Best weight gainer 2021: bulk up real quick with the best mass gainer supplements

The best weight gainer supplements can help you put on muscle mass faster and more efficiently than chicken and rice

best weight gainer best mass gainer
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The best weight gainer – or best mass gainer – might be able to help you build muscle and gain weight faster, even if you aren't a 'hardgainer'. If you are, then certainly. Even the best weight gainers won't replace hard work in the gym, though, but they can at least make it a little bit easier to add more calories to your diet. 

Weight gainer is a type of protein powder that contains high amount of calories, carbs and protein as well as being low on sugar and fat. Mass gainers should be used as part of a healthy, balanced diet, not as the only source of macronutrients. that is despite the calorie content of these supplements.

The actual amount of calories per serving and even servings sizes vary wildly from one manufacturer to another. Some products contain less than 400 kcal per serving while others can have as much as 1,250 kcal per serving, so it's always a good idea to read the label before you buy.

Even the best mass gainers won't replace hard work in the gym and if you're thinking about building a home gym, you'll need the best home gym equipment (obviously). What is best for you depends on your fitness goals but rest assured, whatever home weights you prefer, we have a guide for it. Check out the best dumbbells, best barbells and the best kettlebells here. You know, for inspiration.

The best weight gainers, in order of preference

best weight gainer: Huel Black EditionT3 Awards 2021 winner badge

(Image credit: Huel)

1. Huel Black Edition

Probably your healthiest weight gainer option

Specifications
Serving size: 90 grams
Energy: 400 kcal
Carbs: 17 grams
Protein: 40 grams
Fat: 17 grams
Sugars: 4.5 grams
Reasons to buy
+Balanced macro profile+Gluten free+Keto friendly
Reasons to avoid
-Doesn't contain industrial amounts of carbs like other mass gainers

This just in: The Huel Black Edition won in the 'Best Protein Powder or Snack' category at the T3 Awards 2021!

There is one issue with mass gainers that contain a lot of carbs and protein: both macros spike insulin levels in the blood, albeit not exactly the same way. When you are on a diet that massively reduces the intake of one macronutrient, it can create an imbalance in the body.

Sometimes, this can be a good thing – the keto diet is said to have certain health benefits – but in other cases, like when people restrict their fat intake because they want to build muscle, this can cause a variety of issues. No need to panic, though, as there are mass gainer supplements that contain a healthy balance of carbs, protein and fat, so you can gain weight and stay healthy at the same time.

The Huel Black Edition is not a mass gainer supplement per se and it's not meal replacement either. Nowadays, these type of powders are called nutritionally complete meals and the truth is, they are. Two scoops of Huel Black Edition (one serving, 90 grams) is 400 calories and contains 40 grams of protein, 17 grams of carbs and 18 grams of fat.

Better still, the Huel Black Edition tastes slightly less gritty and 'earthy', a criticism that often came up when Huel was released originally. The powder is also jam-packed with minerals and vitamins: according to Huel, the Black Edition contains "ideal amounts of all the 27 essential vitamins and minerals."

The Huel Black Edition is made with tapioca starch which is naturally gluten-free, uses all-natural sweeteners and flavors and also contains green tea extract, a source of polyphenols, a natural antioxidant.

• Read our full Huel Black Edition review here

best weight gainer: Naked MassT3 Approved Award badge

(Image credit: Naked Nutrition)

2. Naked Nutrition Naked Mass

A hard-gainer's miracle mix

Specifications
Serving size: 321 grams
Energy: 1250 kcal
Carbs: 252 grams
Protein: 50 grams
Fat: 2.5 grams
Sugars: 5 grams
Reasons to buy
+Only three ingredients+HUGE amount of calories and protein+Hardly any sugar or fat
Reasons to avoid
-Amount of carbs might be a bit of an overkill for most

Our brain is a funny thing and tend not to take calories that come in a liquid form into account, meaning if you want to sneak in some extra calories into your diet, you should drink calorific drinks. And if you want a healthy drink that's really calorific, try the Naked Mass weight gainer.

This meal replacements mix contains a staggering 1,250 calories and a whopping 50 grams of protein in each 321-gram serving. Better still, there are hardly any fat or sugar in the mix, although we do recommend taking at least some dietary fats if you are planning on bulking up and also staying healthy.

Much like all other 'Naked' products, the Naked Mass powder is GMO, soy, gluten and hormone free and has no rBGH or rBST in it either. The Naked Mass is cold processed with no acid and bleaching involved: no need to spoil such a fine powder with unnatural processing methods.

If you are a hard gainer boy or girl, try the Naked Mass, it's probably a better option than having yet another portion of rice and chicken for breakfast. 

best weight gainer: Optimum Nutrition Serious MassT3 Approved Award badge


(Image credit: Optimum Nutrition)

3. Optimum Nutrition Serious Mass

Two meals' worth of calories in each serving

Specifications
Serving size: 334g
Energy: 1258 kcal
Carbs: 251g
Protein: 53g
Fat: 4.4g
Sugars: 22g
Reasons to buy
+All the calories you need+High protein content+Many flavours to choose from
Reasons to avoid
-Will go through the 5 kg bag in half a month

Optimum Nutrition recommends taking its Serious Mass weight gainer "between meals, after exercises or before bed." Now, we don't think many people like to go to bed with a full stomach, but even just one portion of the Optimum Nutrition Serious Mass will fill you right up. If you wish to take this supplement before bedtime, have half a portion only, that's still over 600 calories.

Even if you have 3600 calories a day, which would imply that you are hitting the gym 4-5 days a week, having a serving of Optimum Nutrition Serious Mass would still cover one-third of your calorie intake.

The Optimum Nutrition Serious Mass contains no added sugar but it does contain 24 vitamins and minerals per serving. All the better, it comes in many different flavours, so you will get bored with the taste less quickly.

Given the huge amount of calories and protein involved with Serious Mass, we recommend taking it in two half-portions, ideally at the beginning and the end of the day.

best weight gainer: Dioxyme MPOT3 Approved Award badge

(Image credit: Dioxyme)

4. Dioxyme MPO

Optimise muscle performance with this powder

Specifications
Serving size: 20 grams
Reasons to buy
+Non-traditional muscle building powder+Increases muscle growth and strength
Reasons to avoid
-Requires an acquired taste

Okay, we admit, the Dioxyme MPO (which stands for 'Muscle Performance Optimiser') is not your everyday mass gainer. A portion is just 20 grams and although it has creatine monohydrate in it, there is no protein or heap loads of carbs here.

No, the MPO works in a different way. Dioxyme claims the MPO "increases muscle power, strength and muscle endurance as well as improve recovery by decreasing muscle soreness (DOMS) and muscle damage (EIMD)." And in true Dioxyme fashion, there is science to back up these claims.

The Dioxyme MPO is vegan-friendly, stimulant- and gluten-free and contains only five natural ingredients. That said, it tastes rather – err – peculiar. It says on the package that it shouldn't be sipped but I bet not many people would consume the Dioxyme MPO for its great taste.

But consume you will as this magic powder will help you improve performance, for real. Just try it and see for yourself.

best weight gainer: The Protein Works Total Mass Matrix ExtremeT3 Approved Award badge


(Image credit: The Protein Works)

5. The Protein Works Total Mass Matrix Extreme

All the flavours of the rainbow

Specifications
Serving size: 265g
Energy: 974 kcal
Carbs: 163g
Protein: 52g
Fat: 12g
Sugars: 38g
Reasons to buy
+Blends really well+So many flavours
Reasons to avoid
-Higher sugar content

For whatever reason, The Protein Works recommends 1-3 servings a day of its Total Mass Matrix Extreme weight gainer. Three servings of this product contains a whopping 3000 calories, and we'd recommend covering that many calories from a variety of sources, not just three shakerfuls of weight gainer.

Saying that, Total Mass Matrix Extreme is a great weight gainer mix and contains a good balance carbs and protein. What it also has, though, is fairly higher amounts of sugar, so be mindful of that when introducing it into your diet.

Other than that, we can wholeheartedly recommend the Total Mass Matrix Extreme, if for nothing else, for all the great flavours, which include Tiramisu, Cinnamon Cereal Milk and White Choc Peanut Sundae.

best weight gainer: Bulk Powders Vegan Mass GainerT3 Approved Award badge


(Image credit: Bulk Powders)

6. Bulk Powders Vegan Mass Gainer

Zero animal cruelty, maximum lean muscle gains

Specifications
Serving size: 100g
Energy: 367 kcal
Carbs: 43.6g
Protein: 31g
Fat: 6g
Sugars: 2.5g
Reasons to buy
+Soya free+Gluten free+Lactose free
Reasons to avoid
-Moderate protein and calorie amounts

The Bulk Powders Vegan Mass Gainer is not only vegan and therefore 100% animal cruelty free, it also contains no gluten – the oats used to bump up the carb numbers are gluten free – it is also soya and lactose free, so it caters for people with a range dietary restrictions.

On the downside, the Bulk Powders Vegan Mass Gainer has less calories and protein than other weight gainers on this list. The blend used in this supplement is a combination of pea protein isolate, brown rice protein, pumpkin seed protein, flaxseed powder and quinoa flour. One can say it is a very healthy mix of ingredients.

As well as being high in fibre low on sugar, the Bulk Powders Vegan Mass Gainer contains no artificial sweeteners, colourings or flavourings either.

best weight gainer: USN Muscle Fuel AnabolicT3 Approved Award badge


(Image credit: USN)

7. USN Muscle Fuel Anabolic

This is one lean weight gainer

Specifications
Serving size: 150g
Energy: 564 kcal
Carbs: 77g
Protein: 55g
Fat: 3g
Sugars: 26g
Reasons to buy
+Carb to protein ratio is 1.4:1+Caramel popcorn flavour+Good for post-workout
Reasons to avoid
-Contains egg, milk and wheat

You can count on the USN Muscle Fuel Anabolic tasting good, although it is at least partially due to the amount of added sugar this product contains. In fact, one-third of the carbs found in the USN Muscle Fuel Anabolic comes from sugars. It is not ideal, but just to put it in context, a 36-gram bar of Mars contains 20 grams of sugar, so you are definitely better off with the USN Muscle Fuel Anabolic.

USN states that the Muscle Food Anabolic "should not be used by persons under the age of 18 years nor should it be used for weight loss." Also, "It is only for bodybuilders and athletes or individuals on a mass gaining plan." So now you know. If you are trying to lose weight, don't take weight gainers. In case it wasn't clear.

Given the moderate calorie content, the USN Muscle Fuel Anabolic can be used as a port-workout drink. 500+ calories is still a decent amount, so please be mindful of that and should you have a smaller frame, take only a half portion at a time.

best weight gainer: MyProtein Weight Gainer BlendT3 Approved Award badge


(Image credit: MyProtein)

8. MyProtein Weight Gainer Blend

Halfway between a protein powder and a weight gainer

Specifications
Serving size: 100g
Energy: 388 kcal
Carbs: 50g
Protein: 31g
Fat: 6.2g
Sugars: 2.6g
Reasons to buy
+Very low on sugar+Can be used post workout
Reasons to avoid
-Only standard flavours-Moderate calories and protein

The MyProtein Weight Gainer Blend can most certainly be used post workout, given the moderate amount of calories this protein powder contains. Even better, it is super low on sugar, so you don't have to worry about going over your daily limit either.

Since the MyProtein Weight Gainer Blend is low on carbs – compared to the rest of the entries on this list – it represents a good balance between regular protein powders and weight gainers. If you would like to immerse yourself into the world weight gainers gently, definitely go with this one.

Given the very low sugar content, this weight gainer is the best for mixing with other ingredients, like peanut butter or milk, although we don't recommend using more than 500 ml of it. The MyProtein website suggests adding "3 1/3 large scoops (100g) [of MyProtein Weight Gainer Blend] to 500-1000 ml of water or milk", but for us, a litre milk sounds a bit excessive, so either take it with 500 ml of milk (maximum) or a litre of water, if you want a very thin shake.

How to choose the best weight gainer for you

A few things to check before you buy your first (next?) bag of weight gainer: if you are lactose intolerant, you might want to go for the vegan varieties, they are least likely to contain lactose, although always read the label before you buy. It is also beneficial to check what other supplements have been included in the mix, apart from oats and protein.

For example, if the weight gainer contains creatine, you don't have to take creatine monohydrate supplement separately. Same goes for BCAAs: if there is any leucine or glutamine included in the mix, no need for you to buy additional BCAA tablets. As long as you take the weight gainer, of course.

Which mass gainer is best for weight gain?

The mass gainer is best for weight gain right now is Naked Nutrition's Naked Mass. It's not only super healthy but each mega serving contains huge amounts of calories and carbs, making it at least a little bit easier to put on weight for people who can't stomach another portion of chicken and rice. Adding just one serving of Naked Mass can add as much as 1,250 calories to your diet per day. Now that's adding mass like a pro.

How to use weight gainers

Before you start guzzling down weight gainers and three servings of protein powder a day, we would recommend evaluating your current diet. The easiest way to go about it is to use a food logging app such as MyFitnessPal to tally up your macros for you. This will save you from having to log food and calculating macros manually.

These apps have many food items already added to their huge library, all you have to do is scan the barcodes with your phone's camera and tell the app how much you ate. The app will then calculate the macronutrient (carb, fat and protein) percentages, as well as other useful stats, like how much sugar, salt and fibre you have consumed.

Once you got into the habit of logging, you can set goals for your daily intake: let's say you want to cover your daily energy needs from 65% carbs, 25% protein and 20% fats. The app will tell you how many grams of carbs, protein and fat does this translate to.

This is where weight gainers come into play: when you see you're under your protein and carb goal, you can check how consuming weight gainers will help you up your daily macro numbers.

It might sound a bit confusing but it really isn't all that difficult in real life. You do need to be a bit more mindful of your diet but you should be anyway if your aim is to gain lean muscle mass effectively.

For the best results, use the recommended serving size and if you want clean gains. We highly recommend mixing weight gainers with good old tap water. You could potentially use milk/milk substitute should you want to, but 500 ml of milk will not only add an extra 200 calories, it will also add 25 grams of sugar to your diet. It is just unnecessary.

Matt Kollat
Matt Kollat

Matt is a fitness fanatic (a.k.a. fitness and nutrition writer) who's been rambling on about all things health and fitness for over two years now here at T3. His achievements include a short-lived fitness podcast called Fit Mentality Podcast and being a judge on the Fit&Well Awards 2021. In his free time, he works out at home, runs, cycles and loves a good ol' walk around the city. He writes about general fitness stuff, fitness tech, workouts, workout gear/equipment, nutrition and much, much more.