1. Whey Protein Powder

Perhaps the most common and cheapest variety of protein powder on the market.Boasting an impressive array of vitamins and minerals, this dairy-based product has become a post-workout staple in the diets of pro athletes and recreational gym-goers alike. And there’s good reason whey is the way to go for many: It has been shown to help repair muscles post-strength session, and increase muscle strength and size when consumed within two hours of your workout.

Consumers have the option of “hydrolyzed,” “isolate,” and more. At its core, “hydrolyzed” means the product has broken down from whole proteins down into smaller groups of amino acids (the building blocks of proteins), also referred to as peptides. This method is meant to improve the speed of digestion. Another term, “isolate,” refers to a purification process where supplement companies attempt to get the purest form of whey protein possible.

2. Casein Protein Powder 

Although it might not fly off shelves quite as quickly as whey, casein protein is actually very similar in more ways than one. Like whey, casein protein comes from dairy and is actually the primary protein found in cow’s milk. Unlike whey protein, however, it digests slower due to a complex interaction with stomach acids. This results in a slower release of essential proteins and amino acids, which makes casein the preferred supplement in situations when a slow release of nutrients is beneficial (like before bed when you’re going 7-10 hours without food).

3. Pea Protein Powder

In the land of muscle, sweat and ripped physiques, it’s hard to imagine that fuel can come from the almighty…pea. This 100 percent plant-based protein is typically made from yellow peas and towers above common protein powders in a few regards. First, it is naturally fat- and cholesterol-free (it comes from a plant after all). Second, pea protein isn’t derived from dairy, making it appropriate for those who are lactose-intolerant. Lastly, it’s completely gluten-free, which can help individuals avoid gastric distress when supplementing frequently.

4. Hemp Protein Powder

Made from hemp seeds, hemp protein is actually a derivative of another “supplement” altogether: cannabis. Of course, hemp protein contains very little THC, the ingredient in marijuana that makes you feel high, so it’s safe to consume without any side effects. Nutritionally speaking, hemp seeds have more to offer than just protein content. For one, they are often thought of as a superfood due to their high content of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Hemp protein is also 100 percent plant-based and highly-digestible, meaning less GI distress for some users.

5. Brown Rice Protein Powder

While a big bowl of rice just won’t cut it after a long weight session, a rice protein shake might. Surprisingly enough, this 100 percent plant-based protein stacks up well against the competition. In an eight-week study comparing the benefits of both whey and rice protein supplementation, researchers concluded that both offered nearly the same benefit. Rice protein is also gluten-free, making it a safe (and economical) choice for those with gluten allergies.

6. Vegan Protein Powder Blends

The quest to find a quality plant-based protein doesn’t mean you have to stick with just one source. Vegan protein powder blends have become an increasingly popular choice, harnessing the power of hemp, peas, rice, quinoa and more — all in the same bottle. The result is a gluten-free, dairy-free and soy-free supplement that can nutritionally stand up against animal-based products, without users having to worry about amino acid deficiencies (or an upset stomach).