Best Budget Protein Powder for Muscle Building on a Budget

Updated on February 13, 2024

Protein powder is a popular supplement among fitness enthusiasts who want to increase their protein intake. It can be an excellent addition to a healthy diet, especially for those who do not consume enough protein through their regular meals. However, with so many options available in the market, it can be challenging to choose the right one, especially if you are on a tight budget.

In this article, we will be discussing the best budget protein powders available in the market. We understand that not everyone can afford the expensive brands, and that’s why we have researched and tested several budget-friendly options to bring you the best ones.

When it comes to purchasing a budget protein powder, it’s essential to pay attention to the protein content per serving, the type of protein used, and the number of servings per container. Some budget protein powders may have a lower protein content or use low-quality protein sources, which can affect their effectiveness. Therefore, it’s crucial to choose a protein powder that meets your protein needs without breaking the bank.

We spent hours researching and testing several budget protein powders to identify the ones that offer the best value for money. In the following sections, we will be discussing our top picks and what makes them stand out from the rest. Whether you are a fitness enthusiast or someone looking to increase their protein intake, we’ve got you covered.

Best Budget Protein Powders

As fitness enthusiasts, we understand the importance of consuming adequate protein to support muscle growth and recovery. However, with so many options available, it can be challenging to find a protein powder that fits both your fitness goals and your budget. That’s why we’ve done the research and compiled a list of the best budget protein powders on the market. These powders provide high-quality protein without breaking the bank, making them an excellent option for those looking to save some cash while still meeting their protein needs. Check out our top picks below.

Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Whey Protein Powder, Vanilla Ice Cream

Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Whey Protein Powder, Vanilla Ice Cream, 2 Pound (Pack of 1)

If you're looking for a protein powder that is budget-friendly yet effective, Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Whey Protein Powder is definitely worth considering.

Pros:
  • The Gold Standard 100% Whey blend provides 24 grams of blended protein, including whey protein isolate, whey protein concentrate, and whey peptides, to help support lean muscle mass.
  • With over 20 flavors to choose from, you're sure to find a flavor that you enjoy.
  • The protein powder is instantized, which means it mixes well and doesn't leave lumps or clumps.
Cons:
  • The Vanilla Ice Cream flavor may be a bit too sweet for some people.
  • The powder can be a bit difficult to mix with water alone, so using a blender or shaker bottle is recommended.
  • Some people may experience digestive discomfort after consuming this protein powder.
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We’ve used Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Whey Protein Powder ourselves and have found it to be a great option for those on a budget. The protein blend is effective and provides a good amount of protein per serving, which is essential for muscle growth and recovery.

One thing to keep in mind is that the Vanilla Ice Cream flavor can be quite sweet, so if you prefer a more subtle flavor, you may want to opt for a different flavor. Additionally, we’ve found that mixing the powder with water alone can be a bit difficult, so using a blender or shaker bottle is recommended to get a smooth consistency.

Overall, if you’re looking for a budget-friendly protein powder that is effective and comes in a variety of flavors, Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Whey Protein Powder is definitely worth considering.

Body Fortress 100% Whey, Premium Protein Powder, Vanilla

Body Fortress 100% Whey, Premium Protein Powder, Vanilla, 1.74lbs (Packaging May Vary)

If you're looking for a budget-friendly protein powder that delivers on its promises, then Body Fortress 100% Whey, Premium Protein Powder, Vanilla is worth trying.

Pros:
  • The formula contains 30g of protein and 6g of BCAAs per scoop, which helps build lean muscle mass and supports post-workout recovery.
  • The addition of vitamins C & D plus Zinc in the formula supports daily immunity.
  • The creamy and delicious vanilla flavor makes it easy to mix with your favorite shakes and smoothies.
Cons:
  • The vanilla flavor is weak, which may not be suitable for those who prefer a stronger taste.
  • The formula contains artificial sweeteners and flavors, which may not be suitable for those who prefer natural ingredients.
  • The powder may clump or not mix well if not stirred or shaken properly.
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We found that Body Fortress 100% Whey, Premium Protein Powder, Vanilla is an affordable and effective protein powder that delivers on its promises. The formula is easy to mix, and the vanilla flavor is creamy and delicious. The addition of vitamins C & D plus Zinc in the formula supports daily immunity, which is a bonus.

In terms of cons, the vanilla flavor is a bit weak and may not be suitable for those who prefer a stronger taste. Additionally, the formula contains artificial sweeteners and flavors, which may not be suitable for those who prefer natural ingredients. Lastly, the powder may clump or not mix well if not stirred or shaken properly.

Overall, we recommend Body Fortress 100% Whey, Premium Protein Powder, Vanilla to anyone looking for a budget-friendly protein powder that delivers on its promises.

Dymatize Elite Whey Protein Powder

Dymatize Elite 100% Whey Protein Powder, 25g Protein, 5.5g BCAAs & 2.7g L-Leucine, Quick Absorbing & Fast Digesting for Optimal Muscle Recovery, Gourmet, 5 Pound Vanilla 80 Ounce

If you're looking for a budget-friendly protein powder that delivers results, Dymatize Elite Whey Protein Powder is an excellent choice.

Pros:
  • With 25 grams of protein per serving, this powder provides an excellent source of high-quality protein that helps build muscle and supports recovery.
  • The powder contains 5.5 grams of Branched-Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs) and 2.7 grams of L-Leucine, which help promote protein synthesis and speed up recovery.
  • Dymatize Elite Whey Protein Powder is fast-digesting and quick-absorbing, making it an excellent option for pre- and post-workout supplementation.
Cons:
  • The packaging may vary, which can be confusing for some customers.
  • Some users may find the powder to be too sweet for their liking.
  • The vanilla flavor may not be as rich as other protein powders on the market.
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We’ve been using Dymatize Elite Whey Protein Powder for a few months now, and we’re impressed with the results. The powder mixes well and doesn’t clump, making it easy to consume. We’ve noticed an improvement in our muscle recovery time, and the protein has helped us build lean muscle mass.

One of the things we like about this powder is that it’s budget-friendly, making it an excellent option for those on a tight budget. While the vanilla flavor isn’t as rich as some other protein powders on the market, it’s still a tasty option that we enjoy.

Overall, if you’re looking for a budget-friendly protein powder that delivers results, Dymatize Elite Whey Protein Powder is an excellent option. With its high-quality protein content and fast-digesting formula, it’s an excellent option for anyone looking to build muscle and support recovery.

MuscleTech Nitro-Tech Whey Protein Powder

Whey Protein Powder | MuscleTech Nitro-Tech Whey Protein Isolate & Peptides | Protein + Creatine for Muscle Gain | Muscle Builder for Men & Women | Sports Nutrition | Chocolate, 2.2 lb (22 Ser...

If you're looking for a budget-friendly protein powder that can help you build lean muscle, increase strength, and enhance performance, MuscleTech Nitro-Tech Whey Protein Powder is a great option.

Pros:
  • This protein powder is scientifically engineered to provide a powerful formula that can help you build more muscle, gain more strength, and perform better.
  • It contains 5g of glutamine and precursor, 6.8g of BCAA, and a clinically studied 3g dose of HPLC-tested creatine monohydrate to help support muscle growth and recovery.
  • It comes in a delicious chocolate flavor that tastes great and mixes well with water or milk.
Cons:
  • Some customers have noted that the chocolate flavor can be a bit too sweet for their liking.
  • The product only comes in one flavor, so if you're looking for variety, this might not be the best option for you.
  • While the product is affordable, it's not the cheapest protein powder on the market.
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Overall, we think that MuscleTech Nitro-Tech Whey Protein Powder is a great choice for anyone who wants a budget-friendly protein powder that can help support muscle growth, increase strength, and enhance performance. With its powerful formula and delicious chocolate flavor, it’s a great addition to any fitness routine.

MuscleTech Nitro-Tech Whey Protein Powder Isolate & Peptides

MuscleTech Nitro-Tech Whey Protein Powder Isolate & Peptides | Protein + Creatine for Muscle Gain | Muscle Builder for Men & Women | Sports Nutrition | Vanilla, 10 lb (100 Servings)

If you're looking for a budget-friendly protein powder that delivers results, MuscleTech Nitro-Tech is a great choice. We've tried it ourselves and found it to be effective for building lean muscle and enhancing performance.

Pros:
  • Scientifically engineered formula with whey protein, isolate, and creatine monohydrate for muscle growth and strength
  • Fast-absorbing and easy to digest whey peptides for quick recovery and better results from training
  • Clinically studied to help build more lean muscle than regular whey protein
Cons:
  • Some users may not like the vanilla flavor
  • Packaging can be messy and difficult to open
  • May cause bloating or nausea in some individuals
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In our experience, MuscleTech Nitro-Tech is an excellent choice for anyone looking to build lean muscle and enhance their performance. The scientifically engineered formula includes whey protein, isolate, and creatine monohydrate, which work together to help you build more muscle and increase strength.

One of the best things about this protein powder is that it absorbs quickly and digests easily, thanks to the ultra-pure whey peptides. This means you can recover faster and get better results from your training sessions.

In a 6-week, double-blind study, subjects who used Nitro-Tech gained 70% more lean muscle than those using regular whey protein and increased their bench press more. We’ve also seen great results from using this product ourselves.

However, some users may not like the vanilla flavor, and the packaging can be messy and difficult to open. Additionally, some individuals may experience bloating or nausea.

Overall, we highly recommend MuscleTech Nitro-Tech for anyone looking for a budget-friendly protein powder that delivers results.

Animal 100% Whey Protein Powder – Whey Blend for Pre- or Post-Workout, Recovery or an Anytime Protein Boost– Low Sugar – Chocolate, 4 lb (Packaging may vary) (100% Whey) Chocolate Fudge 4 Pound (Pack of 1)

Animal 100% Whey Protein Powder – Whey Blend for Pre- or Post-Workout, Recovery or an Anytime Protein Boost– Low Sugar – Chocolate, 4 lb (Packaging may vary)

If you're looking for a great budget protein powder that doesn't sacrifice quality, Animal 100% Whey Protein Powder is a solid choice. With a high-quality whey protein blend, it delivers 20g of pure protein per scoop to fuel muscle growth and improve recovery.

Pros:
  • Delicious and creamy taste without any chalky aftertaste
  • Provides over 4.6g of naturally occurring Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAA) that help grow and repair body tissue
  • Produced in a GMP certified US plant and every batch is 3rd party lab tested in a pharmaceutical grade facility for quality, safety and potency
Cons:
  • Can be overpowering when mixed with water
  • Doesn't mix with water as well as some other brands
  • Some users might prefer a different flavor
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Animal 100% Whey Protein Powder is a great way to get the protein you need to support muscle growth and recovery, without breaking the bank. It’s perfect for adding to your breakfast, in between meals, or pre- and post-workout.

The powder mixes easily and tastes great, with no chalky aftertaste. Plus, it only contains 1g of sugar, making it a low-sugar option for those who are watching their sugar intake.

We appreciate that all of Animal’s products are produced in a GMP certified US plant, and every batch is 3rd party lab tested in a pharmaceutical grade facility for quality, safety and potency. This gives us peace of mind knowing that we’re getting a high-quality product that we can trust.

While the taste is generally great, some users might find it overpowering when mixed with water. Additionally, it doesn’t mix with water as well as some other brands, which might be a downside for some users.

Overall, Animal 100% Whey Protein Powder is a great budget option for those looking for a high-quality protein powder. It’s a great way to support muscle growth and recovery, and it tastes great too.

Six Star Elite Series 100% Whey Protein Plus Cookies and Cream

Six Star Elite Series 100% Whey Protein Plus Cookies and Cream 1.8lbs US

If you're looking for an affordable protein powder that delivers results, Six Star Elite Series 100% Whey Protein Plus Cookies and Cream is a great option.

Pros:
  • With 30g of protein per scoop, this powder is an excellent source of fuel for your muscles after a workout or any time of day.
  • The added BCAAs and glutamine in this formula can help improve performance and speed up recovery time.
  • The immunity support matrix, including Vitamin C and Zinc, can help keep you healthy and feeling your best.
Cons:
  • Some users may find the cost per serving to be a bit high, especially if they are consuming multiple servings per day.
  • The Cookies and Cream flavor may not be to everyone's taste.
  • The label may display a 2 scoop 60g serving size or 1 scoop 30g serving size, which could be confusing for some users.
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We recently tried Six Star Elite Series 100% Whey Protein Plus Cookies and Cream, and we were impressed with the results. The powder mixed well with water and had a smooth, creamy texture that made it easy to drink. The Cookies and Cream flavor was tasty and not too sweet, which we appreciated.

After using this powder for a few weeks, we noticed that our muscles felt less sore after workouts and that we had more energy throughout the day. We also appreciated the added immunity support matrix, which helped us stay healthy during cold and flu season.

Overall, Six Star Elite Series 100% Whey Protein Plus Cookies and Cream is a great option for anyone looking for an affordable, high-quality protein powder.

Muscle Milk 100% Whey Protein Powder

Muscle Milk 100% Whey Protein Powder, Vanilla, 5 Pound, 68 Servings, 25g Protein, 2g Sugar, Low in Fat, NSF Certified for Sport, Energizing Snack, Workout Recovery, Packaging May Vary

If you're looking for a budget-friendly protein powder that delivers quality nutrition, Muscle Milk 100% Whey Protein Powder is definitely worth considering.

Pros:
  • With 25g of high-quality whey protein and only 2g of sugar per serving, Muscle Milk 100% Whey Protein Powder is a great choice for anyone looking to build muscle or satisfy hunger.
  • This powder is versatile and easy to mix, making it a convenient option for on-the-go breakfasts or post-workout recovery.
  • Muscle Milk 100% Whey Protein Powder is NSF Certified for Sport, so you can trust that it's been tested for banned substances.
Cons:
  • Some users have reported that the chocolate flavor is weak and artificial, and that the powder is too sweet.
  • While the formula contains a blend of whey protein isolate and concentrate, it may not be the best choice for those with lactose intolerance.
  • The packaging may vary, which can be confusing for some users.
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In our experience, Muscle Milk 100% Whey Protein Powder is a reliable and effective option for those on a budget. The powder dissolves easily in water and can be used in a variety of recipes, making it a versatile addition to any diet. While the chocolate flavor may not be for everyone, the vanilla flavor is a definite winner. Overall, we recommend giving this protein powder a try if you’re looking for a budget-friendly option that delivers quality nutrition.

Garden of Life Raw Organic Protein Powder

Garden of Life Vegan Protein Powder - 22g Raw Plant Protein, BCAAs, Probiotics & Digestive Enzymes - Gluten-Free, Non-GMO, Lactose Free - 1.5 LB

Looking for a budget-friendly protein powder that tastes good and is made from clean ingredients? Look no further than Garden of Life Raw Organic Protein Powder.

Pros:
  • Rebuild broken muscle and reduce recovery time with 22g of complete plant-based protein and 4g of a complete branched chain amino acid profile.
  • Stay satiated longer with 5g of fiber in just 140 calories per serving.
  • Raw Organic Protein has been shaken up to improved texture and mixability all while being sugar-free.
Cons:
  • Some customers may find the taste to be too sweet or artificial.
  • The texture can be gritty, especially when mixed with water.
  • The packaging is unnecessarily large, with only half of the container filled with product.
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We’ve been using this protein powder for a few weeks now and have been impressed with the taste and quality. The chocolate flavor is delicious and not too sweet, and we appreciate that it’s made from organic, non-GMO ingredients. The addition of probiotics and digestive enzymes also makes it easy on the stomach.

One downside is that the texture can be gritty, especially when mixed with water. We’ve found that blending it with almond milk or adding it to smoothies helps to improve the consistency. Additionally, some customers may find the taste to be too sweet or artificial, so it’s worth trying a small container before committing to a larger size.

Overall, we recommend Garden of Life Raw Organic Protein Powder for anyone looking for a budget-friendly, clean protein powder that tastes good and is easy on the stomach.

Nutricost Whey Protein Isolate Powder

Nutricost Whey Protein Isolate Powder (Milk Chocolate) 5LBS

If you're looking for a budget-friendly protein powder, Nutricost Whey Protein Isolate Powder is a great option.

Pros:
  • With 30 grams of protein per serving, this powder is an excellent source of protein.
  • The powder is made with high-quality whey protein isolate, ensuring that you're getting the best possible product.
  • The chocolate flavor is delicious and mixes well with other ingredients.
Cons:
  • Some users have reported bloating and stomach discomfort after consuming this powder.
  • The salted caramel flavor is not as tasty as the chocolate flavor.
  • The powder can be difficult to mix on its own and may require a blender bottle or whisk.
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We’ve been using Nutricost Whey Protein Isolate Powder for a while now, and we’re impressed with the quality and affordability of this product. The chocolate flavor is our favorite, and we love that it mixes well with other ingredients like fruit and Greek yogurt. The 30 grams of protein per serving make it an excellent choice for post-workout recovery or as a meal replacement.

One thing to note is that some users have reported bloating and stomach discomfort after consuming this powder. However, we haven’t experienced any negative side effects ourselves. We also tried the salted caramel flavor, but we didn’t find it as tasty as the chocolate flavor.

Overall, we highly recommend Nutricost Whey Protein Isolate Powder for anyone looking for a budget-friendly protein powder that doesn’t compromise on quality.

Buying Guide

When it comes to choosing the best budget protein powder, there are a few key features to consider. Here are some factors to keep in mind when shopping for protein powder:

Type of Protein

There are several types of protein powders available, including whey, casein, soy, and pea protein. Each type has its own unique benefits and drawbacks. Whey protein is a popular choice due to its fast absorption rate, while casein protein is slower digesting and can provide sustained energy. Soy and pea protein are good options for those with dietary restrictions, such as vegans or those with lactose intolerance. Consider your personal dietary needs and preferences when choosing a protein powder.

Protein Content

The amount of protein per serving is an important factor to consider. Look for a protein powder with at least 20 grams of protein per serving. However, keep in mind that higher protein content may also mean a higher price.

Additional Ingredients

Many protein powders contain additional ingredients such as sweeteners, flavors, and preservatives. While these can enhance the taste and texture of the powder, they may also add unnecessary calories or artificial ingredients. Look for protein powders with natural sweeteners and minimal added ingredients.

Price

Budget protein powders can vary in price, so it’s important to consider your budget when shopping. Keep in mind that higher-priced powders may offer more protein per serving or higher-quality ingredients, but there are also affordable options available that still provide quality protein.

By considering these factors, you can choose the best budget protein powder that meets your personal needs and preferences.

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Rohit Mittal

Rohit Mittal is the co-founder and CEO of Stilt. Rohit has extensive experience in credit risk analytics and data science. He spent years building credit risk and fraud models for top U.S. banks. In his current role, he defines the overall business strategy, leads debt and capital fundraising efforts, leads product development, and leads other customer-related aspects for the company. Stilt is backed by Y Combinator and has raised a total of $275M in debt and equity funding to date.