7 Best Vegan Protein Powders of 2021

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vegan protein powder test batch
My latest vegan protein powder test batch

For over 4 years, I’ve been regularly buying and testing vegan protein powders. As of this update, I’ve reviewed 35.

My goal has always been to find the best vegan protein powder, and share those results with others.

This page outlines the results of my testing.

How I Test Each Protein Powder

I won’t go into my full testing methodology, but I rank each product in 4 important categories:

  • Cost
  • Amount of protein
  • Mixability
  • Taste

Other than taste, the scores are calculated in a repeatable way to ensure unbiased and fair results.

The Best Vegan Protein Powders I Found

1. Future Kind Vegan Plant Protein Powder

Best overall vegan protein powder and for weight loss

future kind protein packaging

Overall: 90/100
Protein Content 25/25
Cost 15/25
Mixability 25/25
Taste 25/25
  • Mixes perfectly and has a great flavor (no aftertaste or chalky texture)
  • All ingredients are organic and made in the USA (usually indicative of higher quality supplements)
  • Has the highest protein content of all products I’ve tested (~94% of calories come from protein)
  • 3rd party tested to detect issues like heavy metals in protein powder

Future Kind is the best vegan protein powder overall as far as I’m concerned.

I’m a fan of the company in general, they make only vegan products, and always use high quality ingredients.

I don’t see any significant negatives of this protein powder. You could say that the price isn’t “cheap”, but it’s fairly average for vegan protein powders and I think you get a lot of value for the cost.

It’s been a while, but I think it was better than any whey protein that I had in the past.

Get a 10% Discount with coupon code ‘BEKIND10’


2. Nuzest Clean Lean Pea Protein

Best tasting vegan protein powder
nuzest clean lean protein
Overall: 75/100
Protein Content 25/25
Cost 0/25
Mixability 25/25
Taste 25/25
  • Mixes perfectly and is the best tasting vegan protein powder (by a tiny bit over Future Kind).
  • Sweetened with thaumatin, which tastes better than Stevia in my opinion.
  • Pea protein is sourced from Europe (most others source from China).
  • Expensive

This is only one out of order in terms of overall score on this page.

It was a tricky one to rank because it’s a fantastic pea protein powder, but it’s also the most expensive of any of the ones I bought.

So if budget really doesn’t matter to you, this is a good option, otherwise there are likely better value options for you (as indicated by the overall scores).


3. PlantFusion Complete Plant Protein

Best vegan protein powder for Muscle Gain (With Added BCAAs)
plantfusion packaging
Overall: 87/100
Protein Content 23/25
Cost 16/25
Mixability 25/25
Taste 22/25
  • Good blend of 5 plant protein sources
  • Added BCAAs, which may aid in muscle synthesis
  • Solid flavor with a nice frothy texture

When I originally created this page, I tested 20 different plant-based protein powders and PlantFusion was number 1. Now that I’ve tried more, I still rank it very highly.

It’s a great protein powder for a reasonable price, and I recommend trying it if it looks interesting to you.


4. True Nutrition Vegan Lean

Best bulk vegan protein powder (customizable)
true nutrition vegan lean package
Overall: 81/100
Protein Content 24/25
Cost 13/25
Mixability 22/25
Taste 22/25
  • Order in bulk (up to 100 lbs at a time) and get a small discount
  • Choose from over 30 flavors and customize amount of flavor added
  • Solid overall taste and protein content

If you’re buying in bulk or want more control over your protein powder, True Nutrition is your best option by far.

I tried a few of their pre-made blends, and “vegan lean” was the best one by far to me, it’s a blend of pea and brown rice protein.

The website is a little dated and confusing to use at first, but it’s a reputable company with a wide range of products.


5. NOW Sports Pea Protein

Best affordable pea protein option
now sport pea protein
Overall: 79/100
Protein Content 22/25
Cost 23/25
Mixability 19/25
Taste 15/25
  • Cheapest pea protein you’ll find anywhere
  • Minimal ingredient list
  • Taste is okay, but it’s not particularly pleasurable to drink
  • Texture is a bit chalky

If budget is your main concern, this is your best option by far. It costs less than buying plain pea protein from a bulk food store.

Since it’s literally just pea protein, it obviously doesn’t taste amazing, but it’s drinkable even plain. I’d recommend drinking it in smoothies or flavored non-dairy milk. Another alternative is to add your own sweetener (stevia, sugar, erythritol, etc.).


6. Vega Protein and Greens

Best nutritious plant-based protein powder
vega protein and greens container
Overall: 78/100
Protein Content 19/25
Cost 17/25
Mixability 22/25
Taste 20/25
  • A bit above average in every category, just a solid protein powder.
  • Easy to find in stores, and I’ve seen it on sale often.
  • Vegetable powder ingredients add a bit of extra nutrition (vitamin A, vitamin C, iron)

I tested a few different Vega protein powder products, and this was the highest rated of them overall.

There’s nothing particularly special about it, but it’s just a good protein powder. If you’re looking for a bit of extra nutrition from your shakes, or a protein powder you can easily find in most stores, Vega Protein and Greens is a good option.


7. The Plant Era Organic Vegan Protein Powder

A great organic vegan protein powder
the plant era protein powder
Overall: 76/100
Protein Content 19/25
Cost 15/25
Mixability 22/25
Taste 20/25
  • Second best organic plant protein powder (only losing to Future Kind)
  • Unique dark chocolate flavor that grows on you quickly
  • Limited flavors, and texture is a bit chalky.

The Plant Era is a vegan company that sells a small variety of vegan supplements.

Their protein powder has a blend of pea and rice protein, and a minimal ingredient list. It’s also one of the few with added vitamin B12, meaning that if you have a shake or two a day, you’ll meet the RDA for B12.


Vegan Protein Powder Comparison Table

The data in this comparison table is the result of all my testing.

Click on the arrow icon on any of the headers to sort by that specific score (higher is always better).

Here’s a quick summary of how I scored each category:
  • Nutrition – The “nutrition” score tells you the relative amount of calories that come from protein (i.e. the ones that score low are basically meal replacement shakes).
  • Price – This is a score based on the price per gram of protein.
  • Taste – I mixed a consistent amount of protein powder into the same amount of almond milk and then drank and rated the shake.
  • Mixability – I poured the shake through a fine strainer and weighed the clumps that came out. Then scaled this to a score out of 25.
NameNutritionPriceMixabilityTasteOverall
Future Kind Protein Powder2515252590
Plantfusion2316252287
True Nutrition Vegan Lean2413222281
Canadian Protein Blend1919222080
NOW Sports Pea Protein2223191579
Vega Protein and Greens1917222077
MRM Veggie Elite2121251077
The Plant Era Protein Powder1915222076
Purely Inspired1722221576
PEScience Plant Protein Powder2015251575
Nuzest Clean Lean250252575
Leanfit Complete Green1913222074
Vega Sport2212192073
Naked Pea2517191071
GHOST1910202271
Orgain Organic1516251571
Naturade VeganSmart1416251570
Genuine Health Fermented196252070
About Time188222068
ON Gold Standard1813221568
True Nutrition Vegan Optimizer2214131866
Progressive Harmonized218251266
Sunwarrior Warrior Blend2110161763
KOS Organic131792262
Bodylogix201931557
Blessed182191857
Kaizen Naturals191632057
Garden of Life Raw Fit181661556
Iron Vegan18719548
Natreve19291545
MRM Veggie Protein16200037
Vega One All-in-one1356529
On the second and third page you’ll see a lot of “popular” vegan protein powders that really don’t stand up to the testing (e.g. Sunwarrior Warrior Blend, Garden of Life, etc.).

Why You Should Trust These Rankings

I started this extensive experiment because all the “best vegan protein powder” articles seemed like they were written by people who didn’t even try the products.

I’ve tried to take this whole endeavor to the next level and be transparent while doing it, and have spent probably about $1,000 so far on protein powders. 

If you look in the detailed individual reviews, you’ll see pictures of the product and the results of measurements like pouring shakes through a strainer.

Common Questions About Vegan Protein Powder

Is It Bad to Rely on Protein Powder?

I drink one or two protein shakes per day.

There’s nothing wrong with it, it’s just that protein powders don’t typically give you any extra nutrition. So you’re still going to have to get all your vitamins, minerals, and fiber from actual food sources.

I’d recommend getting as much protein from whole foods as possible, and then using protein powder to hit your macros if needed.

See my guide on how to get enough protein as a vegan if you’re struggling with this. There are quite a few good plant-based foods for protein (i.e. tofu is a complete protein).

Are Vegan Protein Powders Safe?

While there are some concerns over heavy metals in protein powder, current evidence suggests that vegan protein powders are safe to drink on a regular basis in moderation. If you’re worried about this, stick with a brand like Future Kind that uses pea protein sourced from North America or Europe and has 3rd party testing.

What Sources Are Plant Based Protein Powders Made Of?

Long story short, the most common protein sources in the products I tested were:

  • Pea protein
  • Brown rice protein
  • Hemp protein
  • Chia seed protein

For some reason, most people believe that all protein powders are made from soy. In reality, it’s actually difficult to find one that has any soy in it. All the ones I tried were soy free.

Most products are based on pea protein (i.e. you won’t find many that are just hemp protein powder).

On top of that, there’s almost always some sort of sweetener. In most cases, they use a natural sweetener (e.g. stevia), instead of artificial sweeteners like xylitol. You don’t have many options these days if you don’t like stevia, it’s in everything (even in vegan lip balms).

Only a few plant based protein powders have sugar added.

Finally, the more “healthy”-oriented powders contain ingredients like chia or flax seeds. These are some of the best vegan sources of calcium, as well as other important nutrients like iron.

Are Plant-Based Protein Sources as Good as Whey?

Whey protein powder is the “normal” gold standard in protein quality and effectiveness for athletes. It’s only natural to compare dairy free plant sources to it.

A decent number of studies have done this, and all have found similar things. I’ll give you a quick summary of a few of those studies:

When you combine these results with the fact that vegans don’t have lower testosterone, there’s no reason that you can’t build muscle just as easily as before you went vegan.

SUMMARY

While there is still some research to be done, plant-based dairy-free proteins like pea, brown rice, hemp, soy, and others have comparable effectiveness to whey protein when it comes to increasing protein intake and muscle gain.

Protein Blend vs. Protein Isolate

If you take a look at the ingredients of vegan protein powders, some of them only have one protein source(usually pea protein), while others have a blend of multiple
sources
(like chia, buckwheat, quinoa, etc.).

To understand why, take a look at this picture of pea protein’s amino acid profile:

It has a fairly balanced profile, but is relatively low in 2 essential amino acids – methionine and tryptophan.

By creating a blend of protein sources, you make up for those weak spots (if you pick the right combinations).

SUMMARY

For most people, it doesn’t matter whether you get an isolate or a blend, the rest of your food will make up for any deficiencies in terms of essential amino acids. If you’re not eating much (or not a diverse diet), choose a protein powder
with a blend of protein sources.

How Did You Rate Each Plant Based Protein Powder?

I started by buying every vegan (non-dairy) protein supplement I could find, and doing detailed reviews of them to help anyone looking for a plant based protein powder alternative to whey powders that they may have used in the past.

To do this fairly, I created an objective testing procedure to score each product in the 4 most important aspects of a protein powder:

  • Price – How cheap a protein was per 100 grams.
  • Nutrition – What percentage of the calories come from protein.
  • Mixability – How well the powder mixes, I measured the weight of clumps to calculate this.
  • Taste – How good does it taste (subjective).

For taste in particular, the powder was mixed into room temperature almond milk. I didn’t add other ingredients (i.e. and make a smoothie) in order to keep things fair.

Each aspect was scored out of 25, where a high score is always a good thing (i.e. a high “price” score means that a product is cheap, a high “mixability” score means that a protein was non-chalky, a high “nutrition” score means it’s high protein and low carb).

 

About the author

Dale Cudmore

Your friendly neighborhood vegan from Toronto. Chemical engineer turned semi-professional soccer player and freelance nutrition writer. I've been vegan for years and try to make life easier for others by sharing what I've learned.