How many times have you tried to find a reliable mass gainer, only to end up skinny and out of ideas?
Truth be told, once you do find a solid supplement, gaining weight becomes much more comfortable. But as you know, finding the right supplement is the hard part...
Buy the wrong supplement, and you may well end up like one of these two unfortunate souls:
You buy the highest calorie gainer and just end up fat and unhappy.
You buy the most compelling product but are repulsed by the taste and cannot stomach it.
Listen, as a former long distance runner who wanted to bulk up quickly, I know a thing or two about finding the best mass gainer supplement. I can't promise any magic solutions, but by showing you the products that are a cut above the rest, I can certainly guide you in the right direction.
The Best Mass Gainer Supplement Reviews And Recommendations
Out of all the different products on the market, we selected the 5 top performers across a range of categories, each of which are better for certain aspects of bulking up.
Some are very high calorie, while other are excellent for lean bulking.
#1 Naked Mass
Best of the Best
Why We Picked It
#2 Serious Mass
Why We Picked It
#3 BSN True Mass
Why We Picked It
#4 ON Pro Gainer
Best Lean Gainer
Why We Picked It
#5 MP Combat XL
Not bad but we liked the others more
Why We Picked It
Best of the Best
#1 Naked Mass Weight Gainer
Contains only 3 ingredients including multi-phase protein. It's also certified by Informed Choice.
Best Value & Best For Beginners
#2 Optimum Nutrition Serious Mass
A popular weight gainer with over 250g of carbs and 50g of protein. It has 5 more servings than Naked Mass.
#3 BSN True Mass
Contains a balanced macronutrient profile including a 2:1 carbs to protein ratio.
Best Lean Gainer
#4 Optimum Nutrition Pro Gainer
85g of carbs, 60g of protein and over 650 calories for bulking up. Recommended if you're not a super hardgainer.
Solid gainer but we prefer the other 4
#5 MusclePharm Combat XL
Contains 1270 calories and uses a blend of 4 protein sources. Good for athletes.
#1 Naked Mass — Best Of The Best
Naked Mass combines 3 key ingredients to create what is a very unique weight gain formula. Using their popular Naked Whey and Naked Casein Proteins, Naked Nutrition added organic maltodextrin to create a pure and simple supplement.
With this formula, you will have a sustained amino acid release which is ideal close to bedtime or after your workout.
With Naked Mass, the calories in your shake depend on the flavor you choose. For example, the unflavored version has 1,250 calories whereas the chocolate has 1,360. For those of you who prefer creamy vanilla, there are 1,260 calories per 4 scoop serving.
What I like most about Naked Mass though, is the commitment to purity. As is characteristic of Naked Nutrition, this formula is non-GMO, free of soy, and contains no artificial sweeteners or colors. Notably, there's also no gluten thanks to the use of organic tapioca maltodextrin.
So how about the taste?
Users reported the powder to taste generally good, though a little chalky, and on occasion, even a bit sweet — which you wouldn't expect from an unflavored powder. Indeed, the organic complex carbs help with the sweetness.
Now the less good news. Naked Mass only has 11 servings which means if you're on a tight budget, it may not be the best choice. That said, the ingredients per serving are undeniably excellent, so you never need more than one — unlike with some other gainers.
#2 Optimum Nutrition Serious Mass — Best Value
Serious Mass from Optimum Nutrition is a heavyweight mass gainer containing 250g of carbs, 50g of protein and 4.5g of fat which totals 1250 calories. Out of the vast number of carbs, you'll be pleased to know only 20g are sugars.
Clearly, there's a big emphasis on muscle building ingredients. But aside from those, there's 25 different vitamins and minerals to boost health. Of particular note is zinc, which is very important for testosterone production.
Those who don't like added creatine in their mass gainer will be pleased to hear Serious Mass contains only 1g of creatine per 334g of powder. There's also added glutamine and glutamine peptides to prevent protein breakdown.
On the taste side of things, many users enjoyed the flavors, but some described it as bland. At a glance, this may seem like a negative. However, a more mellow flavor can make drinking the 1000+ calories easier if you don't have a prominent sweet tooth.
Overall, Serious Mass represents excellent value for money, and many users report weight gain. Notably, it has an excellent carb to protein ratio — making it almost ideal for a typical hardgainer to bulk up. That said, if you're not a hardgainer, this supplement is probably not for you.
To check out our full review of Serious Mass, you can click on the link for the scoop.
#3 BSN True Mass — The Tastiest
True Mass from BSN is a balanced nutrient supplement with a unique ingredient breakdown which is as follows:
Per serving: 90g carbs, 46g protein, 17g of fat.
As you can see, there's a standard 2:1 carb to protein ratio which suits both the hardgainer and lean gainer alike. Also, there's 17g of dietary fat, which is essential for your hormone health, and contributes nicely to the total calorie amount.
On top of that, there's 10g of BCAAs for protein synthesis, and 5g of fiber for healthy digestion.
On the taste side of things, users generally agreed the creamy taste was pleasant. However, a few did complain about the mixability. Because of this, I recommend using a blender since the serving size is 165g of powder. Personally, when I took True Mass, I always used a blender and never had any issues even when using milk.
Overall, I'm impressed with the value and taste. Extreme hardgainers might need a higher calorie shake, but for most people, BSN True Mass weight gainer is an ideal recovery shake.
#4 Optimum Nutrition Pro Gainer — The Best Lean Gainer
Optimum Nutrition Pro Gainer is one of the leanest gainers available. With it, you'll have the tools at your disposal to build the bulked up body you want. You'll naturally minimize fat gain due in part to the modest 650 calories, and also with the lean gaining protein to carbs ratio.
Per scoop — yes one scoop — there's 60g of protein for every 85g of carbs. Out of these carbohydrates, only 5 are sugar. And the fact that only one scoop is needed means Pro Gainer gives you much more mileage than the typical weight gain supplement.
Unlike other gainers, “ON” emphasizes quality proteins. There's a mixture of whey isolate, concentrate, hydrolyzed whey, casein, and even egg. Clearly, you get what you pay for because Pro Gainer isn't necessarily the best budget gainer.
But overall, this is a sensible supplement for lean gaining. The more moderate calories lend Optimum Nutrition Pro Gainer to mixing easily and dissolving just fine in either water or milk. Don't be fooled though, the lower calories don't compromise the taste which although sweet, can be a very pleasurable addition to your bulking regime.
Overall, perhaps not for the hardest of hardgainers, but an excellent bulking supplement nonetheless.
#5 MusclePharm Combat XL — Good But Not The Best
Last but not least, MusclePharm Combat XL also boasts a high calorie bulking formula consisting of 252g of carbs and 50g of protein, which checks in at 1270 muscle-building calories.
MusclePharm is a highly rated brand among athletes looking for products that can be trusted. Their mass gainer, which is an excellent drink to enrich your sporting performance, is banned substance tested and certified by Informed Choice.
Although we didn't like it as much as the other 4 gainers, the ingredients speak for themselves. As with their excellent protein powder, MusclePharm bulks up their gainer's nutrition label by adding multiple forms of protein, to tackle growth every angle, and provide a sustained amino acid feeding.
Using quality fat sources like MCTs, quinoa powder, and chia seeds, MusclePharm Combat XL has earned the 5th spot on our list.
Similar Supplement Reviews
Here are some of our recent reviews of the most effective supplements to grow muscle.
The 5 Best Types Of Weight Gainers You Will See
Everybody has different starting points. Some of us need to seriously bulk up while others just want to gain a little bit of weight. I've outlined the different types of weight-gainers available along with who should (and shouldn't) use them.
Mega-Calorie Weight Gainer
These kinds of supplements are quite rare and are only for those who have tried more moderate formulas. They sure can work, but if it's your first time using a mass gainer, the high-calorie content might be too much too soon.
Although there are some excellent mega-calorie formulas on the market, beware that they usually just come with extra carbs and a higher price tag. If you need more calories than your gainer's standard serving size, I recommend having an extra scoop or another shake later in the day.
High-carb shakes are categorized by two things:
One, the overall carb number. And two, the carb to protein ratio. A ratio of at least 2:1 or even 3:1 is what you will find in most high-carb shakes.
Although protein is crucial for building muscle, it's carbs that will likely make up most of your calories. If the protein is too high, then you will consume too much protein at the expense of carbs. But is this a problem?
Well, yes, it is. Carbs fuel workouts — protein repairs muscles. If you overeat protein and under eat carbs your workout will suffer, and you'll probably get more gas.
Most good mass-gainers have high protein. So, what I'm really talking about here is a high protein to carbs ratio. This is usually a ratio of around 1:1 or slightly less. That is, for each gram of carbs, you get one gram of protein.
High-Protein shakes are similar to lean-gainers. They're designed for those who want to add muscle, but don't have a lightning fast metabolism like hardgainers.
Although everyone who lifts weights wants to gain muscle, not everyone needs over 1000 calories per shake. For those people, lean gainers are the best option. The calories are kept reasonable while the protein is as high as traditional weight gain shakes.
Shakes like this are ideal for post-workout. The high protein formula helps muscles repair, and the moderate carb content helps to replenish lost muscle glycogen — without spilling over into your stored body fat.
Balanced Nutrient Shakes
It's not just carbs and protein that you need to bulk up — fats are essential too. However, adding healthy fats into a drinkable shake is not easy. That's why I recommend adding things like nut butter to a regular shake yourself.
That said, a mass-gainer with at least a moderate amount of fat is an excellent choice for hardgainers. This is especially true since fat has 9 calories per gram whereas both carbs and protein only contain 4.
Ultimately, calories are the one thing that will make or break your weight gain progress so don't neglect fats.
The Before You Buy Checklist
Let's take a look at the main boxes that your weight gaining supplement should check.
To gain quality weight, you need to feed your muscles quality ingredients, also know as “you are what you eat”.
What this looks like for a mass gainer, is a strategic pairing of muscle-building proteins and workout-fueling carbs.
But to achieve quality weight gain, things aren't as black and white as protein and carbs. The type of protein especially will determine how much muscle you can gain.
So, presuming you do care about lean muscle — and not just weight on the scale — you want a gainer that has milk proteins like whey and casein or other high-quality sources like egg whites.
On the carb side of things, you should avoid sugar-laden mass gainers that look more like cheat day milkshakes. Some sugar is fine, but it should not be the predominant carb source in your supplement.
Fact: muscle building requires energy.
Indeed, this can be taken from your fat tissue. And it's what you may have heard being called body recomposition or 'recomping' for short, which is where you build muscle and lose fat at the same time.
Sounds like a dream, right?
However, for gaining weight as a skinny guy, this is not the optimal solution. You may be leaving potential muscle gains on the table because when you are in a calorie deficit, the body's main priority is not building muscle, because you're technically starving it of the calories it needs to maintain your current weight.
Of course, when you want to lean down, this isn't a bad thing.
Calories And Carbohydrates
That said, we want to bulk up. And bulking up requires excess calories from your diet. And for most people who hit the gym, getting enough protein is hardly ever an issue. The main reason people fail to bulk up is a lack of energy. And I'm not talking about feeling energetic here, I mean the caloric energy you gain from eating.
Because of this, we want an easy way of gaining excess energy, and get what we need, it's sensible that we focus on carbs since they're tasty and incredibly easy to consume in large amounts.
The take-home message is to use a gainer with significantly more carbohydrates than protein. In fact, too much protein may leave you feeling fuller. Hardgainers will surely know that fullness makes budging the scale upwards more difficult. So overall, a 2:1 ratio and above of carbs to protein is likely the best range to be in for bulking.
Taste & Drinkability
The better something tastes, the more of it we can eat or drink. It's human nature — we love sweet stuff. It's likely also why so many people are overweight nowadays. And while this may be bad news for national health, there's something hardgainers can learn from the obesity epidemic…
A delicious mass gainer makes gaining weight easier.
Now, I want to point out that I'm not encouraging anyone to make themselves fat here. Remember that gaining fat during a bulk is not the same as getting fat.
Still, the fact remains that we can consume more of something when it tastes good. Using this logic, we should aim to make our mass gainers taste as irresistible as possible without making it unhealthy.
A quick win is to add some kind of milk. Not only will you significantly bulk up the protein, but your gainer will taste creamier — great news if you have a sweet tooth like me.
Obviously, if you don't like your gainer to be too sweet, perhaps stick with water and save the milk for when you do crave something sweet.
Combining Flavors To Gain More Weight
On a final note, there's some exciting research that may give us an insight into how we can boost the calories in our mass gainers even further. This particular study examined how various tastes — such as sweetness and saltiness — were suppressed when combined together.
The results showed that when sweetness was mixed with saltiness, sourness, and bitterness, subjects were able to identify the sweet taste above all others. But what on earth does this have to do with gaining mass?
Let me explain. High-calorie foods like nut butter or avocado, that you may not wish to eat alone, can be combined with your mass gainer without suppressing the sweetness of your shake.
This allows you to "sneak" in more calories without noticing them because your primal human brain is so happily preoccupied with this wonderfully sweet and creamy taste.
You can get inventive here. It's an excellent opportunity to stuff healthy green foods into your gainer that you may otherwise be tempted to leave out of your diet (veggies aren't exactly the best food for gaining weight after all).
Does It Mix Well?
It's no secret that weight gainers are not always the best mixing supplement. In fact, you could argue that if your weight-gain shake mixes effortlessly, then it's not going to be very lucrative for bulking up. Because surely — by its very nature — a genuinely high-calorie shake should require some vigorous shaking or electric blending.
Which brings me nicely to my second point...
Do You Have A Blender?
When it comes to making weight increasing shakes, a blender is like a passport — it opens up so many possibilities. Not only does your shake blend much more comfortably than by hand, but you can add your favorite foods to increase the calorie content.
However, if you're more old school and prefer the standard shaker bottle, then prepare for an isometric bicep workout. That said, lean gainers should mix no problem in a shaker cup, but true high-calorie gainers may have to be broken up into separate servings.
Of course, you could always use 2 shaker cups. But please, if you do decide to split your gainer into two bottles, shake one with your right arm and the other with your left...we don't want any muscle imbalances around here!
Value For Money
I'm not going to lie to you…
Mass gainers aren't the cheapest of supplements.
But for gaining weight, there's just nothing more convenient. And as a hardgainer, it's likely your willing to invest some money to get the results you want — but they don't need to cost the earth.
If your mass gainer has a substantial serving of carbs and protein, it's going to do the job. You don't need anything fancy — as you can see from the supplements that we recommend.
Overall, we rate Naked Mass as the best mass gainer on the market in. Reason being is that quite simply, it does its job and does it well. We particularly like how the calories are high enough to trigger substantial weight gain, but no so high that even a bodybuilder would struggle to drink it after training.
You can also drink it between meals and before bed. And to customize your shake, you can whip it up in a blender and add tasty ingredients.
We also like Serious Mass, especially for those who are bulking on a budget. As fans of Optimum Nutrition, we have had many excellent experiences with their line of supplements, and have enjoyed nice weight gain using Serious Mass.
If you have any questions or feedback, then feel free to let us know in the comments.