Best Mass Gainers of 2023: Top 10 Supplements that Work – Fitnessnacks

    Mass gainers may be very useful tools for gaining muscle and keeping fat in check. If you’ve ever tried to seriously pack on muscle, you know the importance of staple muscle growth supplements like protein, carbohydrates, healthy fats, and calories to facilitate growth. Gaining the right weight deliberately and methodically can be as much of a challenge as losing weight. Indeed, there’s a lot more work to do when you’re eating an extraordinary number of calories.

    For many people who fall into the “hard gainer” category, it’s only a matter of time before you start looking to mass gainers for help. They may seem strange at first glance, sure — can you really drink hundreds and hundreds of calories without any ill effects? The answer is yes, but only when done properly and intentionally. We considered digestion, along with other big hitters like taste, natural ingredients, and macro breakdowns to track down the best mass gainers on the market. If you’re ready to bulk up, we have you covered.

    Best Mass Gainers

    Editor’s note: The content on BarBend is meant to be informative in nature, but it shouldn’t take the place of advice and/or supervision from a medical professional. The opinions and articles on this site are not intended to diagnose, prevent, and/or treat health problems. Speak with your physician if you have any concerns or before beginning any new diet or workout regimen.

    Best Mass Gainer Supplements Video Review

    Be sure to check out our best mass gainers video for an even more in-depth analysis of this performance supplement. BarBend’s own Nick English walks you through some of our favorite mass gainer picks. 

    Best Overall Mass Gainer

    To take the top spot, we selected a product that’s simple, effective, and tasty. It’s surprisingly hard to find a mass gainer with all three qualities despite the potential benefits of mass gainers, but Transparent Labs has pulled it off.

    Transparent Labs Mass Gainer

    The actual calorie and macronutrient content of mass gainers varies wildly, and there’s a lot of debate as to whether or not a one-to-one ratio of protein to carbs is best or if you should go as high as one-to-four or one-to-five. Most industry leaders lean closer to one-to-two, and Transparent Labs has gone that route — with some fine-tuned details included.

    Transparent Labs Mass Gainer Best Overall

    Transparent Labs Mass Gainer Best Overall

    High on protein, low on fat, and containing no artificial ingredients, this clean mass gainer should sit well in almost anyone’s stomach. Your most challenging choice is whether you want Sweet Vanilla or Chocolate Glaze Donut.

    Along with its protein-to-carb ratio of one-to-two, TL’s mass gainer has 740 calories per serving. Its 53 grams of protein, 109 grams of carbs, eight grams of helpful fiber, 15 grams of sugar, and 12 grams of fat make it a pretty well-rounded mass gainer, particularly since that’s more fat and fiber than you typically see in products like this. And with sought-after, all-natural ingredients like grass-fed whey concentrate, coconut milk powder, and MCT oils, this is considerably more robust than some of the competing maltodextrin-plus-whey products on the market.

    This tub of mass gainer has 15 servings per container, which ends up being about $5.13 per serving. With the high macro content, it’s no surprise it comes at a higher price point, but it’s something to be aware of if you’re on a budget. This gainer also comes in two flavors — Chocolate Glaze Donut and Sweet Vanilla.

    Transparent Labs Mass GainerTransparent Labs Mass Gainer

    Who Should Buy Transparent Labs Mass Gainer 

    • Anyone who wants all-natural supplements that are naturally flavored and sweetened.
    • People who prefer grass-fed whey will appreciate this product’s 53 grams of grass-fed whey protein.
    • Folks who are tuned into digestive health and would prefer a dose of fiber with their mass gainer.

    Who Shouldn’t Buy Transparent Labs Mass Gainer 

    • Those who want a lot of vitamins and minerals with their mass gainer will want to look elsewhere. 
    • Athletes who need to ease into mass gainers with a lower calorie-per-serving product — this mass gainer contains 740 calories per serving. 
    • Those on a budget may want to look at other more cost-effective bulk-buy mass gainers.

    Transparent Labs’ Mass Gainer is simple, effective, and doesn’t have many bells and whistles. But it digests well, provides fiber, is tasty, and is a good source of calories. Additionally, the price tag is pretty on par for the market, so it’s a reasonable deal all around for 15 servings per tub.

    Read our full review of Transparent Labs Mass Gainer.

    Best Mass Gainer Protein Powder

    Whey protein is an essential macro when it comes to building muscle, and whey isolate is one of the most concentrated whey proteins. This particular powder takes the cake in the protein department, though it does lack a little in calories.

    Micropure Whey Protein Isolate

    This protein powder is packed with 25 grams of whey isolate protein — whey isolate is processed more than whey concentrate, and therefore, typically contains over 90 percent protein and fewer carbs and fat than whey concentrate. When it comes to building muscle, a whey isolate is ideal. However, if you’re looking to bulk, this supplement only contains 130 calories per serving on its own, so you won’t be ingesting an enormous amount of calories, carbs, or fat in your protein shake as you might with other mass gainers.

    Kaged Whey Protein Isolate

    Kaged Whey Protein Isolate

    Kaged 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.

    You can use this supplement as an add-on with other mass-gaining supplements — like carb supplements — if you are looking for more calories, or do what we do in the BarBend office: double or triple scoop it to hit the numbers you’re looking for. This is a fairly inexpensive product considering the quality and that it’s an isolate which is generally more expensive than a concentrate. You can expect to pay $1.42 per serving and you’ll have the choice between Chocolate Peanut Butter, S’mores, Vanilla, Chocolate, and Cinnamon French Toast.

    Who Should Buy Micropure Whey Protein Isolate

    • Athletes looking to gain lean muscle mass will like the whey isolate formula of this powder. 
    • Anyone looking to maximize and prioritize their protein intake within their diet.
    • Customers following a lean macro count may prefer whey isolate protein over whey concentrate protein. 

    Who Shouldn’t Buy Micropure Whey Protein Isolate 

    • Those who are looking to bulk and may need a higher calorie mass gainer supplement. 
    • Anyone who is focused on putting down more carbs than more protein. Whey isolate may not be the best fit for you. 
    • Folks hoping for a fruity flavor like Strawberry or Banana will want to look elsewhere.

    While whey isolate protein can help you gain lean muscle mass, it’s not great for bulking. This supplement is ideal for anyone who’s hyper-focused on protein intake and muscle gain, rather than increasing their caloric intake to bulk. It’s also a good product for people to pair with other supplements for mass gain — like carb supplements — as an easy add-on to other sources of calories.

    [Related: The Real Pros and Cons of Mass Gainers]

    Best Mass Gainer for Bodybuilding

    Since bodybuilders are consistently looking to build their muscle mass, a mass gainer is an ideal supplement to implement into their lifestyle — and this pick makes for a well-rounded choice. 

    Transparent Labs Mass Gainer

    While many mass gainers may have a one-to-four or one-to-five ratio of protein to carbs, Transparent Labs keeps it at one-to-two. It has 740 calories per serving with 53 grams of protein, 109 grams of carbs, eight grams of fiber, 15 grams of sugar, and 12 grams of fat. While the calorie count and protein content is about average as far as mass gainers go, the fiber content is higher than normal.

    Transparent Labs Mass Gainer for Bodybuilding

    Transparent Labs Mass Gainer for Bodybuilding

    High on protein, low on fat, and containing no artificial ingredients, this clean mass gainer should sit well in almost anyone’s stomach. Your most challenging choice is whether you want Sweet Vanilla or Chocolate Glaze Donut.

    With ingredients like grass-fed whey concentrate, coconut milk powder, MCT oils, vitamin D, calcium, iron, and potassium, this product has a more filled-out list of ingredients than some of its competitors, making it a great pick for bodybuilders who need ample nutrition to support their exercise regimen on a daily basis. This mass gainer comes in either a Sweet Vanilla or Chocolate Glaze Donut flavor and you can expect to pay $5.13 per serving.

    Transparent Labs Mass GainerTransparent Labs Mass Gainer

    Who Should Buy Transparent Labs Mass Gainer

    • Bodybuilders who need a robust mass gainer that offers not only calories but a long list of vitamins and minerals, as well.
    • Athletes who are looking for a one-to-two ratio of protein to carbs in their mass gainer will like the macro count in this formula. 
    • Performance athletes who supplement often while adhering to strict diets might find the fiber in this mass gainer to help with digestion.

    Who Shouldn’t Buy Transparent Labs Mass Gainer 

    • Customers looking for more than two flavors to choose from. 
    • Folks who follow a plant-based diet — this product contains 100 percent grass-fed whey concentrate. 
    • Those on a budget can find a cheaper alternative on this list. 

    Bodybuilders are often looking for a reliable mass gainer to implement into their supplement regimen to consistently increase their muscle mass — this pick provides a high-calorie count and a boost of fiber to boot.

    Best Cheap Mass Gainer

    If you’re going to be slamming your mass gainer, it’s helpful to find an effective product at a low price point — this pick falls into both of those categories.

    Optimum Nutrition Serious Mass 

    Optimum Nutrition Serious Mass contains 1,250 calories per serving, 100 percent of the recommended daily intake of most vitamins and minerals, and 50 percent of your daily vitamin D, which is important for testosterone, but very easy to miss in the standard American diet. (3) It comes at a great price point, but its carbohydrates are derived from maltodextrin, which some may not love since it is highly processed and can spike blood sugars.

    Optimum Nutrition Serious Mass

    Optimum Nutrition Serious Mass

    This mass gainer contains 1,250 calories per serving, 100 percent of the recommended daily intake of most vitamins and minerals, and 50 percent of your daily vitamin D, which is important for testosterone.

    This comes in two buying options — six pounds and 12 pounds — with eight and 16 servings, respectively. If you purchase the six-pound bag, you’ll pay a higher rate of about $4.12 per serving; whereas, if you opt to buy the 12-pound bag, it’ll cost you around $4.74 per serving. Both sizes come in Chocolate, Chocolate Peanut Butter, Strawberry, and Vanilla flavor options.

    Who Should Buy Optimum Nutrition Serious Mass 

    • Anyone who’s looking for a cost-effective mass gainer — this product has one of the lowest prices per serving on this list if you opt to buy the larger 12-pound bag. 
    • Folks who want a heavy dose of over a dozen nutrients in addition to the macros from their mass gainers.
    • Those who want an above-average calorie count in their mass gainer. 

    Who Shouldn’t Buy Optimum Nutrition Serious Mass 

    • Those who are looking for a lower number of carbs in their mass gainer — this one has 252 grams per serving.
    • Anyone who doesn’t enjoy the taste of maltodextrin, artificial flavors, or sweeteners.
    • Those looking for cheaper alternatives will be able to find them on this list. 

    Our first stop when looking for effective supplements is often Optimum Nutrition, and this tasty, nutritious, and inexpensive supplement is a worthy addition to their product line. However, the carb count is on the higher end of the market when compared to other options, which some may not prefer. Otherwise, this high-calorie mass gainer and its delicious flavors will only help you pack on muscle.

    Best Digesting Mass Gainer

    Whether you have pre-existing digestive issues or not, an extra 790 calories always has the potential to cause stomach distress. We think this formula is the best for folks concerned with digestion when bulking.

    Transparent Labs Mass Gainer

    There’s no way around it — ingesting an extra 114 grams of carbs and over 53 grams of protein may not sit well with everyone. Transparent Labs produces their formula with no added sugars or artificial ingredients. It’s made from sweet potato powder, grass-fed whey protein, coconut milk powder, medium chain triglycerides (MCT), and is high in fiber with six grams, which can help you avoid indigestion. Plus, it stays true to its name and has a very transparent label that lists all ingredients and their amounts.

    Transparent Labs Mass Gainer for Digestion

    Transparent Labs Mass Gainer for Digestion

    High on protein, low on fat, and containing no artificial ingredients, this clean mass gainer should sit well in almost anyone’s stomach. Your most challenging choice will be if you want Sweet Vanilla or Chocolate Glaze Donut.

    This formula comes in a Chocolate Glaze Donut or Vanilla flavor and costs about $5.13 per serving. Transparent Labs offers a “subscribe and save” option that will reduce the cost by 15 percent to around $4.36 per serving — plus, it comes with free shipping, as well.

    Transparent Labs Mass Gainer Supplement FactsTransparent Labs Mass Gainer Supplement Facts

    Who Should Buy Transparent Labs Mass Gainer

    • Those who want an easily digested mass gainer with a solid fiber dose. 
    • Athletes trying to keep their sugar intake low will like that this product has no added sugars.
    • Customers looking for a transparent ingredient list will like that TL lists everything in its formula right on the label.

    Who Shouldn’t Buy Transparent Labs Mass Gainer

    • Anyone who wants a less caloric mass gainer — this one has 790 calories per serving. 
    • Those hoping for a budget pick should check out our best cheap pick.
    • Folks who want more than two flavors to choose from as this pick only comes in Chocolate or Vanilla variations. 

    Whether you want to replace a meal, fuel up post-workout, or add more calories to your daily intake, Transparent Labs’ formula and its dose of fiber can help make it easier to do so.

    [Related: The Best Types Of Supplements For Performance, Weight Loss, And Health]

    Best Tasting Mass Gainer

    Sometimes all it takes to stick to a mass gainer is great flavor — this pick’s two flavors steal the show in that department.

    Transparent Labs Mass Gainer

    When you’re trying to stick to a supplement regimen, it’s important that your supplement’s flavor doesn’t turn you off if you want to stay consistent. Though Transparent Labs only comes in two flavors — Sweet Vanilla and Chocolate Glaze Donut — they’re two of the best-tasting on the market making it easy to add it to your supplement stack. On top of that, this product has monk fruit as its sweetening agent, contains no artificial ingredients, and is made from sweet potato powder, grass-fed whey protein, coconut milk powder, and fiber for optimal digestion.

    Transparent Labs Mass Gainer for Taste

    Transparent Labs Mass Gainer for Taste

    High on protein, low on fat, and containing no artificial ingredients, this clean mass gainer should sit well in almost anyone’s stomach. Your most challenging choice is whether you want Sweet Vanilla or Chocolate Glaze Donut.

    It has 790 calories, 114 grams of carbs, and 53 grams of protein per serving, which is quite substantial. Though if you’re looking for a less caloric option, there are mass gainers out there that have 500 calories or less. This product will cost you about $5.13 per serving unless you choose to subscribe and save, which reduces the price to around $4.36 per serving.

    Transparent Labs Chocolate Glaze Mass GainerTransparent Labs Chocolate Glaze Mass Gainer

    Who Should Buy Transparent Labs Mass Gainer

    • Anyone who wants a mass gainer that has a great chocolate or vanilla flavor.
    • Athletes who are looking for a mass gainer with no artificial ingredients or added sugar. 
    • Folks looking for a high-calorie mass gainer will like that this pick has 790 calories per serving.

    Who Shouldn’t Buy Transparent Labs Mass Gainer

    • Anyone who wants a mass gainer that packs a lower calorie count — can find mass gainers that contain less than 500 calories per serving if that’s what you need. 
    • Those who want more than two flavors to choose from may want to look for a mass gainer with a wider flavor variety.
    • Although sweetened with monk fruit, this formula has 17g of sugar per serving, so if you’re actively avoiding high sugar you may want to opt for a different mass gainer. 

    Transparent Labs’ formula is great tasting, easily digested, and contains no artificial ingredients or artificial sugars. Plus, it packs a lot of calories, which is great for anyone who is trying to bulk.

    Best Natural Mass Gainer

    This pick is sourced from only grass-fed cows, is free from artificial hormones, is certified kosher, and is gluten-free. Additionally, it is free of GMOs, antibiotics, and soy.

    Muscle Feast Ultimate Weight Gainer

    A big emphasis with Muscle Feast is the digestion rate: Instead of whey and simple carbs, it offers a combination of whey and casein (casein digests far more slowly), and much of the carbohydrate count comes from the high-glycemic waxy maize. This “real food” angle will definitely satisfy many athletes who prefer more “natural” sounding ingredients.

    Muscle Feast Ultimate Weight Gainer

    Muscle Feast Ultimate Weight Gainer

    This mass gainer comes in a seven-pound tub in either vanilla, chocolate, or unflavored. Each five-scoop serving packs 600 calories comprised of 101 grams of carbohydrates and 46 grams of protein.

    It provides a lot of resistant starch associated with a range of health benefits like improved insulin sensitivity. (1)(2) Plus, it has a protein-to-carb ratio of nearly one-to-two, packing 101 grams of carbohydrates and 46 grams of protein per 600-calorie five-scoop serving. This formula comes in a seven-pound bag, which contains 20 servings. This is a larger buying option than you’ll find with many other picks on our list and makes it a better-priced option at around $3.49 per serving. The two flavor choices are Vanilla and Unflavored, which make it easy to add to water, milk, or your post-workout shake.

    Who Should Buy Muscle Feast Ultimate Weight Gainer 

    • People who like whole food-based products — most of the carbs come from waxy maize.
    • Anyone who wants a product that doesn’t use factory farming.
    • Athletes who like to minimize artificial flavors and sweeteners will like that this product is naturally sweetened with Stevia.

    Who Shouldn’t Buy Muscle Feast Ultimate Weight Gainer 

    • People who want a higher protein-to-carb ratio to pack more carbohydrates into their diet. 
    • Those who don’t respond well to casein may want to opt for a different formula that doesn’t contain casein. 
    • If you’re a Chocolate lover you’ll want to look elsewhere as this only comes in Vanilla and Unflavored options.

    Muscle Feast does a lot of things right in the process of producing this mass gainer. The standards and treatment of the cattle can’t go without mention and the volume of calories per serving is good despite needing five scoops. With seven-pound tubs, the price tag is solid for those on a budget, and there is even an unflavored option available.

    Read our full review of Muscle Feast Ultimate Weight Gainer. 

    Highest Carb Mass Gainer

    If you’re on a mass-gaining diet, you may actually be surprised at how hard it can be to meet your carbohydrate requirements. Really high-calorie diets often require at least three or four grams of carbs for every gram of protein consumed. Since many like to put the majority of their carbs post-workout, this could be a great fit for those who are on this regimen. It has a protein-to-carb ratio of one-to-five.

    Less Naked Mass

    If you’re wary of artificial ingredients, soy, gum, or conventionally raised dairy, Less Naked Mass may be the product for you. They’re best known for their rigid adherence to “natural” whey: It’s grass-fed, and it’s made without acids, heat, bleach, or growth hormone.

    Less Naked Mass

    Less Naked Mass

    Naked Nutrition’s whey is grass-fed and it’s made without acids, heat, bleach, or growth hormone. Other ingredients include organic tapioca maltodextrin, whey protein concentrate, micellar casein, organic coconut sugar, and organic cacao powder.

    The ingredients list is straightforward: organic tapioca maltodextrin, whey protein concentrate, micellar casein, organic coconut sugar, and organic cacao powder. Casein means it may release amino acids (BCAAs and EAAs) into the bloodstream over a longer period of time than regular whey, and it may make it a bit more filling, as well. And to this product’s award, it contains 251 grams of carbs.

    This formula comes in an eight-pound tub, which has 11 servings per container. This makes it a more expensive option on our list at around $6.26 per serving. If you’re vegan, this product may be a great choice for you as it comes in a vegan blend as well as a whey blend, and both options offer Unflavored, Vanilla, and Chocolate options to choose between.

    Who Should Buy Less Naked Mass

    • People who want all-natural ingredients, like grass-fed whey, in their mass gainer.
    • Those who want a vegan mass gainer due to lifestyle choices or dietary preferences — this product offers three vegan options. 
    • Anyone looking for an extremely caloric mass gainer to fill gaps in their diet or gain weight.

    Who Shouldn’t Buy Less Naked Mass 

    • Those who want to avoid added coconut sugar as this product does contain this ingredient.
    • Folks who don’t want a massive increase in carbohydrate intake may want to opt for a product lower in carbs. 
    • People who want micronutrients added to their mass gainer — you can find more robust ingredient lists on the mass gainer market. 

    An upside for one person can be a downside for another, depending on a person’s goals. Less Naked Mass has 50 grams of protein per 251 grams of carbs, making for an unusual, high one-to-five protein-to-carb ratio that some may find extreme. But if fitting enough carbs into your diet is your biggest challenge and it doesn’t bother you that there aren’t a whole lot of micronutrients here, this ratio may be helpful.

    Read our full review of Less Naked Mass.

    Best Vegan Mass Gainer

    Eliminating animal products from your diet can make it more difficult to put on weight, so if you’re looking to gain muscle mass or increase your muscle size, this plant-based pick might be able to help realize your goals.

    Vegan Naked Mass

    Vegan Naked Mass is filled with calories and vegan protein — all of which are plant-based. It’s made of pea protein and brown rice protein, and is a solid blend of proteins and complex carbohydrates that can help aid in muscle growth and weight gain. With 1,280 calories, 236 carbs, and 50 grams of protein per serving, this supplement packs well over the typical numbers you see in both protein powders and mass gainers.

    Vegan Naked Mass

    Vegan Naked Mass

    Vegan Naked Mass is made of pea protein and brown rice protein, and is a solid blend of proteins and complex carbohydrates — per serving, you’ll get 1,280 calories, 236 carbs, and 50 grams of protein.

    However, it does only come in Unflavored, Chocolate, or Vanilla, so if you’re looking for more flavor options, you’ll have to opt for another product.  Unlike some vegan proteins, this one tastes good and isn’t gritty. It’s also worth noting that this is a bit more expensive than others on our list as it costs about $6.26 per serving.

    Who Should Buy Vegan Naked Mass

    • Anyone who follows a vegan diet and needs a plant-based mass gainer — this one is made from pea protein and rice protein.
    • Athletes who want an above average number of calories, carbs, and protein in their mass gainer.
    • Those who are happy with a basic Chocolate or Vanilla-flavored supplement. 

    Who Shouldn’t Buy Vegan Naked Mass 

    • Anyone who prefers to receive their calories from animal products. 
    • Those looking for a lower-calorie mass gainer, you’ll need to opt for a different product or reduce the serving size manually.
    • Users who want more than two flavors to choose from will want to look for a mass gainer with greater flavor variety. 

    Since it’s sometimes difficult for those who follow a vegan diet to gain mass, Vegan Naked Mass has an above-average number of plant-based calories, carbs, and protein in its powder to help fill any dietary gaps.

    Best Oat Powder

    If you frequent bodybuilding message boards, it’s not uncommon to find people who deride the idea of mass gainers asking, “Why buy powder when you can make oatmeal shakes and ditch the filler ingredients?” As it happens, Muscle Feast has done just that.

    Muscle Feast Whole Oat Powder

    This is just powdered oatmeal, and it has a pretty muscle mass-friendly macro split: 450 calories delivers roughly 21 grams of protein, 81 grams of carbs, and 12 grams of fat with 12 grams of fiber (about half your daily intake).

    Muscle Feast Whole Oat Powder

    Muscle Feast Whole Oat Powder

    This mass gainer is just powdered oatmeal, and it has a pretty muscle mass-friendly macro split. It contains 450 calories and delivers roughly 21 grams of protein, 81 grams of carbs, 12 grams of fat, and 12 grams of fiber.

    Many people don’t know that oats deliver an extremely high-quality protein — not quite as high as whey, but it has a more complete amino acid profile than rice and is rich in essential amino acids that can help stimulate muscle protein synthesis. It’s got a great protein-to-carb ratio for mass. It’s jam-packed with phytonutrients and healthful forms of carbohydrates like beta-glucan, which may help with immunity and lower the risk of heart disease. (4)(5)

    The only real downside, when used as a mass gainer, is the flavor is a tad dull, and all that fiber might be a bit filling, even when powdered into flour. But hey, it saves on prep time, and it’s certainly all-natural. This comes in four- and eight-pound buying options, which both pack major bang for your buck. The four-pound option costs about $0.55 cents per serving while the eight-pound option costs about $0.38 cents per serving, making it one of our cheapest picks.

    Who Should Buy Muscle Feast Whole Oat Powder

    • Anyone who wants an ultra-simple one-ingredient mass gainer will like this formula.
    • Folks who don’t like the idea of “processed” foods or artificial ingredients — this product does not contain a lot of fillers that other mass gainers do. 
    • Athletes who want a lot of naturally occurring micronutrients in their supplements.

    Who Shouldn’t Buy Muscle Feast Whole Oat Powder

    • Those not yet accustomed to consuming large amounts of fiber may find the fiber in this supplement to be a little too filling. 
    • Anyone who can’t stand a bland mass gainer — this simple oat product is not the most flavorful.
    • Folks focused on protein intake can find a mass gainer with a higher protein content as this is more carb-forward.

    Muscle Feast’s product is simple and not for those who like complex shakes. It’s just oats, after all. You might want to consider mixing this with milk. cocoa powder, or powdered peanut butter (or all three!). Oats combine great with protein and are phenomenally healthy, and it just makes sense to have a quick-to-mix oat shake post-workout, especially if you’re trying to sneak more whole foods into your diet.

    [Related: Intermittent Fasting 101: A Guide To Benefits, Muscle Gain, And More]

    When to Take Mass Gainer?

    If you’re looking to gain muscle mass, it may be helpful to take a mass gainer right after your workout, but it’s not necessary. While protein does help heal the tears that form in your muscles during a workout, it does not matter when you consume that protein. As long as you are eating enough protein throughout your day, the nutrient should be able to do its job regardless of when you consume it.

    If you’re using a mass gainer to fill in nutrient gaps in your diet, tack on extra calories you aren’t able to chew through in your normal meal plan, or as a meal replacement, there also is no set time you should be taking a mass gainer. You can take one in between meals, in place of a meal, after a morning workout, or even before bed (who doesn’t sleep better with a full belly?), depending on what best fits your schedule.

    The Benefits of Mass Gainers

    So can you add a bunch of liquid, powdery calories to your diet without any issues? The useful thing about mass gainers is that they typically make it really easy to add a ton of calories to your diet.

    The main issue with mass gainers is that it’s very easy to overestimate your calorie requirements when you decide to add mass. Biochemist Trevor Kashey, Ph.D. told BarBend:

    “Gaining muscle comes down to protein plus calories plus progressive overload. On paper, there are no downsides. In reality, very few people measure their calories accurately (…) if the idea is to gain weight, it’s fine. If the idea is to gain muscle, then it can be misleading.”

    A person wears a sports bra and a ponytail coming through a grey camouflage cap faces away from the camera and poses with their biceps flexed and their back muscles showing.Image via Igor Lateci / Shutterstock

    In short, provided you’re meeting your intake of micronutrients, it’s not a huge deal for body composition whether you make up a sizable number of your calories from mass gainers. The rub is that you need to have an excellent idea of how many calories you should be consuming to gain the kind of mass you want.

    We won’t pretend that everybody wants only to gain raw muscle — plenty of strength athletes want to make weight and be strong, body fat be damned. Certainly, the goal of gaining muscle with minimal body fat is ubiquitous. Most experts agree that a fifth to a half of a pound of muscle per week is about as fast as you can hope to gain. Work out your calorie and macro needs based on your height, weight, body fat, and activity level (dietitians and sports nutritionists are great for helping with this), and use mass gainers judiciously. If you do, these can be beneficial weapons in your arsenal.

    How Much Do Mass Gainers Cost?

    The price of mass gainers varies by brand and ingredients. The straightforward mass gainers that focus on macros and don’t include many micronutrients tend to be less expensive, whereas the mass gainers with fewer artificial ingredients, and more vitamins and minerals tend to be more expensive.

    Best Overall Mass Gainer Transparent Labs Mass Gainer $76.99

    $5.13 per serving

    Best Mass Gainer Protein Powder Micropure Whey Protein Isolate  $59.99

    $1.42 per serving

    Best Mass Gainer for Bodybuilding Transparent Labs Mass Gainer $76.99

    $5.13 per serving

    Best Cheap Mass Gainer Optimum Nutrition Serious Mass $83.99

    $5.25 per serving

    Best Digesting Mass Gainer Transparent Labs Mass Gainer $76.99

    $5.13 per serving

    Best Tasting Mass Gainer Transparent Labs Mass Gainer $76.99

    $5.13 per serving

    Best Natural Mass Gainer Muscle Feast Ultimate Weight Gainer $69.99

    $3.49 per serving

    Highest Carb Mass Gainer Less Naked Mass $69.99

    $6.36 per serving

    Best Vegan Mass Gainer Vegan Naked Mass $64.99

    $5.90 per serving

    Best Oat Powder Muscle Feast Whole Oat Powder $24.75

    $0.55 per serving

    When considering the price of mass gainers, you’ll want to look at the price of the container in unison with the number of servings you’re receiving. The mass gainers on this list range anywhere from $0.30 per serving to over $6 per serving with an average price of about $4.35 per serving. But before snagging the least expensive product on here, make sure you’re reading the label and acquiring what you want out of your mass gainer for the right price point.

    How to Choose the Right Mass Gainer for You

    Since mass gainers can be used for multiple purposes — gaining muscle mass, filling dietary gaps, consuming more calories, etc. — you’ll want to consider a few factors, and how they may work with your workout regimen and lifestyle before you choose a mass gainer to add to your supplement stack.


    The calorie count in mass gainers varies widely. You can have mass gainers that are as low as 200 calories, and some that are over 1,000 calories. If you’re looking to gain lean muscle mass, you may want to opt for a product that’s lower in calories, but has a high protein-to-carb ratio. If you’re looking to bulk and gain overall mass, a higher-calorie option that contains more carbs and/or fats could be a better choice for you.


    The three macronutrients are protein, fat, and carbs with protein and carbs providing four calories per gram while fat provided nine calories per gram. Mass gainers will usually be high in carbs with a solid amount of protein and a lower fat contribution to the total calories. It’s important to look at not only the total calorie content per serving of a mass gainer, but where those calories are coming from. 

    Mass gainers have a wide range of protein-to-carb ratios — they vary from one-to-one to one-to-five. The lower ratios are going to be ideal for those who are seeking to build lean muscles as they have a lower number of carbs per serving. Those closer to the one-to-five ratio are going to be better for athletes who are trying to bulk or add calories and carbs to their diet. Before you choose a mass gainer solely based on calorie count, make sure you are gauging how the protein-to-carb ratio will work with your lifestyle and training regimen.

    Nutrient Profile

    Many mass gainers also contain vitamins and minerals in their formulas. From different types of creatine to digestive enzymes, these additions are meant to support other aspects of your health, like digestion or energy, rather than just supplementing specific macros.

    A scoop of whey protein powder.Credit: Petejerkk / Shutterstock

    However, some people may not prioritize this, but rather want a more straightforward formula that simply provides the calories, carbs, and proteins they need to maintain and grow muscle mass. You’ll want to decide what additional ingredients (if any) you want in your powder before snagging a pick off of this list — typically the more micronutrients, the higher the price tag.

    Other Ingredients

    As we mentioned, there are other ingredients than the main macros in mass gainers like vitamins, minerals, and often digestive enzymes. These can help to ensure you’re eating a relatively balanced and well-rounded diet when bulking or adding mass. Digestive enzymes are included to potentially aid in breaking down and making the best use of the mass gainer’s ingredients. You’ll also often find fiber which may help with digestion and keeping you regular while your food intake is increased.

    Customer Testimonials

    Reviews and testimonials can usually be taken with a grain of salt individually, but trends tend to signal how people feel overall about the product. If a mass gainer is consistently receiving glowing reviews and high rankings, then it probably is the real deal. Conversely, if people are regularly unsatisfied with the quality or results then you might want to pass on that supplement and choose an alternative. All of the products on this list are top-notch and backed by positive customer feedback.

    How We Chose the Best Mass Gainers

    Mass gainers are a particularly tricky supplement, as the consumer’s desires can be surprisingly varied: Are you looking to save money on calories, add to your nutrient intake, or find a tasty way to gain mass? We tried a lot — a lot — of mass gainers and weighed the following criteria when assessing their value.


    We’ve included a wide range of prices and tub sizes on this list. Some of these picks are large cost-effective tubs of straightforward mass gainers, while others are smaller, more expensive canisters of more intricate mass gainers.

    Image via Shutterstock/ALL best fitness is HERE

    Whether you’re looking for a plain mass gainer that focuses on macros or a more nuanced mass gainer that also incorporates micronutrients, we’ve included a pick at a reasonable price point here to suit your needs — no matter how much you’re paying for these picks, they will be worth your while.

    Protein to Carb Ratio

    Protein to carb ratio varies per product, and the ratio customers are looking for also varies per individual. Some want a hit of protein and carbs after a workout; some prioritize protein and not as many carbs after a workout. If you’re trying to achieve a leaner figure, a higher protein count and lower carb count may be better for you, whereas if you’re trying to bulk, protein mixed with a higher number of carbs could benefit you. Ratios vary from one-to-one to one-to-five, and we’ve included a variety of options in this range on this list to help satisfy all customer needs.

    Artificial and Natural Sweeteners

    Some people prefer to avoid artificial sweeteners. Though there is no overwhelming amount of evidence they will cause you harm, we have indicated whether or not a mass gainer contains these ingredients for those who wish to avoid them in lieu of natural sweeteners. If this isn’t a priority to you, we’ve also included supplements on this list that do include some artificial sweeteners.


    Micronutrients include both vitamins and minerals. Some prefer a dose of these nutrients with their mass gainers; for others, this is not a priority. That’s why we’ve included options both with and without added micronutrients — like creatine or digestive enzymes — to satisfy both types of users.

    How to Use Mass Gainer Supplements

    This is one of the most easily misunderstood and misused categories of supplements, so read on before clicking the “buy” button.

    Watch Your Calories Closely

    A lot of people think, “I want to gain mass, so I’ll drink a mass gainer.” Great, but what kind of calorie surplus is it putting you into? Experts tend to agree that you’re unlikely to gain more than a quarter to half a percent of your body mass in muscle per week. That’s maybe an extra 200 calories over your daily calorie burn — any more than that, and it probably won’t be the kind of bulk you want to gain.

    Pair Your Diet With the Right Workouts

    If you want to gain muscle mass, running on the treadmill a few times a week likely won’t produce the physique you’re after. Heavy compound lifts and plenty of higher-rep hypertrophy-focused workouts are the order of the day. Find a well-planned, properly periodized program to accompany you on your muscle-building journey.

    Don’t Forget Your Micronutrients

    People tend to work themselves into a frenzy for more and more calories, no matter where they come from. This is called a “dirty bulk” — plenty of ice cream, forget the broccoli because it’s too filling. Though, your vitamins and minerals are fundamental to your muscle gain plan, magnesium in veggies helps with recovery, Vitamin D helps with hormonal health, and so on. Hit your recommended daily intake of all your nutrients, not just the ones that are high in calories.

    Get a Lot of Sleep

    Half of the classic bodybuilding movie Pumping Iron is Arnold Schwarzenegger taking naps. Optimal sleep helps the body produce testosterone, growth hormone, and reduce catabolic hormones like cortisol. It’s an incredibly important piece of the puzzle, so don’t leave it out.

    [Related: The Lifter’s Guide To Magnesium: What This Nutrient Does For Strength]

    Final Word

    Strategically using the best mass gainers, when implemented with a good understanding of your calorie and micronutrient needs, can reduce the stress of a high-calorie diet and take your body to where you want it to be. We won’t say they’re necessary for everyone and anyone who wants to pack on muscle, but in a world where we all have a zillion commitments, we’re all for making muscle-building a little easier.

    This list has a plethora of picks that take price, protein content, carb content, micronutrients, and natural vs. artificial formulation into consideration. We did the hard work of whittling down a saturated market to some of the best mass gainers out there to fit your needs. If you’re after major gains then a mass gainer supplement may be the right choice for you.


    What’s the best mass gainer supplement?

    Transparent Labs Mass Gainer is a BarBend favorite for its high quality formula. It contains 740 calories, 53 grams of protein, 109 grams of carbs, 12 grams of fat, and eight grams of fiber to top it off. It also comes in two distinctly delicious flavors with a fairly reasonable price point, considering its ingredient list and macro content.

    What’s the difference between mass gainers and protein powders?

    Speaking generally, mass gainers have a ton more carbs and fat to provide additional calories than protein powders and often come with added micronutrients. They’re also usually much larger in serving size and will feature slower digesting forms of protein like whey concentrate instead of whey isolate. Mass gainers are designed to provide calories and nutrients to put you in a caloric surplus so you can potentially gain muscle while protein powders are intended to aid in recovery and help you reach your daily protein intake goals.

    Do mass gainers make you fat?

    If you’re sticking to your calorie goal, exercising right, getting the right amount of macronutrients (protein, carbs, and fat), and you’re not falling short in your daily doses of vitamins and minerals, then mass gainers can help you to add muscle and minimize fat gain.

    Simply adding a lot of calories without monitoring your intake isn’t the right way to go about muscle gain, but if your calories are dialed in then mass gainers alone won’t cause issues. Most people have trouble gaining mass without gaining any fat, but if you gain fat, it won’t be because of the supplements. (It’ll be because your calories and total energy expenditure aren’t perfectly synced.)

    Do mass gainers really work?

    As with any supplement, there is no magic pill or shortcut to results, but mass gainers are relatively straightforward products. They generally provide a high number of calories and nutrients which are intended to put you in a caloric surplus so your body has the nutrition to add muscle. You still need to work hard in the gym and be consistent with your other nutrition and supplements, but mass gainers may help people who are trying to pack on mass, as the name implies.

    Do mass gainers have side effects?

    The main potential side effect of mass gainers is digestive issues: bloating, gassiness, and other signs of an upset stomach. This isn’t to say mass gainers will cause these issues when used responsibly, rather that haphazardly consuming a lot more calories than the body is used to can tax the digestive system. To minimize these issues, only eat an average of 200 calories over your daily calorie burn, eat the right amount of fiber, and consider supplementing with digestive enzymes and probiotics.

    Can you take mass gainers daily?

    Absolutely, and most people do for the best potential effects. While you don’t need to take them daily, it’s usually recommended but there are some reasons you might choose not to. If you’re primarily looking to increase your calorie intake on particularly difficult training days or if you’re using a mass gainer as a stand-in for a meal then you might be more selective about when you take your mass gainer.

    How much do mass gainers cost?

    Due to their macro content and ingredient lists, mass gainers tend to be more expensive than a regular whey protein or some of the other supplements that you may find in your stack. Our list finds a range of prices (although not all are mass gainers specifically) between about $0.55 per serving to over $6.00 per serving with an average price point of around $4.35 per serving.

    It’s good to keep in mind that a mass gainer isn’t a necessity, and there are many ways to go about bulking, but they may be a really convenient and delicious way to get those extra macros and calories in.


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