8 Cheapest Protein Powders (That Are Still High Quality)

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While it is generally true that you get what you pay for, there are some protein brands within the supplement industry that do a good job of marrying quality with a reasonable price point. 

Based on my decade of experience as a personal trainer, nutrition coach, and supplement store manager, here is my top pick for the best cheap protein powder that is still high quality: 

The best protein powder that matches high quality with an ultra-low price point is BulkSupplements.com Whey Protein. They forego fancy advertising and packaging to deliver a great product at a low cost. Their whey concentrate is available for as low as 89 cents per serving. The only downside is that it comes unflavored. 

Summary: Our Top 3 Budget Protein Picks 

Best Overall

BulkSupplements Whey Concentrate

BulkSupplements Whey Concentrate

  • Lowest cost per serving
  • Gluten-free with zero additives
  • Third-party tested
  • Only available in unflavored

Best Whey Blend

My Protein Impact Whey

MyProtein Impact Whey

  • As low as $0.95 per serving
  • Available in 17 flavors, including natural flavors and unflavored
  • Third-party tested and Informed-Sport certified (safe for elite athletes)

Best Isolate

MyProtein Impact Whey Isolate Vanilla

MyProtein Impact Whey Isolate

  • A whey isolate available for as low as $1.17 per serving
  • Available in 8 flavors, as well as an unflavored option
  • Contains around 97% protein per scoop, incredibly high for a protein powder

Top 8 Inexpensive Protein Powders

Best Overall: BulkSupplements.com

BulkSupplements.com Whey Concentrate

Overall rating: 4.6/5

Our Thoughts:

If you are looking for high-quality, 3rd party tested protein powder for the lowest possible cost, then bulksupplements.com is the one. 

We gave this product a 5/5 rating for taste, but it could be given a 0/5 depending on your opinion. 

This is because Bulksupplements.com whey protein is only available in unflavored – this is one of the ways that the company saves on manufacturing costs, which in turn saves you money. 

Bulk Supplements Whey Concentrate offers around 77% protein per scoop but contains literally only one ingredient: whey concentrate. 

This is a great option for anyone who has sensitivities or allergies to ingredients like gluten or artificial sweeteners. 

Bulk Supplements Whey is a versatile protein powder that mixes easily into smoothies and recipes but won’t be ideal for a fast grab-and-go option due to it having no flavor. 

Note: flavorless does not mean without taste. This protein won’t taste good when just mixed with water.  So plan to mix it with oatmeal, yogurt, cereal, or blend it into a fruit smoothie.

Another way that Bulksupplements cuts down on manufacturing costs is by shipping their protein powder in bags instead of plastic tubs. 

This is convenient for traveling because the bag can be pressed flat, taking up very little safe. 

The downside is that the Ziploc seal may not close completely and the bag is at increased risk of being punctured. 

Check out my complete review of Bulk Supplements Whey Protein


  • Least expensive protein on the market
  • Third-party tested
  • Gluten-free with no additional ingredients


  • Ships in a Ziploc sealed bag as opposed to a plastic tub
  • Only available in unflavored 

Best Whey: MyProtein Impact Whey

Overall rating: 3.8/5

Our Thoughts:

MyProtein Impact Whey is a very close second to Bulksupplements.com whey concentrate. 

Both products use the same type of whey and offer a similar protein percentage per scoop. 

While Impact Whey is slightly more expensive than bulk supplements ($0.95 per serving vs $0.86 per serving), MyProtein has the advantage of coming in a wide variety of flavors. 

Impact Whey comes in traditional protein powder flavors like chocolate and vanilla, but also comes in unique flavors like mocha, cinnamon cereal, birthday cake, and white chocolate peppermint. 

If there’s one complaint about MyProtein Impact Whey, it’s that the flavor is too sweet or rich for some consumers. 

Where Bulksupplements had zero added ingredients, Impact Whey does use artificial sweeteners in almost all of its flavors. 

As such, Impact Whey may be more reactive to individuals with sensitive stomachs than Bulksupplements whey. 

If you are looking for a convenient, grab-and-go, any time-of-day protein powder, this is a great option to consider. 

Check out my complete review of MyProtein Impact Whey.  


  • The lowest cost per serving among flavored protein powders
  • Third-party tested and Informed-Sport certified, making it safe for use by drug-tested athletes
  • Great taste and a wide variety of flavors
  • MyProtein frequently runs sales and promotions, further bringing down the cost per serving


  • The flavor may be too sweet for some consumers
  • Has lower total protein content (19g) than others on the market (which are usually closer to 25g)

Best Whey Isolate: MyProtein Impact Whey Isolate

Overall rating: 4/5

Our Thoughts:

MyProtein Impact Whey Isolate is the lower sugar, faster-digesting counterpart to the MyProtein Impact Whey Concentrate that I discussed above. 

It is more expensive than the whey concentrates on this list, but as far as whey isolates are concerned, MyProtein Impact Isolate offers great value. 

High-quality, third-party tested, Informed-Sport whey isolate proteins can cost up to $2.00 per serving. MyProtein Impact Isolate costs between $1.32 and $1.62 per serving. 

One key difference that you’re getting with the MyProtein whey isolate is that it has between 89 and 97% protein per scoop (depending on the flavor), which is much higher than the 77% offered by the whey concentrate. 

So, even though you are paying more per serving, you are getting more protein in your product overall, leveling the playing field. 

Similar to MyProtein Impact Whey, the Isolate has a strong, rich flavor that may be too sweet for some users. 

This is the ideal protein for someone looking for post-workout recovery or someone who is looking for a low-calorie protein shake because they’re trying to lose weight.  

MyProtein ships this protein in a bag instead of a plastic tub, similar to Bulksupplements. 


  • Strong flavor and mixes easily
  • Third-party tested and Informed-Sport Certified
  • Very high protein percentage per scoop


  • Taste may be too sweet for some consumers
  • Ships in a bag instead of a plastic tub, increasing the risk of the seal opening or punctures, resulting in the product spilling 

Best Vegan: Jacked Factory Authentic Vegan

Overall rating: 3.7/5

Our Thoughts:

I was genuinely surprised to find a reasonably priced vegan protein powder from a brand that I recognize and am familiar with. This is because most vegan protein powders are twice the cost.

Some key things to look for when choosing a vegan protein powder are to assess the total grams of protein per scoop.  Many vegan proteins offer significantly lower grams of protein than their whey counterparts. 

You also want to make sure that they use several different plant sources.  Read my article on Whey vs Plant Protein to learn more.

Authentic Vegan by Jacked Factory offers 22g of protein (similar to BulkSupplements and more than MyProtein) and has 30 servings available for around $34.99 ($1.16 per serving). 

Jacked Factory uses a blend of pea, sunflower seed, pumpkin seed, watermelon seed, and mung bean proteins. This blend of plant proteins ensures that you get all of your essential amino acids, qualifying this product as a “complete protein”. 

Aside from the protein, the only other ingredients in this product include natural flavors, salt, and stevia extract. 

The end result is a product that is soy-free, non-GMO, and has no gluten-containing ingredients. 

Jacked Factory Authentic Vegan has 110 calories per serving, and with 22g of protein clocks in at 80% protein per scoop. This is high by whey protein standards and VERY HIGH by vegan protein standards. 


  • Vegan protein blend offering 22g of protein
  • No artificial flavors or colors
  • Easy to mix and easy to digest


  • Will have a slightly more chalky texture when compared to whey protein
  • Jacked Factory does not indicate that they are independently third-party tested

Best Supermarket Find: Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Whey

Overall rating: 3.5/5

Our Thoughts:

If you prefer to shop at a brick-and-mortar store as opposed to online, then there’s a good chance that you will be able to find Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Whey. 

This is one of the most popular proteins globally and is Informed Choice certified meaning it undergoes third-party testing to help ensure its quality. 

Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Whey uses a blend of whey isolate and whey concentrate, making it a versatile protein that is suitable both any time-of-day and post-workout. 

Gold Standard Whey is available in 18 different flavors online, and in a variety of sizes (1.5lb, 2lb, 5lb, 10lb), but you can find chocolate and vanilla in smaller sizes in supermarkets like Target or Walmart. 

Depending on where you shop, you can usually find Gold Standard Whey for anywhere from $1.05 to $1.55 per serving. 

For example, Gold Standard Whey is available at Target for $27.99 for 22 servings, making it around $1.27 per serving. 

Gold Standard Whey offers between 73% and 87% protein per scoop (depending on the flavor). This variability is because each flavor offers 24g of protein, but the scoops range from 110 calories to 130 calories. 

Regardless, a third-party tested protein powder that is available for less than $1.30 per serving and offers more than 70% protein per scoop is still a good value.

From my experience and customer feedback, the taste and mixability of Gold Standard Whey is not as good as MyProtein. 

This product is likely not suitable for individuals with lactose sensitivities.

Check out my complete review of Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Whey


  • Being a top-selling brand that ships globally, this product is available in most brick-and-mortar stores and supermarkets
  • Comes in a wide variety of sizes and flavors
  • The blend of whey concentrate and whey isolate provides a product that is more cost-effective
  • Functions as a good “any time of day” protein


  • Does not mix as well as a pure isolate
  • There’s a big variance in protein percentage based on flavor
  • May be more reactive in individuals with allergies or sensitivities (due to the use of artificial flavors, sweeteners, and food dyes). 

Best for Athletes: GNC AMP Wheybolic

Overall rating: 4/5

Our Thoughts:

At first glance, GNC AMP Wheybolic doesn’t appear to be a good value. It retails online for $69.99 and advertises 25 servings. 

However, those 25 servings are if you take two scoops providing 40g of protein. If you cut that in half, and take it as 20g of protein and 90 calories (similar to the proteins mentioned above), the cost per serving goes from $2.79 to $1.39. 

This is obviously still a bit more expensive than the other proteins mentioned above, but there are some key advantages to Wheybolic that make it an appealing, cost-effective option for athletes. 

First of all, the protein powder is certified gluten-free and certified banned substance free, making it suitable for people with gluten allergies and drug-tested athletes. 

Secondly, it contains a few key added ingredients to support muscle recovery and muscle building. Each scoop contains 3.1g of leucine, 250mg of Velositol, and also contains the enzymes lactase and bromelain.  

Leucine can support muscle protein synthesis and can reduce the rate of muscle protein breakdown. 

Velositol is a patented blend of chromium and amylopectin that, when used with protein, accelerates muscle protein synthesis and supports muscle growth and recovery. 

The inclusion of lactase and bromelain helps to break down the lactose and protein, making this product easily digestible even for people with dairy sensitivities. 

If you want to prioritize muscle recovery, GNC AMP Wheybolic is a great post-workout option that provides protein and some key additional ingredients, still at a reasonable price. 


  • Suitable for individuals with gluten and lactose sensitivities
  • Third party tested and certified free of banned substances
  • Contains lots of additional ingredients to support muscle protein synthesis


  • More expensive than the other budget protein powders on this list
  • May have limited availability for sizes and flavors online, unless purchased through GNC

Best Gainer: Rival Nutrition Clean Gainer

Overall rating: 4/5 

Our Thoughts:

There is so much variability between weight-gaining products, that this section was a bit more difficult to break down. 

Ultimately here, we’re discussing budget so my criteria for choosing a high-quality weight gainer was the one that provided the lowest cost per 100 calories, while using high-quality ingredients. 

Rival Nutrition Clean Gainer uses a blend of carbohydrates, including maltodextrin, organic quinoa, organic blueberry powder, organic rice bran, and oat fiber.

They use a protein blend of whey concentrate, whey isolate, milk isolate, and casein, providing the full range of fast to slow-digesting proteins. 

For their fat blend, they use MCTs, flaxseed powder, avocado powder, and sunflower oil powder. 

Their flavoring is a combination of natural and artificial flavors, sea salt, sucralose, and stevia. 

The product does contain milk and soy, but has no gluten-containing ingredients and is Informed Choice Certified, making it safe for use by elite athletes. 

It offers 560 calories per 2-scoop serving, with:

  • 5g fat
  • 99g carbohydrates (4g fiber)
  • 9g sugar (4g added sugar)
  • 30g protein

Clean Gainer mixes up quite thick, but you don’t need a high-powered blender to mix this product. I was able to shake it in a normal cup for about 20-30 seconds and have it dissolve almost entirely. 

It tastes great even just mixed with water and is available in Chocolate, Vanilla, Chocolate Peanut Butter, Campfire S’Mores, Cookies and Cream, and Cinnamon Toast Cereal. 

From my experience with my clients and customers, Cinnamon Toast Cereal is a huge hit! 

Online, the 10lb bag of Rival Nutrition Clean Gainer is listed at $56.99. This product provides 30 servings at 560 calories. 

Cost per 560 calories = $1.90. Cost per 100 calories = $0.34. 

When I did this comparison for other popular weight gainers, I found the cost per serving to range from $0.32 to $0.41 per 100 calories, with Clean Gainer having the best combination of high-quality ingredients and lower cost per serving.

This product is great for anyone who needs a snack to power them through the afternoon (you can just mix one scoop with water for a 280-calorie snack), or for individuals who struggle to maintain or put on weight. 

Having anywhere from 2 to 4 scoops throughout the day can provide 560-1120 calories to support your weight gain and body composition goals. 


  • Balanced formula that uses high-quality ingredients and is low in sugar
  • Informed Choice certified and third-party tested
  • Tastes great and mixes easily


  • Uses artificial flavors and sweeteners which may be a turnoff for some consumers
  • Does not contain added ingredients to support recovery and muscle protein synthesis like creatine, leucine, or other amino acids

Best Meal Replacement: RedCon1 MRE

Overall rating: 3.5/5

Our Thoughts:

Meal replacement products have some similar struggles to weight gainers in that there are so many varieties of ingredient blends and calorie content that it can be difficult to compare them head to head. 

I drew up two different lists, one that had really high-quality ingredients and a formula that I trusted. The second list was ranked from highest cost per serving to lowest cost per serving. 

One product that ranked highly on both lists and meets the balance of quality and budget friendly is RedCon1 MRE. 

RedCon1 MRE is an animal-based formula, meaning that it uses a blend of Beef, Pea, Brown Rice, Chicken, Egg, and Salmon protein. Essentially, they use everything except dairy-based protein. 

A big draw for this is that it made a product that was suitable for people with dairy sensitivities who didn’t want to have to choose from only vegan products. 

One big drawback: As recently as a year or two ago, RedCon began adding milk creamer to their products for texture, which means they are no longer dairy-free and no longer suitable for people with full milk allergies. It may still be suitable for people with lighter sensitivities. 

Most flavors do not contain gluten, but it is worth double-checking the ingredients. The Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie flavor, for instance, has wheat in the cookie pieces. Dutch Apple Pie, on the other hand, has no gluten-containing ingredients. 

To be a full meal replacement, MRE suggests using 4 scoops to get a total of 530 calories. If you do so, you will get a breakdown of:

  • 4g fat (0g saturated, 0g trans)
  • 75g carbohydrates (8g fiber)
  • 5g sugar (0g added sugar)
  • 47g protein. 

If you do all 4 scoops, then MRE is available for $79.99 for 25 servings, or $3.19 per serving. 

To make it a level playing field across all meal replacements I assessed, I calculated the cost per ~250 calories to be able to more accurately compare products. MRE comes in at $1.43 per 260 calories.

When I did this same comparison across other popular meal replacements, the cost ranged from $1.89 to $2.50 per ~250 calories (with one brand costing as much as $2.40 per 140 calories). 

MRE was the clear front runner for cost, and its use of whole food ingredients makes it a good, budget-friendly option when compared to other meal replacements. 

On Amazon, MRE is available in Fudge Brownie, Vanilla Milkshake, Peanut Butter, Banana Nut Bread, and Oatmeal Chocolate Chip.

If you shop directly through the RedCon1 website, it’s also available in Peanut Butter Cookie, Blueberry Cobbler, Dutch Apple Pie, and Strawberry Shortcake. 

The RedCon1 website also has a subscribe and save feature on their website where you can save 30% on your order if you ship monthly. 


  • Uses a high-quality whole food blend including rolled oats, animal and plant-based proteins, russet and sweet potatoes, yams, blueberries, and goji berries
  • Contains a high percentage of protein for a meal replacement (~35% of total calories)
  • Comes in a variety of unique flavors that mix well


  • Contains a high amount of potential allergens: milk, egg, fish (salmon), tree nuts (coconut), wheat, and soy
  • Uses high fructose corn syrup in its formula

Key Criteria: How To Choose The Best Budget Whey Protein 


When assessing inexpensive proteins, the cost per serving is an obvious key criterion. 

For the protein powders, we assessed the cost per scoop and made sure to note whether a product contained significantly lower (or higher) protein content than others. 

For assessing the cost of weight gainers and meal replacements, we calculated the cost per x calories to be able to compare products that have a high degree of variability. 

  • Why you should care: If you are reading this article, you’re likely looking to shop on a budget, so we made sure to find products that had some of the lowest costs per serving. 

Protein Percent of Calories

Protein percent of calories refers to what percentage of the total calories come from protein specifically. 

We calculate this by taking the grams of protein and multiplying that number by 4, which tells us how many calories come from protein. 

We then divide that by the total number of calories in the product to find the percentage of calories which come from protein.

  • Why you should care: Even though you are shopping on a budget, it’s important to still be getting good value. If you find a product that has a very low cost per serving but also offers a very low protein percentage, then most of your money may be spent on ingredients like carbs and fats instead of protein, negating the bargain. 

Effective/Quality Ingredients

We have evaluated our products based on what types of protein they use, and whether they have a large amount of cheap fillers to lower the cost of their product or whether they include whole food, high-quality ingredients. 

  • Why you should care: You don’t necessarily have to sacrifice high-quality ingredients to achieve a low cost per serving. It’s true that some brands will add inexpensive fillers to their products to offer a lower cost. Some brands, however, like BulkSupplements.com will lower the costs of their products by removing flavoring and cutting back on fancy packaging and marketing. 


There are a lot of factors that go into the taste, and no two people are going to have the exact same palate. 

As such, we try to give you as much feedback as possible about the taste, sweetness level, and richness level of the products we test to give you the clearest possible picture of what you can expect.

  • Why you should care: You still have to consume it, so you might as well enjoy it. Since we’re talking specifically about budget in this article, if you have to pay additional money for extra ingredients just to make your product palatable, then you’re not really saving any money. 

Is It Cheaper To Buy Protein Powder or Protein Shakes?

On the whole, it is a lot cheaper to buy protein powder and make your own protein shake than it is to buy pre-made shakes. Most protein powders range from $1.00 to $2.00 per 25g serving, while premade shakes hover closer to $3.00-$4.00 per serving. 

The cheapest route is to buy an unflavored protein powder from a company like bulksupplements.com. 

For flavor, you can purchase ingredients like cocoa powder, vanilla extract, or coconut milk and still pay less per serving than you would for most commercially available protein shakes. 

Is Protein Powder Really Worth It?

While grocery prices can vary wildly, a bulk box (2kg) of chicken breasts costs around $29.00. If one serving (3 oz) of chicken = around 85g, then that box yields approximately 23 servings. 

Those 3 oz servings of chicken each offer approximately 25g of protein, and would cost around $1.26 per serving. 

When we calculate it this way, the cost of protein powder can actually cost less per serving than a serving of chicken. 

For many people, the grab-and-go convenience of protein powder makes it a more appealing option, even if the cost of some products is slightly higher than chicken. 

If we consider a different protein source, eggs, which offer around 6g of protein and can be purchased for ~$2.40 per dozen. The cost per egg is around 20 cents and it would take 4 eggs to get the same amount of protein found in a scoop of protein powder, so you are looking at about 80 cents per serving. 

That being said, that same large egg has around 5g of fat, so for 24g of protein, you are also getting 20g of fat (totaling 180 calories) compared to protein powders which have 0-2g of fat per serving. 

When we really dig into it and compare protein powders to whole food sources of protein, the cost per serving is very similar and the convenience of protein powders makes them more accessible for many people throughout the day, since heat or refrigeration are not required. 

Our Testing Methodology Explained 

First and foremost, we make sure that we are actually matching our key criteria – in this case we needed to prioritize the cost per serving.

We have seen other articles online recommend products like Transparent Labs Grass-Fed Isolate as the best overall budget-friendly protein powder.

Now don’t get me wrong, Transparent Labs Isolate is without a doubt one of my absolute favorite protein powders

It’s also one of the most expensive proteins on the market and doesn’t belong on a list of inexpensive protein powders. 

We also tried to bring you products in this list to suit every use case: low-calorie, high-calorie, meal replacement, post-workout, any time of day, and vegan. 

Trying to assess the value of a weight gainer or meal replacement is a bit more tricky than it is for whey proteins. There is a ton of variability between brands, like varying calorie content and differences in additional ingredients. 

Some weight gainers, for instance, use a larger scoop and advertise as having over 500 calories per scoop, whereas others use a smaller scoop that only has 200 to 300 calories, allowing them to advertise that they have more “servings” than their competitors. 

Alternatively, some companies manipulate their serving sizes and show a 2-scoop serving offering 550 calories, whereas another might advertise a 4-scoop serving offering 1300 calories. 

Due to this wild variability, we broke down each product into the cost per x calorie serving. This allowed us to level the playing field between brands that advertise as 1300 calories per serving and those that advertise as 550 calories per serving. 

We try to personally get our hands on as many of these products as possible, and you can find in-depth reviews on some of these products already published on Feastgood.com. 

For the other products, we rely on a combination of customer feedback, online ratings, and online reviews from Q&A websites like Reddit and Quora. 

I, personally, am in the fortunate position of having been a supplement store manager for the past decade, granting me extra access to products that I can try personally and a bigger pool of customer feedback and experience to draw from when making my recommendations. 

Though I haven’t published in-depth reviews on the following products, I have been able to personally try MyProtein Impact Whey, Rival Nutrition Clean Gainer, and RedCon1 MRE. 

I have not personally tried the Jacked Factory Authentic Vegan Protein powder or GNC AMP Wheybolic, but I have tried multiple other Jacked Factory and GNC brand products and trust them as brands, and feel confident recommending them based on the formulas and customer reviews.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is The Cheapest Protein on Amazon?

The cheapest protein powder found on amazon is the Nutricost Whey Concentrate (unflavored) available for as low as 78 cents per serving for 25g of protein. 

Are There Risks of Taking Cheap Protein Powder?

Taking cheap protein powder does not pose a serious health risk, but if it is not third party tested then it might not meet its label claims. E.g. it might advertise 25g of protein but only contain 10g of protein and have added cheap fillers. Cheap protein may also contain higher levels of allergens like lactose.

About The Author

Jennifer Vibert
Jennifer Vibert

Jennifer Vibert is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, Nutrition Coach, and supplement store manager. She has a Bachelor of Kinesiology with a major in Fitness and Lifestyle and a minor in Psychology from the University of Regina. She is a Certified Nutrition Coach through Precision Nutrition, with a passion for helping clients learn the fundamentals of nutrition and supplementation in order to build healthy, sustainable habits.