Top 10 Whey Protein Powders For Muscle Gains: 2019 Buying Guide (With Mass Gainers)

By Nader Qudimat
Last Updated November 28, 2019
4 Comments

BEST OVERALL

  • Completely disclosed label
  • Made from 100% grass fed protein
  • Cleanest protein powder available

BEST FOR BUILDING MUSCLE

  • Contains fast absorbing hydrolyzed protein
  • Zero fat and only 1g carb
  • Affordable price and reputable company

Protein powders are the worst.

They have the noobies believing that they can take a protein shake, and call it a day.

A couple of things are misunderstood when it comes to supplementation (especially pre workouts, see that buying guide as well) in general.

With a whole bunch of top 10 lists out there, this has to be one of the best ones you'll find.

It features different lists for people with specific preferences and / or dietary needs (like vegetarians, or halal & kosher friendly powders).

You can just skip to our final top 10 list or guide yourself through this buying guide to find the best protein powder for you.

Best Overall

​​Transparent Labs – the name says it all about this company and their commitment to open labeling and premium quality is never more clear than it is with ProteinSeries 100% Grass Fed Whey Protein Isolate.

If you compare this to their whey concentrate, this is a much cleaner product with less than 1 gram of sugar, 1 gram of carbs and zero fat.

Whey isolate has a higher protein content (90%) than concentrate and this product even has the flavoring and sweetener broken down into mgs.

To say that this is a great fit for the Paleo diet is a understatement!

Transparent Labs has made quite a name for themselves with their transparency and quality, which is great, but how does it taste?

While users tell us it tastes great, it does have only basic vanilla and chocolate flavorings.

It may be arguable as to whether or not whey is a true Paleo food – but you are getting an exceptionally pure product with excellent benefits.

As far as value, you’re getting 30 servings for a premium price, so again, you get what you pay for.

All in all, Transparent Labs ProteinSeries 100% Grass Fed Whey Protein Isolate is an exceptional product – we’d say it’s a great choice – one of the best choices, for anyone following the Paleo diet.

PROS

  • 30 Servings, 112 Calories, 28g Protein, 0g Sugar, 0g Carbs
  • High protein per serving (28 grams)
  • 112 calories, zero carbs / per serving
  • Free of artificial flavoring, preservervatives and hormones
  • Super clean and pure protein
  • Naturally sweetened with stevia
  • Stimulates muscle growth and enhances recovery

CONS

  • One flavor (chocolate)
  • Expensive (you get what you pay for high quality/ pure)

Best known for their C4 pre-workout, Cellucor has been making decent products for years.

They are not a brand that has switched to full disclosure labeling, seemingly content to be one of the more established brands still using prop blends in many of their formulas.

They don’t shy away from artificial ingredients either, even in their best formulas.

So it is with Cor Performance Whey.

The label is fully disclosed bt nowhere near full transparency with no breakdowns given for the “Whey Protein Matrix” of whey isolate and whey concentrate.

There’s 2 grams of sugar, 4 grams of total carbs and 1.5 grams of fat – fairly standard.

Cellucor does use artificial flavoring and sweeteners, so as you can see, there’s nothing that makes this product really stand out – but did we mention the flavors?

The one area this product really steps it up is flavoring – you’ve got the usuals, but you also have peanut butter marshmallow, chocolate chip cookie dough and cinnamon swirl – and yes, they do taste really good!

As far as value, you’ll get 70 servings in a 5 pounder at an average price, so it’s a solid value.

So, overall this is a decent product that only tries to be good, it’s not the best and it knows it.

PROS

  • ​This is a good value with 70 servings and an average price
  • Great flavors and the taste is excellent
  • Mixes well in in water or milk

CONS

  • Artificial ingredients
  • Just an average powder, there's nothing remarkable about it

Like yourself, I'm not surprised.

You've undoubtedly seen this as the number one recommended protein and rightfully so.

Optimum Nutrition has made it's mark in being the number 1 protein powder in the whey category.

The reason for that is because it contains super high quality protein sources (whey isolate, and lists it first in the protein)

And being one of the most popular whey protein powders, there's almost always deals on this supplement.

Whether it be clearences, BOGO's or whatever else you can imagine. 

It's also one of few protein powders that is lower in carbs and fats.

Every scoop has 24 grams of protein, 120 calories, 1 gram of fat (.5g of saturated fat) 3 grams of carbs (1g of sugar).

And of course, like any other protein powder, it has naturally occuring BCAA's (5.5g) and it also has 4 grams of glutamine ​to help with recovery and muscle growth.

So if you've got your multivitamins and creatine, then all you need is a protein powder like this one.​

PROS

  • Lists whey isolate first in the profile (high quality protein)
  • Lists whey isolate first in the profile (high quality protein)
  • Great value
  • Awesome recovery (gluta
  • ​Easy digestion
  • ​Low in calories, fats, and carbs
  • ​Addictive taste

CONS

  • ​(No cons really)

This protein hits the spot right from the title and to the moment you take your first sip.

Zero Carb Isopure is a no B.S. type of powder that uses absolutely no carbs and only whey protein isolate so you can digest it easily.

Although it's easily digestible, it might give you a bit of gas. ​

You can read our full analysis on it here. ​

Use this coupon for 5% off: ​Fitfrek5​

PROS

  • No carbs
  • Only whey isolate

CONS

  • A bit pricey

Building Muscle

D​ISO-100 is not only a low carb protein powder but is also very low in fat (half a gram per serving).

Dymatize's protein is affordable, so if you're on a budget but still need a whey protein isolate that is trusted and owned by a solid company, then ISO-100 is for you. ​

While Dymatize is not known for their other products, their protein powders are out of this world with flavoring and nutritional value.

ISO-100 uses hydrolyzed whey protein isolate for the fastest absorbing and lists whey protein isolate as the 2nd source. ​

It is mainly sweetened with natural flavors so it isn't as reliant on artificial flavoring as other supplements would be. ​

Most people seem to enjoy these flavors: Gourmet Berry, Pina Colada and vanilla.

ISO-100 keeps the flavor strong by relying mostly on stevia. 

PROS

  • ​Great whey isolate complex
  • ​Reasonably clean formula
  • ​Incredible flavors

CONS

  • ​They use artificial ingredients - why?
  • ​Expensive - 76 servings but the quality does not justify the price

With Universal Nutrition, you know you're getting what you pay for.

Animal Whey is a recent addition to the Universal line up, and it looks great as it lists isolate as a first in the list.

All the flavors are pretty awesome, but really that's not why it's listed here.

Every scoop provides 25 grams of protein, 125 calories, 1 to 1.5 grams of fat and 3-4 carbs (2-3g of fiber)​.

Though the blend is basic looking, it's still remains at the top of best protein powders.

The blend features 2 types of protein, whey protein isolate and whey protein concentrate. ​

PROS

  • ​Lists whey protein isolate first
  • ​Digestive enzyme blend (enhances digestion of protein)
  • ​25g of protein, 125 calories, 1-1.5 grams of fat, 3-4 carbs (2-3g of fiber)
  • ​Simple but powerful blend
  • ​All flavors are delicious (Creamy and rich)

CONS

  • ​Expensive per serving
  • ​Proprietary blend of protein

The Genius Brand is a huge seller on Amazon with a excellent reputation for quality and unique formulas, including their cognitive formulas.

Genius Protein is no exception, in fact, it’s an exceptional formula.

There’s a lot that separates Genius Protein from other proteins – first of all, it’s a simple but effective 50-50 blend of whey isolate and micellar casein for fast and slow digestion.

There’s none of this 6 or more proteins, you simply get the best form of fast digesting whey and the best form of slow digesting casein with 24 grams of protein per serving.

The next thing that sets Genius apart is the complete breakdown of each protein – nothing new but it’s still something we only see from a very few companies.

One possible drawback is that there’s 2.5 grams of sugar, but at least they give you the gram total of the cane sugar (2 grams) in this product.

Despite the sugar content, there is stevia.

Really, the best Natural powders use zero sugar, naturally sourced or not, and go with stevia 100%.

It’s only 2.5 grams but it adds up over the course of several shakes and some users will find this unacceptable.

Fat content is virtually nothing and total carbs are 3.5 grams.

Is this product a good value?

Well, pretty much.

It comes in one size only – 2 pounds – with 30 servings and an average price for Amazon.

This is an excellent product overall, even if we’d rather see stevia instead of sugar, but they have a good name for themselves for a reason – they have the quality to back the name up.

PROS

  • ​100% transparent label
  • ​Good mix (50/50) of whey isolate and micellar casein
  • ​Good value with 30 servings

CONS

  • ​Sugar!
  • ​There’s only one size - 2lbs.

Grass Fed

Every gram of this protein is 100% pure whey isolate, and it's made straight from grass fed cows.

You'd be surprised at the things that cows can eat other than grass but this is promised to be hormone-free.

This is one of the few protein powders that use stevia for flavoring, doesn't contain any artificial flavors, coloring, gluten, and preservatives.

If there was ever an “organic” supplement store, this would be one of the first supplements to be stocked, because it's very organic. ​

PROS

  • 30 Servings, 112 Calories, 28g Protein, 0g Sugar, 0g Carbs
  • High protein per serving (28 grams)
  • 112 calories, zero carbs / per serving
  • Free of artificial flavoring, preservervatives and hormones
  • Super clean and pure protein
  • Naturally sweetened with stevia
  • Stimulates muscle growth and enhances recovery

CONS

  • One flavor (chocolate)
  • Expensive (you get what you pay for high quality/ pure)

One of the lesser known brands, this protein powder is one of the “healthier” options you can get.

Its' protein is derived from grass-fed cows and it doesn't include any artificial coloring nor flavoring.

Everything about it is natural.

Grass-Fed Whey seems to have the advantage of using protein from “small farms”, which feels a little more friendly.​

It's argued that all protein powders are healthy but really, this is using all natural sweeteners and flavoring which makes it more favorable. ​

If you prefer going organic, consuming supplements that are “all natural” and the protein is derived from cows that are well taken care of, then you'll loved Naked Whey for it's clean protein.​