Updated December 2021
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Buying guide for best mass gainers

Building muscle and increasing strength is a process that requires commitment and plenty of patience. But sometimes no matter how hard you work, you just don’t see the kind of muscle-building results you want. That’s why so many bodybuilders and fitness enthusiasts turn to a mass gainer when they’re trying to add muscle mass.

As with any supplement, you want to be sure to choose a high-quality product that is safe and produces results. That means finding a mass gainer with the right amount of calories, the proper ratio of carbs to protein, and other key features that are necessary for building healthy muscle. Considering how many options there are on the market, sorting through all the choices can be overwhelming.

BestReviews is here to help make your shopping easier. Our shopping guide has all the tips you need to choose the perfect formula to help you meet your fitness goals. You’ll be able to shop smarter – and faster – and wind up with the best mass gainer for you.

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While a mass gainer can make an effective meal replacement, you can also drink it as a snack between meals to keep up your energy.

What is a mass gainer?

A mass gainer works as a supplement to your regular diet, giving you an extra dose of carbs, proteins, and sometimes fat. It contains a high number of calories that help you gain weight in the form of lean muscle mass. However, to make sure that a mass gainer encourages pure muscle gain and not fat accumulation, it’s important to pay careful attention to the ingredients and nutrient ratio in the formula.

How to use mass gainer

Nearly all mass gainer products come in powder form, so they’re very easy to use. Check the guidelines on the label to determine the appropriate dose for your needs, and add the proper amount to the liquid of your choice. Water is a common option, but some users prefer to add the product to milk to further increase the calories and give the drink a creamier texture.

Mixing the mass gainer into the liquid with a spoon usually doesn’t work very well. For the best flavor and no lumps, mix the mass gainer in a blender or shaker cup.

Mass gainer benefits

There are several reasons why adding a mass gainer to your diet and workout routine can be an effective way to increase lean muscle.

Provides correct macronutrient ratio: Mass gainer formulas are usually designed to provide the proper ratio of carbs, proteins, and fats to make sure that you gain lean muscle and not fat. It’s much easier to achieve these macronutrient ratios with a gainer product than it would be with food, so it’s a more convenient nutrition option for building lean muscle.

Aids digestion: Many mass gainers include fiber to help you digest your food more easily and make it easier for nutrients to pass through your system.

Boosts energy: The high concentration of protein and carbs in a mass gainer, as well as the included vitamins and minerals, can help give you an energy boost so you can power through a high-intensity workout.

Assists muscle growth and recovery: The ingredients in a mass gainer are designed to not only help you build healthy muscle but also aid in muscle recovery, so you’re able to bounce back from a workout more easily.

Provides other healthy nutrients: In addition to proteins, carbs, and healthy fats, many mass gainers contain other vitamins, minerals, and micronutrients, such as creatine, that are helpful when you’re trying to build muscle.

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Did you know?
Women who lift weights regularly can use a mass gainer, but they typically require smaller doses than men.

Mass gainer features to consider

Calories: The first thing to think about when choosing a mass gainer is your calorie requirements. Because the goal of the product is to bulk up, it should include a good amount of calories that will aid in your quest to build lean muscle. But you don’t want a product that has too many calories or it could cause you to add fat instead of muscle.

Check the calories per serving for any mass gainer you’re considering and compare it with your daily caloric needs to make sure that it fits within the proper range. Subtract the number of calories that you plan to eat in a day from your desired daily calorie intake and make sure the mass gainer’s calories per serving fit your requirement for the number of servings you plan to use.

Carb-to-protein ratio: To make sure that you’re building lean muscle, it’s important to choose a mass gainer with the proper ratio of complex carbohydrates to protein. The best formulas have a 3:1 ratio of carbs to protein. Complex carbs are digested slowly, which means you’ll have continued energy for your workouts. Ideally, a mass gainer should include slow- and fast-release proteins like whey protein, calcium caseinate, and micellar casein. Proteins that digest more quickly aid in muscle repair after workouts, while those that are slower to digest help maintain lean muscle and stop your muscles from breaking down.

Fat content: Some mass gainers contain fats, but it’s important to make sure that they’re healthy fats. Opt for a formula with as little saturated fat as possible. One to two grams is your best bet. You should avoid any that contain more than five grams of saturated fat per serving.

Sugar content: The best mass gainer products don’t contain much added sugar because their calories come from more nutritious sources. Choose a formula that contains no more than six grams of sugar per serving.

Extra nutrients: Some other nutrients that you might want to look for in a mass gainer include digestive enzymes, which can help with nutrient absorption and reduce bloating; amino acids, which aid in repairing and growing muscle; and electrolytes, which can help prevent muscle cramps and dehydration.

Mass gainer prices

Mass gainers vary in price based mainly on how many grams of protein they contain and the size of the container. In most cases, you’ll pay between $13 and $45.

Inexpensive: Depending on the size of the container, mass gainers with up to 40 grams of protein usually cost between $13 and $21.

Mid-range: Depending on the size of the container, mass gainers with 40 to 50 grams of protein usually cost between $21 and $32.

Expensive: Depending on the size of the container, mass gainers with 50 or more grams of protein usually cost between $32 and $45.


  • Use a mass gainer as a meal replacement. Drinking a mass gainer as a meal replacement for breakfast can be an easy way to incorporate the product into your diet.

  • Drink mass gainer after a workout. Taking a mass gainer after your workout can help with muscle repair. Drink the shake approximately 30 minutes after you exercise for the best results.

  • Watch the calories. It’s usually recommended that you use one to two scoops of mass gainer in the liquid of your choice. But it’s important to take the product’s calories per serving and your personal calorie requirements into account when deciding how much product to use.
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A mass gainer should always be used in combination with a weightlifting workout routine or you could wind up adding fat rather than muscle.


Q. Is it safe to use a mass gainer?

A. Before you use a nutritional supplement product, it’s always a good idea to consult with your doctor to make sure that it’s a healthy addition to your diet. However, high-quality mass gainers are usually safe to use. Make sure to choose a formula that meets your calorie requirements and has the proper macronutrient ratio, however, or you could end up gaining fat instead of lean muscle.

Q. Are there are side effects from using a mass gainer?

A. If you choose a mass gainer with too many calories or the wrong macronutrient ratio, you could gain fat instead of muscle. Some mass gainers can also cause stomach upset, cramping, and diarrhea. It’s best to start with a small amount of the product to see how your body responds to the formula. If you experience any stomach upset, you might want to try to a different mass gainer product. There’s also a risk of a reaction if you’re allergic to any of the ingredients, such as milk or soy products.

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

A. While mass gainers usually contain a good amount of protein, they don’t have as many grams per serving as you’ll find in protein powder. Mass gainers contain more carbs than they do protein, while protein powders usually only have a trace amount of carbohydrates.

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