The 5 Best Protein Powder Supplements In 2020: Our Tested Reviews

Top Rated Protein Powders

By Gerhard Hoermann, ISSA-CFT
Updated on: February 3, 2020

Honest Review Guarantee from Fitness Informant:
Our product testing team uses the full 30 day serving amount in container before reviewing. Learn more about our review process here.

Not all protein powders are created equally. In fact, there is a huge difference between the various types of protein powders available, and the quality of protein used in each powder.

There is protein powder derived from dairy (i.e. Whey Protein Isolate, Whey Protein Concentrate, Casein Protein, etc), from vegan sources (Pea Protein, Hemp Protein) and from animal sources (Beef Protein and Dried Egg Whites). The list is extensive and it is exhaustive.

Are you curious to know which type of protein powder supplement is right for you?

Plenty of clever label techniques are used by supplement manufactures to trick you into believing their protein is superior to others. That’s where we come in.

We remove the BS the supplement companies feed you, and tell you what they don’t want you to know.

We guarantee that any protein powder you find on our top five rated protein powders list is worth your money. Don’t be fooled by end caps at the grocery store or a fancy package.


A Comparison of the Protein Powder Supplements 

Here's the top 5 picks for the best protein powder supplements that money can buy:

Product Name

Highlights

Rating

#1 MuscleSport Lean Whey

Lean Whey Unicorn Cookie Shake

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Best Overall Protein Powder Supplement

Highlights:


  • Fibersol®-2
  • Fully Disclosed Protein
  • Unique Flavor Options

Our #1 Rated

Fitness Informant Logo

8.6 out of 10

in the Protein Powder Category

#2 Ghost Whey

GHOST Whey

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Best for Authentic Flavoring

Highlights:


  • Authentic Flavor Options
  • Transparent Label
  • Great Taste
  • 3 Different Sources or Whey Protein

Our #2 Rated

Fitness Informant Logo

9.2 out of 10

in the Protein Powder Category

#3 NutraBio Whey Isolate

NutraBio 100% whey protein isolate

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Best for Transparency

Highlights:


  • Fully Disclosed Label
  • Flavor Options
  • No Fillers

Our #3 Rated

Fitness Informant Logo

9.5 out of 10

in the Protein Powder Category

#4 Gaspari Proven Egg

Gaspari Nutrition Proven Egg

Best for Non-Whey Protein

Highlights:


  • Egg Protein
  • Great Taste

Our #4 Rated

Fitness Informant Logo

8.6 out of 10

in the Protein Powder Category

#5 Inspired Nutraceuticals Protein+

Inspired Nutraceuticals Protein+

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Best for Uniqueness

Highlights:


  • 5g Collagen Peptides
  • Taste
  • Enzymes and Probiotics

Our #5 Rated

Fitness Informant Logo

9.3 out of 10

in the Protein Powder Category

There are hundreds of different brands and variations of Protein Powder supplements out there.

How did these 5 make Fitness Informant's top 5 list? Read on and we'll tell you:


#1 MuscleSport Lean Whey

Lean Whey Unicorn Cookie Shake
  • Rating: 8.6 ​​out of 10
  • Servings: 27
  • Best For: Top Overall Product

Use coupon code INFORMANT to save 20%

Pros

  • Taste
  • 3g Lean Muscle Matrix
  • Transparent Protein
  • Unique Flavor Options
  • Low Fat

Cons

  • Can be expensive depending on where you buy

MuscleSport Lean Whey ​has been growing rapidly over the past year, and we are more than happy to be watching it happen. If you didn't know, Lean Whey won our "Protein of the Year" award for the year of 2019. While their was stiff competition, we couldn't look past the Unicorn Cookie Shake flavor and how great it really was.

Lean Whey is known for it's great flavors, and flavoring is something that MuscleSport is very underrated at. Lean Whey is a blend of Isolate and Hydrolysate, two proteins that are typically quite weak when it comes to flavor, however you wouldn't be able to tell with Lean Whey. While the texture is on the thin side like most Isolate proteins, the flavoring system is so impressive that you simply won't care. Not only does Lean Whey Unicorn Cookie Shake, they also have flavors such as Fluffernutter, Protella (think Nutella), Coconut Caramel, and many more.

Now not only do they flavor their protein well, they are also transparent with their protein, something we like seeing. One scoop gives you 25 grams of protein, 15 coming from Whey Isolate, and 10 from Whey Protein Hydrolysate. Also, one scoop gets you 1g of fat, and depending on the flavor, you get anywhere from 3g-5g or carbohydrates. Also included in Lean Whey, is a 3 gram blend consisting of FIbersol®-2, LCLT, MCTs, and CLA. This blend is intended to intended to aid in increasing your metabolic rate. 

Overall, it's a great choice for a protein powder, and you'll look forward to drinking it. 

Who Makes It?

MuscleSport is a popular sports nutrition company that makes key products like Lean Whey and their Rhino Black pre-workout series. They do a phenomenal job on their flavoring and branding, and their products are quite good. When you see the brand MuscleSport you can put your trust into it. 

What's in it?

One serving contains:

  • 25g Protein - coming from both Isolate and Hydrolysate​​
  • 1g Fat - low fat, fitting for a lean protein​​​​
  • 5g Carbohydrate - source of energy
  • 3g Lean Muscle Matrix - blend of ingredients that may aid in increasing your metabolism
Lean Whey Label

Bottom Line:

MuscleSport Lean Whey is certainly a top notch product. While some may have an issue with the carb content, if you're worried about 3g-5g of carbs from your protein powder, you maybe overthinking your dieting. Lean Whey is certainly a protein worth trying, and it will most likely become a staple in your supplement regimen. 


Read the in-depth full review here.

Use coupon code INFORMANT to save 20%

#2 Ghost Whey

GHOST Whey
  • Rating: 9.2 out of 10
  • Servings: 26
  • Best For: Flavoring

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Pros

  • Authentic Flavoring 
  • Interesting Flavor Options
  • Value
  • Transparent label
  • WPI and WPH
  • Scoop on Top

Cons

  • Limited Places to Buy

Ghost Whey could easily be #1 on this list. Ghost took the protein world by storm in 2019, and we expect more greatness from them in 2020. Not only did they release a delicious Cinnamon Cereal Milk flavor, they also released an industry changing flavor, that being Chips Ahoy. This was a huge feat, not only for Ghost, but for the industry. This flavor really set the standard high for Ghost, and we are excited to see what they bring in 2020.

Ghost Whey is a fully transparent protein, something that we like seeing in this industry. Another thing to note is that they don't go out of their way to advertise it. It's simply expected. You notice that Ghost does a lot right without having to advertise it, an example being how their scoopers are ALWAYS on top. While some other companies may do this, they advertise it heavily. Ghost simply does it as if it's expected. 

The protein blend consists of Whey Protein Concentrate (12.5g), Whey Protein Isolate (10g), and Whey Protein Hydrolysate (2.5g). No real complaints here. We'd actually be fine with a simple WPC/WPI blend, or even WPC/Casein, but still we aren't going to complain. 

Ghost Whey is simply a great choice every time. They have plenty of flavors to choose from, and many of them are unique. While they do offer a chocolate, you can also choose from things like Chips Ahoy, Cinnamon Cereal Milk, and Fruity Cereal Milk. 

Who Makes It?

Ghost is a fully transparent brand in the supplement industry. They are more than a supplement brand, they are a lifestyle (that's really what they are going for). They could easily attract consumers with their amazing YouTube Channel and marketing campaigns, which they do, but they keep them with their quality formulas and products.

What's In It?

One serving contains:

  • 25g Protein - coming from WPC, WPI, and WPH
  • 4g Carbohydrate - source of energy
  • 1.5g Fat - low fat, fitting for a lean protein
GHOST Whey Label

Bottom Line:

Ghost Whey is one of our favorite protein powders on the market. While it's a hard category to judge because a lot of it is the same, Ghost found a way to make it unique. Not only by being transparent, but also with their authentic flavor collaboration with Chips Ahoy. The future is bright for Ghost.


Read our full review here.

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#3 NutraBio Whey Protein Isolate

NutraBio 100% whey protein isolate
  • Rating: 9.5 out of 10
  • Servings: 74
  • Best For: Transparency

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Pros

  • Fully Transparent
  • No Fillers
  • Some Flavors are Great
  • Whey Isolate
  • Value
  • No Additives

Cons

  • Some Flavors Could use Improvements

100% Whey Protein Isolate by NutraBio was the 2017 Shield of Excellence Supplement Award winner for Best Protein Powder, and was in the running for Protein of the Year in 2019 as well. While it did not win, it still deserved its nomination, and this is why you will see at #3 in our best protein powders of 2020.

The combination of a fully transparent label, effectiveness, taste, mixability and value put this above and beyond the competition. Each serving of 100% WPI contains 25g of whey protein isolate. Each serving size is 29.87g (yes, down to the hundredth in terms of measurements) which is 84% protein per serving. One of the best we’ve seen on the whey market.

NutraBio’s 100% Whey Protein Isolate is fat free and lactose free. Making this a great selection for those who are looking to lose weight or have issues with lactose. It does contain 1g of carbs, but also has dietary fiber so net carbs will be less than one gram.

The label, like all NutraBio products, shows 1.68g of flavoring. This is lower than a lot in the industry as they don’t like to put “extras” in their products.

NutraBio’s 100% Whey Protein Isolate won our 2017 Shield of Excellence Award for Best Protein Powder because of everything we just talked about. I have yet to find a protein powder to pass it. Some have come close, but none have exceeded.

Who Makes It?

NutraBio has been in business since 1996 producing some of the highest quality supplements you can buy today. They not only promote awesome, high quality products, but education as well.

NutraBio has been trying to educate the consumer on the sports nutrition industry for several years to ensure that you are purchasing supplements of high quality and not just a marketing gimmick. All of their products contain a 100% transparent label to ensure you know what you are putting in your body.

What's In It?

One serving contains:

  • 25g Whey Protein Isolate – higher than competitors in the WPI market – equaling 84% protein per serving
  • 0g Fat – fat free to promote muscle gains and not increasing fat stores
  • 1g Carbs – minimal carbs to put the focus on the protein content
  • 1.6g Flavoring – fully disclosed flavoring profile let’s you know exactly what they are using
100% WPI NutraBio Label

Bottom Line:

NutraBio's Whey Protein Isolate is well-deserving of being on any top protein powder list. It has been a contender for the top protein on Fitness Informant for years now, and this is why you will always see us recommending it. 


Read full review here.

Use coupon code INFORMANT to save 10%

#4 Gaspari Proven Egg

Gaspari Nutrition Proven Egg
  • Rating: 8.8 out of 10
  • Servings: 28​​ servings
  • Best For: Non-Whey Product

Pros

  • Non-Dairy Based
  • Easy to Digest
  • Taste
  • 0g Fat 
  • 25g Protein

Cons

  • Mixability
  • Not Many Flavor Options 

Gaspari Proven Egg was also a nominee for our "Protein of the Year" award in 2019, and it ws the only non-whey based protein on that list. We're not going to lie, for a few years, we didn't know what happened to Gaspari. They went from a brand that was at the top, to suddenly being hard to find. Now in 2019, they seemed to have come back from the dead, and we love the new direction they've gone. They don't really make hardcore products anymore, they seem to have shifted to a healthier for you brand. Who would have ever though that Gaspari would come out with a Bone Broth product?

Anyway, Proven Egg makes this list, because it really does little wrong. Egg protein, like whey, has a high bioavailability, and is usually regarded as the best source of protein. While that's debatable, we can't argue that you'd notice a difference between using whey or egg protein. Proven egg is a very lean protein, that is naturally flavored. With 25g of protein coming from egg white, you get 0 grams of fat, and one 1 carbohydrate per serving. This is as lean as it gets for the most part when it comes to protein.

Not only are the macros great, but the flavors are awesome as well. While they currently only have 2 flavor options, they are all great. Chocolate is awesome and due to it being an egg protein, it has a hint of saltiness to it, but its enjoyable. 

If you want to switch it up from whey, Proven Egg is a solid option that we recommend you try!

Who Makes It?

Gaspari is a brand that has been around for a long time now. After going through some rough times in recent years, they have recently resurged and are back at the forefront of the industry. While they don't seem to be the giant they used to be, they have certainly ​​​​come back from the dead to make sure we know they are here to stay.

What's In It?

One serving contains:

  • 25g Protein – coming from Instantized Egg White Protein
  • 0g Fat – no fat, making it macro friendly
  • 1g Carbohydrate – 1 carb, making it macro friendly
Gaspari Nutrition Proven Egg Label

Bottom Line:

Proven Egg is a gret protein option, and if you have issues with whey, we highly recommend going with egg protein. Not only has Gaspari shown us that you don't have to use something completely new to be innovative, but you can compete in the protein space without using whey.


Read our full review here.

#5 Inspired Nutraceuticals Protein+

Inspired Nutraceuticals Protein+
  • Rating: 9.3​​ out of 10
  • Servings: 27
  • Best For: Collagen

Use coupon code INFORMANT to save 10%

Pros

  • Collagen
  • 25g Protein
  • Enzymes
  • Probiotics
  • WPI and WPC

Cons

  • Flavors take time getting used to
  • Not many flavor options

Protein+ is probably the most unique product on this list. We are big fans of what Inspired and what Chris Waldrum has brought to the industry, especially in 2019. One of his most notable releases was Protein+, which at first glance is just a protein powder, however just looking at the profile, you see that it is more than that.

Protein+ not only gives you 25g of protein, they also include Collagen Peptides, Digestive Enzymes, and Probiotics. This makes Protein+ not only good for muscle repair, but it may also be good for joints and skin health. Add some digestive benefits to it and you have a protein that is more than just a protein powder.

One scoop gives you 25g of total protein, 2g carbohydrates, and 3g of fat. While the fat is the highest on this list, it really isn't an issue, as 3g of fat is still a small amount, especially when compared to some other products on the market. 

Who Makes It?

Inspired Nutraceuticals is a smaller company focused on product quality and innovation. Unlike the big guys, who focus much of their efforts growing the top and bottom line through clever marketing, IN is putting their resources into R&D to provide quality supplements for the consumer.

What's In It?

One serving contains:

  • 25g Protein –  coming from WPI, WPC, and Collagen Peptides
  • 2g Carbohydrate– low carb, macro friendly
  • 3g Fat - fairly low fat making it macro friendly
  • 250mg ProHydrolase – digestive enzymes to aid in digestion
  • 500 Million CFU – probiotics for gut health
Inspired Nutraceuticals Protein+ Label

Bottom Line:

Protein+ is one of our favorite protein powders on the market, as it takes something simple, adds something to it that makes it special. While the taste may take some getting used to (it's not bad), you'll find yourself enjoying it and overtime, you may notice some other benefits such as joint health and skin health.


Read our full review here.

Use coupon code INFORMANT to save 10%


Why You Need to Supplement with Protein Powder

In this day and age, with overly processed foods being the bulk of the human diet, it is imperative that we supplement with protein powder. That’s just for the sedentary people in this world. If you’re a fitness addict or a casual gym goer, you need protein powder more than anyone else to help with your progressive.

The best protein powders can provide you with:

  • Increased Muscle Size
    Individual muscle cells only grow during protein synthesis windows. Consuming a protein powder post-workout helps increase protein synthesis which helps increase muscle size.
  • Improve Recovery
    Consuming protein powder post-workout not only increases protein synthesis, but it helps repair your muscles quicker, which will speed up your recovery.
  • Reduce Chance of Injury
    Intense exercise recovers proper recovery. Protein powders help improve protein synthesis which helps aid in the recovery process. By improving recovery time, it prevents overtraining which can lead to injury.
  • Accelerate Fat Loss
    Protein powders help increase muscle size, which burns more calories. Protein powders also help increase metabolism, which also aids in weight and fat loss.
  • Craving Control
    Protein powders can contain up to 25g of protein per serving. That alone is 100 calories just in protein. When you have a craving for junk food, a delicious protein shake can curb those cravings and help you on your healthy path of life.

What Should You Look for in a Protein Powder?

Like we mentioned earlier, not all protein powders are created equal. In fact, there are so many variations of protein powders, it is important to know which is the best for you.

Some protein powder supplement facts have multiple form of protein being used. The typical consumer will think that is a wonderful thing and automatically assume what they are buying is quality. The supplement manufacturer, however, knows that this is “label dressing” to trick the consumer into paying a premium price for a mediocre to garbage product.

The following points explain the various forms of protein powders available on the market. We will give a synopsis of each. We will also look at protein powders based on your goals, and what you should be looking for.

Whey Protein Concentrate

Whey protein concentrate powders are a popular choice among the fitness community because of it’s muscle building properties, health promoting profile and, maybe the most important attribute, it’s affordable cost. A high quality WPC can contain roughly 70-80% protein. However, the FDA allows companies to to use as low as 34% protein to be considered a whey protein concentrate. On a per gram basis it contains less protein than whey protein isolate, but it contains many of those subfraction proteins we talked about earlier that WPI remove during the filtration process.

Whey protein concentration does not have to go through the advanced filtration process that isolates go through thus making it more cost-effective to produce.  An important thing to note is that because it does not go through this filtration process that WPI go through the WPC contains more of these health promoting subfraction proteins in them.  Many people choose a concentration as an everyday protein because of these attributes that assist in other forms of health outside of muscle building.

Whey protein concentrate does contain more fat, carbohydrates, sodium and lactose than WPI. This is because the WPC does not go through any advanced filtration process to remove any of these.  If you are not lactose intolerant, not worried about the extra fats and carbs than a WPC is a good choice as it is more affordable.

Whey Protein Isolate

Whey protein isolate is a form of whey protein that goes through an additional filtration process that WPC does not go through making it a purer protein powered.  Various filtration processes are available to create a WPI but the most popular are cross flow micro filtration, ion exchange, ultra filtration, micro filtration, etc.  Long story short, each of these filtration processes can remove more or less of those other sub-fractions of proteins we find in a WPC.

A typical WPI contains 90-96% protein compared to WPC 70-80%. This right here makes it an attractive protein source for those in the fitness community because they want to know they are getting the max protein for their dollar. A WPI also contains less fat, carbohydrates, sodium and lactose than a WPC.

Whey protein isolate is also more rapidly absorbed by your body than a WPC. This leads to an increase in insulin production by your body. There are no real-world studies that I can find that leads to saying this is better or worse post-workout. However, the body needs insulin to product muscle. Rises in insulin at the wrong time can turn into body fat. Rises in insulin after a workout due to the rapid absorption of WPI could be a benefit for those looking to increase muscle mass.

Whey Protein Hydrolysate

Whey protein hydrolysate is going to be the highest form of whey protein available. It will also be the most expensive protein available. A whey protein concentrate or whey protein isolate can be hydrolyzed.

The difference in whey protein hydrolysate is that it is broken down even further (whey protein concentrate and isolate are already fast digesting proteins) breaking apart the amino bonds making a hydrolysate protein powder digest and absorb even faster than an isolate.

Casein Protein

Casein protein is known as the slow-digesting protein powder. There is more of an abundance of casein protein powder when protein powders are made. They remove the whey and what is left is casein (approximately 80% of the dairy source contains casein versus 20% whey).

Casein proteins are great when you do not need the rapid absorption of a protein powder. In fact, your body can only utilize a certain amount of protein in a time period. A lot of bodybuilders and fitness gurus like to use a combination of whey protein and casein so they get the quick absorption of the whey, and then the slow digesting protein from the casein.

Casein is a popular choice before bedtime. Most of us are getting 6-9 hours of sleep a night. That is a long time without feeding the machine. Casein protein continues to feed you while you sleep.

Casein protein is also available as an isolate.

Milk Protein Concentrate/Isolate

Milk protein is protein powder containing both whey and casein. Under the casein protein section we indicated that 80% of the protein derived from the dairy source is casein, while 20% is whey. Instead of separating the two forms of protein, they just leave them as-is.

Milk protein is used in a lot of protein bars. It is also available as a source of protein in protein powders. This is a cheaper protein due to the fact that they do not have to separate out the casein from the whey. Just because it is less expensive, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s bad quality. Milk proteins can be beneficial depending on your goals.

Beef Protein

Many people have issues with lactose, this making whey protein concentrate, and some isolates, undrinkable for them. Beef protein is an option for those that cannot work with lactose.

Beef protein is exactly how it sounds, protein derived from cattle. There are several brands of beef protein available on the market. These typically won’t rank in anyone’s top five rated protein powders, due to whey protein being superior in studies, but it is important you know that they exist.

Vegan Proteins

The market for vegan friendly products has grown tremendously. In fact, this is a huge profit opportunity for supplement manufactures.

Vegas proteins are derived from a vegan/vegetable source. The most common are pea protein and hemp protein. It is important, that if you follow a vegan lifestyle, that you supplement with a protein powder. These vegan protein powders are a great choice.

For Muscle Gains

When looking for the right protein powder to support your muscle gains, you want to make sure you are getting a high quality protein. This is best found in a whey protein powder.

You want to ensure that you are getting adequate protein to help with protein synthesis, muscle recovery, repair and regrowth. You will want to look for either a whey protein concentrate that is close to 80% quality, or a whey protein isolate which is above 90%.

For Weight Loss

A high quality protein powder is going to help with weight and fat loss. Protein powders contain a high ratio of proteins compared to fats and carbs. This is important because protein powders increase protein synthesis which increases muscle gains which burns more fat.

Protein is also broken down more quickly than fats. While it can curb your cravings for sweets, it also aids in fat loss by making you feel full with the macros you need and without the macros you don’t need.

You want to look for a protein powder that is high in protein content and low in carbs, fats and sodium. These are the best protein powders for weight loss.

Our Pre-Workout Supplement Testing Process

We examined five different areas of each pre-workout supplement when we compiled our rankings:

  1. Ingredients Profile
  2. Effectiveness
  3. Taste
  4. Mixability
  5. Value

preworkout powder in bottle

Ingredients Profile

When we review each pump activating supplement on their ingredient profile, we look at the active ingredients being used and their dosages.

Many pre-workout supplements include a variety of beneficial ingredients, but under dose them proving to be non-effective.

Effectiveness

Effectiveness is an extension of ingredient profile. If the product uses proven ingredients at clinically suggested dosages, the product should be effective.

Everyone is different. Everyone takes to different ingredients differently at varying dosages. We have tried and tested each of these products throughout the full duration of their container to ensure these products are effective over their life.

Taste

We review taste on two different components. First, how close does the muscle pump supplement taste to the actual name printed on the label. For example, does Blue Raz actually taste like blue raspberry. Second, we review it on overall taste (in our opinion) versus others in the same flavor category.

Mixability

Mixability refers to how well does the product mix in 8-12oz of water. The testing process for a pump activating drink we use here is a generic Blender Bottle with the chrome spiral ball. We use regular tap water with no ice.

Value

Value is a combination of ingredient profile, effectiveness, taste, mixability and cost. We do not just look at the price tag like a lot of others do. If a product is priced at a premium, we inform you if it is worth the premium price or not based on all the categories. We look at the overall picture of the  pre-workout supplement, and how it compares to other pre-workout supplements on the market.

Please Note: Many of the “top 10” lists you find online are written by content writers with no in-gym or supplement experience who are paid by the word count to write an article for a website trying to generate money.

These lists are influenced by brands who pay for placement. These lists contain pump activating supplements that are, for the lack of a better word, garbage.

The following products on our best of list were used by the author of this article. He used the pump activating supplements through the duration of a full container. Sample packs were not used in determining the rankings of the best protein powder supplements.

Stop relying on faulty information that is influenced by outside writers and money. This list is the real deal. Here at Fitness Informant, we don’t steer you wrong. Be Informed. Live Fit.