Best Budget Barbell

8 Best Budget Barbells (2024): Cheap High Quality Bars

I get it. Building your home gym is expensive, but you don’t want to skimp on quality equipment. Luckily, the modern era of fitness means more brands are competing for your hard-earned money. Increased competition ... Read more

James de Lacey

By James de Lacey
Last updated: February 3rd, 2024
15 min read

I get it. Building your home gym is expensive, but you don’t want to skimp on quality equipment. Luckily, the modern era of fitness means more brands are competing for your hard-earned money.

Increased competition means you can now find high-quality barbells on a strict budget. So, I’ve curated a list of the best budget barbells to fit any budget or training type.

Top Pick
Best For Women
Best Multi-Purpose
4.4
4.4
3.5
$269.99
$235
$249.99
Tensile Strength:
190,000 PSI
Tensile Strength:
190,000 PSI
Tensile Strength:
190,000 PSI
Weight Capacity:
1,500 lbs
Weight Capacity:
Not Available
Weight Capacity:
1000 lbs
Shaft Diameter:
28.5 mm
Shaft Diameter:
25 mm
Shaft Diameter:
28.5 mm
Finish:
Bright Zinc
Finish:
Black Zinc OR Cerakote
Finish:
Black Zinc
Top Pick
4.4
$269.99
Tensile Strength:
190,000 PSI
Weight Capacity:
1,500 lbs
Shaft Diameter:
28.5 mm
Finish:
Bright Zinc
Best For Women
4.4
$235
Tensile Strength:
190,000 PSI
Weight Capacity:
Not Available
Shaft Diameter:
25 mm
Finish:
Black Zinc OR Cerakote
Best Multi-Purpose
3.5
$249.99
Tensile Strength:
190,000 PSI
Weight Capacity:
1000 lbs
Shaft Diameter:
28.5 mm
Finish:
Black Zinc

Best Budget Barbell

REP Fitness Black Canyon Barbell

Top Pick
REP Fitness Black Canyon Bar
$269.99
Pros:
  • The medium knurling effectively protects your hands from tearing during repetitive lifts, but it might reduce grip strength when lifting heavier weights in hot conditions.
  • Its high tensile strength ensures the bar resists bending or warping, even under heavy usage.
  • Hybrid bushings and bearings for smooth rotation during Olympic and Powerlifts.
Cons:
  • Over time, the black zinc finish tends to wear off.
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Specifications
Tensile Strength190,000 PSI
KnurlingMedium Volcano Knurling
Center KnurlingNo
Knurl MarkingsDual
Shaft Diameter28.5 mm
CoatingBright Zinc, Black Chrome
Bushing/BearingHybrid
SpinSmooth
WhipMedium
Weight Capacity1,500 lbs
Warranty5 Years

The REP Fitness Black Canyon Bar is an exceptional mixed-use barbell I’ve recently enjoyed using.

As someone deeply involved in various training, I found this bar to be a versatile and valuable addition to any training routine.

The Black Canyon Bar has dual knurl markings, adhering to the standards of both the International Weightlifting Federation and the International Powerlifting Federation.

The medium-depth, volcano-pattern knurling offers a secure grip without being overly abrasive on the hands.

But it may be too smooth for hot climate training or specialist lifting such as heavy deadlifting or cleans.

The Black Canyon Bar nailed the hybrid bearings and slower-rotating bushings sleeves.

It provides smooth rotation for Olympic lifts while remaining controlled enough for powerlifting movements. The moderate whip also plays into this.

This hybrid design caters to various exercises, making the bar highly adaptable.

The Black Canyon Bar is a beast in its durability and capacity. With a static rating of 1,500 lbs and a tensile strength of 190,000 PSI, this bar is built to withstand heavy loads and rigorous use.

The 28.5mm shaft diameter is typical of a multi-purpose barbell used for various training from Powerlifting to CrossFit.

This bar has no center knurl, which some may find preferable for certain exercises like clean and jerks.

However, I prefer a center knurling, as sweaty front squats and cleans mean there’s no extra friction to keep the bar from slipping.

All of these features for $269 is a bargain, and you won’t find many quality bars at this price, considering a comparable Rogue Ohio bar is a minimum of $300.

The Black Canyon bar also has a 5-year warranty period, so it is built to last and makes an excellent barbell for a home gym.

Best Budget Multi-Purpose Barbell

Bells Of Steel Multi-Purpose Olympic Barbell – The Utility Bar

Best Multi-Purpose
Bells Of Steel The Utility Bar
$249.99
Pros:
  • A multi-purpose bar is built for a variety of lifts.
  • You won’t find another barbell of this quality for this price.
  • Center knurling means it holds steady during heavy front squats and cleans.
Cons:
  • Low weight capacity compared to other bars on this list may not last as long.
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Specifications
Tensile Strength190,000 PSI
KnurlingLight-Medium
Center KnurlingYes
Knurl MarkingsDual
Shaft Diameter28.5 mm
CoatingBlack Zinc
Bushing/BearingBushings
SpinSmooth
WhipModerate
Weight Capacity1000 lbs
WarrantyLimited Lifetime

The Bells of Steel Utility bar is designed as a jack-of-all-trades and is ideal for various exercises like bench presses, squats, deadlifts, and Olympic lifts.

Its versatility is perfect for the garage gym, but I can easily see it fitting into a commercial gym setting.

The 28.5mm shaft diameter is typical of a multi-purpose barbell, allowing Olympic and Powerlifts.

The brass bushings contribute to a smooth rotation, which is great for the Powerlifts.

Some may like this for Olympic Weightlifting as the bar doesn’t over-rotate, a common issue with bearing-heavy bars.

The Utility bar has a medium-light knurling, which is a little too soft for my liking. I like the center knurling as it provides a solid grip when squatting.

The bar also features dual knurl markings and lightly ribbed sleeves, keeping plates securely in place.

The Utility Bar has a 1,000 lbs capacity and a tensile strength of 190,000 PSI, a slightly lower weight capacity than other barbells on this list.

The black zinc finish on the shaft and the bright zinc on the sleeves reduce rust but wears off faster than other finishes like hard chrome.

For $199, you won’t find a better multi-purpose barbell with a limited lifetime warranty protected against bending and defects.

Best Budget Olympic Weightlifting Barbell

Olympic Weightlifting Barbell – The B.O.S. Bar 2.0

Best Weightlifting
Bells Of Steel Olympic Weightlifting Bar 2.0
$299.99
Pros:
  • Dedicated Weightlifting barbell for a fraction of the price of a premium bar.
  • The barbell's superior tensile strength ensures it can endure daily Weightlifting sessions without bending or sustaining damage.
  • Needle bearings facilitate a fast and smooth spin in Olympic lifts, protecting your wrists and elbows.
  • Hard chrome coating provides the best feel and strong rust resistance.
Cons:
  • No center knurling, so the bar may slip during heavy front squats and cleans.
  • The medium knurling is nice but may not be enough if pulling heavy deadlifts and cleans.
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Specifications
Tensile Strength240,000 PSI
KnurlingMedium
Center KnurlingNo
Knurl MarkingsDual
Shaft Diameter28 mm
CoatingHard Chrome
Bushing/BearingNeedle Bearings + One Bushing
SpinFast
WhipWhippy
Weight Capacity1543 lbs
WarrantyLimited Lifetime

This barbell is designed for Olympic weightlifting on a budget, making it an excellent fit for a home gym and more professional settings.

The first thing that impressed me about this barbell was the quality of the steel. With a whopping 240,000 PSI tensile strength, it’s incredibly robust.

The B.O.S. Olympic Weightlifting Bar 2.0 has an extremely tight weight and straightness tolerance of 1% and ± 0.25mm, which I appreciate as a Weightlifter who values high-quality barbells.

The spin on this barbell is exceptional, with the four needle bearings and one stainless steel bushing per sleeve.

The machined grooves on the sleeves are a smart addition. They help keep the plates securely in place, reducing movement during lifts.

Its medium knurling is not too rough, making daily Weightlifting training tolerable on the hands.

There’s no center knurl, which I find important when performing cleans and front squats during sweaty sessions.

The B.O.S. Bar Olympic Weightlifting Bar 2.0 also has dual knurl marks, but the Powerlifting knurl mark isn’t needed since this is a dedicated Weightlifting bar.

The hardened chrome finish is similar to the gold standard Eleiko bar, giving it a sleek and professional look while contributing to its longevity.

It has a maximum capacity of 1,543 lbs and a limited lifetime warranty.

This means they guarantee your bar will not bend under normal use and protect against material, function, and workmanship defects.

All of this for $289 is a great price, especially since a premium Weightlifting bar will cost you over $1000.

Best Budget Barbell For Women

Rogue Bella Bar 2.0

Best For Women
Rogue Bella Bar 2.0
$235
Pros:
  • Weighs 15 kg with a 25 mm diameter shaft, making it a women’s barbell.
  • Priced at only a quarter of what you'd expect to pay for premium women's barbells.
  • Manufactured using the same process as the renowned Rogue Ohio bar and has a tensile strength of 190,000 PSI.
  • Perfectly suited for CrossFit and Weightlifting, it's robust enough for intensive strength exercises.
Cons:
  • The black zinc finish is prone to gradual wear, especially in areas frequently gripped.
  • Regular upkeep, like removing chalk residue, is necessary to maintain the barbell's coating.
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Specifications
Tensile Strength190,000 PSI
KnurlingRogue Hybrid Knurling (Soft-Moderate)
Center KnurlingNo
Knurl MarkingsDual
Shaft Diameter25 mm
CoatingBlack Zinc
Bushing/BearingBushings
SpinSmooth
WhipLight Whip
Weight CapacityNot Available
WarrantyLifetime

The Rogue Bella Bar 2.0 is a 15kg bar specifically tailored for female athletes.

In Weightlifting and CrossFit, women typically use a 15 kg barbell with a 25mm shaft diameter.

This smaller shaft is particularly beneficial for female lifters, often having smaller hands than their male counterparts. The reduced diameter aids significantly in managing exercises like snatches.

While the shaft diameter is smaller than a regular barbell, it’s crafted from the same robust material as the Ohio bar with a 190,000 PSI tensile strength.

It has some whip but not as much as a dedicated Olympic Weightlifting barbell.

The bar is versatile enough for heavy-duty workouts and Powerlifting, thanks to its dual knurl markings and bronze bushings that ensure a smooth rotation.

Its hybrid knurling is Rogue’s signature knurling, which is relatively soft in my experience. It can be too slippery when sweating.

The Bella Bar 2.0 sports a similar finish to the Ohio bar, with a black zinc coating for rust resistance. Like its counterpart, it does face the same wear challenges.

Rogue backs this bar with a lifetime construction warranty as long as the bar is used correctly and not dropped with iron plates.

Priced at $235, it’s a fraction of the cost of a premium barbell. Additionally, the Rogue Boneyard offers it at an even more accessible price point if it’s available.

It’s why the Bella Bar 2.0 is featured among the best barbells for women.

Best Budget Powerlifting Barbell

Bells Of Steel Barenaked Powerlifting Bar 2.0

Best Powerlifting
Bells Of Steel Barenaked Powerlifting Bar 2.0
$249.99
Pros:
  • It is specifically developed for Powerlifting, with a high tensile strength and a weight capability of 1500 pounds, to prevent bending or breaking.
  • Aggressive knurling for big deadlifts and bench presses.
  • Made to IPF competition specifications.
Cons:
  • A bare steel shaft is more susceptible to rust and needs consistent maintenance.
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Specifications
Tensile Strength210,000 PSI
KnurlingAggressive
Center KnurlingYes
Knurl MarkingsSingle (Powerlifting)
Shaft Diameter29 mm
CoatingBare Steel
Bushing/BearingBushings
SpinSmooth
WhipStiff
Weight Capacity1,500 lbs
WarrantyLimited Lifetime

The Bells of Steel Barenaked Powerlifting Bar 2.0 is $249, making it the perfect budget Powerlifting bar.

Training with a bar that matches competition specs meeting International Powerlifting Federation (IPF) standards.

The knurling on this bar is aggressive – think cheese grater level of grip.

This feature is especially vital for heavy deadlifts but brutal on your hands. The bare steel finish adds to the bar’s aggressive grip and hardcore aesthetic.

However, bare steel is more prone to rust, and the bar is coated in oil during shipping to reduce rust build-up. You must regularly clean and maintain this bar to keep it from rusting.

What sets this bar apart is its stiffness. With a 210,000 PSI tensile strength and a 1,500lb capacity, there’s barely any whip.

The ribbed chrome sleeves grip the plates firmly, keeping them from shifting during lifts.

Regarding specs, the bar is pretty standard – it weighs 44lbs / 20kg and has a 29mm shaft diameter, which is a standard size for Powerlifting.

As with all Bells of Steel bars, it comes with limited lifetime warranty to cover any defects or bending with proper use.

Best Budget Barbell For CrossFit

Rogue Echo Bar 2.0

Best CrossFit
Rogue Echo Bar 2.0
$265
Pros:
  • Crafted following the standards of the renowned Rogue Ohio bar, yet offered at a more affordable price point.
  • Perfectly suited for CrossFit workouts, featuring good whip, seamless spin, and Olympic-style knurl marks.
  • There's a chance to snag it at an even lower cost in the boneyard.
Cons:
  • For CrossFit use, the one-year warranty might seem insufficient.
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Specifications
Tensile Strength190,000 PSI
KnurlingRogue Hybrid Knurling
Center KnurlingNo
Knurl MarkingsSingle (Weightlifting)
Shaft Diameter28.5 mm
CoatingBright Zinc
Bushing/BearingBushing
SpinSmooth
WhipGood
Weight CapacityNot Available
Warranty1-Year

The Rogue Echo Bar 2.0 is their budget-friendly version of the Ohio bar. Its 28.5 mm shaft diameter, commendable whip, and 190,000 PSI tensile strength make it a solid choice for CrossFit enthusiasts.

This bar incorporates bushings for a smooth spin, catering well to high-volume Olympic lifting and intense training sessions.

As a value-for-money CrossFit barbell, it stands out in its category.

However, it features only Olympic knurl marks, so if Powerlifting is also on your agenda, you might prefer a bar like the Ohio bar that offers dual knurl markings.

The bar sports a bright zinc coating that’s aesthetically pleasing and rust-resistant, although it tends to show wear over time.

Its lack of center knurling is ideal for CrossFit activities involving high-repetition cleans and thrusters, ensuring a more comfortable experience.

Rogue’s one-year warranty accompanies this bar, reflecting its position as an entry-level option.

Priced at $265, the Rogue Echo Bar 2.0 is an excellent deal for those seeking quality on a budget.

And for those looking to save even more, the Rogue boneyard often lists it at a reduced price, sometimes as low as $165.

Best Budget Barbell On Amazon

XMark VOODOO Barbell

Best Amazon
XMark VOODOO Barbell
$162.00
Pros:
  • The most budget-friendly barbell that still offers satisfactory performance is ideal for power racks or landmines, sparing your more premium barbells from wear and tear.
  • Equipped with needle bearings facilitating quick spin, essential for Olympic movements.
  • Has impressive tensile strength and can handle significant loading.
Cons:
  • Purchased through Amazon, it comes without a warranty and only a return window.
  • The manganese phosphate coating tends to deteriorate rapidly and isn't effective in preventing rust.
  • Necessitates frequent upkeep to maintain its condition.
  • The knurling is on the smoother side, potentially affecting grip.
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02/18/2024 08:41 pm GMT
Specifications
Tensile Strength185,000 PSI
KnurlingSmooth
Center KnurlingNo
Knurl MarkingsDual
Shaft Diameter28 mm
CoatingManganese Phosphate
Bushing/BearingNeedle Bearings
SpinFast
WhipModerate
Weight Capacity1,500 lbs
WarrantyNone

While I generally hesitate to recommend buying barbells from Amazon, those on a strict budget might find it a viable option.

The most affordable barbell in this selection is priced at $162, but this low cost has certain drawbacks.

One significant compromise is its manganese phosphate coating, which is among the lower end of barbell coatings and prone to rusting.

To prevent this, regularly oil and clean the barbell – a maintenance routine that can be a bit of a hassle, especially after a tiring workout session.

Additionally, the knurling on this bar is relatively smooth, offering less grip compared to other budget-friendly barbells featured here. However, the XMark VOODOO Barbell does have its strengths.

It has a 185,000 PSI tensile strength, a 1500 lb weight capacity, and needle bearings. Its decent spin also makes it a good choice for a hybrid barbell.

While this wouldn’t be my top pick for a primary lifting barbell, such barbells have a place in a well-rounded equipment collection.

They’re ideal for power racks and landmines, where you don’t have to be overly concerned about scratching or damaging the knurling due to their lower quality and robust design for rougher use.

Best Budget Trap Bar

REP Fitness Trap Bar

Best Trap Bar
REP Fitness Open Trap Bar
$399.99
Pros:
  • Has better knurling and longer sleeves than a budget trap bar on Amazon.
  • 25 mm diameter handles make gripping easier.
  • Center knurling for more exercise versatility, like squats and good mornings.
Cons:
  • 500 lbs weight capacity is low for a trap bar.
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Specifications
Tensile StrengthN/A
KnurlingMedium Depth
Center KnurlingN/A
Knurl MarkingsN/A
Shaft Diameter25 mm
CoatingChrome
Bushing/BearingN/A
SpinN/A
WhipN/A
Weight Capacity1,350 lbs
Warranty5-Year

The REP Fitness Trap Bar might not be the most affordable option, but it’s hard to find anything better at a lower price when it comes to knurling and sleeve length.

The cheapest trap bars on Amazon or in certain manufacturers’ stores often come with smooth diamond knurling and slick surfaces with oil coating.

Additionally, they tend to have shorter sleeves, limiting the weight they can support. You’ll typically encounter this in the $90 to $130 price range.

However, the REP Fitness Trap Bar represents excellent value for what it offers. It’s priced at $399 and significantly less expensive than the higher-end models.

One of its standout features is the dual handles, allowing versatility between high and low handle positions during deadlifts or carries.

The 25 mm diameter of the handles, equivalent to a women’s barbell, makes them more manageable and comfortable to grip.

Another reason I recommend this trap bar, especially for those on a budget, is its medium-depth knurling.

This starkly contrasts with cheaper models, which often compromise grip with a surface that is too smooth.

The chrome coating adds a layer of rust protection, enhancing its durability. It’s a heavy-duty bar at 55 pounds, with a heavy-duty weight capacity of 1,350 pounds.

This won’t be a limitation for most lifters.

To further enhance exercise versatility, they’ve added center knurling so you can use this as a cambered bar off a squat rack.

Including a 5-year warranty with the REP Fitness Trap Bar is a reassuring feature, allowing ample time to thoroughly test and use the bar under various conditions.

How To Determine Which Budget Barbell Type Is For You?

Budget barbells can be broadly classified into three primary categories, excluding specialty bars. These are multi-purpose, Olympic Weightlifting, and Powerlifting barbells.

Multi-Purpose Barbell

Most of you will be after a multi-purpose or hybrid bar. These can be used for CrossFit, weightlifting, and Powerlifting, among other activities.

The knurling is softer, the whip and spin are moderate, and the shaft diameter varies between 28 and 28.5 mm.

This combines the advantages of multiple sports, allowing you to execute various exercises with a single barbell.

Olympic Weightlifting Barbell

Budget Barbells For Olympic Weightlifting

Weightlifting barbells generally feature improved whip, faster rotation facilitated by needle bearings, less aggressive knurling than powerlifting bars, and a shaft diameter of 28 mm for male barbells and 25 mm for female barbells.

These are specifically engineered for the snatch and clean & jerk exercises.

You can transition the bar into the front rack position without injuring your wrists due to the rapid spin.

The increased whip aids in bouncing out of the hole, while the reduced knurling facilitates routine practice.

Choose a weightlifting barbell if you’re performing high volumes of Olympic weightlifting training.

Powerlifting Barbell

Powerlifting bars are intended for competitive powerlifters. A 29 mm diameter and stiffer shaft are designed to reduce oscillations and enhance control during the squat, bench press, and deadlift.

Additionally, they feature a slowed rotation and more aggressive knurling.

How To Pick The Best Budget Barbell

Tensile Strength

Do You Need An Expensive Barbell

Tensile strength indicates how much weight a barbell can handle before it deforms or bends.

A barbell with high tensile strength is generally considered greater than 180,000 Pounds per Square Inch (PSI).

The higher the PSI, the stronger and more resilient the bar is against bending or warping under heavy loads.

It’s a common misconception that high-tensile strength barbells are always expensive. However, the market now offers several high-tensile strength options that are budget-friendly.

As shown in this list, it’s possible to find barbells with tensile strength in the range of 180,000 to 200,000 PSI (or greater) without breaking the bank.

Coating

The coating plays a significant role in the barbell’s durability, maintenance needs, and overall feel during use.

Bare Steel: Bare steel offers an excellent natural grip but is most prone to rust and oxidation, especially in humid environments or if not regularly maintained. It gives a raw and traditional feel, often preferred by powerlifters.

Manganese Phosphate: This type of coating provides a matte finish and is known for its excellent corrosion resistance. However, it is known to wear more quickly than other coatings. This is particularly noticeable in areas of frequent hand contact.

Black Oxide: This coating balances a bare steel feel and rust resistance. Black oxide bars are less susceptible to corrosion than bare steel, but they still require some maintenance to keep rust at bay.

Zinc: Zinc coatings, either black or bright zinc, are more common in budget barbells. They offer good corrosion resistance and have a moderate grip. However, the coating can wear over time, especially in areas with frequent hand contact.

Chrome: Chrome coatings are highly resistant to rust and oxidation, making them low maintenance. However, they can feel a bit slicker than bare steel or black oxide, which might affect the grip for some lifters.

Cerakote: A more recent advancement, Cerakote is durable and provides excellent resistance against corrosion and wear. It also allows for various colors usually found on higher-priced barbells.

Knurling

Budget Barbell Knurling

Knurling will make or break your training. Have you ever visited a commercial gym where the barbell in the rack is smooth from years of use?

It’s terrible and seriously impairs your lifting. Even worse, some inexpensive barbells have knurling that is smoother and feels oily.

However, there are a few varieties of knurling:

Volcano knurling is predominantly applied to Olympic weightlifting barbells owing to its exceptional grip and high friction surface. It’s less aggressive and is less likely to dig into the skin and cause tears.

Mountain knurling pattern is mainly used on more aggressive barbells used in Powerlifting.

The aggressiveness of mountain knurling may differ.

An instance of this is the typical range of knurling depth, which is 1–1.5 mm. In most cases, powerlifting bars feature deeper knurling.

Often, the manufacturers specify whether the knurling is aggressive, moderate, or gentle.

Diamond knurling is the most common type and is characterized by a criss-cross pattern that forms a series of small diamond shapes.

The edges of these diamonds can vary in sharpness and depth, affecting the aggressiveness of the grip. Diamond knurling is soft and smooth on budget barbells and not worth lifting with.

Center knurling should also be taken into consideration. Men’s Olympic weightlifting and powerlifting bars feature center knurling for friction when front racked or on your back. On a Weightlifting bar, the center knurling is smooth.

Certain CrossFit and multi-purpose bars lack a center knurling to comfortably accommodate weekend athletes and high-repetition lifters.

In addition, Weightlifting bars designed for women have no center knurling.

In my experience, center knurling is more desirable. However, that is a matter of individual preference.

Bushings vs. Bearings

Bushings are often made from materials like brass or bronze. They provide a moderate level of spin, ideal for traditional strength training, including Powerlifting.

The spin is more controlled, which is particularly beneficial in Powerlifting, where movements such as squats, bench presses, and deadlifts do not require excessive sleeve rotation.

On the other hand, bearings offer a smoother and faster spin compared to bushings. This feature is particularly beneficial in Olympic weightlifting, where rapid sleeve rotation is essential for effectively performing snatch and clean and jerk movements.

Additionally, bushings are less complex and cheaper to manufacture than bearings, making them a frequent choice for lower-cost barbells.

However, their use is not solely confined to budget-friendly options, as some high-end powerlifting bars also employ bushings to achieve the desired level of spin.

Including bearings often results in a higher price point due to their superior performance and the more complex manufacturing process.

This makes bearing-equipped barbells a common choice for athletes engaged in advanced lifting techniques where the barbell’s spin plays a pivotal role in executing exercises.

Spin

As stated above, high-quality barbells spin more smoothly thanks to superior bushings or bearings. Needle bearings have a quicker spin rate than bushings.

Diameter

Barbell Shaft Diameter

Regardless of your budget, you may get a barbell with any shaft diameter. Typically, sizes fall between 28- and 29-mm.

Olympic weightlifting bars and some multi-purpose bars are 28 mm in diameter, multi-purpose bars are 28.5 mm, and powerlifting barbells are 29 mm.

Specialty bars exist with larger shaft diameters for challenging the grip or for Strongman activities.

Whip

Whip plays a crucial role in Olympic Weightlifting but is less significant in other strength disciplines.

This flexibility in Olympic bars under heavy loads assists athletes in gaining momentum from the bottom position.

Conversely, bars designed for Powerlifting are much stiffer, providing greater control during major compound strength movements.

Price

I define a budget barbell as less than $300. When you buy cheap, under $200, you usually get a barbell that isn’t worth lifting or is prone to damage and breaking. This is especially true if you’re buying from Amazon.

However, two companies in particular are shifting the narrative of budget barbells being poor quality.

REP Fitness and Bells of Steel produce high-quality barbells cheaper than large equipment manufacturers.

Warranty

Warranty is typically a compromise with budget barbells. However, Bells of Steel provides a limited lifetime warranty protecting against manufacturer defects and bending, and REP Fitness often provides 5 years or more of protection.

Rogue Fitness also offers a lifetime warranty on their bars, but if you buy from their boneyard deals, there is no warranty.

Frequently Asked Budget Barbell Questions

Summary

Barbells are one piece of gym equipment I don’t believe you should skimp on. However, more companies are entering the market to offer high-quality bars at budget prices. REP Fitness and Bells Of Steel are leading the charge, and you can’t go wrong with either brand.

Top Pick
REP Fitness Black Canyon Bar
$269.99
Pros:
  • The medium knurling effectively protects your hands from tearing during repetitive lifts, but it might reduce grip strength when lifting heavier weights in hot conditions.
  • Its high tensile strength ensures the bar resists bending or warping, even under heavy usage.
  • Hybrid bushings and bearings for smooth rotation during Olympic and Powerlifts.
Cons:
  • Over time, the black zinc finish tends to wear off.
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James de Lacey

James de Lacey

James was the Head Strength & Conditioning Coach for the Romanian Rugby Union. He has previously worked in America’s professional rugby competition Major League Rugby with Austin Elite and the NZ Women’s National Rugby League Team. He is a published author and has completed a MSc in Sport & Exercise Science from AUT, Auckland, NZ.

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