For 7 out of 10 people, the best barbell collars for a home gym will be the Rogue USA Aluminum.
The remaining 3 people fall into one of these groups:
- Those not comfortable with spending more than 50 bucks on barbell collars.
- Those looking for something extra fast or convenient (like open or magnetic collars).
- Those who are dead-set on a specific “look” to match the rest of their gym.
Whichever of the four groups you’re in, I’ve got you.
This is the last resource you’ll ever need to choose your next barbell collars, whatever your budget. I know it’s a bold promise, but I know I can deliver because I’ve been a personal trainer for over two decades now, and I spent over 60 hours testing and researching for this guide.
I also own almost every different version of barbell collar there is, as you can see below!
The problem with choosing good collars
“He needs more blankets, and he needs less blankets” is the most iconic line uttered in modern cinema (as per me).
The legendary line from the Dewey Cox Story is also applicable to the barbell collar market. Specifically, it’s applicable to the amount of information a potential buyer like you is bombarded with.
There’s too much of it, it’s vague, but there’s also too little of it where it counts the most.
Here’s what I mean…
The first thing I did for this guide was to look at Dylan Jones’ 2016 patent for the locking barbell collar.
I tried to discern what’s different about it compared to the hundreds of cheap knock-offs that have flooded the market since.
That’s a rabbit hole you don’t want to go down…trust me on this.
I have two decades of personal trainer experience, I’ve used many of these collars, and even I find the marketing language confusing.
But I guess you have to be vague if you’re buying these from China, slapping a logo onto them, and selling them for ten or twenty times as much!
Anyhoo… let’s find you the perfect collar for you.
Remember, if you’re in a hurry and you just want to buy a set of collars that will last you a lifetime… get the Rogue Aluminium!
Rogue USA Aluminum collars
- 7 best barbell collars
- 1. Best barbell collar overall – Rogue USA Aluminum collars
- 2. Best budget aluminum barbell collar – Synergee Aluminum
- 3. Most versatile barbell collars – Proloc 1
- 4. Best collars with a lock-jaw design – Lock-Jaw PRO 2
- 5. Best OSO barbell collars – OSO classic
- 6. Eleiko Öppen – most convenient barbell collars in existence
- 7. Best 1-inch barbell collars – Greententljs Quick-release
- Choosing the barbell collars for you – a guide for the conservative buyer
- How we chose the best barbell collars – overview of our rating process
- For reference – types of barbell collars
- Spring collars (barbell clamps)
- Spring clamps
- Spinlock collars
- SNAP-LOCK collars
- Muscle Clamp collars
- Compression ring collars
- Slip-Lock collars
- Bulldog collars
- Barbell Collars for specialty bars
- Proloc – best for specialty bars and the top-rated chain collars
- Strap barbell collars – the fastest and simplest collar out there
- Weighted (competition) collars
- Other sets in the Top 20 – close-but-no-cigar collars
- FAQs about barbell collars
- Final thoughts on choosing your next pair of barbell collars
7 best barbell collars
|Name||Type / material||Price||SHG Rating||Defining feature / characteristic|
|1. Rogue USA Aluminum collars||clamp-lock / metal||$$$||82||deadlock grip of the bar – highest holding power among non-competition collars|
|2. Synergee Aluminium||clamp-lock / metal||$||65||Budget alternative to the Rogue USA|
|3. Proloc 1||Proloc (screw-in) / nylon||$$$||64||Most versatile collar – works with a range of barbell diameters|
|4. Lock-Jaw PRO 2||lock-jaw / nylon||$$||61||gentle to the bar, feature a locking latch|
|5. OSO Classic||clamp-lock / aluminum||$$$||56||old-school looks with a number of color choices|
|6. Eleiko Öppen||open / aluminum and rubber||$$$$$||55||premium product that puts convenience and speed above anything else|
|7. Greententljs clamps||lockable / nylon||$||50||popular as a budget alternative to Lock-jaw|
1. Best barbell collar overall – Rogue USA Aluminum collars
Rogue has one-upped every collar in the industry with the USA Aluminum. They’re stronger than most, gentle to the bar, easy to work with, and hold better.
Let’s look at each of those statements separately.
They’re stronger than plastic lockable collars
For example, plastic Lockjaws. And they grip the bar better because the rubber lines the collar all the way around.
The aluminum used for these has a tensile strength of 45,000 PSI (6061 aircraft-grade) (resource).
In comparison, plastic collars (the better ones) are made from high-performance plastic resin with a tensile strength of about 21,000 PSI (resource).
They hold better and are gentler to the bar
The snap-flexure system of the locking mechanism opens fully and locks as tight as a screw collar. It’s also easy to work with because the handles are longer than those of an OSO collar.
Convenience-wise, Rogue USA can compete with the Eleiko Öppen (winner of the convenience category).
The Eleiko Öppen costs much more and has nothing on the Rogue USA in terms of durability and grip (more on that in a minute).
The grip is crucial
The tight lock creates a zero-tolerance. That’s a fancy way of saying that it won’t break or slide whatever weight you throw at it – if you’re a weightlifter or CrossFitter and will be dropping a loaded bar a lot, that’s a big deal.
It grips as tightly as any old-school screw collar, just without…you know…bolting screws into your barbell sleeves. Plus, flicking a catch is a much quicker process than screwing/unscrewing a nut every time you want to change weights.
Those are the quality aspects that will win over the conservative buyer.
Beyond that, there’s also the awesomeness factor, the color choices (available in Cerakote coating), and the aura of a premium product that comes with the Rogue logo.
The extra 10 or 15 bucks mean nothing here…and that comes from someone on a mission to prove that creating a home gym doesn’t have to be expensive.
I always lean towards the budget gear but not at the cost of performance.
The magnetic version of the collar is as good as it gets
Finally, there is a magnetic version of this collar, which is a massive plus if you’re big on drop sets or just like the convenience.
If you ask me, these are even better than the highly-praised OSO magnetic collars because they open more, which makes them easier to put on.
If we bump up the price range a bit, I’d say that the magnetic version wins the title of best barbell collar for a home gym on the market today.
For the extra $15 anything magnetic is soooo worth it IMO!
The bottom line- if you are in the market for barbell collars and you can afford to pay $50-$70 then these are for you. No need to waste your time looking elsewhere as these will last a lifetime.
- Made of aircraft-grade aluminum – it’s likely to last a lifetime.
- No metal-to-metal contact – it won’t scuff or scratch the sleeves.
- 360-degree interior rubber lining – stronger barbell-to-collar connection means it won’t wiggle or move, even when dropped.
- The lever-lock opens fully – it’s easy to mount and take off.
- Clear silver-anodized finish – it won’t rust and change with prolonged use. Big plus if your gym is in a humid/damp part of the world, such as near the ocean.
- The combined weight of the pair is 0.5 lbs – this makes it easier to plan the workout because they double as fractional plates.
- Available with Cerakote coating – you can get them in 6 colors to match your space or weight plates.
- They cost more than your average collars – you’ll spend 20-30% more than other good plastic collars like Lockjaw.
2. Best budget aluminum barbell collar – Synergee Aluminum
These collars from Synergee are the more budget-friendly alternative to top-rated Rogue USA.
Apart from the inherent superior manufacturing standards (which is true for almost any Rogue product), it’s hard to find a substantial difference.
All the basics of a good barbell collar are here – they’re aluminum, lined with protective rubber, open easily, and securely lock in place.
At the price point, they’re hard to beat.
- Similar functionality to Rogue USA aluminum collars at a lower price point – these will make less of a dent in your home gym budget.
- Available in three colors – you can match them to your space or weight plates.
- So snug they’re drop-friendly – unlike some other barbell collars we’ll talk about today, Synergee explicitly says that you can “drop your bar without worrying about your weight plates.”
- Weight of the pair is not a whole number – if you’re a prude about tracking weights, the 0.84 lbs won’t be as convenient as the 0.5 lbs of the Rogue collars.
- There’s no magnetic version – you’ll have to keep track of where you leave these; you can’t just “slap” them onto the rack.
- The 1-year warranty is shorter than Rogue’s – this speaks toward durability. However slim, there’s a higher chance of these breaking.
3. Most versatile barbell collars – Proloc 1
If you’re just starting out with your home gym and plan for multiple barbells, I’d get the Proloc collars and see if I need anything else after things settle.
Chances are, these will be the only collars you’ll ever need.
They might not look like it, but they’re extremely durable and more versatile than any other collar on the list.
In other words – if you like to mix it up with specialty bars, Proloc is the collar that will keep things simple.
As with the aluminum collars, there’s a magnetic version of the Proloc. Those cost a bit more but yield returns in time saved looking for a missing collar.
The small barbell-collar contact surface
This is where gym nerds’ opinions clash regarding Proloc – the contact surface between the collar and the sleeve.
You have the old school ne’er-do-wells that will call you a pu**y when you bring it up, and you have the people who expect their collar to be gentle to the bar.
I’m somewhere in the middle on the issue – I see the points of both groups.
The collar does look like it might scratch the sleeves in the long run because there’s metal-on-metal contact over a small surface.
In reality, it’s the type of damage you forget about as soon as your bar is no longer new.
Still, if you’re investing in a high-end barbell, you’ll want to go with a gentler collar like the two aluminum collars we mentioned above.
You will see some scratches with the Prolocs, no matter how careful you are.
- Fits both standard and specialty bars – saves you money because you’ll need the one set.
- Range of available colors – you can add some personality to your gym or match your weight plates.
- Custom engraving available – if you buy these directly from Proloc, you can get the nylon.
- It doesn’t grip the bar all the way around – you’ll see some scratches at the contact points over time.
- Not as easy to put on as some other collar types – you might lose patience if you’re used to “faster” collars.
4. Best collars with a lock-jaw design – Lock-Jaw PRO 2
Out of the originals, the Lock-Jaw Pro 2 stands out because it’s stronger and can hold 50% more than the classic.
Stay away from the knock-offs
Lock-Jaw is probably the most popular collar design because the materials are widely available. Many cheap knock-offs have flooded the market over the last five years.
None of the other collar types are as easy to replicate.
The problem is that the copies look (almost) the same, cost much less but aren’t as well-made.
The knock-offs are not close to the quality of the original Lock-jaw, primarily in terms of material and clamping power. The original collar is made of virgin rubber or nylon resin, while the copycats typically use plastic.
In a word – if you like the design, don’t skimp and get the original or a branded version like the Rogue HG 2.0 collars.
For those on a budget: you can save about half the money and still get a similar design by going with the Lockjaw Hex collar.
- Easy to operate/unlock by popping off the spring-loaded latch – putting them on and off the barbell will be no hassle.
- Hug the sleeves all-around – the elastomer pads will be gentler and never cause damage to your barbell.
- Virgin rubber and nylon resin can take a beating – you’re likely getting a collar that will last a lifetime with an original lock-jaw.
- Available as magnetic – these are as convenient as it gets and will solve the problem of losing your collars.
- Not as rigid as Aluminum – higher chance of the collar snapping.
Bonus tip: Without getting into the legal part and the rights to the design, I’ll mention two collars available on Amazon that use a similar design and cost much less.
Now, I know that I cautioned you against cheap knock-offs, but there are a few pairs that actually use high-strength nylon or ABS plastic.
People seem to love these two – the Iron Lab Pro and the Greententljs Quick Release.
I have no personal experience with either, but it’s hard to imagine tens of thousands of people being wrong.
5. Best OSO barbell collars – OSO classic
Design-wise, the OSO collars have a lot in common with the Aluminum collars, including crucial factors like the material used and the tight hold.
The good and the bad (as compared to Rogue USA)
They’re a peg harder to operate (because they don’t open as wide) and cost a bit more.
Other than that, they’re not that different – if you liked the Aluminum collar, OSO and OSO Mighty collars will also catch your eye.
The one substantial area that will affect the day-to-day is the tightness of the hold.
Classic OSO collars do lock well, but their hold capacity is not as high as that of some competitors.
That means you might see some rattle in high-rep workouts, especially if they include a lot of momentum (like jerks and cleans). Think of the dripping faucet – it’s not the individual drips that cause the issue, it’s the collective wear!
The difference won’t be noticeable in the “steady” exercises like the bench press, squat, or deadlift.
However, we are looking for the absolute best barbell collar pair, so these details matter.
Budget OSO options: If you’re looking to save a few bucks, go with the OSO Mighty or the polymer version. These boast all the key strengths of the OSO classic and have a few downsides an average user will never notice.
- Protective rubber lining – won’t damage your barbell sleeves.
- High-quality materials – there’s no chance you’re breaking any part of these. Metal OSO collars will last you a lifetime.
- Lever-operated- locking mechanism – they’re easy to lock/unlock and lock in.
- Aggressive look/design – these will add a dash of awesomeness to your gym, especially if you go with my favorite OSO – the CM-1 metal.
- Don’t lock as tightly as the aluminum sets – the holding capacity of the OSO is lower than that of the Rogue USA Aluminum.
- Cost more than most collars – will “leave a mark” on your home gym budget, more so than most.
6. Eleiko Öppen – most convenient barbell collars in existence
When all said and done, most of us want a collar that:
- isn’t a hassle to use
- doesn’t scratch the bar
- keeps the weight in place
- doesn’t cost a kidney
Eleiko Öppen ticks three of those four boxes.
They’re a beautiful, innovative product and the manufacturing is world-class. It’s also by far the most convenient collar I know, but you can get three pairs of OSO Mighty collars for the price of one Öppen, and you have to ask yourself if it’s worth it?
In my opinion, if you can swing the top dollar, do.
Watch the 60-second video below to see them in action…
I don’t see a product here that makes you forget about the price in a week. Instead, there’s actually a product that prioritizes style over function.
The grip isn’t as good as cheaper collars! But it’s more than enough for everyone apart from the Hulk.
If you’re on a budget, just skip these.
- Open design – no collar is easier/faster to put on and off, even using one hand.
- It’s magnetic – you won’t be losing these. Just slap them onto the rack and go your merry way.
- Premium design, manufacturing, and materials – it’s a conversation starter that you’ll be proud to have in your gym.
- It’s expensive – you can easily get two or three good pairs of collars for the price of one Öppen.
- It doesn’t grip the bar as tightly as a closed collar – in extreme situations like the bar tilting, these will slide more easily than closed collars.
7. Best 1-inch barbell collars – Greententljs Quick-release
Greententljs is one of the few “takes” on the Lock-jaw design that has actually stood the test of time and scrutiny of the lifters.
Unlike most Lock-jaw wannabees, Greententljs uses similar materials (nylon, rubber, and steel), pretty much the same design, and delivers it all at a lower price point.
Nylon (Polypropylene) is more malleable than regular plastic (Polyamide), meaning it will bend without breaking.
- Cheap – you’ll spend less than you would on most of our top picks.
- The body of the collar is nylon – it won’t break on you as similar regular plastic collars might.
- The manufacturing standard and quality control are not as high as with the Lock-jaws – as with most companies with no North American address, the number of faulty products shipped is higher. Why? Because you can’t sue them…
- The grip could be tighter – the weight might start slipping when at an angle.
Choosing the barbell collars for you – a guide for the conservative buyer
If a guide ever called for “trimming some fat” to simplify the choice – this was it.
There are dozens of collar types and thousands of collars on the market.
Not all of them are worth your buck, and not all deserve to touch your barbell.
I felt nostalgic about some of these (like the Muscle Clamps). Still, the “trimming” had to be done for the greater good.
Or so the rest of the team tells me…
What it all means for you
Jokes aside, our process means you can relax knowing that the leg work is done for you.
If you like a collar and don’t see it here, there’s probably a good reason for it.
In this section, we’ll go over some of those reasons.
Primary factors to consider when choosing your barbell collars
All primary factors fall into two groups – those we awarded points for and those that can’t be quantified.
First things first – the diameter of your barbell
This one is pretty self-explanatory.
If you have a standard barbell, it probably came with a set of spinlock collars (arguably the most annoying of all collars, but that’s a minor rant for another time!)
Suppose you lost one or both of them; head over to Amazon and get a replacement set for a few bucks. If this is not the first time losing the collars, maybe get a vinyl 6-piece set for the same money.
Our primary goal today is to pinpoint the best Olympic barbell collars – for bars with 2-inch (1.96 to be exact) sleeves.
So, I won’t waste your time by comparing 1-inch collars.
The fit and hold power of the barbell collars
At times, I talk about holding power in a dismissive tone.
That’s not because it’s unimportant but because ALL the collars we presented as top picks will keep the weight in place. From that point on, the devil is in the details.
Simply put – we ferret out the junk and only present the winners.
Material of the collar body
We could get into the nitty-gritty of metal vs. plastic/nylon here, but that would serve little purpose.
What I have in mind when I talk about materials are the differences between the original collars like Lock-jaw or Rogue HG compared to the cheap ones that look the same.
That’s where you feel the difference because materials like ABS plastic or nylon resin yield compression without being brittle – i.e., they press against the barbell without breaking.
If I had to choose one “best” material for the body of the collar, it would be Aluminum because it’s the most durable and looks badass.
Padding/lining of the barbell collar
You do want some sort of protection for the sleeves of your barbell. It’s not just about scratching the sleeve; it’s about the damage that opens the bar to corrosion.
All the better barbell collars used some type of rubber pads.
You might see the word “elastomer” used in this context.
Eight times out of ten, it just means rubber, and the two remaining times, it means rubber mixed with something.
Weight of the collar
The weight of a barbell collar is not as crucial in a home setting as it is in competitions (thank you, Mr. Obvious).
The only real reason I can see someone considering the weight is having a touch of OCD, in which you won’t like about half of our winners.
How much do barbell collars weigh?
Barbell collars weigh around 1 lbs for a pair, which is true for most modern sets like Rogue HG 2.0 or Lock-Jaw HEX.
If you go into more detail, you’ll find 1-inch collars as light as 0.2 lbs, and weighted competition collars heavier than 10 lbs.
The locking/release mechanism of the Olympic barbell collars
The Lock-Jaw type (or some take on it) dominates the modern collar market because it’s fast, convenient, and secure.
Go back just a decade or two, and you’d still be screwing bolts into the sleeves of your precious barbell.
Why do you need a barbell collar?
You need a barbell collar to keep the weight in place and prevent injury. The good ones, like the Rogue USA Aluminum, lock the plates in and prevent movement.
If the barbell collars slide as the bar tilts, the best you can hope for is a failed lift. The worst – an injury.
Note: there are a few collars notaries for their tendency to pop off and unlock under movement (read: dropped bar). Unfortunately for me, my beloved Muscle Clamps are on that list.
Magnets in collars are a plus
This is an obvious one. Most of us don’t have a lot of storage in home gyms. And even when it does exist, having the collars on hand (like right there on the rack) is as convenient as it gets.
The downside of magnetic collars is that they’re made of more parts, and I’ve seen one too many cases of the magnets separating/protruding from the collar body.
Granted, each of these cases happened with plastic/resin collars like Lock-jaw or Rogue HG.
This rarely happens, but you should definitely be aware of it, especially if you’re paying top dollar for magnetic collars.
For you, this means two things:
- If you’re going with magnetic collars, choose a product with a warranty.
- If you want to eliminate the risk, go with metal collars.
Available colors/coolness factor
If you like a pop of color sprinkled around the gym, I’m not the guy to go for advice because I’m all about practicality and give little thought to matching colors.
I like the yellow-black combo which dominates in my gym and the red-black. That is pretty much it.
But I don’t have to be an interior decorator to tell you which collars give you the most options:
- If you’re going for the Lock-jaw type, you’re golden because these come in pretty much any color you can think of.
- If you want a metal collar, go for the OSO CM-1. It’s easily the best-looking collar if you’re into color…all of them awesome, none tacky.
Dimensions of the barbell collar
Cosmetics aside, the only dimension of a barbell collar that truly matters is the width.
Because a wider collar means greater contact surface and more holding power.
Bear in mind too though, if you lift with bumpers and are strong enough to be filling the barbell sleeves with plates, you’ll still need enough room for the collar to grip on to.
The type of collar is still the primary factor of the holding power.
Bottom line – if it comes to one collar type you like and you’re not sure if it’s strong enough, go for the wider collar.
I’ll give an example of that – the Bulldog collars.
I’ve seen these bashed left and right for sliding off. I’ve seen them bashed in videos by guys who aren’t using the real thing but knock-offs.
We can talk semantics all day, but when I say “bulldog collars,” I’m referring to the anodized-aluminum collar with the word Bulldog on the side.
They’re robust and wide, and the width creates solid holding power.
Price of a good barbell collar
You can get a basic pair of spring collars for under 10 bucks, but the best collars start at about $30 and go up to $75.
The only collar over that price range that’s worth it is the Eleiko Öppen.
Öppen aside, unless you’re a professional looking for regulation, weighted collars, there’s no need to pay more than $75.
One or two-year warranty on a barbell collar is good enough.
I never thought I’d say this, but beware of lifetime warranties because the margins on the cheap imported collars are so high that some of these brands offer lifetime warranties because the math works out.
You get a cheap collar; it breaks, you send it back and get a new one.
If it breaks again, most people just don’t have the time to go through the hassle.
How we chose the best barbell collars – overview of our rating process
In this section, I’ll go over our process of choosing the recommended collars – step-by-step:
- We created a list of over 100 collars that we felt were candidates for the top.
- We grouped the collars in a way that allowed us to create meaningful ratings …so that we compare apples to apples.
- We’ve created the rating formulas in consultation with industry experts.
- We took the time to pinpoint the blind spots that an average user might have when buying barbell collars.
- We contacted the manufacturers for clarifications about specific products.
- Once we had all the relevant data, we applied the formula and found the winners we’re presenting today.
As always, we tried to quantify everything that can be quantified, go with data instead of opinion and prioritize value because exercise doesn’t have to be expensive.
For reference – types of barbell collars
Let’s retrace the steps of the industry and pinpoint the basic collar types – those that gave birth to all others.
I’ll make a conscious effort not to ramble about the sub-types but keep things simple.
Even trimmed down, this section is still the most complete resource on collar types I know of.
Spring collars (barbell clamps)
This is your basic collar that most of us used at some point.
If you’re not sentimentally attached to your barbell, it’s still a viable choice. It’s fast, easy and cheap. You squeeze the handle and slide the collar on and off.
They’re perfectly suitable for 99% of gym users. I own dozens of pairs and don’t ever recall having a problem with them.
The downside is obvious – it will stretch the sleeve and lose its “spring” with time, making the “cheap” point moot. This will take a long time though.
If you want to go even cheaper, you can get a set of heavy-duty spring clamps. These are not really made with barbells in mind but can do the trick as an interim solution on low-momentum lifts.
These come only with a spin lock barbell or dumbbell, so it doesn’t make sense to waste words on choosing the best.
No spinlock collar is great because they’re slow to put on/take off, and you can never get a tight fit. A few series into a workout with a spinlock, and the rattling begins.
Bonus tip: The smarter way to keep the weight on your standard barbell/dumbbell is getting adjustable, locking 1-inch collars (like the Greententljs we mentioned).
I could find dozens of snap-lock collar sub-types. I won’t go that granular.
For the sake of simplicity, I’ll lump them all up into one category.
Four of our five best Olympic barbell collars belong to this category (Aluminum, Lock-jaw, HG, OSO).
Muscle Clamp collars
A simple, fast collar that I know and love, the Muscle Clamp is still going strong in commercial gyms because it’s easy to use.
It needs an update to remain competitive, though…especially for Olympic lifts because they tend to pop open more easily than the competition.
And beloved it is…I mean, what’s not to love about a company that still uses an AOL e-mail for contact?
Compression ring collars
Compression rings are of the oldest designs, but it’s still going strong among the old school lifters.
It’s too crude to compare to modern collars because there’s no protection for the sleeves – you just screw in the bolt until the metal ring presses tightly against the bar.
They’re nice, they’re functional, but they can become annoying when every single weight change feels like a Formula 1 racing pit stop.
Another fast collar of old that works well if you don’t expect it to choke the barbell. You slide it on and release the hat-like knob.
The graybeards among you will remember the legendary Bollinger or the robust Husker collars.
Not very popular or widely available, the bulldog collars use the same mechanism as Proloc to grab onto the sleeve. They’re wider (2.5 inches), so you get more contact with the bar and a tighter grip.
I like the hold and the robustness, but an average guy putting together a home gym won’t need 2.5-lb collars.
They are badass, though.
Barbell Collars for specialty bars
We won’t analyze these at great length because it would get out of hand.
Two collars that deserve special attention here are the Rogue Axle and Proloc.
Proloc – best for specialty bars and the top-rated chain collars
Proloc is such a simple design that we’ve seen many takes on it over the years.
It’s easy to use and fast but not friendly to the bar. Rubber lining would make it gentler on the sleeves and improve the holding power.
On the other hand, it would mess with the simplicity of the design and make the collar much harder to put on…so maybe don’t fix what’s not broken.
- Proloc 1 is your basic collar.
- Proloc 2 is our pick among chain collars.
- Proloc 3 is the magnetic version.
All good collars, only one labeled as best in its category (chain collars) – the Proloc 2.
Strap barbell collars – the fastest and simplest collar out there
Snap-on strap collars are a super simple concept that works as a charm if you’re not tilting or dropping the bar.
None of these were ever a candidate for the top 5 because there’s nothing that stands out. If I showed you these without context, you’d expect them to be a budget alternative.
Hmm, no such luck…the good ones, like the SnapClips, are in the same price range as “regular” collars.
Weighted (competition) collars
Olympic collars weigh 2.5 kilos (5.5 lbs) and aren’t great for a home gym.
They’re made to be used with care and time to spare in competitions. They’re slow to put on but put a barbell into a Khabib-like chokehold.
As secure as they come
In terms of stability, nothing comes close to the double collars with a compression ring. The two parts you see in the image below work independently.
You first secure the collar axially to the sleeve by tightening the compression ring and then turn the knurled section to tighten the weight plates against each other and the barbell shoulder.
For a home gym, that’s an overkill.
If you still feel like you need these cast iron beasts and have money to spare, Ivanko’s Chrome Training collars weigh 5 lbs combined (instead of 11 lbs), so they’re easier to plan a workout with.
If being IWF-certified is not a must, I’d go with the Rogue KG competition collars or the Uesaka Sevi collars – both look awesome.
All other collar types can be traced back to the list above.
Other sets in the Top 20 – close-but-no-cigar collars
The close-but-no-cigar section is always home to products that almost made the cut.
It deserves a read because it’s home to some excellent collars. Some of these might have fallen below the line for reasons that aren’t important to you.
- PRx Fitness Barbell Lock Jaw Collars – a really good option but doesn’t quite beat the lock-jaw option above.
- Rogue HG 2.0 (classic and magnetic) – branded version of the Lock-jaw. I just felt the original deserves a slight edge.
- Lock-jaw HEX – a budget-friendly alternative to the Pro 2. It’s not as strong, though, and it’s missing the spring-loaded latch.
- Lock-jaw Oly 9Olympic barbell collar – just as strong as the Pro 2, without the spring latch.
- Lock-Jaw Flex Aluminum – a sleeker cousin to the other Lock-jaws, made to compete with Rogue USA Aluminum. The jury is still out on this one.
- Clout Fitness Olympic barbell clamps – stainless steel pins don’t make up for the sub-par plastic, especially on the locking latch. They’re still in the bestseller mix.
- Gorilla Jaw – a refreshing take on the locking collar that you can never get quite tight enough. At least not in a way that would give them a fighting chance when facing the best.
- Titan clamp collars – an interesting design that we need more data on.
- OSO CM-1 – gorgeous collar with a flaw. I still don’t understand the plastic lever. How much is that saving?
- OSO Mighty – not as mighty as the regular OSO.
- OSO CP-1 Polymer – a cheaper version of the classic OSO. I don’t know precisely what polymer means (what kind of plastic)…which is the kind of vagueness that always gets to me.
- Proloc Strongman and Proloc 2 – former made to fit specialty 1,9-inch barbells, later for the badass who likes to lift chains along with the plates.
FAQs about barbell collars
Are barbell collars necessary?
Yes, barbell collars are necessary. They keep the weight plates in place, dramatically lowering the safety risks. There’s a place to introduce controlled instability into a workout, and it’s not lifting without collars.
In other words, if you’re serious about weightlifting at home (read: alone) and getting things off the top shelf in your 60s, yes, you should use collars. If this was the 70s, we could talk excuses like time and hassle. But it’s not, and collars like Eleiko Öppen exist, which makes any further excuse lazy.
Bottom line – using collars every single time is not about always needing them; it’s about creating the habit. If in doubt, read that again.
Are barbell collars worth it?
Yes, barbell collars are worth it. That especially goes if you get a budget pair like the Synergee Aluminium.
From a purely financial angle, they’re a cheap way to protect your barbell, weight plates and potentially, your body from injury!
Are barbell spring collars good?
Spring collars such as the PRx spring collars are perfectly fine for most gymgoers. If you don’t plan on dropping the bar from overhead they can hold weights in place just fine.
However, spring collars are not good for CrossFit or Oly weightlifting because they don’t hold weight as well as modern collars like the Rogue USA Aluminum.
Final thoughts on choosing your next pair of barbell collars
With 60+ hours invested in researching collars and decades of training behind me, I feel confident when I say that the best barbell collars for most people are Rogue USA Aluminum.
They’re easy to use, lock-well, wrap the bar with a python-like grip, and don’t cost a fortune.
|f you want an upgrade in convenience, you can get them with integrated magnets, and if you want an upgrade in looks, splurge for the cerakote-coated version.
If money is no object, Eleiko Öppen collars are the most exciting thing to happen in the collar arena since someone first asked why are we bolting screws into barbells.
They’re also by far the most convenient collar here.
If you’re on a budget, go for the Synergee Aluminium.
Click here to skip back to the table with all the top-rated collars.
Read our best Olympic barbell in-depth guide to learn more about choosing the best barbell for your home gym.