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The 11 best protein powders you can buy online

Give your post-workout smoothie the right kind of boost.

best protein powder
iprogressman
best protein powder
SOURCE: iprogressman
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The 11 best protein powders you can buy online

Give your post-workout smoothie the right kind of boost.

Real talk: Generally healthy adults don’t need protein powder. Protein is a nutrient, and nutrients comprise food. Eating real, whole ingredients to up your protein intake (particularly: eggs, seafood, beef, poultry, legumes, seeds, nuts, dairy products and pork) is always the gold standard, no matter what.

That said, there are specific situations — based on health status, life stage or training programs — when having a protein powder on-hand can help you meet your nutrient needs. If you’re using a protein powder for a medical reason or taking any medications, it's always best to check with your doctor before starting a supplement regimen. Get our top 11 picks below.

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1
Best for Women

Hemp Protein Powder (1 Pound)

amazon.com
$11.69

Arguably the favorite of the bunch: Nutiva’s Organic Hemp Protein Powder is easily mixed into liquids, though it will settle over time — so drink up!  It's simple while providing the nutrition you need: 3 grams of unsaturated fat (from hemp seeds), 8 grams of fiber and 15 grams of protein, which makes it a perfect addition to cereal, smoothies or baked foods. For smoothie lovers: The powder's slightly nutty taste pairs well with peanut butter and banana.

2
Best for Women

Protein Superfood Powder (12 Ounces)

amazon.com
$19.33

One scoop of this original blend provides 20 grams of protein at 110 calories — and it's also made with a blend of real veggies and fruit, which provide antioxidants and minerals we need to stay well. A scoop also provides over 10% of the daily value for iron and calcium, both of which are important nutrients for women at every stage. Plus, since the blend is derived from pea protein and hemp, you’ll also benefit from the unsaturated fatty acids (omega-6 and omega-3), which can help with immune function and support heart health. Mix a scoop into a morning smoothie for a boost of protein, vitamin A (20% of your daily value!) and 3 grams of satiating fiber.

3
Best for Weight Loss

Unflavored Impact Whey Isolate (2.2 Pounds)

amazon.com
$30.71

Made from whey protein isolate, this unflavored powder easily goes in whatever you’re making, from overnight oats to smoothies and lattes — providing 22 grams of protein for just under 100 calories. The simplicity of the product plus the calcium content (whey is derived from animal or milk protein) provides the added boost you’re looking for, without any frills.

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4
Best for Weight Loss (Vegan)

Pea Protein Unflavored Protein Powder (4 Pounds)

amazon.com
$18.46

This top pick is a plain and simple vegan protein blend made from pea protein isolate — and nothing else, a key distinguishing factor from so many protein powders on the market. One scoop contains 120 calories, 24 grams of protein, and 35% of your daily iron — a crucial mineral for supporting your body’s circulatory system. The simpler the protein powder, the better it is for anyone seeking a protein powder that supports weight loss. Your best bets will be unflavored, single-ingredient picks that you can add to any smoothie, shake, coffee or tea lattes to create a more substantial, protein-packed snack.

5
Best for Weight Gain

AMP Wheybolic Whey Protein Powder, Chocolate Fudge (3.4 Pounds)

amazon.com
$64.99
$64.98

If you're struggling with appetite loss or trying to rebuild, GNC’s Amplified Wheybolic 40 provides 40 grams of protein per two-scoop serving. Loss of appetite is common with some medical conditions, stress, anxiety, post-surgery recovery and age-related changes (appetite tends to wane over 65). In those cases, maximizing the nutrients you can get from anything is crucial — you want as much nutrient density as possible to get the job done! Forty grams will help you on your way, but your best bet is to blend two scoops of this powder into a homemade milkshake, which will provide extra calories without losing out on the protein your muscles need for strength and function.

6
Best for Vegans

Garden of Life Meal Replacement Vanilla Powder (2.1 Pounds)

amazon.com
$40.94

While some of the other protein powders are vegan, this one is our top choice thanks to its ingredients. The protein found in Garden of Life’s product is from a blend of pea protein, brown rice protein, amaranth, millet and quinoa plus seeds and pulses, including lentil, garbanzo, flax and chia. Those provide a variety of nutrients that vegans especially need to stay healthy. The mix is also high in fiber (7 grams) and provides 20 grams of plant-based protein for 115 calories in each scoop. It’s also a lower-in-sodium blend, which is beneficial for anyone cutting back on salt. The best benefit: One scoop packs 100% of your daily vitamin B12 needs, a tough-to-find nutrient for vegans.

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7
Best for Muscle Gain

Beachbody Performance Recover Post-Workout Formula

amazon.com
$0.00

This popular protein powder is a great pick for post-workout snacks that can help build lean body mass. At 130 calories per scoop, the blend has a chocolatey taste and provides 10 grams of carbs with 20 grams of protein. When mixed with a cup of milk and a banana, you’ll take in more carbs and protein, which can make muscle-building more efficient. Branched chain amino acids (BCAAs) are the predominant type of amino acid that your muscles require for strength and function, and they're typically found in plant-based sources of protein. Since this blend combines whey, micellar casein and pea proteins, it can help meet your needs. 

8
Best Tasting

Salted Caramel Protein Powder (2 Pounds)

amazon.com
$40.00

Quest products have a cult following, but their protein powders deserve some credit in their own right. Made from whey protein isolate and micellar casein, the salted caramel flavor tastes like a sundae (it's sweetened with sucralose and stevia) — all while providing 26 grams of protein in a 120 calorie scoop. It's a nutrient-packed, satisfying snack option when blended with milk and ice. The slow-to-absorb micellar casein can help you feel satisfied and the powder packs 25% of your daily calcium needs, so it’s an all-around sound option for anyone with an active lifestyle.

9
Best for Endurance Athletes

Sport Certified Grass Fed Whey Protein Isolate, Chocolate (1.4 Pounds)

amazon.com
$54.95
$38.47

Garden of Life’s whey vanilla flavor is slightly sweet tasting but blends evenly in smoothies or on its own with water and ice. It has 4 grams of fiber per serving, which makes a post-training snack more filling. The combination of whey and milk protein provides an ideal blend for recovery of any type, but this mix also provides BCAAs (to support muscle repair) plus added probiotics, which could help with GI issues over time. The blend is also NSF Certified for Sport (a go-to recommendation for athletes, since it’s approved for use by the United States Anti-Doping Agency). 

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10
Best for Endurance Athletes (Vegan)

Sport Premium Protein, Vanilla (1.8 Pounds)

amazon.com
$39.45
$34.34

Vega Sport Performance Protein is another great choice, particularly for endurance trainers who want a vegan option. Made from a combo of pea, pumpkin seed and alfalfa protein, this blend tastes best blended into fruit smoothies. Plus, 5 grams of the 30 total grams of protein per serving are BCAAs, which may help with long-distance training recovery. A scoop provides about 20% of calcium and iron (both crucial for athletes), plus 410mg potassium and 240mg sodium, both of which are important for replenishing electrolyte losses after work-outs.  

11
Most Travel Friendly

Collagen Peptides Powder Stick Packs (20 Count)

amazon.com
$34.00

These portable packs were not included in ConsumerLab.com’s tests, but the collagen-peptide sticks are convenient and portable. That makes them an asset for those who love smoothies or shakes at the office or when traveling. At 35 calories and 9 grams protein per serving, these can add a boost to your morning latte, too.