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11 Best Olympic Barbells for Weightlifting & Powerlifting [101 Tested]

Choosing the best barbell for you can get more and more confusing when you start your research. 

That’s why we have compared over 100 of the most popular barbells and physically tested many of them. You can find out exactly how we did this later. 

But if you’re in a hurry, the REP Gladiator is the overall best multi-purpose bar scoring a perfect 10 against our criteria. If you’re looking for a power bar then the best valued 10 out of 10 is the Rogue Ohio bar. 

In case you’re wondering… yes, the price is a factor in our decisions. 

Table Of Contents

11 best Olympic barbells

Here’s a quick overview of the 11 barbells selected. Click on any product name to see more information and other people’s reviews. 

NameBest forRating (out of 10)PriceSpinTensile StrengthDiameterKnurlCentre knurlFinish
REP Gladiator BarOverall10$$Bearing230k25 or 28Medium depthYesHard Chrome
Fringesport Men’s Wonder BarCrossFit9$$Bearing205k28Medium depthNoZinc
XMark BlackhawkBudget multi-purpose8$Bearing185k28Medium depthNohard chrome
Rogue Pyrros BarUpgrade multi-purpose9$$$$Bearing200k28IWF Olympic standardYesStainless Steel
Rogue Ohio Power barPowerlifting10$$Bushing205k29AggressiveYesE-coat/ Zinc
American Barbell Grizzly Power BarPowerlifting runner up10$$Bushing190k29StandardYesHard Chrome
CAP “The Boss” Power BarBudget power7$Bushing132k28.5Medium depthYesBlack Phosphate
Kabuki- The Power BarUpgrade power9$$$$Bushing250k29AggressiveYesZinc Coating
Fringesport Women’s Wonder BarWomen8$$Bushing160k25Medium depthNoZinc Coating
American Barbell Stainless Steel Bearing Bar Premium9$$$$$Bearing190k25 or 28IWF Olympic standardYesStainless Steel
CAP “The Beast” BarSuper cheap5$Bushing110k28.5Medium depthNoBlack Oxide

The barbells selected really are a variety of the top options out there to suit any budget and skill level. 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 strength187,000 PSI
Average price$335

So let’s find one that suits you… 

1. Best Olympic barbell- our multi-purpose pick: REP Gladiator WL Bearing Bar


If an all round affordable good quality barbell is what you’re after then this ticks all the boxes. 

The only multi-purpose barbell that scores 10 out 10 in our criteria. And that’s out of over 80 multi-purpose or Olympic weightlifting barbells!

Only the Kabuki Power bar has a higher tensile strength in our top picks. And that is twice as expensive at the Gladiator. 

The 28mm diameter of the bar makes it easy to grip and helps to give it the good “whip”.

The REP Gladiator uses a hard chrome coating, which will not crack and peel over time. Only a cerakote finish is more resistant so it makes the bar very durable. 

For the price of this bar you simply can’t beat the quality.  


  • Strength- 230,000 PSI tensile strength that can hold up to 1,500 lbs of weight. 
  • Won’t rust– due to hard chrome finish.
  • Pricing- you can pay double the price for a lower quality bar.
  • Spin- 3 needle bearings and 2 bushings in each sleeve (ends of the bar). This makes the spin very smooth for weightlifting movements like cleans and snatches.
  • Medium knurl- good grip so it won’t slide in your hands but not too aggressive so it can be used for CrossFit movements too.


  • If you’re looking for a stiff powerlifting bar with aggressive knurling, this isn’t for you. 

2. Best CrossFit barbell- our pick: Fringesport Wonder Bar

FringeSport Men's Wonder Bar


If you plan on doing high reps of thrusters or cleans then this is a great bar for you. 

You won’t scrape your chest raw as there is no centre knurl like standard Olympic weightlifting bars. 

In fact, this was the only criteria that doesn’t score a point in our tests. And in this case it’s a good thing!

The 28mm diameter makes the bar easy to grip. And the medium depth knurling provides good grip without tearing your hands. 

The reason this gets our top pick for a CrossFit barbell is because you can’t beat the price of this bar for what you get. 


  • Strong- 205,000 PSI tensile strength
  • No centre knurl- don’t scrape your chest raw during CrossFit routines doing lots of “cleans” or “thrusters” reps. 
  • Spin- bearings make the sleeves spin smoothly which helps with weightlifting moves. 
  • Pricing- good price in comparison to others out there.  


  • Zinc finish- is more prone to corrosion over time than Cerakote, hard chrome or e-coat. It’s the “worst good type” of coating we recommend.

3. Best budget barbell- our multi-purpose pick: XMark Blackhawk


If you’re looking for a good all round barbell that you can pick up on Amazon for a good price then this is your best bet. 

Similarly to the Wonder Bar, there is no centre knurl. The only other area this bar dropped on our criteria is the limited information on the warranty. If you buy this barbell, don’t expect good customer service if something goes wrong.

But apart from that it ticks all the boxes. 

With 185k PSI tensile strength this bar will take any weight you’ll likely put on it, with a max load of 1,500lb. The hard chrome finish is very good and will prevent any rust or damage to the bar for a long time. 

Plus 5 bearings in each sleeve make the spin excellent and ideal for any CrossFit or weightlifting moves you may do. 


  • Pricing- hard to beat for the quality. 
  • Still strong- 185k PSI can handle up to 1,500lbs of weight without breaking. 
  • Resistant- the hard chrome finish won’t rust easily. 
  • Good spin- 5 needle bearings in each sleeve reduce the risk of injury to the wrists and elbow for any CrossFit moves. 


  • No centre knurl- provides less grip for heavy squats 

4. Best Rogue barbell- multi-purpose upgrade pick: Rogue Pyrros Bar

Rogue Pyrros Bar


If you want a great multi-purpose barbell and money is not a consideration then this is your barbell. 

The Pyrros provides the best finish, IWF Olympic standard knurling, 200k PSI tensile strength and a super smooth spin. It really doesn’t scrimp on anything. 

In fact, the only area it didn’t score in our criteria was the pricing. 

A stainless steel alloy bar doesn’t require any coating to finish. It simply is the best material  out there for corrosion resistance. If treated well, it can last decades without rusting and still look brand new. 


  • IWF Olympic standard knurl- provides a good grip without tearing your hands. 
  • Stainless steel alloy- the “creme de la creme” of corrosion resistance.
  • 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.

5. Best powerlifting barbell- our pick: Rogue Ohio Power Bar

Rogue Ohio Power Bar


The Rogue Ohio Power bar (OPB) was one of three power bars to score the perfect 10 out of 10. 

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, our runner up, 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. 

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. 


  • 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. 
  • Finish options- black zinc, cerakote, stainless steel options available.
  • Pricing- the black zinc and cerakote finish options are very hard to beat for price. Very good option considering this is from a typically more expensive Rogue.


  • Not ideal for weightlifting movements like thrusters or snatches.

6. Best power barbell- runner up: American Barbell Grizzly Power Bar

American Barbell Grizzly Bar


American Barbell has a bit of a reputation for making expensive gym equipment. 

After all, everything is 100% made in the USA and their attention to detail is second to none. So the Grizzly Power bar had to make our list when you weigh up the quality and the price. 

At 195k PSI tensile strength the bar is not as strong as the Rogue Ohio Power bar. But it is still more than enough to lift much more than 1,000 lbs. 

The knurling is not as aggressive as the OPB but it provides very good grip for most movements. Add a bit of chalk for really heavy deadlifts and there are no complaints about the bar. 


  • Pricing- beats the Rogue Ohio Cerakote option. 
  • Lifetime warranty- also made solely in the USA you can guarantee the attention to detail is there. 
  • Hard chrome finish- corrosion resistant keeping your bar rust free and looking fresh for a long time. 
  • Little whip and bushing- the rigid power bar is ideal for max load lifts and anyone not planning on using CrossFit movements. 


  • Standard knurling- can be a bit light for really heavy deadlifts. 

7. Best budget power barbell: Cap “The Boss” Power Bar


If you’re after a decent power bar from Amazon on the cheap this is your best bet. 

Even though the specs are far off the other power bars recommended it is still strong enough for most home gym users. 

It’s more of a hybrid bar that could even be used for Olympic weightlifting movements. But with the decent knurling, centre knurl and bushing system in the sleeves it’s built for power lifts. 

If you want a cheap bar that you can stack a lot of weight on then look no further. 


  • Cheap- the best “cheap bar” on our criteria. 
  • Great “beater bar”- if you have another bar and want one that you don’t need to take as good care of this is ideal. Or if you think you may upgrade in the future it works too. 
  • Strong enough- the tensile strength is “only” 132k PSI, but it can handle over 1,000 lbs. 


  • Grip- the medium knurling is not ideal for a power bar. 
  • Black phosphate finish- can easily scratch and expose the steel to rust if you don’t take care of it. 

8. Power bar upgrade pick: Kabuki- The Power Bar

Kabuki Strength Power Bar


If you want the best quality Power bar, take a serious look at this. 

Scoring 9 out of 10 it only misses out on the full house due to the pricing. But there is a good reason for this price point. 

The bar is as close to indestructible as anything I’ve seen or held. 

250k PSI tensile strength is far more than 230k of the closest competitor, the REP Gladiator. 

But Kabuki’s proprietary knurling is what places this bar above the rest. Similarly to the “volcano” knurling design of the Rogue Ohio Power bar, this knurling has a lot of contact points on your hands. It’s super aggressive but not sharp like a “mountain” design.

Just watch 30 seconds of the video below to see how good the knurling really is…


  • Heavy lifting- if you lift very heavy weight or compete in Powerlifting competitions, this is the bar for you. 
  • Strongest bar- 250k PSI is far more than any other out there (out of almost 150 bars 230k and 217K are the next best two PSI bars)
  • Aggressive knurling- Kabuki’s proprietary knurling is not sharp but will outlast any other bar out there. 
  • New raw steel option now available.


  • Expensive

9. Best women’s barbell: Fringesport 15kg Wonder Bar

FringeSport Women's Wonder Bar


The reason this is our top pick for a women’s bar is because of the price. 

The quality is very similar to other options out there, but the price point just beats the competition. 

It only drops points on our criteria for not having a centre knurl and the tensile strength.

However, at 160k tensile strength it narrowly missed our cut of 165k. This can still hold 1,000 lbs! And if you plan on doing any weightlifting or CrossFit movements then not having a centre knurl is a good thing… it won’t rub your chest raw!

The 4 needle bearings per sleeve make the spin super smooth. Watch 30 seconds of the video below to see the spin in action… 


  • No centre knurl- don’t scrape your chest raw during CrossFit routines doing lots of “cleans” or “thrusters” reps. 
  • Spin- bearings make the sleeves spin smoothly which helps with weightlifting moves. 
  • Pricing- good price in comparison to others out there.  


  • Zinc finish- is more prone to corrosion over time than Cerakote, hard chrome or e-coat. It’s the “worst good type” of coating we recommend.
  • No centre knurl- less grip for heavy squats. 

10. Our “if money was no object” pick: American Barbell Stainless Steel Bar

American Barbell Stainless Steel Bearing Bar


If you’re someone that likes to have “the best of the best” then this is it. 

American Barbell have actually reduced the price of this to make it more competitive and it’s a total no brainer now they have done this.  

It has all the same specs as the Rogue Pyrros Bar. Stainless steel alloy, IWF Olympic standard knurling and a centre knurl. It does have a 190k PSI tensile strength compared to Rogue’s 200k. But this difference is very minimal. 

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. 

Just watch the video below of how the bearings spin under 455 lbs of weight…


  • All round bar- using the best quality materials. 
  • Attention to detail- little things like the protective ring to kep chalk and dust from affecting the bearings. 
  • Stainless steel alloy- the most corrosion resistant metal used on a barbell. 
  • IWF Olympic standard knurling- good grip but won’t tear into your hands. 
  • Whip- good whip makes it ideal for weightlifting or CrossFit movements.
  • Spin- the proprietary bearings technology make this bar special. 


  • Expensive.

11. Best cheap barbell- alternative pick: CAP “The Beast” Bar


By far the worst specs of any bar on this list. 

But if you are just starting out, on a very tight budget or want a “beater bar” then look no further. 

Just compare the REP basic bar to this. The REP version may be slightly cheaper but at 110k PSI the Beast is almost twice as strong. The Beast has a 28.5mm diameter compared to REP Basic’s 30mm. 

Overall, it’s hard to find such a cheap bar that can actually represent a decent barbell. 

Top tip- one of the most common complaints is the knurling can splinter and leave metal shavings in your hand. Use a cloth to rub the bar down when you first get it and after each use. Over time the shavings don’t appear to be such an issue. 


  • Cheap- hard to beat the price for 110k PSI tensile strength. 
  • Perfect if you do not lift very heavy. 
  • Great “beater bar”- if you would like a spare bar that you don’t care about as much this can be great. 
  • Strong enough- it says it can handle 1,000 lbs. I would say it can safely handle 500 lbs. 


  • Grip- the medium knurling gets worn over time. 
  • Black oxide finish- can peel off and leave the steel exposed to rust. 

Different barbell types

Before you think about what to look for in a barbell, it’s important to recognise what types of barbells exist. 

Firstly, there are two main types of bars you’ll find:

  1. Standard barbell
  2. 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 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 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 mens or womens versions. There are three main types of Olympic bars you’ll find:

  1. 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 snatch.
    • The sleeves mainly use “needle bearings” which helps the plates spin more than “bushings”.
    • 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 as it can help for these “Olympic and CrossFit” movements. 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. 

  1. Powerlifting bars
    • Designed for squats, bench press and deadlifts (powerlifting movements).
    • More rigid than Olympic weightlifting bars. Typically, they are slightly thicker at 29mm diameter (this small difference can feel quite significant to an experienced lifter though!)
    • Knurling (the grip) is more aggressive to help the lifter with heavier weight. 
    • Uses bushing sleeves that don’t spin as much as needle bearings. 
  2. Hybrid or multi-purpose
    • Made to be dropped. 
    • Similar to an Olympic weightlifting bar.
    • Typically an “in-between bar” with a 28.5mm diameter.
    • The sleeves can use bushings or bearings or even a mixture. Such as our top pick, the REP Gladiator.  

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…

  1. What will you use it for?
  2. Size
  3. Durability
  4. Practicality
  5. Budget

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) 
Power Barbell vs Weightlifting Barbell

There are certain movements that are better performed with a certain type of bar…

Power bar movementsOlympic/ multipurpose bar movements
Bench pressAny power bar movements plus the below…
Overhead pressJerk
CurlOverhead squat
Tricep pressSumo deadlift high pull
Controlled movements without dropping the barFast 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 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. 

These differences are just important to be aware of. If you plan on using CrossFit or Olympic Weightlifting movements at any stage, it is wise to get an Olympic 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.

Now you have decided what you will be using the barbell for let’s dig into… 

Barbell buying guide- how we assess barbells

We broke the next four main considerations down in our criteria to help you find the best barbell for your home gym quickly.

Olympic Barbell Buying Guide


  1. 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 – 28-30mm; 25mm

If you’re wondering why there is a difference between men’s and women’s barbells, watch this 100 second video…


  1. Tensile strength 
    • Over 165,000 PSI is more than strong enough for most people and scores a point on our tests.
  2. 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. Or vice versa.  
  3. Finish
    • 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. 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. 
Barbell Finish Resistance
See our table for examples of different finishes
  1. Warranty
    • 5 years or more is a good sign that the company will provide good quality bars and scores a point.


  1. Knurl
    • The cross hatched part of the bar that you grip. 
    • A medium knurl on a multi-purpose bar scores a point and an aggressive knurl on a power bar scores a point. 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. 
Barbell Knurling
Hill i.e. Wonder Bar; Mountain i.e. Texas Power Bar; Volcano i.e. American Barbell Stainless Steel
  1. Centre knurl
    • If the bar has a centre knurl it scores a point on our tests. 
    • It’s useful for squats as the bar grips to your back. Most people do squats (or should be doing squats #dontskiplegday)
    • However, you may not want a centre 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 Fringesport Wonder bar is our CrossFit barbell pick. 
  1. Spin
    • The ends of the bar (sleeves) should spin. 
    • A multi-purpose or weightlifting bar should have more spin. Needle bearings are better for this and score a point. 
    • However, a power bar spins less so the bar feels more stable for heavier lifts. “Bushing” scores a point for power bars. 
    • 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. 
Olympic Barbell Bushing vs Bearing Sleeves
See our table for examples of each
  1. Whip
    • How much the bar can “bend” (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”.
      • 28mm- has more whip perfect for weightlifting or CrossFit.
      • 28.5mm is an in between size- good for an “all-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 diameter. It’s much harder to grip and not ideal for generic movements. 
      • 32mm- some powerlifters use this for heavy squats as there is even less “whip” and your grip is not as important.


  1. Value
    • If the bar is over 165k PSI tensile strength and under $300 it scored a point. The average price out of over 100 barbells is $345.

Here are some of the results from our tests…

But we haven’t just tested the bars in the list above…

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…

Buddy Capps The “Original” Texas Power Bar- The famous bar for breaking world records actually scored 10 out of 10 against our criteria. It just happens that the American Grizzly and Rogue Ohio 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. 

Fringesport Hybrid BarThis is a great all-round bar with a 28.5mm diameter and 216k tensile strength. But for the price, we’d recommend REPs Gladiator or even the Fringe Wonder bar

Fringesport Power Bar- With 216k PSI this has a higher tensile strength than the Rogue Ohio 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 BarA great cerakote finish power bar. Again the price was the reason it didn’t make the cut here. 

REP Basic Bar- Super cheap option… in fact the cheapest barbell we could find! But with only 65k PSI tensile strength you won’t be able to load much weight on this bar. You’ll quickly outgrow it meaning you’ll need to purchase another bar. Our budget pick “The Beast” is your best bet if you want a cheap bar.

Synergee Regional Olympic Barbell- This bar is a great option if you’re into CrossFit. However, the one year warranty is a concern. You can buy Fringesport’s Wonder Bar for slightly cheaper and it comes with a lifetime warranty. 


Best Olympic barbell- the bottom line

After running over 100 Olympic barbells through our tests we have found some clear winners. 

Our overall best Olympic barbell pick is the REP Gladiator Bar for the best quality and price. If you’re looking for the best power bar then the Rogue Ohio Power bar was top of the pile due to the tensile strength, volcano knurl and price. 

You can check all of the prices and other users’ reviews of all of the top picks here

by Mike Beatty
Hi! I'm Mike Beatty. I'm a health and fitness enthusiast and PE teacher who wants to help as many people as possible live a healthy lifestyle, without depriving themselves. Since finishing my Sports Science degree I've continued to study & practice numerous types of exercise including weight training, CrossFit, Tabata and yoga.

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