Barbell Buying Guide

The barbell is a tool used in survival situations. It can be employed for self-defense, or to help you live off the land longer before needing more sophisticated tools such as firearms and knives to ease your burden. The Barbell Buying Guide will teach you quick tips on how to purchase the best barbell possible at an affordable price with this introduction about what makes a good beginner’s barbell.,

The “best barbell for home gym” is an exercise equipment that is used by people to perform exercises such as bench press, squats, and deadlifts. The best barbell for home gym is one that has a weight capacity of 250 pounds or more.

Note from the editor: This is a guest post by Jerred Moon.

“How do you manage to shatter a barbell?”

That was the question I was asking myself as I stood in my driveway, a broken barbell in hand…

When I originally bought a barbell, I didn’t give much regard to the kind or quality. I all, they’re just barbells, right? My first barbell broke within 24 hours after purchase due to such mindset (or lack thereof).

So, with a damaged barbell in hand, I thought it was time to learn the fundamentals of what makes a solid, long-lasting barbell. I discovered that they may cost anywhere between $200 and $2,000, and that they are a bit more intricate than your usual sporting goods shop would have you think. True strength training begins with the use of a barbell. You can get by without a lot of things, but a barbell is a must-have.

Choosing the proper bar can help you prevent major problems like as warping, bending, rusting, and breaking. Bending from missed lifts and sleeves coming off from, essentially, shoddy construction are the most prevalent bar catastrophes. Today, I’d want to make you a well-informed barbell buyer.

Basics of Barbell Training

The parts of a barbell.

Before you can genuinely make an educated selection, you must first understand the “anatomy” of a barbell.

A standard barbell has a shaft diameter of 28-29 mm for males and 25 mm for women. Barbells exist in a variety of forms and sizes, but the normal length for males is 7.2 feet and for women is 6.5 feet. They are 44 pounds (20 kg) for males and 33 pounds for ladies (15kg).

Barbell knurl.

The bar, often known as the shaft, is the first component. To bring it to the correct length and diameter, it goes through a machining procedure. Knurling is a term used to describe the knurling on the shaft. The rough, cross-hatched design of a barbell is known as knurling. Knurl is quite significant and serves primarily as a gripping surface. It is machine-pressed and, depending on the producer, may be highly rough or incredibly smooth. Although it’s crucial to feel the bar to have a sense of what you prefer (unless you’re buying online, in which case read reviews), most high-end bar makers have a nice knurl. Even on top-end bars, knurling might alter depending on whether or not the knurl exists. Some bars have knurling that continues all the way to the sleeves, while others have a gap where the bar meets the sleeves with no knurling. Sometimes there is knurling in the middle of the bar, and sometimes there isn’t. You must choose what you want and are most comfortable with.

If you like a broad snatch grip and enjoy Olympic lifting, I recommend obtaining a bar with knurling that extends to the sleeves (if that phrase makes no sense, don’t worry about knurling extending to the sleeves).

If you wear your shirt off a lot or perform a lot of high-rep front squats and presses (CrossFit anyone? ), you may want to skip the center knurling. Get the center knurling if you routinely squat large weights and require the bar to grasp your back.


The marks on the knurl also show the sort of bar you’re using. For general-purpose application, I propose a dual-marked bar. The outermost marking, on the other hand, denotes an Olympic lifting bar, while the inner marking denotes a powerlifting bar, which we’ll discuss more in a moment.

It all boils down to how well it suits your fitness demands and preferences.

Barbell sleeves.

After that, there are the sleeves.

The weights are easily placed in the sleeves. They’re made of drawn-overmandrel (DOM) tubing, which is a mechanical technique that straightens and strengthens the sleeves. The rotation, or how the sleeves rotate on the shaft, is the most important feature to check for in sleeves. The difference in bearings or bushings isn’t that essential unless you’re a fastidious lifter or a professional lifter. Bushings are a low-friction material that sits between the shaft and the sleeve, and they’re what you’ll find on the majority of bars. Needle bearings are genuine bearings between the shaft and the sleeve that allow the shaft to spin more smoothly. Bearings are often seen on high-end bars. Bushings will save you a lot of money and function just as well as high-end bushings. However, if you want to pay more, go with bearings. Bearings are superior — you aren’t overpaying for them — but the difference is only noticeable at the professional and elite levels.

Bolts or snap rings are also used to join sleeves. I’m going to make this one pretty simple for you. Only use snap rings! Bolts on a bar should be avoided! Bolts = 24 hours to break.

Also, barbells are available in a variety of finishes, including chrome, zinc, black oxide, unpolished, and even stainless steel, although the finish is mostly a cosmetic choice. Stainless steel has the benefit of being rust and corrosion free indefinitely.

Strength of the Barbell

You already know more than the typical gym-goer, so let’s turn you into a genuine barbell expert.

A barbell’s strength is quite essential. You should be familiar with the phrases I’m going to discuss since manufacturers will provide you with this information when you browse for a barbell. How do you know what to purchase if you have no concept what the numbers mean?

Tensile strength, yield strength, and test strength are the three types of bar strength recorded.

The greatest load your bar can carry without splitting or breaking is known as tensile strength. So a good bar has a high tensile strength. This will be the most important aspect in your decision.

Yield strength refers to how much weight a bar can support before being distorted, or failing to return to its original shape. The terms “breaking” and “deformation” are not interchangeable. Unfortunately, finding information on yield strength from a manufacturer will be difficult.

There’s also a test, which implies the bar has been loaded and tested with weights that didn’t bend or break, thus the greater the number, the better. It’s ideal if you can locate a manufacturer that will provide you with a tensile strength rating in pounds per square inch (PSI).


Now that you’re familiar with the language, what exactly is a “good” rating? For the most significant element – tensile strength ratings — here’s a starting point:

  • Good if the PSI is between 150,000 and 175,000.
  • Better if the PSI is between 175,000 and 200,000.
  • Best if the PSI is more than 200,000.

A good-quality bar is totally fine and will last a long time. Most consumers do not need anything more than the “excellent” level threshold in terms of cost and quality.

There are several distinctions between Olympic lifting bars and powerlifting bars if you’re new to sport weightlifting:

  • To suit the sport, Olympic weightlifting bars have more of a whip, or spring.
  • Because powerlifters desire no surprises or dramatic fluctuations during a huge lift, powerlifting bars are particularly rigid.

Plates for Barbells

Barbell plates.

After that, you must consider plates. Unless you want to compete at a professional level, plate quality is less important than barbell quality.

Plates come in a wide range of prices. You can acquire 300 pounds of iron for $30 at a yard sale, or you can spend $3,000 or more on certified competition bumper plates.

The most common question is whether to get bumper plates or iron (metal) plates, and the answer is that it depends on the sort of lifting you’ll be doing. If you like powerlifting (squat, bench press, and deadlift), iron plates will suit you well. Bumpers are required if you regularly drop the bar during CrossFit exercises or if you practice the snatch and clean and jerk in Olympic weightlifting.

In my arsenal, I favor a mix of iron and bumper plates, and I’ll explain why as well as some concerns in a moment. Let’s start with bumper plates.

When it comes to bumper plates, the thickness of the plate and how much it bounces when dropped are what you pay for.

Here’s a basic rundown of their several categories:

  • Black bumpers ($) are thick and have a lot of bounce.
  • Colored bumpers ($$) are thicker and have a lower bounce.
  • Bumpers for Olympic training ($$$): thin and dead bounce
  • Competition bumpers ($$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

The disks should all be 450mm in diameter with a 50mm hole. 95 percent of individuals will be satisfied with standard black bumper plates; 4.9 percent will desire or require colorful bumpers or Olympic training bumpers, and. Only 1% of competitors will need Olympic-certified bumpers. Colored plates are usually color coded, and some manufactures adopt the International Weightlifting Federation’s color system, but not all. On the IWF website, you can get the official color code.

I prefer to keep roughly 300 pounds of inexpensive iron plates and a few hundred pounds of black bumpers on hand. When I’m about to lower the weight, I utilize the bumpers, and when I’m executing a hard back squat, I use a mix of iron and bumpers.

Bumper plates are difficult to come by at garage sales, so you’ll have to purchase them online, but iron plates are a different story.

For iron, you may leverage Craigslist’s power to locate a lot of weight for pennies on the dollar. People are always on the go, abandoning at-home training, and allowing plates to rust in their garage. That is a victory for us! The simplest method to shop for plates is to use a mix of Craigslist and IFTTT to automate the process; you can learn more about how it works here. In essence, you create a software that will tell you when plates in your price range become available for purchase.



The majority of people are seeking for a general-purpose, high-quality bar, and there are numerous available that are suited for all types of training and will last a long time. So, unless you want to be an Olympian, I recommend staying away from the “Cadillac” bars. For roughly $250, you can acquire an excellent barbell that will suit all of your demands, and for around $500, you can obtain a near-perfect barbell.

That may seem like a lot of money for a barbell, but it will be the center of your training and something you will use every day. Choose a bar that will not bend or break while in use.

Purchase a bar that will last you a lifetime. It’s an investment in your health and fitness!

That is all there is to know about plates, weights, and barbells, guys.

Let’s begin your narrative in a different way than I did.

“How on earth is this barbell going to hold up to this?”

That is the question you will be asking yourself as you stand in your driveway with an incredible barbell.

That is the question you will be asking yourself as you stand in your driveway with an incredible barbell.

Jerred Moon is a strength and fitness aficionado, aspiring adrenaline junkie, devoted husband, and proud father. He operates End of Three Fitness, a fitness website for “other men,” and is the originator of the One Man One Barbell program.



The “best budget barbell” is a barbell that is very affordable, but still has the quality you need. The barbell will last for years and will not cost much in the long run.

Frequently Asked Questions

What should I look for when buying a barbell?

A: You should look for a barbell that does not have sharp edges near the knurling. This will protect your hands from potential injuries and allow you to maximize your loading capacity.

What barbell should I buy beginners?

A: A beginner should buy a barbell with knurling on the sleeves to prevent slippage. Look for something that has markings on it so you know where your fingers are supposed to be and is in a color scheme that will not get mixed up with other equipment.

How heavy should I buy a barbell?

A: The weight of a barbell is very important in determining how difficult it will be for you to lift and use. Technically, the heavier a barbell is, the more challenging it will be. However, this does not mean that all heavy bars are harder for beginners or lighter bars are easy. Its just that when comparing two different weights on either side of what could potentially become your starting point with proper technique and practice, there may be an increase in difficulty as well as decrease in ease because theyre closer together than they would normally appear if they were further apart.

Related Tags

  • olympic barbell
  • eleiko barbell
  • best barbells
  • rogue ohio bar
  • black barbell