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10 Best Powerbars for Sports & Running Reviewed

last updated Nov 26, 2018
Powerbars deliver energy and performance on the go. There are so many options available, you won't  have any issues  finding the best option for you. Whether you need protein, electrolytes, or long-lasting carbs, there's a Powerbar option for you. The best part is that you'll always find a great snack that you won't have to choke down.
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By Giselle Killebrew:

PowerBars are an excellent addition to our pre and post workout routine. Check out the options below to find the option(s) most suitable for you!

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PictureProduct
Name
Rating
Shops
1
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
98.3
Insulation
98%
Application
99%
Materials
99%
Advanced Features
97%
Price Comparison Last Updated (18.12.18)
$20.68
2
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
97.3
Insulation
97%
Application
97%
Materials
98%
Advanced Features
97%
Price Comparison Last Updated (18.12.18)
3
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
95.8
Insulation
96%
Application
95%
Materials
97%
Advanced Features
95%
Price Comparison Last Updated (18.12.18)
$18.49
4
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
94.8
Insulation
95%
Application
96%
Materials
95%
Advanced Features
93%
Price Comparison Last Updated (18.12.18)
$21.99
5
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
91.8
Insulation
91%
Application
91%
Materials
92%
Advanced Features
93%
Price Comparison Last Updated (18.12.18)
$42.50
6
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
88.5
Insulation
89%
Application
90%
Materials
88%
Advanced Features
87%
Price Comparison Last Updated (18.12.18)
$16.69
7
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
88
Insulation
88%
Application
87%
Materials
90%
Advanced Features
87%
Price Comparison Last Updated (18.12.18)
$33.05
8
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
85
Insulation
86%
Application
85%
Materials
85%
Advanced Features
84%
Price Comparison Last Updated (18.12.18)
$87.09
9
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
81
Insulation
79%
Application
81%
Materials
83%
Advanced Features
81%
Price Comparison Last Updated (18.12.18)
$17.14
10
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
78.8
Insulation
79%
Application
77%
Materials
80%
Advanced Features
79%
Price Comparison Last Updated (18.12.18)
$17.49
In Depth Review Top 10
  • Protein Plus 30g
  • Clean Whey Gluten Free Protein
  • Performance Energy
  • Protein Snack Bar
  • Energy Gel
  • Protein Plus 20g
  • Clean Whey Bar
  • Performance Energy Blasts
  • Plant Protein Bar
  • Reduced Sugar Protein Plus
Table of contents
  • Criteria Used for Evaluation
  • Other Factors to Consider
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Sources

Our Top 10 Favorites

1. Protein Plus 30g

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
98.3
Protein Plus 30g
Insulation
98
Application
99
Materials
99
Advanced Features
97
best offer for today
$20.68
Pros:

The most protein from

Powerbar Can replace a meal if needed 

Cons:

Not for easily upset stomachs

Another strain of the Protein Plus Powerbar, this one has even more protein. It is another step up for when you need to gain muscle mass, or aid in hardcore recovery from a grueling long run or intense speed workout

Read more

Nutrients/ Performance:
30 grams of protein, and 34 grams of carbs in this bar. That means it is one of the most balanced options for aiding in muscle building. It does have 360 calories, so you are getting towards a meal replacement bar for some. But that isn’t too bad for the amount of protein the bar delivers.

Taste/ Palatability:
The chocolate brownie and salted caramel flavors are popular options for this bar. They are quite satisfying flavors that taste like candy, but still fill you up. Great option for when you are hungry, but need something packed with protein that is compatible with exercise.

Price/ Availability:
These get a touch more expensive than some of the less nutrient dense options. That makes sense, you are paying for a lot more nutrition. The main flavors should always be easy to get, although you might have to compromise on the count.

2. Clean Whey Gluten Free Protein

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
97.3
Clean Whey Gluten Free Protein
Insulation
97
Application
97
Materials
98
Advanced Features
97
best offer for today
Pros:

Low in sugar

Gluten free

 

Cons:

Expensive

Always need a couple gluten free options. This one is also very low in sugar, with only 2 grams, and no artificial sweeteners, flavors, or colors.

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Nutrients/ Performance:
These have 20 grams of high quality protein. If you are looking for more than just energy and performance, but also want to be certain of what you are putting in your body is healthy, this is the bar for you.

Taste/ Palatability
: Only a few flavors, but they are all pretty exciting. The Clean Whey Protein Power Bars come in Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, Cookies & Cream, White Fudge Raspberry. These should give you some delicious options so that you enjoy getting your protein.

Price/ Availability:
These are the most expensive of all the bars, but they are worth the price is you want the clean protein that will treat your body better. Plus the delicious flavors make the price palatable as well. Should always be readily available.

3. Performance Energy

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
95.8
Performance Energy
Insulation
96
Application
95
Materials
97
Advanced Features
95
best offer for today
$18.49
Pros:

Complex carbs for long lasting energy

No energy spikes and crashes

Cons:

High calorie

This bar can be expected to deliver long lasting energy through the complex carbs it contains, while still deliver enough protein to repair muscles. Consider the performance energy bar for long runs, as it is great at providing and replacing electrolytes.

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Nutrients/ Performance:
With 25 grams of complex carbs, the Performance Energy bar will keep your body burning long lasting fuel that doesn’t burn out or spike your energy. The 9 grams of protein start working right away to build muscle, and B vitamins provide electrolytes to replace those lost during intense sweating and exercise.

Taste/ Palatability:
Filling with a great taste, the performance energy bars pack a big punch. There are delicious flavors like peanut butter caramel and milk chocolate. The best part is that there are no artificial flavors or preservatives.

Price/ Availability:
You can buy these ones in packages of 24 which helps reduce the cost, but don’t expect to get them for cheap. But for how much nutrition they give you, you are pretty much getting whole meals for under two dollars.

4. Protein Snack Bar

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
94.8
Protein Snack Bar
Insulation
95
Application
96
Materials
95
Advanced Features
93
best offer for today
$21.99
Pros:

Helps with hunger

12 grams of protein

Cons:

Lots of Sugar

The Powerbar protein snack combines the performance with snack. It is real food, and still packs a punch when it comes to providing the energy and nutrition needed for physical activity.

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Nutrients/ Performance:
With 12 grams of protein in each snack bar, the Powerbar Protein Snack gets your muscles the nutrient needed to build and repair muscles after a long run, or strength training session. These also have a good amount of fiber, and other essential minerals and vitamins needed to refuel the body.

Taste/ Palatability:
This snack bar tastes more like a candy bar than a typical protein bar. It has a chocolate coating, and a sweet candy like inside. There are different flavors like peanut butter caramel and cookies and cream that give all the satisfaction of a candy bar, but with a little more nutrition.

Price/ Availability:
Depending on how many you order at once, these are about the same price as a candy bar. The price also depends on the flavor, and certain flavors will not always be available immediately. So there is actually some variance in the price and availability depending on which flavor you want.

5. Energy Gel

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
91.8
 Energy Gel
Insulation
91
Application
91
Materials
92
Advanced Features
93
best offer for today
$42.50
Pros:

Replaces electrolytes with extra salt

Great for sustained workouts

Cons:

No protein

Salty tasting

Take the power gel, and add a little extra salt and carbs. Boom. Now you have the energy gel. Go that much further. Ultra? No problem, you have an energy gel from powerbar. Do that much more sweating and push that much further.

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Nutrients/ Performance:
The main benefit of this energy blend is that is has more salt, and lots of carbs that your body can burn to keep you kicking strong. These have 10 grams of sugar, but it is a blended sugar to release slower in the body. You will want to bring water to wash these down due to the salt content.

Taste/ Palatability:
They taste a little salty, and maybe not quite as yummy as the power gels, but they are designed for that long lasting energy. And with all the flavors to choose from, you should be able to find something you like.

Price/ Availability:
This is pretty much the same deal as the other gels, they cost different based on the flavor, which reflects availability. They are a bit more expensive than the power gel in general, closer in price to a typical energy bar.

6. Protein Plus 20g

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
88.5
Protein Plus 20g
Insulation
89
Application
90
Materials
88
Advanced Features
87
best offer for today
$16.69
Pros:

Packed with protein

Calorie dense for aggressive exercise 

Cons:

High sugar content

Relatively high in fat

If you want that extra protein, start with the Powerbar Protein Plus that packs 20 grams of protein into their 270 calorie bar.

Read more

Nutrients/ Performance:
Balanced fairly well is the Protein Plus bar with 30 grams of carbs to the 20g of protein. It can deliver a whole lot of nutrients on the go when you need to get back the energy expelled during exercise, and supply your muscles.

Taste/ Palatability:
Flavor is definitely right with the Protein Plus bars. They are very sweet so you might feel like you are eating a candy bar. They go down easy, you might want more than one.

Price/ Availability:
Shop around with the different flavors to find the best deal if you aren’t picky. There is a significant difference in price, but all are very reasonable. Some flavors may only be available for purchase in certain quantities.

7. Clean Whey Bar

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
88
Clean Whey Bar
Insulation
88
Application
87
Materials
90
Advanced Features
87
best offer for today
$33.05
Pros:

20 grams of protein 

No artificial flavors, sweeteners, or coloring

Gluten Free

5 different, delicious flavor options 

Cons:

Not sweet enough for some users

The Clean Whey Bar uses high quality whey protein to provide you with 20 grams of protein per bar. It uses clean ingredients--meaning it does not utilize any artificial flavors, colors, or sweeteners--making this a healthy, Gluten Free option.

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Nutrients/ Performance:
At 190 calories, this bar also provides you with 20 grams of protein, making it a perfect post workout bar. It also has 5 grams of net carbs (Total carbs-dietary fibers-sugar), 2 grams of sugar, and 13 grams of fiber/

Taste/ Palatability:
The harvest energy bars come in a variety of flavors that are generally readily available. The price is lower than other bars, as it seems you pay per gram of protein. At only 190 calories, they are not meant to be used as meal replacement, but rather as a post workout snack.

Price/ Availability:
These bars come in five different flavors and are a bit more affordable than other powerbar options.

8. Performance Energy Blasts

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
85
Performance Energy Blasts
Insulation
86
Application
85
Materials
85
Advanced Features
84
best offer for today
$87.09
Pros:

Delicious fruity snack

Easy to bring with you

Cons:

High in Sugar

Who doesn’t love fruit snacks? That’s what these taste like, and they are easy to take with you, and pop in one at a time. Great option when you aren’t in the mood for a bar, but still need the energy and nutrition for your workout.

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Nutrients/ Performance:
With 200 calories, these are getting into the realm of substantial nutrition. That will keep you going for quite some time, especially with the 46 carbs, though most are from sugar. There are 3 grams of protein, just to give a little love to the muscles. Powerbar energy gels even sneak a little vitamin c in there.

Taste/ Palatability:
They taste like gushers, remember those? Well maybe they taste a little better than gushers, but they have that same cool liquid center which bursts with flavor into your mouth. You will feel like a kid again. But these are easy to eat because they are full of fruity goodness.

Price/ Availability:
These are on the upper end for price, like one of the more densely calorie packed energy bars. The availability depends largely on the number of gels you want to come in the package, so if you are flexible on size of package, you will always have plenty available.

9. Plant Protein Bar

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
81
 Plant Protein Bar
Insulation
79
Application
81
Materials
83
Advanced Features
81
best offer for today
$17.14
Pros:

All natural ingredients

No cholesteral

Ideal for those who avoid those laboratory made ingredients

Cons:

Could have more protein

With the exception of soy, Powerbar's Plant Protein bars get their protein and nutrients from nuts, pees, rice, pumpkin seeds and more. One bar will give you 10 grams of protein, 22 grams of carbohydrate, 8 grams of dietary fibers with no cholesterol.

Read more

Available flavors include Dark Chocolate/Peanut Butter, Dark Chocolate/Almond/Sea Salt and Dark Chocolate/Salted Caramel Cashew. A great thing about this particular bar, is that they are not solid blocks of chocolate with a few nuts sprinkled in there. They do contain dark chocolate, but it is drizzled on without overdoing it, turning it into just another candy bar. Also, you will be able to pronounce everything in the list of ingredients.

10. Reduced Sugar Protein Plus

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
78.8
 Reduced Sugar Protein Plus
Insulation
79
Application
77
Materials
80
Advanced Features
79
best offer for today
$17.49
Pros:

Only 2g of sugar

20g of protein

 

Cons:

Limited Flavors

If you need all the energy and performance of the regular power bars, but don’t want a burst of energy, this one is reduced sugar. It still has all the protein of a typical powerbar, but with lower calories. It is less like candy, and more like performance.

Read more

Nutrients/ Performance:
The reduced sugar protein plus still has 20 grams of protein, but only 2 grams of sugar! That is pretty amazing in a food bar category that typically is packed with sugar. They have 36 grams of carbs, so they will deliver all the energy you need, and work with that protein to rebuild the muscles. Plus, these are gluten free!

Taste/ Palatability:
This really depends on the person, but most people still think these are pretty tasty and palatable. If you don’t want the sugar, you will definitely be able to stomach the taste, since it is such a large reduction. Same goes with the gluten free aspect. For what you are getting, they are good.

Price/ Availability:
These are actually the cheaper options. You will spend less on these most likely than anything else on the list. There is a drawback, and that is that flavors will be severely limited.

Criteria Used for Evaluation

Insulation

Make sure to look for things that are important to you as well--such as allergens, gluten, or non-vegan ingredients.

Carbohydrates: All protein bars have protein, however, they all have a variable amount of carbs. If you participate in intense workouts you will need a higher carb count and if you are actively trying to lose weight--or eating them as a snack to hold you over--you may want one with a lower carb count.

Fat: Fat is a necessary component in our diets and protein bars typically have small portions of it

The Energy gained from a Protein bar: Many protein bars are also called energy bars., This is because they provide you with fuel in protein for and help you recover post workout.

Fibers: Fiber is a necessary part of our daily diet but should be taken in moderate amounts to prevent stomach issues.

Application

Different sporting activities will require different protein bars. It’s very important to pick a protein bar that matches your sporting activities. Before beginning any training session or competition, athletes need to be fully energized and hydrated. When both those needs are met, muscles are ready to work. Not only sporting activity, other protein bars may act like meal replacements during sporting activities.

Materials

Long runs require an energy bar that is easily digestible and that won't cause any stomach issues or fluctuations in the sugar level in your blood. Opt for a bar that is honey based.  Honey, has sugar components: glucose, fructose, sucrose, maltose and the trisaccharides. Fructose and glucose in honey are usually in their simplified form hence the body can utilize them very fast.  Sucrose, on the other hand, is a compound of fructose and glucose. Unlike the normal table sugar, natural honey contains small amounts of iron, calcium and B vitamins. Sodium and calcium help prevent one from having cramps.

Advanced Features

If you are looking to lose weight, PowerBars are a great meal replacement. Look for bars with about 230 calories and that have fewer carbs.

You can take the bar as a meal replacement but make sure it has a high-calorie content, adequate amounts of protein, and extra fiber. They shoul be about 350-500 calories and contain a minimum of 9 grams in protein.

The more advanced and intense your training exercise is the more antioxidants you will need to make a full recovery.  Antioxidants help protect the body's immune system and help reduce inflammation.

Other Factors to Consider

Value

PowerBars are high-calorie sports supplements that you eat before, during or after workouts. The Powerbars have different prices and therefore one should be very cautious when looking at the different prices of the PowerBars before purchasing one.

Features

The power bar has a variety of flavors a person can pick from.

Peanut Butter
Chocolate peanut butter.
Milk Chocolate
Vanilla Crisp
Apple Cinnamon
Other flavors that are not available are: cookies & cream, banana, wild berry,  and caramel cookie.

Tips on how to use the PowerBar  energy bars :

PowerBar bars meet the demands of athletes competing at the highest levels of exercise intensity and duration.

Use these bars as part of a high-carbohydrate meal 2–4 hrs before you start exercise.
Consume a bar as a high-carb snack 30–60 mins before your  exercise.
Consume 1–2 bars each hour during your workout  exercise that lasts for over 1 hour. Athletes in team sports often eat bars during quarter and half-time breaks to recharge energy levels. Triathletes and cyclists pack these bars in their jersey pockets and take bites during downhill or flat stretches.
Feel free to use these bars interchangeably with other PowerBar products for more variety.

Frequently Asked Questions

q: Do all powerbars contain vitamins and minerals?
a:

Yes, they sure do!The different protein bars have different ingredients that are used. It’s very important to consider the different amounts of ingredients used in making the total composition of the protein bar. Some of these  bars are usually manufactured with too much sugar which is not recommended if  you are sedentary. While others are made using artificial sweeteners which can cause problems to ones gastrointestinal tract. If you consume too much sugar alcohols you can experience bloating.

The ingredients are very important as they must be in line with your fitness goal at all times. Some of the components are:

Carbohydrates: for a bar to have a balanced diet, carbohydrates must be present and in sufficient amount, though some protein bars tend to have very low levels of carbohydrates. Carbohydrates tend to fuel very demanding training, and can also hinder performance. For intense sporting activities, opt for a protein bar that has a minimum of 40 g of carbs. Protein bars with lower carbs are perfect as  day snacks.

Fat: a small amount of fat in a protein bar helps in enhancing satisfaction. Though a higher content in fat means that the energy bar's source of energy is the fat component. Check the contents of other ingredients to determine the source of fat, if its natural fat then its healthy. If the fat content goes more than the usual range of 1-2 g its best you opt for another supplement bar for energy.

It varies slightly by flavor so check the wrapper or the nutrition facts listed on each flavors product page.

q: Why use energy bars fro PowerBars?
a:

Powerbars will deliver energy and performance on the go. There are so many different options, you will have no problem finding the right one. Whether you want to focus on protein, electrolytes, or long lasting carbs, there is a Powerbar option for you. And the best part, is that you will always find a great snack as well, that you don't have to choke down.

q: How do I use EnergyBars?
a:

PowerBar bars meet the demands of athletes competing at the highest levels of exercise intensity and duration.

Use these bars as part of a high-carbohydrate meal 2–4 hrs before you start exercise.
Consume a bar as a high-carb snack 30–60 mins before your  exercise.
Consume 1–2 bars each hour during your workout  exercise that lasts for over 1 hour. Athletes in team sports often eat bars during quarter and half-time breaks to recharge energy levels. Triathletes and cyclists pack these bars in their jersey pockets and take bites during downhill or flat stretches.
Feel free to use these bars interchangeably with other PowerBar products for more variety.

q: Why are Energy  bars perfect for  post workout energy recovery?
a:

PowerBar bar have moderate amounts of fiber and protein.  Containing 350 to 500 calories,  a minimum of 9 gs in  protein, and definitely high-fiber inform of carbohydrates (seeds, dried fruits or whole oats). Look for availability of healthy fats in the bar, as they will assist in absorbing vitamins effectively and keeping you satisfied. . For more protein intake and extra additional nutrients you can take the bar with some yogurt.  Great for all sporting activities that most athletes take part in. After a long run, the nutrients can effectively  help in improving the  recovery of the muscles and also curb hunger. In order to achieve a full recovery benefit,make sure that you eat the bar within a time span of 20 minutes after your run. But if your training sessions tend to be long or hard then accompany the energy bar with a light meal full of carbs that are whole gran and protein. Take the meal after 2 hours of eating the bar

q: Are energy bars appropriate for weight control?
a:

Energy bars are able to  help athletes who want to some extra weight and mass, since they are  sources of nutrients especially calories. These bars some  have around 230 calories while some close to 300 calories. If you add them into your usual diet and  meals, may be even as after meals snacks then you will be able to increase the total calorie intake hence be able to gain weight. The interesting thing is that they can also assist you shed off the extra weight by acting as your meal replacements to your high calories snacks or meals. The body needs to consume an additional  3500 calories in a meal in order for it to gain just 1 lb. and vice versa for those who want to loose weight , cut down 3500 calories intake  to shed of  1 lb.

q: Is the PowerBar bar approved for diabetics?
a:

PowerBar bars are used successfully by many diabetics. These bars provide 3 carbohydrate exchanges and 1 lean-protein exchange as defined by the American Dietetic Association and the American Diabetes Association. As with any food item, it is important to review the carbohydrate content so you can factor this into how you manage your diabetes. Check with your health care professional for more information.

Sources

  1. Selene Yeager, How to Choose the Right Energy Bar, Fitness Website,
  2. Editorial Team, , REVIEW: PowerBar ProteinPlus 20g Chocolate Peanut Butter Bar, , Nutrition Review Website, ,
  3. Coach Levi, , Tested: PowerBar Performance Bar, , Fitness Website, ,
  4. David Else, , PowerBar Natural Energy Bar, , Consumer Website,,
  5. IndianapolisEater, , Review: PowerBar Performance Energy Chocolate Peanut Butter Wafer Bar,, Food Website, ,
  6. Bryan DiSanto, , [Review] The Energy Bar Power Rankings — The 52 Best Energy Bars Ripped Open And Ranked,, Fitness Website, ,
  7. NATALIE STEIN, Are Power Bars Good for You? , Fitness Website,
  8. NATALIE STEIN, The Best Sugar-Free Protein Bars, Fitness Website,
  9. Zac Pritcher, [Review] PowerBar Energy Gel Blasts (Raspberry), Food Website,
  10. MICHELE TURCOTTE, MS, RD, The Best Protein Bars, Fitness Website,