There are hundreds of different protein powders from countless manufacturers out there. We Europeans have some big advantages when it comes to protein powders. Because of the strict food safety requirements, any protein powder manufactured in the EU is going to be a lot better than those manufactured in America and other countries. Remember though, that quality costs money so protein powders made in Europe will typically be more expensive than those imported from Asia or America. Note that none of the products in this list have artificial sweeteners, not even stevia.
Here are the five best protein powders in the United Kingdom (UK) based upon quality, cost, taste, muscle building ability, and overall healthiness:
|Product Images||Manufacturer||Percent Protein||Cost per Serving (30g)||Package Size Grams||Price||Grams Protein Total||Ingredients|
|Pink Sun Natural Whey Protein Isolate (unflavored)||92%||£ 0,91||1.000g||£27,95||920g||isolated whey, lecithin|
|MyProtein Impact Whey Protein (unflavored)||82%||£ 1,21||1.000g||£32,99||820g||concentrated whey, lecithin|
|Protein Works Whey Protein 80 (unflavored)||82%||£ 1,21||1.000g||£32,99||820g||concentrated whey, lecithin|
|bulk Pure Whey Protein (unflavored)||77%||£ 1,29||1.000g||£32,99||770g||concentrated whey, lecithin|
|Pulsin Whey Protein Isolate (unflavored)||93%||£ 1,40||1.000g||£43,49||930g||isolated whey, lecithin|
|Protein Works Diet Whey Isolate 90 (unflavored)||92%||£ 1,47||1.000g||£44,99||920g||isolated whey, lecithin|
|bulk Pure Whey Isolate (unflavored)||87%||£ 1,55||1.000g||£44,99||870g||isolated whey, lecithin|
|MyProtein Impact Whey Isolate (unflavored)||90%||£ 1,60||1.000g||£47,99||900g||isolated whey, lecithin|
|bulk Pure Whey Isolate 97 (unflavored)||97%||£ 1,70||1.000g||£54,99||970g||isolated whey, lecithin|
For protein powders in other regions (with potentially higher shipping costs) see also:
- Best protein powders in Europe (EU)
- Best protein powders in Australia and New Zealand
- Best protein powders in America (USA)
- Best protein powders in Germany and Austria
What this table shows you
Made in the UK, “Pink Sun’s Natural Whey” easily finds itself on top of the best whey protein powders in the UK at just £ 0,91 per 30g serving of protein. MyProtein’s Impact Whey is the next in terms of price per protein but 30% more expensive while having 10%-points less protein. In any case, all of the protein powders listed here are excellent, so you can’t go wrong with any of them.
The price to performance king at £ 0,69 per 30g of protein could potentially be Pulsin’s Whey Protein Isolate – with a big IF. They offer a huge 6x1kg bulk package, which costs £ 127,99 and translates into significant cost savings per gram of protein. The only problem is the availability during these supply chain troubles we are experiencing. It is unavailable at the time of writing, so IF you manage to get yourself 6kg of their whey, this deal is the dark horse of the list.
Interestingly also, MyProtein’s and Bulk’s concentrated wheys ranks better than their whey isolates in terms of price per gram of protein. You clearly see that the increased percent of protein goes with a disproportional increase in price. Which is still justifiable if you need to keep empty calories tightly in check for cutting weight.
If you are cutting and trying to lose fat, take a closer look at the “Percent Protein” column, which states the percent of the calories from protein. Ideally, it would be 100% but no filtering method is perfect and some trace carbs are left. In addition, some protein powders add a bit of sugar, which decreases the % of protein.
Speaking of high percent of protein: Bulk has the highest amount of protein I have ever seen in their offering. A whopping 97% of calories from protein is insane! Needless to say, its price-to-protein ratio finds itself at the end of this roundup of only the best whey powders. High protein and extremely low carb still have their place in the world of health, nutrition, and muscle building!
The Prices (in £) are based on the package sizing in the column next to it. Bigger packages mean lower prices. If it makes sense for you to buy in bulk, I would recommend buying the bigger packages to get the most bang for the buck. Some even offer a 6kg pack or bulk sales.
The Price per Serving (30g) is calculated based on Price and Grams Protein Total. So package sizing has a direct impact on this. So use the ranking of places 2-4 and 5-8 interchangeably because there is so little difference in £/30g protein.
Note that these are the current prices & availabilities as of January 2022. Both will fluctuate heavily as they have done for the past 2 years. Be especially aware of shipping costs as that can make a huge change in the price. Many shops offer free shipping. The links I have provided to find the products are direct links to the manufacturer, when possible. For the best possible deal on a daily basis, feel free to check the product name for new sellers and special sales. Just be sure to check the label carefully and make sure it matches the information in the table before buying.
Which protein powder builds muscle the fastest?
Protein powder is not magic. Protein powder is not steroids. You don’t NEED protein powder unless you are a vegetarian or vegan. You can get all the high-quality protein your body needs by eating chicken, fish, beef, or pork. If you are a meat-eater, real food builds muscle just as quickly as protein powder.
Protein powder is simply a more convenient way to get your protein than having to carry around a Tupperware with grilled chicken breast, brown rice, and broccoli in it. There is a lot of money in the protein powder business and the marketing people in this industry make all kinds of impressive-sounding stuff up to make you buy their product over their competitors.
Basically, there are two ways the quality of protein can be ruined. The first is high temperatures and the second is extremes in pH values (“potential of hydrogen”). This is the reason why all the best protein powders are filtered either by crossflow-, ultra-filtration or micro-filtration methods. I don’t recommend anything with ion-exchange whey in it as it’s exposed to extremes in pH. Any isolate protein powder that is concentrated by using filtration is done at a neutral pH and at temperatures low enough that the protein remains unharmed. There is a lot of debate (stirred by those marketing people) about what filtration method is better. In the end, all filtered whey products are of the same high quality – regardless of any claimed “scientific” superiority, trademarked processes, or fancy marketing terms.
What does it take to be the Best Protein Powder?
Plain whey is only about 13% protein. The rest are carbohydrates. You would just get fat trying to gain muscle using pure whey. It alone obviously does not make a good protein powder for weight lifters yet. In order to increase the amount of protein, the carbs need to get removed.
There are two basic ways to remove the carbs from whey: By cold filtering (micro-, ultra, or crossflow-filtration), and by ion exchange. In my opinion, filtered whey is far superior to ion-exchange whey.
Heat and pH changes can decrease the quality of the whey. Cold filtering uses neither modification. I also highly recommend staying completely away from anything that says “blend” or “proprietary protein mix” because to me, that says that they just dump in whatever is cheapest and don’t even tell you what they are really using. Every manufacturer has their own marketing word for the protein concentration process but the only important thing is that it contains the word “filter”. Which filtration in detail is not even that important. It can be nano-filtered, cross-filtered, or ultra-filtered. All filtering methods are done cold and without the use of anything that changes the pH. This is why filtered whey products have excellent quality protein.
Please read my article dedicated to protein powders & other supplements if you want more information.
The other thing that qualifies a protein powder for being on this “Best Protein Powder” list (in my opinion) is being natural.
There is a lot of garbage out there. Read “Consumer Reports” articles on protein powders if you want to see how harmful some products are. It doesn’t have to be organic (that’s often twice as expensive) but at least the ingredients need to be clean. Meaning no traces of heavy metals (which is more common than what you would anticipate!), no questionable ingredients, clean production methods, and so on.
The ingredients of a good protein powder look like this: “Ingredients: filtered whey, lecithin.” – that’s it.– My Opinion
You don’t want creatine in it. Whey is sweet enough on its own.
You don’t want creatine in it. There’s pure, high-quality creatine if you choose to use that.
You don’t want caffeine in it. There’s coffee for that.
You don’t want ephedrine in it. No need for that in a protein shake.
You don’t want vitamins in it. Just eat balanced meals and some fruits.
You don’t want it laced with pro-hormones. No idea why you would need those.
You just want protein from your protein shake. That’s what I expect my whey protein powder to have in it.
If you want any of that other stuff, then buy it separately. Only this way can you control exactly how much you are getting and when you are getting it.
Best & healthiest protein powder flavors
You will note that all of the products I recommend are either unflavored or chocolate, there is a very good reason for that. A lot of times it’s the flavors that add incredible amounts of artificial junk and a nasty aftertaste. Which is the reason why I always choose unflavored, vanilla, or chocolate.
Chocolate is very easy to do naturally and without added sugars. By the manufacturer or by yourself: just add natural cocoa powder. Cocoa powder is virtually nonfat, it’s unprocessed, and it tastes delicious. Easy peasy.
Unflavored whey also tastes surprisingly good. Unflavored, unsweetened whey has a very pleasant neutral flavor that is slightly sweet and if you add it to water it tastes a lot like milk. Milk that is nonfat and has 90% protein instead of 5% protein.
Unflavored in this context does NOT mean vanilla. Vanilla oftentimes tastes horrible in my experience. This happens when artificial flavors instead of natural vanillin are used. This leads almost always to a horrible aftertaste. So I have learned to be picky with vanilla whey. Same with chocolate.
Even with some of the high-quality, high-protein whey powder on this list, I noticed dramatic differences in nutritional values between flavors – for the same protein powder! One of the WPI 90 wheys went from over 90% protein to just above 80% when it reset to the chocolate flavor upon refreshing the shop page. Obviously, the price did not change, so you would be paying the premium for a WPI 90, but for that extra cost, you’d get more of a WPI 80. Making it the worst option in price per protein only because of the choice in flavoring (added sugars).
Anyway, the fruit flavors like strawberry and banana are virtually always artificial and pack a really nasty aftertaste. So, choose those only after a very careful inspection of the ingredients list. Maybe your shop of choice offers test kits of various flavors in small batches for you to try before committing to 70 servings with a 2kg pack.
Flavors that sound like candy bars should be avoided like the plague as they are always artificial. Flavors called “caramel popcorn” or “gummy bears”? Thanks, but no thanks. So, please stick to either chocolate, natural vanilla, or unflavored (natural) protein powders.
Which protein powder is the best for mass gain?
If you want to gain “mass”, just mix a bag of any of the high-quality protein powder listed above with a bag of sugar and you get the highest quality “Mass Gain” powder around – for a killer price!
Even if protein powders have branded names including “Mass Gainer” or anything of that nature, the only mass they make you gain over high-quality whey isolates is bodyfat. Don’t believe the marketing hype on these mass gain products. They are nothing more than protein, sugar (not too little of it), and a few useless supplements tossed in for good measure to make them sound ridiculous.
I don’t recommend any “Mass Gain” products as they are over-saturated with carbohydrates and additional supplements. Above I explained what it takes to make whey low on carbs, why would you add some back in? If you are going to use one anyway, just make your own and save 300% mark-up for the hype name and shiny packaging.
Mass gain = fat gain. You don’t gain muscle any faster by downing a bunch of sugar with your protein unless you are under 5% body fat. If you want to go even deeper, I invite you to keep reading about protein powders, protein shakes, and mass gain powders.
Why isn’t your favorite protein in the above list?
If your protein is not listed, its probably because:
- It has ingredients other than whey protein, lecithin & natural flavor.
- It has artificial flavors or artificial sweeteners.
- It has other supplements mixed into it (creatine, weight loss products, vitamins, etc.), thus is not strictly protein powder.
- The protein is a “proprietary” mix, a “blend” or a trademarked name. Those are just codewords for “they put whatever cr*p is cheapest” into it.
- It’s ion-exchange and not cold filtered.
If you think I have overlooked a protein powder, please let me know. Just post the ingredient list and I will take a closer look and may even test it myself if it meets the criteria above.