The REP Safety Squat Bar is a well-balanced bar with great specs and several unique features. This bar includes fully knurled steel handles, premium finishes, and Olympic-sized sleeves. For the money, it’s the best safety squat bar currently on the market.
Who It’s Right For
Things to Consider
The safety squat bar market has officially been put on notice.
I’ve been looking forward to using the REP Safety Squat Bar since they first started teasing it.
It does not disappoint.
In fact, of all the safety squat bars I’ve tested (I have an SSB addiction), this one from REP has become my daily driver.
This bar has excellent balance and a feature-rich spec profile that stands out from the pack. When you factor in a great price and free shipping, it has a lot going for it.
In this review, we’ll take a close look at the REP Safety Squat Bar. I’ll share the pros and cons and compare it to other popular options, including the Titan SSB and Elitefts SS Yoke.
Let’s dig in.
REP Safety Squat Bar
The REP Safety Squat Bar is closely modeled after the Elitefts SS Yoke Bar in terms of general specs. However, REP took it further with premium handles, Olympic sleeves, and a better finish.
When you look at some other companies, it took them more than one version to refine their safety squat bars. And to be fair, there are a lot of factors that go into making a good one.
The first Titan SSB was horrific, but they turned around and created a strong and wildly popular v2.
The first Bells of Steel SSB was a complete miss, but they later launched the impressive and unique SS3.
In some ways, I was expecting the same with this bar from REP.
But as I’ve experienced with this bar, they mostly nailed it. To be clear, there are some opportunities for improvement, but I’m thrilled with the bar overall.
Let’s look at the specs, and then we’ll get into the review.
- Bar Weight: 68lbs
- Shaft Coating: Metallic Black Powder Coat
- Sleeve Coating: Hard Chrome
- Bar Length: 92.5″
- Internal Yoke Width: 8″
- Total Yoke Width: 18″
- Handle Type: Knurled Steel
- Camber Angle: 22 Degrees
- Camber Drop: 5.5″
- Sleeve Diameter: 1.97″
- Made in: China
This bar is built with heavy-duty 38mm solid steel and weighs 68lbs. The sleeves are nicely welded, and the shaft is longer to fit squat racks better. The bar includes premium finishes, including a glossy powder coat on the shaft.
The REP Safety Squat Bar is a well-made and heavy-duty bar. Weighing 68lbs and measuring 92.5″ long, it’s slightly bigger and heavier than other SSBs. While this makes it a bit more challenging to move around, I appreciate the beefier construction, even if it makes gym math more difficult too.
The additional length allows this bar to sit better in your squat rack. Some safety squat bars don’t fit well in 49″ wide racks. Depending on the type of j-cups you’re using, the camber of the bar can sit on them, causing them to kick away from the rack or creating an uncentered bar. The REP bar is longer to prevent the camber from hitting the j-cups, even in wider racks.
The 38mm shaft is coated in a metallic black powder coat that looks fantastic. It has a glossy finish with some sparkle to it that separates it from traditional black powder coat. In my testing, the finish is holding up better also, which is a point of contention with many powder coats on this type of bar. Still, I expect some general signs of wear and tear to pop up eventually.
I’ll explain the finer points of the bar in the following sections, but I’m impressed with the overall construction.
Balance & Camber
This is one of the most well-balanced safety squat bars on the market. The camber angle and camber drop combine to match the Elitefts SS Yoke balance, which is widely considered to be the gold standard.
Balance is one of the most important factors of a safety squat bar. Those who have used it would likely agree that the Elitefts SS Yoke is the most well-balanced SSB outside the hard-to-find Crepinsek. Because of this, other companies have tried to find that balance, but most fall short.
I’ve found that the REP safety squat bar is the best when it comes to finding that magic balance. When I placed this bar on my shoulders without weight, it stayed in place just like the Elite bar does. Most other unloaded SSBs tend to roll backward. This translates to a more comfortable and effective loaded experience, especially when performing movements like the Hatfield squat.
This bar achieves its balance in two primary ways: camber angle and camber drop.
The camber angle is what produces the forward pitch that makes a safety squat bar so beneficial. A quality SSB has a camber angle of around 22 degrees, and this bar does a great job of hitting that. It’s slightly steeper than the Elite and others, but we’re talking a fractional amount.
The camber drop is where most safety squat bars miss, but not the REP. The drop is the height distance from the main shaft to the sleeve. Most SSBs have drops of ~4″, but a 5.5″ drop like on the REP and Elite bars is much more effective. When you combine this longer drop with the 22-degree angle, the load is positioned with the body’s centerline. A shorter drop places the load slightly further back, which is one of the reasons some unloaded bars want to roll off the back.
Yoke & Padding
The pad on the REP bar is made of a different material than other bars and creates a firm but comfortable yoke. The vinyl is superior to most other SSBs and is supple with a smoother texture.
REP didn’t reinvent the wheel on their yoke, but they did improve the vinyl compared to less expensive bars. This yoke measures 18″ wide with a ~8″ internal width, providing plenty of room to get into a comfortable position. This also places the handles in a true neutral position.
The padding on the REP bar is slightly different than others. Most SSBs use what looks like a carpet pad as the form insert. This bar uses a single-color foam, which isn’t quite as firm as the Titan or Bells of Steel. I find it to be one of the most comfortable yokes.
This yoke also has a nice diameter, helping to achieve its balance. Some other bars have thicker diameters, which effectively pushes the load further back and affects the balance.
Above that, the vinyl is the most impressive thing about this yoke. I still consider the Elite bar the gold standard for vinyl, but the REP vinyl is noticeably better than others. Where most SSBs have stiff, heavily textured vinyl, this bar uses a smoother, more supple vinyl.
The handles are one of the best features of this bar. They’re built with 38mm fully knurled steel and provide 7″ of grip length. REP has indicated that additional handle systems will be available in the future, providing even more variety.
The REP Safety Squat bar has several unique features, but none stand out as much as the handles. When you look at this bar, you can’t help but notice the overbuilt solid steel grips. Like the Elite, Titan, and others, the REP bar uses a shorter handle system, which I prefer over longer handles. However, that’s where the similarities end.
Unlike the plastic-covered handles with finger slots like on other bars, the REP SSB uses fully knurled steel. And they didn’t just throw some knurling on there to add to a spec sheet. It’s legitimate barbell-quality knurling with a well-machined volcano pattern. It feels premium, and I greatly prefer it over the traditional handles.
The handles are finished in bright chrome, and they measure 38mm in diameter and extend 7″ from the yoke. They’re also removable so that you can perform movements like JM presses.
One of my favorite things about the Bells of Steel SS3 is that it comes with multiple handles that you can swap out. REP mentioned they will offer additional handles in the future, but there’s no timeline. I expect long-handle and nunchuck options at the very least – I’ll update this review when they’re released, and I’m able to test them.
The REP sleeves are Olympic-sized, so you’re free to use any barbell collar. They’re finished in hard chrome and have a smooth surface, which reduces noise. They’re slightly shorter at 15.6″ compared to some other SSBs.
Another feature I appreciate about this bar is that it has Olympic-sized sleeves. While most SSBs are moving in this direction, there are still bars with smaller-diameter sleeves, like the Elitefts SS Yoke. Having an Olympic-sized sleeve means you can use any barbell collar, saving you money and space.
The 15.6″ loadable length is marginally shorter than the 16″ on some bars, so you can still load a lot of weight. In addition to the size, these sleeves are finished in hard chrome and have a smooth texture. The hard chrome will look much better over the long term, and the smooth surface cuts down on noise.
Lastly, REP included some slick metal end caps with a lasered nameplate. It’s not as nice as the polished Kabuki end caps, but it’s a step up compared to standard end caps. I’m not a big fan of how they angled the text, but after talking with REP, they indicated they would adjust this on future bars.
Shipping & Assembly
The REP safety squat bar ships via UPS and comes in two boxes. I received two separate tracking numbers and received the packages a day apart. Most people I’ve talked to received their boxes together, but you need them both to use the bar.
The larger box includes the bar and the handles, and the second box includes the yoke pad. I think shipping them separately was smart because it reduces the risk of the pad being damaged by the heavy bar. That said, it increases the risk of logistical issues.
With both packages unboxed, assembly only takes a couple of minutes. I recommend placing the bar in your rack before starting. When in position, just slide the yoke on, making sure the REP text is facing the opposite direction of the handle angles. Secure the velcro enclosure and then thread the handles. You’re ready to lift!
REP Safety Squat Bar vs. Titan Safety Squat Bar
The Titan Safety Squat Bar is arguably the most popular safety squat bar on the market. It’s a well-priced “clone” of the Elitefts SS Yoke, but how does it stack up against the REP Safety Squat Bar?
I put clone in quotations because, while it’s a very close copy of the Elite, it doesn’t have the same balance. However, the REP bar does, and that’s the biggest difference between these two bars. The Titan SSB has a 1″ shorter camber drop than the REP bar, which positions the load further back.
In terms of the yoke, the REP Safety Squat Bar has much nicer vinyl and a slightly softer foam. Otherwise, they’re very similar.
As it relates to the handles, I prefer the knurled steel handles of the REP over the plastic-coated Titan grips. Titan’s USA-made Titan Series SSB has a different honeycomb handle that I also like, but I still prefer the steel.
Both bars have Olympic-sized sleeves, but Titan’s are slightly longer. This may be a consideration if you’re a heavy-lifter or you’re using wide plates. In most cases, the ~0.5″ won’t make a difference.
The Titan Safety Squat Bar was one of the first to use a non-powder-coated finish. Instead, they use chrome, but it feels much more decorative and is not to be confused with hard chrome. It’s still a huge improvement over the Elite SS Yoke finish, but I like the REP finish more.
Price-wise, the REP safety squat bar is $30 more expensive than the Titan. However, the Titan SSB often goes on sale, so the difference is usually greater. Both bars ship for free.
Ultimately, these are two solid SSBs. Titan is an excellent budget option, but if you’re willing to spend a little extra, I recommend the REP safety squat bar.
REP Safety Squat Bar vs. Elitefts SS Yoke Bar
The Elitefts SS Yoke is one of the best safety squat bars from a performance, balance, and comfort perspective. But is it worth the much higher price tag?
Until REP released their SSB, no other value option could match the balance of the Elite bar. I was pleasantly surprised when I tested the REP bar and found it balanced just as nicely.
The yokes on both bars are similar, but the Elite vinyl is still my favorite. Pad comfort and specs are comparable.
The Elite Bar popularized the plastic-coated ribbed handles that most other companies use. Again, I like the knurled steel handles from REP much more.
The biggest downside to the SS Yoke Bar is the clear coat finish. Quite frankly, it’s terrible. It chips, flakes, peels, and generally looks awful after limited use. The REP safety squat bar has a much nicer finish, especially on the sleeves.
Another benefit of the REP bar is that it has Olympic-sized sleeves. The Elite SSB has thinner sleeves that require specialized collars to secure your plates.
Although it’s discounted a few times a year and sometimes includes free shipping, the Elite Bar is ~$130 more expensive before shipping. All in, you’re looking at ~$175 more for the Elite SS Yoke. It’s important to note that the Elite bar is made in the USA, so if that’s important to you, it may swing your choice.
I don’t see enough benefit to justify the extra cost of the Elite bar. It’s a different story with less-balanced bars, but because the REP SSB matches the balance, the Elite’s biggest advantage is neutralized. With a better finish, better handles, and Olympic-sized sleeves, I recommend the REP SSB.
Pros and Cons
As someone who loves safety squat bars, I’ve had a very positive experience with this bar from REP. The great balance, steel handles, finish options, and Olympic sleeves are excellent features. In my opinion, the REP safety squat bar is the best traditional SSB you can buy, especially for the money.
REP Safety Squat Bar Rating
The REP Safety Squat Bar is a well-balanced SSB with solid features. For the money, it’s the best option out there. I highly recommend it.