Whether you’re a seasoned gym goer working hard to improve your exercise performance, or someone who’s simply wanting to top up their protein intake on-the-go, the best protein shaker can be a life saver. These handy gadgets make it easy to mix up a quick dose of protein at any time and in any place, without having to worry about accidental spills or clumps of undissolved powder.
Once a niche supplement for dedicated bodybuilders, the best protein powder is one of the most popular sports supplements on the market. Getting the right type and amount of protein is essential for growing and maintaining muscle mass, but its benefits go far beyond shaping the physique. This essential nutrient is critical to tissue growth and repair, skin and bone health, as well appetite control and immune function.
Everyone can benefit from a tasty protein shake on-the-go, with products including the best vegan protein powder and the best protein powder for women too.
“The general rule of thumb is that you need 1-1.5g of protein per kilo of body weight,” says Daniel Herman, nutritionist and founder of Bio-Synergy. “So a 70kg adult would need a daily intake of up to 90g which is the equivalent of four salmon steaks or over 500g of tofu! A good quality protein shake can provide a delicious way to hit your protein requirements."
But what makes a plastic bottle a quality protein shaker? First and foremost, their design is far superior. They mix your supplements with ease and no leftover product is left in the creases or hard to reach spots. And you can be rest assured that they will not cause any annoying leakage at the slightest turbulence. The best protein shaker should also be easy to store and clean, so you are less likely to deal with rancid smells and hardened protein powder bits. Some models may even come with a range of useful features, like additional compartments for storing supplements or built-in blenders.
At Live Science, we’ve personally tested the best protein shaker to help you decide which ones perfectly aligns with your needs and preferences. We’ve considered durability, functionality and additional perks to come up with our ultimate round-up. Read on to find your perfect match.
Best protein shakers
BlenderBottle Classic V2 is one of the most popular protein shakers and there are many good reasons why it firmly stays in the best-seller charts. BlenderBottle Classic V2 shakers come in four different sizes and up to 17 different colors, so everyone can find a version that suits their needs and preferences. We tried the purple color in the 20oz.
Every bottle has a screw-on lid with a leak-proof seal and a secure flip cap that keeps the mouthpiece clean. BlenderBottle Classic V2’s round shape allows for thorough mixing and easy cleaning, while its embossed markings will help you measure the content with ease – both in ounces and millilitres. And if you travel or hike frequently, you’ll definitely like the addition of a wide loop top for easy carrying or attaching keys.
This versatile protein shaker comes with a surgical-grade stainless steel BlenderBall wire whisk that’s found only in BlenderBottle products. You can be sure that it will not corrode, no matter how many times you put it through its paces. This wire whisk has been certified with 316 marine grade, which means that it’s designed to sustain frequent contact with water. We found it mixed our protein shake really smoothly. In its entirety, BlenderBottle Classic V2 is dishwasher safe and free of harmful BPAs and phthalates.
The only downside is that the bottle is non-transparent, which makes it more difficult to see the contents. It also comes with no insulation.
HydraCup is the only brand on the market that produces dual protein shakers, allowing you to store two different liquids at the same time. It’s a perfect solution if you regularly use pre- and post workout supplements. These semi-transparent bottles come in two sizes and three color options, making it easy to find a product that fits in your lifestyle. All HydraCup shakers from this brand are free of BPA and phthalates, and are safe to put in the dishwasher.
Thanks to a dual mixing grid included with each shaker bottle, Dual Threat mixed and blended well in testing, while its round shape allowing for easy cleaning, which came as a surprise given how narrow the compartments are. It’s worth noting that HydraCup products tend to be sold in multipacks, making it a cost-saving and environmentally friendly way to top up your protein shaker collection.
On the other hand, some people may find these dual bottles tricky to use as the mouthpieces are located in close proximity. We also found the lid a little tricky to get on and click into place. Secondly, the shaker may be difficult to carry around as it doesn't have any finger loops or hooks. Also, none of the bottles in the HydraCup Dual Threat collection are insulated, nor feature a printed scale to help with the measurements.
HELIMIX Vortex belongs to the more premium category of protein shakers, but it’s worth the cost. The bottle’s unique hexagonal design is the defining feature of HELIMIX products. It acts as a vortex, blending your protein shake to perfection without leaving any lumps or residue. We couldn't believe that it blended so well without the need for a mixing ball. Ingredients rotate in one direction as they flow through the vortex and then in reverse as you repeatedly shake the HELIMIX bottle up and down. This generates an efficient mixing ability without the need for any whisks or mixing balls.
All HELIMIX protein shakers are made with a highly durable Tritan™ Plastic that’s free of potentially harmful chemicals and designed to be odor resistant. At the same time, they’re surprisingly light and portable. These transparent bottles are also dishwasher safe and feature a handy graduated scale on the side to help you measure your content. What’s more, they could be a great choice for weekend car trips as HELIMIX shakers fit in almost all cup holders.
However, there’s one big disadvantage to HELIMIX protein shakers - they only come in one size (28 oz). You also will not find any loops to help you with carrying, or any insulation to keep your contents in a stable temperature. That being said, the HELIMIX feels like a really premium product, that can withstand the test of time.
PROMiXX PRO protein shaker is the only product featured in this guide that comes with a powerful electric blender attached. This unique feature makes this bottle a highly functional gadget, capable of mixing everything from shakes and cocktails, to eggs, coffee or even baby formula. The power unit is fully USB rechargeable with the included USB-C cable and contains a long-lasting battery that can take up to 90 mixes per one charge. We were impressed by how powerful the blender was, despite being fairly small and lightweight. We would note, however, that it wouldn't be suitable for blending anything other than powders.
PROMiXX PRO is made out of a durable, odor resistant plastic and features an ergonomic sports cap that’s highly effective at preventing leaks. The BPA/ DEHP-free bottle is lightly tinted and has a handy scale printed on the side to help you measure your ingredients. Furthermore, it has an integrated NUTRiPOD (4.5oz) designed to store your powdered nutritional supplements.
Still, there’s quite a few downsides to this product. PROMiXX PRO comes in only one size (20oz) which many may find to not be big enough. Also, there are only two color choices available. The fact that it comes with a power unit makes this protein shaker more difficult to clean and unsuitable for dishwasher use. We had to take the blender part off before handwashing. What’s more, PROMiXX PRO doesn’t have any loops or attachments for easy carrying, nor is it insulated. It’s also a fairly expensive product.
BlenderBottle Shaker Bottle is a life saver for anyone who struggles to keep all their supplements in one place. This protein shaker comes with two 'Twist n' Lock' jars and a pill organizer to safely store all of your pills and powders, and if that’s not enough space, you can get additional accessories as well.
BlenderBottle is made out of durable, leak-proof plastic that’s dishwasher safe and free of BPA and phthalates. It’s semi-transparent and has a graduated scale embossed on the side, making it easy to measure the content. This protein shaker also features a SureSeal flip cap, secure screw-on lid and loop top to help you easily carry it around. Although, we're not sure how quality the SureSeal cap is, as it kept popping open after we had washed it for the first time. This left us reluctant to store the shaker with liquid in our bag in case it was no longer leak-proof.
When it came to mixing ability, the patented BlenderBottle wire whisk delivered a smooth consistency, with no lumps or residue.
Although it comes in nearly 11 different colors, there’s only one size available and some may find this shaker too small for practical use. It’s also not insulated.
If maintaining the right temperature of your shakes is at the top of your priority list, Shakespeare tumbler may be a perfect choice for you. It’s the only protein shaker in this guide that comes with thorough insulation. Made with two steel walls and a copper lining, Shakespeare tumbler claims to keep your drinks hot for eight hours and cold for 12 hours. In testing, we felt like eight hours was a slightly overstatement, with six more of a drinkable temperature. Still, this is fairly impressive.
This protein shaker boasts a highly polished non-stick interior, which looks great, is easy to clean and shows the measurements of your drink. The unique capsule design prevents the build-up of smells and residue, while improving its mixing abilities, so there is no need for any blending balls or whisks. The bottle is BPA free and comes with a scale and a secure leak-proof slide cap with a handy finger loop attached to it.
However, there are few downsides to Shakespeare tumblers. Though easy to clean, they’re not dishwasher safe. The bottles are mostly non-transparent and only four color options are available. They’re also quite expensive.
How do we test protein shakers at Live Science?
Each of the protein shakers in this guide has been tried and tested by the Live Science team. In the non-insulated shakers, we mixed up a protein shake using protein powder and water, to assess how well it blended. We also shook each shaker upside down for approx. 30 seconds to see how leak-proof it was. For the insulated shakers, we tested how long hot and cold liquids stayed at a drinkable temperature too. Other features were noted, including how easy the shaker was to carry around or store, how easy it was to clean, and whether it had any stand-out features.
How do protein shakers work?
Every good protein shaker should meet three basic requirements: it should have a secure lid, be leak-proof and allow for easy cleaning. To decide whether a protein shaker is best tailored for you, it needs to have additional features that will seamlessly align with your lifestyle and exercise routine. Professional athletes who spend long hours in the gym will look for traits that may not appeal to elderly hikers, and vice versa.
The first thing to consider is the size and weight of your protein shaker. If you don't consider yourself to be a fitness fanatic or a passionate bodybuilder, smaller and more portable bottles with no blenders or whisks will suit you just right. But if your intense exercise regime requires you to eat hefty portions of protein on a daily basis, investing in a bigger, more sophisticated shaker will make your fitness routine much easier to follow. If you also regularly take other supplements, such as BCAAs or creatine, having an additional pill compartment or removable container will surely come in handy.
The next aspect to take into consideration is the maintenance of your protein shaker. If you’ve ever had to clean a bottle after leaving it in your gym bag for days, you know very well that it can be a stuff of nightmares. It’s hard to bear the rancid smell and even harder to scrub off the last bits of protein powder that get stuck in creases. So if you’re not particularly keen on reliving this horrible experience time and time again, check whether your bottle is suitable for putting into a dishwasher. It’s also worth pointing out that shakers made out of stainless steel or metal are generally easier to clean and maintain.
Finally, protein shakers are great for mixing protein blends, but they can serve other purposes too. For example, if you prefer to have a bottle that can also keep your coffee nice and warm, invest in an insulated shaker. Similarly, if you like to mix in some fruit or peanut butter into your protein shake, look into some pricier bottles that come with a built-in blender.
What type of protein should you use in your protein shaker?
Protein powders come in countless forms and flavors. With so many choices available, choosing the right one may seem like an impossible task. Narrowing it down to products that suit your dietary preferences and fitness goals is a good starting point.
Most protein powders available on the market contain whey or milk protein isolates. These blends have an excellent amino acid profile, absorb well in the stomach and are great for day-to-day use. They are particularly effective at stimulating the growth of muscle mass, making them a great addition to most heavy resistance training routines. At the same time, whey isolates may trigger digestive issues or skin problems in some sensitive individuals. They are also not suitable for people who are allergic to dairy products. If milk proteins are not for you, there are many plant-based protein powders that you can use instead.
Vegan protein powders are sometimes deemed as inferior to whey, but that’s not entirely true. While pea, hemp or rice protein isolate on their own may not deliver the right type and amount of amino acids to effectively stimulate muscle growth, the vast majority combine several different plant-based blends to achieve a comparable amino acid profile. Vegan powders are great all-rounders, safe and effective to use on a daily basis, but they also come with certain disadvantages. Similarly to milk-derived supplements, they may cause a range of digestive issues in sensitive individuals. Also, the taste and consistency of certain blends may not be to everyone’s liking.
When choosing a protein powder, it’s also worth checking whether it’s right for your fitness goals. Protein powders are broadly divided into two categories: mass gainers and protein supplements. Mass gainers are designed to spur quick muscle growth, so they are extremely high in calories, carbohydrates and supporting micronutrients. Protein supplements contain mostly protein blends, making it more appropriate for general use. Some may also be specifically formulated for weight loss purposes - these have fewer calories and tend to be marked as ‘diet’ versions.
Lastly, many protein powders are enriched with additional compounds, such as minerals, vitamins, enzymes or herbal extracts. If you have a specific fitness goal in mind, choosing a more specialist product may bring you more benefits in the long-term.
This article is for informational purposes only and is not meant to offer medical advice.