Best Protein Powders of 2022 – Top 7 Tested and Reviewed (Updated)

Looking for a new protein powder? We can help.

Protein Powder 1

Over the years, research has proven that protein is an essential macronutrient because it gives you what you need to survive and thrive. Protein is a complex substance, found in all living things, and made of amino acids. Amino acids are organic compounds formed by combining nitrogen, hydrogen, carbon, oxygen, and sulfur.

As mentioned, protein is found in all living things- which means humans have it. It plays a critical role in creating/maintaining your cells and is responsible for a variety of functions including:

  • Creating enzymes
  • Building muscle
  • Facilitating digestion
  • Repairing tissues
  • Carrying oxygen through the bloodstream
  • Production of hormones

Basically, protein is critical for your overall health and well-being. Since protein is so important, many people have turned to protein powders to increase protein levels in their body- which augments stamina, improves muscle mass, increases strength, and helps with weight management.

Whether you are a serious athlete or you just want to improve your health by increasing the protein levels in your body, this article can help. After all, there’s so much you need to know about protein powders before you include them in your routine- and with all the options, it can be hard to choose one.

Many protein powder companies make huge promises, but not all of them live up to those promises. In this article, we’re going to explore more about protein powders in general, then we will go over the top 7 best protein powders on the market today. If you are looking to start using protein powder or to find a new one, start with one from this list. If you don’t like the first one you try, feel free to experiment and keep trying them until you do find one you like.

Top 7 Protein Powders At-a-Glance

Product Highlights
XWERKS Grow Soy-free

Gluten-free

No gas/bloating

Transparent Labs 100% Grass-Fed Whey Protein Improves energy levels

No chemical preservatives

Gluten-free

Ghost Lifestyle Whey Soy-free

Gluten-free

No proprietary blends

Steel Supplements VEG-PRO Non-GMO

Gluten-free

Easily digested

Crazy Nutrition Tri-Protein Soy-free

Non-GMO

Improves metabolic rate

Ladder Whey Protein Gluten-free

Holds NSP Certified for Sport certification

No artificial ingredients

Orgain Organic Plant Protein Zero added sugars

Lactose-free

Packed with vegan-sourced amino acids

Top 7 Protein Powders Reviews

Now that we’ve explained some of the different types of protein, as well as explained some of the benefits associated with protein supplementation, let’s take a look at the top 7 protein powders on the market today. As we’ve already mentioned, most of these are whey protein, but there are a couple of plant-based options. If you’re considering trying a protein powder, start with one of these:

XWERKS Grow

Protein Powder 2

XWERKS Grow is a whey isolate, sourced from grass-fed dairy cows in New Zealand. It is pure because it has been through advanced filtration to remove the carbs, lactose, and fats. What this filtration leaves behind is almost 100% pure protein.

The reason this protein powder is the first one on our list is because it’s a high-quality protein. Whey isolate is easier to digest, so you don’t have to worry about gas or bloating. Plus, XWERKS Grow is gluten-free and soy-free.

Each serving provides 25 grams protein, 6 grams BCAAs, zero carbs and zero fat. You have 4 delicious flavor choices: peanut butter, chocolate, strawberry, and vanilla. XWERKS Grow does not have a strange aftertaste like many of the other products on the market do.

Product Name XWERKS Grow
Protein Type Whey isolate
Nutrition Profile 25 grams protein

6 grams BCAAs

0 carbs/fat

Flavors Peanut Butter

Strawberry

Vanilla

Chocolate

Cost $59
Highlights Soy-free

Gluten-free

No gas/bloating

Click here to shop for XWERKS Grow

Transparent Labs 100% Grass Fed Whey Protein

Protein Powder 3

Transparent Labs 100% Whey Protein is also a whey isolate. It is sourced from dairy cows, fed natural, grass diets on farms in the USA. According to the experts, this is one of the best protein powders you can get. The reason is that it has a protein ratio of 88%- each scoop is 32 grams and contains 28 grams of protein.

Again, the dairy cows that this whey comes from are fed natural diets and are never given hormones. Additionally, there are no sweeteners, flavors, or other additives that are in this formula. Therefore, you can be sure that you are giving your body one of the healthiest protein powders you can find. Each scoop provides: 28 grams protein, less than 1 gram of sugar, 1 gram of carbs, and up to 120 calories, based on the flavor you choose.

It’s important to keep in mind that this has one of the best macronutrient profiles and offers one of the best price points too. This product proves that you don’t have to spend a lot of money to get a great protein powder.

Product Name Transparent Labs 100% Grass-Fed Whey Protein
Protein Type Whey isolate
Nutrition Profile 28 grams protein

120 calories (max, based on flavor)

1 gram carbs

Under 1 gram sugar

Flavors Chocolate Peanut Butter

Cinnamon Pastry

Salted Caramel

Milk Chocolate

Vanilla Peanut Butter

Mocha

Milk Chocolate

Strawberry

Cinnamon French Toast

Vanilla

Cost $59.99
Highlights Improves energy levels

No chemical preservatives

Gluten-free

Click here to shop for Transparent Labs 100% Grass-Fed Whey Protein

Ghost Lifestyle Whey

Protein Powder 4

In our research, we discovered that many brands put too much thought into what they do or don’t include in their products. Ghost Lifestyle Whey is simple. The manufacturer uses a 100% whey protein blend (isolate, concentrate, and hydrolysate), as well as digestive enzymes to make it easier for your body to digest. Each serving contains 25+ grams of isolate, hydrolysate, and concentrate. Ghost Lifestyle Whey is gluten-free and soy-free.

They offer a variety of interesting flavors:

  • Coffee Ice Cream
  • Milk Chocolate
  • Cereal Milk
    • Regular Cereal Milk
    • Cinnamon Cereal Milk
    • Marshmallow Cereal Milk
    • Fruity Cereal Milk
    • Peanut Butter Cereal Milk

The company is 100% honest and transparent about the ingredients and the dosages included in their products. They never use proprietary blends, which means you know what you’re getting and how much. They do not believe in hiding anything from you.

As we mentioned, Ghost Lifestyle Whey offers 25+ grams of whey protein in all three forms:

  • Isolate: 12.5 grams
  • Concentrate: 10 grams
  • Hydrolysate: 2.5 grams

Ghost Lifestyle Whey is soy-free. You have to be cautious because a lot of the brands use whey protein that has been lecithinated by soy. Since soy has been proven as an allergen, Ghost Lifestyle uses sunflower instead. Plus, soy contains phytoestrogens, which increase estrogen levels and decrease testosterone. Finally, this product is gluten-free.

Product Name Ghost Lifestyle Whey
Protein Type Whey isolate, concentrate, and hydrolysate
Nutrition Profile 25+ grams protein from isolate, concentrate, and hydrolysate
Flavors Coffee Ice Cream

Cereal Milk

Fruity Cereal Milk

Cinnamon Cereal Milk

Marshmallow Cereal Milk

Peanut Butter Cereal Milk

Milk Chocolate

Cost $44.99
Highlights Soy-free

Gluten-free

No proprietary blends

Click here to shop for Ghost Lifestyle Whey

Steel Supplements VEG-PRO

Protein Powder 5

According to the website, Steel Supplements VEG-PRO is a non-GMO pure vegan protein powder. It provides 20 grams of protein, along with all of the essential amino acids. It is produced at low temperatures, without fillers or carriers, which means that the integrity of the amino acid profile is preserved.

Since plant-based powders are typically lower in fat and calories, they can help with weight management. The high fiber content helps facilitate a healthy digestive balance.

VEG-PRO by Steel Supplements is dairy free, non-GMO, and gluten-free (with the exception of the Cookies & Cream flavor). The manufacturer claims this is the highest quality alternative to whey and milk proteins.

Product Name Steel Supplements VEG-PRO
Protein Type Plant-based
Nutrition Profile 20 grams protein

All 9 essential amino acids

Flavors Hot Cocoa

Peanut Butter

Chocolate

Peanut Butter & Jelly

Snickerdoodle

Vanilla Cream Pie

Strawberry Cheesecake

Butter Pecan

Blueberry Muffin

Banana Pancakes

Cookies & Cream

Cost $35.00
Highlights Non-GMO

Gluten-free

Easily digested

Click here to shop for Steel Supplements VEG-PRO

CrazyNutrition 100% Tri-Protein

Protein Powder 6

CrazyNutrition has been around the fitness arena for some time and has become well-known and loved. Their protein formula, 100% Tri-Protein is the ideal protein supplement to level up muscle gains and reduce the aches/pains you feel after an especially intense workout session.

This formula offers 6 different types of protein and releases it in 3 phases. The concept is that your body can absorb it easier. Other protein powders flood your body with high doses of protein all at once, but this one is spread out over time- a more controlled release.

Each serving of 100% Tri-Protein from CrazyNutrition contains 21 grams of protein, with the following protein types:

  • Calcium caseinate
  • Micellar casein
  • Whey protein concentrate
  • Whey protein isolate
  • Whey protein hydrolysate
  • Milk protein concentrate

Additionally, 100% Tri-Protein by CrazyNutrition contains a digestive enzyme, known as DigeZyme, which reduces bloat and increases absorption. You can only get three flavors: vanilla, salted caramel, or  chocolate. Therefore, if flavor variety is important to you, you may just want to find something else.

Product Name CrazyNutrition Tri-Protein
Protein Type 6 types of protein:

Whey concentrate

Whey isolate

Whey hydrolysate

Micellar casein

Milk protein concentrate

Calcium caseinate

Nutrition Profile 21 grams protein

DigeZyme

Flavors Chocolate

Vanilla

Salted Caramel

Cost $49.99
Highlights Soy-free

Non-GMO

Improves metabolic rate

Click here to shop for CrazyNutrition Tri-Protein

Ladder Whey Protein

Protein Powder 7

Ladder is a fitness supplement company founded by two renowned athletes, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Lebron James. When they discovered that they were unable to find a good quality protein powder to meet their training needs, they collaborated and formed their own company. They offer both whey and plant protein- but we are going to focus on the whey protein right now.

Ladder Whey Protein is formulated to promote muscle mass development, reduce recovery time, and improve endurance. Each serving contains 26 grams protein, 14 grams amino acids, 7 grams BCAAs, and 2 billion CFUs of probiotics.

Whey Protein by Ladder is available in two traditional flavors: chocolate and vanilla.

This is one of the few protein powders on the market that has been granted the NSF Certified for Sport certification, which means it has been rigorously tested and found free of substances banned from competitions.

Product Name Ladder Whey Protein
Protein Type Whey isolate
Nutrition Profile 26 grams protein

14 grams amino acids

7 grams BCAAs

2 billion CFUs probiotics

Flavors Chocolate

Vanilla

Cost $59.95
Highlights Gluten-free

Holds NSP Certified for Sport certification

No artificial ingredients

Click here to shop for Ladder Whey Protein

Orgain Organic Plant Protein

Protein Powder 8

Orgain is known and respected in the fitness industry. Their protein powders serve as a witness to their reputation. They are known for offering an array of protein powders, including both whey and plant-based. Both are organic and contain superfoods so that they can be used as meal replacements.

We are here to talk about their plant-sourced protein powder. It offers 21 grams protein, zero sugars, and 6 grams prebiotics. It is made with clean ingredients and has been found to be USDA certified organic. It is available in a few different flavors, including the following:

  • Iced Coffee
  • Peanut Butter
  • Creamy Chocolate Fudge
  • Chocolate Peanut Butter
  • Vanilla Bean
  • Chocolate Coconut
  • Chocolate Caramel Sea Salt

There is also an unsweetened formula. When you choose Orgain, you can be sure that you are giving your body high-quality protein.

Product Name Orgain Organic Plant Protein
Protein Type Plant-based
Nutrition Profile 21 grams protein

0 sugars

6 grams probiotics

Flavors Unsweetened

Iced Coffee

Peanut Butter

Creamy Chocolate Fudge

Vanilla Bean

Chocolate Peanut Butter

Chocolate Coconut

Chocolate Caramel Sea Salt

Cost $31.99
Highlights Zero added sugars

Lactose-free

Packed with vegan-sourced amino acids

Click here to shop for Orgain Organic Plant Protein

Factors We Used To Rank

  • Quality
  • Price
  • Value
  • Taste

Protein Powder Types

When you start shopping for a protein powder, you will quickly discover that there are so many options to choose from. While most of the products on our list below are whey protein, there are a couple of them that are plant-based. However, it is important that you are aware of other options as well. Below, we will look at the most common types of protein powder:

  • Whey
  • Casein
  • Soy
  • Pea
  • Hemp
  • Egg White
  • Brown Rice

When you start out on your journey to find a protein powder, you may find yourself confused by all of the options. You may think it’s impossible to find the best one. However, it’s important to note that there’s no “one protein powder fits all” out there. We all have different needs and goals. You have to choose the one that fits your personal needs and goals. That being said, let’s explore the different types of protein powders.

Whey

This is the most common type of protein you’ll find. As we mentioned, most of the products on our list are whey protein. This protein comes from milk during the cheesemaking process. During this process, the milk separates into a solid and a liquid. The solid is the curds and the liquid is the whey. At one time, this was what was thrown away- until researchers found a use for it.

There are three types of whey protein:

  • Whey isolate: 90%+ protein with zero fat, lactose, or carbs
  • Whey concentrate: 30 to 89% protein, does contain lactose and is low in fat and carbs
  • Whey hydrolysate: considered “predigested” because it is ultra-filtered, which makes it easier for your body to process

It is important that you keep in mind that whey does come from milk, so if you have an allergy to dairy, you’ll want to choose a different source for your protein. Also, since the lactose has been removed from whey isolate, it usually doesn’t cause any issues, but if you are lactose intolerant and want to be on the safe side, you may want to avoid whey as well.

Whey is considered a complete protein because it contains the 9 essential amino acids, including high levels of BCAAs, which are three of the nine. According to the experts, your body does not produce these 9 essential amino acids, so you must get them through your diet and/or supplementation.

Research indicates that whey protein helps with recovering from intense training, gaining and retaining muscle mass, and improving strength- when used alongside a strength training program.

Casein Protein

Casein is another common form of protein that is sourced from dairy. Casein turns into a gel when it gets to your stomach, which slows down digestion. This keeps you feeling fuller longer than you would with other forms of protein.

Since digestion is slower, it gives the amino acids more time to get into your muscles, which ultimately reduces the rate of muscle protein degradation. Research has shown that, when compared to soy or wheat proteins, casein is more effective at improving muscle protein synthesis.

Soy Protein

According to experts, soy protein is a high-quality source of plant protein. However, it contains phytoestrogens, which is a chemical that reduces testosterone and increases estrogen when consumed in high amounts. Therefore, it’s best for male bodybuilders to avoid this form of protein. Also, there is less leucine in soy protein than in whey protein.

Plus, the levels of the other essential amino acids is much lower. However, soy is fine to use moderately- but never in high amounts.

While men should avoid this because of the phytoestrogen, postmenopausal women may actually benefit from it. Finally, the phytonutrients found in this type of protein may be beneficial for older adults with low bone density and an increased risk of heart disease.

Pea Protein

Pea protein is another plant-based protein. Individuals who are allergic or sensitive to eggs and/or dairy have fallen in love with this one, as have vegans and vegetarians. It comes from split yellow peas, which are high in fiber and contain eight of the 9 essential amino acids. This type of protein is high in BCAAs.

Research indicates that pea protein is digested/absorbed faster than casein, but slower than whey. When it comes to satiety, it seems to be about the same. However, it’s important to note that this research has only been done on rats- we are still awaiting human trials.

Hemp Protein

The third plant-based protein we’ll investigate is hemp protein. This type of protein is new to the market but has quickly gained a following. This type of protein is sourced from cannabis plants, but only has trace amounts of THC.

According to research, hemp protein has high levels of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, as well as several of the essential amino acids. This is not a complete protein because leucine and lysine levels are low.

At this time, we don’t know much about hemp protein because not much research has been dedicated to it. The one thing we are sure of is that it’s a high-quality plant-based protein.

Egg Protein

If you are lactose intolerant, but still prefer an animal-based protein, egg protein might be worth considering. Research shows that eggs are a wonderful meal- you remain fuller longer after consuming them.

However, when it comes to protein powder, most of the time egg protein is made from egg whites, without the yolks. Therefore, the protein content is high – but there is zero fat because the yolks are not there. So, when you use an egg protein powder, you’re not going to have that feeling of fullness that you get with whole eggs.

Egg protein is a complete protein, just like the other animal-based proteins because it contains the 9 essential amino acids. It has been proven to be the second highest source of leucine- whey is the first.

Egg protein has not gotten nearly as much exposure as some of the other sources, but it does seem to show promise. If you have an issue with milk-based products, but want an animal-sourced protein, this is a great option.

Brown Rice Protein

The last type of protein we’ll look at is brown rice protein. This is also a plant-based protein, and it has been around for some time. According to research, it’s inferior to whey protein, especially when it comes to muscle growth. Since it lacks lysine, which is one of the 9 essential amino acids, it is not considered a complete protein.

Unfortunately, at this time, there has not been much research on brown rice protein- so it’s difficult to say whether or not it’s a quality protein.

indicating that athletes participating in intense training should probably consume twice the RDI, between 111 to 150 grams of protein daily.

What are the Benefits Associated with Protein Powder?

According to research, protein offers an array of benefits. After all, it is one of the essential elements responsible for muscle, skin, and bone health. In order to function properly, your body needs protein. Now that we’ve looked over some of the most common types of protein, we’ll explore some of the benefits associated with protein powder.

  • Weight management
  • Building muscle mass
  • Post-workout recovery
  • Boosting nutrition

Weight Management

When you consume foods with a high protein content or you take a protein supplement, you feel fuller for a longer period of time. This helps you avoid eating so much at one time and also keeps you from snacking. This means it’s much easier to manage your weight. If you need to lose weight, you can or if you just need to maintain your current weight, it’s easy to do as well.

In fact, one study in 2017 showed that supplementing with whey protein reduced body weight and total fat in overweight/obese participants. Additional research indicates that protein can help reduce risk of cardiovascular disease, blood pressure, and cholesterol.

Building Muscle Mass

Experts, such as serious athletes, workout enthusiasts, and bodybuilders, all agree that protein can help you bulk up, especially when you engage in a workout routine. The protein helps with building muscle mass.

In 2018, researchers reviewed the results of 49 studies that supported protein for building muscle mass. According to these studies, using protein supplementation alongside a resistance training regimen resulted in an increase in size and strength of muscles.

These studies involved males and females and results were similar. However, it was noted that results were reduced in older populations because, as we age, our protein needs increase- but once you go over 1.6 grams per kg of bodyweight, benefits stay about the same.

Post-Workout Recovery

Not only will protein help build muscle mass, it will also help repair damaged muscles and tissues. This is one of the primary reasons that people use protein powder, to help cope with the soreness following a workout.

There are many studies that support using a protein powder for post-workout recovery because it reduces muscle damage and improves muscle protein synthesis and performance.

Boosting Nutrition

According to nutrition experts, the RDI of protein for adults aged 19 and over is:

  • 46 grams for females
  • 56 grams for males

Ideally, you should be getting this much through your diet. Unfortunately, many people have a hard time reaching these recommendations for a variety of reasons. If you struggle with getting your RDI of protein, you might find it beneficial to use a protein powder.

Of course, if you are older, have been diagnosed with a chronic illness, or are a serious athlete, you may want to exceed the RDI. There is nothing written in stone that you can only consume that much and no more. In fact, there is some research

Conclusion

In order to survive and thrive, your body needs protein. Ideally, you should be able to get all the protein you need through your diet. However, this isn’t always the case. There are times when we all need a little bit of extra help. This is where a protein powder supplement comes in.

However, there are so many options on the market, it can be easy to get overwhelmed and just give up. That’s where we come in. We’ve put together a list of the top 7 best protein powder supplements on the market today. If you are wanting to get started with using protein powders or you want to find a new one, check out the ones on this list. You can be sure that you are getting a high-quality product with any of these.

 

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