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The Best Protein Bar

Last updated on July 24, 2019

We looked at the top 9 Protein Bars and dug through the reviews from 52 of the most popular review sites including USA Home Gym, dietspotlight, Wiki EZ Vid, Workout University, The Fit Bay, Fighting Report and more. The result is a ranking of the best Protein Bars.

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Our Picks For The Top Protein Bars

Show Contents
Our Take
Experts Included
Pros
Cons
  The Best Overall

Quest Nutrition

Protein Bar

Overall Take

Natural IngredientsTons of protein and natural ingredients make this protein bar a winner, especially for health-conscious eaters.

Experts Included
DWYM Health & Wellness Experts plus BestReviews, Well and Good. Along with user reviews from Amazon.
Pros
" All natural ingredients and no added sugar. Doesn't contain gluten or soy. Boast exceptional protein from whey and milk."
Cons
"steer clear of Quest’s bars that contain sucralose, like the popular Cookies & Cream."

KIND Bars

Peanut Butter & Dark Chocolate

Overall Take

Great SnackA tasty, gluten-free snack made with lots of plant-based ingredients.

Experts Included
DWYM Health & Wellness Experts plus BestReviews, Thither, Top 10 Great, The Vegan’s Pantry, Evolving Wellness. Along with user reviews from Amazon.
Pros
" With exceptional protein, no hydrogenated oils, and lots of fiber, these all natural protein bars are at the top of our list. Contains no gluten and low soduim."
Cons
"Kind Bars are a bit too small. According to the box, Kind Bars are low glycemic, meaning they are slower to digest and keep you satisfied longer, but I still feel hungry after eating the bars."

Pure Protien

Pure Protein Bars

Overall Take

Tons of ProteinTons of protein means this gluten-free bar is great for a pre-workout boost.

Experts Included
DWYM Health & Wellness Experts plus USA Home Gym, dietspotlight, Wiki EZ Vid, The Fit Bay, Pure Path. Along with user reviews from Amazon and Walmart.
Pros
" Low in carbs, calories, and sugars, but high in protein, they're an excellent high protein snack for anyone looking to lose weight or gain lean muscle."
Cons
"The official website provides details relating to the benefits of the product, including ingredient lists and use, but there’s no solid science supporting the weight-loss claims. Throughout our research, we’ve found studies linking protein to dieters losing weight, but the..."
  The Best Value

CLIF BAR

Energy Bar

Overall Take

Delicious TasteA delicious taste and a soft texture make this energy bar a great snack between meals.

Experts Included
DWYM Health & Wellness Experts plus BestReviews, Thither, Road.cc, Runner Click, HESCA, Bike Radar and 4 more. Along with user reviews from Amazon and Walmart.
Pros
" Larger bars at a lower price.Doesn't contain GMO ingredients. Made with rolled oats,chocolate and rich grains for a highly nutrition energy boost."
Cons
"Lots of sugar (23 grams per bar) taste a bit too sweet."
Don't just take for granted what one reviewer says. Along with our own experts, DWYM analyzes the top expert reviews of the leading products and generates a score you can actually trust.
16

Products Considered

We identified the majority of the protein bars available to purchase.
9

Products Analyzed

We then selected the leading and most popular products for our team to review.

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52

Expert Reviews Included

In addition to our expert reviews, we also incorporate feedback and analysis of some of the most respected sources including: USA Home Gym, dietspotlight, Wiki EZ Vid, Workout University, The Fit Bay.

133,954

User Opinions Analyzed

We also incorporate user reviews from the leading retailers including Amazon, Walmart and 7 others.

Our experts reviewed the top 9 Protein Bars and also dug through the reviews from 52 of the most popular review sites including USA Home Gym, dietspotlight, Wiki EZ Vid, Workout University, The Fit Bay, Fighting Report and more. The result is a ranking of the best of the best Protein Bars.

DWYM is your trusted roduct review source. Our team reviews thousands of product reviews from the trusted top experts and combines them into one easy-to-understand score. Learn more.

Look for the DWYM seal for products that are the best in their category.

The Best Overall

Quest Nutrition Protein Bar

Our Expert Score
10.0
2 expert reviews
User Summarized Score
7.7
14,494 user reviews
Our Take

Health-conscious consumers will love the Quest Nutrition Protein Bar, which is made almost exclusively with natural ingredients. It does contain erythritol and sucralose in some flavors, so you may want to pay close attention to the ingredients of the bar you choose if you're concerned about those. You'll get 21 grams of protein with this bar, making it one of the top choices for those who want a hefty dose of protein.

What other experts liked
All natural ingredients and no added sugar. Doesn't contain gluten or soy. Boast exceptional protein from whey and milk.
- BestReviews
The great thing about this one is just the high fiber and protein content
- Well and Good
What other experts didn't like
Some testers noted that these bars have a new recipe that uses corn fiber,which is not as good as the old formula.
- BestReviews
steer clear of Quest’s bars that contain sucralose, like the popular Cookies & Cream.
- Well and Good

The Best Bang For Your Buck

CLIF BAR Energy Bar

Expert Summarized Score
8.1
10 expert reviews
User Summarized Score
8.9
2,518 user reviews
Our Take

The CLIF BAR Energy Bar has 9 grams of protein, making it great for between-meal snacking or a pre-workout boost. It's designed to keep you fuller, longer, so you may find it's the perfect bar to keep those hunger pangs at bay. It does have a whopping 21 grams of sugar, though, so it may not be the best option for diet-conscious consumers. In our taste testing, we detected notes of delicious cinnamon and we loved the soft texture.

What other experts liked
Larger bars at a lower price.Doesn't contain GMO ingredients. Made with rolled oats,chocolate and rich grains for a highly nutrition energy boost.
- BestReviews
From my experience, the bars are very filling and keep you going.Good travel snack.
- Thither
April 30, 2015 | Full review
Cliff Bars have lower percentages of saturated fats and refined sugars than, say, a Mars or Double Decker, they are better for your health.
- Road.cc
April 1, 2011 | Full review
They are resistant to extremes of temperature.
- HESCA
Clif use as high a proportion of organic (70 percent) and ethically sourced ingredients as possible, they’re resistant to extremes of temperature and they’re good value too.
- Bike Radar
March 4, 2013 | Full review
This treat is somehow dryish, so while eating it a sip may come in handy.
- Train Like A Bad Ass
March 16, 2019 | Full review
Made with wholesome non-GMO ingredients.
- Pure Path
What other experts didn't like
Not gluten or soy free.
- BestReviews
Lots of sugar (23 grams per bar) taste a bit too sweet.
- Thither
April 30, 2015 | Full review
Excessive nutrients in particular if taking more than one bar daily.
- HESCA
A bit slow to chew.
- Bike Radar
March 4, 2013 | Full review
As this bar has no good smell, no good tast.
- Train Like A Bad Ass
March 16, 2019 | Full review
Not as much protein as aforementioned bars.
- Pure Path

Overall Product Rankings

1. Quest Nutrition Protein Bar

Overall Score: 9.2
Reviews Included: 6

2. KIND Bars Peanut Butter & Dark Chocolate

Overall Score: 9.1
Reviews Included: 7

3. Pure Protein Bars

Overall Score: 8.9
Reviews Included: 9

4. Gatorade Whey Protein Recover Bars

Overall Score: 8.8
Reviews Included: 9

5. MusclePharm Combat Crunch Protein Bar

Overall Score: 8.6
Reviews Included: 15

6. ZonePerfect Nutrition Snack Bars

Overall Score: 8.5
Reviews Included: 8

7. ONE Protein Bars

Overall Score: 8.4
Reviews Included: 8

8. CLIF BAR Energy Bar

Overall Score: 8.4
Reviews Included: 15

9. thinkThin High Protein Bars

Overall Score: 7.6
Reviews Included: 6

Our Findings

Quest Nutrition Protein Bar

Best Overall

What We Liked: Health-conscious consumers will love the Quest Nutrition Protein Bar, which is made almost exclusively with natural ingredients. It does contain erythritol and sucralose in some flavors, so you may want to pay close attention to the ingredients of the bar you choose if you’re concerned about those. You’ll get 21 grams of protein with this bar, making it one of the top choices for those who want a hefty dose of protein.

Kristin Forte/Simplemost Media

CLIF BAR Energy Bar

Best Value

CLIF BAR - Energy Bars - Chocolate Chip - 2.4 Ounce (12 Count) Protein Bars (Health and Beauty)


List Price: $15.48 USD
New From: $11.28 USD In Stock
Used from: Out of Stock

What We Liked: The CLIF BAR Energy Bar has 9 grams of protein, making it great for between-meal snacking or a pre-workout boost. It’s designed to keep you fuller, longer, so you may find it’s the perfect bar to keep those hunger pangs at bay. It does have a whopping 21 grams of sugar, though, so it may not be the best option for diet-conscious consumers. In our taste testing, we detected notes of delicious cinnamon and we loved the soft texture.

Kristin Forte/Simplemost Media

KIND Bars Peanut Butter & Dark Chocolate

Also Consider

What We Liked: The KIND Bars Peanut Butter & Dark Chocolate is a plant-based vegan bar, but it does have some synthetic ingredients. You’ll get only 2 to 3 grams of protein, though, which makes it more ideal for between-meal snacking than a pre-workout protein boost. It is gluten-free and has 3 grams of fiber.

Kristin Forte/Simplemost Media

Our Protein Bar Buying Guide

Sometimes you just need a little something to sustain you until the next meal. Few things can fill that need as well as a protein bar. Tucking discreetly into a laptop bag or purse, protein bars are not only filling, but they can also ensure you get the extra protein you need as you head to the gym to build muscle. Some prefer a protein boost after a workout to enhance muscle recovery.

Whatever your use, there are certain factors to look for in a protein bar. Perhaps the first of those features is taste. While this can be subjective, there are some bars that specialize in giving you plenty of dessert-like options. If your mouth waters at the thought of a cookies and cream protein bar, consider looking for an option that offers those rather than the standard flavors like peanut butter or dark chocolate.

There have been multiple studies showing the benefits of protein before hitting the gym. One study found that 20 grams of whey protein before a workout improved anabolic response. If you’re looking for that type of benefit, you’ll find few protein bars have quite that level of protein. If you just want to stay full between meals, though, a bar with a lesser amount could do it.

As you’re looking at ingredients, it can be tempting to go for a bar that has the most nutrients. Aside from needing protein for your workout, though, you may not need an excessive amount of fiber or vitamins. Keep in mind you’re probably getting plenty of these nutrients in the other food you’re eating throughout the day.

Kristin Forte/Simplemost Media

Natural ingredients are a top priority for many consumers. It’s hard to find a protein bar that is completely natural, but you’ll find many that prioritize organic ingredients. If you have food aversions or allergies, there are bars that leave out gluten and soy. You’ll also find some protein bar manufacturers steer clear of GMOs in their ingredients.

Kristin Forte/Simplemost Media

DWYM Fun Fact

You can get plenty of benefits from protein bars, including keeping cravings at bay and preventing snacking between meals. Studies have connected protein bar consumption with an increase in lean muscle mass creation, as well as a boost in strength and power. A protein bar after an intense workout can also help speed up the healing process required after you’ve strained your muscles. Protein bars can reduce body fat by boosting your metabolism and increasing thermogenesis. Lastly, a protein bar can help keep your blood sugar in check, which both prevents overeating and improves concentration and overall well-being. In order to get the biggest benefits of these bars, though, you’ll need a bar with enough protein to make a difference.

The Protein Bar Tips and Advice

  • If you’re interested in protein bars, chances are health is a top priority. The Quest Nutrition Protein Bar is made from all-natural ingredients, including almonds, water, unsweetened chocolate and sea salt. However, you’ll find erythritol, a low-calorie sweetener that is a sugar alcohol, and sucralose, also known as Splenda, whose health effects have been questioned. Only some flavors of Quest’s bars contain sucralose, though, so you may just need to go with the less sweet flavors if sucralose is a concern for you.
  • KIND Bars Peanut Butter & Dark Chocolate is a plant-based vegan bar that is both tasty and healthy. However, you’ll find some isolates, extracts and synthetic ingredients in this bar, so read the nutrition label carefully before buying. The primary ingredients in the peanut butter and dark chocolate flavor are mixed nuts and dark chocolate, with the food additive soy lecithin coming in low on the list.
  • If you’re concerned about genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, in your food, consider the CLIF BAR Energy Bar, made with no GMO ingredients. This energy bar is made with rolled oats, chocolate and rich grains. Although it isn’t 100 percent natural, CLIF tries to keep each bar as organic as possible, including non-GMO ingredients and 70 percent organic- and ethically-sourced items.
  • For those concerned about sugar, the Quest Nutrition Protein Bar has no added sugar, although there is the aforementioned sucralose. The chocolate chip cookie dough Quest Nutrition Protein Bar has 1 gram of sugar, compared to 9 grams in the KIND Bars Peanut Butter & Dark Chocolate, 2 to 3 grams in Pure Protein Bars and 21 grams in the CLIF BAR Energy Bar. In fact, the CLIF BAR Energy Bar has so much sugar, you may find it’s too sweet.
  • If you have food allergens or aversions, you’ll be glad to know the Quest Nutrition Protein Bar, KIND Bars Peanut Butter & Dark Chocolate and Pure Protein Bars are gluten-free. The Quest Nutrition Protein Bar is also soy-free.
  • Of course, the top reason for choosing a protein bar is the protein itself. The Quest Nutrition Protein Bar and Pure Protein Bars have the most protein, at 21 grams each. With the CLIF BAR Energy Bar, you get 9 grams of protein, and KIND Bars Peanut Butter & Dark Chocolate have 8 grams of protein per bar. The protein in the Quest Nutrition Protein Bar comes from whey and milk
  • Fiber can also help with your overall health, especially when it comes to keeping you regular. The Quest Nutrition Protein Bar provides 14 grams of fiber, while KIND Bars Peanut Butter & Dark Chocolate has only 3 grams. Pure Protein Bars have 2 grams of dietary fiber per bar and CLIF BAR Energy Bar has 4 grams.
  • Although taste can be subjective, some generally excel more than others. If you like dessert-like flavors, you may want to choose the Quest Nutrition Protein Bar, which has plenty of decadent-sounding options like birthday cake, blueberry muffin and chocolate chip cookie dough. Although KIND Bars don’t have as many dessert flavors, the KIND Bars Peanut Butter & Dark Chocolate, Dark Chocolate Nuts & Sea Salt and Double Dark Chocolate Nut Bar feature plenty of flavor. The CLIF BAR Energy Bar can be on the dry side, so you’ll want to keep a bottle of water nearby while you’re downing it.
  • Hunger satisfaction is always an issue. KIND Bars Peanut Butter & Dark Chocolate is on the small side, which means it may not fill you up. However, they try to compensate for this by being low glycemic, which means the bars take longer to digest, keeping you full longer. The CLIF BAR Energy Bar is very filling, keeping you going longer between meals.

About The Author

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Stephanie Faris 

Stephanie Faris is a novelist and professional writer who has written extensively on the topics of health and wellness, including work for Healthline and Mental Floss. She believes in the importance of staying fit and healthy and even uses a desk cycle to get in exercise while she works.