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How We Test & Score Protein Powders

Our review process for protein powders.

We assess protein powders on the following 8 criteria. Each criterion is weighted differently (in parentheses).

1. Taste (20%)

  • How is the texture and consistency?
  • Is there a residue or aftertaste?

2. Digestibility (15%)

  • Does it sit well?
  • Does it leave you feeling bloated or gassy?

3. Protein density (15%)

  • How many calories come from protein?

4. Cost (15%)

  • Cost per gram of protein

5. Nutritional value (15%)

  • What is the ingredient profile?
  • Are there artificial sweeteners?
  • Is there anything else to be aware of?

6. Mixability (10%)

  • How well does it mix?
  • Is it clumpy or foamy after mixing?

7. Brand reputation (5%)

  • Operating history
  • Retail location
  • Website
  • Controversy

8. Third-party testing (5%)

  • Does a trusted third party test it? (NSF, Informed Choice, etc.)

1. Taste

Taste is a subjective metric based on whoever is testing the product. We often have multiple team members try the product and take an average of the total score.

2. Digestibility

Digestibility is also a subjective score based on whoever is testing the product. The tester will evaluate how their stomach feels after drinking each protein. Does it sit well? Or does it leave them feeling bloated, gassy, or with an upset stomach?

3. Protein density

Protein density is scored on the following scale:

  • Products with 10%-18%: Score 1/10
  • Products with 19%-27%: Score 2/10
  • Products with 28%-36%: Score 3/10
  • Products with 37%-45%: Score 4/10
  • Products with 46%-54%: Score 5/10
  • Products with 55%-63%: Score 6/10
  • Products with 64%-72%: Score 7/10
  • Products with 73%-81%: Score 8/10
  • Products with 82%-90%: Score 9/10
  • Products with 91%-100%: Score 10/10

Note: we defined the above range using our proprietary database of nearly 500+ protein powders.

4. Cost (bang for your buck)

To score the cost of a protein, we use the following scale:

  1. < $0.05 per gram of protein (10 points)
  2. < $0.10 per gram of protein (7.5 points)
  3. < $0.20 per gram of protein (5 points)
  4. $0.20 or more per gram of protein (2.5 points)

Note: we use the smallest tub size, closest to 1lb. We default to Amazon pricing since it’s often cheaper and use the brand website as a backup. 

5. Nutritional value

To assess the nutritional value of a protein, we carefully review the ingredients on each label. Nutritional value is a subjective score based on the quality of the ingredient profile. We seek natural ingredients and amino acids and penalize artificial sweeteners and flavorings.

6. Mixability

We manually mix using a protein shaker and mixing ball to score mixability for 15-30 seconds. We do not use a blender. We reward proteins that are smooth and easy to drink and penalize proteins that are left with clumps and foam.

7. Brand reputation

To score the reputation of each brand, we assess the following:

  1. Operating history
  2. Retail location (direct or indirect)
  3. Website
  4. Controversy?

Each factor makes up 25% of the total score.

8. Third party testing

If a protein is tested by a trusted third party like NSF or Informed Choice, it gets a 10. If not, it gets a 0.