10 Best Protein Bars to Build Muscle

Protein bars offer a lot of health benefits. Whether you are a bodybuilder, a busy person that needs a quick meal replacement, or a dieter trying to lose weight, protein bars are a great supplement to your daily diet. They give you energy, they keep you full for longer, and they can be a great pre- or post-workout treat that gives you the energy to hit the gym hard or recover from a difficult workout.

There are a lot of flavors, brands, and types of protein bars offered, and we have reviewed ten of the top options below to give you a comprehensive picture of different products' pros and cons.

Product FAQ

1. WHAT ARE PROTEIN BARS?

2. ARE PROTEIN BARS HEALTHY?

3. WHO SHOULD EAT PROTEIN BARS?

4. WHEN SHOULD YOU EAT A PROTEIN BAR?

5. HOW SHOULD YOU CHOOSE WHICH PROTEIN BAR TO PURCHASE?

How We Reviewed

We reviewed ten popular protein bars and analyzed the quality of their ingredients, the amount of protein they offer, additional nutritional information (including carbs and fiber), and whether they are appropriate for strict diets (such as lactose-intolerant consumers or those with nut allergies). Further, we considered the flavor offerings and price of each product.

Overall Price Range of This Product (and Similar Products)

Protein bars usually cost about $1 to $3 per bar. If the bar costs less than $1, it likely does not have high quality ingredients. You can often save money by purchasing a pack of bars versus buying one bar at a time. Prices vary by company, flavor, and place of purchase.

What We Reviewed

  • RISE BAR NON-GMO, GLUTEN FREE, SOY FREE, REAL WHOLE FOOD, WHEY PROTEIN BAR
  • QUEST NUTRITION PROTEIN BAR, DOUBLE CHOCOLATE CHUNK
  • MUSCLETECH NITROTECH CRUNCH PROTEIN BAR
  • MET-RX BIG 100 COLOSSAL MEAL REPLACEMENT BAR, SUPER COOKIE CRUNCH
  • QUEST NUTRITION PROTEIN BAR, CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE DOUGH, HIGH PROTEIN BARS
  • MUSCLEPHARM COMBAT CRUNCH PROTEIN BAR
  • DETOUR LEAN MUSCLE WHEY PROTEIN BAR
  • PROMAX LOW SUGAR BAR PEANUT BUTTER CHOCOLATE
  • SOURCE BAR CHOC CHIP COOKIE DOUGH
  • GOMACRO ORGANIC PEANUT BUTTER CHOCOLATE CHIP

Rise Bar Non-GMO, Gluten Free, Soy Free, Real Whole Food, Whey Protein Bar

FEATURES

RiseBars are a great protein bar option for pre-workout, post-workout, recovery, or an on-the-go snack. They contain only three ingredients: almonds, honey, and whey protein isolate. They are low carb and lactose-free, and they are essentially fat-free. High in protein, vitamins and minerals, and fiber, RiseBars have no added sugar and are gluten-free.

PRICE

A twelve-pack of RiseBars can be purchased on Amazon for about $20, which is not a high price compared to similar products.

                                                        

Pros

  • No added sugar
  • Three ingredients total and does not contain "filler" ingredients
  • Lactose-free and gluten-free

Cons

  • Oil can make the bar a bit oily in the packaging
  • Some customer reviews say they are not "fresh"
  • Some customers say that a few bars arrive as rock solid and others are soft and mushy

Quest Nutrition Protein Bar, Double Chocolate Chunk, 20g Protein

FEATURES

A Quest protein bar contains 20 grams of protein and they are full of fiber that will keep you satisfied for a longer time. Quest bars can serve as great snacks, and they are great for pre and post workout consumption.


They can also be baked into a dessert, which is a great option for people who have a sweet craving. All the flavors used are natural, and the bars are gluten and soy free with no added sugar.

PRICE

The price of Quest bars depends on the flavor that you purchase. A 12-pack box of Double Chocolate Chunk protein bars costs about $23.

                                                        

 

Pros

  • All natural flavors, including unsweetened chocolate
  • Contains only 4 grams of carbs
  • 20 grams of protein, great for pre and post workout

Cons

  • Contains milk-derived substances, so not suitable for people that are lactose-intolerant
  • Contains almonds and should not be consumed by anyone with a nut allergy
  • Some customer reviews say the bars taste "chemically" 

MuscleTech NitroTech Crunch Protein Bar

FEATURES

MuscleTech NitroTech Crunch Protein Bars contain 22 grams of whey isolate protein along with 5 grams of dietary fiber. It has a very clean micronutrient profile, and it is an excellent option for people on a strict diet.

It has fewer carbs than other similar protein bars, which makes it a great option for bodybuilders. NitroTech offers a variety of flavors, and it is a perfect snack for pre and post workout performance energy.

PRICE

You can purchase a twelve-pack of MuscleTech NitroTech protein bars for about $24 on Amazon, which amounts to about $2 per bar.

                                                        

 

Pros

  • Comes in seven delicious flavors
  • Fewer carbs than comparable products
  • Contains high-quality whey isolate

Cons

  • Contains milk and not suitable for those that are lactose-intolerant
  • Contains nuts and not suitable for those with nut allergies
  • Contains soy and not suitable for those that are allergic to soy

MET-Rx Big 100 Colossal Meal Replacement Bar, Super Cookie Crunch

FEATURES

The Met-RX Big 100 protein bar offers a lot of protein in one snack-sized bar— 28 grams. It uses several types of protein, including soy protein isolate, whey protein isolate, casein protein, and egg whites, to offer a balanced mixture of slow and fast-acting proteins. Further, it has added vitamins to boost energy and health. It is a great meal replacement, it can serve as a pre or post workout treat, and it comes in a variety of flavors.

PRICE

MET-Rx Bg 100 Colossal Meal Replacement Bars cost about $47 for a pack of twelve. This is one of the more expensive options compared to similar products.

                                                        

 

Pros

  • Contains 28 grams of protein per bar
  • Includes different types of protein, mixing slow and fast-acting proteins
  • Contains added vitamins for more nutritional value

Cons

  • Expensive compared to other protein bars
  • High in sugar
  • High in calories

Quest Nutrition Protein Bar, Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, High Protein Bars

FEATURES

These Quest bars contain 21 grams of protein and 14 grams of fiber. They are made from high-quality and bioavailable proteins, and they also contain fiber-rich carbohydrates to give you a lot of energy either pre or post workout. They use simple and healthy ingredients, and they only contain 1 gram of sugar per bar.

PRICE

You can buy a twelve-pack of these bars on Amazon for about $23.

                                                        

Pros

  • Made with a mix of whey protein isolate and milk protein isolate
  • Low net carbs and only 1 gram of sugar
  • 21 grams of protein per bar

Cons

  • Contains milk-derived substances, so not suitable for people that are lactose-intolerant
  • Contains almonds and should not be consumed by anyone with a nut allergy
  • Some customer reviews say that the bars taste "chemically"

MusclePharm Combat Crunch Protein Bar

FEATURES

MusclePharm Combat Crunch bars contain 20 grams of protein and use whey protein isolate for fast-acting protein combined with milk protein isolate for extended protein release. They contain 12 grams of dietary fiber per bar, only 210 calories, 5 grams of sugar, 28 grams of carbohydrates, and 7 grams of fat. They use simple ingredients, and MusclePharm bars are available in six different flavors.

PRICE

You can buy a twelve-pack of these bars for about $18 on Amazon.

                                                        

 

Pros

  • Contain 20 grams of protein per bar
  • Combination of milk protein isolate and whey protein isolate
  • Simple ingredients

Cons

  • Contain 28 grams of carbohydrates
  • Some customer reviews indicate a bad recipe change that leaves them dissatisfied
  • Not suitable for those that are lactose-intolerant

Detour Lean Muscle Whey Protein Bar

FEATURES

Detour is a brand that aims to provide clean ingredients and overall healthy bars. This protein bar only contains 2 grams of sugar, 110 calories, and 10 grams of protein. They are gluten-free, and they contain whey protein.

PRICE

You can purchase a 9 count of these bars for less than $12, making them one of the more affordable protein bar options.

                                                        

Pros

  • Low-calorie protein bar
  • Made of clean and natural ingredients
  • Only contains 2 grams of sugar

Cons

  • Only contains 10 grams of protein (versus typical 20 grams)
  • Not suitable for those that are lactose-intolerant
  • Not suitable for those that have nut allergies

Promax Low Sugar Bar Peanut Butter Chocolate

FEATURES

ProMax bars contain a lot of protein, with 28 grams per bar. Further, they have a blend of whey, milk, and casein protein, making them a complete and balanced source of protein in a snack-sized form. They are gluten-free, kosher, and vegetarian-friendly, and they do not contain artificial sweeteners or preservatives.

PRICE

You can purchase a 12 pack of these bars for just under $15, making them a very affordable option.

                                                        

 

Pros

  • Contain 28 grams of protein
  • Use a blend of whey, milk, egg, and casein proteins 
  • Do not contain high fructose corn syrup, maltitol, or gelatin

Cons

  • Not suitable for those that are lactose-intolerant
  • Contain a relatively high amount of sugar
  • Low in fiber

SOURCE BAR Choc Chip Cookie Dough

FEATURES

The SourceBar Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough flavor is non-GMO, gluten-free, and contains no artificial sweeteners. It is made of 20 grams of protein, and it contains only 2 grams of sugar. It contains grass-fed whey protein, almonds, and 100% organic cacao.

PRICE

You can purchase a twelve-pack of these bars on Amazon for about $30.

                                                        

Pros

  • Contains 20 grams of protein
  • Only contains 2 grams of sugar
  • Contains no artificial sweeteners

Cons

  • Not suitable for those with nut allergies
  • Some customer reviews say that they are too chewy
  • High in carbohydrates

GoMacro Organic Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip

FEATURES

GoMacro is a delicious protein bar that makes a great meal replacement and can serve as an easy grab-and-go snack. It uses plant-based products and is genuinely vegan with a balanced mixture of macro-nutrients. It is also gluten-free, GMO-free, organic, and it contains no added preservatives.

PRICE

You can purchase a fifteen-pack of these protein bars on Amazon for about $42.

                                                        

Pros

  • Organic and genuinely vegan
  • Contains slow burning carbs for enduring energy
  • No additives or preservatives

Cons

  • Not suitable for those that have nut allergies
  • Expensive compared to similar products
  • High in calories

The Verdict

While we reviewed ten of the most popular protein bars, there are a lot more options on the market that we did not discuss. The right choice for you entirely depends on your goals, taste and diet preferences, and budget.

Make sure you try a bar before ordering an entire pack, and we hope that this review narrows down your choices and is helpful in your health and fitness journey.

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