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Best Protein Shakers for Quick, Smooth Shakes

Get a lump-free protein shake every time with these shakers.

In this article

Protein shakers make it easy for you to have protein shakes on the go without the need for a blender. Most people use protein shakers to turn protein powder into a smooth shake if they're trying to meet their protein quota for the day, as a post-workout replenisher or because they need something to hold them over before their next meal. 

After having tested various protein powders, I only thought it was natural to check out what some of the popular protein shakers on the market have to offer. Before testing these out, I was under the impression that protein shakers were all one in the same. It turns out these shakers come in different sizes, have dual functions, and are made up of different materials and features that make them more unique than you would think. 

The first time I tried out a protein shaker, it was a traditional plastic tumbler that had a spring metal ball in it. Now there are some that don't even use a shaker ball and instead rely on different methods to shake up protein powder. Read on to learn which protein shakers made our best list and why these are the ones you need to add to your gym bag.

Giselle Castro-Sloboda/ CNET

I was not only impressed by the look of this shaker, but also how well it worked. The stainless steel design resembles a capsule-shaped grenade and can be used with both hot and cold beverages. On the website, it says it's a shaker, flask and thermos all in one. This bottle doesn't have a shaker ball or an alternative accessory to help shake up protein shakes. Instead it relies on its capsule-like shape and uses centrifugal force to mix the protein powder and liquid to create an on-the-go shake. Another unique feature it has is that it also manages to puree soft fruits, such as bananas and berries to create an on-the-go smoothie without the need of a blade. 

The first step I took to test the ShakeSphere was by mixing oat milk and chocolate whey based protein powder to see how well it dissolved in the shaker. This shaker can hold about 24 ounces of liquid. After about 30 seconds of shaking I opened up the capsule and saw that it got the job done and there were no chunks of powder left behind. I also liked that the lid was easy to use and slides back and forth to open and close. There were no leaks either or perspiration on the bottle, which was a plus. 

The next test I tried out with this shaker was to see how well it pureed soft fruits as it claimed. I grabbed a ripe banana, broke it into smaller pieces and shook it in the shaker for about 30 seconds. When I opened up the capsule, the banana looked partially pureed, but there were still small chunks left behind. To see if I could fix this problem I added protein powder and water and shook it up again to see if this made a difference. The shaker did dissolve the protein powder, but there were still pieces of banana lingering around. Based on this experience, I think this feature will only work if your fruit is super ripe, so keep that in mind if you plan on using it for smoothies. Luckily, cleanup was easy and all I needed to do was rinse it out with warm water and soap. ShakeSphere is a good option if you want a shaker that gives you a smooth protein shake every time and keeps your drink cold for as long as 12 hours.

Pros: 

  • Doesn't need a shaker ball, which means it's quiet
  • Easy to clean 
  • Creates lump-free protein shakes
  • Stylish looking 

Cons: 

  • Expensive 
  • Not dishwasher-safe
  • Fruits have to be super ripe for puree option to work
Giselle Castro-Sloboda/ CNET

The brand I was most familiar with on this list was Blender Bottle. Blender Bottle is a classic protein shaker brand that's known for its stainless steel shaker ball or BlenderBall whisk (as it's called) in its bottles. Blender Bottle has expanded with different versions since the success of its classic shaker. In this case, I liked the design of the Blender Bottle Strada series best. The Blender Bottle Strada is double wall insulated and made of stainless steel. The spout has a steel twist lock cover, which securely locks the bottle and is the most user-friendly design from the brand. 

The stainless steel material is ideal for keeping your protein shake cold or other beverages hot. It also holds up to 24 ounces of liquid, so you have plenty of room to add your favorite protein powder and additional supplements.

I was pleased that I was able to mix an almost smooth protein shake using whey-based protein powder and almond milk with this shaker. There were a few small chunks of protein powder left over which meant I could've shaken it longer. For a stainless steel shaker, I also didn't find it to be too heavy and it has an easy-to-hold handle which makes it ideal for bringing it to the gym with you. The bottle was easy to hand wash after using and you have the option to wash the cover in the dishwasher. 

One thing to consider, though: If you're someone looking for a shaker that's on the quiet side, I wouldn't recommend this style. Since the Strada uses a shaker ball, it's generally loud when you shake it up and you'll hear the ball roll around when it's empty. So if you're sensitive to sound, you may want to opt for a shaker without a ball. 

Pros:

  • Designed with an easy twist top 
  • Holds a lot of liquid 
  • Not too heavy for stainless steel

Cons:

  • Not entirely dishwasher-safe
  • Shaker ball can be loud for some people
Giselle Castro-Sloboda/ CNET

You've probably seen targeted ads for the BlendJet 2 if you have an Instagram account. The BlendJet 2 is a portable blender that lets you make your own protein shake or smoothie while on the go. Unlike traditional protein shakers, the BlendJet 2 has a blade that resembles a blender and has a USB-C rechargeable base. This shaker can also work if you don't have room for a full-size blender or a smaller appliance like a NutriBullet and want an option that doesn't take up a lot of space. 

The BlendJet 2 can hold up to 14 ounces of liquid, and I mixed both protein powders and smoothies using this shaker. One of the things I liked about this mini blender is that it is able to mix drinks well. I did notice that pieces of fruit need to be cut into smaller pieces first and the BlendJet can't be overstuffed, or it won't properly blend. 

However, there were a couple of aspects of the design I thought could be improved. The base is heavier than I anticipated, which can be bothersome if you're carrying the BlendJet during your commute. The power button that controls the blending is conveniently placed in the middle of the base, and you can hold down to lock and prevent it from blending before it's ready for use. However, I did notice that I had to recharge it after almost every use. According to the website, you should be able to get 15 blends out of it before needing to recharge it. The good news is recharging is easy and it comes with a cord that you plug into the USB port. But it does make me question how many charges you'll get out of it until it no longer works – especially if you use it often. 

When cleaning the BlendJet 2, keep in mind it can be self-cleaned, which means you can add soap and water to the vessel and blend to clean and rinse. I would avoid detaching the bottle from the base, which is the mistake I made the first time and found to be a safety hazard since the blade is fully exposed. The good thing with the base is that it's water resistant so you don't have to worry about it getting wet if you're taking it out on rainy days or for a day at the beach or pool. If you need a protein shaker that can double as an on-the-go blender and stores well in your kitchen, the BlendJet 2 is a solid choice. 

Pros:

  • Can double as a mini blender
  • Blends protein shakes and smoothies 
  • Self-cleaning option

 Cons:

  • Longevity of battery is questionable
  • Can't break up bigger or whole pieces of fruit
  • Heavier than traditional protein shakers
Giselle Castro-Sloboda/ CNET

The Ice Shaker was developed by former NFL football player, Chris Gronkowski who wanted a bottle that was a protein shaker and water bottle in one. Shortly after his brothers Rob, Gordie, Dan and Glenn joined him on his entrepreneurial journey. The stainless steel bottle is double insulated and holds up to 26 ounces of liquid, making it the largest shaker on the list. The unique design on this bottle includes a twist-off netted mixer on the bottom of the cover, which serves as a mixing tool for protein shakes. In other words, it replaces what would normally be a shaker ball. The mixer also doubles as a fruit infuser if you're looking to infuse your water with flavor. 

I liked the design on this shaker because it's on the quieter side compared to those with a shaker ball. I mixed some plant-based protein powder and almond milk when I tested the Ice Shaker and found that it got the job done and gave me a well mixed protein shake in a matter of seconds. The bottle claims to keep drinks cold for up to 30 hours and even though I didn't test it for as long, it did keep my water ice cold for many hours. Needless to say, I'd use this as a water bottle on its own.

A couple of things I observed when using the Ice Shaker is that the spout has a flip top cover which tends to get stuck, making it hard to open at times. The cover may need to be broken in a bit, but this can get annoying if you're trying to access your beverage quickly while driving or on-the-go. I also followed the cleaning directions for the shaker and washed the bottle by hand and dry cleaned the cover. The brand claims that the shaker doesn't absorb odor, but I noticed there was a faint smell after the bottle air-dried. This could be because there may have still been some liquid at the base before I sealed it up. This is something to keep in mind if you're sensitive to odors. The good news is after using it the second time and letting it airdry overnight, there was no sign of a bad odor. 

Giselle Castro-Sloboda/ CNET

One of the things that you may want to think about when buying a protein shaker is if you want multiple compartments for powder, liquid or other additions. The Smartshake Revive has a stackable storage compartment on the bottom that lets you carry protein powder while you're on-the-go. This design keeps the powder separate and dry from the liquid in the bottle. The compartment twists on and off, making it easy to access when it's ready for use.

Another plus with the Smartshake Revive shaker is that it doesn't have a shaker ball, so it's quiet. Instead it uses a mixing net on the bottom of the cover to shake up protein powders. You can also use the mixing net as a fruit infuser if you want to spice up your drink. The bottle holds up to 25 ounces of liquid and is made up of a BPA and phthalate-free plastic. I tried out this shaker by mixing a whey-based protein powder and almond milk and it dissolved the powder in less time than I expected. There were no chunks of protein powder left over, so I think the netting is probably one of the better shaker designs, too. 

I also liked that this shaker was on the lighter side. It wasn't too light that it could tip over and it wasn't too wide that it was awkward to hold. I didn't mind the plastic flip-top cover on the spout because it wouldn't get stuck and felt secure enough when it was closed. This is the type of protein shaker you can throw in your gym bag due to its size, weight and functionality. I also loved that this shaker is entirely dishwasher safe, unlike the rest of the bottles on the list.

Pros:

  • Lightweight
  • Dishwasher-safe
  • Has a separate compartment to store protein powder
  • Affordable
  • Quiet shaker

Cons:

  • Made out of plastic; some users may prefer a stainless steel bottle

Other shakers we tried

Blender Bottle Classic: I tried the Blender Bottle Classic, but found that the Blender Bottle Strada was a better option because it was sturdier and a stainless steel insulated bottle.

Smartshake Insulated: From the insulated bottles I tried, I found this one to be a bit on the heavier side for a slim bottle. Also compared to the Ice Shaker, which can keep drinks cold up to 30 hours, this one maxes out at six hours.

Smartshake Original2Go One Series: Having tried the Smartshake Revive shaker bottle, I liked that its size was in the middle – not too small, not too big. Whereas the Original2Go One version is wider and can be more obtrusive if you want to be able to throw it in your purse or gym bag. 

Smartshake Slim Series: This was probably the smallest and lightest protein shaker I tried and I found it to be too light and easy to tip over, especially if you take it to the gym. 

Ohelo: I found this shaker to be less effective as a protein shaker (too many chunks of protein) and better as a bottle to carry either coffee or an already blended protein shake. The liquid comes out slowly so you avoid splashing, which is a plus. But the drinking spout on the cover is harder to find because the design doesn't make it obvious. 

How we picked

Design: We looked at the design of the bottle and if it is aesthetically pleasing, if it has a unique coating for easy grip, if it sweats, if it leaks, how well-insulated it is, the size of the bottle and its weight.

Functionality: We observed if the bottle uses a spring ball or a different method to dissolve protein powder, how much liquid the bottle holds, and in some cases if the shaker could handle both hot and cold liquids. We also looked to see if the bottle had extra compartments.

Ease of cleaning: We followed cleaning instructions for each bottle and tested to see how easy it was to wash by hand or if they were dishwasher-safe. We also did a sniff test to see if it remained odor-free.

Factors to consider

  • Your budget: Depending on what you're looking for with a protein shaker, decide how much you're willing to spend on one. You can get one for as cheap as $10 or as expensive as $40. 
  • How often you'll use it: You should determine how often you'll be using a protein shaker. If you are on-the-go often or like taking a bottle with you to the gym, you may want to consider buying one that's lightweight and not too loud.
  • The material you prefer: Shaker bottles are typically made of plastic or stainless steel, which both have their pros and cons. Also, it's helpful to know if the bottle is free of BPA and free of other chemicals if you want to limit your exposure. Usually there will be a label with this statement found on the bottle.
  • The type of protein shaker you want: Decide if you want a simple protein shaker made of plastic that gets the job done or a shaker that's made of sturdier material and will last you longer. 

Protein Shaker FAQs

What are protein shakers made out of?

Protein shakers can be made out of plastic, stainless steel or another metal. If shopping for a plastic protein shaker, make sure it is BPA-free and phthalate-free to avoid harmful chemicals from leaking into your shake. 

Do protein shaker cups need a ball?

Some protein shakers do need the spring ball to help dissolve protein powder. But there are plenty of modern shakers being designed without the use of a shaker ball. Some brands may use a mesh strainer attached to the lid to help mix protein powder while others will have a unique design that doesn't require either to mix the substance.  

How do I choose a protein shaker?

This depends on if you're looking for something to last you a long time or if you're looking for something to use for the time being. Protein shakers come in various price points so you can find a shaker that's middle of the road that will securely mix and carry your protein shake. 

How do I clean a protein shaker?

Usually protein shaker bottles will have a label telling you if it's dishwasher-safe or not. If it's unclear, err on the side of caution and handwash the bottle. The standard way to wash a protein shaker is by rinsing it using warm water and dish soap. 

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.