The 10 Best Protein Shakes

Updated October 10, 2017 by Quincy Miller

10 Best Protein Shakes
Best High-End
Best Mid-Range
Best Inexpensive
If you're a serious athlete or trying to shed a few pounds and carve out a more muscular frame, adding a protein shake to your diet can be a great way to boost your performance. Our selections will help keep you feeling full for hours without weighing you down with lots of unnecessary sugars or artificial chemicals. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best protein shake on Amazon.

10. Pure Protein Frosty

Pure Protein Frosty is a tasty foam that will keep you full for hours when you shake it up, making it the perfect low-carb, between-meals snack. It can even reduce your sugar cravings, but it doesn't help really active athletes build muscles.
  • good for acid reflux sufferers
  • tastes like ice cream when frozen
  • not good on sensitive stomachs
Brand Pure Protein
Model hhh-kyyy-tra-rat188
Weight 9.7 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

9. MET-Rx RTD 51

MET-Rx RTD 51 comes in a traditional soda can that retains cold really well once refrigerated, so you don't have to worry about chugging it before it gets warm. It contains the BCAAs that are depleted during workouts, but it can't be resealed for storage.
  • proteins get digested slowly
  • great to blend with yogurt
  • leaves a sticky coating in the mouth
Brand MET-Rx
Model pending
Weight 13.7 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

8. Muscle Milk Pro

Muscle Milk Pro boasts 40 grams of energizing protein in just over 200 calories, so it's perfect to drink after an intense workout if you're afraid of counteracting all your cardio. It's even recommended by doctors for patients recovering from gastric bypass surgery.
  • very low in carbohydrates
  • easy on sensitive stomachs
  • has a chalky aftertaste
Brand Cytosport
Model No Model
Weight 12.8 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

7. EAS Myoplex Original

If you're looking to build fast-twitch fibers and boost reaction times, EAS Myoplex Original releases its amino acids slowly, so your muscles always have the fuel they need to fire quickly. It's also chock-full of calcium, ensuring your bones are taken care of as well.
  • leakproof packaging
  • good for energy bursts
  • very low in dietary fiber
Brand EAS
Model No Model
Weight 15.1 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

6. Core Power Milk Shake

For those who want a drink in something other than chocolate, Core Power Milk Shake comes in a refreshing banana flavor and doesn't contain the added powders that can leave a chalky consistency. It also boasts one of the shortest ingredients lists for protein shakes.
  • lots of b vitamins for energy
  • gluten-free formula
  • not suitable for lactose intolerant
Brand Core Power
Model pending
Weight 10.6 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

5. Orgain Nutritional

Orgain Nutritional was developed by doctors to help you meet your dietary needs, as it's loaded with 21 vitamins and minerals plus organic fruits and vegetables. It also lays off any questionable ingredients, like preservatives and artificial sweeteners.
  • helpful for weight management
  • hormone-free protein source
  • can cause sugar crashes
Brand Orgain
Model 851770003087
Weight 10.2 pounds
Rating 4.4 / 5.0

4. Organic Fuel

Organic Fuel gives you equal amounts of protein and carbs, so you get both an immediate burst of energy as well as long-lasting nourishment. This makes it an excellent choice for joggers and endurance athletes, as it ensures you won't run out of gas before the finish line.
  • milk-based protein
  • fair trade cocoa
  • can be kept at room temperature
Brand Organic Valley
Model pending
Weight 10.2 pounds
Rating 3.8 / 5.0

3. Premier Protein Low Fat

Premier Protein Low Fat is a favorite with diabetics because it has just a single gram of sugar plus lots of fiber, which helps regulate insulin spikes and drops. It also fulfills half your daily iron needs, allowing you to be one of the few who gets the proper amount.
  • excellent substitute for creamer
  • tastes comparable to chocolate milk
  • works well as a midnight snack
Brand Premier Protein
Model pending
Weight 14.8 pounds
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

2. Labrada Lean Body

Labrada Lean Body is made using a patented flash-heat processing technique that keeps your protein from deteriorating, which is a problem for many canned drinks. It boasts a convenient resealable screw top, so you can sip on it throughout the day, rather than chug it.
  • contains absolutely no sugar
  • excellent for keto practitioners
  • unique caramel flavor available
Brand Labrada
Model 470510
Weight 15 pounds
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

1. Gatorade Recover

Competitive athletes will want to have a bottle of Gatorade Recover handy at all times, because beyond feeding your muscles protein, it also resupplies the body with the carbs and electrolytes it needs to perform at its best -- and keep you in the game.
  • tastes like a real milkshake
  • good on-the-go breakfast
  • helps stave off soreness
Brand Gatorade
Model pending
Weight 10.8 pounds
Rating 4.2 / 5.0

The Benefits Of Protein Shakes

Protein and the amino acids that constitute it are among the most vital building blocks for life as we know it. Our bodies produce some of these amino acids on their own as a result of their natural processes when metabolizing food and maintaining homeostasis. Others, however, we have to take in from without.

The average person’s diet is usually sufficient to provide the majority of these amino acids, especially if they don’t engage in a lot of athletic activity. Many of our foods are also fortified with additional protein and vitamins to help keep us healthy. There are times, however, when we need a healthy snack or when we seek to evolve our bodies into something even more capable — whether that’s by increasing our muscle mass or our cardiovascular endurance. For those times, a good protein shake is indispensable.

Note before we go on that these are not protein shake mixes; they are premixed protein shakes that you simply shake up in your hand, pop open, and enjoy. That makes them exceedingly convenient and portable, so you can toss one in your gym bag or the fridge at work for a quick protein fix.

Quite possibly the biggest benefit of these handy protein shakes affects anyone trying to curb hunger. Whether you’re dieting or just trying to make it to your next meal without eating garbage from the vending machine, a snack high in protein will make you feel fuller longer. That results in more focus on the task at hand, and less clock watching. You’ll get more done and you’ll feel better doing it.

These shakes are also very useful for anyone who hits the gym on a regular basis. That first hour after athletic activity is when the body is primed to absorb protein and convert it into energy and grist for muscle growth. If you have to wait until you get home to make a protein shake in your blender, you might miss out on this vital window, negating a lot of the work you did on the day.

How To Choose The Best Shake For You

There’s no shortage of options in the protein shake department, so you shouldn’t blame yourself if you’ve contracted a little bit of indecision paralysis. If we take it one feature at a time, however, we can get a pretty clear sense of what type of shake you should buy, and that’ll whittle the field down considerably.

For starters, we can cut the market in half by considering whether you’re going to use your shake as a snack replacer or as a workout supplement. It’s not a bad idea to err on the side of more protein, but too much protein can pose a small problem — especially if your favorite shake turns out to contain genetically modified soy protein isolate or another, not so healthy ingredient.

With that in mind, it should be clear that snack replacement shakes don’t need much more than 10 to 20 grams of protein in them to be effective. If, on the other hand, you plan to use your protein shake as a source of immediate post-workout recovery, you should look for the option with the most possible protein from whatever source you prefer, at least in upwards of 30 grams or more.

That source question is the next one you should ask yourself. Some people prefer to avoid animal products in their protein intake, while others turn their noses up at soy. Fortunately, there are safe and healthy options for every source, including pea protein and organic, non-GMO soy, which is far less harmful to the system than the soy that’s gotten a bad rap recently.

A Bit About Protein Types

With all the different possible sources of protein on the market, it can be difficult to know which one is best. The omnivorous among you may rejoice, as access to every kind of protein will give your body an edge in muscle growth. You also have the luxury of focusing on the flavor of your drink above all else, without having to worry about an ingredient violating your religious beliefs or causing an allergic reaction. For the rest of us, it would be helpful to have a quick primer on the different types of protein and their benefits.

Whey protein is actually a byproduct of the cheese making process. It’s found in the watery bit of milk that separates from the curd. Remember Little Miss Muffett? She sat on her tuffet, if you recall, eating her curds and whey. Presumably, after that spider sat down beside her and scare her away, he made off with the food. Long before the fitness industry gravitated toward whey for its nutritional benefits, it was eaten as a kind of treat.

The good thing about whey is that it’s a complete protein, meaning that it contains all 20 of the essential amino acids. It’s also rather easy to digest, with a quick uptake that makes it ideal for hitting your precious post-workout window. Overdoing it with whey can have many of the negative affects associated with too much dairy consumption, however, such as high cholesterol.

Soy protein is probably the most common protein ingredient added to inexpensive shakes and bars, primarily because soy is so prevalent in the industry. Any refined soy product is liable to have some runoff that can be recycled and treated to become isolated soy protein. This creates an aftermarket income stream for a lot of industries in the production of everything from tofu to soy milk.

There are a lot of negative talking points surrounding soy these days, particularly with respect to its effect on estrogen levels. These studies haven’t been recreated and verified enough to cause real alarm yet, but it might be wise to stick to organic and non-GMO soy products whenever possible.

Pea and rice protein are among the more expensive proteins that you’re liable to see in products targeted at vegan and vegetarian consumers who’ve been spooked by soy studies, but who still need a good helping of protein. These products are usually a little more expensive, both because the process is more intensive and less ubiquitous, and because the manufacturers know they have a more affluent demographic on their hands.

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Last updated on October 10, 2017 by Quincy Miller

Quincy is a writer who was born in Texas, but moved to Los Angeles to pursue his life-long dream of someday writing a second page to one of his screenplays.

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