We at PerfectSmoothie.com have used dozens of different protein powders over the years for a variety of health related goals. Whether your goal is to balance out the macro nutrient profile of your smoothies to that of a meal, to help gain muscle through protein supplementation, or to compliment your diet with a healthy vegan or vegetarian source of protein, there is no need to look further.
We have researched, tested, and reviewed both the highest quality protein powders that we recommend for mixing into smoothies, as well as our overall pick for "best protein powder" for both whey and vegan/vegetarian sources of protein, here are our findings: (updated for Winter 2014)
High End Protein Powder
Gold Standard Optimum Nutrition Natural WheyOur Top Pick for "Best Whey Protein Powder": We recommend and use the chocolate flavored Gold Standard Natural Whey every day in our smoothies. We've tried dozens of brands and this one just mixes the easiest, tastes the best, and helps create a great consistency. If you're making smoothies every day we recommend trying this brand and comparing the results you get. We also like this product becuase it has the highest biological value of any protein on the market with no artificial flavors or sweeteners and is designed to mix fast and easily into any type of drink. Because this brand has been tested for so many years by the sports and body-building community we recommend it as the best high quality source of whey protein.
Where to Buy: Optimum Nutrition's products are all available with free shipping from amazon.
Blue Bonnet 100% All Natural Whey Protein Isolate PowderOur Runner-Up Pick for "Best Whey Protein Powder": For those individuals who are looking to pay slightly more per ounce, Blue Bonnet offers a whey isolate that is sourced from grass-fed cows in New Zealand that aren't treated with growth hormones or antibiotics. We recommend this for those wanting an overall healthy and natural source of whey protein that is sourced from 100% purely organic means.
Where to Buy: The cheapest way to buy Blue Bonnet specialty products is with free shipping from amazon.
Sun Warrior's "Warrior Blend" Vegan Protein PowderOur Top Pick for "Best Vegetarian / Vegan Protein Powder": Sun Warrior's vanilla flavored "Warrior Blend" is touted as an "unparalleled fusion of the finest raw plant-based proteins" and is our favorite raw plant based protein powder. Their Warrior Blend contains all essential amino acids for a balanced protein profile and has a 98.2% absorption and utilization rate. This protein contains no added sugar or artificial sweeteners and is non-GMO, gluten free, hypoallergenic, soy-free, and dairy free. This vegan protein powder is also recommended for athletes and those wanting to help build muscle by supplementing from a plant-based protein source.
Where to Buy: Sun Warrior's Warrior Blend is about 25% cheaper from amazon than from their web site and that includes free shipping for orders over $25.
Lower Priced Protein PowdersIt may be more cost effective to try a less expensive product to help to decide if supplementing with protein powder is right for you. Be aware that many cheaper brands and products include artificial sweeteners such as high fructose corn syrup or aspartame.
Below we've selected the best of the less expensive protein powders which cost about 40-50% less per serving than the high end protein powders and do not contain aspartame.
Gold Standard Whey Protein PowderOur Top Pick among best protein powders in the lower price category: Optimum Nutrition's Gold Standard whey protein powder is the best selling protein powder in the world, it is 100% made in the USA, and has been rated by many magazines and athletes as the most "cost effective/best value" protein powder available. We like this product as it does not contain aspartame and all the flavors taste great in either smoothies, a glass of milk, or plain water.
Where to Buy: Optimum Nutrition's Gold Standard whey protein powder is also available with free shipping from amazon.
Body Fortress Whey Protein PowderBody Fortress is another popular brand sold at Walmart, Costco, and Sam's Club. At basically the same price point as the Optimum Nutrition's Gold Standard whey protein, this might be another brand worth trying to see if you prefer the taste. This brand uses less artificial flavoring per serving and you may prefer it if you are going to mix it with water and don't want too strong of a taste.
Where to Buy: Body Fortress Whey protein powder is available from amazon with free shipping.