The Most Effective Protein Powders in 2024 – A Buyer’s Guide

Discover which whey protein powders are worth buying, and which ones to watch out for.

Choosing the right supplements to boost your health and well-being can be complicated, especially when there are so many options available. This is particularly true in terms of protein powders. By far the most popular protein powder is whey protein, but not all whey protein powders are created equal. 

Protein is a macronutrient that is a building block of bone, cartilage, muscle, and skin. Protein powder is a concentrated source of protein that is often used as a dietary supplement. Protein powder is important for a number of reasons, including providing energy, building and repairing muscle, maintaining a healthy weight, and even boosting your immune system.[1,2,3,4] 

Whey protein is by far the most popular type of protein powder. It is a milk-based protein that is quickly digested and absorbed by the body. It contains all nine essential amino acids that the body cannot produce on its own, meaning it is considered a “complete protein.” It’s also a good source of branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs), which are important for muscle growth and repair.[5,6]

In order to truly benefit from the many benefits that protein powders have to offer, it’s important to choose the right one. We’re here to help! Keep reading to find out what you should look for and what to watch out for when choosing your protein powders.

What to Look for in a Whey Protein Powder

Whey Concentrate - Overall, whey concentrate is the best option. It contains about 70-80% protein, as well as some lactose and fat. It also has the best overall flavour. It’s the cheapest option, but it also retains most of the beneficial nutrients found in whey naturally. 

OR a Whey Blend - There are also quality protein powders out on the market that include all three types of whey—concentrate, isolate, and hydrolyzed. These blends offer the benefits of all 3 types, including high protein content, low lactose content, and fast absorption.

Grass-fed - Research shows that the biggest difference between grain and grass-fed diary is the relation to its fat content. Whey protein derived from grass-fed cows is lower in saturated fat and higher in healthier fats, such as CLA and omega-3s.[8]

Hormone-free - Research in this is mixed, there is some evidence that cows that are injected with hormones can increase the risk of cancer and other conditions in humans. Therefore, we suggest looking for a whey protein powder that is hormone-free.[7] 

Amino acid - Whey protein is a complete protein, meaning it contains all nine essential amino acids that your body cannot produce on its own. Look for powders that have a high concentration of essential amino acids.

Low fat and carbohydrates - The fat and carbohydrate content should be low, especially if you are trying to lose weight or manage your blood sugar.

What should I avoid?

Sceptical Potency

Be sure to read the label on protein powders so you know exactly what you’re getting. Try to avoid protein powders with dosing in excess, as high doses can be harmful. 

Beware of online reviews (especially on Amazon)

Before purchasing any product, one of the first things we do when researching is to check its online reviews. Unfortunately, these are not always a trustworthy way to measure the quality and effectiveness of a product. Companies often pay for reviews on popular online retailers, like Amazon, to try to trick their way to a five-star rating. While you should definitely consult these reviews before purchasing, do your own research as well. 

Filler ingredients 

Many companies opt for filler ingredients that aren’t backed by data, don’t offer any healthful benefits, and can make the supplement less effective. These could include artificial flavours or sweeteners. Look for patented ingredients that are clinically proven to provide helpful results. 

Your Final Checklist

Now that you know what ingredients to look for and what to avoid, it’s also important to keep the following criteria in mind when purchasing your whey protein powder.

Quality Ingredients Recommended by Professionals

One of the most important things to look out for when choosing a protein powder is that it’s recommended by professionals, as they are more likely to align themselves with products that are made with high-quality ingredients that truly work.

Money-Back Guarantee

Make sure that the product you buy has a clear money-back guarantee on all product purchases. This is a tell-tale sign that a company knows they’re selling you a great product, so they aren’t afraid to offer you a sort of “insurance” on it.

How we evaluated the top 5

More and more protein powders have popped up on the market. There are so many brands producing different variations of supplements, and while this means you have an abundance of choices, it also makes it challenging to differentiate between good supplements and poor-quality ones that won’t provide you with the benefits you’re looking for. So, we’ve made it easy for you. 

We searched the internet for the most popular whey protein powders available on the market today and ranked them for you in our top 5 list.

Here are Our Top 5 Whey Protein Powder Picks for 2024

1. 100% Whey

Total Ranking

830 votes

9.7/10

A+

Overall Grade
  • INGREDIENT SAFETY
    10 AVG.
     10/10
  • PROJECTED EFFECTIVENESS
    9.7 AVG.
     9.7/10
  • Value
    9.3 AVG.
     9.3/10
  • CUSTOMER SATISFACTION
    9.8 AVG.
     9.8/10
  • Return Policy
    10 AVG.
     10/10

PROS

  • 100% Grass-Fed & Hormone-Free Whey Protein
  • Gluten-Free, Lactose-Free, & Vegan
  • Essential Amino Acids & BCAAs
  • Recyclable Packaging
  • Made in the UK

CONS

  • Sweet Flavour
  • 30-Day Money-Back Guarantee
The Bottom Line

Of every protein powder supplement that we tested, ICON’S 100% Whey Protein Powder is by far the highest quality product that delivered the best results.

Their product is made with a blend of whey protein isolate, whey protein concentrate, and additional beneficial ingredients such as amino acids and digestive enzymes. Their protein comes from hormone-free, grass-fed Irish cows, and therefore, yields significantly more naturally occurring BCAAs. It’s packed with 25G of pure whey protein and they also made a conscious effort to avoid unwanted calories, so their formula only contains 0.1% sucralose.

This powder is also gluten-, lactose-, and soy-free, making it a great option for those with dietary restrictions. You know you’re getting simple, mindful ingredients, which is what you want in your supplement.

While we wish the duration was a bit longer, ICON also offers a 30-day money-back guarantee on all purchases. The only drawback we found with this product is that the flavour of the powder is very sweet, which may be a turnoff for some.

All in all, ICON seems to have the highest quality ingredients list of all the supplements we came across in our research. The fewer unnecessary ingredients, the better.

*Results are based on the HeyLiving Ranking System and do not necessarily reflect typical results from the use of these products. Please visit product websites for more information.

Learn About Our Top Pick

2. Organic Whey Protein

Total Ranking

312 votes

8.6/10

B

Overall Grade
  • INGREDIENT SAFETY
    9.1 AVG.
     9.1/10
  • PROJECTED EFFECTIVENESS
    8.7 AVG.
     8.7/10
  • Value
    9 AVG.
     9/10
  • CUSTOMER SATISFACTION
    9 AVG.
     9/10
  • Return Policy
    7.8 AVG.
     7.8/10

PROS

  • Organic Whey Protein
  • Grass-Fed & Hormone-Free
  • Natural Ingredients
  • Complete Amino Acid Profile
  • High in Protein, Low in Carbs
  • Made in the UK

CONS

  • No Returns Policy
  • Strong Taste
The Bottom Line

Ekopura’s Organic Whey Protein Powder came in as a close second on our list.  

We loved that this product is all-natural and contains organic whey protein from grass-fed, hormone-free cows. It’s a great source of protein, coming in with 21 grams of protein per serving, 2 grams of carbs, and a great source of BCAAs. You won’t find any artificial ingredients with this product.

The only major drawbacks we found with this product is that Ekopura does not seem to offer a money-back guarantee. Additionally, some consumers have found that they don’t enjoy the taste, but that is based on preference.

*Results are based on the HeyLiving Ranking System and do not necessarily reflect typical results from the use of these products. Please visit product websites for more information.

Learn More

3. Whey Protein Powder

Total Ranking

269 votes

8.5/10

B

Overall Grade
  • INGREDIENT SAFETY
    8.9 AVG.
     8.9/10
  • PROJECTED EFFECTIVENESS
    8.5 AVG.
     8.5/10
  • Value
    8.2 AVG.
     8.2/10
  • CUSTOMER SATISFACTION
    8.7 AVG.
     8.7/10
  • Return Policy
    7.8 AVG.
     7.8/10

PROS

  • Whey Protein Blend
  • Grass-fed & Hormone-free
  • Gluten-free & Lactose-free
  • Essential Amino Acids
  • Batch Tested

CONS

  • Expensive
  • Contains Stevia
  • 30-Day Return Policy
The Bottom Line

Overall, Kinetica’s Whey Protein Powder is a high-quality option for people who are looking for a natural and delicious protein supplement. It is hormone-free and derived from grass-fed dairy. Their formula is loaded with essential amino acids, such as Isoleucine, Valine, and Leucine and offers many benefits.

However, this is a very expensive supplement, so may not be suitable for those who are budget-conscious. And while their protein powder is naturally flavoured, it includes stevia, which some people may not like the taste of.

*Results are based on the HeyLiving Ranking System and do not necessarily reflect typical results from the use of these products. Please visit product websites for more information.

Learn More

4. Organic Pure Whey Protein

Total Ranking

301 votes

8.4/10

B-

Overall Grade
  • INGREDIENT SAFETY
    9 AVG.
     9/10
  • PROJECTED EFFECTIVENESS
    8.1 AVG.
     8.1/10
  • Value
    8.2 AVG.
     8.2/10
  • CUSTOMER SATISFACTION
    8.5 AVG.
     8.5/10
  • Return Policy
    7.8 AVG.
     7.8/10

PROS

  • Grass-fed Organic Whey Protein Concentrate
  • No artificial sweeteners or colouring
  • High in Protein, Low in Sugar
  • Soya-Free
  • Made in the UK

CONS

  • Expensive
  • Taste
  • No Returns Policy
The Bottom Line

Bulk’s Organic Pure Whey Protein is another great organic protein powder where you’ll find zero artificial sweeteners or colourings. It’s high in protein, low in sugar, and is soya-free.

This is another pricier organic whey protein, but we love how simplistic this protein powder is. It is unflavoured, so you can mix it with whatever you like. However, we suggest mixing with something flavourful, as the taste is overall lacking. If you’re not interested in the organic option, Bulk does offer their original whey protein powder, as well.

*Results are based on the HeyLiving Ranking System and do not necessarily reflect typical results from the use of these products. Please visit product websites for more information.

Learn More

5. Whey Protein

Total Ranking

207 votes

7.9/10

C

Overall Grade
  • INGREDIENT SAFETY
    7.9 AVG.
     7.9/10
  • PROJECTED EFFECTIVENESS
    7 AVG.
     7/10
  • Value
    7.6 AVG.
     7.6/10
  • CUSTOMER SATISFACTION
    6.9 AVG.
     6.9/10
  • Return Policy
    7.8 AVG.
     7.8/10

PROS

  • Low in Carbs, Fats, & Sugars
  • No Artificial Colouring
  • Multiple Flavour Options
  • Affordable
  • Made in the UK

CONS

  • Contains Soy Lecithin & Sucralose
  • Must Mix Well
  • No Returns Policy
The Bottom Line

Warrior’s Whey Protein Powder is an affordable option for those looking to get into protein powders without spending a lot. It’s high in protein and low in carbs, fats, and sugars. It also comes in various flavours. 

While it doesn’t contain any artificial colourings, it does contain a thickener agent and artificial sweetener. So if you’re looking for a more natural product, this one may not be for you. Consumers have also stated that this product takes a little effort to mix well.

*Results are based on the HeyLiving Ranking System and do not necessarily reflect typical results from the use of these products. Please visit product websites for more information.

Learn More

Final Thoughts

The Bottom Line

When it comes to choosing the right protein powders, it is essential to choose a product that is made with high-quality ingredients delivered in optimal doses from a brand you can trust.  

After searching the internet to find the best pre-workout products and evaluating them based on their customer service, ingredients, and pricing, we believe 100% Whey from PhD is the best on the market.

PhD provides a 30-day satisfaction guarantee or your money back.

Exclusive Offer Ongoing

Take advantage of this Offer while supplies last.

This special offer ends: Wednesday, January 24, 2024

CITATIONS

  1. Sugihara Junior, P., Ribeiro, A. S., Nabuco, H. C. G., Fernandes, R. R., Tomeleri, C. M., Cunha, P. M., Venturini, D., Barbosa, D. S., Schoenfeld, B. J., & Cyrino, E. S. (2018). Effects of Whey Protein Supplementation Associated With Resistance Training on Muscular Strength, Hypertrophy, and Muscle Quality in Preconditioned Older Women. International journal of sport nutrition and exercise metabolism, 28(5), 528–535. https://doi.org/10.1123/ijsnem.2017-0253 
  2. West, D. W. D., Abou Sawan, S., Mazzulla, M., Williamson, E., & Moore, D. R. (2017). Whey Protein Supplementation Enhances Whole Body Protein Metabolism and Performance Recovery after Resistance Exercise: A Double-Blind Crossover Study. Nutrients, 9(7), 735. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu9070735 
  3. Duarte, N. M., Cruz, A. L., Silva, D. C., & Cruz, G. M. (2020). Intake of whey isolate supplement and muscle mass gains in young healthy adults when combined with resistance training: a blinded randomized clinical trial (pilot study). The Journal of sports medicine and physical fitness, 60(1), 75–84. https://doi.org/10.23736/S0022-4707.19.09741-X 
  4. Sepandi, M., Samadi, M., Shirvani, H., Alimohamadi, Y., Taghdir, M., Goudarzi, F., & Akbarzadeh, I. (2022). Effect of whey protein supplementation on weight and body composition indicators: A meta-analysis of randomized clinical trials. Clinical nutrition ESPEN, 50, 74–83. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.clnesp.2022.05.020 
  5. Chen, I. F., Wu, H. J., Chen, C. Y., Chou, K. M., & Chang, C. K. (2016). Branched-chain amino acids, arginine, citrulline alleviate central fatigue after 3 simulated matches in taekwondo athletes: a randomized controlled trial. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 13, 28. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12970-016-0140-0 
  6. Duan, Y., Li, F., Li, Y., Tang, Y., Kong, X., Feng, Z., Anthony, T. G., Watford, M., Hou, Y., Wu, G., & Yin, Y. (2016). The role of leucine and its metabolites in protein and energy metabolism. Amino acids, 48(1), 41–51. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00726-015-2067-1 
  7. Jeong, S. H., Kang, D., Lim, M. W., Kang, C. S., & Sung, H. J. (2010). Risk assessment of hormones and antimicrobial residues in meat. Toxicological research, 26(4), 301–313. https://doi.org/10.5487/TR.2010.26.4.301 
  8. Nogoy, K. M. C., Sun, B., Shin, S., Lee, Y., Zi Li, X., Choi, S. H., & Park, S. (2022). Fatty Acid Composition of Grain- and Grass-Fed Beef and Their Nutritional Value and Health Implication. Food science of animal resources, 42(1), 18–33. https://doi.org/10.5851/kosfa.2021.e73 

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* The information contained within this site is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice. If you have, expect to have, or suspect you may have any medical condition, you are urged to consult with a healthcare provider. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration or the European Food Safety Authority. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any diseases or medical conditions. Results are based on the opinion of the author and their own rankings and do not necessarily reflect typical results from the use of these products. Trademarks used on our website belong to their respective owners and no implied or expressed endorsement of our website or services is intended. Rankings can be affected by the relationship or ownership interest we have in various products featured.

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Rachel

Written by Rachel