Yellowjackets finale recap KFC Beyond Fried Chicken Xbox Series S is on sale At-home COVID tests N95, KN95, KF94 masks Navient student loan settlement

Although protein powders are not necessary to sustain a healthy diet, they're still a helpful supplement to have on hand when you're trying to meet your protein quota for the day. There are many options to choose from, such as whey, casein and plant-based powders. They're all good options depending on your preference, dietary needs and what your stomach can handle. 

Protein powders can be pricey and often come in big containers, so if you end up purchasing something you don't like, you're stuck with all those scoops. I've found the best tried-and-true protein powders that won't leave a bad aftertaste as you're trying to achieve your fitness goals this year. Use this guide to help you select the best protein powders that taste good, mix well and are worth the price. 

Gainful

Servings per container: 14 servings per pound 

Grams of protein per serving: 19 to 27 

Why I chose it: Gainful is a subscription-based protein powder brand that creates personalized protein powders specific to your dietary needs and exercise goals. The brand also provides subscribers with complimentary access to a registered dietitian to answer any of your dietary and fitness questions. 

To start, Gainful has you fill out a questionnaire on its site to determine the best protein powder formula for you. With your subscription, you're able to add four new Flavor Boosts, which are available in over nine flavors, ranging from cookies and cream to strawberry cream. Gainful emphasizes that its product is created by registered dietitians on its Science Advisory Board that have worked with elite athletes.

Though it's on the pricey side, your $45 order includes your customized protein powder and the Flavor Boosts. You also have the option to add Gainful's hydration powders and pre-workout for an extra charge. If you want a well-formulated supplement that is made to fit your needs and don't mind paying a little extra, then Gainful is a good option for you. 

Orgain

Servings per container: 20 (per 2-pound container)

Grams of protein per serving: 21 

Why I chose it: This is my go-to plant-based protein powder and the best tasting one I've had. It's also fairly priced at under $30 and has 21 grams of protein per serving. The ingredients that make up this powder feature organic plant-based protein, consisting of pea, brown rice and chia seeds. 

It's low in carbs, has no added sugar and is sweetened by stevia. It's also USDA organic, vegan, gluten free, dairy free, soy free and doesn't have artificial ingredients. 

My favorite is Orgain's Creamy Chocolate Fudge flavor because of its versatility and lack of an aftertaste. I've had it on its own as a protein shake by mixing it with water or oat milk, and even added it to oatmeal and other baking recipes for a protein boost. 

Legion

Servings per container: 30 (per 2-pound container) 

Grams of protein per serving: 22 

Why I chose it: Whey protein is the most popular type of protein powder. It's a favorite because it mixes well, tastes good and aids in muscle growth. Legion Whey + Whey Protein Powder is made up of 100% natural grass-fed whey isolate protein and is 100 calories per serving, low carb and low in sugar. 

This protein powder comes in 13 different flavors, and although it costs a little more compared to other whey proteins, it's highly rated by users. Most reviewers on Amazon love the Legion protein powder flavors because they mix well and they're easy to digest. 

One reviewer in particular mentioned that they've tried every whey protein powder on the market, but Legion's remains their favorite because it's creamy and has the best taste. Although whey protein powder is a popular supplement on the market, it's important to keep in mind that if you're sensitive to dairy or are lactose intolerant, this may not be the best match for you. You would fare better selecting a plant-based option. 

Ascent

Servings per container: 25 servings per 2-pound bag

Grams of protein per serving: 25

Why I chose it: Ascent's Micellar Casein Protein Powder is a great option if you're looking to add casein to your diet. Casein is a slow-digesting protein that slowly releases amino acids into the bloodstream. Bodybuilders often take casein protein before bed because it's thought to help with tissue regeneration and muscle synthesis during sleep. 

Casein powder can often clump when mixed with water, but Ascent manages to eliminate that issue from its product with a blend of acacia, guar gum and xanthan gum. Ascent offers unflavored casein as well as six flavors in 2-pound bags. It has 25 grams of protein, minimal ingredients and is naturally sweetened with stevia and monk fruit. 

CNET contributor and certified personal trainer Amanda Capritto, who usually has trouble drinking casein protein shakes due to their thickness, said Ascent's "mixes better than any other casein protein I've tried," with no clumps.

Some reviewers even prefer this casein version over whey protein. One reviewer who is sensitive to plant-based and whey protein said the Ascent Micellar Casein Protein Powder is the only type of powder they can tolerate and has helped them achieve their daily protein intake. For best results, take casein before bedtime so it helps with muscle recovery while you sleep. 

Naked Nutrition

Servings per container: 76 (comes in a 5-pound tub)

Grams of protein per serving: 25

Why I chose it: Naked Whey prides itself for being free of artificial sweeteners and additives and is made up of 100% grass-fed pure whey protein. The brand also cold processes its whey to prevent any contamination from chemical detergents (no acid or bleach), synthetic additives or heavy metals. It's also GMO free, soy free and gluten free. 

With an impressive 25 grams of protein per serving, this is a good option if you're looking for an unflavored whey that can mix well with various flavor profiles. Compared to other unflavored protein powders, it dissolves well and doesn't have a weird look or taste, according to Capritto. It's available in a 1- or 5-pound pack, and even though the larger of the two is pricier, one reviewer said it's worth it because they went through the 1-pound pack faster than they expected. Another buyer who works out regularly found that Naked Whey is the best product he's tried because it digests easily and goes down well on its own or mixed with other ingredients. 

Other great protein powders

The following protein powders have mostly great qualities, too, but for one reason or another they didn't make our top cut. In most cases, it was a matter of flavor, texture or how well they mixed with liquids and other ingredients. But those things are subjective, so one of these protein powders might be the right choice for you. 

Whey protein powder

Casein protein powder

Vegan protein powder

Personalized protein powder

Why you should trust our picks 

We used a mix of personal experience and customer reviews to aggregate this list of protein powders and narrow it down to our top recommendations. Each of the top protein powders listed is backed by good reviews from buyers online and has a solid brand reputation. Most of these products have also been tasted by a CNET staffer or contributor with years of fitness experience, and some have been used for months or even years.

While our top picks are of course somewhat subjective (things like flavor and texture are different to everyone), we also used objective measures to inform our picks. We looked for proteins with more than 20 grams per serving (except for plant protein) and ingredient labels free of questionable additives. These top picks can 100% help you consume more protein to fuel muscle growth and strength

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.