Abstract Objective The goal of this paper is to undertake a literature search collecting all dentin bond strength data obtained for six adhesives with four tests (shear, microshear, tensile and microtensile) and to critically analyze the results with respect to average bond strength, coefficient of variation, mode of failure and product ranking. Method A PubMed search was carried out for the years between 1998 and 2009 identifying publications on bond strength measurements of resin composite to dentin using four tests: shear, tensile, microshear and microtensile. The six adhesive resins were selected covering three step systems (OptiBond FL, Scotch Bond Multi-Purpose Plus), two-step (Prime & Bond NT, Single Bond, Clearfil SE Bond) and one step (Adper Prompt L Pop). Results Pooling results from 147 references showed an ongoing high scatter in the bond strength data regardless which adhesive and which bond test was used. Coefficients of variation remained high (20–50%) even with the microbond test. The reported modes of failure for all tests still included high number of cohesive failures. The ranking seemed to be dependant on the test used. Significance The scatter in dentin bond strength data remains regardless which test is used confirming Finite Element Analysis predicting non-uniform stress distributions due to a number of geometrical, loading, material properties and specimens preparation variables. This reopens the question whether, an interfacial fracture mechanics approach to analyze the dentin–adhesive bond is not more appropriate for obtaining better agreement among dentin bond related papers.