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In a world of ever-changing gym trends and fads, the best protein powder for men has remained the one constant in nearly every athlete’s recovery routine. And there’s a good reason for that: a high-quality protein powder can improve muscle growth, repair tissue, and help manage weight. And while there’s a number of ways to incorporate protein into your diet—chicken, eggs, tuna—protein powder is often cheaper, more convenient, and (these days) better tasting.

But that’s not to say that all protein powders are good. There are plenty that are cheaply made and poorly sourced. Some are loaded with sugar, while others hide behind questionable proprietary blends that obscure exactly what’s in it. So we decided to wade through the wide world of protein—everything from the whey protein readily available at your local drugstore to your favorite athlete’s plant-based powder of choice—to determine the actual best protein powder for men. 

The Absolute Best Protein Powder

Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% whey protein

It’s hard to top a classic. Arguably the most recognizable whey protein on the planet, Optimum Nutrition’s Gold Standard is also probably the easiest to get your hands on. And with over 20 different flavors, there’s little risk of you ever getting sick of any one. (We’re really feeling the chocolate coconut as of late, but cookies and cream remains the go-to.) What’s more, ON is super easy to mix, so you’ll never find large clumps of protein powder clinging to the side of your glass or blender. With 24 grams of protein to help build muscle and 5.5 grams of branched-chain amino acids to help promote recovery, it’s the rare fitness supplement that checks off damn near every box.

The Best-Tasting Protein Powder

Black Magic Supply Multi-Source Protein

Black Magic Supply makes arguably the best pre-workouts on the market today (we’re looking at you, Haterade), and their protein powders are now following suit. Made from a combination of whey protein isolate, micellar casein, egg albumin enzymes, and MCTs, it’s Black Magic’s wide range of over-the-top flavors that really set them apart. Specifically, Fruit Whirls, made with actual pieces of crunchy cereal as an added little bonus. If you were someone who loved drinking the leftover milk from your morning cereal as a kid, this is the protein powder for you.

The Most Eco-Friendly Protein Powder

Gnarly Vanilla whey protein


Gnarly Sports Nutrition

If you’re not looking for dessert-like flavors out of your protein powder, Gnarly’s vanilla grass-fed whey is one of the lightest and smoothest powders we’ve ever tried, making it a perfect base if you prefer to get your protein from a home-made smoothie. What we love even more is the company’s commitment to the environment: Gnarly recently swapped out the giant plastic tubs that have become synonymous with nearly all other protein powders in favor of more easily recyclable steel tins.

The Best Plant Protein Powder

Ambrosia Collective “Planta” plant protein

Each year companies have improved on the overall taste and mixability of plant protein powders, but none have yet to come close to Ambrosia Collective’s Planta formula, which comes in 14 decadent flavors. If we had to pick just one? Banana Maple French Toast.

The Best No-Milk-Required Protein Powder

MuscleTech ISO Whey Clear

Lets just keep things completely 100: Sure, there are protein powders that taste okay when paired with water, but no one should have to pull Jedi mind tricks to convince themselves that their post-workout drink tastes better than it actually does if milk isn’t a mixing option. That’s why we love MuscleTech’s new ISO Whey Clear so much—it’s designed specifically to be mixed with water in a range of flavors that actually make sense, resulting in something more akin to a juice. Or a White Claw.

The Best Meal-Replacement Protein Powder 

Bare Performance Nutrition “Strong Food”


Bare Performance Nutrition

Bare Performance Nutrition makes some of the best-tasting whey protein on the market, but if you’re in search of a true meal replacement instead of just a post-gym shake, their Strong Food powder is jam packed with high quality whey and pea protein on top of healthy sources of fat derived from MCT powder, macadamia nut oil, and flaxseed. And as we’ve come to expect from BPN, the cinnamon roll flavor tastes like an actual dessert in a shaker bottle.

The Best Casein Protein Powder

Whey protein often gets all the fanfare, but casein protein has its own special benefits. While both come from cow’s milk, casein is absorbed by the body at a slower rate than whey and contains bioactive peptides that help boost both your immune and digestive systems. If you’re a fan of the afternoon protein shake as a snack between meals, or you’re looking for a better alternative to ice cream before bed, Naked’s casein protein powder is the perfect option.

The Best-Looking Protein Powder 

Finally, a protein powder you won’t be embarrassed about having in your kitchen—no black tub in sight. But beyond the great packaging, Elm & Rye offers both a standard grass-fed and vegan protein blend in three great tasting flavors: chocolate, vanilla, or cookies and cream.

9 More Protein Powders We Love:

Dymatize ISO100 x Dunkin’ Cappuccino

The fashion world’s love for collaborations has officially trickled down to the supplement sector, kicked off by Dymatize and Dunkin’. ISO100 has long been one of our favorite protein powders, and it’s only made better by the addition of 95mg of caffeine. And if a Dunkin’ cappuccino isn’t your drink of choice, the collab also includes an equally tasty mocha latte flavor.

Sprout Living “Epic Plant Based” protein powder

GQ’s resident wellness columnist and all-around fit guy Joe Holder is admittedly picky when it comes to protein supplements. “It’s hard to find one with a simple ingredients list that also tastes great and mixes well,” Holder says. One protein powder that passes his high standards: Sprout Living’s Epic organic plant-based protein powder. Made from yellow peas, sacha inchi, Jerusalem artichoke root, and sunflower, pumpkin, and cranberry seeds, this vegan-friendly choice offers 26 grams of protein with five grams of fiber and only one gram of sugar.

Isopure Zero Carb

No carbs. No sugars. Just great-tasting whey protein in a variety of flavors that you can reliably find at your local GNC or Vitamin Shoppe, big box retailers like Target and Walmart, or online at Amazon to ensure you never run dry.

RSP TrueFit meal replacement protein powder

More meal replacement than mere protein shake, RSP TrueFit boasts 20 grams of protein on top of a blend of 12 different superfoods that will leave you feeling full until lunch. And with their Cold Brew Coffee flavor, you can cut down on all those morning coffee runs—it boasts 100 milligrams of caffeine derived from actual coffee beans.

Pro Jym Ultra-Premium protein blend

Most powders come from a single source, but the 24 grams of protein found in Pro Jym’s come from a blend of whey, micellar casein, milk, and egg whites, which your body digests and absorbs at different rates throughout the day.

Ladder plant protein

Co-created and developed by LeBron James and Arnold Schwarzenegger, Ladder offers one of the best tasting plant proteins on the market. We prefer the chocolate flavor, which is lighter and smoother than 99% of the other chocolate-flavored protein powders out there.

Transparent Labs whey protein isolate

It’s always refreshing when you take a look at the nutrition facts label and can actually pronounce all the ingredients listed: Vitamin D, potassium, iron, calcium. Transparent Labs’ protein powder is free of artificial sweeteners, coloring, and preservatives while offering clean, grass-fed whey in a handful of great-tasting flavors, from salted caramel to cookies and cream.

NorCal Organic whey protein

NorCal Organic is committed to creating high-quality whey protein as responsibly as possible. By using cold-processed microfiltration and small-batch drying techniques while avoiding acid or bleach processing, NorCal Organic is able to produce a protein powder free of gluten, sweeteners, and preservatives.

Love Sweat Fitness Peanut Butter plant protein

Marketing-wise, hardcore meatheads may not seem like Love Sweat Fitness’s target demo. But if you’re looking for a vegan, sugar-free plant protein that still offers great taste, LSF cracked the code by sourcing from real peanuts.