19 Protein Bar Brands, Ranked

There's a huge market for innovative food products, especially ones that provide three things: nutrition, convenience, and yeah, some old-fashioned good taste. A protein bar, when done properly, can hit all three markers.

Protein bars have come a long way in recent years. Now, grocery store shelves are flooded with options, and small businesses promising the next big thing frequently appear on your social media feed. But we've had our fair share of bad protein bars, and we suspect you have, too. Dry, artificial, chalky, pasty ... there are a million ways this can go south. Protein bars can also get awfully expensive, and you don't want to spend your money on the wrong ones. That's why we've decided to rank the best protein bar brands to help you choose one you actually enjoy eating. Everyone knows that plenty of protein is good for you, but let's be sure it tastes good, too.

19. GoMacro

GoMacro bars were new to this team, but we were excited to try something a little different. The bars are on the lower end of the protein spectrum with 10 to 11 grams apiece, but that never directly implies that the taste or texture is going to be more or less positive. Speaking of which, the texture of GoMacro bars is what stood out most to us. Upon unwrapping a bar, we found an extremely pliable bar that, if we were to defy social etiquette and play with our food, could fold over itself like a nutrient-dense version of fruit leather. Only, in this case, the fruit was peanut butter, chocolate, etc. 

Seriously, if chewy bars are your thing, go for GoMacro — but overall, this factor wasn't precisely a selling point, so these bars ranked lower than the team initially had hoped. The collective consensus was that they were just too monotonous and laborious to chew.

18. Aloha

Aloha protein bars are one of the more typical, run-of-the-mill options on the market. It's your standard option for quick energy and a convenient way to silence a growling stomach. The flavors were all pretty tasty, with a mild chewiness and nothing resembling an artificial sweetener. The Coconut Chocolate Almond variety not only fit the brand's island image but tasted great in and of itself and sports 14 grams of protein. 

Overall, Aloha didn't stick out as being a top brand, but there were no glaring issues. It's also one of the more accessible and easily purchased protein bars on the market. Is the pairing of chocolate and coconut sounding really good to anyone else right now?

17. Think

Going into this taste test, the expectation was that most protein bars would be boring, distasteful, and overall not worth eating. It was a pleasant surprise just how many protein bars were, well, surprisingly good. Others, like Think! Bars were middle-of-the-road, and when put next to genuinely delicious ones, less than optimal. The common concern with protein bars is that they will be dry, chalky, and "taste funny." Think! got a little too close to comfort to these descriptions. No one here was particularly excited to take a second bite. 

But still, in a pinch, they'll provide you with some solid nutrition; 20 grams of protein is nothing to laugh at. If you have a little time on your hands for a fun project, consider baking up your own protein balls using a simple, approachable recipe. You will probably find yourself saving some money in the process, and protein bars can get expensive. And besides, the shape is so fun easy and to eat.

16. Kind

Kind bars are a classic. Like Clif bars, though, the more well-known version actually doesn't really count as a protein bar. You know, those long, slender bars with the stripes of chocolate and nuts. With 12 grams, the bar shown above has enough protein to pass a protein bar and maintains all the same taste integrity as the lighter versions, just a little more dense. If you're hungry or in need of more sustenance, pass on the smaller Kind bars and go for the big guns. 

We all love a typical Kind bar. They are a team favorite. But these protein bars are just a little bit, dare we say, boring. There's nothing wrong with them, but they taste like glazed nuts glued together with dark chocolate. What's not to like? If you don't want any jump-scares of off-the-wall flavor combinations or off-putting textures, you'll always be safe with a Kind bar in your pocket. Oh, and you can even have pints of matching Kind "treat" bars in your freezer, so that's a plus. 

15. PB2

PB2 is a unique product: Powdered peanut butter. Now you can imagine just how many uses there are, from smoothies to baking. The brand has recently unveiled a PB2 Protein Bar with 13-15 grams of protein that we were excited to try. The cardinal sin of these bars is that, like their peanut butter substitute namesake, they are somewhat dry. Taste testers noted a certain chalky texture and quality, as well as a tendency to crumble. 

We definitely recommend having a filled water bottle on hand to make these bars go down a little easier. One positive, however, is that the nuanced flavor of these is lacking in some of the other bars. The Chocolate Almond, for example, actually has notes of an almond-scented cookie and leaves a pleasant taste on the palate that we did not expect. Overall, opinions were mixed, so we deemed it a solid middle-of-the-pack protein bar that brings some potential upward mobility.

14. Keto Krisp

Keto Krisp is an outlier on this taste test. Not for obvious reasons — protein bars are nothing new, and other brands, like Think!, have Keto options in addition to their regular bars. Some, like Mosh, have plant-based options, too. It's an outlier because these are shaped less like bars and more like sticky little squares. The "Krisp" in the title is on the nose since these bars tasted a lot like Rice Krispies Treats with the added bonus of 10 grams of protein. 

The Butter and Salt flavor intrigued us: It ended up truly coming off as buttery, sweet yet savory goodness that can't possibly be good for you ... but it's full of protein. If you need more high-protein recipes and roundups, we have lots of recommendations, from how to whip up a protein-packed smoothie to the best high-protein yogurts. Now imagine crumbling up a Keto Krisp over top of your protein-packed yogurt. Now that's intense. 

13. Quest

Some protein bars are more well-known than others, having earned their status by working hard over the years. Quest bars are in this category, having been cooked up in 2010 (though certainly not as aged as some, like Clif in 1992 or One in 1999). This timeline means that Quest has had the opportunity to create some really cool flavors while remaining one of the more jacked protein bars on the market with 20 to 21 grams.  

The bar itself is simple and straightforward, just a slab of lightly chewy, lightly dense protein speckled with flavorful additions, yet we definitely enjoyed options like White Chocolate Raspberry and Blueberry Muffin. In the White Chocolate Raspberry, for example, that single solitary gram of sugar is doing a lot of heavy lifting; the bar still tasted nicely sweet and full of a sincere, fruity raspberry flavor. If you like more things going on in your protein bar, there are also a few "dipped" options like Cookies & Cream and Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough.

12. Power Crunch

After lots of chewy, thick, heavy protein bars, these Power Crunch protein bars were a refreshing change of pace. So often, trying a new protein bar feels like trying to reinvent the wheel. Not with these! The texture was markedly different from any of the others we tasted. Each bar has around 12 grams of protein and, whatever the flavor, is crisp and light like a wafer cookie crossed paths with a rice cake and picked some protein along the way. 

It works, and the result is something akin to a grownup childhood snack. Sweet, fun flavors like Red Velvet and Strawberry Creme drive the point home. These might not be for everyone, but if you're hesitant to dive into the endless protein bar options on the market and end up with a dud, give Power Crunch a try. If you love childhood classics, try this recipe for homemade Dunkaroos (for those times when protein isn't a priority).

11. Lenny and Larry's Cookie-fied Big Bar

A protein bar is designed for many purposes, the chief of them being to stave off hunger by providing your body with crucial nutrients. Your body can tell the difference between a protein bar and a few sticks of celery, just like it can tell the difference between a protein bar with 4 or 14 grams of its namesake macronutrient. But what about the whopping 24 grams of protein that this Lenny and Larry's Cookie-fied Big Bar has?

If you want the highest likelihood of staying full until dinner, this is it. These bars are monsters, and speaking of which, the Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip flavor tastes a lot like a monster cookie. It's fudgy, chewy, and packed with flavor, not to mention bits and pieces of what would appear to be crisp cookies themselves. We liked them, though they are not for anyone who isn't hungry or doesn't have to really power up in the near future. Eating one of these bars takes some forethought.

10. Clif Builders

Clif bars are essentially an institution by this point. Just about anyone has seen them anywhere from airport markets to college campuses, just sitting there advertising sustenance to get you through life when it's too stressful to stop for a real meal. But those classic Clif bars are more energy bars than protein bars, typically containing only around 9-12 grams depending on the flavor. That's why we sought out Clif Builders Protein bars. With a mighty 20 grams, this is one of the most intense options sampled. 

It does indeed have a taste and texture like a protein bar, not like a full-sized Snickers or a wafer cookie, and it has that crispy-chewy interior like so many protein bars do. Nutritionally, it's good at its job, and we did really enjoy the cereal-milk flavor of the Vanilla Almond bar — the coating is slightly sweet with only a slight artificial aftertaste.

9. JamBar

Some of the bars we tried are relatively well-known, and often for good reason. Jambar is one of the lesser-known brands on this list, and certainly smaller. Marketed as "Organic Energy Bars" and including 10 grams of protein, they just brush up against what we would consider the minimum to land on this list. Currently, there are only four flavors: Malt Nut Melody, Chocolate Cha Cha, Jammin' Jazzberry, and Musical Mango. Notice a theme? Fifty percent of the brand's profits are donated to music and active living, and we love to see it! 

As far as the bars themselves, these tasted like some of the homiest, most wholesome ones available, thanks to the organic ingredients used. There's a delightful, pleasant texture that reminds us of freshly baked oatmeal cookies. We loved the unique fruity sweetness of the Mango flavor and the equally unique nostalgia of the Malt. If oatmeal is your favorite cookie, try this amazing recipe.

8. Nick's

You may not associate this brand, Nick's, with protein bars. If you know the brand at all, it's likely due to their line of Swedish-style ice creams with colorful packaging and difficult-to-pronounce names. The ice creams taste pretty nice; Nick's knows what it's doing with desserts, which could be why these 14-15 gram protein bars taste like straight-up candy bars. 

Only a few protein bars we tasted could stick the landing on the decadent flavors and texture, whether or not they were trying to, but Nick's certainly did. The salted caramel one is sticky as all get out, so be careful if you're trying to eat it at your desk; the chocolatey coating and gooey caramel stick to your fingers just like a Milky Way would. If you want to get your protein in but don't want anything to do with traditional protein bars, Nick's might be your favorite on this list.

7. Barebells

It was really, really hard to rank Barebells versus Fulfil protein bars, with Nick's earning a tight bronze. On this team, the general, it is essentially a tie. That is because, like Fulfi and Nick's, Barebells tastes like something you would gladly find in your Halloween candy bucket, but one that just happens to have 20 grams of protein and no sugar. All three of these bars are real treats.

A delicious zero-sugar chocolate bar already is worthy of making the news, and even half as much protein would just be a marvel. But 20 grams? This is a hardworking, great-tasting bar that feels too good to be true. The Caramel Cashew flavor could give a Milky Way bar a run for its money. Maybe that's why Barebells' products are not as widely available as some other brands, which is one of the only significant drawbacks.

6. Bobo's

Bobo's is a brand that specializes in gluten-free, whole-grain snacks. Their products tend to be nutrition-forward but simple, sweet takes on childhood favorites like granola bars or even toaster pastries. But these Double Chocolate Almond Butter or Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Protein Bars aren't exactly kid's stuff. While not as massive as some bars on this list, Bobo's is still a substantial, solid protein bar that provides a cool 15 grams of protein, and, not insignificantly, 9 grams of fiber. Fiber keeps you fuller longer, especially when paired with protein, so you know these bars are great for staving off hunger. 

As far as the taste goes, they are actually pretty simple. The bars are slightly dense and chewy, rather than crunchy or crumbly. But the Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip ones had plenty of tiny chips inside, so that's a good thing. If you're picking up some Bobo's toaster pastries or oatmeal bites, give this line of protein bars a shot, too.

5. Mosh

So many of these bars have names that we could make some puns about, but we're making a noble effort to steer clear of the "nosh on Mosh" joke. We'll just eat, enjoy, consume, etc. like regular adult people who don't need to make a pun out of everything. Besides, we can't spend too much time joking around when Mosh protein bars bring some serious game to this ranking. 

Take the Cookies & Cream Crunch flavor, for example. Many protein bars feature flavors molded after Milk's Favorite Cookie, but no bar has nailed the authentic flavor quite like Mosh's. And the White Chocolate Lemon flavor is astonishingly similar to that of a classic lemon bundt cake. Around 12 grams of protein, small bars, big flavor, and big benefits.

4. One

There are so many jokes and witticisms that can be created out of product names, but a protein bar called "One" might just take the cake. Luckily, there are many more than one single flavor, and also luckily, one of those flavors is, in fact, cake. Birthday cake, the first flavor of One bar we tasted, was just such a delight. It was full of that nostalgic flavor that graced childhood parties and workplace celebrations, done tactfully without that in-your-face fake-sugary flavor. The coating of a One bar tasted, in the case of this crowd-pleasing flavor, of vanilla icing, but it could go any which way: a classic donut's maple glaze, perhaps, even. 

We also loved that, whatever the flavor, they tasted great at room temperature but also microwaved for a bit, chilled in the fridge, or even frozen like an ice cream bar. With 20 grams of protein and plenty of fun, delicious flavors, this really could be your one and only go-to snack.

3. Built Bar

Built bars are an interesting addition to the world of protein bars. Like Quest or One, there are tons of flavors, but Built offers some unique textural elements. The typical bar has around 17 grams of protein and an extremely dense, sticky, nougat-like core, layers of flavor, and a chocolatey coating. Molten Lava Cake is pure decadence, and other flavors like Mint Brownie and Cookies 'N Cream play off of classic ice cream flavors. 

Then again, you could go for the Puffs instead, which might just be our new favorite way to eat a protein bar. The texture of these is slightly soft and squishy, like a more sticky and chewy chocolate-coated marshmallow. Try the Brownie Batter puff microwaved — it becomes a melty, gooey chocolatey mess that's absolutely delicious. We just wish we could try all the flavors. Cinnamon Roll Puff? Red Velvet Creme Puff? The options seem endless, and so far, everything we've tried is worth a taste.

2. Perfect Bar

If you like peanut butter, this is the perfect bar for you. That's the only time we'll make that joke, seriously. It was just too perf — ahem, good, of an opportunity to pass up on. Anyway, these protein bars literally taste like a loaf of peanut butter. The bars are the real deal: each one is a substantial size and packs a substantial amount of nutritional value. Even the no-frills, plain peanut butter flavor has 17 grams of protein. These protein bars are unique in that they are to be stored in the fridge. But don't worry, you can still take them to go without worrying about food safety for up to a whole week at room temperature. 

The flavor is so ridiculously peanut-butter-forward that eating a full bar tasted a lot like just licking plain peanut butter off of a spoon. And, if you choose the Dark Chocolate Chip flavor, it's like taking that spoonful of peanut butter and sticking it into a bag of Nestle's Toll House. The team loved how satisfying these bars are and how spot-on that classic peanut butter taste is (but if you prefer almond butter or even pumpkin pie, there are plenty of flavors to choose from.)

1. Fulfil

If your protein bar has chocolate involved – chocolate chips, chocolate coating, chocolate layers – it's likely that said protein bar is also actively trying to convince you that it's just as good as a good old-fashioned, no-protein-added chocolate bar like Hershey's or Twix. It's all pretty much an exaggeration, but no bar comes as close to fulfilling its promise as Fulfil. At first bite of the Triple Chocolate flavor, one of us said, "Wow, this really does taste like a chocolate bar." 

Yup, it's basically a big piece of chocolate, and we can eat the whole thing and still feel great. True, after another bite or two it became clear again that this wasn't a Snickers, but it was still a truly impressively tasty product. It also boasts 17 grams of protein, but we'd still love it even if there were only seven. Fulfil is really doing something right over there and we're so happy to discover the brand.