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 also has added digestive enzymes for optimal digestion. 

Kaged Muscle Micropure Whey Protein Isolate

When it comes to whey isolates, low fat and low carbs are key, and Kaged Muscle Micropure Whey Protein Isolate does not disappoint with only 1 gram of fat and 6 grams of carbs per serving. In addition, Kaged Muscle produces its product with an enzyme called ProHydrolase®, which breaks down the protein powder into smaller particles to help your body absorb and digest the powder better. With 25 grams of protein per scoop, this powder comes in seven flavors — Vanilla, Chocolate, Cinnamon French Toast, Chocolate Peanut Butter, Coffee Latte, S’mores, and Natural Cinnamon Roll — so even if you tire of the age-old vanilla and chocolate flavors, you can switch to something a little more unique. 

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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 Muscle Micropure Whey Protein Isolate

  • Customers who want a product with digestive enzymes for optimal absorption.
  • Anyone who wants added BCAAs in their protein powder. 
  • Athletes who want to branch out from the typical chocolate and vanilla flavors. 

Who Shouldn’t Buy Kaged Muscle Micropure Whey Protein Isolate

  • People who want more carbs and fat in their protein powder to boost heavy lifting sessions.

While this whey isolate protein powder is more expensive than some whey concentrates, its nutrition facts and digestive enzymes make it a healthier alternative to many 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.

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

An extremely transparent ingredient list with 28 grams of protein 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 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, and this pick stands at a much lower price point than other whey protein isolates.

Dymatize ISO 100

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 whey concentrates. Aside from its cost-effectiveness, this protein is a hydrolyzed whey protein, meaning it’s broken down by enzymes and can potentially digest easier. On top of that, this product packs in 25 grams of protein per scoop and mixes seamlessly with water. With a delicious sweet taste, you won’t have to have milk on hand every time you make a protein shake

Dymatize ISO 100
Dymatize ISO 100
Dymatize ISO 100

A protein powder that delivers a fast-absorbing version of whey protein isolate to promote muscle recovery.

Who Should Buy Dymatize ISO 100

  • Customers looking for a lot of flavors to choose from — this product has 14. 
  • Athletes who prefer water over milk to mix their protein shakes. 
  • Anyone who wants a protein isolate at a lower cost than other isolates. 

Who Shouldn’t Buy Dymatize ISO 100

  • Folks who don’t like sweet protein powders — some say this protein tastes too sweet. 

This product comes in 14 flavors, tastes great (if you have a sweet tooth), contains enzymes that may aid in easier digestion, and packs in 25 grams of protein per scoop, all at a lower price point than many other whey isolates. 

Best Whey Isolate for Weight Loss

Because of this product’s hydrolyzed form, it is said to absorb much quicker than other forms of whey protein isolate, making it a great option to potentially aid in digestion and weight loss.

Dymatize ISO 100

Though whey isolate is already broken down to be more digestible, Dymatize ISO 100 takes this one step further. This product is hydrolyzed, which means it’s broken down with enzymes to make this product even faster absorbing and digestible (some may even argue it’s pre-digested). With less than one gram of sugar and only 120 calories, this easily digested product can potentially aid in weight loss goals. As a bonus, this powder comes in 14 flavors that mix great with water — just be aware that all the flavors are on the sweeter side. 

Dymatize ISO 100
Dymatize ISO 100
Dymatize ISO 100

A protein powder that delivers a fast-absorbing version of whey protein isolate to promote muscle recovery.

Who Should Buy Dymatize ISO 100

  • Athletes who want a low-calorie product that may help aid in weight loss.
  • Customers looking for a wide variety of flavors. 
  • Folks who like making their protein shakes with water to avoid consuming additional calories.

Who Shouldn’t Buy Dymatize ISO 100

  • Customers who don’t like super sweet protein shakes. 
  • Athletes who are looking to bulk and need a higher-calorie protein powder. 

With 14 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 Digestion

Added digestive enzymes break down the powder, which can potentially help your body to absorb and digest the nutrients better. 

Kaged Muscle Micropure Whey Protein Isolate

Though whey protein isolate contains very little lactose, lactose can still cause some people digestive distress. Adding digestive enzymes — like the ProHydrolase® in the Micropure Whey Protein Isolate — can help break down the lactose in the protein isolate and make the powder more easily digestible. This powder contains a respectable 25 grams of protein and offers seven different flavors to help vary your protein regimen.

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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 Muscle Micropure Whey Protein Isolate

  • Anyone who has issues with lactose and would appreciate the help of a digestive enzyme.
  • Athletes who like trying unique flavors of protein powder. 
  • Customers who want extra amino acids included in their whey isolate that could help with muscle recovery

Who Shouldn’t Buy Kaged Muscle Micropure Whey Protein Isolate

  • Anyone looking for protein high in calories, carbs, or fat.

Though much of the lactose is removed from whey protein isolates, this pick breaks down the remaining lactose even further with digestive enzymes, which should make digestion even easier. 

Best All Natural Whey Isolate

This pick has clean ingredients, high protein content, nothing artificial, and very few additives, so you can benefit from all of the nutrition in each scoop. 

Transparent Labs Grass-Fed Whey Isolate

Transparent labs sources their protein from 100 percent grass-fed American cows. The whey isolate is made from naturally fed, hormone-free cow whey and contains no artificial sweeteners, food dyes, gluten, or preservatives. With only four ingredients — grass-fed whey isolate, natural flavor, salt, and stevia — this is a no-frills protein powder for people who want a simple but reliable product.

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

An extremely transparent ingredient list with 28 grams of protein 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 their protein sourced from 100 percent grass-fed beef. 
  • Anyone who wants to steer clear of artificial additives and preservatives. 
  • Customers who want a significant amount of protein in each scoop.

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

  • Athletes who want a powder with thickener that mixes consistently. 
  • Anyone who wants to save money with a lower-price protein powder.

When it comes to natural proteins, Transparent Labs Grass-Fed Whey Isolate is tough to beat. With no additives, whey from 100 percent grass-fed beef, only four ingredients, and 28 grams of protein, you can soak in all the nutritional value of this product without having to dodge nasty preservatives or artificial sweeteners. 

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.