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XMARK Barbell Comparisons & Reviews (2024)

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Quick Overview

XMARK barbells are budget-friendly bars with a no-frills spec profile. They’re ideally suited as entry-level bars but can outperform their class depending on training style. Olympic lifters and those with smaller hands will appreciate the thinner 28mm diameter. However, a more diverse barbell roster would enhance training specificity.

Overall Rating: 7.8/10

Specs: 7.0/10

Knurling: 8.5/10

Shaft Finishes: 8.0/10

Sleeves: 6.6/10

Performance: 7.5/10

Aesthetics: 8.0/10

Value: 8.2/10

Who It’s Right For

  • Recreational lifters and beginners
  • Budget shoppers
  • Someone looking for a thinner diameter
  • Those wanting to perform a variety of lifts

Things to Consider

  • Brass bushings aren’t as smooth or durable
  • Lack of spec diversity in the lineup

If you’ve ever searched for barbells, particularly on Amazon, you’ve probably come across XMARK.

They’re one of the most popular home gym options on the platform because of their price and relative performance. In addition to barbells, they make quality lat pulldown machines, functional trainers, weight benches, and more.

In this article, we’ll look at three XMARK barbells I’ve been testing: The Crowbar, Lumberjack, and VOODOO bars.

These multipurpose bars offer good specs for the money, and for well under $200 shipped, they’re great for those building a budget home gym.

However, there are some things to consider regarding performance, especially for those with sport-specific training styles.

Let’s dig in.

XMARK Crowbar

XMARK Crowbar End Cap
XMARK CROWBAR Barbell
The XMARK Crowbar is a multipurpose bar with semi-aggressive knurling. It offers dual knurl marks and a center knurl along with brass bushings and grooved sleeves.
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Specs

  • Bar Weight: 20kg
  • Shaft Diameter: 28mm
  • Knurl: Medium/aggressive
  • Center Knurl: Yes
  • Knurl Marks: Dual/Multipurpose
  • Shaft Coating: Black Manganese Phosphate
  • Tensile Strength: 185,000 PSI
  • Bar Length: 86.6″
  • Loadable Sleeve Length: 16.25″
  • Sleeve Coating: Chrome
  • Bushing/Bearing: Brass Bushings

The Crowbar is my personal favorite of the three XMARK barbells I’ve tested. This multipurpose bar is ideal for someone who wants to perform a variety of lifts. While still similar, I prefer the spec profile of the Crowbar over the others, mainly because of the knurling.

Shaft & Knurling

This bar offers a 28mm diameter shaft, consistent with XMARK’s overall barbell lineup. A thinner shaft like this is best for lifters who perform a lot of Olympic weightlifting movements because it promotes better whip. A barbell’s whip can help generate momentum on dynamic lifts since it flexes more under load. However, a thinner shaft can also be useful for deadlifts as a way to overload your training.

The knurling on the Crowbar is more aggressive than the others, with a more pronounced, vertical profile. However, the peaks are still flat, preventing them from being sharp. It’s a suitable pattern for most users, but those who prefer a little more bite will find it performs better than the others.

XMARK Crowbar Barbell Knurling

Unlike the others, the Crowbar includes a nearly 5″ long center knurl. Interestingly, the center is much more aggressively knurled, with a clear mountain profile. I’d like to see a lighter pattern here, especially with a 28mm bar that many will use in a front rack position. However, those who perform a lot of back squats and prefer more tack will likely appreciate it.

XMARK uses a manganese phosphate finish on their barbells, which is a conversion coating. Compared to an applied coating that fills in some of the knurl depth, manganese phosphate delivers a raw feel that takes chalk exceptionally well. It doesn’t have the same oxidation resistance as stainless steel, but it’s much better than bare steel and does a good job overall of fighting rust.

The 185,000 PSI tensile strength isn’t the strongest, but it’s consistent with many other multipurpose barbells.

Quick Tip

I recommend applying 3-in-1 oil on occasion to the shaft, sleeves, and bushings to limit oxidation and ensure optimal performance.

Sleeves & Spin

The sleeves on the Crowbar measure 16.25″ long, which is similar to most Olympic bars. For reference, you can load 600 lbs of competition bumper plates with enough room for a collar at the end.

Finished in chrome, these sleeves can hold up reasonably well to oxidation. Chrome is a common sleeve finish, and I like the matte aesthetic on the Crowbar. It also has a red band around the collar for easy identification if you have multiple bars.

XMARK Crowbar Colloar

These sleeves are also grooved to help keep the plates in place better than smooth sleeves when you’re not using a collar. I personally prefer smooth sleeves since they’re much quieter. In general, I found this bar louder than the other two.

Regarding spin, the Crowbar uses brass bushings. While the spin is fairly smooth, it’s not as fluid as bearings or higher-end bushings. Brass also isn’t as durable as bronze or composite, but it’s more cost-efficient.

Performance

Overall, this bar provides good performance for the money. It’s not going to compete against higher-end barbells with premium specs, but it’s a solid bar for beginners, recreational lifters, and those shopping on a budget.

Although I’d prefer a more passive center knurling, I appreciate that they included it. I liked using this bar more on back squats than the others. I also preferred it on deadlifts because of the more aggressive outer knurl.

If you plan to perform more cross-training/Olympic lifting movements, you may be better off with one of the others.

XMARK Lumberjack Bar

XMARK Lumberjack End Cap
XMARK LUMBERJACK Barbell
The XMARK Lumberjack Bar is a multipurpose bar with dual knurl rings and a sticky, medium-textured knurl. It offers smooth sleeves and brass bushings.
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Specs

  • Bar Weight: 20kg
  • Shaft Diameter: 28mm
  • Knurl: Medium
  • Center Knurl: No
  • Knurl Marks: Dual/Multipurpose
  • Shaft Coating: Black Manganese Phosphate
  • Tensile Strength: 185,000 PSI
  • Bar Length: 86.6″
  • Loadable Sleeve Length: 16.25″
  • Sleeve Coating: Chrome
  • Bushing/Bearing: Brass Bushings

The Lumberjack Bar is another multipurpose bar with a similar spec profile to the Crowbar, but with a few key differences with the knurling and sleeves. This one nearly took top honors among the three in my testing and is the most popular and reviewed barbell within the XMARK family.

Shaft & Knurling

Like the other barbells currently in XMARK’s lineup, the Lumberjack has a 28mm diameter shaft. It offers dual knurl marks for Olympic and powerlifting movements with a tacky knurling. It’s not as aggressive as the Crowbar, but it provides a nice texture that feels stickier than the others.

XMARK Lumberjack Barbell Knurling

In my opinion, this is the most well-rounded knurling in the bars that I used, making it more suitable for most people. The biggest downside for me was the missing center knurl. Realizing this is a personal preference, some lifters will prefer the smooth center, especially Olympic lifters, CrossFitters, etc.

I did notice some areas of double-tracked knurling, indicating machining inconsistencies, but these weren’t in places where most would position their hands. I generally like this shaft, especially the tack. It’s also finished in the same manganese phosphate as the others.

Sleeves & Spin

The Lumberjack also uses brass bushings, resulting in a consistent experience across the board. However, the biggest difference is that it has a smooth finish, which I prefer. The chrome doesn’t seem as high-quality as more expensive bars, but the smooth finish makes it the quietest of the three.

XMARK Lumberjack Collar

Performance

In some ways, this was my favorite performing bar. The knurling was approachable and quite good for everything from high volume to heavy singles.

If you’re someone who likes a smooth center and some bite in the hand, this bar will likely be the best match of the three.

I still think the Crowbar performs better for squats and deadlifts. However, if you’re using it more for Cross-training, I’d recommend this bar over it. The fact it’s less expensive is just a bonus.

XMARK VOODOO Bar

XMARK VOODOO End Cap
XMARK VOODOO Barbell
The XMARK VOODOO Bar is a multipurpose bar with a medium, slightly passive knurl for higher volume training. It offers grooved sleeves with brass bushings.
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Specs

  • Bar Weight: 20kg
  • Shaft Diameter: 28mm
  • Knurl: Medium
  • Center Knurl: No
  • Knurl Marks: Dual/Multipurpose
  • Shaft Coating: Black Manganese Phosphate
  • Tensile Strength: 185,000 PSI
  • Bar Length: 86.6″
  • Loadable Sleeve Length: 16.25″
  • Sleeve Coating: Chrome
  • Bushing/Bearing: Brass Bushings

The VOODOO Bar is yet another multipurpose bar – it’s very similar to the Crowbar but with some differences in the knurling and collar design. While it was my least favorite of the three, some lifters may actually prefer it. I’ll explain below.

Shaft & Knurling

Again, this bar has a 28mm diameter shaft, making it a good choice for those performing more dynamic lifts. It also includes dual knurl rings and a smooth center. The biggest difference with the VOODOO is that it’s noticeably more passive than the others.

XMARK VOODOO Barbell Knurling

The profile is shallower and flatter, presenting less grip relative to the Crowbar and Lumberjack. That doesn’t make it bad, but it’s better tailored for a smaller subset of lifters, in my opinion. From interacting with thousands of home gym owners since 2017, most prefer at least a medium, if not a medium/aggressive profile.

For those who prefer a passive pattern, this bar is the best choice of the three. Otherwise, I think most will wish for more. It does take chalk fairly well, but it’s still not as grippy due to the depth.

Sleeves & Spin

Like the others, the VOODOO uses brass bushings. The spin is consistent with those, and while I would like to see at least a bronze option, it helps keep the cost down.

XMARK VOODOO Collar

This bar feels more like an Olympic training bar to me, but I recommend their Blackhawk bar if you need a faster bar since it uses needle bearings.

Similar to the Crowbar, the VOODOO has grooved sleeves with a chrome finish.

Performance

This bar performed the best with higher volume because of the more passive knurling. It’s a comfortable bar with minimal risk of hand damage, so those performing many consecutive reps may gravitate to it.

I didn’t care for the bar on heavier sets, especially deadlifts. Even with chalk, it felt slicker than the others. I recommend adding a pair of lifting straps if you buy this bar and plan to lift heavy.

User Reviews

XMARK barbells have thousands of aggregated reviews across their lineup. They generally receive positive feedback, with an average rating of over 4.7 for the three versions compared here. Buyers love the value, and most find the performance met or exceeded their expectations.

While limited, critical feedback was mostly centered around excessive oil during shipping, faster oxidation, and sluggish spin relative to higher-quality bars with premium materials.

XMARK Barbell Lineup

XMARK Barbell Lineup

As of this review, XMARK has six straight Olympic bars. All of them have 28mm shafts and manganese phosphate finishes, and all but one have dual knurl marks.

I would love to see XMARK introduce or adjust their lineup to include barbells with more specificity. These could include the following:

  • Powerlifting Bar: 29mm shaft, aggressive knurling, center knurling, and powerlifting knurl marks
  • Multipurpose Bar: 28.5mm shaft, medium knurling, optional center knurling, and dual knurl marks
  • Women’s Bar: 25mm shaft, light to medium knurling, no center knurling, and dual knurl marks

Right now, I don’t think there’s enough diversity in the lineup, which may confuse some consumers. Having bars with unique, training-specific specs would clarify which bar is best for different lifters and training styles.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Excellent price for entry-level bars
  • Good overall knurling with solid grip
  • Manganese phosphate finish enhances feel
  • 28mm diameter is ideal for Olympic lifting
  • Options with or without center knurling
  • Options with grooved or smooth sleeves

Cons

  • Limited spec diversity in the barbell lineup
  • Brass bushings aren’t as durable or smooth as bronze or composite
  • Manganese phosphate requires more maintenance

Final Thoughts

Overall, these XMARK bars are solid choices for budget shoppers, recreational lifters, and beginners. With prices well under $200 shipped, they represent a low-risk entry into the barbell market.

I especially like the Crowbar and Lumberjack bar for their sticky knurling. I also like the manganese phosphate finish for its feel, but keep it mind it will oxidize faster than some.

Some of the materials could be improved, namely the brass bushings, but that’s ultimately what makes these barbells as affordable as they are.

In other words, don’t expect the performance or long-term durability of higher-end, more expensive barbells. But if you’re just starting out or looking for a more accessible option, these are some of the best on the market.

XMARK Barbells Rating

Specs: 7.0/10

Knurling: 8.5/10

Shaft Finishes: 8.0/10

Sleeves: 6.6/10

Performance: 7.5/10

Aesthetics: 8.0/10

Value: 8.2/10

Final Verdict

Overall: 7.8/10

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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