PhD Smart Bar Review: Superb taste and excellent value

When it comes to protein bars, the choice is huge and all big sports supplement brands have their own versions. The claims are similar from all – great taste and macros in every bar. Unfortunately, many of them don’t stand up to their claims and lack in one area or another.

It often seems that when we find a protein bar with a solid nutritional value, the taste is a letdown. But all that looks to be over with Smart Bars from PhD. Since discovering these protein bars several months ago, they are now our favourite choice for many reasons including great taste, price and nutritional value. Below you can find our PhD smart Bar review.

Many gym-goers wonder why we like to use protein bars over a whey protein shake. Protein bars provide a quick and convenient way to add protein and carbs into your diet. Unlike shakes, they can easily be thrown into a bag and consumed any time of the day without any preparation.

We often find ourselves consuming a protein bar at some point during the morning to easily boost protein intake.

Key Facts:

  • 20g Protein per 64g bar
  • Low carb
  • 9 Great flavours
  • Good value

About PhD Nutrition

Over the last few years, we have become increasing big fans of the full range of products from PhD Nutrition. The brand was launched in 2006 with the mission to change the sports nutrition landscape. Over the last 14 years, this UK based brand has seen massive growth. PhD products are now sold in over 45 countries and recognised as a global sports nutrition brand.

To us, PhD is a premium supplement brand, and with that comes the expectation of quality. Luckily, quality is one of the key drivers behind creating each product. The full range includes whey protein, pre-workout, BCAAs and more. One of the most popular is the brand’s diet whey protein.

This is widely recognised as one of the original and best diet whey formulations. PhD is here for the everyday gym user to help get the most out of every workout and see the results you deserve. The full range of products can be brought directly from the PhD website. They are also widely available from online sports nutrition retailers.


For us, taste and flavours are the most important element in choosing our next protein bar. If we were just looking for nutritional value alone, we would stick with a protein shake. So often, protein bars don’t live up to their claims of great taste. But PhD smart bars really do, offering superb taste across a full range of flavours.

The rounded shape resembles more of a chocolate bar as opposed to a protein bar. We love this as it stops the bar feeling as dense and heavy as some other protein bars. The overall makeup of each bar is the same. The centre is thick and smooth, making it very chewy when consumed.

Following that is a softer layer containing different flavours such as the birthday cake flavouring or caramel. On most bars, the outside contains a crunchy layer which adds to the texture and improves the experience.

A good selection of 9 flavours is available to choose from including cookies and cream, caramel crunch and salted fudge brownie. Our favourite flavours are birthday cake and white chocolate blondie. We don’t see many protein bars come in a white chocolate flavour, and PhD does a great job of it.

For those that cannot decide, a variety box is available, providing the ability to try multiple flavours at the same time. The only drawback we can think of is that we wouldn’t mind them being slightly larger, but that’s just because we enjoy them so much. 


Across the full range of flavours, the macros are pretty good. The protein content is approximately 20g per 64g bar. Some flavours have a slightly higher protein content, for example, the birthday cake flavour contains 21g. This is similar to the amount of protein found in a whey protein shake.

The total calories are average for a protein bar, containing approximately 240 kcal in each bar. Again there is some variation between flavours. Caramel crunch contains 238 calories, while salted fudge brownie contains 232. 

The carbohydrate content is also relatively low with around 23g in each bar. In comparison, Grenade Carb Killa bars contain 20g, but the overall volume of the bar is slightly less at 60g. 11g of fat can be found inside of each bar, with 7g of which being saturates. PhD smart bars are also halal and palm oil-free. The overall nutritional value is impressive, with a solid protein serving and relatively low carbs and fat.


The price can be a mixed bag when it comes to PhD Smart Bars. From the PhD website, the RRP is £29.99 for a box of 12. This is £2.50 per bar. At this price, we find them expensive and not sustainable to be consumed daily.

The good news is that PhD products are widely available from a huge number of sports nutrition retailers, both online and offline. This results in them usually costing much less, with a similar price across most retailers.

At the time of writing, the average price is around £20 for a box of 12. At some retailers, they are available for less including both Discount Supplements and Amazon. We have consistently found Amazon to have Smart Bars available at the lowest price.

Furthermore, the subscribe and save option reduces the cost further and adds the convenience of regularly scheduled deliveries. At £20 or less for 12, we find PhD Smart Bars to be very good value. Yes, there may be cheaper options available, but not with this combination of great taste and macros. In comparison to the popular Grenade Carb Killa bars, the price is very similar, usually slightly less.

For those not sure which flavour to go with, the variety box makes a great start. Included is a mix of all the flavours for you to try yourself before committing to a full box of a single flavour. 

Further thoughts

A protein bar such as the PhD Smart Bar is ideal for those looking for a mid-morning snack that is high in protein and convenient. But we wouldn’t recommend one for after a workout. For this, there are better sources of protein available in the form of whey protein shakes. While less convenient, a shake can provide better macros and be more friendly towards a tight budget.

For those fussy on the type of protein they consume, this protein bar contains mainly milk protein, with some soy and collagen proteins. These are often not favoured in protein supplements. 


Overall, as you can see in this PhD Smart Bar review, we are massively impressed. Protein bars have many benefits. In a market with a lot of big claims without the product to back them up, these do the opposite. The PhD brand is a UK based supplement manufacturer which now produces a huge range of protein supplements. The innovation from all their products including Smart Bars is super exciting. 

The overall taste of every PhD Smart Bar is impressive and really makes them stand out from all of the competition. There are 9 different great tasting flavours to choose from.  Our favourite is the white choc blondie which tastes more like a chocolate bar than a protein bar. 

The shape in these bars is unique in that it stops them feeling heavy and thick, where many other protein bars go wrong. While the RRP price is expensive, they are available from many retailers online for roughly £20. The best value is on Amazon which often has them available for less.  

Without a doubt, we will be buying these protein bars again. 

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