If you lined up all the barbells from REP Fitness and pushed them to extremes, you would come to a point where all would break. Yet the Gladiator bar wouldn’t even permanently bend…and that’s not even the top-rated barbell in the REP family.
Yup, crazy…it will make sense in a minute, though.
For most people and most home gyms, the Excalibur barbell is our top recommendation.
It’s the most well-rounded multi-use bar – from the tensile strength and the stainless steel finish to the balanced spin (bushing-bearing combo) and a lifetime warranty. It’s not cheap, but it’s awesome.
I carried out the research on the Best Rep Fitness barbells and insights are aplenty…
Why read on?…
Because the skinny above doesn’t tell you which of these is the bar for you. That answer lives somewhere on this page.
In my 20 years as a personal trainer, I used many of these barbells, but that’s only the starting point. The meat of this guide is the data-backed rating methodology.
We do our best to move away from opinion and make the assessments a numbers game.
When we started working on this guide, we had ONE goal – to produce THE single most complete information source on REP barbells in existence.
Bear witness to whether we did it or not.
Rep Fitness Technique Bar
Rep Fitness Excalibur Bar
Rep Fitness Deep Knurl EX Bar
- 7 best REP Fitness barbells
- 1 – Best REP Fitness multipurpose barbell and top-rated overall – the Excalibur bar
- 2 – Best REP Fitness power bar – the Deep Knurl EX bar
- 3 – Best REP Fitness Olympic barbell – the Gladiator bar
- 4 – REP Fitness Curl bar
- 5 – REP Fitness Cambered Swiss bar
- 6 – REP Fitness trap bar
- 7 – REP Fitness Technique Barbell
- Choosing the right REP barbell for you – the buyer’s guide
- Two FAQs about REP Fitness
- Our rating models – how we evaluate and rate REP barbells
- Other bars from REP Fitness we looked at
- REP Fitness barbells – where to from here?
7 best REP Fitness barbells
|Name of the REP bar||Best in category||Rating (out of 15)*||Finish (shaft/sleeves)||Price|
|1. Excalibur||multipurpose (our guide)||11||stainless steel / stainless steel||$$$|
|2. Deep Knurl EX||Power (our guide)||9.7||stainless steel / stainless steel||$$$$$|
|3. Gladiator||Olympic weightlifting (our guide)||9.35||hard chrome / hard chrome||$$$$|
|Specialty bars with ratings**|
|4. Curl bar||Curl (our guide)||14.5 (out of 19.125)||stainless steel / stainless steel||$$|
|5. Cambered Swiss bar||Multi-Grip (our guide)||21 (out of 31.625)||powder coat / hard chrome||$|
|6. REP trap bar||Trap (our guide)||12.25 (out of 23.75)||chrome / chrome||$$|
|7. REP Technique bar||9 (out of 10)||zinc / zinc||$|
*note: The ratings of the winning bars might seem low for “best bars.” But it’s a result of the rating methodology we use within brands. We’re going deep and rate subtleties.
Here’s a good example – we rate the number of available colors and shaft finishes just to award the Sabre bar in that aspect. That doesn’t mean that a bar with no color choices is lesser for you – we’re just trying to get close to that elusive absolute value.
Stuff like that adds up and the ratings aren’t near the maximum points.
But we’re OK with that as long as we go granular and truly find the best pieces and as long as you know that, in this context, a rating of 10 or 15 is pretty good.
**the “out of” section (max points) for specialty bars vary because they’re based on existing rating models – i.e. the max points awarded was 31.625 and 23.75 for swiss bars and trap bars respectively.
1 – Best REP Fitness multipurpose barbell and top-rated overall – the Excalibur bar
(rated 11 out of max 15)
Our rating models are unforgiving towards the costlier bars (out of the maximum 15 points, 5 are distributed in the price category).
And, for a REP bar, the Excalibur is not cheap.
Still, it’s the best value here.
Here’s why – Excalibur falls 10% above the median price* for a standard straight REP barbell for men, but it’s well above the medium range of quality.
What it means for your garage gym
If you’re looking for a multipurpose barbell, the choice will be between the Excalibur and the Sabre, which is the more budget-friendly option.
Yet, the price difference doesn’t make up for the differences in quality. Here are a few main examples…
- The finish of the barbell is much better on the Excalibur (stainless steel and hard chrome on the Excalibur, zinc on the Sabre)
- The smooth spin of the sleeves (Sabre is a bearing bar, while Excalibur features both bearings and bushings)
- The warranty terms (lifetime versus one year)
Sabre is still the more popular bar of the two. Not because it’s better. It’s because it’s cheaper.
*Median price is the average cost within a range of products of the same type – in this case, it’s straight men’s REP barbells. It’s a statistical category we use to assess value.
2 – Best REP Fitness power bar – the Deep Knurl EX bar
(rated 9.7 out of max 15)
Our rating models are all about value, and the Deep Knurl is not a cheap bar.
That means, to surpass the cheaper bars, the value it lends MUST be above and beyond.
That’s the case here.
This bar received the maximum available points in all rating categories – tensile strength to sleeve length, knurling and finish to price and warranty.
For you, that means two things:
1 – If you’re not a serious powerlifter, this is probably not the bar for you.
The knurl cuts deep into the bare steel and creates an aggressive pattern…and I mean “cheese-grater” aggressive.
Old-school powerlifters will love it but it will be too deep for most people. A good multipurpose barbell like the Excalibur or the Saber will be a better fit. You can see the knurl of this bar compared side-by-side to the Sabre in the image below.
Click here to skip to the mini-review of the Excalibur and here for the Sabre.
2 – If you’re looking into REP to save money, this is not where the magic happens.
If this is you, you’re better off with other bars, like the REP Sabre barbell.
Sabre is inferior to the Deep Knurl in three major aspects (finish, weight capacity, and tensile strength), but it costs about half, and its knurl is more forgiving. The reality is for all but the specialists, you simply won’t need to pay the premium price for features you’re not going to benefit from.
The Deep Knurl bar is made to compete with the likes of Rogue Ohio Aggro, Kabuki, and Texas bar.
And compete it does, my fellow gym bunny. Compete. It. Does.
- High tensile strength and weight capacity – you can confidently pack on more weight.
- Thicker shaft diameter (29 mm) – more comfortable for heavy presses (slightly, but still…) and allows for a good grip. It’s also the international standard.
- Medium spin of the bushings – less “wiggle” and stabler lifts compared to weightlifting bars.
- Lifetime warranty – you’re not wasting your money on this bar way or the other.
- Aggressive knurl – will feel like a cheese grater if you’re used to ‘regular’ bars.
3 – Best REP Fitness Olympic barbell – the Gladiator bar
(rated 9.35 out of 15)
In the Olympic weightlifting category, the laurels went to the Gladiator bar.
Its tensile and yield strength is the highest I’ve seen in a REP Fitness barbell – 230 and 210 K PSI, respectively. In fact, after comparing over 100 bars this was the runner-up for PSI behind the Kabuki power bar!
With all other things equal (thickness and length), Gladiator is the strongest and “whipiest” barbell here.
- Higher yield and tensile strength – this is a super strong bar, more suitable for Olympic lifting.
- 28mm diameter- gives the bar more whip, which is ideal for the fast Oly lifts.
- Needle bearings make for an extra smooth spin – lower injury risk for Olympic lifts than a bushing bar.
- Five-year warranty – you’re on your own if it starts bending in six years. In this price range, they could (should) have done better (gimme lifetime).
Both curl bars that REP Fitness makes are excellent, and I don’t use that word lightly.
When making these, REP was less concerned about the price point and more about actually competing with industry leaders like Rogue.
If you want to learn more about Rogue’s barbell offer, check out our best Rogue barbells in-depth guide where you can learn all about it.
Anyway, back to our subject at hand. Not that I assume it matters, but if someone from REP is reading this, I honestly believe this is the way forward for them.
Cheap Chinese bars are a dime a dozen, and there’s space to be filled in the medium price and quality range. Tap into that, Ryan…
Anyway, back to the REP curl bars…
The classic REP EZ curl barbell was the second-highest rated in the last update to the guide on best EZ curl bars.
The rackable version didn’t rank as high because it costs significantly more than the classic.
Both bars come in either stainless steel or hard chrome finish and feature a combination of one needle bearing and one bushing per sleeve.
We owe REP an apology here – we haven’t updated our main guide on multi-grips after the arrival of this bar (hence the n/a rating).
To be fair, it’s just been a short while since this eye candy was released into the wilderness of the Swiss bar market.
You can see John and Sam from REP talk about the ideas behind this bar below:
From what I’ve seen, it might give the Kabuki Cadillac and the Rogue MG-3 a run for their money (fingers crossed, ‘cause competition means better products and lower prices).
REP Cambered Curl bar vs. Kabuki Cadillac vs. Rogue MG-3
Still, everything we do is data-based, and we lack that for this bar.
Here’s what we have so far:
- The geometry is solid – the inner-most handles are angled and knurled.
- At over 51 inches between the collars, it’s comfortably rackable.
- With a weight limit of 810 lbs, it’s just as rugged as the Kabuki Cadillac.
- The listed weight capacity is higher than that of the top-rated bar in the category – the Bells Of Steel Arch-Nemesis (810 vs. 600 lbs).
What I expect from this bar
The earliest I see us including this one into the top 10 of the main Swiss-bar guide is the beginning of 2023.
Whether it actually finds its way to the top will ultimately depend on how the powder coat meets the challenges of the real world. The reality is we can’t give you an honest review of a bar without it being out in the real world for a good while. We have to see how it stands up to long-term use.
I don’t like that the warranty terms aren’t explicitly listed either on the product page or the warranties page. That can mean one of two things – it’s either only covered by their run-of-the-mill 30-day money-back guarantee, or they simply misstepped and didn’t list it.
If it turns out that it is covered by a lifetime warranty, I can see the REP Trap bar shooting up right into the top five by this time next year.
You can see the current masters of the Swiss-bar domain in our guide on best multi-grip barbells here.
On the off chance that you are unfamiliar, a trap or hex is a specialty bar designed specifically for the deadlift.
Compared to a standard straight bar, a trap bar deadlift puts less stress on the lower back and feels more natural because of the neutral grip.
REP Fitness only makes one trap bar, and it’s decent – not great, but good for the money. You won’t go wrong with it, but you won’t high-five your friends because you own one.
How REP hex bar compares to other trap bars
We compared 50 trap bars in the main guide, and this one from REP Fitness is ranked 22nd.
At 71 inches, it’s one of the longest bars of this type, but it’s still not rackable (courtesy of the extra-long sleeves).
Bottom line – there are better bars, and some of them cost less – you can see the complete guide on the best trap bars here.
This REP is one of the better learning bars out there – light aluminum shaft, zinc sleeves, and a moderate price.
To be clear, this is a barbell ONLY for the beginner looking to learn the ropes. It weighs 15 pounds, and the max listed capacity is 200 lbs. REP even goes out of their way to stress that you should start looking for a new barbell as soon as you start lifting over 130.
For what it is, this bar gets two thumbs up from me.
It’s one of the highest-rated barbells among owners that I have ever come across.
That’s outside of manufacturer website ratings, of course, where every single barbell is 4.8 stars or above.
This one is universally loved based on a solid set of data from third-party sources…and when I say universally, I mean I’m yet to see a negative review.
Choosing the right REP barbell for you – the buyer’s guide
10 primary factors of choosing a barbell from REP Fitness
Below is a list of 10 major factors to consider when choosing between REP barbells. These are pretty much the same for all brands, so I won’t get into the nitty-gritty but focus on the specifics (stuff that only applies to REP).
If you want to learn more about any of these, I’ll link to articles where it’s all discussed in greater detail.
Let’s get to it.
1 – Weight limit of a good REP barbell
(0 to 2 points in our ratings)
The weight capacity of REP barbells is in the 700-1500 pounds range. Unless you’re King Kong, that’s likely to be plenty of weight capacity.
On the low-end is the budget-friendly Basic barbell with a capacity of 700 LBS. In the medium range (both price and capacity-wise) is the Sabre barbell, which is listed at 1000 pounds.
All the other standard men’s barbells from REP Fitness that we analyzed have a listed maximum weight of 1500 pounds.
Bottom line – if you’re looking for a budget solution, the half a ton capacity of the Sabre barbell will do just fine.
2 – Durability – tensile strength and yield strength of a REP barbell
(0 to 1 point in our ratings)
Three out of seven standard REP barbells are made of steel with tensile strength in the 190-220 range (K PSI).
That’s the sweet range because it indicates a balance between flexibility and sturdiness – i.e. it will flex some but not permanently bend. The reality is flex is more important to the stronger lifters only. If you’re lifting less than 300LB on any lift it’s not really going to be a big deal.
The three standard REP bars out of that range are:
Gladiator bar – purposely made out of extra sturdy steel to control the whip and flex, which is a plus for Olympic lifting. Still, it doesn’t step out of range enough for brittleness to become a concern.
Sabre barbell – this one is pretty simple – REP uses steel of lower tensile strength to lower cost.
Basic barbell – does not even have a listed tensile strength, but it’s safe to assume that it’s under 140 K PSI.
Bottom line – if all this talk about tensile and yield strength is confusing, skip it and look at the warranty terms. No manufacturer will offer a lifetime warranty on a barbell that’s likely to bend.
3 – Loadable sleeve length of REP bars
(0 to 0.2 points)
Let me be clear here – I’m listing the loadable sleeve length as the primary factor in general terms, not because the differences within the brand are significant. That’s why the gravity is only 0.2 points.
Six out of seven standard REP barbells for men are 16.25 inches long. For women’s barbells, you typically get 12.5 inches (it’s an assumption men are going to be lifting more than women).
That range is much wider if we include the specialty bar line-up, which you can see below.
Bottom line – the sleeves are plenty long, even for those using thick bumper plates.
4 – Finish and texture of the barbell sleeves
(0 to 2 points for the finish)
In terms of rating gravity (number of points awarded) finish of the sleeves is only second to the price point in most of our statistical models.
It’s typically a peg above the finish of the shaft because weight plates inflict more abuse than your hands.
REP Fitness coat their barbells with decorative chrome, hard chrome, or zinc coating. Stainless steel is superior to any of these, both in durability and corrosion resistance.
The top-rated Excalibur bar is offered in two versions – hard chrome coating and stainless steel, and the latter cost more – 40-50% more, to be specific.
Texture of REP bars – smooth vs. grooved sleeves
There are two reasons for that:
- To allow the weight plates to slide on and off easily.
- Secure the weight if you’re lifting without collars.
I don’t see this as a major factor, but it deserves a mention because I’ve seen people being surprised by grooved sleeves.
So, caveat emptor.
Even if they’re new to you, the grooves on the REP barbells are too shallow to be a deal-breaker.
Bottom line – take a closer look at the sleeves before you order. You can see slightly grooved sleeves of the Excalibur barbell and the smooth sleeves of the V2 power bar in the image below.
5 – Spin – bushings vs. bearing bar
(0 to 0.3 points)
Between the shaft and the barbell’s sleeve lives the spin mechanism – it’s either bushings, bearings, or both.
Bearing barbells spin more freely and are more suitable for Olympic weightlifting. They’re also typically (although not always) more expensive. In power bars, you need less spin, so you typically get bushings.
In the REP’s range, the bearing-vs-bushing split is almost tied:
- 3 barbells feature bearings only (Gladiator, Sabre, and Gladiator MX).
- 2 barbells are bushing-only (Deep Knurl and SS Power bar V2).
- There’s one barbell with both (Excalibur V2) and one that doesn’t spin (the Basic).
Bottom line – for your average garage gym, the balance between the bearings’ smooth spin and the bushings’ durability is optimal.
That’s another notch on Excalibur‘s bedpost.
6 – Shaft finishes available in the REP lineup
(0 to 1.5 points)
REP uses the same finishes for the shaft as for the sleeves. So, the same durability and corrosion resistance logic applies.
However, the ‘problems’ are slightly different – the sleeves are more likely to chip from the mechanical damage and the shaft to rust from the sweat.
Moreover, there’s the issue of how the coating affects the knurl (dulling), primarily with hard chrome. This is more important for powerlifters where the knurling plays a greater role in lifting.
Bottom line – if either is a serious decision point for you, kill the three finish birds with one stone and go with stainless steel.
7 – Thickness (shaft diameter) of the REP barbells
Except for the Basic barbell (30 mm thick), all standard REP bars for men fall into the 28-29 mm range of shaft diameter, which makes it suitable for weightlifting.
Those available as women’s bars (Excalibur, Gladiator, and Sabre) also come at 25 mm, which is the standard.
As you can see in the graph below, most of their bars are a “true 28” – the minimum men’s bar diameter that lends the tightest grip and makes for a whipper bar than the 28.5 or 29.
I’d say that 28.5 is optimal for an all-around multipurpose bar, and it’s the most common diameter in that category. That’s why it comes as a surprise that REP only offers it in one bar – the Excalibur.
Their power bars, the Deep Knurl and the SS, are standard 29 mm.
So, nothing much to see here.
8 – Knurling of REP Fitness bars
The knurling on most REP bars falls into the “medium” category. It’s your standard hill-style knurl, and it’s nothing to write home about.
The termination and the finish is not as clean as with high-end brands like Rogue. That’s to be expected and not really an issue come workout time. These are the differences in manufacturing and ultimately, price. It’s why REP bars are generally significantly cheaper than Rogue.
If it is for you, this might be the time to head over to the guide on best Rogue barbells here.
The outlier within the power bar category is the Deep Knurl bar (duh), with an extra aggressive mountain knurl.
In-between those two lives the volcano knurl of the SS V2 bar. It leans towards aggressive, but it’s nowhere near as sharp as the Deep Knurl.
Finally, only the REP powerlifting bars have a center knurl.
9 – Warranty on REP barbells
(0 to 2 points)
This is where I have a bone to pick with REP, especially when it comes to the Gladiator bar.
It is still among our top-rated Olympic bars, but with our rating systems evolving to favor value and warranty, I can see it dropping out of the Top 10 in the upcoming updates.
Apart from the Gladiator (which is worth it despite the warranty), expect a Lifetime warranty if you spend over $300 on a REP barbell.
The two versions of the Gladiator are still in that price range but come with a 5-year warranty.
The bare minimum is 1 year, like with the Basic barbell.
10 – Price of a REP bar
(0 to 5 points)
Expect to pay $330-600 for a good multi-use barbell from REP Fitness. For women’s bars, that range is currently at $280-330.
The price alone doesn’t tell you much about the value you’re getting. That’s why we’re using a proprietary metric to describe that with more clarity. We’re using the metric ‘PPD’.
PPD stands for Pound Per Dollar Paid
PPD is short for Pound Per Dollar, and it’s exactly what the name suggests – the amount you’re paying for one pound of loading capacity. The higher the PPD, the lower the value.*
For example, the Gladiator bar has a PPD of 4.2 (1500 pounds of capacity divided by the current price).
With that in place, we can paint a clearer picture of REP Fitness’ place on the market, value-wise.
This is how things currently stand for REP
The average PPD of an REP bar is 4.2, the maximum is 5.9 (Basic barbell), and the minimum is 3.3 (Deep Knurl power bar).
That puts REP right into the medium value range alongside brands like Fringe Sport and between Rogue (maximum PPD of 7.5, minimum 2.6) and Titan (maximum 10, minimum 4.4).
Bottom line – REP barbells are solid value for money.
*PPD as a metric has its limitations because we’re only taking the capacity into account. We could go more granular and compare bars with the same finish or sleeve mechanisms, which would unnecessarily complicate things. That’s why we’re only using it as a useful reference and looking at maximums and minimums within brands.
Price-related caveat for those far from Colorado
REP ships all their stuff out of Colorado, and the shipping costs vary widely depending on where you are.
The best advice I can give you is to simply head over to their website, start the checkout process and see where that leaves you in terms of the shipping costs.
Two FAQs about REP Fitness
Is REP Fitness a good brand?
Yes, REP Fitness is a good brand, with 70% of their customers rating them as great or excellent on TrustPilot.
That especially goes if you’re a value-oriented, conservative buyer. Two areas where they could improve are shipping/handling and in-stock items management.
In any case, opting for a high-quality caliber product such as for e.g. the Gladiator Bar is sure to deliver both in terms of quality and value for money…
Where is REP Fitness made?
REP Fitness is mostly made in China.
They do have a sizable US-based operation with over 100 employees. They also describe their manufacturing as “global.”
If you ask me, the days of judging home gym equipment just based on where it’s made are long gone.
Consider the top quality of the Deep Knurl bar, per se, and you get the idea…
They do have a sizable US-based operation with over 100 employees. They also describe their manufacturing as “global.”
If you ask me, the days of judging home gym equipment just based on where it’s made are long gone.
Our rating models – how we evaluate and rate REP barbells
Below is a step-by-step overview of the rating methodology we used for this guide on REP Fitness barbells.
- We put together a long list with every barbell the REP makes
- We grouped all the barbells to allow for a fair apples-to-apples comparison. The two groups are;
- Multipurpose, weightlifting, and power bars.
- Specialty bars (like trap curl and multi-grip).
- We gathered all the data available on every single barbell on the initial list – from basic stuff like dimensions to the more nuanced features like sleeve construction, knurling, and finish.
- We brainstormed in-house and with industry experts and came up with a comprehensive system aimed at doing two things – taking into account every single quality aspect and awarding value/substance.
- The fruit of the step above is a rating process that’s complex on our end and simple on yours. On our side, it means going through the long list and awarding every barbell a rating in 15 categories. On your end, the overall rating is a single number.
Note: The actual number of factors is higher than 14 but to simplify things, we awarded no points in “departments” where every barbell would have the same rating.
Is all that too much just to choose a barbell?
We believe it’s not.
It might seem like we’re overdoing it, and I could just take the “trust-me-bro” approach. We’re trying to avoid that because everyone and their mom are doing it.
One of THE core values of the Strong Home Gym team is assessing gear based on data and moving away from opinion-based reviews. A good barbell is fundamental to your home gym and your user experience, so we want to help you make the right choice.
Other bars from REP Fitness we looked at
Below is a short overview of other barbells from REP Fitness that didn’t make it to the top eight, or as we like to call this section – close-but-no-cigar.
- Sabre barbell (rated 8.05) – a strong, budget competitor to Excalibur. It costs less than the Excalibur, but it’s not cheap enough to justify the corners cut. REP skimped with the Sabre on a few key categories, from the Zinc finish (vs. hard chrome and stainless steel of the Excalibur) to the 1-year warranty (versus 5 years on the Gladiator and the lifetime warranty on the Excalibur). Again, a solid bar for the money.
- Stainless Steel Power Bar V2 (rated 7.6) – this is an awesome barbell. It’s one of my favorites from REP and also the biggest letdown in this guide. In some aspects, it’s just as good as the top-rated Deep Knurl, and it’s better in others (tensile strength – 205 vs. 200). The problem is a hard-to-explain 5-year warranty. Why REP isn’t offering a lifetime warranty on a brawny bar like this is beyond me.
- Gladiator MX Barbell (rated 7.35) – One of their best multipurpose barbells. It didn’t find its way to the top because it’s almost the same as the Gladiator Olympic barbell but not as robust. The tensile strength is significantly lower (230 vs.190). Still, the 190K is plenty strong, and if you prefer whippy over rigid bars, go with the Gladiator MX.
- Basic barbell (rated 6.55) – this one’s, well…basic. It is cheap, and I could forgive the lower tensile strength because not everyone is lifting heavy. But the no-spin sleeves are a deal-breaker.
REP Fitness barbells – where to from here?
For most people’s garage gym, the Excalibur barbell V2 is head and shoulders above the rest of the REP lineup. High tensile strength with enough whip, precise medium knurl, and a balanced spin.
And it’s all backed by a lifetime warranty…good stuff.
Click here to skip back to the mini-review of the Excalibur V2.
The Deep Knurl EX stood out as the most complete barbell among the power bars. It’s not cheap, and it’s not for the inexperienced lifter (super aggressive knurling), but powerlifters will appreciate every inch of it.
Click here to skip back to the mini-review of the Deep Knurl EX.
If Olympic lifts dominate your workouts, the extra sturdy Gladiator bar might be where your search ends. Its yield strength is higher than the tensile strength of any other REP barbell.
I’d highly recommend you check out our main guide on buying an Olympic barbell if you’ve made it this far. It has all of our top picks and recommendations after hundreds of hours of research into barbells.