Free Shipping on Orders $75+ US Only
NSF Certified
Shop By Goal
Shop By Category
Best Sellers
Learn

7 Best NSF Certified Protein Powders of 2024 (Whey & Plant)

Rachel Levin

|

In the pursuit of peak athletic performance, the quality of your supplements matters. The integrity and purity of supplements are paramount, but they are not always clearly laid out, which is why third-party testing is more important than ever.


NSF Certified for Sport is like a seal of approval that assures a supplement meets high quality, safety, and purity standards. Think of it as a badge of honor for products, showing they’ve passed some of the most stringent tests. Here’s what it means and why it’s a big deal .

The NSF Certified for Sport Difference


When you see the NSF mark on a supplement, it means the product has undergone rigorous testing and inspection to ensure it meets strict health and safety standards. 


This third-party testing certification covers everything from verifying the ingredients listed on the label are accurate and present in the correct amounts to ensure the product doesn’t contain harmful contaminants or any substances banned by sports organizations. 


Here are just a few reasons why it matters:


  • Trust and credibility: In the supplement world, trust is everything. NSF certification tells customers that a company is serious about producing safe and high-quality products. It signals to consumers that they can trust what’s on the label.

  • Athlete safety: The NSF Certified for Sport mark is especially crucial for sports supplements. It assures athletes that the product is free from substances banned by most major sports organizations. This peace of mind is invaluable for athletes who undergo regular drug testing.

  • Regulatory compliance: The certification process ensures products are manufactured according to the FDA’s Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP). This provides product safety and quality and helps companies stay compliant with regulatory requirements.


NSF is the only independent third-party certification program that garners recognition from the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), Major League Baseball, and the National Hockey League. This distinction places NSF at the pinnacle of supplement certification authorities, ensuring that athletes and health enthusiasts only put their best into their bodies. More than 90% of teams in the NFL use Momentous products. 


But what does NSF certification mean for you, the athlete or fitness enthusiast? It means confidence in your nutrition choices, peace of mind that you’re not inadvertently consuming anything that could harm your body or career, and assurance that the products meet the highest standards for purity and safety.


With a detailed look at different types of protein powders, including whey and plant-based options, our list below will help you find the perfect NSF-certified protein powder to complement your diet and training regimen. 


The Best Whey and Plant-Based NSF Certified Protein Powders

Let’s dive into the best NSF Certified For Sport protein powders. We’ll explore options, including whey and vegan protein powders, so you can discover the best option for you. 


Momentous Protein Powders (Whey and Plant-Based) 


What to Know About Momentous Protein Powders 

  • Artificial sweeteners: No 

  • Contains ProHydrolase: Yes  (for whey protein, no for plant-based)

  • Free shipping: Yes 

  • GMO Free: Yes (for plant-based, no for whey protein)

  • Gluten Free: Yes 

  • Grass Fed: Yes  (for whey protein)

  • Other third-party certifications: Informed Sport Certified 

  • Brand offers a plant-based NSF certified protein powder: Yes  


Product Details (Grass Fed Whey Protein Isolate Powder):  

  • Type: Whey Protein Isolate  

  • Net Weight: 1.25lb 

  • Number of Servings: 24 

  • Serving Size: 1 scoop (23.7 grams) 

  • Flavors: Three - Unflavored, Vanilla, Chocolate 

  • Protein per Serving: 20 grams 

  • Calories per Serving: 100 

  • Price: $64.95 


Product Details (Essential Plant-Based Protein Powder):  

  • Type: Plant-based protein (pea protein isolate and rice protein concentrate)  

  • Net Weight: 1.66lb 

  • Number of Servings: 20 

  • Serving Size: 1 scoop (37.7 grams) 

  • Flavors: Two - Vanilla Chai, Chocolate 

  • Protein per Serving: 20 grams 

  • Calories per Serving: 140 

  • Price: $49.95 


 Pros

  • Easy to digest, easy on stomach

  • NSF Certified for Sport and Informed Sport Certified

  • Backed by clinical research

  • Complete amino acid profile in every serving

  • Great tasting and easy to mix; no chalky texture as is common in many plant-based powders

  • Environmentally conscious sourcing

  • No artificial flavors, great flavor options, and delicious taste


 Cons

  • Slightly higher price per serving compared to other options on this list



I’ve tried dozens of different protein brands, but Momentous is my favorite. I’m partial to the Grass Fed Whey Protein Isolate Powder  in chocolate flavor. It’s delicious, and I actually look forward to it, which isn’t something I have said about my relationship with protein powders in the past. 


The process of developing this complete protein powder involved a unique collaboration with registered dietitians and human performance experts from top professional sports teams working together to deliver a product that meets the lofty expectations of their elite athletes. 


The whey protein isolate used is sourced directly from European dairy farms, known for their strict agricultural practices. These farms provide milk from grass-fed cows, ensuring a product that is not only of the highest quality but also environmentally conscious. 


Adding ProHydrolase seals the deal for me to help maximize protein absorption. It also aids digestion, so I don’t get stomach aches or discomfort like I have from other protein powders. Mix it with warm milk or water for a tasty hot cocoa inspired beverage. 


And if you don’t trust me, take it from Brandon McDaniel, LA Dodgers VP of Player Performance:

“For those of you who can have dairy and prefer it, Momentous Grass-Fed Whey Protein is for you. Whey protein has existed for a long time, but with Momentous, you can get the highest quality of protein. It is formulated to expedite recovery—like a freight train running to your muscles.”

Brandon McDaniel

The  Essential Plant-Based Protein  in vanilla chai is my close second, although I love the vanilla flavors too. It has a great consistency and smooth texture, so it dissolves easily into liquid and adds a nice flavor to my post-workout smoothie or protein shake (typically with water or milk, one banana, and a scoop of nut butter). It tastes just like ice cream. 


This plant-based blend meets my protein needs—it’s made from a mix of pea and rice proteins, which yields a complete amino acid profile that supports muscle repair and growth after intense physical activity. Not just the fact that it’s building and repairing muscles, organs, and skin, but it contributes to the production of digestive enzymes to help generate hormones, facilitates chemical reactions, and supports immune functions. While many plant-based protein powders can have a chalky taste, that’s not the case with Momentous Essential Plant-Based Protein; it mixes well and is easy to digest. 


It does exactly what I want in providing energy and managing satiety, so I can consume what I need after a challenging workout. Being plant-based, this is an excellent option for vegans and vegetarians. 


My only qualm is that with the standards for quality, Momentous isn’t the cheapest option. If price is your most important factor, BioSteel plant-based protein, as mentioned below, could be a better alternative.



Garden of Life Protein Powders (Whey and Plant-Based) 


What to Know About Garden of Life Protein Powders 

  • Artificial sweeteners: No 

  • Contains ProHydrolase: No 

  • Free shipping: Yes 

  • GMO Free: Yes 

  • Gluten Free: Yes 

  • Grass Fed: Yes  (for whey protein)

  • Other certifications: NSF Certified Gluten Free 

  • Brand offers a plant-based NSF certified protein powder: Yes 


Product Details (SPORT Certified Grass Fed Whey Powder):  

  • Type: Whey protein isolate 

  • Net Weight: 24.33oz 

  • Number of Servings: 20 

  • Serving Size: 1 scoop (33g) 

  • Flavors: Two - Chocolate and Vanilla 

  • Protein per Serving: 24 grams 

  • Calories per Serving: 120 

  • Price: $59.99 


Product Details (Raw Organic Protein Plant-Based Powder):  

  • Type: Plant-based (Organic peas, sprouted grains, seeds, legumes) 

  • Net Weight: 23.28oz 

  • Number of Servings: 20 

  • Serving Size: 1 scoop (33g) 

  • Flavors: Four - Vanilla, Unflavored, Chocolate, Vanilla Chai 

  • Protein per Serving: 22 grams 

  • Calories per Serving: 130 

  • Price: $50.99 


 Pros

  • Organic and non-GMO ingredients

  • Great flavor options

  • A diverse variety of plant protein sources in the plant-based powder


 Cons

  • The texture is a bit gritty and clumpy, meaning it doesn’t dissolve as well

  • Higher price per serving


Before becoming loyal to Momentous protein powders, I was all about Garden of Life protein powders. They make solid products. 


The Garden of Life SPORT Certified Grass Fed Whey Powder stands out for those prioritizing ethical sourcing and quality in their dietary supplements. This whey protein is sourced from grass-fed cows, ensuring a high quality of milk with potentially better nutritional profiles due to the cows’ natural diet. 


The protein powder is a good fit for athletes and fitness enthusiasts looking for a clean, high-quality protein source to support their muscle recovery and growth. This option might appeal more to those who value the source and purity of their supplements over the cost factor.


The Garden of Life Raw Organic Protein Plant-Based Powder is a good choice for individuals seeking a vegan-friendly protein option that doesn’t compromise on nutritional quality. It’s made with a diverse blend of plant-based proteins, including pea, brown rice, and chia seeds. 


It provides a comprehensive essential amino acid profile that is often challenging to achieve with single-source plant proteins. This powder has no added sugar and is particularly suited to health-conscious consumers, vegans, or those with dairy sensitivities looking to support their dietary needs holistically and naturally. Plus, it’s tasty for baking—try it in oatmeal, cookies, or pancakes. 


While some may find the flavor and texture a bit different from traditional whey-protein powder, its nutritional benefits and commitment to organic, non-GMO ingredients list make it a compelling choice for those looking to maintain a clean and environmentally friendly diet.



Vega Protein Powders (Plant-Based) 


What to Know About Vega Protein Powders 

  • Artificial sweeteners: No 

  • Contains ProHydrolase: No 

  • Free shipping: Yes 

  • GMO Free: Yes 

  • Gluten Free: Yes 

  • Grass Fed: N/A 

  • Other certifications: N/A 


 Product Details:  

  • Type: Plant-based (including pea protein, sunflower seed protein, pumpkin seed protein, and alfalfa protein) 

  • Net Weight: 29.2oz 

  • Number of Servings: 20 

  • Serving Size: 1 scoop (41g) 

  • Flavors: Five - Vanilla, Chocolate, Mocha, Peanut Butter, Berry 

  • Protein per Serving: 30 grams 

  • Calories per Serving: 170 

  • Price: $64.99 


 Pros

  • Lots of flavor options

  • Higher protein per serving


 Cons

  • The plant-based protein is higher in calories than other options

  • They only offer plant-based protein

  • Higher serving size than other options. The pure volume of powder may turn people off.

  • Highest price per serving


This plant-based protein from Vega is designed with the active individual in mind, particularly those who follow a vegan diet or are looking for dairy-free protein alternatives. It delivers a high-quality protein blend from sources like peas, pumpkin seeds, organic sunflower seeds, and alfalfa protein, making it an ideal choice for supporting muscle repair and recovery after a workout. This is an excellent option for those who are avoiding soy proteins. 


The type of protein in plant-based protein powders can affect people differently, making a diverse blend easier on the stomach. The addition of nutrients and ingredients like tart cherry, turmeric extract, and probiotics aim to improve recovery times and overall gut health and are a bonus that sets this apart from other blends on the market. 


While some might find the flavor profile unique compared to traditional protein powders, its benefits for those committed to a plant-based lifestyle are clear: offering a sustainable, nutrient-dense option that supports performance and recovery.



BIOSTEEL (Whey and Plant-Based) 


What to Know About BIOSTEEL 

  • Artificial sweeteners: No 

  • Contains ProHydrolase: No 

  • Free shipping: No 

  • GMO Free: Yes 

  • Gluten Free: Yes 

  • Grass Fed: Yes 

  • Other certifications: N/A 

  • Brand offers a plant-based NSF certified protein powder: Yes 


Product Details (Whey Protein Isolate):  

  • Type: Whey Protein Isolate 

  • Net Weight: 28.8oz 

  • Number of Servings: 24 

  • Serving Size: 1 scoop (34g) 

  • Flavors: Two - Vanilla and Chocolate 

  • Protein per Serving: 28 grams 

  • Calories per Serving: 140 calories 

  • Price: $59.99 


Product Details (Plant-Based Protein):  

  • Type: Organic brown rice, pea protein, and organic pumpkin seed 

  • Net Weight: 29oz 

  • Number of Servings: 25  

  • Serving Size: 1 scoop (33g) 

  • Flavors: Two - Vanilla and Chocolate 

  • Protein per Serving: 23 grams 

  • Calories per Serving: 130 

  • Price: $49.99 


 Pros

  • Best price per serving for the plant-based options

  • Diverse source of plant proteins

  • Very fine and mixes easily


 Cons

  • Some people find there’s a lingering aftertaste

  • The vanilla is a bit overpowering in smoothies


BioSteel’s whey protein powder is a solid choice for anyone optimizing their post-workout recovery and muscle-building efforts. The brand’s commitment to clean, high-quality ingredients is evident, making it a preferred option for athletes and fitness enthusiasts who prioritize purity and performance in their nutrition. 


While the whey powder may have a higher price tag, the investment reflects the product’s premium sourcing from grass-fed cows, ensuring a higher nutritional value and ethical production standards. This whey protein is best suited for individuals who can tolerate dairy and are looking for a straightforward, effective supplement to support their training goals. However, some may find the taste and mixability less appealing than other brands, which could be a minor drawback for those with particular preferences.


On the other hand, BioSteel’s plant-based protein powder offers a comprehensive solution for those seeking a vegan or dairy-free alternative without compromising on protein quality or ethical standards. It’s formulated to cater to a broad spectrum of dietary needs, featuring a blend of plant proteins that work together to provide a balanced amino acid profile. This product is ideal for environmentally conscious consumers and those with dietary restrictions, offering a sustainable and inclusive option. 


While the texture and flavor might not cater to everyone’s liking, reflecting common challenges with plant-based proteins, its nutritional benefits and commitment to clean ingredients make it a worthy consideration for those looking to incorporate more plant-based nutrition into their active lifestyles.

Price Per Serving and Gram of Protein Compared


Products

Price Per Serving

Price Per Gram of Protein

Momentous Grass Fed Whey Protein Isolate Powder

$2.70

$0.11

Momentous Essential Plant-Based Protein

$2.48

$0.12

Garden of Life SPORT Certified Grass Fed Whey Powder

$2.99

$0.12

Garden of Life Raw Organic Protein Plant-Based Powder

$2.56

$0.12

Vega Sport Plant-Based Protein Powder

$3.25

$0.11

BioSteel Whey Isolate

$2.49

$0.09

BioSteel Plant-Based Protein

$1.99

$0.09

How Does a Protein Powder Get NSF Certified? 


NSF stands at the forefront of public health and safety, providing the gold standard for dietary supplement certification. When a protein powder earns NSF certification, it guarantees consumers that they’re getting the cleanest, purest product possible, meticulously vetted to meet stringent health and safety criteria.


Here’s a closer look at what it takes for a protein powder to achieve this prestigious certification:


  • Zero tolerance for banned substances: NSF certified products are verified to be free from over 290 substances banned by major athletic organizations, ensuring athletes can safely use them without risking their careers.

  • Accuracy in labeling: The certification process rigorously tests to confirm that the supplement’s actual contents precisely match what’s listed on the label, offering transparency and trust to consumers about what they’re ingesting.

  • Strict contaminant standards: NSF certification means a product has been tested to ensure it contains no unsafe levels of any contaminants, ensuring the safety and purity of the protein powder.

  • Manufacturing excellence: Only products manufactured in facilities that adhere to the highest standards for quality and safety, as established by the Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP), and are regularly audited by NSF, can achieve certification. These audits occur annually or bi-annually, depending on the facility’s compliance grade, to ensure adherence to these strict standards.

  • Meticulous testing of every production batch: Every production lot must be tested and passed before being released for sale. Not only is this costly and time consuming (testing time is about three weeks), but there is also risk that if a product fails it will need to be destroyed and not sold.


Visit the NSF website to learn more about  what the seal of approval means and how to get certified. These resources provide in-depth insights into the rigorous standards and benefits of choosing NSF-certified supplements.



FAQs About NSF Certified Protein Powder 


What does NSF mean on protein powder?

When you see an “NSF” certification on protein powder, it indicates that the product has been certified by NSF International, a global public health organization. This certification ensures the product meets strict safety, quality, and purity standards, including being free from banned substances, contaminants, and heavy metals.


Which certification is best for protein powder?

The NSF Certified for Sport is among the best and most recognized certifications for protein powder, especially for athletes concerned about banned substances. Another highly regarded certification is the Informed Sport certification, which also focuses on ensuring products are free from banned athletic substances.


How do I know if my whey protein is high-quality?

High-quality whey protein is often characterized by its protein content, source, and absence of unnecessary fillers or harmful additives. Look for products with NSF or Informed Sport certifications, which guarantee that what’s on the label matches what’s inside. Additionally, grass-fed whey protein sources and minimal processing (such as cold-processed or microfiltered) indicate higher quality. A reputable company should include information about where their whey is sourced from.


What is the purest form of whey protein?

This is typically whey protein isolate. This form has undergone more processing to remove almost all fat and lactose, resulting in a protein content of 90% or higher. Whey protein isolate provides a higher protein content per serving, making it an excellent choice for those looking for maximum protein intake with minimal additional components. It is low in fat and carbs, containing no lactose or cholesterol.



Grace Gavilanes

Rachel Levin

Rachel Levin is a writer and editor with over 10 years of experience writing in health, wellness, and travel. She is also an avid outdoor athlete—she's hiked and trekked in almost every continent.