When Rep Fitness first dropped their iron Equalizer plates a couple years of ago, I was pumped.
I've always been a fan of these shooter-style plates with the cutouts, and the Rep design on these specific plates drew my eye immediately.
Upon receiving those plates, however, I was a bit disappointed because they didn't have the tolerances I was expecting… meaning they didn't sit entirely flush together.
I subsequently sold those plates before receiving the urethane version, and I have to say…
…They are hugely improved. I'll also add that the issues on the 1st gen iron version also appear to have been corrected, so those plates should also be considered a big improvement.
I've been using these plates now for several months, and they've become some of my go-to plates in the gym.
If you're looking for high-quality shooter-style plates, the Rep Fitness Urethane Equalizers are a great option.
Let's dig in.
REP Urethane Equalizer Plates
When you think shooter-style plates, you may picture the highly regarded and beautiful Ivanko OMEZH and their rubber-coated equivalent ROEZH plates.
By all accounts, they're excellent, but they're also quite expensive.
When REP and Rogue both released shooter-style plates to the market, they immediately introduced a lower-cost, but still a high-quality option.
The Rogue plates look more like the Ivankos in that they have circular cutouts, although they include six holes vs. seven on the Ivanko version.
The REP Urethane Equalizers also include six cutouts, but they're shaped like hexagons as opposed to circles.
This creates a more unique look, in my opinion, and it also makes for a very comfortable grip.
When you consider that, in addition to their tight tolerance (weight and profile), their durability, and their lower price point relative to others, it's hard to ignore the REP Equalizers as legit contenders.
Before diving into the review, here's a look at their overall specs:
Material: Cast Iron with Urethane Coating
Diameter: 45 lb – 17.6″; 35 lb – 14″; 25 lb – 12″; 10 lb – 9″; 5 lb – 8″; 2.5 lb – 6.25″
Weight: 45 lb, 35 lb, 25 lb, 10 lb, 5 lb, 2.5 lb
Weight Tolerance: +/- 3%
Thickness: 45 lb – 1.8″; 35 lb – 2″; 25 lb – 2″; 10 lb – 1.4″; 5 lb – 1″; 2.5 lb – 0.9″
Collar Opening: ~51mm
Color: Black with white lettering
Why Buy Urethane?
When it comes to choosing between iron, rubber, or urethane, there are a few things to consider. Here are a few reasons why one might choose urethane over the rest:
1.) Sound – Iron plates make a very distinguishable sound… the clangin' and the bangin'… some people love it, and others don't. I personally love the sound of iron, but when it comes to home gyms, it can be a nuisance. Maybe you train early in the mornings or late at night and you don't want to wake up the kids… maybe you train in a room next to a place people congregate, like the kitchen, living room, etc… maybe you're in a garage or shed where your neighbors can hear… either way, it can be loud. Urethane dramatically reduces the sound of traditional iron.
2.) Smell – This mainly relates to rubber, as urethane is much less smelly. If, for instance, you've ever used a crumb bumper or owned a horse stall mat, then you know the smell can be noticeable. With urethane, there is virtually no smell. It's actually one of the biggest reasons I chose urethane dumbbells over rubber hex dumbbells. You can read my comparison article here.
3.) Protection – With iron plates, you run a higher risk of damaging your equipment, especially your flooring. This depends largely on the type of iron plates used, as some are squared off and others are radiused. The higher the radius, the less damage. Shooter-style iron plates are more radiused than something like a deep dish plate, but when you consider chipping over time, etc… they are still not as protective as urethane.
4.) Aesthetics – This is a subjective measure, but people may just prefer the consistent look of a urethane plate. In general, urethane holds up better than rubber, and unlike iron plates, there is little concern of rusting.
The overall construction of these plates is very impressive. They're consistent, well put together, and seemingly very durable.
As mentioned, these plates are made of cast iron and then they're coated with urethane. This urethane is applied as a liquid and cast onto the plates, giving them a very even coating. Except for a couple of minor areas, all of the seams appear to be very clean – no areas of material concern.
On the 25lb, 35lb, and 45lb plates are six large hexagonal cutouts. I have found these to be very comfortable and useful when loading and unloading the plates. I prefer them to round cutouts mainly for the flat edge, which I think feels better in the hand. Ultimately this is a personal preference – I tend to favor harder and sharper lines.
The holes on these plates, unlike iron plates, use a steel insert. If you look at the standard iron Equalizer plates, for example, the holes are simply the cast iron. The same exists on other iron plates. I have found these steel inserts to be beneficial in two ways:
1.) They provide a more consistent fit. Unless you're using calibrated plates, standard iron plates sometimes have deviations in the collar opening, which can lead to minor fit issues. With the steel insert, you will also not run the risk of chipping the inner collar, which may lead to fit issues or even physical damage to your sleeves.
Note that I did not write they have a tighter fit. In fact, I have experienced the opposite, which I would say is actually a disadvantage. You may experience up to 1mm of a larger opening depending on which plates you're comparing to. You will need to use a collar with these plates.
2.) They slide on and off much easier and with much less noise. Cast iron in general is going to create a louder noise and it's going to provide more friction due to the nature of the surface and any inconsistencies that may exist. Again, you will need to use collars with the REP Equalizers. If you don't, they will be more prone to sliding around, and potentially off.
In general, I think REP did a very nice job on the construction of these plates.
REP states on their website that the Urethane Equalizer Plates have a weight tolerance of +/- 3%, which in the case of a 45lb plate, would be less than 1.5 lbs in either direction.
I have found all of the plates (8×45, 2×25, 2×10, 2×5) to be within that claimed range, and most of them are very close to the stated weight.
One interesting thing to note is that the tolerance threshold is tighter on the iron plates, which have a +/- 2% claim.
Also for comparison, the Rogue Six Shooter plates have a claimed tolerance of +/- 1% on 25lbs and up and +/- 3% on anything below 25lbs.
At the end of the day, it likely won't make a very meaningful difference since the plates are likely to be well within the 3% tolerance, but it's a distinction nonetheless.
Diameter and Thickness
The Diameters of REP Urethane Equalizers are in-line with others of this style. The most important plate to note is the 45lb plate, which offers a 17.6″ (448mm) diameter. This is slightly smaller than a 450mm bumper plate, but it's consistent with other plates of this style. For instance, the Rogue 6-Shooter is 448mm.
The other diameters aren't as important because the 45lb plate sets the tone on the bar in most cases. That said, here is a breakdown of the diameters as compared to the Rogue and the Ivanko coated shooter plates:
It's also important to note the thickness of the plates. In general, the REP Urethane Equalizers are thicker than both the Rogue 6-Shooter and the Ivanko ROEZH plates. This is a small disadvantage because it can limit the amount of weight placed on the bar.
Now, if you're not someone who's maxing out their sleeve length, then it's not a big deal at all. Another consideration is with plate-loaded machines. Often times, plates like this will be used on plate-loaded machines like leg presses, etc… Again, thicker plates potentially could limit max load all else equal. I will add that I absolutely LOVE using these plates on my squatmax-MD (review here). The cutouts make it so much easier to maneuver the plates on the vertical loading pin.
I'll also add that I believe the figures stated on the REP website are a little understated. This is splitting hairs, but I found thickness levels to be slightly higher on each of the plates that I own relative to what is on the website, except for the 10lb plate, which is slightly thinner.
A diagram of the breakdown is as follows:
Lastly, it's important to note that a coated plate will be thicker than its uncoated counterpart. For example, a 45lb Urethane Equalizer is ~1.8″ vs. ~1.5″ on the Iron Equalizer.
I think the REP Urethane Equalizers look awesome. The shooter-style plate is something that has always appealed to me, and I think REP hit it out of the park.
I love the unique hexagon cutouts as compared to the traditional round cutouts. It gives the plates a lot more character, in my opinion.
I also love the raised “X” design through the center of the plate. This is another unique element of these plates that I think separates them from others.
Lastly, the contrasting white lettering looks sharp. It pops nicely and the inlay is just well done. It's basically the same as my urethane dumbbells from REP, which I also love.
The Urethane version of the REP Equalizers aren't necessarily cheap, but they are cheaper relative to the offerings from Rogue and Ivanko.
As compared to the Rogue 6-Shooters, for example, the REP Urethane Equalizers are going to be had for at least a 20% discount (45lb plates) up to a nearly 60% discount (2.5lb plates).
They are, however, quite a bit pricier than just the iron version of the Equalizer Plates. You'll need to ask yourself if the urethane coating warrants the increase. A pair of 45lb urethane plates is just over 1.5x the price of the iron equivalent.
REP Urethane Equalizer Plates – Pros & Cons
- Construction is impressive overall. These plates are very consistent and well-made.
- Urethane is a durable, nice-looking, protective, and non-smelly coating.
- The price point on the urethane equalizers is more attractive than other similar-style plates.
- In terms of accuracy, the plates are well within the claimed +/- 3% threshold.
- The steel insert makes for a consistent opening that slides smoothly and easily.
- Aesthetically, these plates look fantastic. I would go so far as to say they're the best looking shooter-style plates on the market (in my opinion).
- The plates are thicker than competing coated shooter-style plates. If you're looking for max load capabilities, you may consider competing plates or a different style altogether (e.g. calibrated plates, non-coated iron plates).
- The collar openings on the Urethane Equalizers are larger by up to ~1mm. Coupled with the smooth steel insert, it's highly recommend to use collars.
Overall, the REP Urethane Equalizers are very high-quality plates and they're a HUGE improvement over the gen 1 Equalizers.
If you're looking for shooter-style plates, these may be tough to beat for the money.
If you have any questions about these plates or urethane plates in general, please leave a comment below. Likewise, if you own the REP Urethane Equalizer Plates and you want to chime in with your own thoughts, please do so!
As always, I appreciate any feedback.
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The bar is loaded,