Top 12 Best Protein Powders for Muscle Gain, Recovery and More

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Protein powders are an excellent way to supplement your lifestyle when you want to achieve muscle gains. By combining amino acids, nutrients, and whey or plant protein, you can stimulate muscle synthesis and recovery.

A good protein powder may also help to prevent the loss of muscle mass. And of course, these supplements also support improved stamina, endurance, and strength so you can have higher intensity workouts.

But depending on your muscle gain goals and your exercise and dietary routines, you should carefully review products before using them. You should also be aware of how to properly use protein powders for them to be most effective.

Lucky for you, we’re reviewing the 12 best protein powders for muscle gain.

We’ll also dive into the safest way to use protein powders for muscle gains and how to properly take them on a daily basis.

Keep reading to learn about our top 12 picks, where we compare the specifics and the pros/cons.

Stick around to the end to get answers to frequently asked questions about protein powders.

Our Top 12 Best Protein Powders for Muscle Gain And Recovery

Before we highlight the top 12 best protein powders for muscle gain, note that we’ve gone to great lengths to test a lot of different products.

Upon further research, we’ve compiled this list to share the most effective supplements reviewed based on customer satisfaction, protein macros, and quality of ingredients.

Based on those factors, we believe that these 12 products are the best you can find right now, although they each differ slightly.

1. Huge Whey

Huge Supplements Whey

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Huge Whey by Huge Supplements is the best option for muscle gains using a high-quality whey concentrate! It packs a lot of protein per scoop – up to 25 grams, which is a lot.

This is one of those tried and true protein powders for bulking up that customers consistently review with 5 stars for its effectiveness. It’s already gathered over more than 500 positive user feedback, which you can read by clicking here.

You can use it for both gaining mass and losing weight, making it an excellent product.

It’s also smooth, easy to mix, and comes in a variety of 6 delicious flavors. Overall, it’s the ideal protein powder with a decent price for the quality and value, and that’s why we recommend it!

Huge Whey Specs

Each 1-scoop serving contains the following:

  • 120 calories
  • 23g protein
  • 2.5g carbs
  • 2g fat

Benefits and Features of Huge Whey

One 30-serving tub (2 lbs) of this supplement costs $44.95, which is a great deal considering the flavor and quality. You get flavor options including cookie ; cream, vanilla milkshake, chocolate peanut butter, fruity cereal, blueberry muffin, and strawberry cheesecake.

The included branded-chain amino acids provide extra support for growing and repairing muscle fibers. The result? You can attain muscle gains more easily.

Furthermore, the calcium content supports healthy bones, and the potassium content can help support muscle recovery and soothe aches.

Pros of Huge Whey

  • High protein content per serving (up to 25 grams)
  • The best option for gaining lean muscle tissue
  • Includes branched-chain amino acids for recovery
  • Budget-friendly and purchase comes with a free shaker
  • Low in carbohydrates, sugars, and fats
  • Tastes fantastic and has excellent flavor options
  • Produced in the USA in a GMP-certified facility

Cons of Huge Whey

  • Exclusively available on Huge Supplements and Amazon
  • Sells out quickly

2. Huge Vegan Protein

Huge Supplements Vegan

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Huge Supplements Vegan protein powder is our best pick for a vegan alternative to whey. If you rely on plant-based proteins in your diet, this is a solid option with 20g per scoop.

It’s 100% plant-based and made out of rice, pea, fava bean, and mung bean protein concentrates.  Because it uses four protein sources, it provides you with a complete protein profile and all the amino acids you need.

That means it is superior and we consider it the best vegan protein powder. On top of that, it comes in 5 flavors that taste amazing. We fully recommend it as the best vegan option on the market.

Huge Vegan Protein Specs

Each 1-scoop serving includes the following:

  • 110 calories
  • 20g protein
  • 3.5g carbs
  • 1.5g fats

Benefits and Features of Huge Vegan Protein

This vegan protein powder features a complete amino acid profile, which most vegan protein supplements do not. Amino acids support healthy protein muscle synthesis for recovery and muscle growth.

It uses high-quality plant proteins with natural ingredients and no genetically modified organisms. It also comes in 5 delicious flavor profiles, including birthday cake, cinnamon toast crunch, cookies ; cream, marshmallow madness, and graham cracker.

Customers dote on this supplement with 5-star reviews, noting its amazing taste compared to other vegan protein powders on the market.

Pros of Huge Vegan Protein

  • 100% Vegan formula with 20 grams of protein
  • Complete protein amino acid profile
  • Dairy-free and gluten-free
  • Non-GMO
  • Made in the USA

Cons of Huge Vegan Protein

  • Slightly less protein content compared to whey powders

3. Transparent Labs Grass-Fed Isolate

Transparent Labs Grass-Fed Isolate

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The ProteinSeries grass-fed whey protein powder from Transparent Labs is our top pick for a natural whey protein. The protein isolate comes from dairy that comes from hormone-free cows.

It’s also free of other unnatural substances like sugars and colors. It comes in a variety of sweet, delicious flavors and has one of the highest protein ratios in the industry.

For both workout recovery and protein macros, this is a good choice.

Transparent Labs Grass-Fed Isolate Specs

Each 1-scoop serving of this powder contains the following:

  • 120 calories
  • 28g protein
  • 1g carbs
  • 0.5g fats

Benefits and Features of Transparent Labs Grass-Fed Isolate

This protein powder contains some added magnesium, potassium, and calcium content to supplement nutrient value. Additionally, it’s very well-reviewed by customers for its taste and effectiveness.

Possible flavors include chocolate peanut butter, cinnamon pastry, mocha, milk chocolate, strawberry, salted caramel, cinnamon french toast, and vanilla.

Muscle gains are a lot easier with this protein powder, and it also can help you burn off fat as you build strength. We recommend it for a great value deal for the protein and high-quality ingredients you’re getting.

Pros of Transparent Labs Grass-Fed Isolate

  • Packs a lot of protein
  • Low in calories
  • Fat and sugar free
  • Free of artificial sweeteners, preservatives, and colors

Cons of Transparent Labs Grass-Fed Isolate

  • Not allergen-free, as its protein base is milk
  • Expensive at $59.99 per 2lb container

4. Dymatize Athlete’s Whey

Dymatize Athlete's Whey

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Dymatize’s Athlete’s Whey powder is a budget-friendly, high-protein supplement with amino acids included for muscle synthesis.

It’s gluten-free but has a much higher caloric content compared to the other supplements on our list. Each 4-pound tub contains 40 servings of 100% whey protein that has been banned substance tested.

Dymatize Athlete’s Whey Specs

Each 2-scoop serving of this whey formula includes the following:

  • 180 calories
  • 30g protein
  • 6g carbs (of which 5g sugar)
  • 3.5g fat

Benefits and Features of Dymatize Athlete’s Whey

Athlete’s Whey powder comes in vanilla, chocolate, and cookies and cream flavors. It’s an anytime protein supplement, which means you can take it pre-workout, post-workout for recovery, or with meals.

It’s made from high-quality ingredients in GMP-certified facilities and it is suitable for all athletes.

Pros of Dymatize Athlete’s Whey

  • Packs 6,6 grams of branched-chain amino acids
  • Perfect for athletes
  • Banned substance tested and gluten free
  • Great taste

Cons of Dymatize Athlete’s Whey 

  • Limited flavor options
  • Relatively high cholesterol and sodium content
  • Not allergen-free (contains milk and soy)

5. Gold Standard Whey Protein

Gold Standard Whey Protein

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Optimum Nutrition’s Gold Standard whey powder is 100% whey blend – protein concentrate, isolate, and peptides. It’s a high-protein blend with BCAAs and comes in 11 delicious flavors.

This is a decent, high-quality instant shake mix designed to be taken any time of the day for muscle gains. It’s also the most awarded and one of the best-selling protein powders currently on the market.

Gold Standard Whey Protein Specs 

Each 1-scoop serving of Gold Standard protein powder contains the following:

  • 120 calories
  • 24g protein
  • 3g carbs (of which 1g sugar)
  • 1.5g fat

Benefits and Features of Gold Standard Whey Protein

This formula features branded-chain amino acids for faster protein muscle synthesis. It also has added calcium content, which supports bone health, as well as potassium and iron nutritional value.

Customers enjoy this protein powder for its natural ingredients that are tested and free of banned substances. You can get in flavors like double rich chocolate, delicious strawberry, French vanilla, chocolate mint, and many more.

Pros of Gold Standard Whey Protein

  • Helps with muscle growth and recovery
  • Includes BCAAs and Glutamine
  • Budget-friendly
  • Supports endurance and recovery
  • Available in different sizes

Cons of Gold Standard Whey Protein

  • Contains allergens (soy and milk)
  • Relatively high in cholesterol content

6. Sports Research Whey Isolate

Sports Research Whey Isolate

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Sports Research whey powder is designed to build lean muscle mass. It contains a high quantity of protein isolate per serving, in addition to other nutrients like Vitamin D, MCT powder and calcium.

Its high-quality ingredients are micro-filtered and instantly mix up into a smoothie, snack, or post-workout recovery shake.

Sports Research Whey Isolate Specs

Each 1-scoop serving of Sports Research whey isolate powder contains the following nutrition:

  • 150 calories
  • 25g protein
  • 4g carbs (of which <1g sugar)
  • 4g fat

Benefits and Features of Sports Research Whey Isolate

The formula in this protein powder is enhanced with leucine amino acids for better muscle recovery and bulking up. It comes in a delicious Dutch chocolate flavor with minimal added sugar.

It instantly mixes up into a protein drink. With 56 servings per container, you get a great value deal with the price just under $60.

Pros of Sports Research Whey Isolate

  • Uses high-quality whey protein isolate
  • Packs 3 grams of MCTs
  • Vegetarian-friendly
  • Manufactured and quality-tested in the USA

Cons of Sports Research Whey Isolate

  • Contains some allergens (milk)
  • Limited flavor options

7. Pro Jym Ultra Protein Blend

Pro Jym Ultra Protein Blend

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Pro Jym’s Ultra-Premium protein powder combines several types of protein isolates. It mixes egg white, milk, whey protein isolates, and micellar casein to boost daily macros and build muscle mass.

It’s well-reviewed for its taste, texture, and effectiveness. Both men and women can enjoy the results in terms of energy, endurance, strength, and recovery.

Pro Jym Ultra Protein Blend Specs

Each 1-scoop serving of Pro Jym Ultra Protein contains the following nutritional info:

  • 140 calories
  • 24g protein
  • 4g carbs (of which 1g sugar)
  • 2.5g fat

Benefits and Features of Pro Jym Ultra Protein Blend

As an anytime supplement, you can take this blend in the morning, at night, between meals, or pre/post-workout. It comes in a delicious, naturally flavored vanilla or chocolate blend that easily mixes into liquids.

The protein composition is 50% casein, 40% whey, and 10% egg protein. Together, these proteins digest at different rates for the ultimate muscle-building supplement.

Pros of Pro Jym Ultra Protein Blend

  • Combination of different types of proteins
  • Non-proprietary blend
  • Designed with long-term muscle growth in mind
  • Contains BCAAs for muscle synthesis
  • Rich in calcium, which supports bone health

Cons of Pro Jym Ultra Protein Blend

  • Price is relatively high
  • Not vegan-friendly

8. BSN Syntha Six

BSN Syntha Six

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BSN Syntha Six is a premium protein matrix packed with whey protein and egg protein. It also combines essential amino acids for better muscle gains and post-workout recovery.

It even helps to boost workout performance levels and increase your energy when working out. It comes in several delicious flavors and is a good all-around choice for all lifestyles and workout regimens.

BSN Syntha Six Specs

Each 1-scoop serving of BSN Syntha Six protein powder contains the following nutritional info:

  • 200 calories
  • 22g protein
  • 15g carbs (of which 3g sugar)
  • 6g fats

Benefits and Features of BSN Syntha Six

The branded-chain amino acids in this protein formula help to improve workout endurance, leading to bigger gains. What’s nice about the powder is that it’s budget-friendly and tastes great.

With flavors like cookies and cream, peanut butter, banana, and strawberry milkshake, your protein shakes can be enjoyable.

Pros of BSN Syntha Six

  • Targets lean muscle growth and muscle recovery
  • Tastes good
  • Easily mixes into recipes
  • Can be used at any time of the day

Cons of BSN Syntha Six

  • One serving contains 200 calories
  • Relatively high in fat and carbohydrates
  • Not vegan-friendly

9. Animal Whey Isolate

Animal Whey Isolate

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Animal Whey protein isolate powder is a highly digestible, low-sugar formula for muscle recovery post-workout. It comes in a variety of delicious flavors and includes high-quality protein and other ingredients.

Each serving is packed with protein that will mix easily into your beverage without clumping.

Animal Whey Isolate Specs

Each 1-scoop serving of Animal Whey Isolate includes the following nutritional info:

  • 120 calories
  • 25g protein
  • 3g carbs (of which 1g sugar)
  • 1g fat

Benefits and Features of Animal Whey Isolate 

It’s a fast-absorbing and highly bioavailable formula so that it can get to work on your muscles quickly. One nice feature of this isolate is that it helps to soothe sore muscles post-workout. It also has digestive enzymes to help you stomach and process it more easily than other protein powders.

You can choose from flavors such as banana, chocolate, cookies and cream, brownie batter, strawberry, and vanilla. What’s more, is that each 4-pound container is a value deal at less than $50.

Pros of Animal Whey Isolate

  • Low-calorie formula
  • Informed choice trusted
  • Easy digestible
  • Contains added nutrients such as magnesium, calcium, and iron

Cons of Animal Whey Isolate

  • Contains allergens (milk, soy, eggs)

10.  Rule One Proteins

Rule One Proteins

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Rule One protein powder is slightly different from the other options on this list. It’s a fast-acting, super-pure formula of 100% whey isolate and hydrolysate. It also features branded-chain amino acids in every serving to improve muscle synthesis for bulking up.

While slightly more expensive than some other options, it’s still a high-quality option if you want to meet daily macros and gain muscle mass. It also comes in several great flavors.

Rule One Proteins Specs

Each 1-scoop serving of Rule One protein formula contains the following nutrition:

  • 110 calories
  • 25g protein
  • 1g carbs (of which <1g sugar)
  • 0g fat

Benefits and Features of Rule One Proteins

This formula comes in four main flavors – chocolate peanut butter, cookies and cream, vanilla, and strawberries and cream. The amino acid content helps you to digest the formula and put it to use on strengthening your muscles.

It’s an anytime formula that has undergone clean manufacturing processes.

Pros of Rule One Proteins

  • Only 110 calories per serving
  • Many positive reviews
  • Free of fat
  • A wide variety of flavors & sizes

Cons of Rule One Proteins

  • Not as packed with extra nutrients compared to other protein powders
  • Contains allergens (milk and soy)

11.     Ghost Whey

Ghost Whey

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Another favorite of ours is Ghost Whey; it’s an excellent protein powder supplement for gaining muscle. It packs a total of roughly 25 grams of protein per scoop, making it perfect for consuming after an intense workout.

Most users take between one to two scoops per day to help them supplement protein, as it significantly impacts muscle growth and recovery. We highly recommend doing the same.

What we like about Ghost Whey is that it comes in many unique flavors that others don’t have. A few examples of their best-selling flavors are Oreo and Chips Ahoy – these are beyond delicious.

Ghost Whey Specs

Each 1-scoop serving includes the following:

  • 160 Calories
  • 25g protein
  • 7g carbohydrates (of which 4g sugar)
  • 3g fat

Benefits and Features of Ghost Whey

Ghost Whey is unique, as it delivers 25 grams of protein from a whey protein concentrate and whey isolate. You’re getting the best of both worlds; on top of that, it’s versatile and tastes fantastic.

Pros of Ghost Whey

  • Uses both whey concentrate and isolate
  • Available in ten unique and delicious flavors
  • High protein contents
  • Widely available
  • Total transparency

Cons of Ghost Whey

  • High in calories (some are above 160)
  • One container holds just 26 servings

12.     Naked Whey

Naked Whey

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Last on our list of best protein powders for muscle gain is Naked Whey. It’s a pure, high-quality product used by those who want to know exactly what they put in their body.

Naked Whey is different than most of the products on our list, as it contains just one single ingredient – grass-fed whey protein.

There are no artificial sweeteners, flavors, or coloring in there. But, it’s costly as the product undergoes a lengthy testing process.

Naked Whey Specs

Each 1-scoop serving includes the following:

  • 120 Calories
  • 25g protein
  • 3g carbohydrates (of which 2g sugar)
  • 2g fat

Benefits and Features of Naked Whey

Naked Whey comes in various sizes, with a 1-pound container costing $23.99 and a 5-pound container costing $94.99. This is expensive, but you’ve got to remember that you’re getting high-quality, grass-fed whey protein in return.

On top of that, it packs excellent macronutrients and will help aid with muscle growth and recovery. You get what you pay for!

Pros of Naked Whey

  • 100% Grass-fed whey protein
  • Excellent macronutrients
  • No additives or fillers
  • Soy and gluten-free
  • Perfect for smoothies and other recipes

Cons of Naked Whey

  • Very expensive
  • Limited flavor options

How Protein Powder Helps You Gain Muscle Mass

The reason that many athletes turn to protein powder supplements to bulk up is that these formulas give you the boost your body needs. You could do extra-long workouts every day and tire yourself out, but it’s not going to lead to muscle gains as fast as you would with protein powder.

Protein powders help you to meet protein macros that are essential for growth and recovery. And they help you to do so without having to eat extra protein-rich foods that could be heavy on unhealthy ingredients.

Protein powders also contain essential amino acids that make the proteins more bioavailable in your body. Amino acids also support improved protein muscle synthesis, where your muscles are able to recover faster from high-intensity workouts.

The faster your muscles recover, the faster they can regrow and come back stronger and bigger than before.

And the last way that these supplements boost gains is by improving your energy levels, as well as strength and endurance during workouts. With more stamina, you can take on harder workouts, which will contribute to bulkier muscles.

How Much Protein Do You Need to Build Muscle?

Opinions vary when it comes to protein dosages. But for optimal muscle-building results, science recommends 1.8g to 2.0g of protein per kg. of your body weight.

However, this varies and can be less for some individuals. For example, women require less protein to meet their daily macros than men do (45g and 55g per day, respectively).

But we all know how hard it is to get a lot of healthy protein into your daily diet. Sometimes, the food you eat simply doesn’t meet those macros which can support lean muscle gains in tandem with hard workouts.

That’s why protein powders are so effective for athletes – they pack in a lot of protein per serving (between 20-30g per scoop usually). 

This way, you can take your daily protein powder dose and don’t have to overeat, which can lead to weight gain and muscle loss.

Is It Safe to Take Protein Powder Every Day?

Yes, it is definitely okay to take protein powder supplements every day. It’s safe and even more effective if you do take it on a daily routine.

If you do choose to take it every day, you should make sure to take a maximum of 1-3 scoops per day.

Don’t swerve from the recommended daily dosages on the product labels. And if you’re worried about a protein powder having negative effects on your health, always consult your doctor first.

But you should also remember that protein powder is at its heart a supplement – not something that is meant to replace a balanced diet.

You can’t replace meals with protein shakes, and it certainly won’t help you to gain lean muscle mass if you aren’t getting sufficient nutrients from regular food.

Can Protein Powder Be Used By Beginners?

Beginner athletes and beginner supplement-users alike can use protein powders such as the ones on this list. They aren’t limited to professional athletes or weight lifters. Since they aren’t medicinal and are merely supplements, anyone can add these into their workout routine.

Just make sure that you aren’t overdoing it at first. If you’ve never taken protein powders before, you might want to start with just one scoop/serving per day instead of two.

If you’re looking for another quality supplement to add to your routine, check out our best bcaa powders article.

Our Recipe for a Tasty Protein Powder Shake

It’s always good to mix up your protein intake with different methods of preparing it. Sometimes, the ordinary protein shake of powder and water can get boring.

That’s why using protein powders that you can mix into recipes is ideal.

Step 1: to making a tasty protein shake is to acquire a protein powder with a delicious flavor, like vanilla or chocolate. We always use Huge Whey Vanilla Milkshake, our favorite.

Step 2: is to get a healthy liquid to mix with it, such as almond milk or another dairy substitute.

Step 3:  is to mix the two together, according to the serving/scoop suggestion of your protein powder. And it’s as simple as that!

Other Tips to Maximize Muscle Growth

Finally, we want to share a few tips for maximizing muscle gains – protein powders alone won’t get you there.

Train With Progressive Overload

First, you need to train harder and longer as time goes on. You have to force your muscles to grow by increasing the weights you lift or the number of repetitions in the gym.

You should also be tracking your progress each day to ensure that you’re increasing your average heart rate, reps, or tempo. If you need help getting the most out of your training session, try adding a pre workout to your routine.

Be in a Caloric Surplus

You also need to be in what is called a caloric surplus – eating 300 calories more than your regular caloric intake. This will help your body to build muscle mass and keep you from losing muscle mass.

Get Sufficient Sleep

And finally, when you rest, be aware that your body grows. Many athletes overlook the importance of sleep. So you need to try to get 7-8 hours of sleep each night for optimal muscle gains.

Final Thoughts: Best Protein Powders For Muscle Gain

Protein powders come in many shapes and sizes, from vegan to multi-protein complexes, whey isolates, and more. These supplements are ideal for those who want to increase lean muscle gains, in addition to a healthy lifestyle.

But sometimes, it can be a bit difficult to discern which products on the market are worth your time, money, and energy.

That’s why we collected our own list of the best protein powders for muscle gain based on testing and research. Each of the above 12 protein powders is highly rated among customers for its effectiveness, great taste, and high quality.

When you take protein powders, note that it’s safe to do every day as long as you follow the suggested doses. You should also ensure that you’re eating healthy meals, in a caloric surplus, getting good sleep, and training with progressive overload.

Keep in mind that every protein powder is slightly different. But there are plenty of options to meet your needs, whether you’re vegan, lactose-intolerant, or gluten-intolerant.

Try out some of our favorite picks, as listed above. And always consult your doctor before use to ensure that the product is suited to your health needs.

 

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