Price per serving$1.96
FlavorsChocolate, Vanilla, Peanut Butter, Strawberry
Protein25 g (Peanut Butter has 23g)
Carbs1 g (Peanut butter has 2g)
Fat0 g (Peanut Butter has 2g) 

Best Budget Whey Protein: Nutricost Whey Protein Concentrate

Good for: People who want great-tasting and effective protein at an affordable price 

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.

We chose Nutricost Whey Protein Concentrate as the best budget whey protein because it’s super affordable and tastes delicious. It starts at just $0.78 per scoop for the 5-pound unflavored container, and only $0.99 or less if you purchase a 5-pound flavored container. This earns Nutricost a 5 out of 5 in the pricing category, as the most affordable protein powders are around $1 per serving. 

Each serving of Nutricost Whey Concentrate contains 25 grams of protein, which, according to registered dietitian Perry Nix, is plenty to stimulate protein synthesis for building and repairing muscle mass. This makes it easier for your body to adapt to increases in intensity and volume of lifts or other exercises and allows you to make gains quicker and more effectively, which we’re all about. 

woman drinking nutricost whey protein

One thing to keep in mind with this protein powder is that whey protein concentrate tends to contain more fat and lactose than whey protein isolate. Perry noted that because of this, it may not be the best fit for people who are lactose intolerant, or for those with weight loss as a goal. We still give Nutricost Whey Concentrate a 5 out of 5 for formulation, though. 

GGR’s Senior Director of Content Kate Meier used this protein powder almost daily for two weeks. She used it with water, milk, and also in a smoothie. Kate said it tasted great when mixed with a milk product and was super creamy whether it was mixed up in a blender bottle or an actual blender. She gave it a 5 out of 5 for solubility because there were no big clumps and it “mixes extremely well.”

Nutricost keeps it pretty straightforward with the flavors, offering Chocolate, Vanilla, Chocolate Peanut Butter, Strawberry Milkshake, and Unflavored. We love fun flavors, but honestly, straightforward flavors like this allow for a lot of versatility when it comes to things like making smoothies and baking. Kate tried the Chocolate Peanut Butter flavor and rated it a 5 out of 5 for taste even though she isn’t a huge peanut butter fan. “The peanut-y flavor is just right. It’s not too powerful and doesn’t overpower the chocolate flavor. I really, really liked it.” 

Another notable aspect about this protein powder is that it’s third-party tested—for a budget option, you can’t beat it.

Price per serving$0.78-$0.99 
FlavorsChocolate, Vanilla, Chocolate Peanut Butter, Strawberry Milkshake, Unflavored
Protein25 g 
Carbs1-3 g 
Fat2.5-3.5 g 

Best Whey Protein Powder for Digestion: Jacked Factory ISO

Good for: People looking for an easily digestible protein that won’t cause bloating 

Easy Digestion

Jacked Factory Authentic ISO Grass-Fed Whey Protein

GGR Score: 4 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Three flavors
  • 25g per scoop
  • 110 calories per serving
  • Under 1g of fat per scoop

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • 25g of protein
  • Only 110 calories per scoop
  • No added sugars
  • Under 1g of fat per serving

Cons

  • Reviewers state the taste is not the best
  • Doesn't mix well

Bottom Line

A protein powder that comes very close to being pure protein, at a reasonable price.

As we mentioned earlier in this list, increased protein intake can cause some rumblings down under, and we’re not talking about Australia. This is especially true if you have dairy sensitivities or are lactose intolerant (and yes, that’s two separate things).

RELATED: Jacked Factory Authentic Whey Review

Jacked Factory ISO is our best whey protein for digestion because it’s a whey protein isolate, which means most of the lactose has been removed. People with dairy sensitivities, such as lactose intolerance, should still consult their physician and use caution before taking this protein powder, but it’s less likely to cause any digestive issues4.

An image of a woman using Jacked Factory Authentic Iso protein powder

Our product tester, who has tried many a protein powder in his day, enjoyed the vanilla flavor of Authentic ISO, saying the texture was nice as well. We gave Authentic Iso a 5 out of 5 for formulation in our scoring, with 25 grams of protein and minimal carbs and fats. This means it’s also a great pick for anyone who needs a protein supplement to keep them full while cutting.

Read more about this protein powder in our Jacked Factory Authentic ISO whey protein review.

Price per serving$1.20
FlavorsVanilla, Vanilla Oatmeal Cookie, Chocolate Peanut Butter, Cinnamon French Toast, Unflavored, Cookies & Cream
Protein25 g 
Carbs1-4 g
Fat0.5-2 g

Best Whey Protein Powder for Athletes: Onnit Whey Protein

Good for: Athletes or anyone else looking for a banned substance-free protein 

Sporty

Onnit Whey Protein

GGR Score: 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 Whey Protein has the Informed Sport certification, meaning it meets the quality standards of several regulatory, sports industry, and consumer organizations. Essentially, the certification proves that it’s free of any banned substances that could potentially cause an athlete to fail a drug screening test.

The drug testing at the CrossFit Games differs from drug testing in the MLB or NHL, and different governing bodies may prohibit different substances sometimes found in protein powders, pre-workouts, and other supplements. Third-party certifications give athletes the peace of mind that they can take that supplement without fear of ingesting something that may get them in trouble with their sport (though it’s best to always double-check).

GGR product tester and certified personal trainer Amanda Capritto rates the flavor a 3.75 out of 5, saying, “The Mexican Chocolate actually tastes different from other chocolate protein powders, which I honestly wasn’t expecting.” The texture is a bit thin, although she adds, “It’s rich when mixed with whole or oat milk.”

The solubility got a 5 out of 5. “This dissolves great, almost too well,” Amanda says.

An image of Onnit grass-fed whey protein powder container and shaker bottle

Although $1.99 per serving is little high, Onnit makes it worth your money by using dairy from grass-fed cows, so the protein may come with additional benefits for your joints and heart3. Plus, it’s a whey protein isolate, so it’s easy to digest11.

Check out our Onnit grass-fed whey isolate review for more of our thoughts on this protein powder.

Price per serving$1.99
FlavorsVanilla, Mexican Chocolate 
Protein20 g
Carbs3-5 g
Fat2 g

Best Whey Protein Powder for Recovery: Sports Research Whey Isolate 

Good for: Athletes looking to recover from intense exercise

Recover

Sports Research Whey Isolate

GGR Score: 4.6 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Whey protein isolate
  • 25 g of protein per serving
  • Available in chocolate or vanilla
  • Informed Choice-certified

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Third-party tested
  • 25 grams of protein per serving

Cons

  • Only two flavors available
  • Our tester had issues with solubility

Bottom Line

Sports Research whey protein isolate has 25 grams of protein per serving and just 150 calories. It's third-party tested, too. Although there are only two flavors available, our testers think it's worth a try.

There are a few things that make Sports Research Whey Isolate ideal for recovery, namely the formulation of 6.96 grams of branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) and an additional 1,000 milligrams of leucine. It’s worth noting that BCAAs have been linked to improved muscle recovery4 and muscle endurance whereas there are several opposing studies on leucine effectiveness for muscle recovery.  

RELATED: Best Muscle Recovery Tools

The formulation not only contains a healthy dose of BCAAs, but it also has an ideal ratio of proteins to carbs and fats. One serving offers 25 grams of protein isolate, 2 to 4 grams of carbs, and 3.5 or 4 grams of fats depending on flavor. Because of this, 4.5 out of 5 stars in the formulation category. 

And speaking of flavor, you’ll only have two options (Creamy Vanilla or Dutch Chocolate). I personally tested the Dutch Chocolate and wanted to curl up by a fire with roasted marshmallows on top of this protein drink. Sports Research earns a 5 out of 5 stars when it comes to flavor. 

Another reason you may be interested in supplementing with Sports Research protein is because it’s third-party tested by Informed Sport. This third-party lab guarantees that products are free from banned substances that are commonly screened for on athlete’s drug tests. It’s also non-GMO tested and gluten-free. 

Price per serving$1.15
FlavorsCreamy Vanilla, Dutch Chocolate
Protein25
Carbs2-4 (depending on flavor)
Fat3.5-4 (depending on flavor)

Best Grass-Fed Whey Protein Powder: Momentous Grass-Fed Whey

Good for: People looking to add muscle mass to their physique 

Building Muscle

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 sourced from cows in Europe, which has some of the strictest rules on what cows can eat and prohibits many of the hormones and artificial feeders used on American cows. In other words, you’re getting a higher quality product that results in a clean, easily digestible whey protein isolate.

“With milk, the flavor reminded me of vanilla bean ice cream,” says GGR Senior Editor and certified nutrition coach Nicole Davis, who rated the protein’s vanilla flavor a 4 out of 5. Anthony O’Reilly, GGR performance editor and a certified personal trainer, scores the solubility a 5 out of 5 and often only uses a straw to mix it into milk or his morning iced coffee.

Whey protein isolate has also had much of its lactose removed, making this a great option for those with dairy sensitivities. While the powder is digestible, some people may not be able to stomach the price—more than $60 for 24 servings. We think it’s worth it only if you’re looking for the highest quality protein powder money can buy, otherwise there are more affordable options on this list.

Momentous Whey Protein powder being scooped into shaker bottle

Before we get too many questions, yes using grass-fed dairy makes a difference. One study5 found that grass-fed dairy had a better ratio of omega-3/omega-6 fatty acids than grain-fed cows, which can help with joint and heart health and even reduce the frequency of certain headaches.

RELATED: Best Organic Protein Powder

Grass-fed dairy also has a higher antioxidant content than grain-fed dairy, which can be beneficial to your overall health6.

For those who have never gone on a bulking journey before, you should know that increased protein intake can cause some digestive issues (like the kind you really don’t want to happen on a date, if you catch my drift). Momentous fixes that problem by including a digestive enzyme blend to assist with digestion, which include protease enzymes. An October 2022 study7on mice concluded that protease was beneficial in improving gut health. 

Read more in our Momentous Essential grass-fed whey protein review.

Price per serving$2.70
FlavorsVanilla, Chocolate, Unflavored
Protein20 g
Carbs3 g
Fat1> g

Best Whey Protein Powder with BCAAs: Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard

Good for: Anyone who wants a great-tasting whey protein powder loaded with BCAAs

Budget Protein

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.

Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard has 25 grams of protein and 5.5 grams of  BCAAs per serving. All whey protein contains some BCAAs, but what makes this product unique is that it combines all three whey protein sources which means a larger variety of BCAAs. That’s why we chose this as the best whey protein with BCAAs. In each scoop, you’ll find a mix of whey protein concentrate, whey protein isolate, and hydrolyzed whey protein. That’s quite the trifecta.

It’s also super affordable, with some options coming out to just $1.17 per scoop—which gives it a perfect 5 out of 5 rating on cost. That’s a much more budget-friendly protein source than eggs, though we recommend going for a larger container to get the best deal (psst, did you know that protein powder can last a surprisingly long time if properly sealed).

Scoop of Optimum Nutrition Double Rich Chocolate protein powder with protein powder container

Our team of certified personal trainers and nutrition coaches have tried more than 10 Optimum Nutrition flavors, but two 5 out of 5 ones are Delicious Strawberry and Mocha Cappuccino. “It’s chocolatey and a bit coffee-flavored and just delicious,” precision nutrition coach and GGR senior editor Nicole Davis says.

There are tons of other fun flavors: our pick for the best Optimum Nutrition flavor goes to Double-Rich Chocolate, but Mocha Cappuccino, Vanilla Ice Cream, and Chocolate Mint are also near the top of our list.

Optimum Nutrition contains whey protein concentrate, which may be harder for some people to digest, along with some additives and artificial sweeteners, but it’s still high quality and one of the best protein shakes

Read our full Optimum Nutrition 100% Whey Gold Standard Review for more.

Price per serving$1.17-$1.55 (depending on container size)
Flavors19
Protein24 g
CarbsVaries by flavor
FatVaries by flavor

Best Whey Protein Powder for Muscle Gain: Kaged Whey Protein Isolate

Good for: People looking for the highest quality whey protein powder

Best Overall

Kaged Whey Protein Isolate

GGR Score: 4.5 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Whey protein isolate
  • 25 grams of protein per serving
  • Available in 3 flavors
  • Third-party tested

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Good macro profile
  • Reviewers claim it's easy on the stomach
  • Tastes good

Cons

  • Clumpy when mixed
  • Certain flavors out of stock frequently
  • Only 3 flavors available

Bottom Line

Kaged Whey Protein Isolate is a fast-digesting protein available in five flavors with 25 grams of protein per serving.

Kaged Whey Protein Isolate was our choice for best whey protein for muscle gain for a couple of reasons: It contains only whey protein (no protein blends or fillers), has great taste, and has 25 grams of protein as well as key ingredients that may help with protein absorption.

Certified personal trainer Nicole Davis scored this chocolate whey protein powder a perfect 5 out of 5 on taste, saying it reminded her of a Carnation Instant Breakfast mix. Still, the solubility came in at 3.5 out of 5 because it was “lumpy” even after vigorous mixing, Nicole says.

In addition to a great taste and lack of fillers, Kaged Whey Protein Isolate contains a digestive enzyme called ProHydrolase that may enhance protein synthesis and help with muscle recovery. A January 2020 double-blind study8, the lone publicly available research on the enzyme, actually shows ProHydrolase has a minimal effect on protein absorption but did cause elevated amino acid concentration in well-trained athletes.  

Amino acids, for those who don’t know, are the building blocks of protein molecules and there are two types: essential amino acids (EAAs) and non-essential amino acids. Essential amino acids are ones that must be obtained through diet because they’re not created in sufficient amounts by our body (we naturally make enough of the non-essential amino acids).

kaged protein powder, woman scooping protein powder from bottle

A December 2020 review9 of studies conducted on EAAs proved these compounds improved overall protein absorption. Proteins that have all EAAs are called complete proteins, whereas plant-based proteins (with the exception of soy) are incomplete proteins because they’re deficient in some EAAs. This is why most vegan protein powders are a blend of different plant-based protein sources.

At one point one of the reasons we loved this particular whey protein was because it came with more than 40 servings per container (anywhere from 41 to 44, depending on the flavor). Sure, the container might be a bit expensive at around $60 (before shipping), but it would last you longer. 

Unfortunately, the larger containers are no longer in stock and now you can only get containers with 25 servings. Most protein powders tend to come with 25 to 30 scoops per container so this is typical but we definitely prefer the larger containers when they are available.

Read our in-depth Kaged whey protein isolate review for more information.

Price per serving$1.46 
FlavorsChocolate Peanut Butter, Vanilla, Chocolate
Protein25 g 
Carbs2-3 g
Fat0-0.5 g

Other Whey Protein Powders We Researched 

The whey protein powders in our top 10 only represent a small fraction of the protein supplements available today. Here are a few others we came across in our research: 

  • Simply Tera’s Whey: This protein powder actually has some good macros (21 grams of protein, four grams of carbs, and one and a half grams of fat) but it’s geared toward bakers more than athletes. So if you’re looking for a way to bulk up your next batch of cupcakes with some protein, this might be the solution. Amazon customer reviewers loved the taste. 
  • Natreve MOOLESS Animal Free Whey Protein Powder: Natreve claims to have created a man-made whey protein without milking cows. It’s an interesting concept, and one that plant-based followers might be curious about, but we haven’t tried it. There also appear to be no scientific studies on this animal-less whey protein powder. Its nutritional value, however, is quite good—20 grams of protein, five grams of carbs, and 0.5 grams of fat. 
  • Swolverine Whey Protein Isolate: Our testers found this protein supplement to be a bit too thin for their liking.

RELATED: Best Pre-Workout for Women

How We Picked and Tested the Best Whey Protein Powder

Here are a few things we kept in mind when creating our list of the best whey protein: 

  • Protein content: How much protein did each scoop contain? Does it come from easily digestible whey protein isolate or whey protein concentrate, the latter of which contains more lactose and may cause digestive issues.
  • Carb and Fats: How much of the other macronutrients were present and were they in low and/or moderate amounts? 
  • Digestibility: Did the whey protein cause any digestive issues such as bloating?  
  • Dairy quality: Is the whey protein sourced from cows who are hormone-free, pesticide-free, and antibiotic-free?  
  • 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?
  • Flavor: How was the taste? We considered the notes from our expert product testers and customer reviews (because everyone’s taste is a bit different).
  • 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?
  • Price: How much did the container cost and what was the cost per serving? 

RELATED: Best Protein Chips

Scoop of Sascha fitness hydrolyzed whey protein powder with container and shaker bottle

Benefits of Whey Protein Powder

Wondering why you should consider purchasing or using whey protein? Here are just a few reasons: 

  • Convenience: It’s much easier and quicker to drink some whey protein than it is to make an entire meal with the same protein content. 
  • Shelf stable: Whey protein can last quite a while if its container is properly sealed. 
  • Builds muscle: Whey protein along with a good strength-training program can help the body create muscle and preserve lean muscle mass1.
  • Lose weight: Protein powder can also benefit those looking to lose weight by placing themselves in a caloric deficit1.

Buying Guide: What to Look for in the Best Whey Protein Powder  

Here’s what you should look for when you’re trying to purchase the best whey protein for your fitness and wellness goals:  

  • Caloric content: Are you looking to add muscle mass and want a high-calorie protein powder or are you on a weight-loss journey and want a low-calorie option? 
  • Protein content: Regardless of your goal, you’ll want at least 25-30 grams of protein per serving, but servings as low as 20 grams can support muscle building activities and weight loss1.
  • Dairy quality: Are the cows well taken care of or are they pumped full of hormones?  
  • Taste: Do you enjoy drinking it? Some companies also offer unflavored products if you’re looking to just add protein to your morning smoothies.
  • Price: This shouldn’t have to be explained, but find a whey protein that agrees with your wallet. 
  • Protein source: Does the protein source just contain whey protein or is it mixed with casein or plant-based proteins?  
  • Additives: Did the company put in added sugars, probiotics, or anything else that might alter your experience with this whey protein? Check the ingredients. 

RELATED: Best Protein Bars

Package of Momentous Whey Protein and protein powder being scooped into shaker bottle

Protein Powder Subscriptions: What Are They and Are They Worth It? 

You might find the option on some of the best whey proteins to “subscribe and save.” This refers to putting your whey protein powder on a subscription basis so you always have protein on hand, which can be set up on most companies’ websites and on Amazon.

The delivery frequency can be anywhere from two weeks to six months. 

Companies will often knock a few bucks off a container’s price since they know you’ll be a repeating customer next month. 

RELATED: Muscle Milk Review

Types of Whey Protein

There are three main types of whey protein: whey protein concentrate, whey protein isolate, and whey protein hydrolysate. All three come from whey, which is a byproduct of cow’s milk. The whey is then processed and filtered and can become one of the three types of protein.

Whey protein concentrate

Made up of 30 to 89 percent protein, with the rest of the calories coming from carbohydrates (lactose) and fats.

Whey protein isolate

A more filtered form of whey protein that’s made up of at least 90 percent protein. Much of the lactose has been removed from whey protein isolate (WPI), so those with dairy sensitivities may be able to drink it.

Garden of Life Grass Fed Whey protein powder being scooped into shaker bottle

Whey protein hydrolysate

A pre-digested form of whey protein that’s undergone partial hydrolysis.

Potential Side Effects of Protein Powder

Most people won’t experience side effects when taking whey protein powder, but if it’s consumed in excess you may experience changed bowel movements, acne, bloating, reduced appetite, fatigue, headaches, and nausea.

FAQs About Best Whey Protein Powder

What is the best whey protein powder?

Our picks for the best whey protein powders are:  

-Best Whey Protein Powder for Overall: Transparent Labs 100% Grass-Fed Whey Protein Isolate
-Best Natural Whey Protein Powder: Legion Athletics Whey+ Whey Isolate Protein Powder
-Best-Tasting Whey Protein Powder: XWERKS Grow
-Best Budget Whey Protein Powder: Nutricost Whey Protein Concentrate
-Best Whey Protein Powder for Digestion: Jacked Factory ISO
-Best Whey Protein Powder for Athletes: Onnit Whey Protein
-Best Whey Protein Powder for Recovery: Sports Research Whey Isolate
-Best Grass-Fed Whey Protein Powder: Momentous Grass-Fed Whey
-Best Whey Protein Powder with BCAAs: Optimum Nutrition 100% Gold Standard Whey
-Best Whey Protein Powder for Muscle Gain: Kaged Whey Protein Isolate

Which brand of whey protein is best?

We love Transparent Labs 100% Grass-Fed Whey Protein Isolate and believe that Transparent Labs is a brand you can trust with your supplement needs. They offer a variety of whey protein products that are available in many different flavors. Their supplements are made from high-quality ingredients and taste great.

What is the best whey protein form?

We love the versatility, availability, and affordability of whey protein in the powder form. Whey protein powder is protein powder made from whey, and the milk protein found in whey protein powder is highly bioavailable, meaning it can be digested easily.

What is the best type of whey protein?

We think whey isolate is the best type of whey protein because it is considered to be the most pure form since it typically contains 90 percent protein or more. It also tends to have very little fat content.

Is whey protein actually effective?

According to research10, consuming whey protein can have a positive impact on your body’s overall protein anabolism, which can promote muscle and strength development. Whey protein also contains leucine which helps with weight management and promotion of healthy blood glucose metabolism.

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

  1. Kadam,  B., Ambadkar, R., Rathod, K., &  Landge, S. (2018). Health Benefits  of Whey- A Brief Review. International Journal of Livestock Research, 8(5), 31-49. doi: 10.5455/ijlr.20170411022323
  2. A Castro LH, S de Araújo FH, M Olimpio MY, B de B Primo R, T Pereira T, F Lopes LA, B S de M Trindade E, Fernandes R, A Oesterreich S. Comparative Meta-Analysis of the Effect of Concentrated, Hydrolyzed, and Isolated Whey Protein Supplementation on Body Composition of Physical Activity Practitioners. Nutrients. 2019 Sep 2;11(9):2047. doi: 10.3390/nu11092047. PMID: 31480653; PMCID: PMC6769754.
  3. Layman DK, Lönnerdal B, Fernstrom JD. Applications for α-lactalbumin in human nutrition. Nutr Rev. 2018 Jun 1;76(6):444-460. doi: 10.1093/nutrit/nuy004. PMID: 29617841; PMCID: PMC5934683.
  4. Arroyo-Cerezo A, Cerrillo I, Ortega Á, Fernández-Pachón MS. Intake of branched chain amino acids favors post-exercise muscle recovery and may improve muscle function: optimal dosage regimens and consumption conditions. J Sports Med Phys Fitness. 2021 Nov;61(11):1478-1489. doi: 10.23736/S0022-4707.21.11843-2. Epub 2021 Feb 15. PMID: 33586928.
  5. Benbrook, C. M., Davis, D. R., Heins, B. J., Latif, M. A., Leifert, C., Peterman, L., Butler, G., Faergeman, O., Abel-Caines, S., & Baranski, M. (2018). Enhancing the fatty acid profile of milk through forage-based rations, with nutrition modeling of diet outcomes. In Food Science & Nutrition (Vol. 6, Issue 3, pp. 681–700). Wiley. https://doi.org/10.1002/fsn3.610
  6. van Vliet, S., Provenza, F. D., & Kronberg, S. L. (2021). Health-Promoting Phytonutrients Are Higher in Grass-Fed Meat and Milk. In Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems (Vol. 4). Frontiers Media SA. https://doi.org/10.3389/fsufs.2020.555426
  7. Kostiuchenko O, Kravchenko N, Markus J, Burleigh S, Fedkiv O, Cao L, Letasiova S, Skibo G, Fåk Hållenius F, Prykhodko O. Effects of Proteases from Pineapple and Papaya on Protein Digestive Capacity and Gut Microbiota in Healthy C57BL/6 Mice and Dose-Manner Response on Mucosal Permeability in Human Reconstructed Intestinal 3D Tissue Model. Metabolites. 2022 Oct 26;12(11):1027. doi: 10.3390/metabo12111027. PMID: 36355110; PMCID: PMC9696696.
  8. Townsend JR, Morimune JE, Jones MD, Beuning CN, Haase AA, Boot CM, Heffington SH, Littlefield LA, Henry RN, Marshall AC, VanDusseldorp TA, Feito Y, Mangine GT. The Effect of ProHydrolase® on the Amino Acid and Intramuscular Anabolic Signaling Response to Resistance Exercise in Trained Males. Sports (Basel). 2020 Jan 22;8(2):13. doi: 10.3390/sports8020013. PMID: 31978998; PMCID: PMC7077235.
  9. Church DD, Hirsch KR, Park S, Kim IY, Gwin JA, Pasiakos SM, Wolfe RR, Ferrando AA. Essential Amino Acids and Protein Synthesis: Insights into Maximizing the Muscle and Whole-Body Response to Feeding. Nutrients. 2020 Dec 2;12(12):3717. doi: 10.3390/nu12123717. PMID: 33276485; PMCID: PMC7760188.
  10. Stokes T, Hector AJ, Morton RW, McGlory C, Phillips SM. Recent Perspectives Regarding the Role of Dietary Protein for the Promotion of Muscle Hypertrophy with Resistance Exercise Training. Nutrients. 2018 Feb 7;10(2):180. doi: 10.3390/nu10020180. PMID: 29414855; PMCID: PMC5852756.

Further reading

Treadmill Results: How Soon Will I See Changes? Cover Image
Treadmill Results: How Soon Will I See Changes?

Wondering when you’ll see treadmill results that add up to weight loss or improved performance? We have the answers. Read more

NordicTrack C2200 Treadmill Review 2024: An Affordable Walking Treadmill for Beginners Cover Image
NordicTrack C2200 Treadmill Review 2024: An Affordable Walking Treadmill for Beginners

In this NordicTrack C2200 treadmill review, we look at an affordable, discontinued walking treadmill with neat features. Read more

Is Running on a Treadmill Barefoot Safe? Cover Image
Is Running on a Treadmill Barefoot Safe?

Is running on a treadmill barefoot safe? Here, we dive into the pros and cons of doing so. Read more

Life Fitness 95T Inspire Review (2024): A Heavy-Duty Discontinued Machine Cover Image
Life Fitness 95T Inspire Review (2024): A Heavy-Duty Discontinued Machine

In this Life Fitness 95T Inspire review, we’ll tell you all there is to know about this discontinued treadmill. Read more