Choosing the Best Plant Protein Powders – Top 10 Brands

Best Plant Protein Powder Brands

Our bodies need a certain number of macronutrients in order to function at their peak capacity. Macronutrients refers to the three primary building blocks of our nutritional profile in three categories: proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. Of the three of these, the most important macronutrient for us to consume in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle and build muscle is protein. Protein is one of the building blocks of our entire physiology and is made up of numerous amino acids that play a major role in almost every aspect of the human body.

Unfortunately, for vegans, vegetarians, those with lactose intolerance and other issues, traditional protein is not always a viable option. Protein can be found naturally in a variety of items, such as chicken, beef, fish, nuts, and eggs. It is also found in some plant sources though they are not as popularly used or known. Consuming enough protein on a daily basis, especially for someone who is physically active and/or looking to build muscle, is not always easy. In addition, thanks to the anabolic window post-workout, we have a finite amount of time to consume protein that is quickly absorbed into the body to maximize our gains and recovery from strenuous workout sessions.

In these cases, plant protein powder supplements make an ideal choice for ensuring that we get enough protein and at the right times to maximize our performance. Contrary to traditional protein powders, plant proteins are derived from natural plant sources such as brown rice or soy, making them suitable for vegans, vegetarians and those with lactose intolerance who cannot use dairy based protein powders like whey.

In this guide, we will break down exactly what plant protein powders do, what to look for when purchasing one and the best products on the market today.

What Are Plant Protein Powders?

Plant protein powders are supplements that deliver protein derived from plant or non-dairy and meat sources, usually in powdered form, for quick absorption and use by the body. There are a variety of sources for plant protein powder, with options ranging from soy to brown rice and many other options as well.

Each has their own individual benefits and may be the best fit for particular populations due to their preferences. The benefits or reasons to opt for plant proteins vary, some people may opt for plant-based protein as it fits their diet, others may do so out of concerns of the environmental effects of meat based protein consumption.

While plant-based proteins are not as popular as more traditional protein options, they have become more popular in recent years and are an effective option for protein supplementation.

Common Ingredients in Plant Protein Products

The most common ingredient in plant protein powders is of course, protein. More importantly in many cases, is the type of protein and the source it comes from.

Plant protein powders take many forms depending on the initial source. Common forms include protein derived from brown rice, soy, pea protein, and hemp among others. Soy based protein is the most popular plant-based protein option, however it is not always the best option as people can have allergies to soy.

Protein from brown rice, pea and hemp have all grown in popularity in recent years as they are relatively inexpensive and have quality protein and health benefits.

Precautions and Side Effects

Side effects from plant protein powder supplements are generally non-existent or at worst mild as long the recommended dosage is followed. That is a critical component of using plant protein powder supplements effectively, however, as the recommended dosage is what should be consumed and over-reaching for more can have side effects.

Side effects from plant protein powders may include bloating, digestive issues or overly dark urine, indicating a surplus of plant protein in the body. Most of these side effects tend to occur only when the recommended dosage has not been followed, thus the reason the recommended dosage is crucial.

In addition, if you have any particular food allergies or issues such as a soy allergy, this will affect which plant protein powders make the best choice; if you have these issues or are not sure then consulting a medical professional is advised. Overall, plant protein powder supplements are generally considered safe and effective as long as the recommended guidelines and dosages are followed. If you are not sure if they are safe for you consult your medical professional.

How to Pick a Good Plant Protein Powder

When choosing a plant protein powder supplement there are a variety of factors to take into account. Your personal preferences will play a major part in finding the right selection for you, for example if you prefer an unflavored powdered option you can mix with a drink or a flavored option that makes a tasty drink by itself.

Some plant protein powder supplements will skew towards a specific demographic or training goal, such as gaining mass or putting on lean muscle; your personal goals will need to align with the stated purpose of the product in order to see the best results.

Flavor is of course important and not all plant protein powders are particularly tasty, you’ll want to search for an option with a flavor you generally like to make the supplement more palatable and easier to use.

Finally, price and budget are a factor as well. When cross-referenced with your other needs, the best option will need to fit into your budget, and while you generally may get what you pay for, there are some very effective plant protein powders that won’t break the bank.

Top 10 Plant Protein Powders

We have put together a list of our top 10 recommended plant protein powder supplements. Each one has a short breakdown of its highlights, primary ingredients and usages, as well as a brief profile for the company who makes the product.

Check out all 10 and look for the best option that not only comes highly recommended but fits your individual needs and desires for a plant protein powder supplement. We hope you enjoy and find the best product for you!

1. Orgain Organic Plant Based Protein Powder

Orgain Organic Plant Based Protein Powder

Orgain Organic Plant Based Protein Powder is an excellent plant-based protein powder that delivers 21 grams of protein in each serving. It also includes 5 grams of fiber with minimal carbs, and is a certified organic product, making it one of the best options on the market.

Product Highlights and Ingredients:

  • 21g protein per serving, with a blend of brown rice protein, pea protein, chia seed, and hemp protein.
  • Has 7g of fiber and only 3g net carbs
  • 150 calories per serving
  • Comes in 3 different flavors; chocolate, vanilla and unflavored
  • Non-GMO, dairy, soy and gluten free
  • Affordable and an excellent value for the money

Company Profile:

Founded by Dr. Andrew Abraham, a medical doctor and cancer survivor, Orgain has been a rapidly growing supplement manufacturer and continues to progress with natural, organic and effective products. They believe in natural products for improved health and continue to grow as an excellent nutritional supplement provider.

Why We Recommend It:

This product has just about everything you might look for in a plant-based protein product. It delivers a solid dose of protein from a variety of sources that are all natural and organic, while also including fiber but remaining low carb and low calorie. It has good flavor options and is affordable, making it an ideal option for a plant-based protein supplement.

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2. Sunwarrior – Warrior Blend

Sunwarrior Warrior Blend

Sunwarrior Warrior Blend is the rare supplement product that blends great taste with effectiveness and nutritional quality. It uses pea protein, hemp protein and goji berry as its primary ingredients, with 20 grams of protein and only 100 calories per serving. With delicious flavor options like mocha, berry and chocolate, this is a great plant protein powder for taste and results.

Product Highlights and Ingredients:

  • Delivers 20g protein per serving from hemp protein, pea protein and goji berry
  • Is a certified USDA organic product, as well as gluten free, GMO-free, dairy free, lactose free and soy free.
  • Comes in several great flavors including unflavored, mocha, chocolate, berry and vanilla
  • Only 100 calories and 1.5g fat
  • Complete amino acid profile, ideal for muscle growth and recovery
  • Good value, not too expensive

Company Profile:

Sunwarrior is a supplement manufacturer who specializes in products that are plant-based and all-natural. They have a variety of products ranging from plant-based proteins to superfood supplements and many other health and nutrition products. They are also active in supporting environmental issues as well.

Why We Recommend It:

This is one of the best options on the market for a plant-based protein that is both great tasting and effective. This protein from Sunwarrior delivers a solid dose of all-natural protein while staying low-calorie and comes in some of the best tasting mixes available, making this one of the top choices on the market.

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3. PlantFusion Complete, 100% Plant Based Protein Powder

Plantfusion Complete 100 Plant Based Protein Powder

PlantFusion Complete delivers an effective does of plant-based protein but also enzymes for digestion and additional amino acids as well for improved muscle recovery, making it one of the more balanced options with additional nutritional features. It delivers 21 grams of protein based on pea protein, artichoke protein, sprouted quinoa powder and sprouted amaranth powder.

Product Highlights and Ingredients:

  • 21g protein per serving, based on pea protein, artichoke protein, sprouted quinoa and sprouted amaranth
  • 3g of additional L-glutamine for improved recovery
  • 100mg enzyme blend for improved digestion
  • Low calorie and low fat
  • All-natural and organic
  • Contains no rice or soy
  • A good value, not too expensive

Company Profile:

Founded in 2009, PlantFusion is a relative newcomer to the nutrition and supplement industry but have made rapid strides since their inception. Founded by two health enthusiasts who shared a vision of a better and more natural supplement company, they use whole food and plant-based ingredients to create effective supplements.

Why We Recommend It:

This protein powder from PlantFusion is an excellent product and delivers a solid 21 grams of protein per serving and also includes L-glutamine and enzymes for a come comprehensive approach than pure proteins. It is also affordable, making it an excellent value.

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4. Vega Protein & Greens

Vega Protein Greens

Vega Protein & Greens is an excellent protein source that also includes a healthy amount of greens, making it one of the greenest and healthiest plant protein options available. The combination of pea, hemp, saviseed and brown rice for protein mixed kale, spinach, broccoli and alfalfa make it one of the most plant-based supplements available.

Product Highlights and Ingredients:

  • Delivers 20g of protein per serving from hemp, pea, saviseed and sprouted brown rice
  • The equivalent of 2 servings of greens in each serving with 1.2 cups of kale, alfalfa, broccoli and spinach
  • Comes in 5 flavors that taste great without any added sugars
  • Low in calories and fat
  • Non-GMO and gluten, soy, dairy free
  • Good value, not overly expensive for a product with added greens
  • Contains stevia, can be too sweet for some

Company Profile:

Vega is one of the largest manufacturers of plant-based nutritional products in the field. They create various protein powders, drink mixes and other products that primarily use plant-based, all-natural ingredients. They take pride in utilizing sound nutrition and fitness knowledge and principles to craft effective, sustainable, and healthy supplements for their customers.

Why We Recommend It:

What makes this product stand out is its unique combination of plant-based protein with a greens supplement, making it one of the healthiest and all-natural supplement options available. It is more expensive than pure protein powders due to the additional greens, however if you need extra veggies and protein this is an excellent product.

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5. Garden Of Life Organic Greens and Protein Powder

Garden Of Life Organic Greens And Protein Powder

This greens and protein powder from industry stalwart Garden of Life is an effective option for both protein and additional greens supplementation. It delivers 20 grams of quality protein from chia, brown rice and pea sources, as well as 6 different powdered vegetables for a total protein and greens solution.

Product Highlights and Ingredients:

  • 20g of protein per serving from brown rice, chia and pea proteins.
  • Green superfood blend with spinach, alfalfa, broccoli, navy bean, lentil bean and more.
  • All raw, USDA organic ingredients
  • Non-GMO, gluten, diary and soy free
  • Strong and well-respected brand name
  • More expensive than other comparable products

Company Profile:

Garden of Life, the maker of Organic Greens and Protein Powder, is a popular manufacturer of health and fitness supplements, along with health foods and related products. They have been a leader in the health supplement industry and specialize in utilizing raw whole foods and organic sources for their products.

Why We Recommend It:

This is an excellent plant-based protein option if you are looking to supplement high-quality protein use with additional greens and their associated health benefits. It may be more expensive than other plant-based protein options, but the quality and effectiveness is clear, and it comes from one of the more respected brands in the industry.

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6. Naturade Vegansmart All-in-one Nutritional Shake

Naturade Vegansmart All In One Nutritional Shake

This protein mix from Naturade is one of the best protein blends on the market for digestive health and overall nutrition. It includes the requisite 20 grams of protein per serving, but also delivers a wealth of micronutrients including fiber, digestive enzymes, prebiotics, vitamins and minerals. It can function as a pure protein shake or meal replacement and is one of the most comprehensive protein options available.

Product Highlights and Ingredients:

  • 20g protein per serving from pea, hemp, chia, potato and chlorella proteins
  • Whole food complex with mango, raspberry, broccoli and cabbage among others.
  • Fiber and omega-3 blend with flaxseed powder and bamboo fiber
  • Also includes prebiotics and digestive enzymes
  • 100% vegan and all-natural
  • Comes in 3 flavors
  • More expensive than pure protein powders

Company Profile:

Naturade is one of the oldest and most respected health product manufacturers in the industry. Founded nearly a century ago in 1926, they have continued to be one of the top companies and are credited key innovations such as developing the first soy protein powder for commercial use in the 1950’s.

Why We Recommend It:

This product is arguably the most comprehensive plant-based protein powder available and could easily double as a meal replacement shake. With a plethora of ingredients including 20 grams of protein along with fiber, omega-3’s, vitamins and minerals it has a comprehensive health benefit. It does cost more than a pure protein-only option, but for all of the benefits it provides it is still a quality value.

7. Jarrow Formulas Optimal Plant Proteins

Jarrow Formulas Optimal Plant Proteins

Jarrow Formulas Optimal Plant Proteins is a quality and effective plant protein that delivers 21 grams of protein from brown rice, peas, chia, hemp and more. With added fiber and no sugars, it is an excellent option for protein without any extra fillers.

Product Highlights and Ingredients

  • 21g protein per serving from brown rice, peas, chia seeds, hemp and chlorella
  • Has additional dietary fiber included as well
  • 100% vegan
  • Has no added sugar and is also gluten-free
  • Has a good amino acid profile and could be a great option for post-workout recovery
  • Can have a gritty powder taste
  • More expensive than some comparable products

Company Profile:

Jarrow Formulas, based in sunny Los Angeles, California, is a nutritional supplement company with a wide variety of fitness supplements. They have been in business since 1988 and continue to distribute quality products throughout North America.

Why We Recommend It:

This is an excellent product from a respected manufacturer that delivers with a healthy dose of both protein and fiber. It can be a bit more expensive than comparable products and the taste and texture have received mixed reviews. That being said, the quality of nutrients and effectiveness are solid and it is an effective product for plant-based protein and fiber.

8. Nutiva Organic Plant Protein Superfood

Nutiva Organic Plant Protein Superfood

Nutiva Organic Plant Protein Superfood is one of the more unique products for plant-based protein. It includes over 30 superfood ingredients and also uses some unique protein sources including pumpkin, sunflower and sachi inchi proteins.

Product Highlights and Ingredients

  • 20 grams of protein per serving from pea, pumpkin, sunflower, hemp, chia and sachi inchi proteins
  • Over 30 superfoods including kale, reishi mushroom, cinnamon and more.
  • Include probiotics for digestive health
  • 4g of fiber per serving
  • Comes in vanilla and chocolate with no added sugar or stevia
  • More expensive than other products
  • Small container, only contains 18 servings

Company Profile:

Nutiva is one of the world’s leading brands of organic products and superfoods. They tend to incorporate sources such as chia seeds, coconut, red palm and hemp for an all-natural and organic approach. Founded in 1999, Nutiva takes pride in their status as certified organic, non-GMO, Fair Trade, gluten free, kosher and more.

Why We Recommend It:

This is one of the most comprehensive nutritional products available in the protein powder market. It uses unique ingredients for its protein sources and includes more superfoods than most protein products, as well as additional fiber and probiotics. It is more expensive than simpler protein options, but the additional health and nutrition benefits make it a value nonetheless.

9. Purely Inspired Organic Protein Shake

Purely Inspired Organic Protein Shake

Purely Inspired Organic Protein Shake is an effective plant-based protein option with protein as well as fruits and veggies for an overall health boost. With 20 grams of protein per serving and added nutrients it is a quality product for protein supplementation and overall health.

Product Highlights and Ingredients:

  • 20g of protein per serving from brown rice and pea protein
  • Organic fruit and vegetable blend with alfalfa, spinach, broccoli and more
  • Added probiotics
  • 7g of fiber per serving
  • USDA organic and dairy, gluten and soy free
  • Comes in French vanilla or chocolate
  • Small amount of servings per container
  • More expensive than most

Company Profile:

Purely Inspired is a rapidly growing, USA based supplement manufacturer. They have a wide range of supplements and products including protein powders, weight loss supplements, and more. They use organic, natural and simple ingredients for an effective and quality product each time.

Why We Recommend It:

This is a solid product that offers users an effective dose of protein per serving as well as fruit and vegetable blends for improved digestion and overall health. Though the amount of servings per container and price is not as ideal as some, it still delivers quality and effective nutrition.

10. NOW Foods Plant Protein Complex

Now Foods Plant Protein Complex

This protein powder comes from one of the most respected names in the supplement industry in NOW Foods and delivers a simple yet effective plant protein option. It has 22 grams of protein per serving without any additional or superfluous ingredients, so that users know exactly what they’re getting, quality plant protein.

Product Highlights and Ingredients:

  • 22g protein per serving from brown rice, hemp, pea and quinoa proteins
  • Non-GMO
  • Low calorie option
  • Sweetened with Stevia
  • Only comes in vanilla
  • One of the more affordable options

Company Profile:

NOW Foods is the maker of this product, and they are considered to be one of the companies in the greater supplement industry. For decades, they have produced products that are very high in quality yet also specialize in simplicity. They have a wealth of products, over 1,000 and are a major player in the industry.

Why We Recommend It:

This protein product comes from one of the most respected brands in the industry and delivers an effective dose of plant protein with no extra or additional ingredients. It only comes in one flavor but is one of the more affordable options available.

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Carl Putman

Written by Carl Putman

Carl Putman is a strength and conditioning coach at the collegiate level and writer on fitness, health and supplements. Over the past decade, he has worked with a wide variety of clients ranging from professional athletes and world champions to youth and general population, as well as tactical practitioners. He is currently pursuing a Masters degree in Organizational Leadership. Based in Florida, he continues to train and coach as well as write with a passion for making a positive impact for his clients and readers.