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The Best Protein Powders for Women

Whether you're trying to gain muscle or lose weight, the right protein powder can help. Here's how to choose.
women protein powder_hero

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Protein can be found in numerous food sources, yet some women may require an extra boost of protein to meet their protein needs, especially those who are physically active. Adding a good protein powder to your diet can make a big difference if you’re not getting enough nutrients through food, or for busy days when you just don’t have time to cook. Still, not all protein powders are made the same. While most protein powders are created for both men and women alike, some products are better aligned to women’s health.

Choosing the right protein powder isn’t always easy, especially if you've gone gluten-free or you’re lactose intolerant. We’ve taken the guesswork out of the game by rounding up the best protein powder for women, what types are available, how to safely use them and everything you should know before making a purchase. If you’re not sure how much protein you should consume or which ingredients are best for your needs, you can also consult a registered dietitian or nutritionist for more information. Keep reading to find out which protein powders made our list.

This content is meant to be informative, but should not be taken as medical advice. It is not intended for use as diagnosis, prevention or treatment of health problems. Always speak with your doctor before starting any new supplement or exercise regimen.

Our Picks for the Best Protein Powder for Women:

Best Overall Protein Powder for Women: Transparent Labs Grass-Fed Whey Protein

transparent  labs whey

Key features:

  • Zero grams fat, less than one gram of sugar and one gram of carbs per serving
  • 28 grams of protein per serving
  • 30 servings per container

Your body requires protein to help your muscles function, down to a cellular level. Protein is important for women to have in their diets as they age in order to preserve muscle mass. The grass-fed whey protein from Transparent Labs comes from USA-based dairy farms, and each batch produced by Transparent Labs is third-party tested (you can look up your batch number certification here). One scoop of this protein provides you with 28 grams of protein, with no added artificial additives like preservatives or sweeteners. With flavors like oatmeal chocolate chip cookie and cinnamon french toast, this Transparent Labs aims to make this protein approachable and impactful for your body.

Pros:

  • Third party tested
  • 28 grams of protein from grass-fed whey
  • Low carb

Cons:

  • Made from dairy products, which may not work for some users

Best Whey Protein Powder for Women: XWerks Grow

XWerks Grow Whey Protein Isolate

Key features:

  • Zero grams fat, zero grams sugar and one gram carbs per serving
  • 25 grams of protein per serving
  • 30 servings per container

XWerks Grow is our best whey protein powder for women because it’s low in calories, fat, sugar and carbs, while remaining ultra-high in protein and packing in 25 grams per scoop. Made out of 100 percent New Zealand grass-fed whey protein isolate, or protein from grass-fed cows, this protein powder promises to strengthen the immune system, repair muscles and aid in muscle growth. Considering each serving has more than six grams of BCAAs, or types of amino acids, this protein powder is truly designed for that post-workout recovery that amino acids assist with.

You can feel good using XWERKS Grow because it’s made with no artificial sweeteners, flavors or coloring; it’s soy- and gluten-free; and it’s free of processed acid and bleach. While these bags come at a heftier price point of $59, they contain 30 servings, which is an entire month’s worth if you're using protein powder daily. XWerks Grow flavored protein powder is currently available in chocolate, vanilla, peanut butter and strawberry.

Pros:

  • 25 grams of grass-fed whey protein per serving
  • Microfiltration process to filter out unwanted fats and carbs
  • Sweetened with stevia and contains no added sugar

Cons:

  • Low amount of vitamins and most minerals
  • Not vegan-friendly
  • Higher price point

Best Weight Loss Protein Powder for Women: Swolverine Plant Protein

Swolverine

Swolverine

Key features:

  • Three grams of carbs, zero grams of sugar, 2.5 grams of fat
  • 22 grams of protein per serving
  • 30 servings per container

Low in carbs, with zero grams of sugar, Swolverine Plant Protein clocks in as our pick for the best weight loss protein powder for women. Not only is this protein powder plant based and vegan, it is gluten free, soy free and free from GMOs. One scoop contains 22 grams of protein.

Swolverine Plant Protein is made using a combination of pea protein isolate, pumpkin seed protein and inlulin. We think this protein powder is a great choice because of this blend of ingredients and their health benefits. Pumpkin is high in fiber to keep you full, and pea protein isolate is a good source of iron. The creamier texture of pea protein makes it perfect for blending into smoothies and shakes. Inulin is a prebiotic fiber found in plants and has several benefits, especially when it comes to your gut. As a dietary fiber, it can help stimulate bowel movements and keep you fuller for longer which can help you reach your weight loss goals.

Reviewers on Swolverine’s website rave about this protein powder's taste and how well it mixes into shakes with one person writing “most plant proteins I've tried have a lot of carbs, so it was good to have one with a high protein ratio that also tasted good. I highly recommend using it to make protein chocolate pudding.”

Pros:

  • Certified vegan, gluten free, non-GMO, soy free
  • Third party tested
  • Users rave about taste

Cons:

  • Limited flavors
  • On the pricier side compared to other products
  • Not as high in protein as some other products

Best Protein Powder for Women for Muscle Gain: Transparent Labs Mass Gainer

Transparent Labs Mass Gainer

Key features:

  • 14 grams fat, 17 grams sugar and 114 grams carbs per serving
  • 53 grams of protein per serving
  • 25 servings per container

Transparent Labs Mass Gainer isn’t your average protein powder. Our best protein powder for women for muscle gain is designed for athletes, gym-goers and bodybuilders who need a serious boost that food alone can’t provide. Created for muscle growth and recovery, each serving of this jam-packed protein powder provides 790 calories, 14 grams of fat, 114 grams of carbs, 17 grams of sugar and, of course, 53 grams of grass-fed whey protein concentrate. It’s also fortified with oat flour, which can benefit digestion, and sweet potato powder, which has anti-inflammatory benefits.

Science has long proven that high-protein diets can build muscle mass and contribute to lean muscle, so if gains are your goal, check out this weight gainer supplement (which comes in two flavors of chocolate glaze donut and vanilla). It also has creatine for muscle recovery. Be aware, however, that this product is high in cholesterol with 145 milligrams per serving, or 48 percent of your daily value, so you may want to look elsewhere if you have high cholesterol or heart disease.

Pros:

  • Designed for serious athletes and bodybuilders
  • Uses grass-fed whey protein concentrate
  • Includes creatine for muscle recovery

Cons:

  • Ultra high price point
  • 790 calories per serving
  • High in saturated fat and sugar

Best Vegan Protein Powder for Women: KOS Organic Plant Protein

Kos

Key features:

  • Six grams fat, two grams sugar and 10 grams carbs per serving
  • 20 grams of protein per serving
  • 14 servings per container

When it comes to choosing a vegan protein powder, KOS Organic Plant Protein is our pick. This powder is certified USDA organic plant-based protein. We love that it’s additive-free and organically produced by using sustainable farming practices.  According to KOS, nearly every ingredient in this protein powder is certified organic and free from hormones, antibiotics, pesticides, artificial sweeteners, colors and GMOs. It’s also dairy-free, soy-free and gluten-free.

KOS Organic Plant Protein is made with a blend of organic pea protein, flax seed, quinoa, pumpkin seeds and chia seeds. It comes in flavors like chocolate, blueberry muffin, salted caramel coffee and more so you’re sure to find a flavor to suit your taste buds.

Pros:

  • Certified USDA organic plant-based protein
  • Seven unique flavor options
  • High in vitamins and minerals

Cons:

  • High in saturated fat (20 percent DV)
  • Higher sodium content (14 percent DV)
  • Some users complain of unpleasant smelling powder

Best Tasting Protein Powder for Women: XWerks Grow

XWerks Grow Whey Protein Isolate

Key features:

  • Zero grams fat, zero grams sugar and one gram of carbs per serving
  • 25 grams of protein per serving
  • 30 servings per container

With all-natural flavoring and grass-fed whey, XWerks Grow is designed to be a treat for both your tastebuds and your muscles. There’s nothing artificial about the tasty flavors, as Grow uses natural cocoa beans, vanilla beans and peanut butter powder for flavoring. There are four total flavor options: chocolate, vanilla, strawberry and peanut butter. You also won’t find any artificial colors, sweeteners, soy or gluten in Grow. What it boils down to—rather, is filtered down to—is just 25 grams of protein and 6 grams of essential amino acids. XWerks uses micro-filtration to pull out the extra carbs, sugar and fat to leave behind high quality, tasty protein powder.

Pros:

  • Uses natural flavoring
  • 25 grams of protein per serving
  • Microfiltered to remove unnecessary carbs, sugar, lactose and fat

Cons:

  • Made in small batches which drives up price point
  • Dairy-based, which may not be suitable for some users

Best Protein Powder for Pregnant Women: Ritual, Daily Shake Pregnancy and Postpartum

Ritual

Key features:

  • Two grams fat, zero grams sugar and four grams carbs per serving
  • 20 grams of protein per serving
  • 15 servings per container

Pregnant women in need of a protein boost can look no further than Ritual, Daily Shake Pregnancy and Postpartum, our favorite pick for mothers-to-be and new mothers. Made with minimal ingredients, this vegan protein powder is gluten- and major allergen-free, non-GMO and third-party tested, so you can feel safe about what you (and your baby) consume.

Each serving of Ritual, Daily Shake Pregnancy and Postpartum contains 250 milligrams of choline, which helps support a healthy pregnancy and lactation, and 20 grams of organic pea protein. Although this protein powder only comes in one flavor, its tasty sweet vanilla, caramel and spice profile makes it an enjoyable drink when mixed up in a shaker or added to a blender.

Pros:

  • Contains choline for healthy pregnancy and lactation
  • Third-party tested for additional safety measures
  • Made with minimal ingredients

Cons:

  • Only comes in one flavor
  • Pea protein isn’t for everyone
  • Packaging is prone to spilling

Best Protein Powder for Active Women: Transparent Labs Grass-Fed Whey Protein

Transparent Labs Whey Protein Isolate_product

Key features:

  • Zero grams fat, zero grams sugar and 1 grams carbs per serving
  • 28 grams of protein per serving
  • 30 servings per container

Women who are active or exercise regularly sometimes need a little more protein in their diet to keep them feeling full and energized. That’s where Transparent Labs Grass-Fed Whey Protein comes in, which is our pick for the best protein powder for active women. This powder packs an impressive 28 grams of protein into one serving. It also has zero grams of sugar, zero grams of fat and one gram of carbs per scoop.

Studies show protein provides energy and aids in muscle recovery. So if you’re an avid exerciser, adding a protein powder to your diet like Transparent Labs Grass-Fed Whey Protein may actually help with your workouts.

Transparent Labs Grass-Fed Whey Protein comes in several flavors including peppermint hot chocolate, cinnamon french toast and oatmeal chocolate chip cookie. Reviewers on Transparent Labs website rave about the powder’s taste and how easily it mixes up, with one person writing “hands down the best protein powder I’ve ever consumed.”

Pros:

  • High in protein
  • Low in carbs, sugar, fat
  • Reviewers love the flavor

Cons:

  • Lower amount of vitamins and minerals
  • On the pricier side at $59.99

Best Protein Powder for Women with BCAAs: Kaged

Kaged

Key features:

  • Four grams fat, one gram sugar and five grams carbs per serving
  • 26 grams of protein per serving
  • 15 servings per container

Kaged Plantein comes in as our best protein powder for women with BCAAs thanks to its healthy ingredients, great flavor options and fair price point. Made with 25 grams of pea protein isolate, organic coconut MCT oil (for energy and fat burning), organic quinoa and nine essential amino acids, this protein powder can help you feel good while also giving you the nutrients you need for a healthy meal replacement or workout fuel. This protein powder is also third-party tested, so you can feel confident about the safety of the ingredients that you’re consuming.

Plus, if you’re looking to build muscle, this protein powder will give you the same benefits as protein powders made from whey. That’s because pea protein promotes muscle thickness and when studied against whey protein, researchers found that it provides the same strength, performance, body composition and muscular benefits as its animal-source competitor.

Pros:

  • Creamy, flavorful texture
  • Includes coconut MCT oil for energy and fat burning
  • Comes in peanut butter cookie, banana bread and cinnamon roll flavors

Cons:

  • Higher sodium content (18 percent DV)
  • Includes sucralose, an artificial sweetener
  • Low in vitamin and mineral benefits

Best Personalized Protein Powder for Women: Gainful

Gainful-Protein-Powder-Hero

Key features:

  • 1.5g fat, < one gram sugar and one gram carbs per serving
  • 24 grams of protein per serving
  • 14 servings per container

If you’re looking for a protein powder that perfectly fits into your health and fitness goals, then check out Gainful. It’s our pick for the best personalized protein powder because it offers a totally customizable product tailored to your diet and wellness needs. Before purchasing Gainful you’ll take a short quiz with questions about your height, weight, current diet, current workout routine, body composition and fitness goals. You’ll then be matched with a protein powder that’s right for you and meets your personal dietary restrictions.

We love that Gainful’s products are formulated by registered dietitians. Once you purchase Gainful you get free, one-on-one access to a registered dietitian who is available to answer questions about your personal fitness and nutrition goals.

Gainful is completely customizable down to its flavor. This protein powder arrives tasteless so you can add “flavor boosts” like strawberry cream, madagascar vanilla, rich chocolate and caffè mocha to satisfy your taste buds.

Pros:

  • Fully customizable protein powder
  • Nine flavor boost options
  • Designed with superfoods

Cons:

  • Quiz makes ordering process longer
  • Can’t see nutrition facts up front
  • Protein powder itself comes unflavored

How to Choose the Best Women’s Protein Powder

You’ll want to factor in your personal preferences and health needs before choosing a protein powder that’s right for you. First, consider your diet. If you eat soy-free, for example, be sure to seek out a protein powder made without soy products. You’ll also want to decide on whether you prefer a protein powder made from plant or animal sources, both of which can help you meet your protein intake goals. By carefully reading the ingredient list of any protein powder you consider, you’ll get a better sense of whether ingredients are organic or non-GMO, and if that particular product has amino acids, vitamins and other minerals that support women’s health.

Price and shipping costs are another important factor to consider; if you’re planning to use protein powder regularly, this can quickly add up in cost.

Finally, be sure to find a protein powder you actually like. If the taste doesn’t work for you, it’s unlikely you'll use it.

How We Chose the Best Protein Powders for Women

We chose the best protein powders for women based on price, ingredient list, grams of protein and their overall benefits for women’s health. In general, we sought out protein powders that accommodate numerous dietary needs (like vegan or low-carb) and that truly do taste good. Reputation and safety were also top of mind as we put together our list, and we made sure we only included protein powders with a solid reputation and detailed manufacturing process.

Ingredients to Look For

As you consider protein powders, keep an eye out for common allergens like gluten, soy and dairy, which you may want to steer clear of if you follow a specific diet. Be sure to carefully read the nutritional value as well to make sure that the protein, carbs, fat and sugar content align with your dietary needs. Don’t forget to consider the protein source, too; most animal-based protein powders are made with casein, collagen, whey or eggs, while most plant-based protein powders are made with pea, hemp and brown rice protein. You’ll also want to check which vitamins and minerals protein powders include. If you’re low in iron, for example, which is common in women, you may want to seek out a protein powder with a higher iron content (like pea protein).

Do Men and Women Need to Use Different Protein Powders?

At the end of the day, most protein powders are designed for equal use amongst both men and women, although some brands are marketed more towards women. Still, women can seek out protein powders fortified with vitamins and minerals that are beneficial for women’s health, like iron and folate. If you share your home with a male partner, you don’t necessarily need to buy or use different protein powders, but keep in mind that women generally require less calories than men, so you’ll want to tailor your protein powder intake to meet your own recommended intake.

Benefits of Protein Powder for Women

Protein powder can provide a host of benefits for women, the most important of which is simply supplementing your diet to make sure that you get enough protein. While most protein that you consume will likely come from food sources, like meat or beans, adding protein powder to your diet can help you up your protein intake if you’re still falling short.

Most health experts agree that 10-35 percent of your calories should come from protein, or roughly 0.36 grams per pound of body weight. Yet aside from simply increasing your protein intake, protein powders can provide you with essential amino acids, which are important for muscle recovery. Protein powder can also help build muscle mass when combined with regular exercise and even reduce your body weight.

FAQs

What does protein do to a woman’s body?

Protein helps create strong bones, muscle, cartilage, skin and blood. Healthy bones are especially important for women, since women are prone to developing osteoporosis, a medical condition in which your bones become brittle and fragile. Protein sources rich in iron also help prevent anemia, or low iron, which women are more susceptible to developing than men.

What can protein powder be added to?

Smoothies and shakes are arguably the most popular way to consume protein powder, but protein powder can also be added to oatmeal, coffee, pudding, energy bites and even some desserts. Feel free to get creative with your protein powder; some people even add unflavored protein powder to soups, pizza crust, hummus and other more savory dishes.

When should women have protein powder?

There’s no right or wrong time to have protein powder, but many women like to have protein powder as a meal replacement shake for breakfast or before or after a workout, since protein provides energy and aids in muscle recovery. Don’t sleep on nighttime protein shakes, however: evidence suggests that consuming protein before bed can actually boost muscle growth.

Is it safe to have protein powder every day?

It’s generally considered safe to have protein powder every day, as long as you’re consuming most of your protein from whole food sources and stay within your recommended protein intake. There is some debate over whether or not protein is safe for pregnant women, so it’s important to speak to your OBGYN before starting or continuing a protein powder during pregnancy.

Who is protein powder not right for?

Protein powder may not be necessary if you manage to get your recommended protein intake through food alone; this is important to be mindful of, since too much protein can actually cause stress on your bones, kidneys and liver, potentially increasing your risk for heart disease as well. You may want to steer clear of protein powder if you have a sensitive stomach or skin, too, since protein powder can sometimes cause digestion issues or acne depending on its ingredients.

How else can women increase their protein intake?

Women can up their protein intake naturally by eating more meat, lean poultry, seafood, nuts, seeds and beans. Protein bars are another option if you don’t like the taste of protein powder.

Final Thoughts

Protein powder can be a healthy addition to a woman's diet. It can help you achieve and maintain weight loss, fitness and other wellness goals, while making it easier to get enough protein. Still, with so many protein powders on the market, it can be tough to find a protein powder that’s right for you (and actually tastes good enough to stick with). Before choosing a protein powder, consult our handy list of best protein powders for women and be sure to speak to a registered dietitian or nutritionist if you’re unsure what type of protein is best for you.

Prices are accurate and items in stock as of publish time.