Some links in this article are affiliate links, which means we earn from qualifying purchases. Learn more.
Initially, I was reluctant to buy protein powder online and worried about the price, quality, and shipping times.
But, when I moved to a new apartment with no supplement stores near me, I had to shop for protein online.
I’ve now tried many different online retailers, and below I’m going to share with you the best and worst places to buy protein powder online based on my experiences.
I’ve also asked several friends and personal trainers what they think about buying protein powder online, and in this article, I share their tips on how to save money and ensure you’re getting a high-quality protein powder.
If you’re in a hurry, though:
The best place to buy protein powder online is BulkSupplements.com because it has the highest quality protein formulations (no fillers or additives), all-natural ingredients, and third-party testing certifications. If you want to customize your protein powder, TrueNutrition.com is a solid runner-up.
Best for Low-Cost
Best for Customization
*Get 5% off at True Nutrition using code FEASTGOOD at the checkout.
Best for Shipping
Below I’ll cover:
- What to watch out for when buying protein powder online (7 key things)
- What the best sites are for buying protein powder online (I give you 9 options)
- Whether there are any online stores I’d avoid for buying protein powder
- Whether you should order directly from the manufacturer or a reseller website
What To Watch Out For When Buying Protein Powder Online
When buying protein powder online, make sure to pick a protein that aligns with your goals and preferences. Not all protein powders are created equal depending on whether you are trying to build muscle, lose weight, or have specific dietary restrictions.
There are many different types of protein powders:
- Casein: A slow-digesting protein good for meal replacements or drinking before bed.
- Collagen: A form of protein that is great for skin, nails and hair and for joint health.
- Egg White: An excellent dairy-free source of protein that is paleo-friendly.
- Whey Isolate: A fast-absorbing protein great for post-workout shakes.
- Whey Concentrate: A slightly slower-absorbing form of whey compared to isolate that is usually less expensive and can be used any time of day.
- Plant-Based Protein (Hemp, Pea, Rice, Soy): A non-animal source of protein for vegetarians and vegans.
Certain retailers will specialize in some of these protein types over others. Most will have a whey protein isolate in their product lineup, but the more specialized the protein type, the fewer retailers that will be able to accommodate you.
You’ll also want to find online retailers that sell the flavors you like best.
It can be easy to find basic flavors like chocolate or vanilla, but fewer retailers will carry specialty flavors like birthday cake or lemon meringue pie.
- Related: If having unique flavors is your thing, I can’t recommend Ghost protein enough. Check out my Ghost Whey Protein Review to learn more.
Look for online stores whose products are certified by a third party for the accuracy, safety, and quality of their ingredients.
If you are looking for a unique blend of added ingredients and/or flavors for your protein powder, only certain sites will be able to meet your needs.
Most people will not need to customize their protein powder unless they have severe dietary restrictions or want to experiment with unique flavors.
If you are going to customize your protein powder, expect to pay more.
Price & Discounts
Be sure to consider the tradeoffs between price and quality, as well as product sizes and the flexibility to only order what you want, when you want, when you are shopping for protein online.
Cheaper isn’t always better, if it means sacrificing quality and/or taste.
Also, you can often get a discount if you’re willing to buy in bulk, or if you commit to an ongoing order (e.g. a subscription).
Shipping Times & Geography
Check the details on the website to see what locations they do and do not ship to, shipping times, and the added cost (if any) for shipping to various locations.
Depending on the manufacturer’s location and whether they have an existing distribution network to get their products delivered across the country (or around the world) quickly, you could be looking at up to several weeks to get your product.
On the other hand, you might be able to pay for expedited shipping, or find out that same-day or next-day shipping is available.
Returns & Refunds Policy
Be sure to check out the details on returns & refunds ahead of time so that you will know what to expect if you find out that you don’t like the protein powder, or if you experience a problem with it.
If the same product is offered on two sites, you might choose to go with the site that has a better return policy for your peace of mind.
Some products are sold with a strict “no returns / no refunds” policy, meaning that you are stuck with what you get, even if you hate it or have problems with it.
Other companies have a very generous return policy, with a “no questions asked” approach that allows you to return the product even if it’s open.
Best Places To Buy Protein Powder
These are the 9 best places to buy protein powder online:
- BulkSupplements.com – Best for Low-Cost
- TrueNutrition.com – Best for Customization
- Amazon.com – Best for Shipping
- iHerb.com – Best Rewards Program
- SupplementWarehouse.com – Best Return Policy
- VitaminShoppe.com – Best Search Functionality
- Bodybuilding.com – Best for USA
- SupplementSource.ca – Best for Canada
- CompeteStrength.co.uk – Best for UK/Europe
1. BulkSupplements.com – Best for Low-Cost
Bulk Supplements is at the top of our list for providing high quality protein powders that are third-party lab tested, at an extremely affordable price.
These products do not have any “frills” – no fillers or additives of any kind. This helps to ensure their purity and allows the manufacturer to keep the cost low because there are no other ingredients to consider.
On the other hand, this also means that all of the products are unflavored, so for anyone who prefers flavored protein powder, they will have to add flavor themselves. This can actually be a benefit:
“The advantage is that you can choose the flavor you want on your own, and mix them with only natural ingredients…I have been buying from [this] website for years because they are unique, high quality products that come in large sizes and with good prices.” – Adam Kemp, ISSA PT, M.S. Nutrition
- Low price
- Third-party tested products
- No fillers
- International shipping
- No flavors
- Limited return options
- Slow shipping times
- No other brands (Bulk Supplement brand only)
2. TrueNutrition.com – Best for Customization
True Nutrition allows customers to pick exactly the types, flavors, and amounts of protein power they want, all blended with whatever additional ingredients they want.
I was really pleased to learn about this website from a reader of FeastGood.com. Like me, David Chen has a day job (he’s a dentist), so he’s not just a fitness influencer getting products for free.
This site is best for consumers who really want full control over exactly what type of protein they get, and exactly what kinds and amounts of custom additives are in it when it arrives (versus buying other supplements separately and mixing it themselves).
“It is basically a customized store just for you and you can have protein exactly the way you want it.” – David Chen, DDS
- Wide selection of types of protein (plant-based, bovine, whey, Paleo, etc.)
- Wide range of sizes (from 1lb up to 100lbs)
- Custom blends (e.g. you can get half whey and half soy protein powder)
- Custom additives (e.g. you can choose exactly what added ingredients you want and none of what you don’t, such as branched chain amino acids, reishi mushrooms, etc.)
- Custom flavors (e.g. you pick the flavor for your protein powder)
- Higher price
- Limited return options
- No other brands (True Nutrition brand products only)
- No free shipping
- Shipping times as high as 7-10 business days
Get 5% off at True Nutrition using code FEASTGOOD at the checkout
3. Amazon.com – Best for Shipping
It’s likely no surprise that the mega online “e-tailer” is also a great place to buy protein powder.
If you already know the exact product(s) you want to get, most of them are available on Amazon, and you can often get a better price by signing up for a regular subscription service (product delivered on an ongoing basis at a specified frequency, e.g. once per month).
Many products are already available with free shipping within 1-2 days (including weekends), and personally I find my Amazon Prime membership to be well worth the cost in terms of getting me free shipping on just about everything, often with same-day delivery. It’s even faster than waiting until after work to drive to a local store!
- Huge product selection
- Fast shipping, including same-day delivery for many items
- Easy returns
- Subscription option for a lower price for some products
- Some brands are not available on Amazon
- Refund policy can vary depending on the product
4. iHerb.com – Best Rewards Program
If you haven’t heard of iHerb already, it’s a reseller website with a huge selection of protein powder, supplements, and other healthcare products. It is a great place to order protein powder, with free shipping on orders over a specified minimum threshold.
I really found that iHerb had excellent international shipping policies. Another cool feature was the chance for me to earn credit to put toward my purchases with a personalized code to share with family and friends – if they bought products using my code, I would earn a small credit for my own use.
- Good selection of protein powders and other products
- Third-party tested products available
- International shipping
- Rewards program (code to earn credits)
- Not all brands are available
- No information available about return policies
5. SupplementWarehouse.com – Best Return Policy
As you would expect from a company with “warehouse” in its name, SupplementWarehouse.com has literally hundreds of protein powders available, from dozens of brands.
If you order something you’ve never seen before and you’re not happy with it, Supplement Warehouse has one of the more generous return policies.
- Huge list of international shipping countries (over 200 countries)
- Exchanges and refunds are available for up to 30 days, and orders canceled prior to shipping get a free refund
- Live chat customer service feature
- In-person retail stores in addition to website
- Free shipping USA only (above specified minimum)
- Many discount codes are only valid for US customers
6. VitaminShoppe.com – Best Search Functionality
Similar to Supplement Warehouse, the Vitamin Shoppe has both an online and in-person (“bricks and mortar”) retail presence, with free pickup at retail locations near you within two hours (subject to product availability).
I was blown away by the many ways to filter protein powders according to my exact needs. I could search by health goal, by brands, format of the powder (powder vs. packet), flavor, price, number of servings, etc. This really helps to narrow down an overwhelming number of products (over 600 results for protein powder) to the products best suited for me.
- Detailed search functionality
- Huge variety of protein powders (vegan, organic, raw, hydrolyzed, etc.)
- In-person retail stores in addition to website, with free in-store pickup
- Healthy Awards program
- Online purchases can be returned to a store; without a receipt you still get an in-store credit
- Free shipping USA only (above specified minimum)
- No retail locations in Canada (USA & Puerto Rico only)
7. BodyBuilding.com – Best for USA
Bodybuilding.com is already well known as a website for getting bodybuilding workouts. It just makes sense that they would also offer nutritional supplements like protein powder to help their readers get the best possible results. On the website, you can even switch between protein powder products to buy and articles about protein powder.
Bodybuilding.com has its own in-house brands, as well as a range of other popular protein powder brands such as Optimum Nutrition or MuscleTech.
- Check out our Muscletech Whey Protein Review
Be sure to watch for promotions and discounts, as there are nearly always offers running to give you great deals.
- Excellent search functionality for protein powders, including dietary preference, flavors, ingredients and more
- Regular promos and discount codes
- Educational material (articles) along with products
- Free shipping USA only (above specified minimum)
- Many discount codes are only valid for US customers
8. SupplementSource.ca – Best Overall for Canada
SupplementSource.ca touts itself as Canada’s #1 Online Supplement Store, and I have to agree. It has been my go-to website for buying protein powder in Canada because it’s got all of my favorite brands and it offers free shipping in Canada on orders over $99 CAD.
The site routinely has site-wide deals, and I often check out the clearance section for bonus bargains.
- Huge selection of brands
- All products meet Health Canada standards (more stringent than US FDA requirements)
- Regular site-wide promotion offers
- Extensive clearance section
- Free shipping on orders over $99 (Canada-only); flat shipping rate to the US
- Limited returns policy
- No international shipping outside of Canada/USA
9. CompleteStrength.co.uk – Best for UK/Europe
With so many comparable protein powders available on the internet and the ability to buy them with a click of a button without ever interacting with another human being, sometimes the real differentiating factor is a great community behind the product.
Complete Strength has an edge in this regard: it’s the first company I’ve heard of with a WhatsApp group to share information, news, and deals and bundle offers, as well as allowing you to actually chat with other real people who use the products.
“The reason I’ve stuck with Complete Strength isn’t just because of the product…They’ve also got a great WhatsApp group going which makes you feel like you are part of a community. I’ve gotten great tips on protein powder recipes…It means a lot to get actual help and advice from real people.” – Rob Whitfield, Owner and PT, LRF Gym
- 24/7 WhatsApp customer support
- Delicious flavors (including coconut cream, salted caramel and peanut butter whey protein powder)
- Free next day delivery (in designated areas)
- No shipping to North America (UK/Europe only)
- No other brands (Complete Strength brand products only)
- 14-day refund policy on regular price items only
Are There Any Online Stores To Stay Away From When Buying Protein Powder?
There actually aren’t many “worst places” to buy protein powder online. With that said, a Reddit thread from nearly a decade ago called out GNC.com as the worst place to buy protein powder online, saying it a “rip-off” due to its high prices.
But, is that really true? I decided to check it out:
|Protein Powder||GNC Price||Bodybuilding.com Price||Supplement Warehouse Price|
|Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Whey Protein, Double Rich Chocolate 5lbs||$74.99 US (free shipping over $49; save 10% if you order online but pick up in-store / $67.49 for subscription service)||$79.99 US ($71.99 US + free shipping for BodyFit Members)||$79.99 US (free shipping over $99)|
|Isopure Zero Carb Protein Powder Cookies and Cream 3lbs||$59.99 US (free shipping over $49; save 10% if you order online but pick up in-store / $53.99 for subscription service)||$64.99 US ($58.49 US for BodyFit Members)||$59.99 US (free shipping over $99 / $53.99 for subscription service)|
|Dymatize ISO-100 Protein Fruity Pebbles 1.3lbs||$44.99 US (free shipping over $49; save 10% if you order online but pick up in-store / $40.49 for subscription service)||$49.99 US ($44.99 US + free shipping for BodyFit Members)||Not available in 1.3lbs|
As you can see, GNC’s prices are actually very much on par with other online retailers.
As a bonus, if you live near a GNC you can order online and save 10% by picking it up in-store. GNC also has a lower price point for free shipping: orders over $49 get free shipping compared to orders over $99 at Supplement Warehouse.
I personally like shopping at my local GNC store because they often have buy one, get one 50% (BOGO) offers, and the staff are usually knowledgeable about training and nutrition so they can give product recommendations and share their own personal experience.
In this day and age, with so much online shopping, sites have to offer a good experience or they won’t stay in business for very long.
You can have confidence shopping at any of the sites listed in this article, including GNC.com.
Should You Order Direct From Brand Or Through A Reseller?
When I say “direct from brand,” I mean going to the official website for the company that manufactures the protein powder (e.g. QuestNutrition.com) vs. going to a third party sales website such as Amazon.com or iHerb.com to buy Quest Nutrition brand protein powder.
These reseller websites often carry a range of products from a variety of different manufacturers. Some are very specialized and focus on a narrow group of products, while others (like Amazon), strive to offer almost anything you can think of.
Advantages of Direct from Brand
- When you order directly from the manufacturer’s website, you can be assured that you are getting the exact product you want, and you don’t run the risk of getting a “knock-off” (a fake, imitation version of the product).
- Manufacturers often offer better customer service, loyalty programs, and are easier to approach about returns, refunds and quality issues. Since it is their product, it is their reputation on the line, and they want to be sure that you are happy with what you receive.
Disadvantages of Direct from Brand
- One of the biggest problems I have faced with ordering direct from brands is that they don’t always ship internationally, or if they do, the shipping costs are very high, and/or there are onerous import fees, customs, or duties to pay.
Advantages of Reseller Sites
- Reseller sites often have a wide variety of products from various brands and manufacturers all in one place. This means that you can do “one-stop shopping” and get everything you want in one order, versus managing multiple orders for single products.
- When you do one large order, you often save on shipping costs, especially since these sites often offer free shipping after a minimum order amount. Plus, you can easily do price comparisons between similar products across different brands.
- Also, since reseller websites are really focused on logistics (making the link between products that companies want to sell and customers who want to buy them), they often offer faster shipping times.
Disadvantages of Reseller Sites
- While reseller sites can often be faster and cheaper, there is also a higher risk of getting fake versions of the product you think you are buying, or lower-quality products.
- Also, when there is a product quality issue, it can be harder to get support from the reseller since they are just an intermediary and they often don’t take responsibility for the quality or condition of the product.
- You may also not be able to get support from the manufacturer in these instances since they were not responsible for shipping the product to you, and they can’t control what happened to it or how it was handled by the reseller.
- Reseller prices aren’t always lower, either. They do need to cover the cost of the product itself, plus a markup for their services, which means that sometimes the final price to you as the end consumer is higher than buying it directly from the manufacturer.
Key Takeaway: It’s worth spending some time comparing prices, shipping times and costs, and return policies across a few websites to be sure that you are getting the right balance of speed, cost, and quality.
Other Protein Powder Resources
- Drinking Whey Protein Every Day (Are There Drawbacks?)
- Can You Take Whey Protein Without Working Out? (Science-Backed)
- Mass Gainer or Whey Protein For Skinny Guys: Which Is Best?
About The Author
Lauren Graham is a Precision Nutrition Level 1 certified nutrition coach. She focuses on helping busy professionals balance healthy eating and purposeful movement. Lauren has a background in competitive swimming and is currently competing as a CrossFit athlete. She has a passion for training, teaching, and writing.