Total Shape is a reader-supported site. Purchases made through links may earn a commission. Learn more.

8 Best Protein Powders to Build Muscle (2022 Updated) 

Isaac Robertson
Published by Isaac Robertson
Fact checked by Donald Christman, BHSc FACT CHECKED
Last updated: December 27, 2021

There are more protein supplements than any other kind of dietary product, but the problem with most of them is that they don’t have the right quality.

And in quite a few cases, we’ve found that they are full of sugar and don’t mix easily.

I’m sure you’ve experienced those crappy protein powders that taste awful and end up in a clumpy mess.

To help you avoid those types of products, we’ve come up with a tried and tested list of products that we recommend to clients to build muscle and lose some body weight.

Our Protein Powder for Muscle Gain

1 - Transparent Labs Whey Protein Isolate (Editor's Choice)

Transparent Labs 100% Grass-Fed Whey Protein Isolate
Ingredient Quality
5.0
Price
5.0
Taste
5.0
Overall Score 5.0
5.0

Our top choice is from Transparent Labs, and this grass-fed protein may deliver all the essential amino acids to improve muscle function and recovery.

With 28 grams in each scoop, you also get a large enough dose to suit performance athletes.

And just as importantly, there are no artificial flavors, and many people have commented that it tastes great straight out of a shaker.

Quick Facts

  • Protein Type: Whey Isolate
  • Protein Amount: 28 g per serving
Pros
  • Grass-fed protein source for highest quality protein powder
  • 28 grams of protein per serving is ideal for bodybuilders
  • Great flavors, especially chocolate peanut butter
  • Bulk orders make it a very reasonable product
Cons
  • Free shipping only available over $150

2 - Ladder Whey Protein Powder

Ladder Whey Protein
Ingredient quality
4.5
Price
5.0
Taste
5.0
Overall Score 4.8
4.8

The Ladder protein powders and sports supplements were co-created by Arnold Schwarzenegger and LeBron James.

Their goal was to create the best protein powder that delivered maximum BCAAs, and they added probiotics to promote faster absorption through digestive enzymes.

While we did find that the whey protein concentrate takes a bit longer to mix in a shaker, the flavor and texture are very nice.

Quick Facts

  • Protein Type: Whey protein
  • Protein Amount: 26g per serving
Pros
  • Whey isolate endorsed by Arnold Schwarzenegger
  • Provides 7g of branched-chain amino acids
  • Available in large bags and small ready to use packets
Cons
  • This whey protein powder takes some time to fully mix with water

3 - Swolverine Whey Protein Powder

Swolverine Whey Protein Isolate
Ingredient quality
4.5
Price
4.5
Taste
5.0
Overall Score 4.7
4.7

Next on our list of recommended protein powders is this one from Swolverine, and it’s another good choice for athletes who need a large dose of whey protein powder immediately after training.

Online reviews are very positive on the muscle-building effects.

And because it’s sourced from grass-fed cows, the quality should be much higher than other products.

Quick Facts

  • Protein Type: Whey protein isolate
  • Protein Amount: 26g per serving
Pros
  • Whey protein isolate is sourced from grass-fed cows for higher quality
  • Seems to be easy to mix with water
  • Great subscription discounts available
Cons
  • Some of the flavors taste a bit too sweet

4 - Onnit

ONNIT Whey Protein
Ingredient quality
4.5
Price
4.5
Taste
4.7
Overall Score 4.6
4.6

Onnit protein powders have been a favorite with many athletes that we work with. It’s not the highest dose option, but the quality is a lot better than what you generally tend to find on the market.

We also like the subscription options available that allow you to save quite a bit of money.

Just keep the dose per scoop in mind, as it might not be enough for high-performance athletes and bodybuilders.

Quick Facts

  • Protein Type: Whey protein
  • Protein Amount: 20g per serving
Pros
  • Protein powder is sourced from grass-fed cows for best quality
  • Flavors are tasty and not too sweet
  • Great subscription discounts available
Cons
  • Many types of athletes would require more than one scoop for optimum muscle recovery

5 - BiPro Whey Protein Powder

BiPro Whey Protein Powder
Ingredient quality
4.5
Price
4.5
Taste
4.6
Overall Score 4.5
4.5

If you like using protein powders to mix in with other foods like cereal, smoothies, and baked products, then BiPro could be a good choice.

We saw plenty of positive comments about the flavor and texture of the protein powder.

And it has the right amino acids to support building up more muscle mass.

Quick Facts

  • Protein Type: Whey milk protein isolate
  • Protein Amount: 23g per serving
Pros
  • Suitable for mixing with food and baked goods
  • Positive comments about the great vanilla flavor
  • Available in bulk-order pouches for much better value
Cons
  • Some people find resealable pouches less convenient

6 - MyProtein Whey Protein Powder

Product image for MyProtein Whey Protein Powder
Ingredient quality
4.4
Price
4.5
Taste
4.5
Overall Score 4.5
4.5

We liked this protein powder because it has a good amount of BCAAs despite not being the largest dose per serving.

Those BCAAs could make a big difference in muscle growth, as it provides the right amino acid combination to maximize muscle protein synthesis.

We also found that MyProtein mixes easily in a shaker with water, and the flavor isn’t too sweet or fake.

Quick Facts

  • Protein Type: Whey protein
  • Protein Amount: 21g per serving
Pros
  • Provides a good dose of BCAAs for faster muscle gains
  • Many positive reviews about the flavors and how easy they mix
  • Available in large bulk-order pouches for great savings
Cons
  • The protein amount per serving may not be enough for performance athletes

7 - Dymatize ISO 100 Whey Protein Powder

Dymatize ISO 100 Whey Protein Powder
Ingredient quality
4.5
Price
4.5
Taste
4.4
Overall Score 4.5
4.5

Dymatize is a great option if you’re trying to keep your sugar and calorie intake low during a bulking phase for building muscle.

That’s important for anyone who wants to adopt healthy habits and doesn’t want to mess those up with a supplement.

The only thing that’s a bit negative is that the flavor options are pretty limited.

Quick Facts

  • Protein Type: Whey protein hydrolysate
  • Protein Amount: 25g per serving
Pros
  • Comes in a large airtight tub for easy access and storage
  • Mixes easily in a shaker, so you don’t have to use a blender
  • Low sugar and calorie option to not mess up your diet
Cons
  • Limited flavor options available

8 - MFL Muscle Isolate

Product image for Dymatize ISO 100 Whey Protein Powder
Ingredient quality
4.4
Price
4.4
Taste
4.4
Overall Score 4.4
4.4

The last one of our recommended protein powders comes from MFL. It’s a high-quality protein that limits your carb intake, making it ideal for the dietary restrictions of keto followers.

People also like that it helps them with weight management and post-workout muscle recovery at the same time.

It’s also one of the largest doses of protein per scoop, making it ideal for professional athletes.

Quick Facts

  • Protein Type: Whey protein
  • Protein Amount: 30g per serving
Pros
  • Suitable for keto dieters as there’s no sugar
  • Available in a large tub for a great price
  • One of the strongest doses per serving available
Cons
  • Flavors are a bit fake, and the protein powder doesn’t mix very easily

Buyer’s Guide

powder ingredients in a bowl and man drinking in a gym

Here are the main things you need to consider while researching an ideal supplement for your protein needs.

Type Of Protein Source

As you can see above, we have focused on whey protein concentrate and isolate for this article. The main reason is that it provides the ideal amino acid combination provided by milk.

See, milk as a protein source will give you not only all the essential amino acids that you have to take in through your diet, but it will also give you a very good boost of BCAAs that further support muscle building.

We generally prefer whey concentrate to products like egg white or casein protein powder because of that BCAA boost [1].

And plant-based protein products generally need to be blended in order to achieve the same result.

For example, you would need to blend soy and pea protein to get a similar BCAA combination.

“Most amino acids are metabolized or broken down in the liver. BCAAs are mostly metabolized in muscle tissue. That makes BCAA supplements attractive to athletes and bodybuilders.” - WebMD.com.

Protein Per Scoop

container and spoon filled with powder

Here’s a general guide I use for clients. Unless you're training every day of the week to maximize the effect on muscles, a protein shake with 20 grams in each scoop should be a good starting point [2].

At higher performance levels, you’d need to be looking for closer to 30 grams.

But at that stage, you might want to talk to a dietitian to get the ideal amount of protein supplement for your size and exercise performance.

Flavors And Texture

You should be able to always find a good indication of the flavor and texture from online reviews. And then you’ll want to avoid anything fake and extremely sweet tasting.

Also, make sure you avoid powders that require a blender to mix properly. Those tend to come out of a shaker in quite a clumpy texture.

Allergens And Artificial Ingredients

The good thing with whey protein is that it’s generally suitable for people with lactose intolerance. It’s also gluten and soy-free to give you only natural ingredients that don't cause stomach upset [3].

The other thing you want to avoid are products that rely heavily on artificial sweeteners and flavors. They tend to taste fake, and I’d go as far as saying that an unflavored option might be a better choice in that case.

Additional Ingredients

Some of the best protein powder supplements we’ve tested also include additional beneficial ingredients. One thing to look out for is pro and prebiotics that might speed up digestion.

But you can also check for vitamins and minerals that make protein supplements more than just about protein synthesis.

Related Articles:

Which Protein Powder For Muscle Growth Should You Buy?

The one product we recommend to all of our clients is from Transparent Labs. Not only is it a complete protein, but it tastes great as well.

It’s ideal for performance fitness needs and to help with weight loss as it doesn't contain more calories than necessary.

Order your first batch of this high-quality protein powder today and see how much of a difference it can make in your training and recovery periods.

Our #1 Recommendation

Transparent Labs Whey Protein Isolate

Transparent Labs 100% Grass-Fed Whey Protein Isolate
Ingredient Quality
5.0
Price
5.0
Taste
5.0
Overall Score 5.0
5.0
Pros
  • Grass-fed protein source for highest quality protein powder
  • 28 grams of protein per serving is ideal for bodybuilders
  • Great flavors, especially chocolate peanut butter
  • Bulk orders make it a very reasonable product
  • Get the BEST PRICE until the end of January
Cons
  • Free shipping only available over $150

About The Author

You May Also Like

Write a Reply or Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *