Reviews Supplements Weight Gainer

5 Best Budget Mass Gainers in 2024

Building muscle optimally and gaining mass requires a sustained caloric surplus and adequate protein intake, both of which may be hard to achieve with a limited budget and busy lifestyle. 

If you struggle to hit your daily intake goals and need a cheaper supplement option, our selection of the best budget mass gainers provide a convenient source of calories and macronutrients to supplement the diet.

We’ve reviewed our top five mass gainer choices below according to the ingredients, taste, mixability, label transparency, and value for money.

Best Budget Mass Gainers

Top 5 Best Budget Mass Gainers Reviewed

  1. Transparent Labs Mass Gainer – Top Pick
  2. NutraBio Extreme Mass – Best Price
  3. BSN True Mass – Best Tasting Option
  4. Dymatize Super Mass Gainer – Best with Micros
  5. Rule 1 Mass Gainer – Best High-carb Option
ProductTotalMacronutrient BreakdownTasteMixabilityNutrition Label TransparencyValue for Money
Transparent Labs48.5109.510109
Rule 145.58.599109

1. Transparent Labs Mass Gainer – Top Pick

Transparent Labs Mass Gainer

Transparent Labs manufactures science-based nutritional products to improve health and performance. They focus on clean ingredients and transparent labeling.

  • Suitable for Vegans: No
  • Flavors: Chocolate Glaze Donut, Sweet Vanilla
  • Calories per serving: 750 KCAL
  • Carbs per Serving: 110 grams 
  • Protein per Serving: 53 grams
  • Carb-to-Protein Ratio: 2:1 
  • Number of Servings: 15
  • Serving Size: 194 grams (2 scoops)
  • Price per Serving: $5.34
  • Company Founded: 2015
  • Recommended By Athletes: Hathor BjornssonPaul SkylarPau Andrade

True to their name, Transparent Labs has included a high-quality blend of ingredients in their mass gainer. 

Each 194-gram serving contains 53 grams of 100% grass-fed whey concentrate and a 110-gram carbohydrate mix consisting mainly of tapioca maltodextrin powder and some extra whole food sources such as sweet potato flour. 

If you’re looking for a higher-quality mass gainer without added artificial ingredients, this is the mass gainer to choose.

With a 2:1 carb-to-protein ratio, the mass gainer is ideal for gym goers and athletes looking to pack on lean mass. It’s informed choice certified meaning that it’s also safe to consume for tested athletes which is a big plus we think.

Each serving contains 750 calories which is on the lower end for a mass gainer but more can be added if you need. Transparent Labs has included 3 grams of creatine to help with performance. 

At $5.34 per serving, the Transparent Labs mass gainer is a little more pricey than our other budget options. In our opinion, this is a price worth paying for the high-quality, whole-food ingredient combinations that have undergone a higher level of testing compared to most mass gainers out there. 

You get exactly what you pay for with this product. Two flavors are available which include chocolate glazed donut and sweet vanilla, with both getting pretty good feedback. 

Transparent labs also offer a subscribe and save option to lower the price per serving slightly.


Transparent Labs Mass Gainer – blend which contains 53 grams of 100% grass-fed and a 110-gram carbohydrate blend consisting of tapioca maltodextrin powder and other.

Macronutrient Breakdown:0
Nutrition Label Transparency:0
Value for Money:0


  • 2:1 Carb-to-Protein ratio
  • No artificial ingredients 
  • Uses grass-fed whey concentrate 
  • Includes high-quality MCT-oils
  • Decent dose of fiber to aid digestion

Could be better:

  • Lower vitamin and mineral quantities
  • Small flavor variety to choose from 

2. NutraBio Extreme Mass – Best Price

Nutra Bio Extreme Mass

Founded in 1996, NutraBio aims to provide high-quality supplements without compromise. The brand focuses on transparent labeling, efficacious dosing, and no proprietary blends.

  • Suitable for Vegans: No
  • Flavors: Chocolate, Vanilla, Strawberry Pastry
  • Calories per serving: 650 KCAL
  • Carbs per Serving: 100 grams
  • Protein per Serving: 53 grams 
  • Carb-to-Protein Ratio: 2:1
  • Number of Servings: 15.6
  • Serving Size: 173 grams (4 scoops)
  • Price per Serving: $3.86
  • Company Founded: 1996
  • Recommended By Athletes: Erik RamirezJennifer PortoLiana Martinez 

The NutraBio Extreme Mass Gainer offers a decent ingredient formulation at an excellent price point. It’s our cheapest mass gainer if you’re looking for something that offers extra value for money.

Whilst all of our mass gainers fall into the budget price category, the NutraBio one is available at $3.86 per serving. For this, you get 53 grams of protein made from whey protein concentrate and micellar casein. 

This provides a slower, more sustained nutrient release which may be especially better suited if you’re looking to take the mass gainer closer to nighttime.

NutraBio Extreme Mass  instagram
Photo by @nutrabio

Each 173-gram serving also has 100 grams of carbs made from maltodextrin which is a common carb source used in mass gainers. It’s not as high-quality as whole food sources but it’s still good and it’s cheaper to produce and therefore sell. 

This gives the NutraBio mass gainer a 2:1 carb-to-protein ratio making it another well-suited lean mass gainer. 

Each tub has been third-party tested but unfortunately, NutraBio don't provide the name of the testing organization. The tub has the LOT number and production date stamped on the bottom of each one. 

The flavor choices are chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry pastry which is a flavor we haven't really heard of before.


NutraBio Extreme Mass - cheapest mass gainer, made from whey protein concentrate and micellar casein.

Macronutrient Breakdown:0
Nutrition Label Transparency:0
Value for Money:0


  • Excellent value for money
  • Made in GMP + FDA facilities
  • Third-party tested
  • Good vitamin and mineral profile
  • Low fat content

Could be better:

  • Limited flavor choices are available
  • No mention of the third-party testing organization name

3. BSN True Mass - Best Tasting Option

BSN True Mass

Founded in 2001, BSN is dedicated to creating cutting-edge, result-driven gym products for high-level athletes and gym goers.

  • Suitable for Vegans: No
  • Flavors: Chocolate, Chocolate Milkshake, Strawberry Milkshake, Vanilla Ice Cream 
  • Calories per serving: 690 KCAL
  • Carbs per Serving: 85 grams
  • Protein per Serving: 50 grams 
  • Carb-to-Protein Ratio: 1.7:1
  • Number of Servings: 16
  • Serving Size: 165 grams (3 scoops)
  • Price per Serving: $4.12
  • Company Founded: 2001
  • Recommended By Athletes: Whitney JonesLizzie MartinezScott Mathison

The BSN True Mass is our best-tasting mass gainer pick, with a wide range of delicious flavors with excellent user reviews to choose from. These include chocolate, chocolate milkshake, strawberry milkshake, and vanilla ice cream. 

Out of our five mass gainer picks, this would be the best one to make into a smoothie or pair with different fruits and vegetables. With this, the sugar content is 8 grams per serving. 

BSN also includes artificial sweeteners and ingredients which is something to bear in mind when purchasing. In terms of ingredient formulation, the taste isn’t the only thing going for it. 

Each 165-gram serving contains a 50-gram protein matrix consisting of eight different high-quality protein sources. 

Some of them are easier to digest and some like calcium caseinate are slow-absorbing which may be useful if you are taking it before bed. 

The 85 grams of carbs in each serving are made up predominantly of maltodextrin alongside some added minerals in smaller quantities. 

With 690 calories per serving, the BSN True Mass has one of the lowest energy contents out of our top five choices. 

If you’re really trying to hit exact calorie targets and are looking for an excellent-tasting mass gainer to mix with additional ingredients, this may be the best choice for you.


The BSN True Mass is our best-tasting mass gainer pick, with a wide range of delicious flavors with excellent user reviews to choose from.

Macronutrient Breakdown:0
Nutrition Label Transparency:0
Value for Money:0


  • 1.7:1 Carb-to-Protein ratio
  • Lower calorie content for lean mass gains
  • Great mixability + taste
  • Good flavor range
  • 10 grams added BCAAs

Could be better:

  • Uses artificial sweeteners and ingredients 
  • Lower calorie content might not be suitable for athletes who need more

4. Dymatize Super Mass Gainer - Best with Micros

Dymatize Super Mass Gainer

Founded in 1994, Dymatize tries to produce innovative products that go through rigorous testing processes. 

They believe in being better and matching your work rate with their product formulations.

  • Suitable for Vegans: No
  • Flavors: Chocolate, Gourmet Vanilla
  • Calories per serving: 1280 KCAL
  • Carbs per Serving: 245 grams
  • Protein per Serving: 52 grams 
  • Carb-to-Protein Ratio: 4.7:1
  • Number of Servings: 16
  • Serving Size: 335 grams 
  • Price per Serving: $4.00
  • Company Founded: 1994
  • Recommended By Athletes: Sarah GuzmanCarl McGrewMaria Blacutt

The Dymatize Super Mass Gainer is designed for packing on a super amount of mass, with a huge 1280 calories per serving. That’s double that of some of our other options which makes this the best choice for hard gainers who are looking to pack on size.

We’ve chosen it as the best mass gainer with micros due to the 14 different micronutrients added in excellent quantities. It provides a range of vitamins and minerals, with most of them hitting the recommended daily values when the full dose is taken. 

Dymatize Super Mass Gainer instagram
Photo by @dymatize

Alongside this, 10.7 grams of BCAAs are included which may help with muscle gain if overall daily protein intake is inadequate. Each 335-gram serving includes 52 grams of protein that’s made up of five quality protein sources. 

The 245-grams of carbohydrates coming mainly from maltodextrin is where the super mass gainer gets most of its calories from. 

With almost 5:1 carb-to-protein ratio, Dymatize has designed its mass gainer specifically for athletes and gym goers needing to supplement a large amount of carbohydrates and calories alongside their normal diet. 

The Dymatize Super Gainer is banned substance tested, making it suitable for competitively tested athletes. Each tub shows the informed choice logo at the top next to the macronutrient breakdown. 


The Dymatize Super Mass Gainer is designed for packing on a super amount of mass, with a huge 1280 calories per serving and provides a range of vitamins and minerals, with most of them hitting the recommended daily values when the full dose is taken.

Macronutrient Breakdown:0
Nutrition Label Transparency:0
Value for Money:0


  • 14 added micronutrients
  • Banned-substance tested
  • 10.7 grams added BCAAs
  • Fast and slow absorbing protein blend
  • High calories for hard gainers

Could be better:

  • Contains artificial sweeteners
  • Big serving size might be too much for some athletes

5. Rule 1 Mass Gainer - Best High-Carb Option

Rule 1 Mass Gainer

Rule 1 wants to create the best formulated and manufactured supplements in the world. The brand motto is ‘the best input = the best output’.

  • Suitable for Vegans: No
  • Flavors: Chocolate Fudge, Vanilla, Strawberries and Cream, Cookies and Cream, Chocolate Peanut Butter 
  • Calories per serving: 1240 KCAL
  • Carbs per Serving: 256 grams
  • Protein per Serving: 40 grams 
  • Carb-to-Protein Ratio: 6:1
  • Number of Servings: 16
  • Serving Size: 324 grams
  • Price per Serving: ~$3.75
  • Company Founded: 2014
  • Recommended By Athletes: Jason JimenezSteph DohertyDylon Scruton 

The Rule 1 Mass Gainer is our best high-carb choice, consisting of a 6:1 carb-to-protein blend that uses a mix of well-balanced complex carb sources. These include maltodextrin, organic rice bran, and pea starch. 

The addition of organic rice bran and pea starch as slow-digesting carb sources should help keep you fuller for longer if you’re using the mass gainer before a longer period without food. 

Each 324-gram serving contains 1240 calories and 40 grams of protein consisting of whey concentrate, isolate, and hydrolysate which are the main three commonly used in protein powders. 

Whey isolate is a higher-quality protein source while hydrolysate tends to be easier to digest. The amount of carbs per serving is 256 grams, with 6 grams of fat and a few added minerals in smaller quantities. 

Other added ingredients include 2 grams of creatine monohydrate which may help with high-intensity performance alongside a separate creatine supplement and L-Glutamine to help with intestinal health and immune function.

It’s our second cheapest mass gainer per serving at ~$3.75 but we’ve put it lower down on the list as it contains fewer grams of protein and a lower overall ingredient quality. 

This doesn't take away from the fact that it provides the best carbohydrate blend out of our mass gainer choices and has some nice added ingredients.


The Rule 1 Mass Gainer is our best high-carb choice, consisting of a 6:1 carb-to-protein blend that uses a mix of well-balanced complex carb sources.

Macronutrient Breakdown:0
Nutrition Label Transparency:0
Value for Money:0


  • Well-balanced carb blend
  • 6:1 carb-to-protein ratio
  • 2 grams added creatine monohydrate
  • 16 servings per container
  • 500 mg glutamine

Could be better:

  • No third-party testing


The latest reviews of must-have home gym training equipment, apparel, and supplements that will enhance your performance and bring you new results.

What Affects Weight Gainer Price?

The price of budget weight gainers varies widely between brands, with several factors contributing to the final price per serving. Here are the main ones to be aware of:

1. Main Ingredients

When looking at any mass gainer, the main ingredients that determine price are proteins, carbohydrates, and fats.

Proteins are fundamental for muscle building and are needed to stimulate muscle protein synthesis. Mass gainers contain different amounts and types of protein that vary in quality such as whey, whey isolate, casein, pea, and soy protein.

This quality and amount included affect the end price point. Carbohydrates provide a source of energy and make up the majority of calories in most mass gainers. Most mass gainers use maltodextrin made up of corn, rice, potato, or wheat. 

Some brands may use whole food sources such as sweet potato and sprouted grain which can then increase the cost. Fats are energy-dense nutrients, with medium-chain triglycerides commonly included in mass gainers with a range of beneficial effects

Other types such as nut powders and sunflower oil may be included at a lower cost. 

Mass gainers that use higher-quality protein sources and focus on whole foods tend to be more expensive than mass gainers using lower-quality ingredients. 

Those that contain a higher proportion of micronutrients tend to be higher in cost as well.

2. Added Ingredients

Some affordable weight gainers include added ingredients that may help to gain mass and/or improve performance. 

Some added ingredients may be used to further supplement those taken separately, providing an extra source when trying to hit sufficient daily intake goals.

Some of the most common added ingredients that tend to influence cost include:

  • Creatine 
  • Branched Chain Amino Acids (added mainly in vegan powders) 
  • Vitamins and Minerals
  • Digestive Enzymes

Out of these, creatine would be the most useful mass-gainer ingredient for adding muscle mass by augmenting training workload.

prepared mass gainer in gym

3. Serving Size and Amount

Different mass gainers can vary widely in serving sizes, with some brands suggesting double the amount of others. Mass gainers with more servings in each tub tend to cost more but will last longer. 

Be sure to check kcal/serving and protein/serving, cheaper ones tend to have less calories and protein.

Before choosing, you should be aware of how much of each you are looking for. Check the serving size of the container and work out the appropriate amount needed. 

4. Marketing and Third-Party Testing Costs

Unfortunately, marketing and manufacturing costs need to be included in the end price point. Brands spend large amounts of money on effective marketing strategies, with production costs including labor contributing to the end price point. 

Some brands will have larger production facilities or do all the manufacturing in-house which then reduces the end price point of the mass gainer. Third-party testing is quite expensive and will be reflected in the higher cost. 

This is an important factor to consider if you want a high-quality supplement to fuel your body in exercise. 

The benefits of using purer ingredients should outweigh the extra cost when you get a quality end product.

trx in use

Does Cheap Mass Gainer Work?

More affordable Mass gainers usually work exactly the same way as normal weight gainers when kcal and protein are matched - by providing your body with additional calories and macronutrients to support muscle gain and adding mass. 

However, the below points need to also be considered when using mass gainers to help achieve a certain goal:

  • Monitor overall daily calorie balance and protein including the calories in the mass gainer. Gaining lean mass requires approximately 500 calories over maintenance and at least 1g/lb bm of protein. Anything more would be appropriate for purely mass gain. 
  • Periodize your training appropriately to provide your body with enough of a stimulus to gain muscle and mass. Make sure to use progressive overload which means you gradually increase the stress placed on your body in each training session through the manipulation of training variables. Use the help of a professional and perform training specific to your goals.
  • Get enough sleep to allow your body to adequately recover between sessions and build muscle. High quality sleep can also reduce the risk of hypertension, diabetes, and obesity. 

How to Choose and Use the Best Budget Mass Gainer?

Choosing the best budget mass gainer can seem complicated at first. Mass gainers can be used for multiple purposes including gaining muscle, just adding calories, and general weight gain. 

Focus on the main points below to find the most suitable product for your health and fitness goals. 

1. Look at the Calorie Content per Serving

The amount of calories per serving varies widely between different mass gainers. Some may be 200-300 whilst others can reach over 1000. First, decide what goals you want the mass gainer to help you achieve. 

If it’s lean muscle gain, you might want to go for a lower calorie option. If you’re looking to pack on a lot of weight quickly or you’re a hard gainer with a high metabolism, a higher calorie weight gainer might be better.

Look at the calories per serving information on the nutrition label located at the back of the tub before deciding if that particular mass gainer is well-suited for your goal. 

2. Choose the Carb-To-Protein Ratio That Suits You

Mass gainers have a wide range of carb-to-protein ratios, with some mass gainers going from 1:1 even up to 6:1. 

If you’re looking to build lean muscle and don’t need that many extra calories, the lower carb-to-protein ratio may be the better choice for you.

If you’re an athlete who needs the extra energy provided by the carbohydrate or someone who’s trying to bulk up in a short period of time, it might be best to go for the higher ratio.

Other factors that should be considered are your overall daily protein and carbohydrate intakes and how much you are getting from other foods. 

Think about if you’re hitting your daily protein goal and how much you need from the mass gainer. 

Also consider that the lower carb-to-protein ratio mass gainers will likely have less calories in compared to those packed with carbs. 

This may also influence cost depending on the protein quality and quantity included. 

mass gainer powder

3. Divide the Indicated Serving by 2

Bear in mind that the serving size doesn’t need to be rigorously stuck too. Mass gainer servings tend to be 2-4 scoops depending on the brand and can be split into half servings if required. 

If you don’t need as many calories or other macronutrients as the full amount provides, divide the indicated serving by 2 when needed. 

4. Add Ingredients if Needed

Mass gainer powders can be mixed with water or a liquid of your choice such as milk. Each product will give specific guidelines on how to mix and drink the mass gainer. 

Other ingredients such as bananas, nuts, and vegetables can be added for some extra calories, micronutrients, or simply just to improve the taste. 

Is It Okay to Drink Mass Gainer Every Day?

If you’re trying to build muscle, maintaining a caloric surplus and consuming enough daily protein are two of the most important factors determining success. 

Mass gainers powders contain large amounts of calories and protein that can be readily mixed with different liquids and ingredients. 

These provide a convenient nutritional source at times when consuming these from the diet may be impractical/impossible for some. 

Some people may need to consume mass gainers daily while others may only need them 2-3 times a week. 

Factors including your exercise regime and normal diet should be considered when deciding the right frequency of use. Mass gainers are generally safe to drink everyday but should not replace a healthy, balanced diet. 

Focus on doing the fundamental basics well first and use mass gainers as a way to supplement your dietary intake. 

Consume a variety of whole food sources consisting of high-quality proteins, carbohydrates, and fats that contain a healthy mix of essential micronutrients. 

Focus on performing regular, high-quality training sessions and getting enough sleep, using mass gainers as needed to accomplish your health and fitness goals.

preparing mass gainer


Do Mass Gainers Really Work?

Yes they do! Supplements are designed to help achieve a range of health and fitness goals and shouldn't be seen as having a magic effect or providing a shortcut. 

When using supplements such as mass gainers, the focus must still be on performing consistent training and adhering to the fundamental nutrition basics. 

Muscle building is a complicated process that requires the right training, nutrition, sleep, and mental fortitude but be sure that the outcomes/benefits will highly outweigh the struggle. 

Mass gainers work by providing a convenient source of calories and macronutrients to help provide a caloric surplus needed to gain mass. 

If you don't get all the other aspects right the only thing you will get with that calorie surplus will be fat. 

Should Skinny Guys Take Mass Gainer?

Regardless of your weight or size, mass gainers can be used to help build muscle and overall mass for a variety of sporting activities or physique goals. 

Mass gainers will be especially useful to those classed as ‘hard gainers’ which would include people who have a naturally skinny body type.

Before adding a new supplement into your nutrition regime, make sure to consult a health professional who will help you to develop the right plan.


Budget mass gainers provide a convenient source of extra calories and macronutrients to support muscle and mass gain. 

They may be suitable for active individuals struggling to consume enough food from their normal daily intake and should be used to supplement the diet, not replace it.

The Transparent Labs Mass Gainer uses high-quality, natural ingredients that focus on whole foods. The servings can also be split in half to provide great value for money. It's our best cheap mass gainer pick.

Have you used any of the products reviewed above? What do you use mass gainers for and why? Let us know in the comments below! 

Also read:


  1. Ribeiro AS, Nunes JP, Schoenfeld BJ, Aguiar AF, Cyrino ES. Effects of Different Dietary Energy Intake Following Resistance Training on Muscle Mass and Body Fat in Bodybuilders: A Pilot Study. J Hum Kinet, no. 70 (2019) 125-134. doi:10.2478/hukin-2019-0038
  2. Morton RW, Murphy KT, McKellar SR, et al. A systematic review, meta-analysis and meta-regression of the effect of protein supplementation on resistance training-induced gains in muscle mass and strength in healthy adults, Br J Sports Med, no. 52(6) (2018):376-384. doi:10.1136/bjsports-2017-097608
  3. Stokes T, Hector AJ, Morton RW, McGlory C, Phillips SM. Recent Perspectives Regarding the Role of Dietary Protein for the Promotion of Muscle Hypertrophy with Resistance Exercise Training. Nutrients, no.10(2) (2018):180. doi:10.3390/nu10020180
  4. Kanter M. High-Quality Carbohydrates and Physical Performance: Expert Panel Report. Nutr Today, no.53(1) (2018):35-39. doi:10.1097/NT.0000000000000238
  5. Watanabe S, Tsujino S. Applications of Medium-Chain Triglycerides in Foods. Front Nutr, no. 9(2022). doi:10.3389/fnut.2022.802805
  6. Antonio J, Candow DG, Forbes SC, et al. Common questions and misconceptions about creatine supplementation: what does the scientific evidence really show?, J Int Soc Sports Nutr, no.18(1) (2021):13. doi:10.1186/s12970-021-00412-w
  7. Slater GJ, Dieter BP, Marsh DJ, Helms ER, Shaw G, Iraki J. Is an Energy Surplus Required to Maximize Skeletal Muscle Hypertrophy Associated With Resistance Training. Front Nutr, no.6 (2019):131. doi:10.3389/fnut.2019.00131
  8. Evans JW. Periodized Resistance Training for Enhancing Skeletal Muscle Hypertrophy and Strength: A Mini-Review. Front Physiol, no.10 (2019):13. doi:10.3389/fphys.2019.00013
  9. Taheri S, Lin L, Austin D, Young T, Mignot E. Short sleep duration is associated with reduced leptin, elevated ghrelin, and increased body mass index. PLoS Med, no. 1(3) (2004):62. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.0010062

Why Trust Us?

With over 20 years in Olympic Weightlifting, our team does its best to provide the audience with ultimate support and meet the needs and requirements of advanced athletes and professional lifters, as well as people who strive to open new opportunities and develop their physical capabilities with us.

All products we select are primarily approved and tested by the Olympic Weightlifting Champion Oleksii Torokhtiy. Under his guidance, we provide honest and reasonable assessments of the products we review by checking their characteristics, packaging, design, comfort and durability features, and general product rating. We select products from only high-quality and trusted sports brands, thus vouching for their quality.

The product testing process is described in more detail here

Jacek Szymanowski

Author: Jacek Szymanowski

Certified Nutritionist,
M.Sc.Eng. Biotechnology
Performance Architect,
Strength and Conditioning Specialist

Experience: 20 years

With over 30 years of fighting experience, specialization in nutrition coaching for athletes, and expertise in metabolic health and dietary strategies, Jacek offers a comprehensive approach to optimizing your performance and well-being. Backed by a Master of Science degree in Biotechnology, Jacek remains at the forefront of scientific advancements, ensuring that his coaching is always evidence-based and up-to-date.

View author’s page

If you have any questions/suggestions/any other inquiries considering product reviews, you can reach out to us via email – [email protected]

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *