Protein bars have grown in popularity over the last decade and there are a ton of different options on the market. There are low-carb and sugar protein bars, vegan protein bars, and many more. This makes finding the perfect protein bar a little tough at times, especially for someone who doesn’t know what to look for. In an ideal world, a great protein bar will limit its use of artificial ingredients and provide a macronutrient spread that can fuel the athlete on-the-go or provide a protein-packed snack.

We’ve scoured the market in search of the best protein bars and we’ve created a list that matches a variety of needs. Whether you’re looking for a snack option to help you with your weight loss goal, or you’re looking for a bar to increase your daily caloric intake, we got you covered. Check out our favorite protein bars for weight loss, muscle gain and recovery, low-carb, vegan, and low-sugar below!

The Best Protein Bars

Best for Weight Loss
One Bar
One Bar
One Bar

A whey based protein bar that only has one gram of sugar and solid macro profile for the active individual.

Best for Recovery
MET-RX Big 100 Colossal Bars
MET-RX Big 100 Colossal Bars
MET-RX Big 100 Colossal Bars

The MET-RX Big 100 Colossal Bar comes packed with over 30g of protein and is the perfect pick for anyone in need of calories for muscle gain. 

Doesn't expire

Lowest Carb Bar
EPIC Protein Bars
EPIC Protein Bars
EPIC Protein Bars

Nautral meat based protein bars that offer a variety of caloric and macronutrient ratios.

Best Vegan Bar
No Cow Protein Bar
No Cow Protein Bar
No Cow Protein Bar

Naturally sweetened and dairy-free, No Cow is surprisingly low in net carbohydrates for a plant-based protein bar.

Doesn't expire

Best Low Sugar Bar
One Bar
One Bar
One Bar

A whey based protein bar that only has one gram of sugar and solid macro profile for the active individual.

How We Picked Our Favorite Protein Bars

We’re Just Like You

The first thing we considered when diving into our favorite protein bars was who we were ranking each section for. We’re recreational strength athletes that are always on the lookout for the optimal snack to power us through workouts, work, and our day-to-day activities. A great protein bar will have macronutrients that promote muscle recovery and satiation, while also preferably keeping calories on the lower end.

Another aspect we looked at were ingredients, what was the bar made out of? In reality, finding a protein bar that is completely “natural” isn’t always incredibly easy, so we took every bar’s ingredients into consideration and assessed them with others in their category accordingly. These three major factors helped guide a lot of our top protein bar picks.

One Bar Almond Bliss

Calories and Macronutrients

There’s no denying that protein bars aren’t the lowest caloric holding snacks on the market. Each protein bar will vary with its caloric content, but for many you can expect to find between 150-300 calories. This isn’t the largest allotment and we don’t necessarily consider more as a bad thing, but what we do consider is the context in which the bar is being eaten.

For example, we wouldn’t recommend eating a 300 calorie protein bar if your goal is weight loss — save those calories for a meal! Although, we would recommend 300 calories for the athlete in need of a heavier snack for recovery, pre-workout, and muscle/weight gain.

In respects to macronutrients, we like to look for bars that have a moderate fat (5-10g) and carb (20-28g) content, and at least 20g of protein. Generally, this type of bar will be best for both post-workout or an anytime of day snack, which is why a lot of our top picks have this macronutrient breakdown. Consider it the best of all worlds. Higher fat bars are ideal as a snack for folks in need of satiation, while higher carb bars are useful for post-workout purposes.

Ingredients

Ingredients is another factor we ranked when looking at protein bars. It’s tough to find the perfect protein bar with all “natural” ingredients because every protein bar will involve some level of processing. What we really considered were how these ingredients impacted how we felt after consuming the bars. Sometimes ingredients like sugar alcohols and added fiber can cause digestion discomfort, so if that’s you, then we’d recommend keeping an eye out for these when shopping around!

RXBAR Chocolate Seal Salt Taste Test.

Each bar that has made our best protein bar round-up has ingredients that vary. We have simpler bars like RXBAR, but also slightly more processed MET-RX Big 100 Colossal protein bars all making this list. These protein bars are very different in their make, but one thing they share in common is that they both didn’t make us feel totally uncomfortable after eating the.

Best Protein Bar for Weight Loss

Full disclosure, the best protein bar for weight loss will be the bar that coincides with your daily macronutrient and caloric goals. The bars below offer decent macronutrient and caloric profiles, but if their totals puts you over your daily allotment, then they could very easily become not ideal for weight loss. Our advice, snack on and eat protein bars mindfully.

1. ONE Bar

One Bar
One Bar
One Bar
A whey based protein bar that only has one gram of sugar and solid macro profile for the active individual.

  • Minimal sugar content with only one gram and sugar alcohols are on the lower end (<8g).
  • Fantastic taste, which can promote satiety and sweet tooth cravings.
  • Best Time to Consume: Anytime
  • Average Caloric/Macronutrient Breakdown: 220 calories, 8g fat, 23g carbs, 20g protein
  • Read Our ONE Bar Review

2. Quest Bar

Quest Bar
Quest Bar
Quest Bar
A high fiber soy free protein bar that delivers over 20 grams of protein and minimal sugar.

  • High fiber content to promote satiation and long-duration fullness.
  • Minimal sugar content and sweet taste to satisfy sweet tooth cravings.
  • Best Time to Consume: Anytime
  • Average Caloric/Macronutrient Breakdown: 180 calories, 8g fat, 23g carbs, 20g protein
  • Read Our Quest Bar Review

3. Grenade Carb Killa Protein Bars

Grenade Carb Killa Protein Bar
Grenade Carb Killa Protein Bar
Grenade Carb Killa Protein Bar

The Grenade Carb Killa Protein Bar comes packed with over 20g of protein and minimal sugar to keep carb content low. 

  • Minimal sugar content and additional fiber to promote fullness.
  • Great taste and texture to support sweet tooth cravings.
  • Best Time to Consume: Anytime and post-workout
  • Average Caloric/Macronutrient Breakdown: 220 calories, 9g fat, 22g carbs, 21g fat
  • Shop the Grenade Carb Kill Protein Bars

Best Protein Bar for Muscle Gain and Recovery

The best protein bar for muscle gain and recovery can take multiple forms. Ideally, the best bar for muscle gain will be one that fits into your daily diet and helps push you to hit your macronutrient goals. Below, we’ve listed a few of our favorite muscle gain and recovery bars, which were chosen for different reasons. We’d recommend only consuming the sugar latent bars following a tough workout for recovery.

1. MET-RX Big 100 Colossal Bars

MET-RX Big 100 Colossal Bars
MET-RX Big 100 Colossal Bars
MET-RX Big 100 Colossal Bars

The MET-RX Big 100 Colossal Bar comes packed with over 30g of protein and is the perfect pick for anyone in need of calories for muscle gain. 

  • Considerable amount of sugar, which could be useful for glycogen replenishment post-workout.
  • Tasty and great texture, so they’re easy to get down if caloric surplus is the goal.
  • Best Time to Consume: Post-Workout
  • Average Caloric/Macronutrient Breakdown: 420 calories, 14g fat, 42g carbs, 32g protein
  • Shop MET-RX Big 100 Colossal Bars

2. Optimum Nutrition Cake Bites

Optimum Nutrition Cake Bites
Optimum Nutrition Cake Bites
Optimum Nutrition Cake Bites
Three whey based cake bites that give the taste of a dessert and deliver a macro friendly snack for active individuals.

  • Incredibly tasty and unique flavors with textures that match.
  • Easy to consume with three bites containing minimal sugar, so it’s a great snacking option for any time of day.
  • Best Time to Consume: Anytime, pre, and post-workout
  • Average Caloric/Macronutrient Breakdown: 250 calories, 8g fat, 25g carbs, 20g protein
  • Read Our ON Cake Bites Review

3. Gatorade Whey Protein Bars

Gatorade Whey Protein Bar
Gatorade Whey Protein Bar
Gatorade Whey Protein Bar

The Gatorade Whey Protein Bar is loaded with protein and carbs to fuel and help you recover from your toughest workouts. 

  • Decent macronutrient profile for the athlete in need of a quick post-workout snack.
  • Great taste and texture for the athlete who needs to consume ample calories.
  • Best Time to Consume: Pre and Post-Workout
  • Average Caloric/Macronutrient Breakdown:
  •  Shop and Explore Gatorade Whey Protein Bars

Best Low-Carb Protein Bar

There are not too many true low-carb protein bars on the market. Most protein bars will have higher fiber content with minimal carbs, which will be promoted as a lower net carb content. Although, in respects to true carb minimalism, there are few bars that truly accomplish this. In our list, we’ve rated any bar that sits around 25g of carbs as “low-carb”.

1. EPIC Protein Bars

EPIC Protein Bars
EPIC Protein Bars
EPIC Protein Bars
Nautral meat based protein bars that offer a variety of caloric and macronutrient ratios.

  • Natural, meat based protein bars that contain minimal carb content.
  • Carb allotments vary base on bar, so these are great for picky, low-carb dieters.
  • Best Time to Consume: Anytime or with meals
  • Average Caloric/Macronutrient Breakdown: Calories 130, 8g fat, 0g carbs, and 15g protein
  • Check Out Our EPIC Protein Bar Review

2. Grenade Carb Killa Protein Bars

Grenade Carb Killa Protein Bar
Grenade Carb Killa Protein Bar
Grenade Carb Killa Protein Bar

The Grenade Carb Killa Protein Bar comes packed with over 20g of protein and minimal sugar to keep carb content low. 

  • Minimal sugar content and additional fiber to promote fullness.
  • Great taste and texture to support sweet tooth cravings.
  • Best Time to Consume: Anytime and post-workout
  • Average Caloric/Macronutrient Breakdown: 220 calories, 9g fat, 22g carbs, 21g fat
  • Shop the Grenade Carb Kill Protein Bars

3. Quest Protein Bars

Quest Bar
Quest Bar
Quest Bar
A high fiber soy free protein bar that delivers over 20 grams of protein and minimal sugar.

  • Lower carb content and high in fiber to create an overall lower net carb content.
  • Minimal sugar and adequate protein content with over 20g of protein per bar.
  • Best Time to Consume: Anytime
  • Average Caloric/Macronutrient Breakdown: 180 calories, 8g fat, 23g carbs, 20g protein
  • Read Our Quest Bar Review

Best Vegan Protein Bars

Vegan protein bars, as their name suggests, will contain no animal based products or ingredients. The protein bars all listed below achieve their high protein content from a variety of plant sources.

1. No Cow Protein Bars

No Cow Protein Bar
No Cow Protein Bar
No Cow Protein Bar

Naturally sweetened and dairy-free, No Cow is surprisingly low in net carbohydrates for a plant-based protein bar.

  • Tasty and unique flavors with varied textures dependent on protein bar.
  • Great macro profile and minimal sugar, which makes them great for any time of day.
  • Best Time to Consume: Anytime
  • Average Caloric/Macronutrient Breakdown: 180 calories, 5g fat, 24 g carbs, and 22g protein
  • Learn more from our No Cow Protein Bar Review

2. The Bar Shack

The Bar Shack
The Bar Shack
The Bar Shack

The Bar Shack offers customized protein bars that can be built fully around your dietary needs and preferences. 

  • Tasty and customized bars that can be built fully around dietary needs.
  • Great for someone with dietary allergies and wants full control over their protein bar’s ingredients.
  • Best Time to Consume: Anytime and post-workout
  • Average Caloric/Macronutrient Breakdown: 300 calories, 11g fat, 26g carbs, 20g protein
  • Read more with our Bar Shack Review

3. Vega Sport Protein Bars

Vega Sport Protein Bars
Vega Sport Protein Bars
Vega Sport Protein Bars

  • Great tasting bars with consistent texture.
  • Informed Choice Certified, vegan certified, gluten free, Non-GMO Project Verified.
  • Best Time to Consume: Anytime and post-workout
  • Average Caloric/Macronutrient Breakdown: 300 calories, 11g fat, 26g carbs, 20g protein
  • Learn more about Vega Sport Protein Bars

Best Minimal Sugar Protein Bars

When ranking the best minimal sugar protein bars, we tried to pick options that had low sugar, minimal added sugars, and minimal sugar alcohols. A good majority of low-sugar protein bars comes packed with sugar alcohols, which can upset the stomach. If that sounds like you, then check out the list below.

1. ONE Bar

One Bar
One Bar
One Bar
A whey based protein bar that only has one gram of sugar and solid macro profile for the active individual.

  • Minimal sugar content with only one gram and sugar alcohols are on the lower end (<8g).
  • Fantastic taste, which can promote satiety and sweet tooth cravings.
  • Best Time to Consume: Anytime
  • Average Caloric/Macronutrient Breakdown: 220 calories, 8g fat, 23g carbs, 20g protein, 1g sugar
  • Read Our ONE Bar Review

2. No Cow Protein Bars

No Cow Protein Bar
No Cow Protein Bar
No Cow Protein Bar

Naturally sweetened and dairy-free, No Cow is surprisingly low in net carbohydrates for a plant-based protein bar.

  • Tasty and unique flavors with varied textures dependent on protein bar.
  • Great macro profile and minimal sugar, which makes them great for any time of day.
  • Best Time to Consume: Anytime
  • Average Caloric/Macronutrient Breakdown: 180 calories, 5g fat, 24 g carbs, and 22g protein, 1g sugar
  • Check out our No Cow Protein Bar Review

3. ONNIT Protein Bars

Onnit Protein Bars
Onnit Protein Bars
Onnit Protein Bars

Onnit Protein Bars offer unique tastes and quality protein from a variety of sources to help you recover, stay full, and snack smart. 

  • Solid macronutrient breakdown an even split of fats, carbohydrates, and protein.
  • High in fiber, minimal sugar, and lower carb content in every flavor bar.
  • Best Time to Consume: Anytime
  • Average Macronutrient Breakdown: 240 calories, 8g fat, 26g carbs, 16g protein, 4g sugar
  • Shop ONNIT Protein Bars

Finding the Best Protein Bar

Hopefully this list was able to provide a little more guidance into finding the perfect protein bar for your needs. Once again, the best protein bar will not only taste great, but it should meet your daily dietary needs. Whether your dietary needs are based off ingredients, macronutrients, or calories, we’re confident that there’s a protein bar on the market that will match your wants and desires. When consumed mindfully, protein bars can be a great way to pack in extra protein!