I’d recommend the Rogue Ohio Bar with a cerakote finish as the best Olympic barbell for most people.
This is after over 120 hours of research and comparing over 100 of the most popular barbells (this is now the 4th edition of this article).
But why listen to me?
I’m going to go out on a limb here and say I know more about barbells than most. I own an 8,000-square-foot commercial gym and I own more than 50 barbells. Here’s a small sample:
But more importantly than that… the team at Strong Home Gym (including other certified personal trainers) ran these bars against 18 criteria including…
- Type of sleeves
- And much more intricate criteria
Note- if any of that doesn’t make sense I do explain what all of this means later here.
We’ve physically tested many of them. And we found hundreds of customer testimonials and asked our own community what they think.
So we’ve tried to be as objective as possible!
If you’re in a hurry, the Rogue Ohio Bar is what I would recommend for most people.
The proprietary Rogue Work Hardening means this is one of the most durable bars that exist for this price range. It’s versatile, uses strong tensile strength, and has an amazing corrosion-resistant cerakote finish. For those looking for a barbell to last a long time, this is a big deal.
If you’re looking for a bar with more grip, then the Rogue Ohio Power Bar is for you.
The volcano-style knurl makes it very aggressive but not as sharp as the more traditional mountain style. It’s simply the best bang for your buck in this category.
The Rogue Pyrros Bar is the overall best Olympic weightlifting bar.
It’s not cheap but if you’re doing Olympic lifts then you’ll know why getting a bar like this is important.
Note- it’s very rare that one brand dominates our top picks for any reviews that we do.
It’s especially rare that it’s Rogue as we put an emphasis on value in our ratings (basically price has the heaviest ‘weighting’ in our criteria).
However, I think this shows how much work Rogue has clearly put into their barbells. And they really do fall in line at a good price compared to others of very similar quality.
I’ll dig into all of this in this guide. Feel free to click a subheading below that catches your eye.
However, I highly recommend taking your time to read through this.
It will improve your knowledge of barbells, which can improve your workouts. It can also save you hundreds of dollars from buying a bar that’s not right for you. So you’re welcome!
Force USA Gunner Bar
Rogue Ohio Bar
Rogue Ohio Power Bar
- 9 best Olympic barbells
- 1. Our multi-purpose best Olympic barbell – Cerakote Rogue Ohio Bar
- 2. Runner up Olympic barbell – REP Excalibur V2
- 3. Best budget barbell – Force USA Gunner Bar
- 4. Best Olympic barbell on Amazon – Synergee Regional
- 5. Premium multi-purpose barbell – Eleiko XF Bar
- 6. Best Olympic weightlifting barbell – Rogue Pyrros Bar
- 7. Best short barbell – GetRXD Shorty Bar
- 8. Best Olympic barbell for women – Rogue Bella Bar
- 9. Best power barbell – Rogue Ohio Power Bar (Stainless Steel)
- 4 best specialty barbells
- Different barbell types
- What to look for in a barbell
- Barbell buying guide- how we assess barbells
- Other barbells we tested
- Olympic barbell FAQs
- Best Olympic barbell- the bottom line
9 best Olympic barbells
Here’s a quick overview of the best Olympic bars. Click on any product name to see more information and other people’s reviews.
|Name||Best for||Rating (out of 100)||Price||Tensile Strength||Finish sleeves/ shaft|
|1. Rogue Ohio Bar||Multi-purpose or CrossFit (best CrossFit bars guide)||77||$$$||190k||Cerakote/ cerakote|
|2. REP Excalibur V2||Runner up/ stainless steel (best REP bars guide)||74||$$$||190k||Stainless steel/ stainless steel|
|3. Force USA Gunner Bar||Budget (best budget bars guide)||72||$$||235k||Zinc/ zinc|
|4. Synergee Regional||Amazon||69||$||190k||Hard chrome/ hard chrome|
|5. Eleiko XF Bar||Premium multi-purpose||64||$$$$$||215k||Hard chrome/ hard chrome|
|6. Rogue Pyrros Bar||Oly Weightlifting (best Rogue bars guide)||68||$$$$$||200k||Stainless steel/ stainless steel|
|7. GetRXD Shorty Bar||Short bar (best short bars guide)||62||$||190k||Hard chrome/ hard chrome|
|8. Rogue Bella Bar||Women (best women’s barbell guide)||63||$$||190k||E-coat/ e-coat|
|9. Rogue Ohio Power bar||Powerlifting (best power bar guide)||77||$$$$||200k||Stainless steel/ stainless steel|
4 best specialty barbells
These bars are the crème de la crème of the specialty bars out there.
We always strive to find equipment that has good value but also suits the vast majority of people.
If you are interested in any of these bars then I’d highly recommend reading our full guide for that type of bar to learn more…
|Name||Best for||Rating (out of 100)||Price||Tensile Strength/ max capacity||Finish sleeves/ shaft|
|1. Bells of Steel Arch Nemesis||Swiss Bar (best multi-grip barbell guide)||66||$$||600lbs max capacity||Powder coat/ powder coat|
|2. Titan V2||Safety Squat Bar (best safety squat bar guide)||73||$$$||1,500lbs max capacity||Chrome/ chrome|
|3. Bells of Steel 3.0||Trap Bar (best trap bar guide)||79||$$$||700lbs max capacity||Zinc/ black oxide|
|4. Rogue Ohio Deadlift Bar||Deadlift bar (best deadlift bar guide)||75||$$$$||190k||Cerakote/ cerakote|
You can also check out our best curl bars guide here to see our pick for an EZ curl bar.
The barbells selected really are a variety of the top options out there to suit any budget and lifting ability. You can find out more about the criteria we tested each barbell against later.
But before you dig into each one you should also know some of the averages of the 100+ barbells.
|Average tensile strength||185k PSI|
So let’s find one that suits you…
1. Our multi-purpose best Olympic barbell – Cerakote Rogue Ohio Bar
The Rogue Ohio bar came top of our multi-purpose bars list with a score of 76 out of 100.
A multi purpose bar is the best one for ‘most people’. And the Rogue Ohio is certainly one of the best Olympic bars for CrossFit.
Check out our full guide on the best CrossFit barbells here.
The reasons why it’s our top pick is…
- The price for the tensile strength
- Cerakote finish
- Composite bushings making smooth-spinning sleeves
- And the proprietary Rogue Work Hardening
Rogue Fitness have spent over $2 million and 5 years of research to create their patented F Scale rating.
After all of this testing, they worked out that bars using their special Rogue Work Hardening (RWH) lasted about 3 times as long as bars with the same specs not using this tech. You can use Rogue’s calculator and see how long they estimate the bars on this list will last in years below…
If you are buying a multi-purpose bar, then you are likely going to drop it a lot. Cleans and jerks, snatches, overhead squats, thrusters, and the like all involve dropping the bar from above your head.
The good news is that this bar will last for decades if you’re using it at home!
Even if you were to use this bar in a busy commercial CrossFit gym it would last for 16 years as good as new (according to Rogue).
The composite bushing sleeves provide just the right amount of spin for any of these fast lifts overhead. It’s certainly not as fast as some specialty Olympic Weightlifting bars with needle bearings such as the Rogue Pyrros.
But it’s very unlikely you will lift this bar and think…
“I wish the sleeves would spin a bit more!”
Rogue provides an impressive lifetime warranty on the bar.
Many other barbell manufacturers will provide 5 years or less as a lot can go wrong with a barbell if you mistreat it. But Rogue is so confident in their bars that they still offer this and provide exceptional customer service and delivery.
The bottom line- this is one of the most popular bars out there (and for good reason). It simply ticks all the boxes… and some! It’s also very affordable compared to the competition.
Then the Rogue Work Hardening is the cherry on top.
|Rogue Ohio Bar|
|Sleeve Type||Composite bushings|
- Price for the quality- the specs are the same as some bars that cost twice as much.
- 190k PSI tensile strength– durable and will not deform from lifting heavy weights.
- Composite bushing sleeves- smooth spin but not too fast so it won’t make slow lifts like a squat or presses unstable.
- Lifetime warranty- peace of mind and it proves Rogue Fitness rates their bars highly.
- F8-R F scale rating- the proprietary Rogue Work Hardening supposedly allows the bar to last three times longer than other bars.
- 13 color options- brand your gym with your own colors.
- Dual knurl markings- make it easy to position your hands for different lifts like the bench press and the snatch.
- End caps can scratch easily- not ideal aesthetically but it really is hard to find anything to nit-pick at with this bar.
If noise is a concern in your gym then check out the Rogue Bar 2.0s. It’s pretty much the same as this bar but with a 50% noise reduction.
The trade-off is that it only comes in a black option and hasn’t been around as long.
2. Runner up Olympic barbell – REP Excalibur V2
The feel of stainless steel metal in your hands is totally different from a bar with a coating. And the price of the REP Excalibur stainless steel option is the reason it’s a very close runner-up to the Rogue Ohio cerakote bar.
The knurling feels more aggressive as there is nothing between the steel and your skin.
But the knurling is passive enough so it won’t grind your hands up during fast high rep workouts.
Stainless steel is the most corrosion-resistant metal a bar can use so no “finish” is needed to protect the bar…
The Rogue Ohio Bar does have a stainless steel option. But it’s over $100 more expensive than the Excalibur. The reason Rogue Ohio cerakote option beats the Excalibur as our top pick is for 3 main reasons:
- Different color options
- The proprietary Rogue Work Hardening
- It’s way more popular
The third one may seem like a strange reason. However, from my experience as a PT, there is nearly always a reason a bar becomes popular in CrossFit communities and commercial gyms.
So much so that we take the popularity of bars into account for our criteria.
But when you look solely at the features of the bar the Excalibur actually comes out on (joint) top…
There are two aspects that the Excalibur bar beats the Rogue Ohio bar:
- Stainless steel used (instead of cerakote- remember the Ohio bar has a stainless steel option but it’s more expensive)
- Both bearings and bushings in the sleeves (the Ohio only uses composite bushings)
I’ve already talked about why many people prefer stainless steel. But not everyone will prefer this especially if you are used to lifting bars with a ‘finish’.
But the sleeves use a hybrid of bushings and bearings.
This does make the sleeves spin more than the Ohio bar.
One of the disadvantages of using a bar with bearings is that it can feel unstable when doing slower lifts such as bench or overhead presses.
But REP have been very clever by using a hybrid.
It makes the fast overhead lifts feel even smoother than the Ohio, but it’s not too unstable for the slow heavy bench presses.
The bottom line- This bar is made for someone that wants a bar with more grip. You can feel the steel in your hands (instead of on a coating like cerakote). It can do any lifts and look brand new for decades.
|REP Excalibur Bar|
|Sleeve Type||Hybrid bushings & bearings|
- Stainless steel bar- very resistant to corrosion and more grippy knurling as there isn’t a coating over the steel.
- Hybrid bushings and bearings- gives the sleeves more spin that just a bushing bar. But it doesn’t feel unstable for slower lifts like the bench or overhead press.
- Dual knurl markings (IWF and IPF)- perfect if you do a mixture of powerlifting lifts and Olympic weightlifting or CrossFit lifts.
- 190k PSI- very strong tensile strength means the bar will not bend easily over time.
- No color options- one of the downsides of no finish on the bar means it’s not possible to change the color to suit your gym. Steel is steel!
- Less social proof compared to the Rogue Ohio Bar- can it stand the test of time?
3. Best budget barbell – Force USA Gunner Bar
This one was a surprise addition to the list!
If you go into any gym community and ask what barbell they use, I can almost guarantee you they will not say a ‘Force USA’ bar.
But this bar just has so many specs that make it compete with bars that cost 2-3 times the price, such as:
- 235k PSI tensile strength
- Hybrid 2 stainless steel bushings and 5 needle bearings per sleeve
- Zinc coated sleeves and shaft
The 235k PSI strength is actually the highest tensile strength on this list. In fact, only the Kabuki Power bar has a stronger tensile strength at 258k PSI… but it costs almost 3 times as much!
Now, I want to make this clear…
Stronger tensile strength doesn’t equal a better bar.
In fact, Rogue’s epic $2 million research found the sweet spot was between 190k-220k PSI. Otherwise, it’s possible to make the bar become more brittle.
It’s very hard for us to say for sure about any of this without dropping the bar from overhead with 300lbs+ thousands of times over decades.
But generally speaking the higher the tensile strength, the more force it can take without bending. And after watching this video by Chris Duffin (one of the founders of Kabuki Strength) you can see it’s not as straightforward as anything over 220k PSI is more brittle.
You can see the bar in action and a quick overview in this 2-minute video…
The bottom line- The reason the high specs seem all the more impressive is because of the price point of this bar. Coming in around $100 cheaper than our top two picks, this one may be for you budget savvy readers that still want high quality.
|Force USA Gunner Bar|
|Sleeve Type||Hybrid 2 stainless steel bushings and 5 needle bearings per sleeve|
- 235k PSI tensile strength- the highest rated bar on this list.
- Very affordable price- $100 cheaper than the top two picks.
- Hybrid bushings and bearings sleeves- bearings provide great spin for fast. overhead lifts but bushings are well balanced for the slower lifts like the heavy bench press.
- Zinc-coated bar- very corrosion resistant for an affordable price.
- 28 mm diameter- slightly thinner than most 28.5mm multi-purpose bars & more suited to Olympic weightlifting.
- Not very popular- hasn’t stood the test of time from numerous buyers yet.
4. Best Olympic barbell on Amazon – Synergee Regional
Simply put, the Synergee Regional is the best ‘cheapest Olympic bar’ we found.
But make no mistake about it…
This is not some cheap specs bar!
It’s actually pretty decent!
Boasting 190k PSI strength it matches our top two picks. It uses a hard chrome finish comparable to many other good barbells. Although Rogue seems to think any kind of chrome finish is not good for a barbell, a hard chrome finish is far superior to decorative chrome.
And it uses needle bearings, which are generally more expensive than bushings.
However, there are three downsides compared to our top two picks:
- It has a 28mm diameter (making it more suited to Olympic Weightlifting lifts, whereas most home gym users do squats, presses, and deadlifts more often).
- It uses 5 needle bearings per sleeve
- 1 year warranty
Neither of the top two points by themselves is terrible.
But when combined together it can make the bar feel more whippy and unstable for slower lifts (like heavy bench or overhead presses).
If you intend to use the bar for Oly weightlifting or CrossFit lifts mainly then this is a moot point. Or even if you know you won’t be doing any 400 lb squats or 250lb bench presses, then this probably doesn’t matter.
But anyone that has tried pressing 200+lbs will recognize the feeling of an unstable bar. More spin on the sleeves creates this unbalanced feel.
The bottom line- you will find it hard to beat the price of this bar. Let alone the quality specs for this price range. This is the bar for you if money is tight or you really like to buy things on Amazon.
|Rogue Ohio Bar|
|Sleeve Type||5 needle bearings|
- Super cheap bar- you’ll find it hard to even find a new Olympic barbell for this price.
- 190k PSI tensile strength- way better than most bars in this price range.
- Hard chrome (or black phosphate) finish- decent corrosion resistant, the black phosphate option is only for people who would like a black bar ‘cos it looks cool!
- 5 needle bearings per sleeve- provide an excellent spin for the sleeves making fast lifts like the clean and jerk or snatch a breeze on your wrists.
- 1 year warranty- don’t expect to get this bar replaced if it gets damaged after a year.
- 28mm diameter- makes the bar more ‘whippy’ and more suitable for fast overhead lifts (this could be a positive if you do a lot of CrossFit or Oly Weightlifting lifts).
- Extra spinny sleeves- this can make the bar feel unbalanced when lifting heavy bench or overhead presses.
5. Premium multi-purpose barbell – Eleiko XF Bar
The Eleiko XF bar is top dog in our research when you take out the price and popularity.
There are numerous reasons for this but here are the main three:
- 215k PSI tensile strength
- 16.5 inch sleeves
- Proprietary Swedish steel
This is the bar with the highest tensile strength apart from Force USA’s bar. It’s within Rogue’s ideal range of 190-220k too!
It also has the longest sleeves on this list, which means you can fit more weight onto the bar, which is ideal if you lift anything over 500lbs.
But despite all of this the main reason this bar is our premium pick is for this…
Eleiko takes insane care and attention to detail with everything they produce.
It also uses the elusive proprietary ‘Swedish steel’. Eleiko do not share anything about this (understandably) but it does also mean there’s no way for us to tell why this is good… a bit like Rogue Work Hardening.
Even the collars have a dust proof seal!
These things don’t seem like much but if you ever have a sleeve on a barbell that gets ‘sticky’ it can make the bar unusable for any CrossFit lifts.
The bottom line- I’m going to take this straight off Eleiko’s website:
“If looking for the best multipurpose strength and endurance training bar, the XF bar is the way to go.”
And our analysis would have to agree with this!
|Eleiko XF Bar|
|Sleeve Type||Hybrid needle bearings and bushings|
|Knurling||1.0 mild knurling|
- 215k PSI tensile strength- simply won’t deform from dropping it with heavy weight.
- 16.5” sleeves- allows you to comfortably fit more weight and thick collars on the bar.
- Proprietary Swedish steel- the Swedish apparently make some amazing steel!
- Dustproof seal around collars- this can prevent the sleeves from getting stuck and ruining the bar over time.
- Knurling feels good- it just feels high quality.
- Magnetic barbell brush- if all of the above wasn’t enough, they even throw in a brush!
- Hard chrome finish- disappointing finish for such a classy bar. We’d love to see a cerakote or stainless steel option (or even the mysterious finish of the temporarily available Eleiko ‘Hybrid bar’)
- 12-year warranty- not as good as the lifetime of Rogue or REP. You’d expect this at this price range…
- Expensive- not for the faint-hearted! But if you’re a Porsche or Rolex fan, then you’ll love anything Eleiko offers!
6. Best Olympic weightlifting barbell – Rogue Pyrros Bar
If you want a great Olympic weightlifting barbell and money is not a consideration then this is your barbell.
The Pyrros has IWF Olympic standard knurling, 200k PSI tensile strength and a super smooth spin thanks to the 5 needle bearings in each sleeve. It really doesn’t scrimp on anything.
A stainless steel alloy bar doesn’t require any coating to finish. It simply is the best material out there for corrosion resistance. It can last decades without rusting and still look brand new.
In fact, the only area it didn’t score well in our criteria was the pricing and the popularity of the bar (probably due to the pricing!)
But if you are into Olympic weightlifting, you probably already know a lot about barbells and understand why the costs are higher to make a bar like this.
The bottom line- If you could design an Olympic weightlifting barbell with the best possible specs, this would be it.
|Rogue Pyrros Bar|
|Sleeve Type||5 needle bearings per sleeve|
|Knurling||IWF Olympic standard knurl|
- IWF Olympic standard knurl- provides a good grip without tearing your hands.
- Stainless steel alloy- the ‘crème de la crème’ of corrosion resistance and knurling ‘feels’ more grippy.
- Good spin- 5 needle bearings per sleeve make them spin very smoothly. This helps to prevent injury in any weightlifting moves like the clean and jerk.
- Strong steel- 200k PSI is more than enough for almost all lifters.
- Expensive- the most expensive bar on this list!
7. Best short barbell – GetRXD Shorty Bar
The main reason the GetRXd gets the top spot for shorty bars is because of its value for money.
When you’re tight on space these are probably the main factors for you:
- A barbell that is short enough to fit into a limited space
- A decent price
- Good quality
The GetRXd ticks all of these boxes.
One of our ‘must have’ criteria for these bars was that they are ‘rackable’. So we heavily weighted the points on this aspect.
And the GetRXd Shorty bar is rackable.
This means you can do heavy bench presses and squats using this bar by racking it on a squat rack. You can find our best squat rack picks here. Or if you are tight on space check out our best short racks or folding squat racks.
However, when a short bar is rackable it always means the sleeves are going to be much shorter than a normal 7ft bar. But the length of the sleeves was another huge factor for us in our research!
The Get RXd short bar has one of the longest sleeves of our best short barbell picks.
Only the Elieko short bar has longer sleeves but it comes in at over 3 times the price of this bar!
Combine all of this with 190k PSI tensile strength, composite bushings sleeves, and a hard chrome finish. And this barbell blows the competition out of the water.
The bottom line- get this bar if you are tight on space. The quality, the length of the sleeves, and the price are why it’s our top recommendation for short barbells.
|GetRXd Shorty Bar|
|Sleeve Type||Composite bushings|
|Length||6.2ft or 74.4” (Olympic bars are 7.2ft or 86.4”)|
- Short bar at 6.2ft- perfect if you’re tight on space.
- Incredible value for money- you’ll struggle to find another shorty bar that’s as good as this for this price.
- Rackable- 52” collar to collar distance– this is a must for us. If you can’t rack it you can’t use it for heavy squats or bench presses.
- Oversized oil-impregnated bushings spin smoothly – it lowers the risk of a wrist injury, and they oil themselves to keep the spin smoother for longer.
- 9.84” sleeves- longer than most short barbells, which allows you to add more weight (300lbs of bumper plates!)
- Hard chrome is not as grippy as Cerakote or Zinc – if you like aggressive knurling and lift heavy, you might need to spend money on chalk.
- Two inches longer than a standard 6ft bar (74 inches long) – won’t save you as much much space as a 5ft or standard 6ft bar.
8. Best Olympic barbell for women – Rogue Bella Bar
Women’s barbells are thinner in diameter (25mm vs 28mm) and weigh less (15kg vs 20kg) than men’s Olympic barbells.
They are called women’s barbells, but I know plenty of men that prefer to use them! It’s ideal for anyone with smaller hands or if you like having a slightly lighter bar to learn technique and do more cardio-focused workouts. You can still pile the plates on to lift the same weight too!
But either way the Rogue Bella bar does not scrimp on any of the details!
It has a premium cerakote finish. This means it will not rust or corrode even if left out in the rain (although don’t do this obviously!) But it does mean if you live in a humid environment this bar will be totally fine.
It also uses Rogue Work Hardening and 190k PSI tensile strength steel.
This means it will last you a lifetime in a home gym even if you throw the bar around with snatches and drop the bar overhead regularly.
Some men with smaller hands don’t go for a women’s bar because they can’t fit as much weight on the bar. But the sleeves are up there with the longest out of women’s barbells. This allows you to add more plates to the bar than many of the others…
It’s a shame it only has a ‘construction warranty’ (covered against bending) instead of a lifetime warranty. And it’s not the cheapest women’s barbell you can find. But for the overall quality and price point, this barbell gets our top pick.
The bottom line- if you’re looking to buy a women’s barbell that will last a lifetime and can cope with any lifts you want, then this is for you!
|Rogue Bella Bar|
|Sleeve Type||Bronze bushings|
- Lighter (33lbs) and thinner (25mm)- the standard for women’s bars… or anyone with smaller hands!
- Premium cerakote finish – more resistant to corrosion and wear than any of the bars in Top 5
- Well-balanced hybrid knurling – makes for a comfortable, yet secure grip
- RWH (Rogue Work Hardening) treated – makes it more resistant to dropping and lasts longer
- Awesome color combos – one of the nine combos (twelve if you count the chrome sleeve option) will add a splash of color to your home gym
- Great for multi-purpose use- bronze bushings & no center knurl means you can throw this bar overhead and drop it and it’ll work for years to come!
- Pricy – you’ll spend more on the Bella bar than some other picks in our best women’s barbell guide.
- Warranty limited to construction – you’re covered against bending
9. Best power barbell – Rogue Ohio Power Bar (Stainless Steel)
The Rogue Ohio Power bar (OPB) tops our power bar list.
The reason it gets our top pick is because of pricing for the finish options and aggressive (but not sharp) knurling.
The “The Original” Buddy Cappas bar costs more for a zinc or chrome shaft. And the American Barbell Grizzly has a lower tensile strength and less aggressive knurl. In reality, there isn’t much between the three bars but we want to provide you with the best option.
You can find all of our top power bars with a buying guide here.
The stand out feature of the OPB is the volcano knurling design. There are four points on each knurl spike in the shape of a volcano. This makes it aggressive but not sharp.
It makes it the perfect weapon for anyone looking to focus on the bench, squat and deadlift with one bar.
It’s another bar that uses Rogue Work Hardening. In fact, it’s the only power bar on this list to have an F Scale rating of F8-R (the most durable bars according to Rogue).
I used this calculator on the Rogue F Scale to figure this out…
Unless you plan on doing CrossFit or Olympic weightlifting lifts, this is the bar that I would recommend most people buy.
Once you feel the knurling on this bar, you’ll understand why!
The bottom line- if you have no intention of doing fast Oly weightlifting or CrossFit lifts then this is the bar for you. The knurling is aggressive compared to a multi-purpose bar but it’s weirdly not shard due to the volcano-style knurling.
|Rogue Ohio Bar|
|Sleeve Type||Bronze bushings|
- Aggressive but not sharp knurling- Volcano knurling makes the grip of this bar amazing.
- Strong- 205k PSI can handle any weight you put on it.
- F8-R F Scale rating- a very durable bar that will not warp unless you really mistreat it.
- Finish options- black zinc, cerakote, stainless steel options available. We recommend the stainless steel option as the feel and grip is unreal!
- Pricing- the black zinc and cerakote finish options are very hard to beat for the price. Very good option considering this is from a typically more expensive Rogue.
- Not ideal for fast lifts- not the bar for CrossFit or weightlifting movements like thrusters or snatches.
4 best specialty barbells
1. Best Swiss barbell – Bells of Steel Arch Nemesis
The main benefit of a multi-grip (aka ‘swiss’ or ‘football’ bar) is it allows you to press with a neutral hand position (instead of a pronated one with a straight bar).
So they are often used by people with bad shoulders, wrists or elbows. Or to reduce any orthopedic issues linked with barbell pressing.
But the Bells of Steel bar also has an arched camber.
This allows you to use a greater range of motion as the bar literally curls around your body as you bring it in.
The added benefit here is all the surrounding muscles are activated during the chest press or rows. This can also help prevent injuries and is a very clever well thought out design.
But here’s the unique feature of this bar…
It can also be used as a lat pull down bar due to having a hook to clip onto a cable machine. Two for the price of one and a great benefit for anyone saving space in their own home gym.
If all of this wasn’t enough check this out…
The bar is one of the cheapest out of our top picks and 2-3 times cheaper than many alternatives!
It isn’t as heavy (24lbs) as some others in our best multi-grip barbell guide. And it’s a bit smaller. However, this is the trade-off for getting a cheaper bar!
You may also see it has a powder coat finish. This may seem poor compared to all the Olympic barbells you see here. However, this is pretty standard for the majority of swiss bars. Just make sure you keep it dry!
The bottom line- the Arch Nemesis is a brilliantly thought out swiss bar. When you combine the quality and functionality with the price of the bar you’d be silly to get any other one!
|Bells of Steel Arch Nemesis|
- Value- hard to beat the price of this bar, especially for the quality.
- Rackable- allows you to do heavier bench presses without a spotter or someone to lift it up for you.
- Versatility– you can comfortably use it for presses, hammer grip curls, and lat pulldowns (thanks to the loop to attach to cable machines).
- Arched camber- means you can use it for a full range of motion and activate more muscles to prevent injuries.
- Progressively increasing angles – the hand placement will feel natural – similar to using a dumbbell.
- Narrow ‘cage’ (5.4 inches)- more comfortable for an overhead press and triceps extensions because there’s less chance of clipping your chin or head.
- Shorter cage (40.5 inches) – second shortest cage (second only to Valor) means it will be easier to rack on standard power racks, even those on the narrower side.
- No neutral grip – although gentler on the joints and better for incline press, angled grips don’t offer as much isolation as neutral grips, especially for triceps extensions. However, chances are you will have a straight bar to hand for these anyway!
- The sleeves are 1.9 ” thick – you might need specialized collars such as these.
- 24 lbs weight- just feels ‘cheaper’ at first. It can also be more awkward to figure out the weight you’re lifting if you’re used to a 45lbs bar.
2. Best safety squat barbell – Titan V2
The Titan V2 is simply the best value safety squat bar (SSB) you can get.
This one’s a pretty simple recommendation to be honest.
Titan has all of the qualities of bars that cost 2-3 times more.
It is very very similar to the EliteFTS SSB. People may think this is just outright copying. But Titan has managed to do this and produce it for a fraction of the cost.
The camber angle of the Titan is the same as the EliteFTS but it’s not quite as deep. Most people can’t tell the difference between them though.
Titan’s padding is very good too. It’s thick and comfortable and better than some other more expensive versions.
The bottom line- you can buy this bar for a fraction of the cost of similar quality bars. No brainer… unless you morally don’t like the cloning factor here.
|Titan Safety Squat Bar V2|
- Value- you cannot find another SSB that is this good for this price.
- More comfortable for squats- you don’t need to externally rotate your shoulders as you can hold the grips in front of you.
- Thick padding- more comfortable and helps the bar sit on your shoulders.
- 22-degree camber angle- makes the perfect geometry and balance of the bar on your back
- Removable handles- more versatile so you can use the bar for presses etc.
- 1-year warranty- many companies such as Rogue offer lifetime warranties on their bars.
- Decorative chrome finish- the one area that this bar could improve on is by providing a hard chrome or zinc finish which is more resistant to rust over time.
- Cloned the EliteFTS SS Yoke- a moral dilemma for some.
3. Best trap barbell – Bells of Steel 3.0
A trap bar is perfect for you if you have back issues. It puts less stress on the lower back than deadlifting a straight bar.
However, with the right kind of trap bar, they can be a lot more versatile than just doing deadlifts.
This is one of the three main reasons why the Bells of Steel 3.0 gets our top pick…
- Open-ended design
- High-quality finish and rotating sleeves
- The crazy affordable price (it’s deliberate let me explain)
The open-ended design means that you can use the bar for tons more lifts than you can do with a closed trap bar. Such as lunges, rear foot split squats, farmers walks etc.
The zinc finish is up there with one of the better more corrosion-resistant finishes.
It’s the only trap bar that has rotating sleeves from the 50 trap bars we compared. It’s not important for most people that use a trap bar. But it again makes the bar more versatile to use for other lifts such as an overhead press etc. These rotating sleeves just make the bar more comfortable on the wrists.
The reason it’s so well priced is that BOS deliberately made the sleeves shorter. It reduces packaging and shipping costs significantly and it makes a great bar affordable.
The downside to this is the amount of weight you can place on the bar. It means you will struggle to put more than 650lbs on this bar even using thinner iron plates. So if you deadlift anything close to this you need to read our best trap barbell guide here (I’d recommend the Kabuki trap bar).
In all honesty, only a minority of users will be pulling 650lbs +.
The bottom line- the Bells of Steel trap bar 3.0 will give you the most versatility and quality for an affordable price compared to any other bar out there.
|Bells of Steel Trap Bar 3.0|
|Sleeve Type||Bronze Bushings|
- Less stress on the lower back- a benefit of using any trap bar for deadlifts instead of a straight Olympic barbell.
- Value- due to the shorter sleeves the bar is cheaper to produce and ship.
- Versatile- the open ended design- use the bar for additional lifts such as lunges or split squats etc.
- Zinc finish- resistant to rust to help the bar last longer and looks good!
- Lifetime warranty- for peace of mind.
- Short sleeves- you cannot load the bar with much more than 650lbs of thin iron plates (if you deadlift more than 700lbs, this is not the bar for you).
- More whip than some other trap bars – open ended and thin (0.9”) frame means there is some extra unwanted whip for heavy lifts.
4. Best deadlift bar – Rogue Ohio Deadlift Bar
The Rogue Ohio Deadlift Bar just pipped the Texas Deadlift Bar in our data scoring 70/ 100 compared to 69/100…
The thinner diameter of 27mm gives this bar extra whip than most 28-29mm barbells. This means when you’re lifting very heavy weight the bar will help you once you get to knee height.
The diameter also makes the bar easier to grip.
This is the main reason people choose to buy a deadlift bar.
The volcano-style knurling is also super aggressive (but not as sharp as the Texas Deadlift Bar) which helps with the grip.
There are some nuances between the Texas Bar and the Rogue bar. Which I delve into in more detail in our best deadlift bar guide.
However, the bar isn’t great for bench press or squats so I’d only recommend this to someone that competes with a deadlift bar. Or someone that wants to impress others with ‘how much I deadlift’.
The bottom line- there is hardly anything between the texas deadlift bar and the Rogue deadlift bar. But with Rogue, you will get amazing customer service, it will be delivered quickly and the bar is every bit as good as the Texas version.
|Rogue Deadlift Barbell|
|Knurling||Aggressive volcano style|
- Get more whip- the main benefit of a deadlift bar is that they have a 27mm diameter and are longer in length.
- Customer service- Rogue’s customer service is second to none. Your bar will arrive when it’s supposed to and you can get help with any issues very easily.
- Multiple color choices- make your gym more branded.
- Multiple finish options- from bare steel to cerakote to suit your budget or your environment.
- Knurling is very good- the volcano knurling makes it extra aggressive but not too sharp.
- Pricy – you’ll pay more for this than alternatives in our deadlift bar guide. But most people that buy a deadlift bar go for the Rogue or the Texas Bar (and for good reasons).
Different barbell types
Before you think about what to look for in a barbell, it’s important to recognize what types of barbells exist.
Firstly, there are two main types of bars you’ll find:
- Standard barbell
- Olympic barbell
A standard barbell is 5 to 6 feet long, weighs between 15 and 25 lbs and has 1” diameter sleeves (ends of the bar). They have a load capacity of between 100 to 200 lbs. You can learn more about the difference in our article standard barbell vs Olympic barbell.
You will often find these types of bars available on Craigslist and eBay and think you’re bagging a bargain. Here’s me with my first bar, which I thought was a bargain (it’s not, it’s just pretty useless)…
However, these bars are not ideal for a gym. There are much fewer options to buy weight plates or collars and you can quickly “out squat” the maximum load of these bars.
So the only bars you see above are Olympic barbells with 2” sleeves. They weigh either 45 lbs or 33 lbs for men’s or women’s versions. There are three main types of Olympic bars you’ll find:
1. Hybrid or multi-purpose
Made to be dropped.
A cross between an Olympic weightlifting bar and a powerlifting barbell.
Typically an “in-between bar” with a 28.5mm diameter.
The sleeves can use bushings or bearings or even a mixture.
This is the type of bar I’d recommend for most people with a home gym as they are very versatile. Our top pick is the Rogue Ohio Bar.
2. Powerlifting bars
Designed for powerlifting movements (squats, bench press, deadlifts) and slow controlled movements like presses, curls, or rows.
More rigid than Olympic weightlifting bars. Typically, they are slightly thicker at 29mm diameter (this small difference can make a big difference in the “whip” though!)
Knurling (the grip) is more aggressive to help the lifter with heavier weight. Our top pick, the Rogue Ohio Power Bar uses volcano-style knurling to provide more grip but is not as sharp as the “mountain” style.
Uses bushing sleeves that don’t spin as much as needle bearings and are easier to maintain.
3. Olympic weightlifting bars
Made to be dropped.
Typically designed to be used for movements like a “snatch” or “clean and jerk”. See the 30-second video below for a clean and jerk.
The sleeves mainly use “needle bearings” which helps the plates spin more than “bushings”. The REP Excalibur actually uses both, which makes it more durable and possible to use the bar for some other lifts if you want.
Usually have a 28mm diameter. This is the smallest diameter you’ll typically find, as this helps with more “whip”.
More flexibility (“whip”) in the bar to help for these Olympic lifts. But it can also hinder powerlifting movements like the squat or bench press. See the slow-mo below to see whip in action.
Important note on whip- a bar will only start to bend with a load of around 220 lbs (100kg) of weight. If you do not perform Olympic lifts with this much weight, whip really doesn’t matter.
This really is only scratching the surface of different types of bars available e.g. EZ curl bars, trap bars, safety squat bars etc.
But you only need one good barbell in your home gym. Any of the options we list above are more than enough for most people.
So you’re probably wondering…
What to look for in a barbell
There are five main things you should consider before buying a barbell…
- What will you use it for?
There are some pretty strange terms used on a barbell. So here’s the anatomy of a barbell to help you figure out what’s going on…
The first thing you really need to think about is what you will use your barbell for…
Power bar vs Olympic bar
There are some key differences between a power bar and an Olympic bar. The main features of a power bar are:
- Thicker (29mm vs 28mm)
- More rigid and have less “whip”
- More grip and aggressive knurling
- Less spin on the sleeves (usually uses bushings instead of needle bearings)
There are certain movements that are better performed with a certain type of bar…
|Power bar movements||Olympic/ multipurpose bar movements|
|Bench press||Any power bar movements plus the below…|
|Tricep press||Sumo deadlift high pull|
|Controlled movements without dropping the bar||Fast movements dropping the bar from a height|
* Some experienced lifters claim that you can use the whip of a barbell to help with deadlifts, so a multipurpose bar is better.
However, for the average home gym user any of these bars will be more than enough. Whip only starts taking effect if you are lifting over 220lbs of weight with Olympic weightlifting movements.
And unless you are squatting over 400 lbs you probably won’t notice the difference in spinning sleeves. If you are planning to squat at home then be sure to check out our squat racks buying guide.
These differences are just important to be aware of.
If you plan on doing CrossFit or Olympic Weightlifting movements at any stage, it is wise to get an Olympic weightlifting bar or multi-purpose bar. But if you plan on competing in powerlifting competitions or know you won’t ever want to do CrossFit movements, a power bar is for you.
If you’re still not sure, then you may as well go for an in-between multi-purpose bar like the Rogue Ohio Bar.
Now you have decided what you will be using the barbell for let’s dig into…
Barbell buying guide- how we assess barbells
Once I had selected the 101 barbells to compare for this guide I made a huge spreadsheet and collected all the data.
There were some sales pages that made it hard to find all of the data I wanted. So I reached out to each company to clarify missing elements such as this…
Once I had gathered this raw data, I then spoke to the team at Strong Home Gym, including other certified personal trainers and gym owners.
We came up with 18 criteria that we considered to be the most important factors in deciding the best Olympic barbell.
Olympic barbell size
- Olympic bar size- a basic construction scored a point. See below measurements (mens; womens)
- Length – 2.2 meters (7.2 feet / 86 in); 6.5 feet
- Weight – 20 kg / 44.1 lbs or 45 lbs; 15 kg or 33 lbs
- Sleeve diameter – 2″ / 50 mm; 2″ (this is important. “Standard barbells” have a 1” sleeve. 2” Olympic sleeves provide a lot more options and can take more weight).
- Diameter – 28-29mm; 25mm
If you’re wondering why there is a difference between men’s and women’s barbells, watch this 100 second video…
The sleeve length was also a factor in our criteria. The longer the sleeves the more weight you can place on the barbell making it more versatile.
(Most sleeves are 16-16.5″ long for a men’s bar).
Olympic barbell quality and durability
- Steel tensile strength (and yield strength)
- Over 165,000 PSI is more than strong enough for most people and scores a point on our tests.
- The higher the number the more pressure the bar can take before warping.
- Rogue found the sweet spot is 190k-220k PSI for optimal strength as bars over this can start to become brittle. However, Kabuki’s Power Bar uses a proprietary manufacturing process to produce a bar with 258k PSI… and it’s not brittle!
- Weight capacity
- Anything that can take 1,000 lbs is usually strong enough for most people.
- Not all barbells will share their tensile strength so sometimes you need to judge it on weight capacity alone. I’d always rather find the tensile strength out though.
- A point is scored if the bar has zinc plated, e-coat, hard chrome or cerakote finish. That’s in order of resistance.
- A stainless steel bar is an alloy of steel that doesn’t require a coating to prevent corrosion so it also scores a point. The Rogue Pyrros has a stainless steel option. Many people consider this the best possible “finish” to reduce corrosion and rust. It is also more scratch-resistant from lifting on and off your squat rack.
- Bare steel, black oxide or decorative chrome is the least resistant type of finish and doesn’t score a point.
- 5 years or more is a good sign that the company will provide good quality bars and scores a point. Fringesports Wonder bar is affordable and offers a lifetime warranty.
Olympic barbell practicality
- The cross-hatched part of the bar that you grip.
- A medium knurl on a multi-purpose and Oly weightlifting bar scores a point and an aggressive knurl on a power bar scores a point. The Rogue Ohio power bar uses “volcano” style knurling to provide more contact points on your hand. This makes it aggressive but it won’t rip calluses off your hands when lifting as it’s not as sharp.
- We either personally tested the bar or took reviews from trusted people in the Strong Home Gym community. As a “medium” knurl can differ between brands.
- Center knurl
- If an Oly or power bar has a center knurl it scores a point on our tests.
- A multi-purpose bar without a center knurl or a passive center knurl (like the Rogue Chan) scores a point.
- It’s useful for squats as the bar grips to your back or chest for front squats. And most people do squats (or should be doing squats #dontskiplegday)
- However, you may not want a center knurl if you are doing a ton of reps of cleans and thrusters. This is only something you’d do for a CrossFit workout and you may end up scraping your chest raw. This is why the Rogue Ohio bar is our CrossFit upgrade barbell pick.
- Spinning sleeves
- The ends of the bar (sleeves) should spin.
- An Oly weightlifting bar should have more spin. Needle bearings are better for this and score a point. It’s why the Synergee Regional bar is our budget pick.
- However, a power bar spins less so the bar feels more stable for heavier lifts. “Bushing” scores a point for power bars.
- A multi-purpose bar scores a point if it uses self-lubricating bushings. They are easier to service if something goes wrong and last longer.
- Bronze or composite bushings are the most common type of bushings.
- An average lifter may not notice the difference between bushing or bearing sleeves. But it makes a huge difference to professional Olympic weightlifters or powerlifters.
- How much the bar can “bend” without permanently warping it (see 10 second video below).
- Diameter of the bar- between 28-29mm (or 25mm for a women’s bar) scored a point in our tests as this suits most people. A thinner bar tends to have more “whip”.
- 27mm- a deadlift specialist bar as it’s easier to grip.
- 28mm- has more whip perfect for Olympic weightlifting.
- 28.5mm- an in-between size- good for an “multi-purpose” bar.
- 29mm- for powerlifting.
- 30mm- some people prefer this for bench pressing as there is less “whip”. You may also find some cheaper barbells over 30mm in diameter. It’s harder to grip and not ideal for pulling lifts like a deadlift. The cheap REP Basic bar has a 30mm diameter.
- 32mm- some powerlifters use this for heavy squats as there is even less “whip” and it provides more surface area on your back.
There were also some other smaller factors such as:
- Weight of the bar is a quintuple (making it easier to work out how much weight you are lifting)
- Sleeve length
- Color options
Olympic barbell pricing & value
- If the bar is over 165k PSI tensile strength and under $300 it scored a point. The average price out of 101 barbells is $345.
- (and 12) General users opinion
- If there are raving positive reviews from multiple sources online and users then the bar scores 2 points.
- The bar scores 1 point if there is a slight issue with the bar that pops up, but doesn’t affect the overall quality of the bar (it could be packaging, shipping, or customer service)
- 0 points are awarded here if there is a common complaint about the bar from different sources (scratches easily, poor grip, metal shavings etc.)
We also dug into where the barbell was made as this can create some differences in consistency. Europe and USA scored higher than China or when no info was provided.
This helped us separate the wheat from the chaff!
Once I found the best-ranked barbells I selected around 20 and again went back to the team. We had personally tried or still use 14 of these bars and have managed to at least get our hands on the bars in the list above.
But I also dug into gym communities, asked friends that love their home gyms, and researched customer reviews on sales pages or forums such as Reddit.
We’ve ended up with a ton of data and a wide variety of opinions, which we tried to express in simple English rather than just showing you charts like this…
Obviously, not every bar can make this list.
So the main thing I’ve tried to do is include an option that suits everyone’s budget and is “best for most people”.
Other barbells we tested
There are a ton of other very good barbells that exist. But there’s a reason why they haven’t made our list.
Saying that some were so close to making the cut I thought they deserve a mention…
The Rogue Bar 2.0– this bar used to be our number 1 recommendation. Truth be told, there really isn’t much between this and the Ohio Bar. However, there is only a black zinc option available compares to Rogue Ohio Bar’s many different finishes (and our recommended cerakote finish, which comes in various color options).
The Rogue Ohio Bar 2.0s– exactly the same specs as the Rogue Ohio Cerakote bar on paper. But it is supposedly 50% quieter to drop! The reason this is not our number one pick is that it’s more expensive and only comes in the black color option currently. The noise reduction may be nice for some people but in my experience, more people prefer to brand their gym with colors than reduce the noise. It’s also very new so it hasn’t stood the test of time (yet!… stay tuned for future updates).
Rogue Chan Bar– Cerakote and stainless steel?? This bar is just different! I personally love the mild center knurl which doesn’t rub your chest raw with high reps of thrusters but adds a bit of stick to your squats. It’s great for taller people (over 6 foot) as the knurling is positioned wider (see our review here for more info). It’s just a bit pricey and too ‘niche’ to recommend in this list.
REP Gladiator– With 230k PSI tensile strength this bar cannot be ignored. Only Force USA’s Gunner Bar and Kabuki’s Power bar have a higher tensile strength. It’s a good bar for Olympic weightlifting but it doesn’t compete with the Pyrros.
Kabuki Power Bar– One of my personal favorites, which is pretty much indestructible with a whopping 258k PSI tensile strength. It simply doesn’t make the list due to the price as the Rogue Ohio Power bar beats it by a mile and is good enough for most people.
American Barbell Grizzly- This almost made the list! Everything is 100% made in the USA and their attention to detail is second to none. But at 195k PSI tensile strength the bar is not as strong as the Rogue Ohio Power bar. The knurling is not as aggressive as the OPB either but it provides enough good grip for most movements. If you prefer a more passive knurl on a power bar this may suit you.
American Barbell Stainless Steel- This bar is simply too expensive to put on this list when bars like Rogue Ohio and REP Excalibur exist. What makes this bar stand out is the bearings. For one, it uses a protective ring on the inner collar to keep chalk and dust from getting into the bearings. But it’s the proprietary bearing technology used by American Barbell that makes the difference.
Buddy Capps The “Original” Texas Power Bar- The famous bar for breaking world records actually scored high against our criteria. It just happens that the American Grizzly and Rogue Ohio Power Bar also did. They are also cheaper, have the same or higher tensile strength, and are 29mm in diameter compared to the old standard 28.5mm. Simply put there are better options than this bar now for a more competitive price.
Rogue Russian Bar- Ticks all the boxes with stainless steel and 200k PSI. However, it’s just too expensive to include in this list.
Vulcan Strength Bushing Barbell- A great bar, but there are reviews that the zinc finish rusts quickly. A much better option is the Rogue Ohio bar.
Fringesport Wonder bar– this bar used to make our list. However, the price has increased significantly since Covid and you can simply find better quality bars for less money such as Force USA’s Gunner bar.
Fringesport Power Bar- With 216k PSI this has a higher tensile strength than the OPB and American Barbell Grizzly. However, it’s more expensive than the other options and the difference doesn’t warrant the price.
American Barbell Cerakote Mammoth Power Bar– A great cerakote finish power bar. Again the price was the reason it didn’t make the cut here.
CAP “The Beast” bar– Super cheap option… But there are too many complaints about metal splinters to include this bar on our list. Our budget pick, Force USA’s Gunner bar, is your best bet if you want a cheap bar.
REP Basic Bar– the cheapest bar we could find. It has a 30mm diameter (super rigid and thick) and the sleeves do not spin. So we don’t recommend this bar if you want to make good progress with the gym. But it is hard to argue with the price if you just want a bar for squats and presses.
As evident, quite a few Rogue barbells made it onto our best Olympic barbell list. This is not a surprise, as while doing our research on best Rogue barbells, we created a database with every single Rogue barbell out there and rated all the bars. The results were pretty astonishing in terms of quality.
Olympic barbell FAQs
How do I choose an Olympic barbell?
There are four steps to choosing the right bar for you:
1. Decide what movements you will use it for.
2. Select a barbell with the strength to handle your exercise. Anything over 180,000 PSI tensile strength is enough for 99% of people.
3. Pick a type of barbell that has the practicality you need. If you want a multi-purpose bar aim for a bar that spins well and has medium knurling for grip and 28.5mm diameter.
4. Find one within your budget. You can get a very good bar for under $350.
Can you bench press with an Olympic bar?
Most people will be able to use an Olympic weightlifting bar for a bench press. Typically, the knurling is not as aggressive as a power bar. The sleeves will often have needle bearings that spin more than bushing barbells. Weightlifting barbells also have more “whip” than a power bar, which isn’t ideal. But unless you are lifting over 400 lbs on a bench press you won’t notice these differences.
Should I get a 6ft or 7ft barbell?
Men’s barbells are 7.2 ft and women’s are 6.5 feet. A 7ft barbell is normally better than a 6ft bar for men. If you are tight on space you can get a great 6tf bar such as GetRXd’s short bar to fit.
The majority of exercises you will perform at the gym are better done with a longer bar as they can hold more weight and provide more variations. This includes squats, rows, presses and deadlifts.
How much does an Olympic barbell cost?
Most Olympic barbells, such as the Rogue Ohio Bar cost between $150 and $350. It’s possible to find some for $80 and you can also pay over $1,000. However, for most people, you can find an Olympic barbell that is more than enough for $250.
What kind of barbell should I buy?
Most people should buy a 28.5mm multi-purpose bar such as the Rogue Ohio Bar. It’s versatile to allow slow and fast overhead lifts making it ideal for any CrossFit lifts. If you compete in powerlifting competitions then the rigidness of a 29mm diameter power bar may suit you more. But if you do Olympic lifts such as the snatch and clean and jerk then an Olympic weightlifting barbell with more whip and a smaller 28mm diameter will be ideal.
Best Olympic barbell- the bottom line
After spending over 120 hours of research and running over 100 Olympic barbells through our tests we have found some clear winners.
I would recommend the Rogue Ohio Bar to most people. It is a multi-purpose bar with decent knurling that is not too aggressive, smooth-spinning composite bushings in the sleeves, and costs half the price of similar spec barbells.
The Rogue Ohio Power bar is my top power bar pick due to the tensile strength, volcano knurl, and price. If you want a more aggressive knurl and do not intend on doing any Olympic weightlifting or CrossFit lifts then this bar is ideal for you.
However, if you are looking to save a bit of money and still get good value I’d recommend the Force USA Gunner Bar. The mixture of needle bearings and bushings in the sleeves means it has a fast spin but can work for slow lifts too.
You can check all of the prices and other users’ reviews of all of the top picks here in this table.