The Best Whey Isolate Protein Powders For Building Muscle, Digestion, And More

Discover which powder can help you up your protein intake and reach your nutrition goals.

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The main difference between whey protein concentrate (the most common whey protein) and whey protein isolate is the amount of protein per scoop. For folks who are serious about their protein intake — bodybuilders, strongmen, and Tom Brady — whey protein isolate may be a better option than whey concentrate. For one, it packs 90 percent protein per scoop compared to standard whey (which has 80 percent per scoop). It’s also typically void of unwanted extras and filler. However, whey concentrate does tend to be less expensive since it’s not as processed and doesn’t have as high a concentration of protein. 

When sifting through all the different whey isolates on the market, you’ll want to pay attention to additives and sweeteners, as well as allergens like soy that some protein powders contain. The protein isolates on this list are high in protein and low in fat, carbs, sugar, and lactose, so you’ll get as much protein as you can out of each scoop. But with different additives — like digestive enzymes, for example — some of these picks may offer varying benefits for things like weight loss, digestion, and muscle growth. We’ve landed on the best options in a variety of categories to help shorten your search. 

Best Whey Protein Isolate Protein Powders

Best Whey Isolate Protein Powder

If you’re looking for a whey protein isolate, you likely want a product with little to no fat or carbs. This pick is not only low in both fat and carbs, but it contains added minerals and BCAAs, as well. 

Legion Whey+ Isolate Protein Powder

When it comes to whey isolates, low fat and low carbs are key, and Legion Whey+ does not disappoint with (depending on flavor) only zero to three grams of fat and two to four grams of carbs per serving. In addition, Legion has included a dose of minerals like calcium and potassium for a micronutrient boost, as well as 5.6g of BCAAs. With 22 grams of protein and only 120 calories per scoop depending on flavor, this is a solid, lean whey isolate protein. And to top it all off, it comes in 13 different flavor options, as well as one unflavored powder. 

Legion Whey Isolate Protein Powder
Legion Whey Isolate Protein Powder
Legion Whey Isolate Protein Powder

An all natural, non-GMO, fat-free whey that's cheaper than many competitors, Legion Whey Isolate Protein Powder is made from 100 percent grass-fed whey protein isolate from sustainable dairy farms in Ireland. It's also higher in calcium compared to other powders on the market.

Who Should Buy Legion Whey+ Isolate Protein Powder

  • Customers who want a product that’s low in fat and carbs but still high in protein will like this blend’s numbers. 
  • Anyone who wants added minerals in their protein powder — this powder contains calcium and potassium. 
  • Athletes who want to branch out from the typical chocolate and vanilla flavors — this pick provides 13 different unique flavor options. 

Who Shouldn’t Buy Legion Whey+ Isolate Protein Powder

  • People who want more carbs and fat in their protein powder to boost heavy lifting sessions.
  • Those who want additional digestive enzymes will want to look for a different formula that includes these. 

While this whey isolate protein powder is low in fat and carbs, it still provides a solid dose of protein, as well as BCAAs, making it a great option for those who want a high quality, lean formula.

Best Whey Isolate On a Budget

Quality can be pretty similar across the board when it comes to protein isolates, so many look to the price tag to make their final decision. This pick stands out at a much lower price point than other whey protein isolates.

Jacked Factory Authentic ISO

Many whey protein isolates can cost upwards of $30 more than whey concentrates, but you’ll find this isolate at a lower price point than most others — though, it will still be more expensive than some whey concentrates. Aside from its cost-effectiveness, this protein is sourced from grass-fed cattle, and keeps the carbs, sugar and fats low (at three grams, one gram, and one gram respectively, depending on flavor).

On top of that, this product packs in 25 grams of protein per scoop and mixes seamlessly with water. With a delicious Chocolate Peanut Butter or Vanilla Ice Cream taste, you won’t need to have milk on hand every time you make a protein shake

Jacked Factory Authentic ISO
Jacked Factory Authentic ISO
Jacked Factory Authentic ISO

This protein is sourced from grass-fed cattle, and keeps the carbs, sugar and fats low. On top of that, Jacked Factory packs in 25 grams of protein per scoop and mixes seamlessly with water.

Who Should Buy Jacked Factory Authentic ISO

  • Customers looking for a twist on the classic chocolate and vanilla flavors will like this product’s Chocolate Peanut Butter and Vanilla Ice Cream flavor options. 
  • Athletes who want a lean formula that still provides a high dose of protein — this one has 25 grams and little to no carbs, fat, or sugar. 
  • Anyone who wants a whey protein isolate at a lower cost than other isolates. 

Who Shouldn’t Buy Jacked Factory Authentic ISO

  • Folks who want more than two flavors to choose from — this one only comes in Chocolate Peanut Butter and Vanilla Ice Cream. 

This product tastes great (if you like Chocolate Peanut Butter or Vanilla Ice Cream), contains 25 grams of protein per scoop, and has little to no carbs, fat or sugar, all at a lower price point than many other whey isolates. 

Best Whey Isolate for Digestion

While digestive enzymes can be helpful to break down protein powder, it may be even more important to have a powder that is 100 percent natural.

Legion Whey+ Isolate Protein Powder

Many protein powders can be difficult to digest, whether it’s due to the high amounts of protein, artificial ingredients, or small traces of lactose. This product may be easier to digest because of its all-natural formula. Legion uses natural flavors and sweeteners — like monk fruit — to create 13 unique flavors. So while there’s nothing special here in terms of probiotics or digestive enzymes, your body should have an easier time breaking down this powder without having to digest potentially harsh ingredients like sugar alcohols. It’s also a pretty solid blend in itself with 22g of protein, little to no fat or carbs, zero sugar, and only 120 calories. 

Legion Whey Isolate Protein Powder
Legion Whey Isolate Protein Powder
Legion Whey Isolate Protein Powder

An all natural, non-GMO, fat-free whey that's cheaper than many competitors, Legion Whey Isolate Protein Powder is made from 100 percent grass-fed whey protein isolate from sustainable dairy farms in Ireland. It's also higher in calcium compared to other powders on the market.

Who Should Buy Legion Whey+ Isolate Protein Powder

  • Anyone who has issues digesting artificial ingredients will appreciate that this blend is all natural.
  • Athletes who like trying unique flavors of protein powder — there are 13 flavors to choose from here.
  • Customers who want a low-calorie protein powder will like that this pick only has 120 calories per serving. 

Who Shouldn’t Buy Legion Whey+ Isolate Protein Powder

  • Anyone looking for protein high in calories, carbs, or fat will want to look elsewhere.
  • Folks who want additional digestive help from digestive enzymes or probiotics can find blends out there that contain these ingredients. 

This pick is lean, natural, and straightforward. You won’t find any artificial ingredients, which means your body will likely have an easier time digesting Legion Whey+ than some other protein powders on the market. 

Best Isolate for Building Muscle

With just four ingredients, this pick has a streamlined formulation that packs a punch with a whopping 28 grams of protein per scoop. 

Transparent Labs Grass-Fed Whey Isolate

Consisting of four ingredients — grass-fed whey isolate, natural flavor, salt, and stevia — Transparent Labs makes its formula with 100-percent grass-fed cattle, that supposedly contains more antioxidants and healthy fats. With nothing artificial and very few additives, this protein blend has a massive 28 grams of protein per scoop (88-percent protein by weight) at just 120 calories, so you’re getting far above the average 20 grams of protein per scoop.

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Transparent Labs 100% Grass-Fed Whey Isolate
Transparent Labs 100% Grass-Fed Whey Isolate
Transparent Labs 100% Grass-Fed Whey Isolate

This transparent ingredient list includes a dose of calcium, iron, and potassium with 28 grams of protein, all from a company that goes out of its way to provide clear sourcing.

Who Should Buy Transparent Labs Grass-Fed Whey Isolate

  • Athletes who want a product with minimal ingredients and few additives. 
  • Anyone who wants more healthy nutrients in their protein from grass-fed beef.
  • Customers who want a product that will help them hit high protein intake goals.

Who Shouldn’t Buy Transparent Labs Grass-Fed Whey Isolate

  • Athletes looking for a protein powder that boasts a higher calorie count.
  • Customers looking for a cost-effective whey protein isolate. 
  • Without any thickeners, mixing this product thoroughly is sometimes difficult.

With clean ingredients and a high level of protein and minerals, this whey protein isolate puts no additives between you and your muscle gains. 

Best Tasting Whey Isolate

Not only does this pick offer great, all-natural flavors, but it comes in 13 different options, which is one of the widest varieties on this list (and across the market).

Legion Whey+ Isolate Protein Powder

Legion Whey+ Isolate Protein comes in 13 flavors, including unique blends like Cinnamon Cereal and Birthday Cake. Many protein powders come in only two or three flavors, so this is a huge perk — plus, we’ve tried this protein powder first hand, and can vouch for the flavors ourselves. This formula is also 100-percent natural and fairly lean, offering 120 calories with little to no carbs or fat, and zero sugar. With 22 grams of protein and 5.6g of BCAAs, this can still be a highly-effective blend when it comes to muscle retention — the great taste is just a perk that should help you stay hooked on your protein regimen. 

Legion Whey Isolate Protein Powder
Legion Whey Isolate Protein Powder
Legion Whey Isolate Protein Powder

An all natural, non-GMO, fat-free whey that's cheaper than many competitors, Legion Whey Isolate Protein Powder is made from 100 percent grass-fed whey protein isolate from sustainable dairy farms in Ireland. It's also higher in calcium compared to other powders on the market.

Who Should Buy Legion Whey+ Isolate Protein Powder

  • Athletes who want 13 objectively great-tasting flavors to choose from. 
  • Anyone who prefers natural ingredients over artificial ones will like this all-natural blend. 
  • Customers who want a sugar-free protein powder will like this blend.

Who Shouldn’t Buy Legion Whey+ Isolate Protein Powder

  • Athletes who want a higher dose of protein can find formulas that offer over 25g per serving. 
  • Athletes who are bulking may want a protein powder that’s higher in carbs or fat.

When it comes to delicious proteins, Legion Whey+ is tough to beat. With 13 tasty flavors, and a lean whey isolate formula that packs 22g of protein per scoop, this powder is a win-win. 

Best Whey Isolate for Weight Loss

Whey isolate alone is a great option for weight loss in general as it is typically broken down to contain fewer fat and carbs than other proteins. But this pick is particularly high in protein and low in fat and carbs. 

Transparent Labs Grass-Fed Whey Isolate

Transparent Labs Grass-Fed Whey Isolate contains some of the lowest number of fat and carbs on this list — some flavors even contain zero or less than one gram of each. This product is sourced from 100-percent grass-fed American cows, and offers up about 28-grams of protein per serving (depending on flavor). On top of that, this product contains zero or one gram of sugar and 120 to 130 calories per serving, making it even more ideal to potentially aid in weight loss goals. As a bonus, this powder comes in eight flavors that mix well with water.

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Transparent Labs 100% Grass-Fed Whey Isolate
Transparent Labs 100% Grass-Fed Whey Isolate
Transparent Labs 100% Grass-Fed Whey Isolate

This transparent ingredient list includes a dose of calcium, iron, and potassium with 28 grams of protein, all from a company that goes out of its way to provide clear sourcing.

Who Should Buy Transparent Labs Grass-Fed Whey Isolate

  • Athletes who want a low-calorie product that may help aid in weight loss.
  • Customers looking for a wide variety of flavors — this product has eight options. 
  • Folks who want a blend that is low in carbs, sugars, and fats — while most whey isolates are low in these, this product is particularly low. 

Who Shouldn’t Buy Transparent Labs Grass-Fed Whey Isolate

  • Customers who don’t want to pay for this high-quality protein isolate can find cheaper options.
  • Athletes who are looking to bulk and need a higher-calorie protein powder. 

With eight different flavors that can easily mix with water, this product may aid in your weight loss goals with its easily digestible formula and great macronutrients.

Best Whey Isolate for Recovery

Whey isolate is a great source of leucine — a BCAA that can help with recovery — and this pick contains 28 grams of whey isolate per serving. 

Transparent Labs Grass-Fed Whey Isolate

Transparent Labs Grass-Fed Whey Isolate has 28 grams of whey isolate protein per serving without any lactose, carbs, or sugars. Many whey isolates are low in these categories, but this product also contains zero fat, which is rare. Leucine, a BCAA, can be key in muscle recovery, and it is ample in whey isolates — with such a high 28g dose of protein per serving, this powder offers a great potential boost in recovery.

In addition, you’ll find about 10-percent of your daily calcium intake per serving, along with a kick of iron and potassium. Transparent Labs contains no artificial flavors, sweeteners, or colorings, and you can buy it in eight different flavors, including Cinnamon Toast Crunch and Salted Caramel. 

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Transparent Labs 100% Grass-Fed Whey Isolate
Transparent Labs 100% Grass-Fed Whey Isolate
Transparent Labs 100% Grass-Fed Whey Isolate

This transparent ingredient list includes a dose of calcium, iron, and potassium with 28 grams of protein, all from a company that goes out of its way to provide clear sourcing.

Who Should Buy Transparent Labs Grass-Fed Whey Isolate

  • Athletes who want a whey isolate that contains little to no carbs, fats or sugars, but is still high in protein (and leucine) will like the numbers on this blend. 
  • Those looking for added minerals in a protein powder — this formula boasts a few additional micronutrients. 
  • Folks who want a lot of flavors to choose from will appreciate that this comes in eight flavor varieties. 

Who Shouldn’t Buy Transparent Labs Grass-Fed Whey Isolate

  • Those who are trying to bulk may want to look for a powder that is higher in carbs and fat. 
  • Buyers on a budget will want to look for a less expensive brand. Transparent Labs is a bit pricier for its clean and effective formula. 

Transparent Labs packs 28 grams of protein with minimal carbs, fats, and sugars — with such a high dose of whey isolate (and therefore, leucine), this product is ideal for those who potentially want to enhance their recovery process.

Best Whey Isolate for Women

Though this is actually a great choice for anyone who wants a solid whey isolate protein with lean macros, it’s our top pick for women who may be looking for something low in fat, carbs and sugar, but still high in protein. 

Kaged Micropure Whey Protein Isolate

Kaged Micropure Whey Protein Isolate packs 25 grams of protein, and only 110 calories into each scoop. It contains no sugar or fat, and only two grams of carbs per serving, making it one of the leaner options on this list. Plus, it has 5.7g of BCAAs, which may be able to help with recovery. However, it is sweetened using both natural and artificial flavors and sweeteners, so if you want to stay away from all things artificial, this may not be the best pick for you. It comes in five flavors though: Chocolate, Vanilla, Chocolate Peanut Butter, Cinnamon French Toast, and S’mores.

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Micropure Whey Protein Isolate
Micropure Whey Protein Isolate
Micropure Whey Protein Isolate

Kaged Muscle's whey protein isolate formula boasts a high 25 grams of protein, one gram of fat, and just four grams of carbs. It also contains an enzyme that breaks down the protein for optimal digestion.

Who Should Buy Kaged Micropure Whey Protein Isolate

  • Women who are looking for a lean whey isolate protein with very few carbs, fats and sugars, and minimal calories will appreciate the macros here. 
  • Customers who don’t want basic vanilla and chocolate flavors will like the Cinnamon French Toast, Chocolate Peanut Butter, and S’mores options from Kaged. 
  • Those who want BCAAs in their protein powder will appreciate the 5.7g here.

Who Shouldn’t Buy Kaged Micropure Whey Protein Isolate

  • Folks who may be trying to gain some weight could benefit from a higher calorie protein with more carbs. 
  • If you want a wide variety of micronutrients included in your protein powder, you’ll want to look elsewhere. 

This protein powder can be a great option for anyone looking for a high quality whey isolate, but we think it’s one of the best options for women — especially those who want a formula that’s lower in calories, fat, sugar, and carbs than many other whey isolate proteins.

How We Chose the Best Whey Isolates

There’s a lot of protein powder on the market these days, which means there’s also a lot of pundits claiming they’ve found the best one out there. We know that the best product will vary from person to person, so we considered factors like ingredients, price, flavor, and more to create a comprehensive list that appeals to a wide range of consumers looking to add more protein to their diet

Macro Splits

There are three commonly accepted macronutrients (macros): protein, fat, and carbs. The balance between these three is the macro split. When it comes to whey isolate, most people are looking to keep the marco split heavily in favor of protein, while keeping the carbs and fat very low. If you don’t know what your daily macro split is and you’d like to figure it out, you can use this handy calculator to dial it in based on your goals.

Macronutrient Calculator

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The picks on this list are aligned with what we think most consumers are looking for in a whey isolate: a low carb, low fat protein powder. If you’re looking for a protein supplement geared more towards bulking, you probably want a whey concentrate protein powder, or maybe even a mass gainer.

Plenty of Protein

The average amount of protein per serving is 20 grams, but all of the picks on this list contain upwards of that number. In addition, they have around 90 percent protein by weight to make sure you’re getting the most protein possible with each scoop.

Digestibility

While whey protein isolates are lower in fat and carbs than whey concentrates, they may also contain additives like digestive enzymes that help with absorption. For example, some options include ProHydrolase®, which breaks down protein powder into smaller particles. It also allows your body to absorb nutrients better since it’s sometimes more challenging for our bodies to digest certain ingredients, like lactose, that are found in whey protein.

Quality Control

Each of the picks have been third-party tested for heavy metals, antibiotics, pesticides, and mycotoxins. Since these ingredients can be toxic for humans, companies ensure there are no impurities in their products before they hit the market. All of the companies in this list perform on-going third-party testing, so you won’t have to worry about quality control when you grab one of these supplements off the shelf. 

Flavors

All of the picks on this list have a variety of flavors. As companies grow, they can add more flavors to their repertoire, so in addition to chocolate and vanilla, there are now flavors like cinnamon roll or coffee latte.

When it comes to the flavors themselves, rest assured that none of these are objectively bad. Subjectively, everyone has flavor preferences, so each person will like or dislike different flavors. However, when it comes to a baseline for flavors, all of these picks exceed it — after all, we wouldn’t want you to be drinking a flavor comparable to those in Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Beans. 

Whey Isolate, Whey Concentrate, and Whey Hydrolysate

When it comes to whey protein, there are three options: Whey concentrate, whey isolate, and whey hydrolysate. 

Whey hydrolysate is the most processed — to the point where it may be called “pre-digested” — as the enzymes that break it down have already done part of the digestion for you. Like whey isolate, it contains around 90 percent protein by weight and very few fats or carbs. 

Similarly, whey isolate is processed — though a little less so than hydrolysate — and contains the same 90 percent protein by weight and little to no carbs or fat. 

Whey concentrate is the more basic, less concentrated form. It’s only up to 80 percent protein by weight, with the rest of the product being fat and carbs. Since whey concentrate is less concentrated and not filtered, it’s also cheaper than whey isolate and whey hydrolysate (which is the most expensive). 

Whey concentrate is typically higher in calories and better for those who want to gain weight, while isolate and hydrolysate are trimmed down in fat and carbs (as well as lactose and sugar) for those who are more conscious of those macros. And if digestion is of particular concern, whey hydrolysate allows for optimal processing and absorption — more so than either concentrate or isolate. 

Even though hydrolysate and isolate are leaner versions of whey, that doesn’t mean they aren’t good for muscle building. Since whey isolate and hydrolysate both have a higher concentration of protein, they do contain more grams of protein per scoop, and can also be used for leaner muscle gains. 

Final Word

Whey protein isolate is a leaner alternative to whey concentrate and could help with muscle gain, digestion, weight loss, and much more. Many options on this list contain additives like digestive enzymes and amino acids that can aid in the processing of lactose that’s found in whey protein isolates. But, these products are cleaner and more concentrated than other proteins on the market, which make them an excellent option for anyone who wants to boost their nutritional intake.

When you’re considering which protein to pick, know all of these picks will hit the mark with quality ingredients. All you have to do is pick your flavor and price point, and add to cart. 

FAQs

Is whey isolate better than whey concentrate?

It depends on what your fitness goals are. If you’re looking to bulk, whey concentrate may be a better option as it contains more fat and carbs along with a solid amount of protein. However, if you’re looking to stay lean and build muscle, whey protein isolate is a better option since it’s more concentrated with protein and has little to no fat and carbs.

Is whey isolate worth the money?

If you’re looking to cut back on fat and carbs, yes. You’re not going to find a whey concentrate option with as little fat and carbs as whey isolate does. However, if that isn’t a priority to you, spending more money on whey isolate will not be worth your while.

Does whey isolate contain lactose?

Yes, it does, but only about one gram. Whey concentrate contains around three grams, but neither of these numbers are typically enough to affect someone with lactose intolerance.