Collagen is an increasingly popular dietary supplement, and is used to support joint health, bone health and even skin quality. Collagen is one of the few supplements we recommend for anti-aging, as oral collagen supplementation is clinically shown to reduce visible signs of skin aging such as wrinkles, skin dehydration and cellulite.
But with so many collagen products on the market with similar formulations and marketing messages, it can be confusing for consumers to pick a brand.
What should consumers look out for when shopping for a collagen brand? What's an effective dose of collagen? How do popular brands compare on price? And are there ingredients to avoid?
In this article, we'll answer all of these questions and more as we explain the top three criteria consumers should use to choose a collagen brand, and pick our top six collagen brands across different categories (Overall, Skincare, Low-Cost, Flavored, Marine, Type II).
Our goal is for this article to be the most comprehensive and informative guide to choosing a healthy and effective collagen powder on the internet.
What Makes a Good Collagen Powder?
There are three main criteria we recommend consumers look out for when shopping for a protein powder: clean formulation, effective collagen dose and price.
Clean formulation is the most important consideration, and means a product with healthy active ingredients and no questionable additive ingredients.
Collagen products are typically a single-active-ingredient formulation. A product with collagen (ideally derived from pastured animals) and no unhealthy inactive ingredients like refined sugar or artificial flavors is what we're looking for in this category.
As we documented in our article on the best protein powder, one medical review suggests that animal products sourced from grass-fed animals are more nutritious than from conventionally-raised animals, but this is less important for collagen than whole foods like dairy because animal fat is mostly removed during processing.
Effective dose is the second consideration.
A medical review published in the Journal of Drugs in Dermatology suggests that 10 grams (g) of collagen per day is the maximum effective dose for promoting skin quality.
A 2023 medical review on collagen for joint health and pain analyzed data from 24 clinical trials on the topic, and the maximum dose used in any of the trials was 10 g daily.
We typically recommend supplements that provide at least 10 g of collagen per serving.
Price is the third consideration. All things being equal, a lower-priced product is obviously more favorable to consumers. We measure price per 10 g dose to standardize price across collagen powders.
Product certifications and third-party test results are also good things to look for when choosing a collagen supplement, but are not very common in the collagen market based on our previous reviews.
In the next six sections of this article, we'll recommend our Best Overall, Best for Skincare, Best Low-Cost, Best Flavored, Best Marine and Best Type II collagen supplements.
Best Overall – Bulletproof Unflavored
Bulletproof Unflavored Collagen Powder is our top overall collagen powder pick.
This supplement passes the clean formulation test because it only has one ingredient: collagen peptides sourced from grass-fed animals.
Bulletproof's collagen powder passes the effective dose test, providing 20 g of hydrolyzed collagen per serving.
Since we consider the maximum effective dose to be 10 g daily, cost-conscious consumers may benefit from taking half a serving per day rather than the full serving.
The price of Bulletproof Unflavored Collagen Powder is $43.95 for a one-time purchase, which equates to $0.88 per 10 g collagen serving.
Interested consumers can check out Bulletproof Unflavored Collagen Powder at this link to the product page on the brand's official website.
Best for Skincare – Garden of Life
Garden of Life Collagen Powder is our top collagen for skincare pick.
As we referenced in the first section of this article, collagen alone has clinical backing for improving skin quality, but this supplement contains additional active ingredients that may be effective.
Hyaluronic acid was shown in a 2015 clinical trial to increase skin hydration at a 120 milligram (mg) daily dose, and this is the exact same dose used in Garden of Life's supplement.
This supplement passes the clean formulation test because its only ingredients are collagen, hyaluronic acid and a probiotic. There are no unhealthy additives like flavorings or refined sugar.
Garden of Life's supplement provides 20 g of collagen per serving, passing our effective dose test.
The price of Garden of Life Collagen Powder is $22.39 for a one-time purchase, which equates to $0.93 per 10 g collagen serving.
Interested consumers can check out Garden of Life Collagen Powder at this link to the product page on the brand's official Amazon store.
Best Low-Cost – Great Lakes
Great Lakes Collagen Peptides is our top low-cost collagen powder pick, and like Bulletproof Unflavored Collagen it's a single-ingredient supplement.
This supplement passes our clean formulation test because as stated above, it only has one active ingredient (collagen) and no unhealthy additives.
Great Lakes Collagen provides 12 g of collagen peptides per dose, passing our effective dose test.
While this supplement doesn't have any third-party certifications related to product purity, it is certified halal and non-GMO which may appeal to some consumers.
The price of Great Lakes Collagen Peptides is $28.40 for a one-time purchase, which equates to $0.62 per 10 g collagen serving.
Interested consumers can check out Great Lakes Collagen Peptides at this link to the product page on the brand's official Amazon store.
Best Flavored – Bulletproof Chocolate
Bulletproof Chocolate Collagen is our top flavored collagen powder pick.
We typically recommend unflavored collagen powders for cost and health reasons, but this is the healthiest flavored formulation we've come across.
Organic cocoa powder is used to provide the chocolate flavor, and this is a much healthier option than natural or artificial flavors. Cocoa powder is clinically shown to enhance cognition, reduce inflammation and protect neurons in the brain.
Stevia leaf extract is a naturally-derived sweetener (from the Stevia rebaudiana plant) that has documented health benefits including anti-inflammatory effects and potentially blood pressure lowering effects. This is a much healthier sweetener than refined sugar or artificial sweeteners in our opinion.
Like the other Bulletproof collagen supplement recommended in this article, Bulletproof Chocolate Powder passes the effective dose test because it provides 20 g of collagen per serving.
The price of Bulletproof's flavored collagen is $43.95 for a one-time purchase, which equates to $0.88 per 10 g collagen serving.
Interested consumers can check out Bulletproof Chocolate Collagen at this link to the product page on the brand's official website.
Best Marine Collagen – Vital Proteins
Vital Proteins Marine Collagen is our top marine collagen pick.
Meat-free consumers may prefer a collagen product that's not derived from cows (like the vast majority are), and since there are no vegetarian sources of collagen, this is the best option in our opinion.
This supplement passes our clean formulation test because it's formulated with collagen derived from whitefish and no unhealthy additive ingredients.
Each serving provides 12 g of collagen, which passes our effective dose test.
The price of Vital Protein's marine collagen is $31.75 for a one-time purchase, which equates to $1.47 per 10 g collagen serving.
Interested consumers can check out Vital Proteins Marine Collagen at this link to the product page on the brand's official Amazon store.
Best Type II Collagen – Vital Proteins Cartilage
Most of the collagen powders we’ve reviewed in this article are sourced from cows and contain collagen types I and III.
These are the collagen types typically used for skincare, and shown in medical research to be beneficial to this end. Collagen type II is often supplemented for joint health and physical function.
A medical review published in the Nutrition Journal in 2016 found that type II collagen at a dose of 40 mg daily was effective at improving symptoms of knee arthritis.
Vital Proteins Cartilage Collagen is our top type II collagen supplement. It's actually a capsule supplement rather than a powder, but we couldn't find any type II powder supplements we recommend at the time of updating this article.
This supplement passes the clean formulation test because it provides 3,000 mg of type II collagen (more than 50x the minimum effective dose from the previously-linked trial) and no unhealthy additives.
The effective dose requirement for type II collagen is different from type I, and we consider this product to provide an effective dose.
The price of Vital Protein's type II collagen is $35.50 for a one-time purchase, which equates to $1.18 per serving.
Interested consumers can check out Vital Proteins Cartilage Collagen at this link to the product page on the brand's official Amazon store.