Rep Fitness Stainless Steel Power Bar Review

Rep Fitness Stainless Steel Power Bar End Cap

Stainless steel bars are becoming an increasingly popular option among lifters due to their superb oxidation resistance and overall feel.

There are a few equipment manufacturers who have either already introduced stainless bars or are in the process of introducing stainless bars for mass production. These include American Barbell, Rogue Fitness, Vulcan Strength, York, Ivanko, etc…

As a company known to stay current with emerging trends in the equipment space, Rep Fitness first introduced their stainless steel power bar in early 2017. Due to some issues with heat treatment, and later some knurl ring measurement issues, Rep Fitness heavily discounted the bars and decided to go back to the drawing board to refine their bar and release a new version.

Today, the bar is spec’d properly in accordance with the IPF, and it comes in at a hell of a price.

Rep Fitness Stainless Steel Power Bar on Power Rack

Before diving into the review of the bar, I think it’s important to see the benefits of stainless steel as an option over other traditional finishes like chrome, zinc, etc…

Stainless Steel vs. the Field

When it comes to selecting a barbell, the coating (or lack thereof) is a very important factor to consider. Depending on your budget, lifting conditions, aesthetic preferences, etc… you have options that will be more suitable for your specific needs.

Below is a list of benefits that stainless steel offers over other finish types:

  • Corrosion Resistance – Arguably the biggest benefit of stainless steel is its ability to fight off rust and limit oxidation. If you train in a humid environment like I do in my North Carolina garage, oxidation is a very real thing. If you look at it on a linear spectrum, bare/raw steel is the most susceptible to rust and stainless steel is the most resistant to rust. In fact, stainless steel is extremely effective at fending off oxidation. Because of this, and because of the growing garage gym population, stainless has become a very popular choice.
  • Touch & Feel – One of the biggest disadvantages of applied coatings on a barbell is that they detract from the feel of the knurling. Said another way, a bare steel bar offers the most natural feel among any other type of shaft. If that natural feel is something important to you, raw steel and stainless steel are by far your best options.
  • Aesthetics – The beauty of stainless steel is that it looks incredible out of the box and it stays that way for a very long time. With other finishes, rust will eventually creep in and perhaps create an unfavorable look depending on your style. In my opinion it’s not quite as cool as cerakote, which allows you to apply colors, but it’s the best if you like that traditional steel look. I certainly do.

Oxidation Rate Chart

Now that we’ve covered some high level stainless steel benefits, let’s get into the review already!

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Rep Fitness Stainless Steel Power Bar

To preface, I think Rep Fitness did an excellent job with this bar. It looks great, feels really nice, performs well, and it has an unbelievable price tag.

The other stainless steel options that I mentioned above have price tags that are higher than Rep Fitness- substantially so in some cases.

As you’ll read in my review, when you consider all the salient specs and price tag, this bar has amazing value. I think it belongs on anyone’s short list when considering a power bar, and especially a stainless steel version.

Rep Fitness Stainless Steel Power Bar Measurements

Specs Overview

Bar Weight: 20kg
Shaft Diameter: 29MM
Knurl: Medium & Sandpaper-like
Center Knurl: Yes – same pattern
Knurl Marks: Powerlifting
Shaft Coating: Stainless steel
Tensile Strength: 205,000 PSI
Bar Length: 86.75″
Distance Between Collar Faces: 51.5″
Loadable Sleeve Length: 16.35″
Sleeve Coating: Stainless Steel
Bushing/Bearing: Bushing

Knurling

The knurling on this bar is less aggressive than others on the market such as the Rogue Ohio Power Bar (review here), Vulcan Absolute Power Bar (review here) etc… I would consider it a medium knurl that has a sandpaper-like feel to it. It’s not sharp, yet it has a bite to it when you set your grip. The tops are diamond patterned and flat. In other words, you won’t put this bar down and then look at your hands to see if you’re bleeding uncontrollably after tearing a callus. It’s just not that type of knurl… and that’s perfectly fine to me.

Rep Fitness Stainless Steel Power Bar Knurling

That said, I do prefer a more aggressive knurl on deadlifts. As such, I don’t really see myself using this bar in that manner unless I’m hitting some high volume sets where I’m concerned about my hands. Mind you, this is personal preference. I simply like a sharper knurl when doing them. Using chalk, I haven’t had an issue with hand slippage thus far on my deadlifts, but I’ve definitely had to chalk up sooner.

I really like this bar with squats. Although I do think it helps to an extent, I don’t necessarily love a sharp center knurl on squats. To me, this bar offers a fantastic knurl for squats in that it’s comfortable, but still highly effective at sticking to the back. I’ve trained with it both on high bar and low bar squats, and I think it’s really good for both, but especially high bar. To me, it was noticeably more comfortable in that position when compared to the Rogue OPB’s of the world. I also much prefer using this bar for front squats over any other aggressively knurled barbell.

Rep Fitness Stainless Steel Power Bar Knurl

This is my go-to bench bar at the moment when I’m doing straight-bar bench work. With bench, I’ve never really found a ton of benefit with using an aggressive knurl. Maybe this is because I have poverty bench numbers (shame), but I like to think it’s because grip isn’t a limiting factor on the lift. That said, this less aggressive knurl feels great.

Shaft

The bar has a tensile strength of 205,000 PSI, which firmly places it among some of the strongest shafts available on the market. The 29mm shaft is right in the powerlifting wheelhouse of 28mm-29mm, which aids in creating a rigid barbell. As you would expect with a stiff powerlifting bar, there is no whip. Furthermore, any kind of flexion would be minor and limited to high weight loads.

Rep Fitness Stainless Steel Power Bar Shaft Diameter

The center knurl is approximately 4.75″ in width and it’s the same knurl pattern as the rest of the bar. As I mentioned above, I can really appreciate a less aggressive center knurl when performing front and high bar squats. There are some bars out there, like the Rogue B&R bar that, in my opinion, smartly change the center knurl pattern to accommodate for the potential discomfort. With the Rep Fitness bar; however, there really isn’t a need. While there may be a trade-off in terms of deadlift grip, the bar has other attributes that I find beneficial over competing bars.

Rep Fitness Stainless Steel Power Bar Knurling

The knurl termination points are beautifully done. They’re very clean with clear and concise end marks. I’m very impressed with how Rep Fitness did this.

Sleeves

Rep Fitness Stainless Steel Power Bar Sleeve

The sleeves on this bar are oh-so-silky-smooth, and I love it! I personally prefer smooth sleeves over grooved sleeves because I don’t think the marginal benefit of grooved sleeves outweighs the rather annoying “zzziiiiiipppppppp” noise. In case you’re wondering, the perceived benefit of grooved sleeves is that they assist in keeping the plates in place better when not using a collar. I tend to agree (somewhat), but I don’t think it dramatically helps and I typically use collars anyway.

I’ll take quieter sleeves for $100, Alex.

Unlike some other stainless power bars on the market, the Rep Fitness bar has stainless sleeves also. The Rogue OPB, for instance, has hard chrome sleeves with its stainless shaft. While they will introduce a stainless sleeve version, the price will surely increase well above that of the Rep bar.

The sleeves are operated by a bushing system and the spin is consistent (and minimal as expected). While a lot of spin isn’t an important aspect of a powerlifting bar, a smooth spin is still nice to have. The sleeves are affixed to the shaft with a dual snap ring design, which I think this is a really nice touch vs the single snap ring that most others employ.

Rep Fitness Stainless Steel Power Bar Sleeve Diameter

The loadable sleeve length on the bar is 16.35″, which is just a bit longer than some other competing bars. I can load well over 600 lbs on the bar using my competition bumpers including a collar. Depending on what plates you’re using, you can load much more than that even. The diameter of the sleeves is 1.96″ as one would expect with this type of barbell.

One critique that I do have with the sleeves is that they have a little more end play than some of the other bars I’ve used. By end play I mean there is a little more lateral movement with the sleeves themselves. While my sleeves have slightly more movement than my Rogue Ohio Power Bar (review here), some others I have heard from have movement of around 1/8″. Do I think this will impact performance? No, and if it were to, it would be minimal. Trust me, the sleeves aren’t going anywhere with the double snap rings.

Aesthetics

Rep Fitness Stainless Steel Power Bar with Bumper Plate

This is simply a beautiful barbell. The surfaces are nearly flawless. I have gone over the entire bar with a fine toothed comb, and I just cannot find a material issue of any consequence. No blemishes, no scratches, nothing. I realize this can sometimes be luck of the draw, but the fact it’s nearly perfect tells me others are likely to be of similar quality.

The color of the steel is really nice. I love the look of stainless steel in general, but I think Rep Fitness really hit it out of the park with this steel. It has a beautiful light gray finish, but depending on how the light hits it, you may actually see a more gun metal look. It’s very cool.

I mentioned the knurl termination points earlier as being really nice on this bar. I think this really adds to the overall aesthetic profile. When I compare it to my Rogue OPB, the Rep Fitness bar has noticeably better knurl ends. No, it’s not going to affect performance, but it just looks awesome! I’m such a nerd with these types of things. If you’re reading this, you may be too. #Nerdsunite.

Rep Fitness Stainless Steel Power Bar with Bumper Plates

Lastly, I’m a fan of the end cap design. Unlike some other end caps that have a flat profile with a matte finish (also very cool), the Rep bar has more of a rounded cap with a glossier finish that actually refracts some light. Plus I think Rep Fitness has a really nice looking logo.

Rep Fitness Stainless Steel Power Bar – Pros and Cons

Pros

  • The best quality of this bar is that it’s stainless steel. If you train in a humid environment or you generally care about oxidation over time, stainless steel cannot be beaten. Additionally, stainless gives you the most natural feel possible alongside its raw steel counterpart.
  • The sleeves are smooth, which I prefer over grooved. They’re also stainless steel, which is unlike some other stainless power bar options.
  • The value of this bar is resoundingly awesome. $269 for a fully stainless steel power bar? That price is amazing when compared to other stainless power bars on the market, almost all of which are at or above $400.
  • Aesthetically, the bar looks awesome. It has a virtually flawless finish. Rep clearly understands the notion “the devil is in the details.”
  • The knurling (also a con below) is on the less aggressive side, which I actually quite like for squats and bench.
  • The specs are generally very good and the strength rating indicates you won’t have an issue loading any amount of weight on the bar.

Cons

  • I’ll likely stick to more aggressively knurled bars for deadlifting. I found myself needing chalk sooner using this bar than with some others.
  • The minor sleeve play, as minimal as it is, could be tighter.

If you’re in the market for a quality power bar that offers tremendous value and supreme oxidation resistance, the Rep Fitness Stainless Steel Power Bar should 100% be on your short list of choices. The price is far less than the competition, yet the quality is still outstanding. If you have a more aggressive power bar, perhaps not in stainless steel, this could be a great addition to your arsenal, as it gives you a higher end finish and a new knurl option.

I personally will have the Rep Fitness bar in my permanent rotation depending on the lift and my programming. It’s just a really nice barbell that I expect will last a very long time.

If you want to read more about power bars or powerlifting equipment in general, check out my ultimate guide to building a powerlifting home gym.

If you have any questions on this bar or power bars in general, please leave a comment below. Likewise, if you own this bar and you want to chime in on your own thoughts, please do so!

As always, I appreciate any feedback.If you found this review useful, please feel free to share it on social media!

The bar is loaded,

Adam

Rep Fitness Stainless Steel Power Bar End Cap
Final Verdict
Overall Construction9.4
Knurling9.2
Performance9.3
Sleeves9.5
Aesthetics9.6
Value9.8
9.4
Oh Baby!
Final Verdict
The Rep Fitness Stainless Steel Power Bar is a terrific barbell. It has amazing value, it's well made, and it's beautiful. I strongly suggest you check it out if you're in the market for a power bar, especially one in stainless steel.
Where to Buy

14 COMMENTS

  1. Nice review. Thanks! I had been eyeing this bar, but can’t really justify having a second bar for my minimal setup. How does the knurl compare to American Barbell knurling? The description sounds similar. Also, how much louder is this bar compared to a bar with tighter tolerances in the sleeves? That’s the main downside I hear about lateral play on the sleeves.

    • Thanks for reading, Tony! It’s similar to AB knurling in my opinion in that it’s less aggressive. I’d say there is a minimal amount of extra noise as a result of the end play. I haven’t really noticed any to be honest, but maybe I play my music too loud, haha!

  2. Great review Adam, and owning this bar myself, it’s on point! The only thing I feel differently about is that the grooved sleeves, but that’s definitely a personal preference. The main competitors I looked at when bar shopping were the Rogue Ohio Power Bar and the Vulcan Elite (zinc coated) Power Bar. I heard the Vulcan had really awesome agressive knurling and that the Rogue was just very well liked but I couldn’t resist the price! I am very impressed with this bar, especially for the money. I think it’ll serve me well for many years.

    • Thanks for reading Chris! I absolutely love my Rogue OPB. But I agree, this price was irresistible and I think it will last a long time for both of us! I actually live down the road from Vulcan and I’m planning on checking out their facility soon. Thanks again, bud!

  3. Hey Adam,

    Great information as usual. I am considering purchasing a new bar that I plan to use for everything. I am going to use it primarily for Bench, Squat (high bar), Front Squat, Deadlift (hook grip) and OHP. No weightlifting (although I might dabble in power cleans down the road). Currently, I am using a Rogue Bar 2.0 (craigslist purchase) for these lifts but I feel like that isn’t the ideal bar for me and that I am missing out on something.

    I have narrowed down my choices to this Rep Fitness SS Power Bar ($235 shipped), Rogue B&R 2.0 ($310 shipped) or the American Barbell Grizzly ($250 shipped). I have used the Ohio Power Bar (bare steel version) in the past and even though the knurl was very grippy, it was a tad uncomfortable for pressing and hook grip.

    I am in Western Canada (lots of rain) so I would prefer a bar that offers some oxidation protection.

    Would the Rep Fitness suffice for my use case? Can you share any thoughts comparing the Rep Fitness to the B&R 2.0 (specifically the knurling). The B&R 2.0 seems perfect to be but it will certainly rust in my environment.

    Thanks!

    • Hey Sonny,

      Thanks for the message! I think you narrowed your list down very well if aggressive knurling isn’t something you’re interested in. The Rep and B&R are going to offer pretty similar feel in terms of the knurling, although the Rep bar may be very slightly more passive. I use hook grip as well, and I’ve not had any issue with either bar. If the knurl mark issue on the Rep bar doesn’t bother you, I think it’s a great bar for that price. The only real adjustment you have to make is on bench, but if you’re not competing, that’s probably not even a big deal. If rust is something that bothers you, the Rep bar is the clear winner. You will need to regularly maintain the B&R bar with oil, and it will still patina over time. The one thing the B&R bar offers is dual knurl marks, which is a little odd to me considering it has no whip. Overall though, I don’t think you can go wrong with the Rep bar, assuming the knurl mark doesn’t bother you.

      Hope this helps!

      Adam

  4. Hi Adam,

    Thanks again for the recommendation. I bought this bar and really like it. As you already saw, I posted a review on Reddit as well.

    Keep up the good work!

    Thanks,
    Sonny

    • Hey Daniel – it doesn’t present an issue with technique or safety, IMO. The lateral movement is very minimal. It will be a little louder during loading/unloading and possibly when using the bar on deadlifts, but the sleeves are firmly attached with 2 snap rings.

  5. Quick Question: Would you say the knurling on the Rep Fitness SS Bar is a lot less aggressive or slightly less aggressive than the Fringe Sport Power Bar? I tried the Fringe Sport Power Bar in person and found the knurling to be too aggressive and uncomfortable, even while unloaded.

    I am trying to decide between the Rep Fitness SS bar and the AB Grizzly, so any insight you can provide would be welcome.

    • Hey Phil! It’s definitely less aggressive than the Fringe Bar. I think for what you’re getting for the price, I would pick the Rep SS bar.

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