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When you’re on a mission to put on weight, you need a one-two punch of calories and protein. If you’re someone who struggles to put on weight, or who needs to gain it for a sport or a weight-classed competition, then you need both even more!
That’s when a mass gainer can be your best friend. Like the best protein shakes, mass gainers (also known as weight gainers or gainer shakes) are full of muscle-building amino acids and protein, but they also add carbs and other nutrients to maximize your calorie and macro intake.
Adding a high-quality mass-gainer powder can make a huge difference in your bulking regimen. Here are 10 of the best, according to our experts and community members.
How We Choose the Best Mass Gainers
Our picks are informed by our team of fitness pros—athletes, nutrition professionals, and editors—and backed up by reviews from the people who know gainer shakes the best: you!
There are a few things that matter when you’re looking for a good gainer shake:
- Formula: It’s important to choose a formula that has the numbers you need to support your goal, not just a bunch of fillers and poor-quality ingredients. Yes, a gainer is far more decadent than a traditional protein shake, but the label shouldn’t make it feel like a candy bar in a glass.
- Flavor: Gainers are there for you when you need nutrition but aren’t necessarily hungry, so the more appealing they are, the easier it will be to keep downing them every day. Plus, gainer serving sizes tend to be significantly larger than a normal shake, so one that doesn’t go down easily won’t cut it!
- Customer Ratings and Reviews: Our Bodybuilding.com community members are some of the most discerning and honest anywhere, and that’s why our ratings carry more weight—so to speak—than most online storefronts.
- Value: The lowest priced gainer isn’t always the best value! All of our best weight gainers factor in the price per serving.
The Best Mass Gainers
Best-Tasting Mass Gainer
- Main ingredients: Maltodextrin, milk protein concentrate, whey protein concentrate
- Rating: 4.7 out of 5
- Reviews: 34
- Calories: 1,210
- Protein: 50g
- Carbs: 241g
- Sugar: 27g
- Fat: 6g
TrueGain earns the distinction of a 9.9 flavor rating, an almost unheard-of seal of approval. Not only that, it packs a hefty 1,210 calories for muscle maintenance and growth with a short, simple ingredient list.
Combined, these factors make TrueGain one of the best all-around mass gainers, and a great choice for those who are just starting out with gainers. Use it as a post-workout recovery shake, a snack between meals, and pre-bedtime muscle insurance.
Highest-Calorie Mass Gainer
- Main ingredients: MASS-TECH® Co-Factors, creatine, 20 vitamins and minerals
- Rating: 4.1 out of 5
- Reviews: 249
- Calories: 2,270
- Protein: 80 g
- Carbs: 440 g
- Sugar: 20 g
- Fat: 6 g
MuscleTech Mass Tech Extreme 2000 makes it easy to build muscle mass with excellent nutritional support in the mix. It contains 80 g of protein and 10 g of creatine. It also has the manufacturer’s MASS-TECH® Co-Factors, which supplies BCAAs for fast results. The blend is gentle on your digestive system to minimize any side effects.
Flavors: Vanilla Milkshake, Triple Chocolate Brownie
Highest-Protein Mass Gainer
- Main ingredients: Carbohydrate blend, whey protein concentrate, hydrolyzed whey protein, whey protein isolate, micellar casein, milk protein concentrate and isolate
- Rating: 4 out of 5
- Reviews: 139
- Calories: 1,100
- Protein: 56g
- Carbs: 192g
- Sugar: 18g
- Fat: 12g
Get ready to mutate with 56 grams of high-quality protein. Mutant Mass combines six types of protein to feed your muscles in the short, medium, and long term: whey concentrate, hydrolyzed whey, whey isolate, two types of milk protein, and casein.
This weight gainer also includes a solid amount of fiber from real food sources, such as sweet potatoes and rolled oats, to keep you carbed up and feeling good throughout your hardest training and bulking phase.
Flavors: Chocolate Fudge Brownie (9.6), Triple Chocolate (8.4), Strawberry Banana (8.1), Cookies & Cream(7.3)
Best Overall Serious Mass
- Main ingredients: Maltodextrin, whey protein concentrate, calcium caseinate, egg whites, sweet whey
- Rating: 4.1 out of 5
- Reviews: 2467
- Calories: 1,250
- Protein: 50g
- Carbs: 252g
- Sugar: 20g
- Fat: 4.5g
Optimum Nutrition Serious Mass is appropriately named because it brings out the big guns to get the job done right. It delivers 50 g of protein from two types of whey, egg whites, and calcium caseinate. It also includes a full suite of vitamins and minerals, including calcium, potassium, and magnesium, to support good health. The calorie count is also reasonable for what you get per serving.
Flavors: Chocolate. Chocolate Peanut Butter, Strawberry, Vanilla, Banana
Best Mass Gainer for Hardgainers
- Main ingredients: Maltodextrin, whey protein concentrate, milk protein isolate, whey protein isolate, whey protein hydrolysate, micellar casein
- Rating: 4.2 out of 5
- Reviews: 443
- Calories: 1,260
- Protein: 52g
- Carbs: 246g
- Sugar: 24g
- Fat: 9g
Sometimes the hardest thing about putting on weight is simply getting enough calories into your body, especially if you have a high metabolism or don’t have a huge appetite. Super Mass Gainer is here to help.
The shake tastes smooth, mixes well, and our reviewers say it’s very easy to drink. This is extremely helpful when you need to take in a lot of calories but just aren’t hungry. Crucially, each serving of the formula’s protein blend contains 5.2 grams of leucine, the branched-chain amino acid chiefly involved in turning on muscle protein synthesis.
Flavors: Gourmet Vanilla (8.4), Rich Chocolate (8.4), Cookies & Cream(7.8)
Best Lactose-Free Mass Gainer
- Main Ingredients: Maltodextrin, Ion exchange whey protein isolate
- Rating: 4.4 out of 5
- Reviews: 40
- Calories: 600
- Protein: 53g
- Carbs: 86g
- Sugar: 3g
- Fat: 5g
True to the Isopure line, Isopure Mass is a super clean, easy-to-drink formula, but with far more calories and carbs than the brand’s regular protein powders. This is a great choice if bulking has you feeling full and heavy all the time, or if you have a hard time with dairy.
Ion exchange whey protein isolate isn’t your average whey; it’s been stripped of fats and carbs and is designed to be entirely lactose free. It also means the shake isn’t too thick, so our customers say it’s extra chuggable. To increase the calorie count, blend it with peanut butter and honey.
Flavor: Dutch Chocolate(8.8)
Best Clean Mass Gainer
- Main ingredients: Protein blend of egg protein, milk protein isolate, and whey
- Rating: 3.8 out of 5
- Reviews: 40
- Calories: 270
- Protein: 30 g
- Carbs: 30 g
- Sugar: 10 g
- Fat: 3.5 g
Mass JYM stands out from comparable products in that it uses non-proprietary blends for protein, low-glycemic carbohydrates, and healthy fat sources. The mix allows it to deliver a 1:1 ratio of anabolic proteins to low-GI carbs. A single scoop offers a nutritional powerhouse with egg protein, whey, and casein leading the way. The low-GI carbohydrates mean you won’t crash afterward.
Flavors: Apple Fritter, Tahitian Vanilla Bean, Chocolate Mousse
- Main ingredients: Maltodextrin, whey protein concentrate, micellar casein, MCT coconut powder
- Rating: 4.6 out of 5
- Reviews: 5
- Calories: 650
- Protein: 53 g
- Carbs: 100 g
- Sugar: 6 g
- Fat: 6 g
NutraBio Extreme Mass is an ideal choice for endurance athletes because of its slow, 4-hour-release formula. It contains a decent amount of dietary fiber and a full complement of vitamins and minerals for healthy mass gain. The coconut powder gives it a pleasant, tropical taste. It is both kosher and gluten-free.
Best Meal Replacement Mass Gainer
- Main ingredients: Whey protein concentrate, calcium caseinate, milk protein isolate, whey protein isolate, micellar casein, hydrolyzed whey protein, egg whites, maltodextrin
- Rating: 9.1 out of 10
- Reviews: 591
- Calories: 710
- Protein: 50g
- Carbs: 90g
- Sugar: 15g
- Fat: 17g
True-Mass is another revered gainer by a trusted brand backed with hundreds of reviews. The highly rated flavors let you know by their names how decadent they taste. This is a shake you’ll look forward to.
To optimize gains, you should be eating healthy meals contain balanced amounts of all the macronutrients, not just protein. This formula has the right amounts of protein, carbs, and fat—plus plenty of fiber—to give your body what it needs to grow when you don’t have time to cook and eat.
Flavors: Chocolate Milkshake (9.2), Strawberry Milkshake (9.1), Vanilla Ice Cream (9.0), Cookies & Cream(7.5)
Best Value Mass Gainer
- Main ingredients: Maltodextrin, Real Gains™ Protein Complex, essential and non-essential amino acids
- Rating: 4.3 out of 5
- Reviews: 737
- Calories: 600
- Protein: 50 g
- Carbs: 85 g
- Sugar: 8 g
- Fat: 5 g
Universal Nutrition Real Gains has a lot going for it. It comes in some tasty flavors that sound like it’d be loaded with sugar. The pleasant surprise is that it’s not. The carbs and calories are in line, too. The larger serving size includes nutrients, BCAAs, and essential amino acids. It also has flaxseed powder for a healthy source of omega-3 fatty acids.
Flavors: Vanilla Ice Cream, Chocolate Ice Cream, Banana Ice Cream, Strawberry Ice Cream, and Cookies & Cream Ice Cream
Should I Take a Mass Gainer?
Anyone can go to the gym and improve their fitness, but adding significant muscle mass to your body can be surprisingly difficult. When it comes down to it, it’s just hard to shovel in the ultra-high levels of nutrients and calories you need from food alone—and in the right ratio of protein, carbs, and fats to grow muscle and not just pack on body fat. If you’re lifting weights but not feeding your muscles adequately, they probably aren’t going to grow.
Weight-gainer shakes make it easy to gulp down a lot of calories very quickly. (So do milkshakes and soda, but they won’t give you the clean gains you’re after.) Supplementing a healthy, plentiful diet with a mass gainer is your best bet to make sure your body is working up to its muscle-building potential.
Just remember, a well-designed muscle-gain training program is essential to help put those calories to good use. These are the ones our community swears by:
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.