Best Protein Shakes Reviewed & Rated for Quality
Simply put, protein helps you to power most of your body’s functions and it helps you to feel full for longer as well. In fact, consuming more protein in your daily diet can minimize the total amount of calories you consume in a day (especially the empty ones).
But for some of us, it can be hard to get the right amount of protein to power our bodies through new workout intensities or in new diets--especially if you’re vegetarian or vegan. That’s where protein shakes come in. They consist of different protein powders that are dissolved in water and that give your body the boost it needs.
So if you are looking for that umph you’re missing, this list has you covered.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
One of the main considerations we had when making this Ten Best List were the ingredients that go into each product.
We feature products with more natural ingredients and love those that are organic and GMO-free. Plus, we always like to highlight products that meet specific dietary restrictions like those that are gluten-free, keto approved, and vegetarian or vegan.
Of course, we love products with minimal artificial ingredients and less added sugar. Usually, these products end up being lower in calories and fat which make them ideal for a larger audience.
When we considered the products that made our list, we wanted to feature those with a wide range of uses.
Products that are good for both pre and post workouts rank highly. We also like products that can be used as meal replacements (meaning they have the appropriate caloric and nutritional count to actually replace the nutrients that you would get in a typical healthy meal).
Products that are loaded with vitamins, electrolytes, and nutrients score highly on our list because they fulfill additional functions apart from the consumption of protein.
And those products that are geared for specific people (women, for example) and diets (Atkins or Keto diet) also get a strong nod.
Of course, we work to feature products that are actually effective. Products with specially formulated compounds that make absorbing protein easier on the body rank highly on our list in this category.
Taste is obviously of major importance when ranking beverages. We worked to include products that have great ingredients and effectiveness while still tasting good. Often times, these beverages can have a chalky taste and gritty texture. While some of the more organic options may still have a touch of these qualities, we feature mostly products that taste as they might as well be dessert.
As always, we consider the value that we’re bringing to the table with each product. These products are loaded with value because most of them provide not only protein but vitamins and nutrients as well.
Plus, when you consider that some of them can be used as meal substitutes (even if just for a hearty snack), you’ll see how your savings (both monetary and caloric) begin to stack up.
10 Best Protein Shakes
1. Premier Protein
The Premier Protein Protein Shake is number one on our list because it is versatile and effective and it offers up delicious flavor options that make drinking one of these an absolute treat. With 30 grams of protein per bottle, these are ideal for meal substitutes and can even be used as a coffee creamer!
4 Yummy Flavors to Choose From
The Premier Protein Protein Shake has been awarded the American Master of Taste Gold for an incredible taste for the past 5 years in a row. These beverages are creamy without weird after tastes, and they come in 4 delectable flavor options. Enjoy this drink in caramel, cookies and cream, vanilla, or chocolate.
These beverages are delicious enough to drink on their own as a snack, to serve as a meal replacement, or to use as a coffee augmenter. We love these because they are a great protein shake for weight loss as they work to curb your appetite.
30 Grams of Protein Per Bottle
The Premier Protein Protein Shake comes in an 11.5-ounce bottle. It’s super easy to take with you on the go and packs a powerful punch. You’ll benefit from 30 grams of protein per bottle while only having to account for 160 calories and one tiny gram of sugar.
This product only has 3 grams of fat and 5 grams of carbs which are balanced out by a whopping 24 grams of other minerals and vitamins. In fact, this shake alone will provide 25% or more of 24 of your daily needed minerals and vitamins including Vitamins A, B (6 and 12), C, D, and K as well as calcium, iron, and magnesium. This makes it a great investment in your overall nutrition.
And just as important as what they have, these beverages do not contain soy or artificial coloring, and they are also free of gluten and are certified Kosher.
Cost and Value
The Premier Protein Protein Shake rings up in the middle of our price range and we love its value because it is loaded with protein and flavor without being full of sugars and artificial nonsense. Plus, it comes complete with tons of vitamins and minerals that are like taking a multivitamin which helps to power your life.
2. Atkins Gluten Free
The Atkins Gluten Free Protein-Rich Shake stands out because it is totally gluten-free and an excellent product if you are on the Keto diet. Plus, it comes in several flavors so if you’re looking for a protein shake that tastes good, these will suit your pallet. Not to mention, these are smaller than other shakes so it won’t leave you feeling bloated afterward.
15 Grams of Protein
The Atkins Gluten Free Protein-Rich Shake is a go to if you're on the Atkins diet and you're not into low-carb bars. It is pumped full of 15 grams of protein derived from high-quality sources. It is a great option for those following the Keto diet because it only has 2 net carb grams and just 1 tiny gram of sugar.
This drink is designed to satiate your hunger while providing your body with a steady energy store. It also has a low glycemic index so you won’t have to worry about feeling a crash later. And to top it all off, this product is gluten-free so it won’t irritate those with allergies.
11 Ounces of Goodness
The Atkins Gluten Free Protein-Rich Shake comes in a slightly smaller bottle which is great for those who find larger shakes to be too filling and cause a bloated belly. This 11-ounce bottle is compact and great for stowing in your bag as a snack or meal replacement.
While the last shake on our list provided 25% of 24 essential minerals and vitamins, this shake will provide 15% to 20%. The spectrum of coverage is the same, but the total percentages of each are less.
You’ll have a tasty journey deciding between the 6 amazing flavors that this shake comes in. Choose between caramel, milk chocolate, french vanilla, dark chocolate, mocha latte, and strawberry.
Cost and Value
The Atkins Gluten Free Protein-Rich Shake rings upon the lower end of our price range and we love its value because it is a wonderful option for those with dietary restrictions and because it still packs in a lot of protein without weighing the beverage down in sugar.
These Iconic Protein Drinks take their protein seriously. These beverages are composed of 100% casein and whey protein derived from grass-fed sources only. They are also lactose-free and work to provide the energy that you need without a sluggish feeling afterward.
Grass-Fed Lactose-Free Option
Iconic Protein Drinks make the quality of their priority. They only use protein derived from grass-fed cows (that means no antibiotics or injected hormones either). But what makes them so special is that their beverages do not contain lactose--a common allergen present in most dairy products.
For many who are lactose intolerant, they turn to plant-based protein sources. But doing so can prove to be problematic for some people. Because many plant-based proteins lack complete profiles of amino acids, absorbing and digesting nutrients can be difficult. Thus, these lactose-free drinks that do provide total profiles of amino acids make them easier to digest.
These drinks do not contain GMOs and they are also soy-free, gluten-free, and kosher. Plus, you won’t find any artificial colors or flavors in these tasty beverages either.
Curbs the Appetite
Iconic Protein Drinks boast 20 grams of protein per shake. With just 3 grams of sugar per bottle, only 4 net carbs, and 130 calories, this beverage will taste amazing without packing on the guilt factor. And if you’re on the Weight Watcher’s plan, this guy will only cost you 2 points.
Not only is this an ideal beverage to fill you up and power you through (curbing your appetite for hours on end), it’s a great way to refuel your body after a workout as well. Packed full of electrolytes like magnesium, potassium, and calcium, you’ll be giving your body just what it needs to recover.
Cost and Value
These Iconic Protein Drinks ring up at the top of our price range but we love their value because they are totally derived from trusted, high-quality ingredients that will fuel or recharge--whatever your needs may be.
4. Nature's Bounty Optimal Solutions
Nature's Bounty Optimal Solutions is a shake mix that is designed with a woman’s specific needs in mind. This blend will target bone health, hair, nail, and skin health, as well as metabolic, muscular, immune, and digestive health. More than just a protein shake, this product pacts in a full multi-vitamin to ensure that your body is firing on all cylinders.
Undergoes Tons of Testing for Quality Assurance
Nature's Bounty Optimal Solutions is serious about quality control. Their products undergo rigorous testing before they are released to the public. Their goal is to ensure that the products you receive are pure and potent--just as they were intended. Plus, they meet GMP standards and undergo microbiological testing to guarantee quality.
Great for the Whole Body
Nature's Bounty Optimal Solutions does more than just deliver a hearty dose of protein. This shake mix will help to nourish your body in so many ways.
Taken regularly, you will maintain a healthy digestive system, immune system, metabolic system, and muscular system. You’ll also be taking care of your bones and skin. Backed by nutritional testing that determined the specific needs of the female body, this formula helps to maintain healthy levels of all the goodies that women need.
Specifically, Nature's Bounty Optimal Solutions has 15 grams of protein per serving with only 110 calories and 2 grams of sugar. And where other brands provide partial vitamins and minerals, Nature’s Bounty provides 100% of your daily serving of Vitamins B, C, and D.
Cost and Value
Nature's Bounty Optimal Solutions rings up at the bottom of our price range and we love its value because you can mix the powder to your desired potency at a minimal cost and because it is a great option for powering and nourishing the whole body.
5. Orgain Grass Fed Clean
The Orgain Grass Fed Clean Protein Shake is another on our list that puts quality fo ingredients at the forefront. This beverage is a great option for men, women, and kids and can fulfill a variety of needs on a daily basis.
Made from 100% Grass-Fed New Zealand Cows
The protein in the Orgain Grass Fed Clean Protein Shake is derived from 100% from grass-fed cows from New Zealand. These cows aren’t loaded with antibiotics, hormones, or steroids.
With 20 grams of protein per serving, 3 grams of fiber, and just 140 calories, this is a great choice for folks who are working on weight goals (both losing and gaining) and who need to power for or recharge after a workout. Plus, if you’re looking for protein shakes to build muscle, this could be a great choice for you.
A Good Option for Children
Orgain Grass Fed Clean Protein Shakes have 4 grams of sugar (so slightly more than others on our list), but it’s chocolate creamy sweetness makes it a huge hit with kids who are unable to get the necessary amount of protein in because they are picky eaters.
You can also feel good about giving these tasty beverages to your kiddos because they are gluten-free, carrageenan free, soy free, and free of GMOs. And you won’t find any artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives in these drinks either. Plus, they are vegetarian approved.
Cost and Value
The Orgain Grass Fed Clean Protein Shake rings up in the middle of our price range and we love its value more because of what it doesn’t have than what it does. It’s free of all sorts of harmful ingredients that are common in other drinks on the market which makes it a great option for kiddos and adults alike.
6. LABRADA Whey
The LABRADA Whey Protein Shake is loaded with more protein than almost any other on our list. If you’re looking for a meal replacement drink and you're not into protein bars, or if you’re just trying to refuel your body after an intense workout, then look no further.
A Whopping 40 Grams of Protein Per Shake
The LABRADA Whey Protein Shake is formulated with all of the nutrients that your body needs for optimal performance. With an unrivaled 40 grams of protein per serving, this drink is an ideal companion for those who are looking to recharge after a workout or who need to replace a meal on the go.
While other products on the market claim to be meal replacers, many of them actually lack the nutrients and vitamins needed to sufficiently replace a meal. That’s what sets this product apart. With 5 grams of fiber and 22 grams of minerals and vitamins, you can confidently replace your meals with one of these shakes.
No Sugar Added
The LABRADA Whey Protein Shake manages to taste delicious without having any gluten, lactose, or sugar. You can snag this product in 8 mouth-watering flavors. Choose between chocolate, banana, vanilla, strawberry, cinnamon bun, cookies and cream, salted caramel, and cafe mocha.
Cost and Value
The LABRADA Whey Protein Shake rings up towards the top of our price range but we love its value because it has way more protein than most other low carb protein shakes on the market without having any sugar or lactose.
7. Muscle Milk Pro Series
This option from Muscle Milk Pro Series is another solid option that is loaded with the protein, nutrients, and vitamins that athletes need to charge and recharge their bodies. This is a high-scoring beverage that is formulated to help your body absorb all of the proteins and other goodies inside so you can feel confident that you’re meeting the numbers you see on the box.
Low-Calorie, High-Protein, Minimal Sugars
This beverage from Muscle Milk is ideal for athletes who are looking for a little extra edge. It contains a major 32 grams of protein derived from high-quality sources. But even though it has a high protein count, you won’t have to worry about tons of fats or added sugars.
Each serving of this drink only has 160 calories with just 2 grams of fat. Plus, you’ll only be drinking 1 gram of sugar so you won’t feel any nasty spikes and crashes. On top of all of that, you’ll enjoy a whole host of nutrients and vitamins (in fact, at least 20% of each one that is included).
Scores 1 on the PDCAAS Scale
You may not be aware of this, but not all proteins can be digested by the body on their own and not all drinks that boast major amounts of protein are fully digestible. One of the great features of this product is that is it scores a 1 on the PDCAAS (Protein Digestibility Amino Acid Score) scale. This is the highest that a food item can score.
What does this mean? It means that the unique compound of vitamins and nutrients, along with the amino acids (9 to be exact) that are included in this drink, work to help the body absorb every single one of the amazing 32 grams of protein in each Muscle Milk.
Cost and Value
This option from Muscle Milk Pro Series rings up in the middle of our price range and we like its value because it is designed for athletes and formulated to help the body absorb all of the goodness that it has to offer.
The Evolve Protein Shake is among the best plant-based drink options on the market. They pride themselves on including the least amount of ingredients possible so that you can feel confident about the product that you are consuming. But this product isn’t just good for you! It’s good for the environment as well, so you can really cheer to that.
This may be another one of those products that are more notable for what it doesn’t have than what it has. That being said, it still boasts a mighty 20 grams of protein per serving and 10 grams of fiber as well.
Now for what it doesn’t have. You won’t find any animal products in this beverage which makes it 100% vegan. There are also zero flavors from artificial additives in these drinks and each ingredient is guaranteed GMO-free.
By including the least amount of ingredients possible, Evolve works to bring you a simplified product that your body can process and benefit from. While the calorie count for this beverage is a bit higher than others at 160 calories per serving, it only has 1 gram of fat. It does contain 6 grams of sugar but these are natural sugars and not from artificial sources.
Part of a Natural Process
This option from Evolve does more than just power your body. The pea plants that the protein from this drink is derived from are planted in part of a rotational crop process that works to make sure nutrients are returned to the soil so that the ground doesn’t become incapable of supporting different crops in the future.
This company is also committed to supporting the National Parks Foundation which works to ensure that the United State’s national parks system remains funded and protected for future generations to enjoy.
Cost and Value
This beverage from Evolve rings up towards the top of our price range and we love its value because it is among the most natural of protein shakes that is vegan and GMO-free. Plus, Evolve is working to ensure that their products are sustainable and that they give back to the communities that support them.
9. Ketologie Chocolate Keto
This option from Ketologie is the best way to stick to your keto diet while getting the protein that you need on the go. What does that mean? It means you won’t have to worry about any added sugars, added caffeine, or added carbohydrates. So even if you’re not on the keto diet, this could still be a great option for you.
Tons of Mixing Options
Unlike other products on our list and on the market, this is a power that you can mix yourself. Being able to mix yourself gives you a lot more options for consumption. You can add a bit of this to your morning smoothie, in any nut milk of your choosing, or even into a boosting coffee combo. And of course, as always, you can toss it in with water (ratio suggestions are provided).
Truly, your imagination is the limit. Reviewers find that when mixed in with other items, this product doesn’t have the chalky, gritty notability that other products on the market present.
Keeps the Body in Ketosis
It is important to note that this powder is not a low-calorie, low-fat option. If mixed as suggested, each serving is about 300 calories with as much as 25 grams of fat per serving. So if you are trying to lose weight and you are not on the keto diet, this is not going to be the best option for you.
What this beverage does offer is zero sugar--and we mean zero. Plus, you’ll enjoy the 14 grams of pure protein when you drink up. But where other drinks include tons of minerals and vitamins in their ingredients list, you won’t really find those here apart from calcium and iron.
Cost and Value
This option from Ketologie rings up towards the top of our price range but we like its value because it is designed specifically to meet the needs of folks who are on the keto diet and who are looking for high fat, high protein compounds with minimal sugars and carbs. Plus, you can mix your own concoctions so you have more control over flavor profiles.
10. Kellogg's Special K
The Kellogg's Special K Protein Shakes is another incredible chocolaty option to add to your morning or workout routine (both before and after). It has tons of minerals, vitamins, and fiber to power you through the day and keep you up and running.
Chilly, Chocolaty Yumminess
The Kellogg's Special K Protein Shakes will not only power you through the day, but it will also taste delicious while it’s doing it. This beverage is creamy and rich and won’t leave behind that weird chalky aftertaste that some many other products in this market do.
Simply pop this product in the fridge and enjoy first thing in the morning to boost yourself through the day, or drink a little before a workout for extra energy. Of course, you can always enjoy this post-workout as well to help refuel the body and restore your muscles and energy.
Plus, it’s the perfect size to pop into your lunchbox or in your purse or gym bag for fast nutrition on the go.
Over 20 Minerals and Vitamins
The Kellogg's Special K Protein Shakes are outfitted with 15 grams of protein per serving, but that’s not all they have to offer. Each bottle also contains over 20 vitamins and minerals including tons of calcium, potassium, iron, and vitamins A, B, C, D, E, and K. Plus, you’ll be getting loads of fiber in every sip.
But while this shake is super tasty, it does have a higher calorie count than most others on our list at 190 calories per serving. It also has more sugar at 18 grams and more fat at 5 grams. So if you’re looking to lose weight or count calories, this is not going to be a go-to for you. But if you’re just looking to pack on delicious protein, drink right up.
Cost and Value
The Kellogg's Special K Protein Shakes ring up towards the bottom of our price range and we like their value because they offer a delicious way to get protein, minerals, fiber, and vitamins.