three caffeinated protein powders on a blue and gold background

The Best Caffeinated Protein Powders You Can Buy, Ranked

Caffeinated protein powder helps you hit your macros and prepare you for your next workout (or just get out of bed in the morning).

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There are few staple supplements that all gym bros, fitness fans, and weekend warriors claim in their stack. Protein powder tops that list. There’s whey, there’s plant-based alternatives to whey, and there are even alternatives to the alternatives to whey (one being beef as you’ll find in this list).

But a growing trend in recent years has all levels of lifters on notice. And so too are the supplement companies. It’s dubbed “proffee,” protein powder mixed with coffee. The point; a low-calorie, filling meal replacement offering the benefits of protein and the benefits of caffeine.

Instead of heaping a scoop of powder in your morning cup of Joe, supplement companies have brought convenience in a tub. Caffeinated protein powders offer the typical nutritionals of a normal powder with the added bonus of caffeine. And like all supplements, you’d get dizzy wandering through aisles or scrolling through Amazon for the best caffeinated protein powders. 

So, we did the work for you.

Our Experience

Hone Health is a team of health-obsessed journalists, editors, fitness junkies, medical reviewers, and product testers. To ensure we deliver you research-backed information on caffeinated protein powders, we pulled products from reputable brands and spoke with registered dietician, Erika Collette, MS, RD at ThisIsWhyImFit.com, about the ins and outs of caffeine, sugar, and protein.

What to Look for in Caffeinated Protein Powder

Caffeine per serving

You’re looking at this list for a reason; you want a protein powder that offers a jolt. Research shows caffeine is most commonly used 60 minutes pre-exercise and is shown to improve performance in doses of three to six milligrams per kilogram of body mass (1). For a 200-pound guy, that ranges between 272 mg to 544 mg of caffeine.

The amount of caffeine you take pre-workout depends on a number of factors, most notably how often you use caffeine on a regular basis, says Collette. “It’s considered safe to use 100 to 200 mg of caffeine per serving for pre-workout,” she says. 

But fair warning, try to stay under 400 mg per day. “The higher the dosage the more likely you will experience negative side effects such as anxiety, heart palpitations, dehydration, and jitters,” she says.

You’ll find most of the products on this list are below or right in line with 100 mg of caffeine.

Sugar content

You should always look for the lowest amount of sugar in your powder but be more mindful of what’s added. Most protein powders have added sugar to bring you those fun flavors. It’s not like Mocha Latte, Sugar Cookie, and Blueberry Pancakes exist in nature. 

Collette recommends a protein powder with less than five grams of added sugar. If you’re in the mood to sweeten things up, try adding fruit, cinnamon, or honey to your shake, she says.

As for those sugar alcohols that end in “tol”—you know, erythritol, mannitol, sorbitol, xylitol—try to steer clear. “Sugar alcohols can cause digestive issues such as diarrhea, nausea, constipation, and vomiting depending on how sensitive your stomach is,” Collette says, so best to avoid if you can.

Look for natural sweeteners like stevia or monk fruit instead.

Protein type

It doesn’t matter the type of protein. What matters is your individual need.

“If you’re looking to put on weight and a high amount of muscle, you should use a whey gainer powder that contains more carbs,” she says. 

But the more common protein choices lie in whey isolates and concentrates. A whey isolate is a more filtered form of whey and will increase muscle gains without added weight gain. This is because isolates have a lower fat and carb content compared with whey concentrate, says Collette. She adds that whey concentrate powders may keep you full longer because they’re higher in fat and carbs.

And of course, vegetarians, vegans, or lifters with dairy sensitivity should choose a plant-based powder. Lucky for you, research has found no significant difference between whey protein and plant-based sources—like pea and soy—when it comes to muscle, strength, and body composition (2,3,4).

The Best Caffeinated Protein Powders on the Market

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