HomeBest of 20247 Best Trap Bars in 2024: Top Picks for Heavy Lifting, Versatility,...

7 Best Trap Bars in 2024: Top Picks for Heavy Lifting, Versatility, and More

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The trap bar, also known as the hex bar, is one of the most versatile specialty bars you can own. It offers several benefits, including athletic performance, injury recovery, injury prevention, engraining proper technique, and more.

In addition to these benefits, trap bar exercises can include deadlifts, rows, shrugs, carries, lunges, etc., many of which serve as foundational elements of strength and conditioning.

We’ve tested every type of trap bar, including those with open frames, closed frames, dual handles, single handles, and adjustable handles. We’ve used them on deadlifts, lunges, carries, presses, shoulder shrugs, and even squats (yep, it’s possible). Here are some of the things we considered when making our list (more below):

  • Versatility: How many exercises can you do with the bar? Does it have an open frame, multiple handle options, or other features? Is it rackable?
  • Performance: Is the bar well-balanced? How do the handles feel? How much weight can it hold?
  • Sleeve Design: Are the sleeves Olympic-sized, or do you need special collars? What are the sleeves coated with?

In this article, I’ll share our top picks for the best trap bars for different price points, training goals, etc. Whether you’re a beginner lifter looking to learn proper hip hinge mechanics or an advanced lifter looking to elevate your training, we’ve got you covered.

What’s the Best Trap Bar?

We found the REP Open Trap Bar to have the best blend of performance, features, and value. We love the versatility of the open, rackable design and the multiple handle widths. The knurled center for carries and squats, deadlift jack for easy loading, and Olympic-sized sleeves are other standout features. In our experience, this bar offers the best bang for the buck.

Our Top Picks

Best Open Trap Bar: REP Open Trap Bar

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Best Closed Trap Bar: Rogue TB-2

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Best Value Trap Bar: Titan Hex Trap Bar v2

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Best Budget Open Trap Bar: Bells of Steel Open Trap Bar

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Best Budget Hex Trap Bar: Synergee Hex Trap Bar

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Best Premium Trap Bar: Kabuki Trap Bar HD

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Most Versatile Trap Bar: Prime Trap Bar

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Best Open Trap Bar: REP Open Trap Bar

Best Trap Bar For Most People
REP Open Trap Bar

The REP Open Trap Bar is the best overall trap bar for most people. With its rackable design, removable handles, and other premium features, it packs the most value of any trap bar.

Key Specs

  • Weight: 60 lbs
  • Handle Height: Dual
  • Handle Diameter: 28mm, 38, or 48mm
  • Shaft Finish: Powder Coat (Stainless Steel Handles)
  • Sleeve Finish: Hard Chrome
  • Olympic-Sized Sleeves: Yes
  • Rackable: Yes
  • Loadable Sleeve Length: 16.5″


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Summary

The REP Open Trap Bar is our pick as the best overall trap bar for most people. It blends some of the best features of other open trap bars into one, making it the most well-rounded bar on the market. With an attractive price and free shipping, it also packs the most value.

The first thing to note about the REP bar is its open-end design. As you can read in more detail in the below section titled “types of trap bars,” an open design greatly increases the bar’s versatility. You can perform some movements better than a closed bar, and you can perform entirely new movements that aren’t possible with a closed trap bar. When using this bar, you’ll find it to be extremely well-balanced.

Squatting with the REP Open Trap Bar

To make this bar even more dynamic, REP made it rackable with round tube steel. In addition to rack pulls and overhead presses, round tubing lets you perform cambered squats and even bench press. They then took it a step further by adding center knurling to provide more texture and make things like squats and suitcase carries more effective.

Another great feature of this bar is the handle system. REP designed this bar to have removable handles, which is beneficial in two ways.

  1. You can swap them with other handle variations. REP offers several different options, including thicker handles, rotating handles, and narrower handle brackets.
  2. You can regain 5″+ of internal width, which provides more room on cambered squats for larger lifters or those who squat with a wide stance.
REP Open Trap Bar Handles & Knurling

The handles have a stock spread of 27.25″, but the other handle options allow for 23″ (narrow), 25″ (standard), or 24.6″ (rotating). They have a dual height, a stainless steel finish, and a moderately aggressive volcano knurl.

The sleeves on the REP Open Trap Bar are finished in hard chrome and are Olympic-sized, meaning you can use any barbell collars. They’re also 16.5″, giving you plenty of loading potential. Lastly, they have a smooth finish, which significantly reduces noise from plates sliding on and off.

The final feature is a built-in deadlift jack to make loading plates easier. When you add it up and look at the price, I don’t see a better trap bar for the money.

Pros

  • Outstanding versatility: open, rackable design
  • Stainless steel, removable handles with volcano knurling
  • Long sleeves with a hard chrome finish
  • Smooth, Olympic-sized sleeves
  • Integrated deadlift jack
  • Incredible value

Cons

  • The matte black powder coat on the frame shows scuffs easily

Read Our Full REP Open Trap Bar Review


Best Closed Trap Bar: Rogue TB-2

Best Closed 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

This Rogue Trap Bar is the best closed bar, in my opinion. It’s made in the USA, reasonably priced, and has solid specs.

The first thing to consider about the Rogue TB-2 is that it offers dual handles. I recommend most people buy trap bars that offer dual handles since they increase the versatility of the bar. The high handles are great for training different ranges of motion. Lifters who are recovering from an injury or those who are looking to blast through training plateaus will find the high handles to be very beneficial.

They sit approximately 8″ above the low handles. Both 34mm handles are knurled with a medium profile, but the low handle is the only one that is knurled from end to end. Even with the high handle only having a center knurled area, it’s inconsequential since lifters are only gripping the center to maintain the balance of the bar.

The hex frame of the TB-2 measures 25″ from handle to handle. This is an ideal distance since the handles will naturally sit comfortably under most lifters’ shoulders. Too small of a distance, and some lifters can feel claustrophobic. Too wide of a distance, and some lifters can feel less powerful since their arms are too far out. Corner gussets in the frame increase the strength of the bar.

Deadlifting with the Rogue TB-2

Moving to the sleeves, a smooth area between the hex frame and the collar makes this bar rackable. A rackable bar increases overall versatility since it allows you to perform a variety of exercises in your rack (e.g., rack pulls). The sleeve measures 16″ long, which is close to the same length as an Olympic barbell. This simply means you’ll have no issue loading a lot of weight. With the overall strength of the schedule 80 pipe, the bar won’t have issues handling all of that weight either.

The two primary downsides of the Rogue TB-2 are both related to the sleeves. Firstly, they aren’t Olympic-sized. While this is common among many specialty bars, it means your normal barbell collars will not work. You will need axel collars or something like the Proloc collars. I recommend Proloc collars because they work on all types of barbells. Secondly, the sleeves are powder-coated like the rest of the bar. This is purely cosmetic, but powder coating will show imperfections as soon as you start sliding plates on and off.

The TB-2 Rogue Trap Bar is an outstanding option and what I recommend for most people looking for a simple closed bar. Rogue also sells a single-handle version for less money.

Pros

  • Dual handles provide two elevations
  • The bar is rackable, which increases versatility
  • 16″ loadable sleeve length
  • 25″ center width accommodates most lifters
  • Corner gussets for increased strength
  • Both handles are knurled

Cons

  • Powder-coated sleeves will show wear and tear over time
  • Smaller diameter sleeves will not accommodate standard barbell collars

Best Value Trap Bar: Titan Hex Trap Bar

Best Value Hex Bar
Titan Hex Trap Bar

The Titan Hex Trap Bar is modeled closely after the Rogue TB-2. It includes a slightly narrower frame and offers dual knurled handles.

Key Specs

  • Weight: 60 lbs
  • Handle Height: Dual
  • Handle Diameter: 32mm
  • Shaft Finish: Powder Coat
  • Sleeve Finish: Powder Coat
  • Olympic-Sized Sleeves: No
  • Rackable: Yes
  • Loadable Sleeve Length: 16″


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Summary

The Titan Rackable Hex Trap Bar is one of the best value trap bars on the market. For less than $330 shipped, you get a bar that, while not perfect, is comparable to some more expensive bars on the market.

At first look, you may think this bar looks remarkably similar to the Rogue TB-2… and you would be right, almost. It’s virtually identically spec’d except for the handle diameter and the handle spread, which is 22″ as opposed to 25″. Therefore, it may feel tight for some lifters.

Lifters with narrow shoulders, however, will likely prefer this bar over the TB-2. The diameter of the handles measures 32mm vs. 34mm. If you have smaller hands or you’re just looking for something more similar to an Olympic bar, you also may prefer the Titan bar over the Rogue. Another difference is that Titan is made in China, while Rogue is made in the USA.

Deadlifting with the Titan Rackable Hex Bar

These differences aside, the Titan Hex Trap Bar is very similar to the TB-2. It has dual handles that are knurled in a medium profile and powder coated. It has corner gussets and a stated capacity of 800 lbs. As the name implies, the bar is rackable, so you can perform a variety of movements from your power rack. The sleeves are 16″ long and not Olympic-sized, so your normal barbell collars won’t fit. The sleeves, like the rest of the bar, are powder-coated, and they’ll show imperfections quickly.

Ultimately, this will come down to budget and your tolerance for the tighter hex frame. If you like the idea of the 22″ frame, the Titan Hex Bar is tough to beat for the money considering the specs are largely similar. Overall, the bar is very well-reviewed.

Pros

  • Dual handle height
  • Rackable features increases function
  • Corner gussets for increased strength
  • 16″ loadable sleeve length
  • 32mm knurled handles
  • Great value

Cons

  • Powder-coated sleeves will show imperfections quickly
  • Sleeve diameter requires specialty collars
  • 22″ handle width may feel tight to some users

Best Budget Open Trap Bar: Bells of Steel Open Trap Bar

Best Budget Open Trap Bar
Bells of Steel Open Trap Bar

The Bells of Steel Open Trap Bar is a budget-friendly hex bar with an open-end design and dual knurled handles. It doesn't have all the bells and whistles, but it's a solid budget pick.

Key Specs

  • Weight: 47 lbs
  • Handle Height: Dual
  • Handle Diameter: 25mm
  • Shaft Finish: Black Oxide
  • Sleeve Finish: Zinc
  • Olympic-Sized Sleeves: Yes
  • Rackable: No
  • Loadable Sleeve Length: 9.7″


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Summary

The Bells of Steel Open Trap Bar is a solid budget option. It has a fairly no-frills spec profile, but with one unique feature that you won’t find on many other trap bars.

This BoS bar has an open-end design that, like the others, opens up more exercise possibilities. It also includes a deadlift jack to make loading and unloading plates easier. It’s built using 25mm tube steel with a warrantied weight tolerance of 700 lbs, which is plenty for most people.

The bar includes dual handles that are both knurled and coated in black oxide. If you’ve read any of my stuff before, you know I’m a big fan of black oxide on barbells because of its superior feel. Because black oxide is a conversion coating, it doesn’t interfere with the knurling the same way powder coating and chrome do.

Therefore, despite this being a medium knurl, it provides a better grip than it would with an alternate finish commonly seen on trap bars. The downside to black oxide is that it’s more susceptible to oxidation over time. Also as it relates to the handles, they too are 25mm, which some people may find to be a bit thin.

Where this bar differs most from other trap bars is that it has rotating sleeves. This is very rare among trap bars and many specialty bars in general. Bells of Steel has taken the approach that barbells should have rotating sleeves, which is why they also include them on their safety squat bar. I don’t think it makes much of a difference in terms of actual performance, so it’s hard to recommend on that basis alone. But it is a distinguishing feature that at least gives the sleeve a barbell look and feel, including an Olympic diameter.

The biggest downside to this bar is that it offers very short sleeves of less than 10″. Even though it has a 700lb capacity, you’ll never get there with bumper plates or even non-calibrated plates. Iron plates will be your best bet on this bar. Standard iron plates will let you load up over 500 lbs with enough room for a collar at the end.

If you want an open trap bar but don’t want to spend up for the high-end options, the Bells of Steel bar is a strong contender.

Pros

  • Open-end design increases versatility
  • Built-in deadlift jack
  • Unique rotating sleeves
  • Knurled grips with a black oxide finish
  • Olympic-sized Zinc sleeves mitigate aesthetic wear and tear
  • Great price for an open-end trap bar

Cons

  • Loadable sleeve length of less than 10″ will limit weight, depending on plate width
  • Lower weight capacity compared to some other open-end options

Best Budget Hex Bar: Synergee Hex Trap Bar

Best Budget Hex Bar
Synergee Hex Trap Bar

The Synergee Hex Trap Bar is an excellent budget option. This no-frills trap bar has a hard chrome frame, dual knurled handles, and more...

Key Specs

  • Weight: 25 kg
  • Handle Height: Dual
  • Handle Diameter: 28mm
  • Shaft Finish: Chrome or Black Phosphate
  • Sleeve Finish: Chrome or Black Phosphate
  • Olympic-Sized Sleeves: Yes
  • Rackable: No
  • Loadable Sleeve Length: 10″


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Summary

The Synergee Hex trap Bar is one of the best and most popular budget trap bars on the market. It won’t blow the stat sheet away, but it has some nice features that make it a great budget choice.

The Synergee bar uses 28mm tube steel to construct the main hex frame and the handles. The bar offers dual handles, which are knurled from nearly end to end. One interesting thing about this bar is that the high handle uses a less aggressive knurl than the bottom handle, presumably because most users will be deadlifting from the lower handle. Either way, the bar offers a medium profile which is good for a variety of movements and rep schemes.

The handle spread on this bar is 23″, so a little narrower than some competing bars, but comfortable enough for most lifters.

Not uncommon among budget trap bars, the Synergee bar has short sleeves of 10″. This will limit how much weight you can load. It will also largely depend on the type of plates you’re using. Thick bumper plates, for instance, will result in less than 315 lbs, whereas iron plates will result in well over 500 lbs. The bar has a warrantied weight capacity of 750 lbs.

The good news is that the sleeves have an Olympic diameter and a chrome (or black phosphate) coating. I recommend chrome since it will tend to look better for longer.

It’s hard to bet against the Synergee Hex bar if you’re shopping on a budget and looking for a basic trap bar. It has received hundreds of very positive reviews and ships for free.

Pros

  • Very budget-friendly
  • Dual handles for increased versatility
  • Both grips are knurled with two patterns
  • 750 lb capacity

Cons

  • Not rackable
  • Short, 10″ sleeves will limit how many plates will fit on the bar

Best Premium Trap Bar: Kabuki Trap Bar HD

Best Premium Trap Bar
Kabuki Trap Bar HD

The Kabuki Trap Bar HD is one of the most feature-rich hex bars on the market. It includes several notable features, including dual swappable handles, Olympic-sized sleeves, and more.

Key Specs

  • Weight: 30 kgs
  • Handle Height: Dual
  • Handle Diameter: 29mm & 50.8mm
  • Shaft Finish: Semi-Gloss Powder Coat
  • Sleeve Finish: Zinc
  • Olympic-Sized Sleeves: Yes
  • Rackable: No
  • Loadable Sleeve Length: 17″


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Summary

The Kabuki Trap Bar is one of my favorite specialty bars that I own. It’s a feature-rich bar with a great spec profile and excellent overall performance. If you’re looking for an open-end trap bar and have a bigger budget, this is a strong contender.

Aside from the open-end design, the best feature of the Kabuki Trap Bar is its handle system, which has several benefits. Firstly, it offers dual height for increased versatility. Secondly, the handles can be interchanged. Kabuki offers two sets of knurled handles: 29mm (included) and 2″ Love Handles (upcharge). Each handle is knurled in a medium, slightly aggressive profile.

The Love Handles are especially unique because you can set them to a fixed or rotating position. You can swap the handles with a socket set, and while they’re easy enough to switch, most users will keep them in their positions.

Kabuki Strength Trap Bar HD Handle

Thirdly, the handles are placed on the bracket of your choice, which provides an internal width of 23″, 25″, and 27.” As mentioned above, 25″ is the ideal choice for most people. That said, if you have very narrow or broad shoulders, you can choose the narrower or wider bracket.

The sleeves on this bar are shipped detached to save on shipping costs. They’re easily assembled with a few bolts. They’re also generally a great feature of the bar because they have an Olympic diameter, are coated in zinc, and are 17″ long, which is longer than most Olympic bars. You can load a lot of weight on this bar, and with its high weight capacity, you can rest assured the bar will hold strong. The sleeves also include the famous pressed metal end caps that Kabuki is known for – they look amazing.

The Kabuki Trap Bar HD is one of my favorite and most used bars in my entire collection.

Code GARAGEGYMLAB5 will save you 5% on your entire Kabuki order.

Pros

  • Open-end design increases versatility
  • Dual height with interchangeable handles
  • Choice of three knurled zinc-plated handles
  • 17″ loadable sleeve length
  • Olympic-sized zinc-plated sleeves
  • Built-in deadlift jack
  • Very large weight capacity

Cons

  • Not rackable
  • Swapping handles is not a quick adjustment

Most Versatile Trap Bar: Prime Trap Bar

Most Versatile Hex Bar
Prime Trap Bar

The Prime Trap Bar is a very versatile hex bar that offers multiple handles at adjustable heights, an open-end design, Olympic sleeves, and more.

Key Specs

  • Weight: 73 lbs
  • Handle Height: Adjustable height (5 options)
  • Handle Diameter: 30mm + 2 Other Options
  • Shaft Finish: Gloss Powder Coat
  • Sleeve Finish: Stainless Steel
  • Olympic-Sized Sleeves: Yes
  • Rackable: No
  • Loadable Sleeve Length: 16″


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Summary

The Prime Fitness Trap Bar is another cutting-edge trap bar with a great design and feature set.

As you will see, the Prime Bar has an open-end design and a built-in deadlift jack. This jack is squared off with rubber end caps, so it will protect your floor better while making it very easy to load and unload plates. It’s also one of the most heavy-duty trap bars on the market. Weighing 73 lbs, it’s a tank that’s capable of handling virtually anything you can throw at it.

Aside from its open design, the best quality of the Prime bar is the handle system. This is a very unique and very clever design that provides two key benefits. First, it offers multiple heights you can quickly adjust with a pop-pin. There are five options ranging from normal barbell height to 9″, each spaced 1″ apart. This allows lifters to dial in their starting position based on user height and/or exercise selection.

KAZ Handle - Best Trap Bars

The second great thing about this handle system is that the handles are interchangeable. The bar comes standard with a pair of 30mm knurled handles. From there, you can add their KAZ handles or their RO-T8 handles. The KAZ handles are knurled and have a unique tapered design that fits the hand nicely. The RO-T8 handles have a paddle grip that greatly reduces grip fatigue so that you can train main muscles more effectively without grip limitation.

I love this system because all the handle options are permanently fixed to the adjustment tube, so you can swap them out in seconds. The downside is that the additional handles add to the cost, so if you get them all, you’ll be looking at over $1,100 for the bar. The third benefit of the handle system is that it creates a width of 25″ internally, so it will comfortably accommodate most lifters.

The sleeves on this bar, like the Kabuki Bar, are shipped disassembled to save on shipping costs. They’re easily installed and include a few nice benefits. These sleeves offer an Olympic diameter, they’re 16″ long, and they’re stainless steel. This is a great feature that I haven’t seen on any other trap bar. The stainless will fight oxidation better than any other finish, keeping your bar looking better for longer.

With its unique and adjustable handle design, the Prime Trap Bar is the most versatile of its kind. It’s expensive, but it’s an excellent option if you have the budget.

Pros

  • Open-end design is very functional
  • Built-in deadlift jack
  • Choice of three different handle options
  • Five handle height options
  • 16″ loadable sleeve length
  • Stainless steel sleeves

Cons

  • Most expensive option.
  • Not rackable

Compare our Top Picks

Compare our selection of the best hex bars below based on key specs. Scroll right to see more.

REP Open Trap Bar
REP Open Trap Bar Table Image
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Rogue TB-2
Rogue TB 2 Table Image
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Titan Hex Bar v3
Titan Hex Trap Bar Table Image
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BoS Open Trap Bar
Giant Open Trap Bar Table Image
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Synergee Hex Bar
Synergee Hex Trap Bar Table Image
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Kabuki Trap Bar
Kabuki Trap Bar Table Image
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Prime Trap Bar
Prime Trap Bar Table Image
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AwardBest OverallBest ClosedBest ValueBest Budget OpenBest Budget HexBest PremiumMost Versatile
Weight60 lbs60 lbs60 lbs47 lbs25 kg30 kg73 lbs
Handle Diameter28, 38, or 48mm34mm32mm25mm28mm29 or 50.8mm30mm
Handle HeightDualDualDualDualDualDual5 Heights
Olympic SleevesYesNoNoYesYesYesYes
RackableYesYesYesNoNoNoNo

Trap Bar Benefits

The beauty of specialty bars is that they help round out training, add versatility to your workout, and in some cases, create a safer and/or more comfortable lifting experience. The trap bar is great at each of those. It’s been called the swiss army knife of specialty bars by some, and I tend to agree. With so many different barbells, the trap bar is one of the most versatile bars that anyone can use.

I’ll highlight a few of the key benefits of the trap bar below, but feel free to check out my list of trap bar benefits for a more comprehensive overview.

It’s Safer for Your Low Back, Biceps, and Shoulders

Trap Bar Neutral Hands - Garage Gym Lab

One of the key differences between a trap bar and an Olympic barbell is that the trap bar places the load in line with your body’s center of gravity rather than in front of it. Doing this reduces the amount of shearing force on the lumbar spine by allowing the lifter to maintain a more neutral spine position. Furthermore, this load placement creates a more natural lockout whereby your body is purely vertical. On a traditional deadlift, it’s not uncommon to see lifters aggressively lean back at lockout to counterbalance the forward load.

Additionally, the trap bar is safer for your shoulders and biceps because of the neutral-grip handles. A traditional barbell can cause discomfort among some lifters because it places the shoulders in an internally or externally rotated position. A traditional bar can also lead to biceps injuries on the supinated hand of a mixed grip when performing deadlifts. A trap bar utilizes a more neutral hand and shoulder position that greatly reduces the risk of injury to the upper extremities.

It’s Easy to Learn and it Teaches Proper Mechanics

Trap Bar Hip Hinge - Garage Gym Lab

One of the foundational movements in daily life is the hip hinge. It’s also a movement that many people cannot perform properly. The trap bar is a great tool to teach a hip hinge – it’s actually quite organic. Because of the load and handle placement on a trap bar, it creates a movement that naturally encourages a hip hinge and a more neutral spine angle. Once you master it, you’ll find that straight bar deadlifts feel safer, and you’ll have more confidence with the bar.

It’s Extremely Versatile

Trap Bar Versatility - Garage Gym Lab

There are a lot of exercises that you can perform with a trap bar. It’s surely one of the most versatile bars on the planet. While some trap bar features and styles will allow for more variety than others, some of the movements you can perform include deadlifts (and variations), presses, carries, shrugs, lunges, squat variations, back rows, etc. Getting all those movements with a single specialty bar is impressive. When you factor in the inherent safety benefits, it’s easy to see the value in using/owning a trap bar.


Types of Trap Bars

Open Trap Bar vs. Closed Trap Bar

Closed Trap Bars/Hex Bars

The most common type of trap bar has a closed hexagonal design that you step into. The traditional hex trap bar was invented in the 1980s by Al Gerard. While the shape has changed from a diamond to a hexagon over the years, the principle of the bar has remained.

The closed trap bar can range in features. You’ll most commonly see dual-handle heights, but some will offer only a single height. Read below in the ‘considerations’ section for more on handle height. You’ll also have some hex bars that are rackable, some that have Olympic-sized sleeves, and some that have wider frames. So, while the basic function of the trap bar persists through different models and manufacturers, various features will separate the great ones.

Open Trap Bars

Open trap bars have surged in popularity since they were first introduced to the market around 2016. An open-ended trap bar is a more versatile option because it allows for even more exercises. By eliminating one of the long edges of the frame, you aren’t limited to a confined space. Therefore, you can more effectively perform unilateral movements, and you can perform other movements that are impossible with a closed trap bar.

For instance, you can perform walking lunges more easily with an open trap bar than a closed trap bar. A deadlift with an immediate sprint-out is an example of a movement made possible with an open trap bar, but not with a closed version. A common concern with open trap bars is that they’ll be unbalanced. However, this is not a problem since they’re designed to provide excellent balance during use.

Open-end trap bars can range in features. Some will be rackable, some will provide multiple handle heights, some will offer different grips, etc. However, almost all open trap bars include a built-in bar jack to make loading and unloading plates much easier than closed hex bars.

I’m a big fan of open trap bars, and I prefer them over closed bars because of their versatility. That said, they’re more expensive, and not everyone needs all the bells and whistles.


How to Pick a Trap Bar

Kabuki Strength Trap Bar

Here are a few of the most important factors to consider when buying a trap bar:

Handle Height

Trap bars commonly come with two primary handle configurations: single height or dual height. Single handles allow lifters to pull from the same height as a traditional barbell. Dual handles allow for that as well as a higher position to perform partial range-of-motion lifts. This can be beneficial if you’re training a particular sticking point or working through an injury. In the case of the Prime Trap Bar listed above, you’ll get multiple handle height options.

Open vs. Closed

The trending debate among trap bars is to go with a traditional closed hex frame or an open-end design. Both have pros and cons, but the open design is certainly more versatile. It gives you more exercise options, provides a built-in deadlift jack, and can be stored more easily. The downside is the open trap bar can be significantly more expensive. Ask yourself if you need the added versatility/features. If you do, and it fits your budget, I would highly recommend an open-end bar.

Rackability

A benefit of some trap bars is their ability to be racked in a squat rack, much like a traditional barbell. With a rackable trap bar, you can perform movements including rack pulls, overhead presses, inverted rows, neutral-grip pull-ups, and even squats. I don’t view rackability as a critical feature, but it’s nice to have if you perform those types of movements.

Knurling

The knurling on a trap bar will differ from bar to bar, as will the finish of the handles themselves. Trap bars most commonly include a powder-coated or chrome/zinc finish. The knurling on trap bars will generally lean towards a medium texture – not completely passive, but certainly not aggressive. Bars with powder coating will tend to feel more mild compared to those with a plated finish. The Kabuki Strength Trap Bar has the best knurling of any trap bar I’ve felt.

Sleeve Length

Sleeve length is a very important factor to consider when it comes to a trap bar. Most people can lift more weight on a trap bar than on a regular barbell. Yet many trap bars have shorter sleeves than an Olympic bar – in some cases, much shorter. This will limit how much weight you can load onto the bar. Before buying a trap bar, think about how much weight you lift and what type of plates you’ll use. Calibrated plates, for instance, will allow you to load a lot of weight even with shorter sleeves. On the other hand, bumper plates may limit you to 315 lbs or less.

Sleeve Diameter

Another factor to consider is the diameter of the sleeve. You will often find that trap bars have smaller diameters than traditional Olympic barbells. This is fairly common among specialty bars, but more and more are starting to move to an Olympic diameter. That’s because a smaller diameter will not accommodate standard barbell collars. You’ll either need axle collars or Proloc collars. I highly recommend Prolocs regardless of diameter because they’ll fit on any sleeve. I’ve used them for years, and they’re my go-to collars.

Sleeve Finish

Yet another sleeve consideration is the finish. Typically, a powder-coated sleeve will be a sign of a smaller diameter. It will also show imperfections very quickly. As soon as you start sliding plates on and off, the powder coat will chip, scratch, and fade. Chrome and/or zinc sleeves are typically a sign of an Olympic diameter, and they tend to look much better over time.

Bar Weight

Unlike Olympic barbells with consistent weights of 45 lbs or 20 kg, trap bars weigh between 45-76 lbs depending on their size, design, materials, and more.

Weight Rating

Different trap bars will have different weight ratings. While high-quality bars will carry plenty of capacity for most lifters, it’s important to consider among budget options. Some bars, for example, only have a 500lb capacity despite having a sleeve length that can accommodate more. This isn’t a big deal if you’re not a heavy lifter, but if you are, stick to quality bars that you know can handle the load.

Price

As with every product, budget is a big consideration for most. Trap bars can range in price from ~$150 to over $1,000. Consider what features are most important to you and find the product that delivers that in the price range that fits your budget.


Honorable Mentions

  • Eleiko Öppen Deadlift Bar: The Eleiko Trap Bar is a great and premium option, but it didn’t make this list because of its high price and single handle height. However, it’s a rackable bar with round tube steel, Olympic-sized sleeves, and a high weight capacity.
  • Vulcan Strength Ox Bar: The Ox bar is another quality rackable open trap bar with features that include dual handles, a thick grip handle, and Olympic-sized sleeves. Priced under $500, it has great value and narrowly missed making the main list.
  • Giant Northland Open Trap Bar: This bar nearly made the list as the best budget open trap bar. It’s very well-priced and includes nice features, including Olympic sleeves, dual handles, two diameters, and a round tube frame.
  • Intek ModF Bar: One of the original open trap bars, the Intek ModF is another contender. It didn’t make the list because of its high price and lower weight capacity. It does offer dual knurled handles and Olympic-sized sleeves, but the fully powder-coated finish doesn’t look as nice.
  • REP Basic Trap Bar: The standard closed trap bar from REP is a nice choice for beginners or those on a budget. It didn’t make the list because it has a wider handle spread and 25mm handles. Otherwise, it has long sleeves, a chrome finish, and a reasonable 500lb capacity.

FAQs about Trap Bars

  • What is a Trap Bar?

    A Trap bar, also known as a hex bar, is a specialty barbell with a hexagonal frame that you step into. This frame includes a set of one or two neutral-grip handles that you can use on a variety of exercises. The sleeves extend from the midline of the frame, placing the weight in line with your center of gravity. Relative to an Olympic barbell, this can create a safer experience and be a great tool to learn proper mechanics and build explosive power.

  • Should I Buy a Trap Bar For My Home Gym?

    A trap bar is one of the best specialty bars anyone can buy. They’re extremely versatile and offer many benefits, including athletic performance, reducing the risk of injury, and teaching proper form. Depending on your training style, I put the trap bar in the top 3 best specialty bars you can own.

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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