10 Best Protein Powders For Men (2024 Upd.) 3 Month Research

James Cunningham, BSc, CPT
Published by James Cunningham, BSc, CPT | Staff Writer & Senior Coach
Last updated: March 13, 2024
We personally test every product featured in our reviews and guides. By ordering products anonymously and getting a group of independent testers, we are able to get first-hand experience and provide data-driven recommendations. Learn more.

As a personal trainer I'm always surprised how many people end up with poor quality protein powder supplements.

There are just too many protein powders that are laced with sugars and additives, resulting in your protein intake having a bad impact on your diet.

So, our team got together with ten clients and our dietitian to research and test over 40 different milk and plant-based protein powders. After several months of testing, we finally agreed on this list of best protein powders.

The Best Protein Powders For Men

Editor's Choice
Transparent Labs 100_ Grass-Fed Whey Protein Isolate
Transparent Labs
Ingredients
4.9
Flavor
4.8
Texture
4.9
Ingredient Quality
4.9
User Ratings
4.9
Product Effectiveness
4.9
Overall Score 4.9
4.9
Click For Best Price
2nd Best Choice
MyProtein Impact Whey Protein
MyProtein Impact
Ingredients
4.8
Flavor
4.8
Texture
4.7
Overall Score 4.8
4.8
Click For Best Price
3rd Best Choice
Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Whey Protein
Optimum Nutrition
Ingredients
4.7
Flavor
4.7
Texture
4.6
Overall Score 4.7
4.7
Check Current Price

Our Best Protein Powder Recommendations (April 2024)

1 - Transparent Labs 100% Grass-fed Whey Protein Isolate (Best Overall)

Rated 4.9/5

Rated With Total Shape's Scoring System

4.9
Ingredients
4.8
Flavor
4.9
Texture
4.9
Ingredient Quality
4.9
User Ratings
4.9
Product Effectiveness
Transparent Labs 100_ Grass-Fed Whey Protein Isolate
  • Type : Whey Protein Isolate
  • Dose : 28 grams of protein per serving

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Protein powders sourced from grass-fed cows for higher quality
  • Delivers a great dose of pure whey isolate for a better macro profile
  • It comes in great flavors, and it mixes easily into a nice texture
  • Contains no fat and less than 1g of carbs to avoid messing with your diet

Cons

  • Free shipping is only available for orders over $150

Top of our list of excellent protein powder products is this one from Transparent Labs with a great dose of whey protein isolate. In my own experience over several months of using it, I can say that it delivers on its promises [1].

That is particularly important for diabetics and athletes on low-carb diets like keto.

I found that Transparent Labs Whey Protein has a great flavor and mixes into a nice texture in a shaker. And every single one of our test team agreed that you get a fast delivery of branched-chain amino acids after a workout to reduce recovery times.

"Whey is processed to reduce its fat and lactose content, leaving mainly protein. Whey protein isolate may be better for people who have trouble digesting lactose (lactose intolerance). But it's not for people with milk allergies."

- Jabeen Begum, MD, WebMD.com

2 - MyProtein Impact Whey Protein (Cheapest Option)

Rated 4.8/5

Rated With Total Shape's Scoring System

4.8
Ingredients
4.8
Flavor
4.7
Texture
MyProtein Impact Whey Protein
  • Type : Whey Protein Concentrate
  • Dose : 21 grams protein per serving

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Affordable options for people who don't need a large dose in each shake
  • Mixes easily with water, and the flavors are natural
  • Positive impact for weight loss diets

Cons

  • It has some carbs and fat because it's a whey concentrate

This milk whey protein concentrate is a lower dose one that we recommend to people who might not need a large volume of protein each time.

It's also cheaper than whey protein isolate, but you need to account for the fat and carbs if you're on a restricted macro diet.

Our test reported that their experience highlighted the flavor and texture, and they found this protein concentrate was a good option for a high-protein weight loss program, which matches research from the Journal of Obesity & Metabolic Syndrome [2].

3 - Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Whey Protein (Best Tasting)

Rated 4.7/5

Rated With Total Shape's Scoring System

4.7
Ingredients
4.7
Flavor
4.6
Texture
Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Whey Protein
  • Type : Whey Protein Isolate
  • Dose : 24 grams of protein per serving

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Fast-acting protein powder with a good dose of BCAAs
  • Independently tested for banned substances
  • Great choice of flavors and available in large bulk order tubs

Cons

  • It's not sourced from grass-fed cows

Optimum Nutrition is another leading sports supplement brand, and this Gold Standard protein powder almost made it to the top of our list based on our post-workout testing results.

It's based on whey protein isolate, which ensures that you get a pure protein supplement without fat and carbs to mess up your diet.

Our test results showed that it provided a great basis for a high-protein diet that doesn't result in throwing macro-nutrient balances off.

Out of all the protein powders we tested, this protein powder probably has the widest range of flavors available, and the six different ones we ordered all tasted natural and not overly sweet.

4 - Orgain Organic Plant-Based Protein Powder (Best Vegan Protein)

Rated 4.7/5

Rated With Total Shape's Scoring System

4.7
Ingredients
4.7
Flavor
4.6
Texture
Orgain Organic Plant-Based Protein Powder
  • Type : Plant Protein
  • Dose : 21 grams per serving

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Based on organic chia seed, brown rice, and pea
  • Ideal for adding to a green breakfast smoothie
  • Also available in convenient travel pouches for your gym bag

Cons

  • It seems to require a bit more shaking to avoid a lumpy texture

Orgain Organic is our best vegan protein powder recommendation, and this one combines natural pea protein powder with chia seed and brown rice protein.

I remember recommending Orgain Organic to a vegan client of mine who was struggling to find a protein powder that suited her dietary needs. She was thrilled with the results! Personally, I love adding it to my green smoothies for that extra protein kick.

This protein powder should give you the full range of nine essential amino acids needed to support muscle protein synthesis [3].

I regularly use this for my green smoothies, but my vegan clients have also reported that the pea protein powder works great for their recovery times.

5 - Dymatize Elite 100% Whey Protein Powder (Best for Muscle Gain)

Rated 4.6/5

Rated With Total Shape's Scoring System

4.4
Ingredients
4.7
Flavor
4.6
Texture
Dymatize Elite 100_ Whey Protein Powder
  • Type : Whey Protein Concentrate
  • Dose : 25 grams per serving

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Ideal for mixing with your breakfast cereal or smoothie
  • Great flavor options, and the powder mixes easily into a smooth shake
  • An affordable option that comes in large tubs

Cons

  • It contains some carbs and fat that could influence a low-carb and low-fat diet

This is the first whey protein concentrate product on our list, and even though that means you have to account for some fat and carbs, this does make it a more affordable option. Just keep that in mind if you're on keto or a low-fat diet.

I particularly liked the chocolate peanut butter flavor , and I sometimes add that to my breakfast oatmeal to get a protein supplement intake boost early in the day.

6 - NorCal Organic - Premium Pea Protein Isolate (Premium Organic Supplement)

Rated 4.4/5

Rated With Total Shape's Scoring System

4.4
Ingredients
4.7
Flavor
4.2
Texture
Source Organic - Premium Pea Protein Isolate
  • Type : Organic Pea
  • Dose : 22 grams protein per serving

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • The unflavored pea protein option is ideal for mixing with food and smoothies
  • Available in large 2 lbs pouches for bulk discounts
  • Sourced from organic farms in Canada for higher purity and quality

Cons

  • It doesn't provide the full amino acid range

This protein powder is the second of the best vegan protein powders, and the reason for our recommendation is due to its unflavored option.

That makes it the best pea protein with nothing else added for flavor. I've been regularly adding it to green smoothies during cutting phases, and find it's extremely helpful.

The only downside is that you'd need to blend it with other plant protein sources as it won't deliver the full range of amino acids [4].

7 - Muscle Feast 100% Grass-Fed Whey Protein (Best for Male Bodybuilders)

Rated 4.4/5

Rated With Total Shape's Scoring System

4.4
Ingredients
4.5
Flavor
4.2
Texture
Muscle Feast 100_ Grass-Fed Whey Protein
  • Type : Whey Protein Isolate
  • Dose : 21.5 grams protein per serving

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Pure whey protein delivers the ideal range of amino acids for muscle recovery
  • It mixes fast and tastes like a smooth shake without needing a blender
  • You can order it in tubs of up to 5 lbs for bulk-order savings

Cons

  • The standard serving size is a bit low for performance athletes

This is another whey protein supplementation option that delivers high-quality sources to ensure a higher purity.

I also found that it's a great option for performance athletes who plan to take multiple whey protein powder supplements per day, as you can buy it in large tubs.

We also all liked the texture when mixed in a simple shaker, but you need to be aware of the lower protein amount per scoop compared to other products above.

8 - Garden of Life Sport Whey Protein Powder (Best for Athletes)

Rated 4.3/5

Rated With Total Shape's Scoring System

4.2
Ingredients
4.5
Flavor
4.2
Texture
Garden of Life Sport Whey Protein Powder
  • Type : Whey Protein Isolate
  • Dose : 24 grams protein per serving

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Pure whey protein isolate sourced from grass-fed cows
  • The flavors taste natural and not too sweet
  • Certified non-GMO supplement for higher quality

Cons

  • Not available in large bulk-order tubs

It's one of the whey protein powders we had some great results with during the recovery phases.

Our testing team also liked that the flavor wasn't too strong, which helped them drink multiple shakes for certain dietary requirements.

The company also has each batch third-party tested for purity, quality, and banned substances, which can be important for professional athletes.

9 - Grass-Fed Naked Whey Protein Powder Isolate by Opportuniteas (Best High-Protein Powder)

Rated 4.2/5

Rated With Total Shape's Scoring System

4.2
Ingredients
4.2
Flavor
4.2
Texture
Grass-Fed Naked Whey Protein Powder Isolate by Opportuniteas
  • Type : Whey Protein Isolate
  • Dose : 28 grams protein per serving

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Higher than average protein dose per scoop makes this a good option for athletes
  • Available as an unflavored option if you need to mix it with food
  • It comes in large 5 lbs resealable pouches

Cons

  • The powder was a bit more difficult to mix with water in a shaker

If you need a protein powder with a large dose of protein per scoop to support intense workouts and a high-protein diet, then Opportuniteas could be your best choice with 28 grams per shake.

I normally don't like pouches of protein powders because the seal often fails.

But this one worked perfectly fine even after weeks of getting through a large 5 lbs bag.

10 - Dymatize ISO100 Hydrolyzed Protein Powder (Best Fast-Absorbing)

Rated 4.1/5

Rated With Total Shape's Scoring System

4.0
Ingredients
4.0
Flavor
4.2
Texture
Dymatize ISO100 Hydrolyzed Protein Powder
  • Type : Whey Protein Isolate
  • Dose : 25 grams protein per serving

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Delivers a pure whey isolate at a reasonable price
  • Good choice of flavors to add to breakfast cereals and smoothies
  • Fast digesting and easy on the stomach

Cons

  • The texture can be a bit lumpy, so you might need a blender

The final one of our excellent protein powders is this Dymatize product. A few of my clients have sensitive stomachs, and they all reported that this didn't cause bloating or other upsets.

We also liked the choice of flavors, which are natural and not overpowering. But we couldn't get the texture right when mixing it in a shaker, so you might want to consider blending it for a smooth shake.

How Did We Choose the Best Protein Powders for Men?

In our pursuit to identify the best protein powders tailored for men, we engaged in an exhaustive research and testing phase, weighing various essential criteria against our firsthand observations.

Protein Quantity

We zeroed in on powders that provided protein concentrations in the 20-30 gram range, considering 28 grams as the sweet spot for men. This dosage is believed to maximize muscle growth and overall vitality.

Protein Origin

The source of the protein is of utmost importance. We gravitated towards powders with complete amino acid profiles, investigating if they were sourced from whey, casein, or plant-based alternatives like pea, hemp, or brown rice.

Carb and Fat Content

We aimed to spotlight powders that kept carbs and fats in check, emphasizing protein as the primary ingredient. High carbs could disrupt a man's nutritional equilibrium, so we leaned towards those with restrained carb and fat content.

Taste

For men, a protein powder's flavor can be a deal-breaker, especially given the trend towards natural ingredients. We valued powders that achieved a robust taste without leaning on synthetic sweeteners.

Solubility

The ease with which a protein powder mixes with liquids is pivotal. We evaluated the consistency of the blend with water, using both traditional stirring and shaker bottles.

Digestion and Potential Aftereffects

Feedback from our male testers was invaluable in discerning each powder's digestibility and any ensuing digestive challenges, such as indigestion or bloating.

External Testing

Third-party scrutiny of protein powders for men ensures the product's authenticity and purity. These independent assessments bolstered our confidence in the product's caliber and ingredient transparency.

Price Point

The pricing range for men's protein powders can vary a lot, influenced by ingredient quality, protein source, and brand. We spotlighted powders priced between $0.50 and $1.50 per 25 grams of pure protein, ensuring a harmony between value and premium quality.

Buyer’s Guide for the Best Protein Powders for Men

man with different protein powders

Choosing the right protein powder can be daunting. I've spent countless hours (and dollars) trying out different brands and formulations. Before finalizing our list, we dug deep into each product, considering our personal experiences and the feedback from our testing group.

Protein Sources

Let's first go over the two most important protein sources.

Milk-Based Protein

The best protein powder for men from our tests were all from grass-fed cows. Studies have shown that this type of milk has much higher nutritional benefits [5].

Also, keep in mind that protein powders for men cover all the essentials to give you an ideal nutritional profile for protein synthesis and muscle growth [6].

Plant-based Protein

Plant-based protein powders are not just a good option for vegans. I know many non-vegan athletes who like the idea of having a selection of different sources of essential nutrients.

Just keep in mind that you'll need to have a blend of plant-based proteins to ensure you get the full amino acid profile to support protein synthesis. And there's also evidence that you might need to take higher doses of plant protein [7].

Dosage

woman showing a protein powder scooper

While you certainly can always take an extra scoop of protein powders to achieve a higher protein amount per serving, I generally advise clients to aim for a 25 to 30 grams protein intake after a workout [8].

The best whey protein powder for men above has 28 grams, which I would recommend for performance athletes.

Scientists also recommend an overall intake of 2-3 grams per kg body weight, and that can sometimes be a struggle with food alone [9].

Any professional athlete will tell you that sometimes, you just can't look at another piece of chicken. It's especially when exercising intermittent fasting and other dietary restrictions.

Amino Acid Formula

Whey protein powder is such a popular option because they have the ideal ratio of essential and especially branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs). These play a key role in muscle recovery after tough workouts [10].

Even with organic plant-based protein powders for men, you need to be careful that it's a blend to ensure that it delivers the full profile [11].

Additives And Fillers

All the best protein powders above don't contain any unnecessary fillers. So many companies try to hide a low-quality product behind some added flavors and sugar to make it more appealing.

There's no need for them, and you should always check for such sugar and chemical sweeteners when considering the best protein powders. It's an especially important consideration when you have conditions like diabetes.

Impact of Different Protein Sources on Muscle Recovery and Growth

Protein is the building block of muscles, and its source can influence muscle recovery and growth. Whey protein, derived from milk, is rapidly absorbed, making it ideal for post-workout recovery. It provides a quick amino acid supply to repair and rebuild muscle tissues.

Casein, also from milk, digests slowly, releasing amino acids over time, which can prevent muscle breakdown during sleep [13].

Plant-based proteins like soy and pea might have a different amino acid profile but can still support muscle growth effectively. It's essential to choose a protein source that aligns with one's dietary preferences and workout goals for optimal muscle development.

Protein Powders for Older Men and Specific Health Conditions

As men age, muscle mass naturally declines, making protein intake crucial. Some protein powders are tailored for older men, fortified with nutrients like vitamin D and calcium for bone health [14].

For those with health conditions, specialized formulas exist. For instance, diabetic-friendly options have minimal sugars and carbs. Lactose-intolerant individuals can opt for plant-based or hydrolyzed whey proteins.

Men with kidney issues should consult a doctor before increasing protein intake, as excessive protein can strain kidneys. It's vital to choose a protein powder that aligns with one's health needs, ensuring safety and maximum benefits.

The Science Behind Protein Absorption

From a supplement standpoint, protein absorption is a nuanced science. Protein powders, specifically designed for rapid digestion, often undergo processes to enhance absorption rates.

Hydrolyzed proteins, for instance, are pre-digested, allowing for quicker uptake by the body.

The type of protein also matters: whey protein isolate is absorbed faster than concentrate due to its purity. Additionally, some supplements incorporate digestive enzymes like protease to aid in breaking down protein more efficiently [15].

The presence of amino acids, especially BCAAs, in supplements can further stimulate protein synthesis. While natural food sources offer a holistic nutritional profile, supplements are engineered for optimal absorption, catering to those seeking immediate protein benefits post-exercise or during specific metabolic windows.

FAQs

Should You Take Protein Powder Every Day?

Yes, you can take protein powder every day. There are no known risks to taking protein powder every day if you don't exceed your daily protein needs. Most healthy adults can tolerate up to 1.5 grams of protein per pound of body weight daily from food and protein supplements to experience muscle growth without adverse symptoms.

Does Whey Protein Powder for Men Have the Best Amino Acid Profile?

Yes, whey protein powder for men has the best amino acid profile as it delivers all the nine essential amino acids, including a good amount of branch chain amino acids that can help improve muscle recovery times.

How Much Protein Powder Should You Take Each Day?

It's recommended to take 25 to 50 grams of protein from protein powder each day, which is equivalent to one to two scoops.

When Is the Best Time to Take Protein Powder?

The best time to take protein powder is within 30 minutes of a workout. That's where your muscles will start to go into repair mode and will require a maximum boost to avoid soreness.

Our Verdict on the Best Protein Powders for Men

Out of all the best protein powders we researched and tested, the one that both our firsthand experience and the test data keep pointing to is the Transparent Labs one.

The amount of 28 grams of protein per scoop is ideal for the majority of athletes after a training session. And because it's sourced from grass-fed cows, you'll get a much higher quality of protein as well.

It's my go-to protein powder, and I find it significantly helps with my recovery times to reduce soreness while promoting muscle growth.

Order yours today and find out how much of a difference this protein powder will make for your training plans.

Our #1 Recommendation

Transparent Labs 100% Grass-fed Whey Protein Isolate (Best Overall)

Transparent Labs 100_ Grass-Fed Whey Protein Isolate
Ingredients
4.9
Flavor
4.8
Texture
4.9
Ingredient Quality
4.9
User Ratings
4.9
Product Effectiveness
4.9
Overall Score 4.9
4.9
Pros
  • Protein powders sourced from grass-fed cows for higher quality
  • Delivers a great dose of pure whey isolate for a better macro profile
  • It comes in great flavors, and it mixes easily into a nice texture
  • Contains no fat and less than 1g of carbs to avoid messing with your diet
  • Get the BEST PRICE until the end of April
Cons
  • Free shipping is only available for orders over $150
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About The Author

James Cunningham, BSc, CPT
Staff Writer & Senior Coach
James Cunningham, BSc, CPT holds a BSc degree in Sport & Exercise Science from University of Hertfordshire. He's a Health & Performance Coach from London that brings a unique blend of academic knowledge of health supplements and practical exercise experience to the table for his readers.
Learn more about our editorial policy
Dr. Harshi Dhingra, MBBS, MD is a published peer-reviewed author and renowned physician from India with over a decade of experience. With her MBBS from Bharati Vidyapeeth and an MD from Rajiv Gandhi University, she actively ensures the accuracy of online dietary supplement and medical information by reviewing and fact-checking health publications.
Learn more about our editorial policy
Dr. Kristy June Dayanan, BS, MD is an author with a BS degree from University of the Philippines and an MD from University of Perpetual Help System. Her ability to simplify medical science complexities and dietary supplement jargon for the average reader makes her a valued medical fact checker and reviewer.
Learn more about our editorial policy

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