4 Best Protein Shakers, Tested by Food Network Kitchen

We shook and sipped our way through several to bring you the best ones.

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Updated on December 20, 2023

Related To:

Our Top Protein Shaker Picks

Tested by Beth Lipton for Food Network Kitchen

Protein has been getting tons of attention lately and with good reason. It's important for so many functions in the body and can help keep us feeling full and satisfied. But getting it when you need it, and getting enough, can be a challenge when you're on the go. No wonder protein powders have become so popular — just mix it into some water, and you're on your way.

Along with all those protein powders have come a variety of shaker cups and portable electric mixers designed to make those on-the-go protein shakes easy and convenient. We shook and sipped our way through several to bring you the best ones.

One thing we noticed: On many of the bottles, the measurement markings stop much lower than the bottles' capacity, likely because you can't fill the bottle all the way when shaking or you risk leakage. After filling partway, adding the powder and shaking vigorously, you can add a bit more liquid and give a light shake to finish filling the bottle. Note that none of these bottles or blenders are recommended for warm or hot liquids.

How We Tested

We bought five popular, well-reviewed manual shaker cups and four portable blenders. In both, we tested a commonly available brand of whey protein and water according to the package label directions, adjusting the amount of powder and water based on the cups' capacity. We evaluated how simple the cups and blenders were to operate, how effectively they mixed the protein and water, and whether there were lumps left behind after shaking. We noted how the lids were designed and whether they were easy and pleasant to drink from. For the blenders, we also made a simple smoothie with banana, fresh berries and milk, noting how effectively each one blended, and we attempted to crush ice in each one to test the power of the motors. We took note of any special features, such as an adjustable carry loop. Then, we washed each one according to the instructions, running the dishwasher-safe models through the machine.

$24.95 $21.95
What We Liked
  1. No shaker ball needed
  2. Odor-resistant material
  3. Leakproof
What We Didn't Like
  1. Top heavy when empty

This tall, sleek bottle has a unique curved design that gives it more than nice aesthetics. The hexagonal shape creates a vortex, so the powder and water inside are agitated and blended without the addition of a wire ball. Though the wider top makes the bottle feel slightly top-heavy, it also makes it easier to scoop in the powder, so it's a tradeoff. Made of BPA-free Tritan plastic, the bottle feels sturdy but still light enough to shake without much effort, and it didn't leak even with pretty rigorous shaking. It has a 28-ounce capacity, yet it’s also slender enough to fit in a cup holder. The opening in the lid that you drink through opens all the way out, so you can sip comfortably without any parts hitting your nose. When you're done, both the cup itself and the lid are top-rack dishwasher safe.

  1. Capacity 28 ounces
  2. Material BPA-free plastic
  3. Additional Features Dishwasher-safe (top rack)
Buy It
What We Liked
  1. Adjustable carrying loop
  2. Simple and straightforward
  3. Light and comfortable to hold
What We Didn't Like
  1. Some powder left at the top after shaking

This bottle offers some thoughtfully designed features, making it a really good value for the price. It has a 28-ounce capacity, a tall and narrow design that's cupholder-friendly, and it's made from sturdy BPA-free plastic. As with other BlenderBottle designs, it comes with a wire ball that resembles the top of a twirl whisk, which helps to blend the liquid and powder. It has a rounded base that aids the mixing process, and the opening in the lid folds out far for comfortable sipping. The carry loop is also adjustable, which is an added benefit. Fold it down for easy storage and unfold to carry. The cup and lid are top-rack dishwasher safe, and the ball goes right into the silverware section.

  1. Capacity 28 ounces
  2. Material BPA-free plastic
  3. Additional Features Dishwasher-safe (top rack)
Buy It
What We Liked
  1. Ready-to-drink cap
  2. Adjustable carrying loop
  3. Leakproof
What We Didn't Like
  1. Only able to fit 16 ounces, not 20 ounces as described

If you want a smaller, more squat-shaped cup, this one's your jam — and it’s a great value, too. This cup, with BlenderBottle's signature wire ball, is made of BPA-free plastic and has a wide mouth that makes it easy to scoop in the powder. The screw-on lid is leakproof and easy to drink from, and it has an adjustable carry loop. As with other BlenderBottle shakers, the cup and lid are top-rack dishwasher-safe, and the ball cleaned up well in the silverware section. (Pro tip: If you wash both wire balls at the same time, put them in different compartments to prevent them from getting tangled up.) Our one nitpick on this bottle is that the company says it has a 20-ounce capacity, but it's hard to imagine getting more than 16 ounces in comfortably. That aside, this is an effective cup at a great price.

  1. Capacity 20 ounces
  2. Material BPA-free plastic
  3. Additional Features Dishwasher-safe (top rack)
Buy It
What We Liked
  1. Completely blended after 20 seconds
  2. Relatively quiet operation
What We Didn't Like
  1. No opening for sipping directly from cap
  2. Not dishwasher-safe

Talk about small but mighty. This light, small-footprint personal blender packs a lot of power. It made very quick work of a protein shake and a smoothie, both in under 30 seconds thanks to a five-volt motor and a blade that turns 275 times per second. For all of its blending ability, it's relatively quiet. The BlendJet 2 also has a handy pulse setting, useful for making guacamole or pesto. It's lightweight so you can toss it in your bag (and it has a lock mode, so you don't blend by accident). You can also carry it via the strap on the twist-off cap. Charge the blender for an hour with the included USB cord, and it gets about 15 blends. The BlendJet 2 is not dishwasher safe, but it cleans up quickly and easily by blending a little dish soap and water. Choose from a variety of colors and fun patterns. There's no opening to allow you to sip from the cap, which seems like an odd oversight, but overall, if you love your blended drinks on the go, this little powerhouse will spark joy.

  1. Capacity 16 ounces
  2. Material BPA-free plastic, stainless steel
  3. Additional Features 6-point stainless steel blade, carrying strap, single-button blend
Buy It

What to Consider When Buying a Protein Shaker

Shaker cups seem pretty straightforward — you add powder and liquid to a cup, shake and go. But there are actually several factors to consider when buying a shaker cup. It's important to think through how, when and in what ways you're going to use your shaker cup when selecting one.

  • Function: Are you only using your cup to mix powder and water or are you looking for a cup that can whip up a simple smoothie? If you're looking for something that can handle smoothie-like beverages, you'll need a blade.
  • Power: An electric cup will do the mixing for you. A manual cup means you have to shake it yourself, but it doesn't require wires or recharging like an electric one does.
  • Size/Shape: Cups vary in their capacity and shape. If you need your shaker to fit into your car's cup holder, that may affect your choices. If you're planning to carry the cup around at the gym or in your bag, a cup that's totally leakproof is a must.
  • Special Features: Some cups are dishwasher-safe, others aren't (or only have some parts that are). Some shaker cups have a wire ball inside designed to help mix in the powder, others don't. You may want a carrying loop to make toting the cup around easier. You may find some lid designs easier to sip through than others.

Which Protein Powder Should You Use?

You can use just about any protein powder with these cups. As the focus on protein for health and muscle has increased over the years, so has the selection of protein powders on the market. Some are made from animal products, such as whey, collagen and egg white. Others are plant-based and include ingredients, such as hemp, pea and soy. Some are sweetened either with added sugar or artificial sweeteners. Along with unflavored varieties, there are a lot of flavored ones from simple vanilla and chocolate to offerings like cappuccino, peanut butter, birthday cake and salted caramel. An unsweetened, unflavored powder is going to be the most versatile (you could add a scoop to baked goods, pancakes, veggie burgers or even your morning coffee, for example). But a fun flavor might motivate you to make and drink that shake you want to turn into a habit. So, as with the cups, think through how, when and where you'll use the powder when shopping.

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