HomeBest of 202412 Best Barbells in 2024: Top Olympic and Specialty Bars

12 Best Barbells in 2024: Top Olympic and Specialty Bars

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Barbells are one of the most important pieces of equipment in any gym. With a barbell and some quality weight plates, you can perform hundreds of exercises to build muscle and get stronger. I consider Olympic barbells to be one of the ‘core four’: a power rack, a barbell, some weight plates, and a weight bench.

Barbells can range in purpose, knurling, strength, price, quality, and more.

To save you time and hassle, we’ve tested and researched dozens of barbells to determine the best ones for your money. Whether you’re looking for a powerlifting barbell, an Olympic weightlifting barbell, a CrossFit barbell, or just a general-purpose barbell, this article has you covered.

The Best Barbells

Because there are many different types of barbells, the format of this article will be to give you three top-rated bars in each of the following categories:

  1. Multipurpose Bars
  2. Power Bars
  3. Olympic Weightlifting Bars
  4. Specialty Bars

Table of Contents

  1. Best Multipurpose Barbells
  2. Best Powerlifting Barbells
  3. Best Olympic Weightlifting Barbells
  4. Best Specialty Barbells
  5. Types of Olympic Barbells
  6. Important Factors to Consider
  7. Barbell Knurling & Shaft Finishes
  8. Barbell Maintenance Tips
  9. FAQs

American Barbell California Bar – Best Overall Multipurpose Barbell

American Barbell California Bar - Best Barbells
  • Price: $395
  • Knurl Type: Passive/Mild
  • Center Knurl: No
  • Tensile Strength: 190,000 PSI
  • Weight: 20kg or 15kg
  • Shaft Diameter: 28mm
  • Shaft Finish: Cerakote
  • Sleeve Type/Finish: Smooth/Hard Chrome
  • Rotation System: Bushing
  • Made in: USA
  • Warranty: Lifetime
Best Overall Multipurpose Barbell
American Barbell California Bar

The American Barbell California is an excellent 28mm multipurpose bar with a Cerakote shaft, dual knurl marks, and gorgeous recessed welds.

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Summary

The American Barbell California Bar is one of my favorite barbells of all time. I’ve owned this bar since 2017, and it has performed beautifully since day 1. It’s one of the best-looking bars on the market, with numerous color options and recessed welds that are unique to American Barbell.

This bar has dual knurl rings and no center knurl, which is common on a multipurpose bar. The smooth center is nice if you’re training higher rep/volume front squats or anything in the front rack position since it’s more comfortable. The knurling on the California Bar is passive – again, ideal for higher rep/volume work. The pattern can be classified as flat and ‘hilly’ (see below for a detailed look at barbell knurling). This is a grippy knurl that takes chalk well, which you may be reaching for on heavier attempts.

The 28mm shaft is great for anyone looking to perform Oly movements since that’s the standard diameter for a weightlifting bar. It can also be used effectively as a deadlift bar alternative if overload training is important to you, but keep in mind the knurling isn’t aggressive. Straps and chalk will help. If you train with a hook grip like me, the 28mm shaft is especially comfortable – well, as comfortable as a hook grip can be.

The sleeve assembly on the California Bar is, in my opinion, second to none. The first thing you’ll notice are the recessed welds. These are beautiful and unique to American Barbell. They function the same as friction welds you’d find on other barbells, but the craftsmanship is next-level. The smooth finish is quieter than most barbells, which may be handy if you’re training in a home gym. Speaking of quiet, the sleeve assembly on this bar is constructed with minimal – if any at all –  metal-on-metal contact. This greatly reduces the overall sound when using the California Bar, making it one of the quietest barbells manufactured.

The sleeves spin via composite bushings. Bushings are a very common mechanism on multi-purpose bars since they allow you to perform a variety of movements and are less costly than needle bearings. Composite bushings are among the best type of bushing due to their performance, durability, and look from the inner collar.

This is simply a fantastic barbell. It’s also available in a 15kg women’s version on the same product page.

Read the full American Barbell California Bar review.

Pros

  • 28mm shaft provides nice whip and comfort
  • Cerakote shaft in a variety of colors
  • Recessed welds are best-in-class
  • Smooth sleeves are quieter than bars with grooved sleeves
  • Made in the USA

Cons

  • Cerakote finish with no center knurl can make it hard to find true center
  • Passive knurling may leave some users wanting more

Rogue Ohio Bar – Best All-Around Multipurpose Barbell

Rogue Ohio Bar - Best Barbells
  • Price: $295-465
  • Knurl Type: Medium
  • Center Knurl: No
  • Tensile Strength: 190,000 or 200,000 PSI
  • Weight: 20kg
  • Shaft Diameter: 28.5mm
  • Shaft Finish: Stainless Steel, Cerakote, E-Coat, Black Zinc, or Black Oxide
  • Sleeve Type/Finish: Grooved/Hard Chrome, Cerakote, or Black Oxide
  • Rotation System: Bushing
  • Made in: USA
  • Warranty: Lifetime
Best All-Around Multipurpose Barbell
Rogue Ohio Bar

The Rogue Ohio Bar is the most popular multipurpose bar in the world. Its 28.5mm shaft comes in several finishes, it offers a great knurling, and it's very well-reviewed by thousands of lifters.

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Summary

The Rogue Ohio Bar is arguably the most popular multipurpose bar ever created and sold. It has a longstanding history of outstanding performance from CrossFit to Olympic weightlifting and even to powerlifting. With multiple finishes available at various price points, the Ohio Bar appeals to lifters of different levels and budgets.

The Ohio Bar utilizes a 28.5mm shaft, which is the most commonly used diameter among multipurpose bars. This bridges the gap between Olympic weightlifting and powerlifting, allowing lifters to train all the lifts very effectively. You can purchase the Ohio Bar in several finishes, including stainless steel, Cerakote, black zinc, black oxide, and e-coat. Refer to the section below, which discusses shaft finishes in more detail. The Ohio Bar is also available in Rogue’s Zeus builder, which allows you to customize your bar. This includes shaft color, text, logos, bushing type, and sleeve coating.

The knurling on the Ohio Bar is volcanic in shape, which is the ideal profile for a multipurpose barbell. It has a terrific texture that isn’t passive or aggressive. It strikes a nice balance, making it great for a variety of lifts. You can use the Ohio Bar for rep work or even heavier attempts. Keep in mind that shaft finish will also play a role in this. For example, stainless steel will feel much better in the hand than black zinc. The Ohio Bar includes dual rings and does not come with a center knurl.

The sleeves on the Ohio Bar are grooved and will either include a hard chrome finish, a Cerakote finish, or a new conversion coating (exclusive to Ohio Bar 2.0s). The bars spin via bronze or composite bushings depending on which version of the bar you purchase. The spin is very smooth and controlled. On the Ohio Bar 2.0s, the sleeve assembly has removed metal-on-metal contact, greatly reducing noise. I also own this version of the bar, and it’s much quieter than other bars. It’s comparable to the American Barbell California Bar in that area.

There’s a strong argument that the Ohio Bar from Rogue is the best all-around multipurpose bar you can buy.

Pros

  • 28.5mm shaft is great for all lifts
  • Knurling is very refined – not passive nor aggressive
  • Includes a variety of finishes/colors to choose from
  • Zeus builder allows for unique customization
  • Made in the USA

Cons

  • Cerakote/2.0s sleeves can show marks and imperfections quickly
  • Some users don’t like the “ROGUE” logo in the center of the bar

REP Colorado Bar – Best Value Multipurpose Barbell

REP Fitness Colorado Bar
  • Price: $319.99+ with Free Shipping
  • Knurl Type: Medium
  • Center Knurl: No
  • Tensile Strength: 200,000 PSI
  • Weight: 20kg or 15kg
  • Shaft Diameter: 28.5mm
  • Shaft Finish: Hard Chrome or Cerakote
  • Sleeve Type/Finish: Smooth/Hard Chrome or Cerakote
  • Rotation System: Composite Bushings
  • Made in: China
  • Warranty: Lifetime
Best Value Multipurpose Bar
REP Colorado Bar
The REP Colorado Bar is a value-packed multipurpose barbell with a 28.5mm shaft, composite bushings, and a medium knurling.
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Summary

The REP Colorado Bar delivers some of the best value for a multipurpose bar. It’s affordable, has great specs, and comes with a lifetime warranty.

Named after REP’s birthplace, the Colorado Bar has a 28.5mm shaft, allowing you to use it for all types of exercises. It’s available in hard chrome or Cerakote finishes, with colors including black, blue, green, red, and white.

One of my favorite features of this bar is that it uses composite bushings. These are typically reserved for higher-end barbells and have several benefits, including sound dampening, longevity, and an ultra-smooth rotation.

Speaking of sound, the sleeves are smooth and much quieter than grooved. In my experience, REP barbells are some of the quietest bars you can buy, making them great for home gym owners. While the hard chrome bar has hard chrome sleeves, the Cerakote version has Duracote sleeves. The Duracote chemical process creates a nice black finish while also increasing the steel’s exterior hardness.

The knurling on the Colorado Bar has a medium texture with a volcano pattern. It feels similar to other multipurpose bars, including the Rogue Ohio Bar, making it an accessible bar for most lifters. Like most, it doesn’t include a center knurl but does have dual knurl rings for powerlifting and weightlifting movements.

Considering the specs, price, and lifetime warranty, there isn’t a multipurpose barbell with better value than the REP Colorado Bar.

Pros

  • Excellent value for a quality barbell
  • Two shaft and sleeve finish options
  • Composite bushings provide smooth spin
  • 28.5mm diameter is ideal for a multipurpose bar
  • Refined, medium-texture knurling
  • Very quiet operation

Cons

  • No stainless steel option
  • No center knurl

Rogue Ohio Power Bar – Best All-Around Power Bar

Rogue Ohio Power Bar - Best Barbells
  • Price: $275-$485
  • Knurl Type: Aggressive (Volcano)
  • Center Knurl: Yes
  • Tensile Strength: 200,000 or 205,000 PSI
  • Weight: 45lb
  • Shaft Diameter: 29mm
  • Shaft Finish: Stainless Steel, Cerakote, E-Coat, Black Zinc, or Bare Steel
  • Sleeve Type/Finish: Grooved/Stainless Steel, Cerakote, Chrome, or Bare Steel
  • Rotation System: Bushing
  • Made in: USA
  • Warranty: Lifetime
Best All-Around Power Bar
Rogue Ohio Power Bar

The Rogue Ohio Power Bar is an excellent bar with aggressive knurling and multiple finish options. It's a strong pick as a daily powerlifting driver.

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Summary

The Rogue Ohio Power Bar is one of the most popular power bars and likely the highest-selling of all time. This is my top power bar recommendation for most people since it offers a solid spec profile, excellent performance, and a reasonable price. I’ve owned Ohio Power Bars dating back to 2016 – they’re great bars.

The Ohio Power Bar from Rogue has a 29mm shaft, which is standard for a power bar. This creates a very rigid barbell that serves the squat, bench, and deadlift well. The knurling consists of a deep volcanic pattern with a fairly aggressive texture. It’s not the most aggressive knurling, but it’s certainly not the least aggressive among power bars. Because it strikes a nice balance on the aggression spectrum, it makes for a great all-around power bar for most people. Many lifters will use this bar as their daily driver. The bar includes single powerlifting rings and offers a center knurl in the same pattern as the outer knurl

A great feature of the Ohio Power Bar is that it comes in various finishes, including stainless steel, Cerakote, e-coat, black zinc, and bare steel. I’ve owned several versions of this bar, but the stainless steel version is my favorite for its rust-fighting properties and overall feel. Black zinc would be my least favorite of the bunch, but it’s still a suitable finish at a good price point.

The sleeves on the Ohio Power Bar are grooved, and they also come in a variety of finishes. Most include hard chrome (great choice), but it can also include bare steel, Cerakote, and stainless steel. If you purchase bare steel, I recommend maintaining the barbell with oil every few weeks to limit oxidation (see below for barbell maintenance tips). The Ohio Power Bar spins with bushings, which are industry standard on power bars. This creates a slow and steady spin, ideal for the big 3.

If you’re looking for a high-quality all-around power bar, the Rogue Ohio Power Bar is near the top of the list.

Read the full Rogue Ohio Power Bar review.

Pros

  • Semi-aggressive volcano knurl makes for a great all-around power bar for various rep schemes
  • Various finish options based on budget and preferences
  • 29mm shaft is industry-standard and creates a very rigid bar
  • Stellar reputation in the industry as a leading bar
  • Made in the USA with a lifetime warranty

Cons

  • Cerakote sleeves can show imperfections quickly and permanently
  • Grooved sleeves are some of the loudest I’ve tested

REP Double Black Diamond Power Bar – Best Aggressive Power Bar

REP Double Black Diamond Power Bar
  • Price: $329.99-$449.99 w/ Free Shipping
  • Knurl Type: Aggressive (Mountain)
  • Center Knurl: Yes
  • Tensile Strength: 200,000 PSI
  • Weight: 20kg
  • Shaft Diameter: 29mm
  • Shaft Finish: Stainless Steel or Cerakote
  • Sleeve Type/Finish: Stainless Steel, Duracote, or Hard Chrome
  • Rotation System: Bushing
  • Made in: China
  • Warranty: Lifetime
Best Aggressive Power Bar
REP Double Black Diamond Power Bar
The REP Double Black Diamond is a very aggressive power bar with a fully stainless steel body, a mountainous knurl, and smooth sleeves.
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Summary

The REP Double Black Diamond Power Bar is one of my favorite and highest-rated barbells. If you’re looking for a high-quality power barbell with AGGRESSIVE knurling, this is a top contender.

Like most power bars, the REP Double Black Diamond offers a 29mm shaft to create a rigid barbell. There are a few very nice qualities of this bar, but the most impressive to me is the knurling. It’s downright awesome and very aggressive. The peaked, mountainous knurl creates an undeniable bite that feels great on PR attempts and low rep sets.

While this bar can certainly be used as an all-around power bar, it’s best as a companion bar for heavy deadlifts and low bar squats. The bar also includes a center knurl in the same pattern.

REP offers this bar in several finishes, depending on your preferences and budget. The shaft comes in stainless steel or Cerakote, with colors including black, red, green, and blue. I prefer the stainless steel because it compliments the knurling so well, but both are great choices for fighting oxidation.

The sleeves are available in stainless steel, Duracote, or hard chrome, depending on which version you buy. Regardless of the finish, they’re all smooth and extremely quiet. The sleeves operate via bushings and spin as expected for a power bar.

Pros

  • Very aggressive knurling – my favorite pattern of all time. Great for heavy attempts, deadlifts, and low bar squats
  • Stainless steel shaft and sleeves
  • Quietest sleeves I’ve ever tested
  • 29mm shaft is ideal for squat, bench, and deadlift
  • Includes a lifetime warranty

Cons

  • Very aggressive knurling may be too much for some users, especially with higher rep sets
  • There have been some copies of this bar that have shown signs of oxidation despite being stainless

Vulcan Absolute Power Bar – Best Value Power Bar

Vulcan Absolute Power Bar - Best Barbells
  • Price: $339
  • Knurl Type: Aggressive (Mountain)
  • Center Knurl: Yes
  • Tensile Strength: 221,000 PSI
  • Weight: 20kg
  • Shaft Diameter: 29mm
  • Shaft Finish: Black Oxide
  • Sleeve Type/Finish: Grooved/Hard Chrome
  • Rotation System: Bushing
  • Made in: Import/Asia
  • Warranty: Lifetime
Best Power Par Under $350
Vulcan Absolute Power Bar

The Vulcan Absolute Power Bar is an awesome bar with aggressive knurling, a black oxide finish, and a more subdued center knurl... all for under $350.

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Summary

The Vulcan Absolute Power Bar is another personal favorite. I’ve owned this bar for several years, and it has been one of my most-used power bars. This bar is NOT to be confused with the Vulcan Stainless Absolute Power Bar. Despite having basically the same name, they’re different bars with entirely different knurl patterns. The Stainless version is very similar to the REP Power Bar EX above.

The knurling on this version of the Absolute Power Bar is also mountainous, but instead of a sharper peak with more depth, this is a bit shallower and more rounded off. It’s still aggressive – more so than something like the Rogue Ohio Power Bar – but it’s more suitable as an all-around power bar than some other more aggressively-knurled bars. In my opinion, this is one of the best all-purpose power bars on the market. It can also very effectively be used for heavy attempts across the spectrum. The center knurl on this bar is less aggressive than the outer knurl, which makes high bar squats and front squats more comfortable.

This bar offers a black oxide finish, which is one of my favorite coatings due to its raw feel. Being a conversion coating (see detailed knurling section below), there is no interference with the knurl pattern like on a plated coating (chrome, zinc, etc.). The downside to black oxide is that it’s susceptible to oxidation over time, but not to the level of bare steel. I’ve owned this bar since 2018 in my humid South Carolina garage, and it has held up well with oil application every 3-4 weeks.

The sleeves on the Absolute Power Bar are finished in matte chrome, and they have wider grooves than normal grooved sleeves. This makes them noticeably quieter than conventional grooved sleeves. They operate via bushings, and the metal end caps are some of the best I’ve seen.

Read the full Vulcan Absolute Power Bar review.

Pros

  • Aggressive knurl that provides excellent grip without sharpness
  • Less aggressive center knurl is great for high bar squats and front squats
  • Black oxide finish provides a very raw feel
  • Matte chrome sleeves have wider grooves to reduce noise
  • Among the highest tensile strength ratings in the power bar industry

Cons

  • Black oxide is more susceptible to oxidation
  • Less aggressive center knurl may leave some users wanting more on low bar squats

Eleiko IWF Competition Weightlifting Bar – Best Competition Weightlifting Bar

Eleiko IWF Competition Weightlifting Bar - Best Barbells
  • Price: $1,216
  • Knurl Type: Aggressive
  • Center Knurl: Yes
  • Tensile Strength: 215,000 PSI
  • Weight: 20kg or 15kg
  • Shaft Diameter: 28mm
  • Shaft Finish: Hard Chrome
  • Sleeve Type/Finish: Grooved/Hard Chrome
  • Rotation System: Bearing
  • Made in: Sweden
  • Warranty: Lifetime
Best Competition Weightlifting Bar
Eleiko IWF Weightlifting Competition Bar

The Eleiko IWF Weightlifting Competition Bar is the gold standard of Oly bars. It has needle bearings, refined knurling, and several notable features.

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Summary

The Eleiko IWF Competition WL Bar is perhaps the best Oly bar on the planet. This bar has all the specs you would expect from a top-notch weightlifting bar and is IWF-certified. If you’re a competitive weightlifter and you have the budget to support a nearly $1,200 barbell, you may not find a better bar.

Eleiko is known for having extremely high-quality Swedish steel that performs great and looks flawless. This bar offers a 28mm shaft and 215k tensile strength, which is on the higher end of the spectrum. This is a competition barbell. It’s not meant to be used as a training bar with high reps or volume since the knurling is more aggressive. This bar also differs from non-competition barbells in that it offers a center knurl. This will give you more feedback in the front rack position and on back squats, and it also helps you line up under center more easily.

The bar is coated in hard chrome from end to end. For a bar that costs as much as this one, I wish it was stainless steel, but it’s hard to argue against performance and years of real-world feedback.

The sleeves on the Eleiko Bar operate via needle bearings to produce a very efficient and fast spin – ideal for Olympic lifting. One great feature about this bar is the sleeves have a dust seal. This seal keeps chalk and other debris from entering the sleeve assembly, which keeps the bar operating at peak levels.

Eleiko barbells are in an elite class, and owning one puts you in one. They’re expensive, but they’re mighty fine bars.

Pros

  • Aggressive, competition level knurling w/ center knurl
  • IWF-Certified
  • Needle bearings for fast/controlled spin
  • Dust-proof seal keeps sleeve mechanics functioning optimally
  • Stellar reputation from home gyms to the international platform

Cons

  • Very expensive
  • No premium finishes

Rogue Pyrros Bar – Best Rogue Fitness Weightlifting Bar

Rogue Pyrros Bar - Best Barbells
  • Price: $720+ w/ Free Shipping
  • Knurl Type: Medium/Aggressive
  • Center Knurl: Yes
  • Tensile Strength: 200,000 PSI
  • Weight: 20kg or 15kg
  • Shaft Diameter: 28mm
  • Shaft Finish: Stainless Steel
  • Sleeve Type/Finish: Grooved/Stainless Steel or Hard Chrome
  • Rotation System: Bearing
  • Made in: USA
  • Warranty: Lifetime
Best Rogue Fitness Weightlifting Bar
Rogue Pyrros Bar

The Rogue Pyrros Bar is an IWF-certified Olympic Weightlifting Bar designed by the iconic Pyrros Dimas. This bar has several excellent features.

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Summary

The Rogue Pyrros Bar was designed alongside 3x Olympic gold medalist, Pyrros Dimas. This is an IWF-certified barbell with high-quality specs, solid user feedback, and a fairly high price tag.

The knurling on the Pyrros Bar was designed to be semi-aggressive, allowing lifters to use the bar in regular training environments and on the competitive platform. Confirming its competition-level design is the presence of a center knurl. The shaft is 28mm, which is industry standard. According to Rogue, this steel was hand-selected by Pyrros based on its whip.

The sleeves on this bar are each operated with 5 German needle bearings for a total of 10 bearings. Reviewers have raved about the spin this bar produces in terms of its speed and fluidity. The grooved sleeves are coated in hard chrome, which is a perfectly acceptable sleeve finish, but you can upgrade to stainless steel if you’d like. That will cost over $100 on top of the base price.

Female lifters can purchase the 15kg version of the Pyrros Bar. Ultimately, this is a high-quality competition, IWF-certified Olympic weightlifting barbell at a fraction of the cost of other premier barbell manufacturers like Eleiko.

Pros

  • IWF Certified
  • Semi-aggressive knurl works for training and PR attempts
  • Includes a center knurl
  • German needle bearings produce efficient spin
  • Stainless steel shaft provides raw feel and great oxidation resistance

Cons

  • Stainless steel sleeves are a sizable upcharge

American Barbell Performance Training Bar – Best Training Bar

American Barbell Performance Training Bar - Best Barbells
  • Price: $550
  • Knurl Type: Medium
  • Center Knurl: No
  • Tensile Strength: 190,000 PSI
  • Weight: 20kg or 15kg
  • Shaft Diameter: 28mm
  • Shaft Finish: Hard Chrome
  • Sleeve Type/Finish: Smooth/Hard Chrome
  • Rotation System: Composite Bushings
  • Made in: USA
  • Warranty: Lifetime
Best Training Bar
American Barbell Performance Training Bar

The American Barbell Performance Training Bar is a high-quality Oly bar with a hard chrome finish, composite bushings, and recessed welds.

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Summary

American Barbell is known for producing some of the finest USA-made barbells regardless of style. Their Olympic Weightlifting bars are no exception. This Performance Training Bar is their entry-level Oly bar, and it includes some nice specs.

The knurling on the Performance Training Bar, like many other American Barbell bars, is on the more passive side. This makes for a great training bar where you’re using higher reps and volume. This bar can also be used for lower rep/higher weight sets, but just know that you may want something more aggressive.

The shaft measures the standard 28mm Oly diameter and is coated in hard chrome. If you want to jump up to stainless steel, you would need to look at the American Barbell competition Stainless Bearing Bar. It’s an amazing bar, but it’s also quite a bit more expensive than this training bar.

The sleeves are also coated in hard chrome and are operated via composite bushings. These are the same bushings used in the California Bar, which offer tremendous spin. If you want a bearing version of this bar, look at the Performance Bearing Bar.

If you’re looking for a quality weightlifting barbell with a more entry-level spec profile, and you appreciate some of the American Barbell characteristics (recessed welds and mild knurling), then this is a great option.

Pros

  • Medium knurl makes for an ideal training bar
  • Unique recessed welds
  • High-quality composite bushings
  • Made in the USA with a lifetime warranty

Cons

  • No center knurl

Rogue TB-2 Trap Bar – Best Trap Bar

Rogue TB-2 Trap Bar - Best Barbells
  • Price: $395
  • Type: Trap Bar
  • Bar Weight: 60lb
  • Handle Height: Dual Handles
  • Shaft Diameter: 28mm
  • Knurl Type: Medium
  • Olympic-Sized Sleeves: No
  • Sleeve Type/Finish: Smooth/Power Coat
  • Rackable: Yes
  • Made in: USA
  • Warranty: General
Best Trap Bar
Rogue TB-2 Trap Bar

The USA-made Rogue TB-2 is a great all-around rackable hex bar with solid features, including dual handles and knurled grips.

Key Specs

  • Weight: 60 lbs
  • Handle Height: Dual
  • Handle Diameter: 34mm
  • Shaft Finish: Powder Coat
  • Sleeve Finish: Powder Coat
  • Olympic-Sized Sleeves: No
  • Rackable: Yes
  • Loadable Sleeve Length: 16″


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Summary

The Rogue TB-2 Trap Bar is one of the best standard trap bars. This is a closed, rackable trap bar that offers several nice features.

The best feature of the TB-2 is the dual-height handles. This allows users to lift from standard barbell height, or they can train a partial range of motion using the high handle. This is great for rehabbing injuries or training a certain portion of the lift (e.g., lockout). Both handles are knurled in a medium grip that’s neither passive nor aggressive. Another great feature of these handles is they’re spaced 25″ apart, which most users will find comfortable. Too wide or too narrow, and some users can find issues based on their shoulder width. This spread strikes the perfect balance.

With this bar being rackable, you have the option to use it in more ways than just from the floor. You can set it up in your rack and perform rack pulls, overhead presses, etc. Even with it being rackable, it still provides 16″ long sleeves, which is just shy of standard barbell length. Depending on your plates, you can load a significant amount of weight on this bar. A downside to the sleeves, however, is that they are 1.91″ in diameter, which is standard for many specialty bars. This means Olympic barbell collars will not work. I recommend Proloc collars since you can use them on any bar. They’re reasonably priced and work great on all bar styles.

Not uncommon among specialty bars, the entire TB-2 is powder-coated. There’s nothing inherently wrong with that, but just know that once you start sliding plates on and off, you’ll immediately see imperfections on the sleeves.

Ultimately, if you’re looking for a quality closed trap bar, the Rogue TB-2 is a fantastic option.

Check out all of our top trap bar recommendations.

Pros

  • Dual handles allow for standard height or elevated/partial range of motion
  • Rackable for increased versatility
  • 25″ handle width accommodates the majority of users
  • Corner gussets increase strength and durability

Cons

  • Non-Olympic-sized sleeves will not accept standard collars
  • Powder-coated sleeves will show imperfections immediately

Titan Safety Squat Bar v2 – Best Safety Squat Bar

Titan Safety Squat Bar on REP PR-5000 Power Rack
  • Price: $299.99 w/ Free Shipping
  • Type: Safety Squat Bar
  • Bar Weight: 61lb
  • Shaft Finish: Chrome
  • Sleeve Finish: Chrome
  • Olympic-Sized Sleeves: Yes
  • Made in: China
  • Warranty: 1-Year
Best Basic Safety Squat Bar
Titan Safety Squat Bar

The Titan Safety Squat Bar is a budget-friendly SSB modeled closely after the Elitefts SS Yoke Bar. This bar ships for free and has excellent reviews.

Key Specs

  • Weight: 61 lbs
  • Handle Type: Short/Straight
  • Shaft Finish: Chrome
  • Sleeve Finish: Chrome
  • Olympic Sized Sleeves: Yes


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Summary

The Titan Safety Squat Bar v2 is essentially a copy of the SS Yoke bar from Elitefts, but with a couple of minor differences and a much smaller price tag.

This is a standard safety squat bar. Unlike the Transformer Bar, which can do a lot of things, the Titan SSB is mainly used for safety squats, although front squats, good mornings, and other movements are also possible. My favorite thing about this style of safety squat bar is the yoke and handle design. I prefer short handles myself – they’re comfortable and very natural feeling. Similarly, the yoke is padded well and feels good on the back/shoulders. One thing to consider is that this yoke is slightly thicker than the Elite version, which moves the load just slightly backward. In that sense, it’s not quite as well balanced as the Elitefts Yoke bar.

The handles are contoured with individual finger slots that feel great in the hands. They’re also removable, which allows you to perform movements like the JM Press or to add different grip styles. Refer to my YouTube video on a great SSB hack.

Another great feature of this bar, especially related to the Elitefts SS Yoke, is that it uses a chrome sleeve with an Olympic diameter. This allows you to use any barbell collar, and it looks better over the long term.

The bottom line is that for the money, the Titan Safety Squat Bar v2 is one of the best value bars.

Read the full Titan SSB v2 review.

Pros

  • Excellent value
  • Comfortable yoke with thick padding
  • Removable handles allow for easy hand/grip modifications/add-ons
  • Contoured grips feel great in the hand
  • Olympic-sized sleeves will accept standard collars
  • Chrome sleeves look better over time than powder coat or clear coat

Cons

  • 1-year warranty is less than most
  • Despite being nearly a clone of the Elitefts SS yoke, the balance isn’t as nice

REP Rackable Curl Bar – Best Curl Bar

REP Curl Bar - Standing Curl - Garage Gym Lab
  • Price: $199.99+ w/ Free Shipping
  • Type: Curl Bar
  • Bar Weight: 35lb
  • Knurl Type: Medium
  • Shaft Diameter: 30mm
  • Shaft Finish: Hard Chrome or Stainless Steel
  • Sleeve Type/Finish: Smooth/Hard Chrome or Stainless Steel
  • Rotation System: Bearings & Bushings
  • Made in: China
  • Warranty: 5-Year
Best Curl Bar
REP Curl Bar

The REP Curl Bar comes in hard chrome or stainless steel in either a rackable or non-rackable version. This bar offers comfortable bends that are sure to take your biceps gains up a notch.

CHECK PRICE Full Review

Summary

The REP Rackable curl bar is a solid option as far as curl bars go. I’ve owned this bar since it was released, and I’ve enjoyed using it. REP also sells a non-rackable version at a smaller price point.

The most important consideration of a curl bar is the bend angle(s). It should be comfortable on the wrists and allow you to target the biceps efficiently. The Ivanko curl bar is more or less the gold standard as far as bends are concerned, and the REP curl bar does a nice job of creating a similar profile. It’s comfortable on the wrists, and biceps isolation is no concern. You can also perform several other exercises with this specialty bar.

The knurling on the curl bar is medium in terms of aggression, which is appropriate for this type of bar. It’s the same knurling that REP uses on their multipurpose barbells. One thing I do wish this bar offered is knurling that extends entirely through the bends rather than segmented.

The sleeves are operated with a combination of one bearing and one bushing, which creates a fluid spin. These sleeves are 10″ long, which is appropriate for a curl bar – max load isn’t a big concern on this type of bar.

In my opinion, having a rackable curl bar is a big advantage. It’s much easier to load and unload plates since it sits in your rack exactly as an Olympic barbell does. It also makes it much easier to perform movements like lying triceps extensions since you can push the bench directly under the racked bar.

Read the full REP Curl Bar review, and check out our top curl bar recommendations.

Pros

  • Solid value for a quality curl bar
  • Rackable allows for much easier loading/unloading of the bar and opens up more training options
  • Two finish options, including chrome and stainless steel (shaft and sleeves)
  • Comfortable bends with several areas for hand placement
  • Medium knurl feels good for a curl bar

Cons

  • knurling does not extend 100% through the bends

Types of Olympic Barbells

Different Types of Barbells

Multipurpose Barbells

Multipurpose bars can be classified as general fitness or functional fitness barbells. These bars are commonly used in CrossFit given their specs and performance qualities. Multipurpose bars are most easily identified by their dual knurl rings. These rings mark the proper hand position for powerlifting movements as well as Olympic weightlifting movements. The knurling on multipurpose barbells is not aggressive. They usually have a hilly or volcanic pattern, which is ideal for higher reps. These bars may or may not have a center knurl.

Multipurpose bars typically have a 28mm or 28.5mm shaft. A 28mm diameter shaft will be better suited for Olympic lifts since it will offer more whip. You will sometimes find 28mm multipurpose bars with bearings as the rotation system for this reason (i.e. Olympic weightlifting). A 28.5mm diameter is a good all-around diameter since it bridges the gap between Olympic lifts and power lifts. You will also find many high-quality women’s barbells, which have a 25mm shaft, a shorter length, and a 15kg weight.

Typically, multi-purpose bars are the most affordable of the three main barbell categories. Prices range from ~$170 for no-frills multipurpose bars to ~$800 for high-end multipurpose bars. If you’re a CrossFitter, a beginner, or a lifter who likes to dabble in multiple areas of training, a quality multi-purpose bar will go a long way.

Powerlifting Barbells

Powerlifting barbells are used specifically to train the big three power lifts: the squat, the bench, and the deadlift. I recommend a dedicated power bar if you’re a competitive powerlifter or someone who loves to train these movements. Power bars are identified by single powerlifting knurl rings, aggressive knurling, and a thicker shaft diameter.

Power bar knurling is typically volcanic or mountainous with a more aggressive pattern compared to other styles. When setting heavy PRs, the extra bite can come in handy. Every powerlifting bar will offer a center knurl. Sometimes the center knurl will be the same pattern as the rest of the bar, and sometimes it will be less aggressive. Center knurls are helpful on back squats, particularly low bar back squats commonly seen in powerlifting.

The shaft diameter on power bars is usually 29mm, which creates a very rigid barbell. Sometimes, however, you will see a 28.5mm power bar (e.g., Texas Power Bar). You may also find 27mm and 30mm+ on deadlift bars and squat bars, respectively. Powerlifting bars also utilize a bushing rotation system, which creates a controlled, slower spin.

Power bars can range in price from ~$190 to over $1,000 based on quality, specs, etc.

Olympic Weightlifting Barbells

Olympic Weightlifting bars are used specifically for training Olympic lifts such as the snatch, clean & jerk, etc. As with power bars, I recommend a dedicated Oly bar if you train with specificity toward these lifts. Olympic weightlifting bars are identified by single weightlifting rings, a thinner diameter shaft, and often, needle bearings.

Olympic Weightlifting bars have various types of knurling patterns. You’ll most commonly see hilly and volcanic patterns with medium aggression, but on barbells spec’d for competition, you may find more aggressive patterns. You also may find some Olympic Weightlifting bars with a center knurl and some without. Typically, competition bars will have them, and training bars will not.

Olympic Weightlifting bars have 28mm shafts to increase the whip on the bar. This will make explosive Oly lifts more efficient and responsive. Many Olympic Weightlifting bars will also use needle bearings as their primary spin mechanism. This is especially true on competition bars, but you will also find them on other versions. You will also find some Oly bars with a bushing system and others with a combination of bearings and bushings. Either way, weightlifting bars usually spin faster than other barbells.

Olympic weightlifting barbells are typically the most expensive bars given their specificity and use of more expensive bearings. They can range from ~$200 to over $1,100 depending on a variety of factors.


How to Pick a Barbell

Gungnir Allrounder - Shaft- Garage Gym Lab

When it comes to barbells, none are the same. Each has its own character, spec profile, nuances, etc. Here are some important factors to consider:

Purpose

Before picking out the right barbell for you, it’s important to determine your lifting intent. Are you someone who competes in a specific sport/event? If so, I recommend a sport-specific bar. If you’re someone who trains a variety of lifts or if CrossFit is your sport, then a multipurpose bar is an ideal option.

Shaft Diameter & Whip

Along those same lines, understanding the various diameters and their influence over the bar’s whip is important. Shaft diameter is the biggest indicator of whip – not tensile strength. The thinner the bar is, the more whip it will generate. Also, consider your hand size. Lifters with smaller hands may just prefer a thinner shaft for comfort.

Tensile Strength

Tensile strength is a commonly referenced spec that has somewhat of an overblown influence on a barbell’s performance. In general, tensile strength measures the point at which a barbell will literally break. The number generally ranges from 130,000 to around 250,000 PSI. Barbells with 190k tensile strength or more are perfectly acceptable for virtually any lifter. Beginner lifters or lifters who aren’t lifting a significant amount of weight can use bars with smaller tensile strengths, but I recommend at least 150,000 PSI. If you can, stick to 190k or higher as a general rule of thumb.

Yield Strength

Yield strength is arguably the better spec relative to tensile strength. Yield strength measures the point at which a barbell will bend and not return to its normal position. Generally speaking, barbells will be more prone to bending permanently (yield strength) than breaking (tensile strength). Watch Joe Sullivan’s Squat bend to see what I’m talking about. Most companies do not report a yield strength, although some will. Ultimately, most high-quality bars are going to offer adequate yield strength. Issues that may arise are usually the result of user error (e.g., slamming rack pulls onto safeties, etc.).

Knurling

Knurling is one of the most important considerations when buying an Olympic barbell. Refer to the ‘Barbell Knurling and Shaft Finishes’ section below for a detailed overview.

Rotation System & Spin

This will also come down to lifting intent, but you should understand which rotation system is best for you. If you’re a powerlifter, bushings are the best and only choice. Look for bronze bushings, composite bushings, or stainless steel bushings. Brass bushings or anything else will be inferior in comparison.

With multipurpose bars and Olympic weightlifting bars, you can buy barbells with bushings, bearings, or a combination of both. Bearing bars will generally be more expensive. If you’re a competitive weightlifter, I would highly recommend them. If you’re buying a multipurpose bar, ask yourself if you plan to use the bar more for weightlifting movements or more for general purpose. The closer you are to general purpose, the more likely a bushing system (or a combo) is appropriate for you.

Shaft Finish

Barbells come in a variety of shaft finishes. Each finish has pros and cons based on price, oxidation resistance, aesthetic, feeling, and more. Read more in the below section titled ‘Barbell Knurling and Shaft Finishes.’

Sleeve Finish

Sleeve finishes do not come in quite as many varieties as shaft finishes, but there are still several. You will commonly find hard chrome and bright zinc sleeves; however, you will sometimes find stainless steel, Cerakote, black oxide, etc. I recommend chrome, zinc, and stainless steel if possible. Cerakote and other colored sleeves look great initially, but they show imperfections quickly.

Sleeve Type

Barbell sleeves come in two varieties: grooved/ribbed and smooth. Grooved sleeves create a little more friction against the plates, which keeps them on the bar better when you’re not using barbell collars. The downside is that they make an audible zip noise that some find irritating. Smooth sleeves, on the other hand, are much quieter.

Maintenance

Barbells are an investment in your gym and health. You should maintain them to ensure a long life of strong performance. Different bars will require different levels of maintenance based on finish type and sleeve construction. Read the below section titled ‘Barbell Maintenance’ for an in-depth look into the best ways to properly maintain a barbell.

Warranty

Barbell warranties typically start at one year and last up to a lifetime depending on the manufacturer. Keep in mind that these warranties are for new first-time barbell purchases. Secondary purchases on the used marketplace will typically not have a transferrable warranty. These warranties will generally warrant manufacturer defects and bending/breaking so long as you use the barbell appropriately.

If you mistreat the bar (e.g., drop a loaded bar on safeties, etc…), a warranty claim will be denied. Similarly, companies do not typically warrant finish issues stemming from user negligence. Always read the fine print of a company’s warranty policy. For instance, some companies will void a warranty if the end cap is removed.


Barbell Knurling & Shaft Finishes

Barbell Knurling - Best Barbells

Knurling is the grippy part of a barbell. It comes in different shapes, sizes, and profiles based on lifting purpose and manufacturer preferences. The primary types of barbell knurling are hills, volcanoes, and mountains.

Hills

Hilly knurling is considered passive or mild knurling. It’s typically seen on multipurpose barbells, Olympic weightlifting barbells, and gym barbells. It has a flat and shallow pattern that presents very little bite. This makes it a good choice for higher rep and volume workouts. Since this pattern is more passive, lifters may need to use lifting straps or chalk on heavier attempts.

Volcanoes

Volcano knurling is considered medium on the aggression spectrum, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be aggressive in its own right. This pattern looks exactly like a volcano, meaning a point has been removed, leaving behind a crater of sorts. Surrounding that crater are four less-pronounced points that provide a grip that isn’t overly sharp. The depth and width of each crater will ultimately determine how aggressive the knurling feels. You’ll find volcano knurling on all styles of barbells.

Mountains

A mountainous knurl is the most aggressive type of knurling since it has an obvious peak at every point. These are most commonly seen on powerlifting bars, but you also may find them on competition Olympic weightlifting bars, just less pointy. The point itself will determine how aggressive a mountainous knurl is. For example, a peak that has been rounded off will feel less aggressive than a very pointy peak. This style of knurling is great for low rep training and PR attempts.

Barbell Finishes

Shaft finishes are also important because they influence several things, including feel, oxidation resistance, and aesthetics. With shaft finishes, you either have no coating (e.g. bare steel), an applied coating (e.g. hard chrome, Cerakote, etc…), or a conversion coating (e.g. black oxide).

No coating and conversion coatings have the best feeling since they don’t impact the knurl at all. Applied coatings, on the other hand, fill in some of the knurl depth, which can reduce the aggression of the knurling. The following chart illustrates the relationship between oxidation resistance and feeling among the main barbell finishes.

Barbell Shaft Finishes - Feeling vs. Oxidation Resistance

As you’ll see, there’s a much larger variance when it comes to oxidation resistance. Barbell finishes tend to feel good overall, but applied coatings tend to feel inferior compared to conversion coatings or no coatings at all.

Where do your preferences fall? If you want high oxidation resistance and a great feel, stainless steel may be your best bet, although it’s typically the most expensive. If feeling is the most important thing to you, then bare steel or black oxide (one of my favorites), may be best, and you’ll save some money. The chromes, zincs, and e-coats of the world work to find a balance between feel, oxidation resistance, and price. In either case, let this chart guide your decision to see which barbell shaft finish is best for your needs.


Barbell Maintenance Tips

Gymway USA Cross Training Bar 2.0 - Shaft Angle

There are a few maintenance practices to maximize the life, performance, and look of your barbell:

  1. Never, ever drop an empty barbell. This is a surefire way to cause serious damage to the sleeve assembly of a barbell. Inside the sleeves are needle bearings and/or bushings that, when dropped properly with plates, can withstand it because the plates are absorbing much of the force. Without plates, all that force is distributed directly through the bar, which can lead to permanent issues.
  2. Brush your barbell out after every training session to remove chalk, sweat, and blood. If left to sit on the barbell’s shaft, this can attract and hold oxidation-inducing moisture. By staying on top of it, you can ensure your barbell will look great for longer. I recommend the Nylon 360 Brush or a simple Deck Brush. Both work well without removing any finishes.
  3. Apply 3-IN-ONE oil from time to time on all surfaces of your barbell and inside the collar. A shop cloth or rag works great to spread the oil and remove any excess. This oil helps protect against oxidation and keeps the inner workings firing on all cylinders. The frequency will largely depend on the barbell’s finish and the environment in which you’re training. For example, a bare steel barbell in a humid garage should be treated with 3-IN-ONE oil every 3-4 weeks. Less humid environments and/or more protective finishes don’t require nearly as much frequency. Either way, the bottle will last a long time.
  4. Store your barbells off the ground. If you leave your bar on the ground, it’s more prone to picking up dirt and grime, which can damage your barbell. Storing your barbells on a storage rack is a great way to stay organized and keep your barbells protected.

FAQs

  • How Much Does a Good Barbell Cost?

    Barbells can range in price from under $150 to well over $1,000. While you can find great value bars in the $200-$300 range, the sweet spot for a good barbell is between $300-$400. There are very high-quality barbells in this price range that are just as nice, if not nicer, than bars that cost $500+.

  • Should I Buy More than One Barbell?

    Owning more than one barbell isn’t required by any means, but having access to more than one barbell is advantageous in a few ways.

    First, you can train different styles of lifts more effectively. For example, a powerlifter may own a power bar and a multipurpose bar to train the big 3 with the power bar and accessory movements with the multipurpose bar.

    Second, you can pick your “bar of the day” based on programming or preferences. For example, you may prefer a more aggressive barbell on low rep/low volume/PR days and a less aggressive barbell on higher rep/volume days. Owning more than one barbell allows you to accomplish that easily.

    Third, you can train more than one person at a time or set up “stations” for yourself. For example, if you have a squat rack and a deadlift platform, you could have your bars “live there.” This makes your training time more efficient.

Adam Hensley
Adam Hensley
Adam is the founder of Garage Gym Lab and has over two decades of fitness/training experience. He serves as the chief content creator and runs our YouTube channel and social media accounts. When he's not testing equipment or sharing his love for home gym life, you'll find him with his wife and two kids in sunny South Carolina.
Adam Hensley
Adam Hensley
Adam is the founder of Garage Gym Lab and has over two decades of fitness/training experience. He serves as the chief content creator and runs our YouTube channel and social media accounts. When he's not testing equipment or sharing his love for home gym life, you'll find him with his wife and two kids in sunny South Carolina.

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