Best Protein Powders of 2021 for Your Muscle Gains

Best Protein Powders of 2021 for Your Muscle Gains

Get stronger, recover better and nourish your muscles with these high-quality protein powders.

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. Use this guide to help you select the best protein powders that taste good, mix well and are worth the price. 

Best Casein Protein Powder

Ascent Micellar Casein Protein Powder

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. 

*Originally published on CNET