7 Best of the Cheapest Mass Gainer Protein Powders in 2021

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In this fitness supplement review article I share my top seven picks for the most inexpensive mass gainers, based on current prices here in 2021.

I will also evaluate each of these weight gain powders in terms of their ingredients, macronutrient profiles, protein & carb sources, cost per serving & more, as well as discuss a few things unique to mass gainers that are worth knowing if you’re considering adding one to your diet plan.

 

 

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Science resources included

As is my custom here on heydayDo, I will provide links to all of the relevant sports science and medical resources, clinical studies, & nutritional data used in this article.

 

 

What’s next

Before we get into the individual product reviews I’ll give you the list of the seven mass gainer powders I’m covering here, ranked from the most inexpensive one on up.

I based their ranking on their cost per ounce which in turn is based on what prices I’m seeing today while putting this article together.

But since online prices of supplements change all the time, you might see something a little different at the time you read this.

 

In all of their cases I’m going with the largest size they’re being sold in, since as you’d expect they’re cheaper per ounce that way compared to their smaller versions.

You can click on their blue name or product image to open a separate tab that’ll be their Amazon product page, if you want to check its current price or read buyer reviews.

 

Why gainers exist & who specifically they’re for

After I list the products featured in the article, I also want to briefly touch on why mass gainer powders have different nutrient profiles compared to “regular” protein powders and what kind of situation they’re intended for, in case you didn’t know.

This is because I’ve read many reviews where the buyer seems surprised or critical of the fact that their mass gainer has a lot more sugar & carbohydrates than the usual whey protein products on the market.

Well…

…the truth of the matter is, this is how all the big fitness supplement companies make their weight gain powders: heavy on the high glycemic carbs that are very cheap for them to produce like maltodextrin, dextrose, & sometimes glucose.

 

 

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Top 7 cheap weight gainers

MusclePharm Combat XL Mass Gainer

 

MuscleTech Mass-Tech Extreme 2000

 

Optimum Nutrition Serious Mass

 

Dymatize Super Mass Gainer

 

Rivalus Clean Gainer

 

BSN TRUE-MASS 1200 Weight Gainer

 

MuscleTech Mass-Tech Elite

Later on in the review I’ll show you a ranking of these cheap gainers in terms of their buyers’ ratings.

 

What mass gainers are for

Obviously weight gain powders exist to help someone…um, gain weight.

More specifically they can come in handy if you have a hard time maintaining a caloric surplus while training, which simply means you’re successfully consuming more calories than you’re burning.

If part of your fitness goals include gaining muscle weight, you’ll need to keep some kind of calorie surplus going on a daily basis to accomplish that. (1)

This state of being in turn leads to weight gain be it fat or muscle, depending on what kind of exercise program you’re on.

 

Convenient calories

Mass gainer powders can also help someone who simply can’t wolf down X amount of calories per day in “real food” form, whether due to a busy schedule or a digestive system that just doesn’t tolerate a ton of solid food on a daily basis.

So the mass gainer can provide a bit of convenience in both of those situations since you’re drinking the calories instead of having to eat them, calories that are also easy to store or carry around until they’re needed for use.

 

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Who mass gainers are for

When you see the word mass on the weight gainer’s product label, the assumption is that it’s a supplement to assist you with packing on lean muscle mass.

And to that end the manufacturers are figuring you are doing some kind of resistance training, which in most cases is weightlifting.

 

Here are a few quotes from the makers of the leading weight gaining supplements that are also among my “cheap mass gainer” picks chosen for this article.

From Optimum Nutrition, makers of Serious Mass:

“High-Calorie Formula Supports Muscle Building and Weight Gain Goals.”

 

Here’s Dymatize, regarding their Super Mass Gainer powder:

“Super Mass Gainer is the perfect support for the most intense resistance training goals.”

 

And this from MuscleTech who have two two mass gainers in this article, Mass-Tech Extreme 2000 and their advanced formula Mass-Tech Elite:

“Reap the rewards of all your hard work in the gym. MASS TECH EXTREME 2000 has everything you need to bulk up, pack on muscle, smash through strength plateaus…”

 

 

Supplement facts labels tell you mass gainers are for lifters & athletes

You also can tell that this is who these types of products are intended for by looking at both the macronutrient numbers (AKA “macros”) and some of the individual ingredients typically found in mass gainer powders.

High calories for the weight gains, high protein for the muscle building, high insulin-spiking carbs like maltodextrin, dextrose, or glucose to promote post-workout recovery & increased athletic performance. (2)

 

Given the high amount of calories & carbs a mass gainer has, my humble opinion is that the person taking it better be working out with a decent amount of training volume (i.e., the number of sets & reps over the course of say a week, for example) & intensity…to make sure most of the weight gain’s in the form of muscle and not fat.

 

Additional supplements & performance enhancers

And several mass gainer brands also add other workout supplements like creatine & glutamine to their formulas, and some (like Serious Mass) have a boatload of vitamins & minerals added to boost the nutrients up to “well-rounded meal” status.

Using ON’s (Optimum Nutrition’s) Serious Mass as an example, we see it packs a whopping 1,250 calories per serving — made up of 50 grams of protein, 252 grams of carbs, & very little (4.5 grams) of fat.

Below, take a look at the comparison of its macros to their worldwide best-selling Gold Standard Whey protein powder:

Macronutrient comparison of Optimum Nutrition's Serious Mass & Gold Standard Whey powders - heydayDo image

So you see that the massive (ouch 😜) dose of high-glycemic carbs makes a mass gainer anything but a pure protein product, since it’s not supposed to be one — its intended use is a lot different than “get more clean protein in my diet”.

 

Bottom line: Mass gainers are made for athletes & weightlifters who are trying to get bigger & stronger than they are right now, including those who are considered hard gainers that have a tough time gaining quality muscle weight.

 

(Whether or not you actually need them to accomplish those goals is a topic best saved for its own article.)

We’ll be going over the Supplement Facts labels for all seven of these inexpensive gainer powders up next when we get into the product reviews.

 

 

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Cheapest Mass Gainer Reviews

 

Okie dokie, here are the individual overviews of the seven weight gain powders featured in this article, again listed from the one with the cheapest cost per ounce on up.

A few of the categories I’ll be covering include:

  • Calories & macronutrients per serving
  • Cost per serving
  • Ingredients used for the carbs & protein
  • Ingredients: any other fitness supplements?
  • Online buyer ratings

 

Program notes

A couple of things to be aware of regarding these mass gainer powders…

 

All sorts of serving sizes

Serving sizes — meaning those suggested by the manufacturers on their Supplement Facts labels — are all over the board, what with the powders having different numbers of scoops per serving & the scoops themselves coming in all kinds of sizes.

So there is a lot more ‘per serving’ variation here among these mass gainer powders than you’d find comparing typical protein powder products.

This makes doing my usual head-to-head “bang for our bucks” cost-to-value comparison a bit more difficult, as does the fact that there are variations in the manufacturers’ choices of ingredients as well.

 

Secret recipes too

You’ll see on the mass gainers’ ingredients labels that the manufacturers all use proprietary blends too, whether with their protein formula, carbohydrate formula, or supplement formula.

The FDA allows supplement makers to keep the quantities of each ingredient in these unique blends of theirs private.

So we don’t know (for example) how much of BSN True-Mass’ “Protein Blend” is made up of its egg whites or how much of each of the various milk proteins it has in a single serving.

All we’re told is that there’s 50 grams of protein per serving.

 

Given all this, I’ll share what I think are the main points to know for each of these mass gainers, and I’ll cobble together a few head-to-head comparisons using their various numbers & some rough (approximate) math. 😉

 

Taste

I’m not going to go into much (if any) detail on how each of these mass gainer powders taste.

And this decision is based on a few very subjective, possibly jaded, & at least slightly informed reasons of mine.

A more thorough explanation on why I think that how something tastes to me doesn’t provide much value to you is in my article The Hunt for the Best Optimum Nutrition Flavor, and here’s a link to the section it’s in:

The Truth About Taste-Testing

 

That said, I can pass along a wee bit of info I gathered after reading dozens of reviews for each of these 7 cheap weight gain powders:

* Buyer opinions on the tastes of these 7 mass gainers fall neatly into these 3 categories —> some love ’em, some tolerate ’em, & some absolutely hate ’em.

 

 

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Mass gainer online buyer reviews

The numbers in this category — which include the star rating, the % of 4&5-star ratings, & the total # of reviews — I calculated after gathering buyer feedback data from as many different online retail sites selling each of these weight gain products.

 

For all of these mass gainers — and it’s no big surprise — most of a product’s buyer reviews come from Amazon shoppers.

Other sources of buyer feedback for these types of products can be found on the popular weightlifting & supplement sites Bodybuilding.com and Muscle&Strength.com, and on a few of the manufacturers’ sites too (not all of them post reviews).

 

Here’s how they currently rank according to their buyers across the online marketplace and like earlier in the article, you can click on their name to check price & buyer reviews on ol’ Amazon.

Rivalus Clean Gainer     4.7⭐

BSN TRUE-MASS 1200 Weight Gainer  4.6⭐

Optimum Nutrition Serious Mass  4.6

MuscleTech Mass-Tech Elite  4.4

Dymatize Super Mass Gainer  4.4

MusclePharm Combat XL Mass  4.4

MuscleTech Mass-Tech Extreme 2000  4.3

 

Interesting note on mass gainer ratings

These are the best-sellers in the muscle weight gain supplement category, with the exception of the powder from Rivalus.

And yet, compared to the most popular “regular” whey-based protein powders, these mass gainers’ buyer ratings are definitely lower.

I’m guessing taste is the culprit, since that’s a much more common complaint about these supplements than someone saying they didn’t gain any weight. 😉

 

 

Alrighty then, onto the individual product reviews, and first up is the cheapest per ounce of the bunch, MusclePharm’s Combat XL.

Remember that any reference to cost is based on current prices I see right now.

 

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MusclePharm Combat XL Mass Gainer

4.4 ⭐  80% 4&5-star ratings,  1,800+ online reviews

 

Combat XL supplement facts

Serving size: 332 grams

Calories per serving: 1,270

Carbs per serving: 252 grams

Protein per serving: 50 grams

 

Other stuff

Sodium: 330 mg

Sugars: 16 grams

 

Here’s its Supplement Facts info off of the MusclePharm website:

MusclePharm Combat XL supplement facts - heydayDo image

Main carbohydrate source(s):

Maltodextrin

 

Main protein source(s):

Whey, milk protein concentrate, & casein

 

Here are the ingredients:

MusclePharm Combat XL Mass Gainer ingredients - heydayDo image

Cost per serving

$2.32

19¢/oz.

 

Notes

* Numbers are based on the 12 lb. bag of Chocolate Peanut Butter.

* It’s very (very) similar in caloric & macro content to the world #1 gainer powder, Optimum Nutrition’s Serious Mass.

* Sodium’s high for a protein drink, but not for a mass gainer: they all have a lot of sodium in them.

* Banned-substance tested, and certified by Informed Choice.

Check price or reviews on Amazon

 

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MuscleTech Mass-Tech Extreme 2000

4.3 ⭐  85% 4&5-star ratings,  2,300+ online reviews

 

Mass-Tech Extreme 2000 supplement facts

Note: I’m going with their 1/2 serving size numbers here, because I think it’s nuts to suggest a serving size of over 2,000 calories, like MuscleTech does with this mass gainer.

That’s almost cruel & unusual punishment, if not to the poor person trying to down all that then to all the people within 15 feet of that person over the next 4 hours.

 

Serving size: 285 grams

Calories per serving: 1,030

Carbs per serving: 220 grams

Protein per serving: 30 grams

 

Other stuff

Sodium: 315 mg

Sugars: 10 grams

 

Additional supplements

  • BCAAs (branched-chain amino acids)
  • Vitamins & minerals
  • Creatine monohydrate
  • Glutamine

 

Here’s its Supplement Facts info:

MuscleTech Mass-Tech Extreme 2000 supplement facts - heydayDo image

(Sorry for the blurriness, it was the only copy they had showing the 1/2 serving size.)

 

Main carbohydrate source(s):

Glucose, oat bran

 

Main protein source(s):

Whey – concentrate, isolate, & hydrolyzed

 

Here are the ingredients:

MuscleTech Mass-Tech Extreme 2000 ingredients - heydayDo image

Cost per serving

$2.19

22¢/oz.

 

Notes

* Numbers are based on their gigantic 22 lb. tub of Triple Chocolate Brownie.

* This product is not listed on their website any longer, so it may be in “Getting Phased Out” mode, but it’s still listed on Amazon as well as on those bodybuilding sites I mentioned earlier.

* Lowest buyer rating among the seven mass gainers in this article.

Check price or reviews on Amazon

 

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Optimum Nutrition Serious Mass Weight Gainer

4.6 ⭐  88% 4&5-star ratings,  38,000+ online reviews

Serious Mass supplement facts

Serving size: 336 grams

Calories per serving: 1,250

Carbs per serving: 252 grams

Protein per serving: 50 grams

 

Other stuff

Sodium: 570 mg

Sugars: 20 grams

 

Additional supplements

  • Creatine monohydrate
  • Glutamine
  • Vitamins & minerals

 

Here’s its Supplement Facts info:

Optimum Nutrition Serious Mass supplement facts - heydayDo image

 

Main carbohydrate source(s):

Maltodextrin

 

Main protein source(s):

Whey, casein, & egg whites

 

Here are the ingredients, followed by the list of vitamins, minerals, & supplements they’ve added:

Optimum Nutrition Serious Mass ingredients - heydayDo image

Cost per serving

$2.90

24¢/oz.

 

Notes

* Numbers are based on the 12 lb. bag of the Chocolate flavor.

* 2nd highest buyer rating in this review, tied with BSN True Mass 1200.

* Most popular mass gainer product in the world — 38,000 reviews & counting.

* 2nd highest sodium of the bunch.

Check price or reviews on Amazon

 

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Dymatize Super Mass Gainer

4.4 ⭐  85% 4&5-star ratings,  6,000+ online reviews

Super Mass Gainer supplement facts

Serving size: 336 grams

Calories per serving: 1,280

Carbs per serving: 245 grams

Protein per serving: 52 grams

 

Other stuff

Sodium: 580 mg

Sugars: 21 grams

 

Additional supplements

  • Vitamins & minerals

 

Here’s its Supplement Facts info:

Dymatize Super Mass Gainer supplement facts - heydayDo image

 

Main carbohydrate source(s):

Maltodextrin

 

Main protein source(s):

Whey & casein

 

Here are the ingredients including the vitamin & mineral additives:

Dymatize Super Mass Gainer ingredients - heydayDo image

Cost per serving

$3.50

26¢/oz.

 

Notes

* Numbers are based on the 12 lb. bag of the Rich Chocolate flavor.

* One of the three expensive gainers in this review, with a per serving cost @ $3.50.

* Very similar macros to ON’s Serious Mass, though over 20% more expensive ($3.50 vs. $2.90 per serving).

* Highest sodium of the bunch.

Check price or reviews on Amazon

 

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Rivalus Clean Gainer

4.7 ⭐  90% 4&5-star ratings,  1,200+ online reviews

Rizalus Clean Gainer supplement facts

Serving size: 136 grams

Calories per serving: 560

Carbs per serving: 90 grams

Protein per serving: 30 grams

 

Other stuff

Sodium: 350 mg

Sugars: 8 grams

 

Here’s its Supplement Facts info:

Rivalus Clean Gainer supplement facts - heydayDo image

Main carbohydrate source(s):

Maltodextrin, fructose, & quinoa

 

Main protein source(s):

Whey, milk protein, & casein

 

Here are the ingredients:

Rivalus Clean Gainer ingredients - heydayDo image

Cost per serving

$2.12***

28¢/oz.

 

Notes

* Numbers are based on the 10 lb. bag of the Chocolate flavor.

* Highest buyer-rated mass gainer in this review.

* It’s important to note that the serving size is around half what the other gainers are, so adjust calories, macros, & cost accordingly.

* *** Cost/serving: For example, cost per serving looks the cheapest, but again, the amount of carbs & protein you get is a lot smaller — so it’s actually one of the three most expensive products in this review.

* Least amount of sugar.

Check price or reviews on Amazon

 

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BSN TRUE-MASS 1200 Weight Gainer

4.6 ⭐  88% 4&5-star ratings,  4,000+ online reviews

BSN True Mass 1200 supplement facts

Serving size: 310 grams

Calories per serving: 1,228

Carbs per serving: 222 grams

Protein per serving: 50 grams

 

Other stuff

Sodium: 530 mg

Sugars: 16 grams

 

Here’s its Supplement Facts info:

BSN True Mass 1200 supplement facts - heydayDo image

Main carbohydrate source(s):

Maltodextrin

 

Main protein source(s):

Whey, milk protein, & casein

 

Here are the ingredients:

BSN True Mass 1200 ingredients - heydayDo image

Cost per serving

$3.30

30¢/oz.

 

Notes

* Numbers are based on the 10.38 lb. bag of the Chocolate Milkshake flavor.

* 2nd highest buyer-rated mass gainer in this review, tied with ON’s Serious Mass.

* One of the three gainers with cost/serving above $3 (Dymatize & Rivalus with a double serving are the other two.)

Check price or reviews on Amazon

 

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MuscleTech Mass-Tech Elite

4.4 ⭐  85% 4&5-star ratings,  2,700+ online reviews

Note that MuscleTech recently overhauled the packaging of this Mass-Tech Elite gainer, and both versions are out on the market now.

Here’s what the new one looks like:

MuscleTech Mass-Tech Elite new packaging - heydayDo image

Mass-Tech Elite supplement facts

Serving size: 231 grams

Calories per serving: 830

Carbs per serving: 132 grams

Protein per serving: 63 grams

 

Other stuff

Sodium: 500 mg

Sugars: 10 grams

 

Additional supplements

  • BCAAs (branched-chain amino acids)
  • Glutamine
  • Creatine
  • Digestive enzymes

 

Here’s its Supplement Facts info:

MuscleTech Mass-Tech Elite supplement facts - heydayDo image

Main carbohydrate source(s):

Maltodextrin, oat bran, quinoa

 

Main protein source(s):

Whey, casein, & egg whites

 

Here are the ingredients:

MuscleTech Mass-Tech Elite ingredients - heydayDo image

Cost per serving

$2.79

35¢/oz.

 

Notes

* Numbers are based on the 7 lb. tub of the Milk Chocolate flavor.

* Big extra dose of BCAAs, even though whey & eggs have a lot in them already.

* Two days’ worth (10g) of creatine added too, seems like a lot for a daily gainer shake but that’s just my opinion.

Check price or reviews on Amazon

 

 

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Wrapping up

Related articles here on heydayDo

How to Use a Mass Gainer, How It Works, Side Effects, & More

How To Build Muscle & Gain Weight If You’re An Ectomorph

Make Your Own Homemade Protein Shake Recipes for Weight Gain

 

I hope that my review article on the cheapest mass gainer powders is useful to you, and I wish you well on your fitness journey.

Let’s go.

– greg

June 2021

 

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About heydayDo

heydayDo author Greg Simon
Hi I’m Greg Simon. Fitness training & nutrition researching since 1982. Organic food & wine grower. Surfer. Congenital heart disease survivor (so far). Read more…
heydayDo is my “fitness after 50” website that’s about embracing the physically active lifestyle as we get older.
 
I write about the fitness and health research I’ve found concerning the quality of life benefits that exercise and good nutrition provide.
 
When I get curious about something, I’ll dig into whatever sports science & medical facts there are on the topic to learn what’s real & what’s only hype. I also post my experiences product-testing & evaluating home gym equipment & fitness supplements.
 
 It’s an information-sharing, personal opinion blog of mine.
 
So if you’re looking for medical or nutritional advice, please consult with your doctor or health professional for that, since heydayDo does not provide medical advice.