Our List of the Top 10 Protein Shakes 2016
We’ve spent years searching for the best whey protein powder in order to weed out the duds and determine which ones truly work. We have created our top 10 protein shakes list and all of them have very high nutritional value and clinical studies to back their claims.
We chose the top 10 protein shakes based on nutrition label analysis (blend purity, BCAA profile, etc.), clinical proof, effectiveness, user satisfaction, and personal experience.
Below are the rankings in order from 1 to 10 along with a brief overview of each individual whey protein powder. You will also find links that take you to the websites at which you can find the lowest price for each of the protein supplements should you decide you want to buy one of them.
Additionally, you can read the full, in-depth review for any of the products simply by clicking Read The Full Review at the end of each summary below.
*Note: It is recommended that protein shakes be combined with vigorous exercise and taken on a daily basis at the end of each workout.
Rule One Protein (R1) was determined to be the best of the top 10 protein powders for a lot of different reasons (all of which can be found in the full review). The most important reason is quality and purity of the protein blend itself. R1 Protein uses strictly isolate and whey protein hydrolysate, which are the two purest forms of protein in existence.
Additionally, R1 Protein contains 6 grams of BCAAs in every serving that are key for muscle growth and recovery. There is also added glutamine that has been proven time and time again for the effect it can have on the process of muscle production.
This is a whey protein powder that has everything you want in it and nothing you don’t such as cholesterol, sodium, sugar, and fat. All of the user reviews are positive, and there is plenty of evidence for its effectiveness. They simply did everything right and truly earned themselves the #1 ranking as the best whey protein powder on the market as far as we’re concerned.
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Gold Standard Whey Protein, by Optimum Nutrition, is a legendary protein powder and perhaps the all time best-selling powder. It made the top 10 basically for all the same reasons Rule One Protein did…it was just beat out in a couple of small areas.
It uses whey protein isolate, which is one of the purest forms of protein available. If it used whey protein hydrolysate as its second form of protein, like R1, instead of whey protein concentrate, then it would have had a better shot at the #1 ranking. With that said, it still uses a very pure protein blend.
It also has plenty of BCAAs for growth and recovery, which is another reason it ranked so highly on this list. There is very little of anything you want to avoid such as fat, sugar, or sodium.
ON Gold Standard Whey Protein is another protein powder that contains just about everything you want and nothing you don’t…it just isn’t the best.
Phase 8 is an excellent protein powder with a very pure protein blend containing both whey protein isolate and whey protein hydrolysate. It also contains whey protein concentrate and a couple other forms of protein, which makes the blend less pure than R1 Protein, but it is nonetheless, still very high quality.
In addition to a high quality blend, it has nearly 5 grams of BCAAs in every serving for maximum muscle growth. BCAAs are absolutely essential for a protein powder to really do its job. Combine those BCAAs with the added glutamine found in Phase 8, and you have a protein powder that will likely be very effective.
While being high in beneficial nutrients, it was also formulated to be low in anything that will cause you to gain fat or negatively effect your health. Phase 8 is another excellent whey protein powder with a lot of great qualities that shot it up in the rankings.
Combat Protein Powder, by Muscle Pharm, is one of the best protein supplements out there because of its pure blend and diverse BCAA profile. It uses extremely pure forms of protein (whey protein isolate and whey protein hydrolysate) but also uses a whey concentrate that is less desirable. Overall, it is a very pure blend and beats out the vast majority of competing blends.
It contains every single key BCAA in addition to a significant amount of glutamine, making it nearly ideal for muscle growth and recovery. Any protein powder without BCAAs likely won’t be as effective as one like Combat Powder that is abundant in BCAAs and glutamine.
The key with each of the top 10 protein supplements is that they aren’t just doses of protein…there must be additional muscle growth and recovery components in order for a protein powder to be considered top notch. User reviews are extremely positive, and there is plenty of evidence for its effectiveness.
Rule One Whey Blend is another R1 product that made it in our top 10 protein powders list. While it isn’t as pure or as high quality as the original Rule One Protein, it still makes for one of the best protein shakes out there. The point of creating this powder was essentially to make a less expensive version of their original protein powder.
The main reason this powder is different and less expensive than their original whey protein is because they use whey protein concentrate in their blend (in addition to whey protein isolate and whey protein hydrolysate). Concentrate is less pure and less expensive, so they are able to sell the product for a lower price.
However, it does still contain BCAAs and added glutamine for maximum growth and recovery.
Myotein is a whey protein powder that uses 6 different kinds of protein in its blend. That makes for a blend that lacks a little bit in purity, but the types of protein it contains are for the most part high quality including the two purest forms: whey protein isolate and whey protein hydrolysate.
While the blend isn’t the purest out there, it is still better than the majority of the whey protein blends out there and certainly gets the job done. Speaking of getting the job done, it also contains a decent dose of BCAAs and includes glutamine as well.
The inclusion of the amino acids and the glutamine combined with all of the positive user experience is a big part of what helped this product rank top 10.
Isopure Zero Carb is a unique and quality product for a few different reasons. First, it uses 100% whey protein isolate, which makes for an exceptionally pure blend. In addition to high purity and high quality, there are 50 grams of protein per serving, which is significantly more than the average protein powder.
As the name states, it also contains zero carbs, which is important for a clean bulk and the potential production of lean muscle. The calorie count is slightly high, and there is an excessive amount of sodium at 340 milligrams per serving (compared to only 50 in R1 Protein for example).
While this is a great product, the main thing that caused it to be ranked lower on the top 10 list is the BCAA profile. There aren’t enough BCAAs per serving, which means that it most likely wont produce results as effectively as the top 6 protein shakes will.
Cor Performance is a protein powder that got almost everything right. It has low calories, low fat, low cholesterol, and high protein. Also, the protein it does contain is whey protein isolate and whey protein concentrate. That is a pretty clean blend and contains one of the purest forms of protein on the market (isolate). Whey protein concentrate isn’t ideal, but that’s okay.
While all these things are great, where it really went wrong is the BCAA profile. Last time I checked, there was little-to-no BCAAs in this protein shake, which is a problem. It is a necessity that your protein shakes contain BCAAs. The reason it made the top 10 is because it did everything else right. With a solid BCAA profile, it would be higher on the list.
Complete Whey is a great protein powder with low sodium, low fat, and low cholesterol. The protein blend contains one of the purest forms available: whey protein hydrolysate. With that said, it does contain some other less pure forms that make the blend further from ideal. 20 grams of this blend in every serving makes for a decent protein powder.
There are over 3 grams of glutamine in every serving, that is very solid and a big reason this powder made it onto the top 10 protein supplements list. It also contains a couple grams of the 3 major BCAAs, which are Leucine, Isoleucine, and Valine.
The BCAA profile is good but simply not as good as it should be and is the primary reason why it was beat out by several other products. With that said, it’s overall a very solid protein shake.
Syntha 6 is the last of the top 10 protein supplements. It’s called Syntha 6 because the protein blend uses 6 different kinds. As you know by this point in the article, that isn’t necessarily a good thing.
Generally you want there to only be 1 or 2 types of protein in the blend, and you want those types to be whey protein isolate and whey protein hydrolysate. It does use isolate but does not contain hydrolysate.
With that said, everything else about it was done right. The counts for the unhealthy components are all fairly low and the BCAA profile is excellent. There is a significant amount of quality protein and BCAAs in every serving, and that’s what a good protein shake is all about.
Even though it is at the ass end of the top 10 list, it is among the best of the best and you would have a hard time finding better protein shakes other than the other ones on this list.
Top 10 Protein Shakes Conclusion
The top 10 are ranked extremely carefully based on protein ratio, blend purity, BCAA profile, taste, effectiveness, user satisfaction, and personal experience. While these are all great options, Rule One Protein stuck out as the clear #1 best protein powder.
If you like the Rule One brand, but you can’t afford the high quality powder, Rule One Whey Blend (#5 on the list) is an excellent option.
No matter which protein powder you decide to use, make sure you exercise at least 4-5 days per week. Regular exercise allows the protein shakes to do their job more efficiently. Ideally, you want to be lifting weights 5 days a week and consuming a protein shake immediately afterwards.