The 21 Best Vegan Protein Powders in 2018: By Taste, Price, and Nutrition
Where are you going to get your protein?
When I first went vegan, that question drove me to find a good vegan protein powder.
But I quickly learned that most plant-based protein powders tasted like dirt, or were very expensive.
That's why I set out to find the best vegan protein powder on my own, by spending over 6 months buying, testing, and reviewing as many vegan powders as I could find.
All the results of that research are on this page. I hope they help you find a protein powder that you love.
The Best Types of Vegan Protein
Soy, pea, hemp, pumpkin, chia...
It can be overwhelming at first.
Protein powders consist of concentrated protein extracted from these sources and more.
But how do you know which one is best for you or healthiest in general?
Each type of protein consists of a different combination of amino acids, which the body uses in different ways.
If you just want to be healthy in a general sense, a balanced protein intake from multiple sources will ensure you get all the most important essential amino acids.
Even if you're an athlete, you should take the same approach. Contrary to a myth that just won't die, supplementing branched chain amino acids (BCAAs) doesn't actually increase muscle synthesis. Many peer-reviewed studies have busted this myth.
As long as you're getting a wide variety of protein sources, you'll be healthy. So if you eat a lot of soy foods, find a protein powder that mainly comes from peas, hemp, or another source. If you eat a lot of peas, look for a soy protein or other alternative.
Conclusion: No single type of vegan protein is the "healthiest". Whether you're an athlete or not, try to get your protein from multiple sources (that includes protein powder).
What Sources Are Vegan 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.
Some protein powders have a small amount of other plant-based sources as well, but usually in very small amounts.
Are Plant-Based Protein Sources as Good as Whey?
Whey is the "normal" gold standard in protein quality and effectiveness for athletes. It's only natural to compare 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:
- Pea protein was as effective as whey in a 12 week study of 161 males.
- Young men using brown rice protein gained the same amount of muscle as the whey protein group in an 8 week study.
- With a diverse combination of plant protein sources, vegetable proteins provide similar benefit to animal protein.
Conclusion: While there is still some research to done, plant-based proteins like pea, brown rice, hemp, soy, and others have comparable effectiveness to whey protein.
Protein Blend vs. Isolates
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).
Conclusion: 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. If you're not eating much (or not a diverse diet), choose a protein powder with a blend of protein sources.
How I Tested Each 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 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).
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).
Here is the detailed testing methodology for my reviews if you’d like to know how the individual scores were calculated.
Results: The Vegan Protein Powder Comparison Table
The data in this comparison table is the result of all my work.
Click on the arrow icon on any of the headers to sort by that specific score.
If you select a country, the price scores and product links will be updated to localized ones where applicable.
The 4 factors are all weighted the same when calculating the overall rating out of 100. If you'd like more control, you can generate a table with personalized weights here.
All the links to products on this page go to Amazon, since that's most convenient for most people and they have a great selection. That being said, you can find some vegan protein powders at GNC, Costco, Vitamin Shoppe, or even Walmart if you prefer to shop in person.
The 9 Best Vegan Protein Powders I Reviewed
I'll link to all my full, detailed reviews for each product in the results table at the end of this section.
Here, I'll give you a short summary of why the top protein powders received the scores they did.
#1: PlantFusion Complete Plant Protein
Best overall vegan protein powder, best tasting vegan protein powder
Flavors: Vanilla, Chocolate, Chocolate Raspberry
If I had to recommend one protein powder to all vegans, PlantFusion would be it.
It was the best tasting protein shake I tried by far. You'll drink it for pleasure, not just to get the protein.
And I'm not the only one who liked it. My non-vegan girlfriend stole it and used it over her typical whey protein.
With a score of 86, PlantFusion has the highest overall score of any supplement I tried. It was above average in every category.
You can see my full PlantFusion review here for a detailed explanation of the scoring, but I'll give you a summary here.
How Does PlantFusion Taste?
It’s the only vegan protein shake that I’ve tried so far that I’ve given a perfect taste score to. It somehow manages to avoid the chalky texture and aftertaste that so many other products struggle with and mixes perfectly.
PlantFusion also includes a blend of enzymes to make digesting it easier. This is a nice bonus if you're worried about protein shakes giving you gas. A few other products also include enzymes, but not many.
It's scored a perfect 1.0 on the Protein Digestibility Corrected Amino Acid Score (PDCAAS), which is the test for protein quality that the US FDA and World Health Organization (WHO) use.
How Much Does PlantFusion Cost?
PlantFusion scores above average for price, meaning that it's cheaper than the average vegan protein supplement.
That being said, if price is a big concern, there are some cheaper options on this list (or sort by price in the table above).
How Well Does PlantFusion Mix?
There's not much to say here, PlantFusion mixes perfectly. I couldn't strain out any clumps at all during the mixability test.
One observation I can make is that the grains of this protein powder are much smaller than every other powder I've reviewed. This is at least part of the reason that it mixes so well, and that the texture is non-chalky.
How Much Protein is in PlantFusion?
The overall protein content is very solid and above average (21 grams per 120 calories, or 70% of calories), even if it’s not the very best of all powders.
The ingredients are relatively unique, in a good way.
Here's the full ingredients list:
PlantFusion® Amino Acid Infused Protein Blend: (Pea Protein Isolate,Artichoke Protein, Organic Sprouted Amaranth Powder and Organic Sprouted Quinoa Powder), PlantFusion® Proprietary Enzyme Blend: Bromelain and Alpha Galactosidase with other naturally occurring enzymes. Fructose, natural vanilla flavor, stevia glycine, silica and xanthan gum.
Why it's good: Blending together 4 plant-based protein sources gives PlantFusion a balanced and complete amino acid profile. Overall there are 4,500 mg of BCAAs (L-isoleucine, L-Leucine and L-Valine) from vegan BCAA sources, and 3.350 mg of L-Glutamine. It's also free of all common allergens like dairy, soy, nuts, and gluten.
Some people are wary about fructose, but studies have shown that fructose is only unhealthy in high doses, so a few grams in a shake here shouldn't affect you negatively at all.
Overall, if you’re looking for a plant-based powder to get started with that you'll almost certainly like, I can't recommend PlantFusion enough. (It's the one that I'll buy once I'm done with the 30+ pounds I still need to finish first.)
#2: NOW Sports Pea Protein
Best cheap vegan protein powder, best vegan protein powder without stevia
Flavors: Vanilla, Chocolate, Unflavored
If you're looking for a cheap plant-based protein powder, this is the best one for you.
The taste isn't amazing, but it's the cheapest, while mixing well and having a high protein content, and it's really easy to find in stores.
Additionally, it's one of very few that have no stevia in it. I'm not sure why, but it's nearly impossible to find vegan protein powders without stevia in them that don't taste horrible. This is a good option if you don't like stevia.
Does NOW Sports Taste Good?
This powder only scored a 15 out of 25 for taste, the only thing stopping it from being the #1 overall.
The texture was very chalky, which is the big issue. You likely won't enjoy it, but it's still drinkable.
You could also mix it with a smoothie to make it taste better.
How Cheap is NOW Sports Pea Protein?
NOW Sports had the highest "price score" of 23, which means that it's the cheapest per gram of any product I tried.
Does NOW Sports Mix Well?
This protein mixes well, but not perfectly. There were 2 grams of clumps after following my mixing test procedure, which involves shaking for 45 seconds in a shaker bottle.
You'll taste a few clumps, but you notice much, and it equates to a score of 19 out of 25, making it above average of the rest of the powders.
What is the Protein Content of NOW Sports?
NOW Sports was one of the few protein powders to get a perfect nutrition score, meaning that it's protein content was over 80% of the total calories.
It's easy to see why when you look at the ingredients list (for the unflavored version, which is what I tried):
Pure, organic Pea Protein Isolate [from yellow peas (Pisum sativum) (Non-GMO)].
Overall, NOW Sports Pea Protein is very well rounded and the perfect choice if you're on a tight budget.
#3: True Nutrition Vegan Lean
Best for weight loss
Flavors: Unflavored, Chocolate, Vanilla, Mocha, Cinnamon Bun, Cookies N Cream
If you’re trying to lose weight, you want a protein powder supplement with as high of a protein content as possible, and as few calories from fats and carbohydrates.
In other words, as high as a "nutrition score" as possible (which measures protein content).
Three products in my results table have perfect nutrition scores, but True Nutrition is the best for weight loss.
It would have a score of greater than 25 because it broke my formula, more on that in the nutrition section below.
True Nutrition let's you create custom protein blends and you can choose from several flavors. Vegan lean is a popular pre-made blend that I ordered. You can also order a few of their powders on Amazon, although there's less flexibility.
Does Vegan Lean Taste Good?
There are many flavors to choose from - I chose the cinnamon bun.
The flavor was great, and I quickly went through my 1 lb bag of protein powder.
But it wasn't perfect: The only real issues were that there was both a bit of a chalky texture, and a bit of an aftertaste.
Not enough to stop you from enjoying the shake, but enough that you probably won't love it like PlantFusion.
But it's still excellent, which is why it scored 22 out of 25 here.
Is True Nutrition Vegan Lean Cheap?
Calculating a price score was tricky because different custom blends cost different amounts. Even the packaging and flavor intensity change the overall price. And then there's shipping on top of that if you order from the True Nutrition website.
To keep it simple and consistent with every other product here, I used the Amazon price, as True Nutrition sells Vegan Lean on there too.
Using that price, it got a price score of 12 out of 25, so a bit more expensive than average (around 16/25).
You may be able to get it cheaper off of their website.
How Easily Does Vegan Lean Mix?
Vegan lean mixes really well, there was a total of 1 gram of clumps during the mixability test.
This equates to a score of 22 out of 25, near perfect.
In most cases, your shake will be very smooth and you'll barely taste the clumps.
How Much Protein Does Vegan Lean Have?
Here's the label for this protein blend:
As I said, it actually broke my nutrition score formula.
Originally, I did a bunch of research and created formulas based on the data I collected. At the time, it seemed like getting 80% of the calories from protein was the best it could get.
I was wrong...Vegan lean would have scored a 29 using my formula if I didn't cap it at 25. The ingredients list is very short:
Pea Protein Isolate, Rice Protein Concentrate, Flavoring (optional)
So if all you want is the most protein possible with the fewest calories, this is your best option.
#4: Canadian Protein All Natural Blend (Canada Only)
Best overall vegan protein powder in Canada
Flavors: Chocolate, Vanilla
This is one of a few protein powders that are only available to Canadians on this list. It's one of the best out of all the 21, and the best of any option for Canadians.
They also offer great bulk deals, which work out to being as cheap as you'll find for any vegan protein powder in Canada.
How It Tasted
The taste is very good, no aftertaste at all. The only issue is that there's a bit of chalkiness, and the stevia is a bit overpowering.
Still, it's very easy to drink this every day, and it gets a deserved score of 20 out of 25 for taste.
How Inexpensive is Canadian Protein All Natural Blend?
Once you convert prices to CAD (choose "Canada" in the country filter of the table), this protein powder becomes the #1 choice.
It is the most affordable option, even with the $9.99 shipping factored in for smaller orders.
If you order in bulk (11 lb size), you'll get the shipping for free and it becomes even cheaper.
Does This Blend Dissolve Easily?
It mixes quite well overall, and had just 1 gram of clumps left during the mixing test. That equates to a great score of 22 out of 25 for mixing.
How High Is the Protein Content of Canadian Protein's Blend?
The protein content could be higher. It gets a score of 17, which is a tiny bit above average, based on this nutrition label:
The ingredient lists are pretty minimal:
- Chocolate - Non-GMO Pea Protein Isolate, Organic Brown Rice Protein, Hemp Protein, Cocoa, Natural Flavours, Xanthan Gum, Stevia, Sea Salt.
- Vanilla - Non-GMO Pea Protein Isolate, Organic Brown Rice Protein, Hemp Protein, Natural Flavours, Xanthan Gum, Stevia, Sea Salt.
Overall, I highly recommend any fellow Canadians reading this give this protein powder a try. I finished my 11 lb bag within 10 months, even while trying all these other powders as well.
#5: MRM Veggie Elite
Flavors: Vanilla, Chocolate, Mocha
MRM sells 2 different vegan protein powders, this one (veggie elite) was the best one by far.
How Does MRM Veggie Elite Taste?
Even though MRM Veggie Elite has a fairly strong overall score, the taste really held it back.
There were 2 huge issues, which is why it only scored 10 out of 25, which basically means that it's hard to drink (although possible).
First, it was quite chalky, and second, there was a significant bad aftertaste.
So while this product does well in the other categories, don't buy it and expect it to taste great.
Is MRM Veggie Elite Affordable?
This is quite affordable, with a price score of 21, making it the 3rd cheapest powder on this list.
How Well Does Veggie Elite Blend?
This powder mixed perfectly, with no clumping whatsoever during the testing, so it received a perfect mixability score of 25.
How Much Protein Does Veggie Elite Have Per Serving?
Let's take a quick look at Veggie Elite's nutrition label:
Pluggin in 24 grams of protein for every 130 total calories into my formula gets a nutrition score of 21.
That's well above average, and another strong point of this product.
The ingredient list is also fairly simple:
Pea Protein Concentrate, Organic Brown Rice Protein Concentrate, Natural Chocolate Mocha Flavor, TreLEAFia™ (Stevia Leaf Extract, Trehalose, and Monk Fruit Extract), Gum Blend (Konjac Gum, Guar Gum, and Tara Gum), Salt, and Digest-All™ VP (a vegan enzyme blend).
Pay special attention to the enzyme blend at the end. If you're worried about stomach problems, this can decrease the chance that you'll run into any issues.
Overall, MRM Veggie Elite is a widely availble vegan protein powder that mixes great, is cheap, and has a good protein content. The only big drawback is the taste is not good, but only you can decide how much that matters to you.
#6: Vega Sport
Flavors: Vanilla, Chocolate, Berry, Mocha
Vega Sport might be the easiest plant-based protein powder to find. It's in almost every vitamin store, as well as many grocery stores and pharmacies.
How Does Vega Sport Taste?
The taste of Vega Sport is great. I've tried multiple flavors and they were all good (I liked mocha the best, despite not being a coffee drinker).
It only gets a taste score of 20 (which is still quite good) because the texture is a bit chalky, and there's a small aftertaste.
I think most people will enjoy the shake as a whole, which is why I gave it a 20 out of 25.
How Affordable is Vega Sport?
If you've ever seen Vega products in stores, you know that they aren't the cheapest.
Vega Sport ended up having a price score of 11.5 (rounded up to 12), which means that it's more expensive than average. However, it's still quite a bit from the most expensive.
Does Vega Sport Completely Mix?
Vega Sport mixes reasonably well, with 2 grams of chunks at the end of the mixing test procedure.
That being said, some "chunks" in shakes taste worse than others, and these ones didn't have a big negative effect on taste in my experience.
Does Vega Sport Have a Lot of Protein?
Vega Sport is one of few proteins to get a perfect 25 for a nutrition score.
There are 30 grams of protein (120 calories) out of a 150 calorie serving.
There's nothing that stands out too much in the ingredients list in a good or bad way:
Pea protein, Cocoa powder, Pumpkin seed protein, Organic sunflower seed protein, Alfalfa protein, Tart cherry, Probiotics (Bacillus coagulans [provides 1 billion cfu/serving]), Bromelain, Turmeric extract, Black Pepper extract. Contains less than 2% of: Beetroot powder (for color), Sea salt, Natural Mocha flavors, Natural vanilla flavor, Natural chocolate flavor, Stevia extract, Xanthan gum.
The bulk of the protein is pea protein, but there's a bit of pumpkin, sunflower, and alfalfa protein included for amino acid diversity.
Overall, Vega Sport tastes really good, has a great protein content, and mixes really well. If price is not a big issue for you, I highly recommend it.
#7: Vega Protein and Greens
Flavors: Chocolate, Vanilla, Berry, Coconut Almond, Unflavored, Tropical
Vega Protein and Greens is a product targeted more towards the general population looking for extra protein rather than athletes.
It has the same overall score as Vega Sport. The big difference is that it's cheaper and has some extra vitamins and minerals, but it has a lower protein content.
Does Vega Protein and Greens Taste Good?
I've only tried chocolate for this protein powder, but it was very good.
It had an almost milkshake-like texture, thicker than most other shakes.
The main issue is that the texture is a bit chalky, but not enough to stop you from enjoying it. So it scored 20 out of 25, which is above average.
Is Vega Protein and Greens Reasonably Priced?
Vega Protein and Greens only comes in small sizes. The biggest one is just 1.79 lbs.
Plugging in the price per 100 grams, it got a "price score" of 16.7. This is slightly above average.
It's not cheap or expensive, but for a Vega product it's as affordable as it gets.
Does Vega P&G Combine With Liquid Easily?
This powder mixes very well. There was only a single gram of remnants during the test, getting a score of 22 out of 25:
You'll barely taste any clumps if you mix it well.
What is the Protein Content of Vega Protein and Greens?
As I said, the main trade-off compared to Vega Sport is the protein content. This product has 20 grams of protein per 120 total calories in a serving.
That works out to a nutrition score of 16.7, right around average again. That means that it has a good amount of protein, but there's quite a few products with more if that's what you care about the most.
One aspect of nutrition that isn't factored into the score are other vitamins and minerals. Protein and Greens also contains a decent amount of iron and vitamin A.
That's why this product has a unique ingredients list:
Pea Protein, Natural Flavors, Organic Alfalfa Grass Powder, Pea Starch, Brown Rice Protein, Hemp Protein, Sacha Inchi Protein, Spinach Powder, Broccoli Powder, Stevia Leaf Extract, Papain Powder, Organic Kale Powder, Xanthan Gum.
There's powder from a variety of leafy greens to add a bit of extra nutrition.
Overall, Vega Protein and Greens is a very well rounded shake with no big weak area. It's a good choice if you're not an athlete looking for every gram of protein they can get, and just want a nice shake that's affordable and mixes and tastes good.
#8: Leanfit Complete Green (Canada Only)
The best protein for athletes
This is another powder that's only available to Canadians, and you can even find it at Costco sometimes (it's hit and miss for me depending on location).
How Good Does Leanfit Complete Green Taste?
There's very little chalkiness of aftertaste.
It got a taste score of 22 because it's very good, but not quite perfect. The flavor is just a bit off and I think some will find it a bit on the sweet side.
Overall though, it's tied for the 2nd highest taste score.
How Inexpensive is Complete Green for Canadians?
When you convert everything to CAD, Leanfit gets a price score of 18.4, which is a bit better than average.
Vegan protein is just more expensive in Canada, I'm not sure why.
How Well Does Leanfit Complete Green Mix?
Leanfit mixes very well, and there was only 1 gram of clumps left after the mixing test, as you can see below.
In most cases, you won't even taste them, and the shake has a nice smooth texture.
How High is Leanfit Complete Green's Protein Content?
Leanfit has 19 grams of protein and 110 calories in a serving, which comes out to a nutrition score of 18.2. This means that its protein content is a little bit above average.
Finally, let's look at the ingredients list:
Vegan Fit Plant Protein Blend (Pea Protein, Hemp Protein, Flaxseed Powder, Brown Rice Protein, Chia Seed Protein), Inulin, Natural Vanilla Flavours, Monk Fruit Extract, Sea Salt, Protein Digestive Enzyme, Xantham Gum, Stevia (Leaf, Extract)
It has a diverse set of protein sources, which is good to get a balanced amino acid profile.
Additionally, it includes a digestive enzyme, which makes it a good choice if you have a sensitive stomach.
Overall, Leanfit is an affordable powder for Canadians that tastes really good and has a decent protein content. I'm happy to recommend it to Canadians, especially those with Costco memberships.
#9: Purely Inspired Organic Protein
Best organic vegan protein powder
Flavors: Vanilla, Chocolate
Purely Inspired is the best organic vegan protein powder I've tried so far. It has the highest overall rating of any of the ones on this page.
Don't ask me why, but I haven't come across a great organic powder yet. This is your best bet if that's important to you.
What Does Purely Inspired Organic Protein Taste Like?
There is a bit of an aftertaste, and quite a bit of chalkiness in these shakes. The flavor is also not great.
But, it is drinkable, which means that it gets a score of 15 here.
Is Purely Inspired Cheap?
This is the best thing about this powder. You can find Purely Inspired at Walmart, and it's pretty cheap as expected.
It gets a price score of 22 out of 25, which is the second highest overall behind NOW Sports.
How Well Does Purely Inspired Organic Protein Powder Mix?
Purely Inspired also mixes quite well, with just 1 gram of clumps.
That ends up with a mixability score of 22 out of 25.
Is There Enough Protein in Purely Inspired?
The protein content is on the low side compared to the rest of these powders. It has 20 grams of protein per 130 calories for an overall score of 14.
Not terrible, but not great.
But if you are really interested in Purely Inspired because it's organic, you probably care more about the ingredients list:
Organic Protein Blend (Pea Protein, Brown Rice Protein), Organic Acacia Gum, Organic Cocoa Powder, Organic Cane Sugar, Organic Guar Gum, Organic Natural Flavors, Organic Rebaudioside A (Stevia Extract), Organic Fruit and Veggie Blend, Digestive Enzyme and Probiotic Blend.
All ingredients are organic, and it has a digestive enzyme and probiotic blend, which may help it digest better.
Additionally, there's a decent amount of vitamins and minerals (iron in particular).
Bottom line, this is the best organic vegan protein powder that I tried. The price and mixability are great, but the taste isn't too good. If you're looking for a general health organic vegan powder for cheap, it's a decent option.
My Complete, Detailed Reviews
I put a lot of work into testing every protein powder on this page, even if it came last place in the ratings.
I've written a full review of each one if you're looking for more detail on a particular protein.