The Clif Bar gets good reviews from both experts and consumers. Their 19 flavors contain 40 to 45 grams of carbohydrates and 9 to 10 grams of protein, along with added vitamins and minerals. Calories from sugars in the different flavors range from 17 to 23 grams, and experts advise that you stick with the ones toward the lower end of the spectrum. Clif Bars are chewy in texture. If you prefer more of a crunch, try Luna Bars (*Est. $1.20), which are also lighter and lower in calories. Clif also makes the Clif Kid Zbar (*Est. 80 cents), a pint-sized version of the Clif Bar with about half the calories and sugar as full-size Clif Bars.
We found the most credible expert reviews of the Clif Bar at BackpackGearTest.org, in Climbing magazine and at About.com; all base their reviews on objective testing and compare Clif Bars to other brands. Retail sites like Amazon.com and Drugstore.com are a good source of consumer reviews. WebMD.com, Fitness magazine, and The Green Life, the Sierra Club's e-newsletter, recommend specific flavors based mainly on taste.
BackpackGearTest.org provides reports written by people who try out energy bars on camping or hiking trips. The reports assess the bar's quality of energy as well as its taste, how it holds up in a backpack and reacts to temperatures, and whether the package is easy to open. Three reports on the Clif Bar's Blueberry Crisp flavor say that it provides good sustained energy, is durable in a backpack and holds up well at different temperatures, although it's hard to eat when frozen solid.
Review: Clif Bar Blueberry Crisp Reviews and Test Reports, Ernie Elkins, Kevin Hollingsworth, Richard Lyon, Spring 2007
Five energy bars and a Snickers candy bar are reviewed based on reports by an unspecified number of testers who tried each bar while on a climbing trip. Clif Bar is named an Editors' Choice and it receives a grade of A; according to the review, it's "the only bar to receive unanimous praise for taste and texture."
Review: Energy Food Review - Bars, Dave Sheldon
Elizabeth Quinn, About.com's sports medicine guide, picks the four best energy bars, and one is the Clif Bar. According to the review, "These crunchy yet chewy bars are full of real, identifiable food. They won't melt and stay chewable when frozen." (Note: ConsumerSearch is owned by About.com, but the two don't share an editorial affiliation.)
Review: Guide Picks - Top Energy Bars, Elizabeth Quinn
Wendy Bumgardner, About.com's walking guide, offers very brief reviews of her picks for the top 10 energy bars, including the Clif Bar. She notes that Clif Bars offer "lots of inventive flavors." She doesn't rank the bars included here. (Note: ConsumerSearch is owned by About.com, but the two don't share an editorial affiliation.)
Review: Top 10 Energy Bars, Wendy Bumgardner, Updated March 2, 2009
Over 210 people rate Clif Bars at Amazon.com, giving them an average rating of 4.5 out of five stars. Some reviews are of individual flavors, others of the Clif Bar in general. Most like the taste, and many say the bars are filling enough to eat for lunch, along with a piece of fruit. Others eat them about an hour before workouts, and one reviewer takes them along when he goes hunting.
Review: Clif Bar Reviews, Contributors to Amazon.com
The owner ratings and reviews of energy bars here are especially helpful because each flavor is reviewed individually, so you can see what the general favorites are. All Clif Bar flavors get ratings of four out of five stars or higher, with the highest rating -- a perfect five out of five -- going to the White Chocolate Macadamia Nut. Reviewers like the taste and the nutritional content of Clif Bars.
Review: Clif Bars Reviews, Contributors to Drugstore.com
Elaine Magee, a registered dietician, discusses a brochure by the American College of Sports Medicine on what nutritional balance an energy bar should have. Magee's own favorites bars are the Luna Iced Oatmeal Raisin and Clif Bar Blueberry Crisp.
Review: What to Look For in an Energy Bar, Elaine Magee, Aug. 9, 2007
8. The Green Life
The Sierra Club's e-mail newsletter offers reviews of energy bars made by 25 environmentally conscious companies. Fifteen Sierra Club staffers blind-tasted and scored bars to determine which taste best. The Clif Bar Cool Mint Chocolate ranks among the top five, with comments like "refreshing," "chewy but not too dense," and "like a Thin Mint" from tasters. A few, however, found it "weird" or "too potent."
Review: The Taste of Power: Top Ecofriendly Energy Bars, Editors of The Green Life, June 22, 2009
This review of energy bars briefly summarizes the conclusions from internet sites that report the results of polls asking people what energy bars they prefer. According to this reviewer, the Clif Bar was chosen as the best energy bar in most of the polls.
Review: Protein and Energy Bars Review and Guide, Editors of GaltTech.com
10. Fitness Magazine
Fitness magazine chooses healthy snacks in different categories. To be considered, a product must have no more than 250 calories per serving and no trans fat. Clif Bar's Oatmeal Raisin Walnut flavor is picked as the best energy bar and described as "an ideal snack pre- or post-workout, or any time you need an energy boost."
Review: 2008 Healthy Food Awards: The Best Snacks, Editors of Fitness magazine