Nutritionist Rob Hobson ranks the best protein powders you can buy in 2024.

If you’re new to taking protein powder, the sheer number of brands and options can be overwhelming. So I’ve done the hard work you: testing a wide selection of the latest options on the market right now.

The products that made this list ranked highly for texture, solubility, effectiveness and taste. I also took into account bioavailability (how easily the ingredients are absorbed into the body), cost per serving, and the variety of sizes and flavours available, as well as any recyclable packaging, which can all inform your buying decisions. 

What is the best protein powder?

Hermosa Whey Protein Powder (buy now) is the best protein powder I have tried. It’s premium protein powder that’s made from non-GMO, ethically sourced ingredients, with a focus on sustainability. It’s made from an impressive 85% protein concentrate from grass-fed cows, with each serving containing 21g of protein. 

Other protein powder recommendations

Protein powder with the highest protein per servingInnermost The Strong Protein (buy now) has the highest protein per serving of all the powders I tested, with an enormous 34g. It mixes well and tastes good, although is fairly expensive.
Protein powder with the lowest caloriesProtein Works Whey Protein 80 (buy now) contains just 99 calories per 25g serving. It’s got a silky smooth texture and there are 14 flavours to choose from.
Best vegan protein powder Vivo Perform (buy now) is the standout vegan protein powder I’ve tested. It contains an impressive 25g protein, plus 6g plant-based BCAAs and a sprinkling of pink Himalayan salt for good measure.

These are the best protein powders I have tried

Hermosa Whey Protein Powder

1. Hermosa Whey Protein Powder

Men’s Fitness verdict

This is the best-tasting protein powder I tested, and it’s made with pure, high-quality ingredients. Each serving contains 21g grass-fed whey protein and 125 calories.
  • Delicious rich flavour
  • Ethically sourced
  • Not too sweet
  • Expensive
  • Limited sizes and flavours

Hermosa stands out for its perfect taste balance and ethically sourced ingredients. A 30g serving mixed with water contains just 125 calories, up to 3g of fats, and up to 4.5g of carbs. Despite its smooth texture, the downside is its higher price at around £2 per serving, but a 15% discount is available with subscription. Hermosa is exclusively sold online with next-day delivery. Overall, it’s a top-notch, albeit pricey, choice.

Protein per serving 21g
Cost per serving£2.03
Sizes10 x 30g / 420g / 1kg
FlavoursChocolate / Vanilla
Vivo Perform Plant Protein – one of the best protein powders

2. Vivo Life Perform Plant Protein

Men’s Fitness verdict

Vivo’s pea and hemp blend packs in an impressive 25g protein, plus 6g plant-based BCAAs. Herbal enzymes aid protein absorption, and the texture is as smooth as any whey alternative.
  • Plenty of flavours to choose from
  • Nice smooth texture
  • Good amount of protein plus BCAAs
  • Only available online
  • There are cheaper options

Plant-based protein powders of old suffered from grainy texture and strange taste, but products like Vivo Life’s Perform have changed the game. Despite unappetizing ingredient names like ‘bio-fermented yellow pea protein’, the end result is delicious, offering 25g of protein, 6g of plant-based BCAA, and a hint of pink Himalayan salt. Flavors like Salted Maca Caramel and Banana & Cinnamon are not only tasty, but also low in calories, with each scoop containing less than 140kcals. Vivo Life leads the pack in creating genuinely enjoyable plant-based protein options that rival whey-based alternatives in both taste and nutritional content.

Protein per serving 25g
Cost per serving£1.70
Sizes7 servings / 14 servings/ 26 servings
Flavours6 available
Healthspan Elite Ultimate Whey Protein Blend

3. Healthspan Elite Ultimate Whey Protein Blend

Men’s Fitness verdict

I love Healthspan’s Ultimate Whey Protein Blend. Smooth texture, no added sugars and athlete-approved. Eco-friendly packaging. Buy online for £6 off two packs.
  • Great taste and texture
  • Mitigates digestive issues with Actizan enzyme
  • Eco-friendly packaging in recyclable pouches
  • Faint bitter note from stevia
  • Limited size options
  • Availability restricted to online purchase

I’ve long been a fan of Healthspan, and its Ultimate Whey Protein Blend delivers on taste and texture, ensuring a smooth drink whether mixed with milk or water. Enhanced with Actizan enzyme, it mitigates digestive issues often associated with whey protein consumption. While free from added sugars, a faint bitter note from stevia might be detectable, but it’s generally tolerable. Plus, being soy-free and Informed Sports approved, it’s a solid choice for athletes. Conveniently packaged in recyclable pouches, it’s an eco-friendly option. Though limited to online purchase, bulk buying saves £6 on two packs. While size options could be expanded, the blend’s rich flavors and athlete-friendly formula make it one of my top picks.

Protein per serving 24g
Cost per serving£1.65
FlavoursStrawberry / Chocolate / Vanilla
Innermost The Strong Protein

4. Innermost The Strong Protein

Men’s Fitness verdict

Tailored for muscle building and fat loss, with 148 calories per serving. Rich flavor, low sugar, eco-friendly packaging, but a bit pricey at £29.95 for 520g.
  • Tastes great
  • Eco packaging
  • Low sugar
  • Pricey
  • Limited flavour options

Innermost’s The Strong Protein is tailored for lean muscle building and fat loss, featuring acetyl L-carnitine for fat metabolism. With 148 calories per serving (mixed with water), it’s ideal for the calorie-conscious, although options with fewer calories do exist. Sweetened with sucralose, it boasts a rich flavor profile and low sugar content. Natural additives like pomegranate and yerba mate support its lean concept – although I do think the fat loss claims are slightly exaggerated. The shake is available in recyclable packaging, and offers smooth texture using guar bean gum and soy-free formulation. At £29.95 for 520g it doesn’t come cheap, though.

Protein per serving 34g
Cost per serving£2.30
FlavoursChocolate / Vanilla / Strawberry
foodspring whey

5. foodspring Whey Protein

Men’s Fitness verdict

foodspring’s protein powder is another great-tasting shake, which is low in sugar, fat and calories. It’s good value, too, with 25 servings per 750g bag, each delivering 24g protein.
  • Five distinctive flavours
  • Wide range and amount of BCAAs
  • Good value
  • No scoop
  • Slightly bitter aftertaste
  • Only available in one size and no option to bulk buy

With 112 calories per serving, mixing foodspring Whey Protein with water will suit anyone’s lean muscle goals. Its low sugar and fat, using sucralose and stevia, add sweetness, and I enjoyed its smooth texture with either milk or water. The 750g tub, providing 25 servings, costs just over £1 each, and recyclable packaging aligns with an eco-conscious mindset. Though missing a scoop, three tablespoons with 300ml water suffice. Available in five appealing flavours.

Protein per serving 24g
Cost per serving£1.20
FlavoursChocolate / Vanilla / Strawberry / Cookies and Cream / Coconut Crisp
protein works whey protein 80

6. Protein Works Whey Protein 80

Men’s Fitness verdict

Protein Works’ shake has the fewest calories of any of the whey protein powders on test. It delivers 20g protein per 25g serving and is silky smooth once mixed. Plenty of flavours and sizes too.
  • Rich flavour
  • Large option of pack sizes
  • Packaging is not 100% recyclable
  • May be too sweet for some

Each serving of Protein Works’ Whey Protein 80 provides 20g protein and 99 calories (mixed with water). It’s sweetened with sucralose, so it’s low in fat and sugar. I found the texture super smooth, although the chocolate silk version might be a tad too silky for some. It’s got just 2.1g of carbs per serving, perfect for anyone watching their intake, and the ingredient list is refreshingly short. The packaging isn’t fully recyclable yet, but they’re working on it. With 14 flavors to choose from, including Millionaire’s Shortbread, and Strawberry with White Chocolate, there’s something for everyone.

Protein per serving 20g
Cost per serving£1.25
Sizes500g / 1kg / 2kg / 4kg
Flavours14 available
kinetica whey

7. Kinetica Whey Protein

Men’s Fitness verdict

Bulk buying this competition-cleared protein shake makes it particularly good value. Protein quality is good but the taste and texture is not as rich and smooth as other options.
  • Grass-fed and hormone-free whey protein
  • Good value
  • Informed Sport approved for athletes
  • Slightly sweet
  • Texture is a little thin
  • Not as rich tasting as some brands

Kinetica Whey Protein keeps it light on fat and sugar, using sucralose for sweetness. Taste-wise, some might find it a tad sweet and artificial, but that’s just personal preference. At 117 calories per serving mixed with water, it’s one of the leanest options out there. Plus, it’s made from whey protein sourced from grass-fed cows, and it won’t break the bank. Although I found it a bit on the thin side, it gets the job done. And for competing athletes, it’s Informed Sport approved. Opt for smaller tubs first to test the flavor. If you do, bulk buy to save a pretty penny.

Protein per serving 22g
Cost per serving£1.18
Sizes300g / 1kg / 2.27kg / 4kg
FlavoursVanilla / Chocolate / Chocolate Mint / Banana / Strawberry
Bio-Synergy Lean & Green

8. Bio-Synergy Lean & Green

Men’s Fitness verdict

This blend delivers 22g protein, zero sugar and just 2.3g fat. It’s packed with pea and brown rice protein, plus recovery-boosting L-glutamine.
  • Good amount of protein
  • No sugar and low fat
  • Pea protein isolate and brown rice protein, plus added L-glutamine for complete amino acid profile
  • Only three flavours
  • Expensive

Bio-Synergy’s Lean & Green packs a decent punch with 22g protein per 30g serving, boasting no added sugar and only 2.3g fat. Crafted from top-tier natural ingredients such as pea protein isolate and brown rice protein, it’s a soy and hemp-free formula. Enhanced with L-glutamine, it ensures a comprehensive array of amino acids for optimal muscle support. This unique blend offers a clean and effective protein source, perfect for those seeking to fuel their fitness goals without compromising on quality or taste.

Protein per serving 22g
Cost per serving£2.33
FlavoursChocolate & Mint / Peanut / Butterscotch

What are the different types of protein powder?

Whey protein is a massive category in the sports nutrition market,” explains nutrition and performance coach Matt Lovell. “An excellent source of protein as a by-product of cheese manufacture. Whey has literally been around since the Greek times. An urban myth is that farmers noticed pigs fed whey gained more lean mass. Whether or not that’s a true story remains to be seen, but what whey protein offers is a very high quality, high bioavailability source of protein with higher levels of glutamine and leucine: amino acids important for the muscle building process.

“Whey can come in a few forms, from whey protein concentrate, isolate and hydrosylate. Some companies will add soy protein to a whey protein blend. Many use a proprietary blend with a mix of concentrate, isolate and potentially hydrosylate. The more refined the source usually means the faster the release of the protein. Casein is often used as a ‘slow release’ protein and can be added to other protein blends.

“Usually, it’s good to use a faster release source close to training and combine sources for prolonged amino acid delivery. That can also be done by mixing shakes, with food sources of protein. Shakes offer an excellent method to meet daily protein demands, especially with increase training load and the corresponding tissue damage which goes along with that.

“Within the whey protein category, we also now have clear whey, which mixes into a clearer less milky type of drink but tends to foam. Plus, diet whey which will be whey protein plus various fat burning ingredients added in like green tea extract, carnitine, CLA and caffeine sources. These can offer a lower calorie snack and various benefits for appetite suppression when fasting or dieting. 

“Isolates are good in and around training, higher casein and blends for snacks or later at night. Diet whey can be used before training for a sense of fullness and to assist a bit with training sessions, semi-fasted.

“There’s also been a big rise in vegan protein offerings in the last few years. Some will choose these as part of a vegan lifestyle or for digestion, intolerance or allergy reasons for them avoiding milk proteins from whey or casein. Whey protein is higher in key anabolic aminos like leucine and glutamine, and tends to be better for muscle building. Although both do a good job of providing addition protein in the diet to meet protein demands across a day or week. Vegan protein amino acid profile will differ slightly depending on the blend used. Pea protein isolate is higher in glutamine and BCAAs, like whey. Other companies use rice or hemp proteins, pumpkin seed protein and so on.

“Some companies will enhance the protein blend with BCAAs, to provide additional leucine and make the powder potentially more effective for muscle building. Others include an enzyme blend, which is a really good idea to assist protein digestion and absorption. Depending on the company, others will add vitamins and minerals or different types of functional ingredients like mushrooms or berry extracts. 

“Sweetener use across the range can be from natural sources such as stevia. Companies are still using sucralose and stevia combinations, while others use sucralose and acesulfame K.”