For most men putting together a home gym, the Rogue Ohio bar with a Cerakote finish will be the most well-rounded bar. It strikes a close-to-perfect balance between durability, functionality, and the amazeballs looks.
The Euro 28 mm and the e-coated Ohio power bar got the laurels as best for Olympic weightlifting and powerlifting. The Cerakote version of the Ohio deadlift bar rose to the top as most complete among the dedicated deadlift bars.
Bella bar 2.0 (Cerakote) is the top-rated among the women’s multipurpose bars in the Rogue line-up.
How we got here
We’ve created a database with every single Rogue barbell out there for this guide.
We then rated all the bars against a set of 17 criteria, including tensile strength, knurling, sleeve-spin, price, and warranty.
Rankings below are the fruit of that endeavor. We sure hope it helps.
But this guide goes way beyond the “standard” categories.
I’ll use my two-decade-long experience as a personal trainer and consult some industry experts to find top picks in ALL categories that exist in the Rogue portfolio, including specialty bars like trap, hex, safety squat, and multi-grip (Swiss).
The problem and the solution
When you cut through the noise, one question remains – what’s behind the words that the brands and “influencers” are using? Is it true, or is it salesy lingo?
More importantly, is it all worth your hard-earned buck?
The pursuit of honest, data-backed answers to those questions is at the very core of our mission here at Strong Home Gym.
The Ohio Power Bar
The Ohio Bar
Oly WL Bar
The Rogue Euro Bar 28mm
- 11 Best Rogue barbells
- Best Rogue Fitness barbells for women– multipurpose and weightlifting
- Top-rated Rogue specialty barbells
- Choosing a good Rogue bar – past the marketing lingo
- How we reviewed and rated the Rogue Fitness barbells
- FAQs about Rogue barbells
- Other Rogue barbells we reviewed and rated (Close-But-No-Cigar)
- Best barbells by Rogue – resume and takeaways
11 Best Rogue barbells
Below is a list of top-rated Rogue barbells by category.
You’ll notice that the maximum points awarded vary. That’s because using the same rating formula for a multi-use and power or deadlift bar would not make sense….someone would get the short end of that stick.
Here’s an example – dual knurl markings are a factor for multipurpose bars and not for a dedicated power bar. Bottom line – don’t get hung up on the numbers because we choose one bar in each category, so the ratings are there just for reference.
|Name||Best in category||Rating||Price||Tensile Strength (thousand PSIs)||F scale rating||Finish (shaft/sleeves)|
|Ohio bar (Cerakote)||Overall & multipurpose (our guide)||16.3|
(out of 21)
|$$$||190||F8-R||Cerakote/Cerakote or chrome|
|Euro bar 28 mm||Olympic Weightlifting||14.75|
(out of 19.4)
|Ohio power bar (e-coat)||Powerlifting (our guide)||14.15|
(out of 19.4)
|Ohio deadlift bar||Deadlift (our guide)||15.5|
(out of 22)
|$$$$||190||not specified||Cerakote, bare steel of zinc|
|Bella bar 2.0||Women’s multipurpose (our guide)||15.8|
(out of 19.25)
|$$$||190||F6-R||Cerakote/Cerakote or chrome|
|Oly 25 mm bar (IWF-approved)||Women’s Olympic weightlifting||11.1|
(out of 16.55)
|C-70S shorty bar||Short barbell (our guide)||21.75|
(out of 34.625)
|Rogue curl bar(classic)||Curl bar (our guide)||14.5|
(out of 19.125)
|SB-1 bar||Safety squat bar (our guide)||12.25|
(out of 16.75)
|$$$$||not listed||not listed||Cerakote|
|TB-2 trap bar||trap/hex bar (our guide)||15.25|
(out of 23.75)
|$$$$||not listed||not listed||powder coat|
|MG-3 multi-grip||Swiss bar (our guide)||21.5|
(out of 31.625)
|$$$||not listed||not listed||powder coat|
Finding your way around the guide
I’ve organized the picks into three groups – men’s, women’s, and specialty bars.
It’s the cleanest way to do it and what I’d like to see if I was on the other end of the screen.
You can skip to the part you’re interested in by clicking the “take me here” links below.
- Group 1 – Top 4 staple barbells for men – multipurpose, Olympic weightlifting, power, and deadlift bar (take me here).
- Group 2 – top multipurpose and Olympic weightlifting Rogue bar for women. (take me here).
- Group 3 – specialty bars – short, curl, safety squat, safety squat, trap, and Swiss (take me here).
1 – Best men’s multipurpose bar – Rogue Ohio bar with a Cerakote finish
Rating: 16.3 out of 21
If you made a list of everything that stands out about a Rogue barbell, the Ohio bar is all that and a bag of chips.
You start with ETD150 steel, harden it, knurl it precisely, finish it off with Cerakote, and you get a barbell that’s next to impossible to improve on.
The best part is the price tag!
Going back 10 years you would never imagine you’d be able to get a bar like this for this price.
Its durability rating on the Rogue’s scale is F8-R, which is as high as it gets for a multipurpose bar. The R indicates that it’s been treated with Rogue Work Hardening – nobody outside of Rogue knows what that means exactly, but it makes a bar 3 times more durable (or so they say).
In plain terms, the higher the score, the longer the projected lifespan under duress. For home gym use, Rogue Ohio is an indestructible bar.
If you did the “drop-math” for a Crossfit gym, it comes out to about two and a half million drops. Bite my tail and call me an apple ’cause that’s insane. It’s basically the last bar you’d ever buy.
One question remains still… Do you need a bar like that?!
Do you need a bar you can drop two million times?
What if it was bright red??
In all seriousness…you probably don’t “need” it. But when’s the last time “need” got in the way of “want” for an iron-pumping buff?
Bottom line – all the talk about the rabid durability isn’t about bending the bar. For a home gym owner, it’s an indication of how the bar will “behave” over the years… that’s where the rubber meets the road.
In those terms, Rogue Ohio is a home gym heirloom.
- High rating on the Rogue durability scale (F8-R) – it can take more abuse (read: drops).
- Shaft treated with Rogue Work Hardening (RWH) – lasts much longer than untreated shafts (three times longer if we take Rogue’s word on it).
- Cerakote finish – make the shaft corrosion-resistant, and it takes color better than any other finish.
- The tensile strength of the steel is 190K PSI – the sweet spot range between hardness and flexibility.
- Composite bushings on the sleeves – spin as good as that of bronze with far less maintenance.
- Optional sleeve coating (Cerakote or hard Chrome) – you can prioritize higher resistance of Cerakote or smoother plate slide of Chrome.
- Medium knurl with dual marks – the standard knurl has a grippy bite without a “grate-y” feel. Basically you’ll get plenty of grip without ripping the skin off your hands.
- Cerakote slightly dulls the knurling – it’s less grippy than a bare shaft.
2 – Best Rogue barbell for Olympic Weightlifting (WL) – Euro bar 28 mm
Rating: 14.75 out of 19.4
If you’re mainly doing Olympic lifts, you want a rigid bar with a slightly thinner shaft and freely rotating sleeves.
That described the Euro 28 mm Rogue Olympic WL bar.
The half-millimeter shaven of the shaft makes a difference when the going gets heavy, especially when using a hook grip, and the extra tensile strength keeps it stable.
The only potential downside of this combo is the sensitivity of needle bearings – they’re more “susceptible” to dust, which is why a proper chamber seal and lubrication is paramount. It’s a little extra maintenance, but that’s no big deal.
Rogue gets that right with this Olympic barbell.
It’s a ten-needle bearing bar
The sleeves pack ten needle bearings and have a smoother, quieter spin. The contact surface between the needle bearings and the barbell is greater than that in ball-bearing barbells.
Finally, the whole thing is made of ultra-durable EU steel.
The thinner the shaft, the more important the quality of the steel is. I cannot confirm this, but Rogue also claims that EU steel has more whip than “regular” because the raw material composition* is different.
And more whip means a peg of “help” on cleans and snatches when the weights begin to climb.
*steel composition is the ratio between iron ore, coal, limestone, manganese, silica, and feldspar
- Higher tensile strength (215K PSI) – can handle more weights without bending.
- The sleeves are friction-welded – more precise than other joining methods. That increases the structural integrity of the sleeves and makes them (practically) change-proof.
- F6-R score on the durability scale – high resistance to drops and a long lifespan.
- Thinner shaft (28 mm) – easier to grip (especially for a double overhand grip) and whippier, making it more suitable for Olympic lifts.
- IWF certified (approved for weightlifting competitions), which means no surprises come competition day.
- Ten needle bearings in the sleeves – smoother spin means lower the stress on your wrists.
- The center is knurled for extra traction and easier alignment between you and the barbell.
- One of the most expensive Rogue bars – costs about 70-80% more than an Ohio bar.
3 – Top-rated for powerlifting – Rogue Ohio Power bar (e-coat)
Rating: 14.15 out of 19.4
The Ohio power bar ticks all the boxes of a great power bar – shaft diameter, aggressive knurling, and medium-towards-low spin.
The shaft is thicker (29 mm), making the bar more rigid and comfortable for squatting and bench pressing.
Rogue’s Volcano knurling is my favorite among the aggressive knurl patterns. The old-school approach to making the knurling more aggressive is simply making it sharper – the more it can “cut” into your palms, the lesser the chance you’ll drop it.
With volcano knurling, the extra aggressiveness is created by increasing the contact surface between the bar and your palms.
More contact surface means a better grip without shredded palms or calluses.
It also means that the bar feels different, and you might find it passive if you’re transitioning from an old-school stainless steel bar.
- Volcano knurling – yields a better grip than standard without being overly aggressive.
- Thicker shaft – makes for a more rigid barbell than “regular.”
- E-coat of the sleeves – highly corrosion and wear-resistant
- Approved by the IPF – you can use it to prepare for powerlifting competitions (the 45 lbs version)
- Tensile strength in the sweet spot for a power bar (205K PSI) – strong but flexible
- High durability rating on the Rogue scale (F8-R) – paired with Rogue Work Hardening makes the bar resistant to drops.
- E-coat dulls the knurling of a peg – it might feel passive if you’re transitioning from super-aggressive barbells (like a stainless or bare steel bar)
- Not the most rigid power bar out there – if you’re looking for zero flex or whip, you can do better with outlier bars like the Kabuki New Generation (250K tensile strength)
4 – Best rogue bar for deadlifts – Ohio deadlift bar (Bare steel, Cerakote, or Zinc finish)
“There is no reason to be alive if you can’t do deadlift,” shouted red-in-face Jón Páll Sigmarsson back in 1987 after lifting half a ton of wagon wheels connected to a wooden post.
Fast forward to 2016’s Arnold classic, and you see Rogue introducing the 9-foot Elephant bar – easily among the top 5 most impressive engineering marvels the industry’s ever seen.
Fast forward to today, and you have the Rogue Ohio deadlift bar that makes good use of all the research that went into making the Elephant bar but tweaks it to make it affordable.
Enough jabber, below are 4 main PROs and two (kind-of) CONs:
PROs (for deadlifts)
- It’s thinner and whippier – the 27-mm is more flexible, has more whip, and is easier to grip. If you’ve never used a deadlift bar before, you’ll likely blast through a PR or two, primarily because you lose less strength getting the bar off the ground.
- It’s longer – this puts the plates further apart and adds to the whip. Again, you might lift a lick more than with a standard bar.
- Longer shaft, shorter sleeves – same reasoning as above – to house the weight further apart.
- Knurling is a bit deeper than in a standard Ohio bar – it’s the same pattern made more aggressive by a touch of extra depth. Pair it with a think shaft, and this one’s not slipping.
- It’s noisy on drops – not a big deal for a home gym, but it does make a ruckus when dropped. It’s probably because the spin is not critical, so the bushings might not be machined as precisely (more space between the parts).
- It’s a thin-shafted bar – if you’re used to pulling bars that are 28-32mm thick, at first the 27mm will feel like a pencil! You’ll quickly get over this though.
Bottom line – a deadlift bar will not disappoint as long as these three conditions are met:
1 – you have enough strength to begin with.
2 – you don’t expect miracles.
3 – your trouble is in the hole and not the lock-out.
Best Rogue Fitness barbells for women– multipurpose and weightlifting
5 – Best Rogue multipurpose bar for women – the Bella bar 2.0
The Cerakote-coated Bella 2.0 is the queen of the proverbial hill among women’s multipurpose bars.
In the Rogue line-up, it was only a question of choosing between the different versions of the Bella, and the Cerakote finish is the top value. It does cost 10-20% more than e-coat or black zinc, but the wear and corrosion resistance more than make up for it.
The Bella bar 2.0 is also the highest-rated among women’s bars overall, which rarely happens with Rogue because our ratings are value-centric. – i.e., we award budget-friendly choices.
To read more, head over to our guide on the best women’s Olympic barbells.
- Highly resistant Cerakote finish and RWH-treated – likely to last a lifetime in-home gym conditions (F6-R on the Rogue durability scale).
- Stunning colors – you can choose a combo to match the aesthetics of your gym or your favorite colors.
- Premium price point – Cerakote costs 10-20% more than other versions of the Bella bar.
6 – Best Rogue women’s Olympic bar for professional weightlifting – Oly 25 mm Bright Zinc
There are three make-or-break aspects of creating a good women’s Olympic WL bar:
- Balancing out the thin shaft by using stiffer steel.
- Allowing for a butter-smooth spin.
- Making sure the coating doesn’t affect the knurling too much.
Rogue hit all those nails on the head with this bar – they use high tensile strength steel, pair it with needle bushings, and use a zinc finish that feels close to bare steel.
The result is a bar that can find a home in your home gym AND can be used to prepare for a competition.
As you’d expect from a bar like this, it’s expensive.
- IWF-approved – suitable for all experience levels, up to professional weightlifters.
- Needle bearings in the sleeves – the butter-smooth spin minimizes wrist-injury risks.
- High tensile strength (215 K PSI) – the bar will feel stable, even with the thinner shaft.
- Expensive – costs about twice as a solid Bella bar.
Top-rated Rogue specialty barbells
A quick note before we get into it
Please muster the patience to read the section below – it’s a 1-minute read but crucial for understanding the rest of the guide.
Why you rarely see Rogue bars as category winners
Very few Rogue barbells ever make it to the top of our guides…and it’s not because they’re not the best.
In many of the categories, they are…if the price wasn’t a factor, that is.
Let me give you an example…
In the “best deadlift bar” guide, the Ohio deadlift bar holds 4 out of the top 6 spots. But not the two most heavily weighted ones (price and weight capacity).
It’s because one of our beliefs is “Exercise shouldn’t be expensive,” and our rating models are value-centric. So, a nice chunk of the points is earned based on price alone.
Plainly speaking, it’s extremely difficult for an expensive barbell to be labeled as “best” if it’s twice as expensive as the competitor.
If you already know what you’re looking for, use the links below to skip to the category.
7 – Best Rogue short barbell – C-70s shorty
If you’re working with limited space in your home gym, a shorty bar might be a game-changer.
Rogue makes a few of them, but the C-70s is the absolute king of the hill.
It’s rackable, coated in Cerakote, and does a great job balancing between overall length and loadable sleeves.
It was the overall runner-up in our guide on best short barbells only because it’s pricier than the competition.
If the price isn’t a factor, the C-70S shoots straight to the top of that list. We call that a PNF score (Price No Factor) and it’s an indication of absolute quality, rather than value.
You can see how the PNF score of the C-70s compares to other shorty bars below.
- Shorter than a standard bar (72″ long compared to 86″) – makes a massive difference in tight spaces.
- Rackable with a generous 52 inches of collar-to-collar distance – this makes it more versatile and user-friendly – you can use it for anything, from squats to bench presses.
- Sleep spin similar to the Ohio bar – reduces your risk of injury without becoming too clunky (common in sub-par shorties).
- Cerakote finish – it’s more corrosion resistant than any short bar from other brands.
- Shorter sleeves (8.875) – can’t take as many plates as a standard barbell.
8 – Top-rated Rogue curl EZ bars (rackable and regular)
The two bars sharing the top spot here are also in the top 5 EZ bars overall.
The rackable version costs about 30% more than the “regular,” and a Cerakote finish costs 20% more than e-coat.
You can see the complete list of the best curl bars here.
- Ergonomically angled grip – will feel more natural for some exercises (like preacher curls) and lower the risk of a wrist injury.
- Increases muscle activation compared to dumbbell and straight bar curls (as per this study) – you can isolate the biceps more effectively.
- Rogue curls bars cost more – you can get a decent EZ bar for 30-50% less.
Top Rogue barbell among safety squat bars – the Rogue SB-1
Who is this bar for?
This odd-looking thing is for three groups of people:
- Injured lifters who are squatting through back or shoulder pain.
- Those who want to squat but lack proper core control or technique.
- Those who are cool with the straight bar but want to minimize the injury risks.
- Those who are simply looking to change their squatting game up.
A good safety squat bar basically “forces” you into close-to-perfect form.
It’s an excellent addition to any home gym, so it comes as no surprise that the competition in the category is fierce.
Rogue only makes the SB-1, and it’s currently ranked 5th in our guide on best safety squat bars here.
9 – Top-rated trap bar from Rogue – the TB-2
What is it?
Think of a trap bar as the safety squat bar for deadlifts…if that makes sense.
It’s adjustable to increase or decrease the range of movement, meaning you can lift it with the handles ‘up’ (more emphasis on the back) or handles ‘down’ (more emphasis on the legs). Perfect for adjusting form, technique and power emphasis.
Using it means:
- Lowering the risk of injury (especially of lower back and biceps)
- Lifting more (because the lift distance is shorter)
- Maintaining more control because the palm-inward grip is more natural than the mixed grip
- You might push through a deadlift plateau, especially if your quads and grip are the weak links
What it isn’t
It’s not a replacement for a straight bar (unless you’re injured and the straight bar is not an option).
Compared to the trap bar, the classic straight-bar deadlift is a more complex movement and activates more muscle(s). It hits your back and biceps, which the trap bar “ignores” and engages core stabilizers.
Two Rogue trap bars – TB-1 and TB-2
Rogue makes two traps bars at the minute – the older, simpler SB-1 and the new and improved TB-2. The latter is better because the extra pair of raised handles makes it more versatile and easier to use.
How Rogue trap bars compare to other brands
Both the SB-2 and the SB-1 are in the top 10 of the trap bar category.
The SB-2 is the ranking 4th. Out of the three bars in front of it, only one is better in the literal sense of the word (Kabuki), and the other two have higher ratings because they cost less.
To read more on that, check out our guide on best trap bars here.
10 – Best Rogue multi-grip barbell – the MG-3
You might also know this one as football or Swiss bar. Let’s get that out of the way – they’re all the same thing.
What does it do?
It allows you to switch up the grip when pushing and put your shoulders in a more neutral position (depressed and retracted).
Should you be interested?
Yes… I’d say yes to that.
If you’re all about the upper body, this is probably the first specialty bar to get after a standard straight bar.
It’s also useful to people who have had shoulder, elbow and wrist injuries and struggle with an overhand or underhand grip. The neutral grip is often injury-friendly.
Where does Rogue stand?
Rogue makes three of these…creatively named MG 1, 2, and 3.
The only difference is the knurling of the handles (or lack thereof on the MG-2). The price difference is only nominal, making the Mg-3 the obvious choice.
Overall, we rated the MG-3 as the 5th best bar in the category.
Like with the hex bar above, those ahead of it are there because they’re gentler to your home gym budget… that’s true for all but one of our TOP 5 picks.
You can see our complete list of the best multi-grip barbells here.
Remember Jay Cutler promoting Fat Gripz as his “secret?”
Do you remember believing him?
Neither do I.
There are no secrets or miracles here.
A fat bar does have a place in the regimen of an advanced lifter who wants to work on their grip and keep the muscles guessing. That much is true.
But unless you’re training for the Strongman Games, an axle is not essential.
Rogue makes two fat bars – the basic stubby and the full-length rackable axle. Both are markedly better than what you typically see presented as a “fat bar” in the industry (most of the time, it’s open-ended steel tubes).
Between the two Rogue axles, I’d go with rackable every time.
Choosing a good Rogue bar – past the marketing lingo
If you’re interested in understanding the logic (and the data) behind our picks, the reference section below is a must-read.
It’s where I’ll clarify what the newly-coined terms like F score mean.
The section below also holds answers to whether our picks are the best choice for you and, if not, which of the other bars might be.
I’ve split the total number of 17 factors into two groups – 10 primary and 7 secondary factors for choosing a good Rogue Fitness barbell.
10 primary factors for choosing the right Rogue barbell for you
1 – Weight capacity of a Rogue barbell
(no points in our ratings)
Rogue never offers a single number for the capacity.
I think there are two reasons for that:
- The maximum weight capacity of a barbell depends on the dynamic loads more than the static weight.
- Listing a number would lump Rogue up with the competition, and they’re working oh-so-hard to stand out.
I understand both reasons.
For you, the guy/gal putting together a home gym, it’s simple – the chances of bending a Rogue bar are slim. If you’re a beastly creature, go for the bars with a Lifetime warranty on bending.
2 – Durability – Rogue Work Hardening (RWH) and the F-scale
(0-1 point the F-rating and 0.5 points for bars treated with RWH)
Rogue Work Hardening is the Coca-Cola recipe of the fitness industry.
It’s Rogue’s response to the massive changes we’ve seen in barbell use since the arrival of Crossfit. Below is a video from Rogue explaining it all in detail.
Not a soul outside Rogue knows what RWH is….for our purposes today, we don’t need to know.
We’re interested in the purpose. It’s meant to increase a barbell resistance to being dropped. Rogue says that bars treated with RWH are three times as durable.
They’ve ushered in a new way to measure barbell durability – the F-scale. It puts the “drops per year” on the Y, barbells lifetime on the X-axis, and the curves describe how barbells with different F ratings handle long-term “abuse.”
Anatomy of the F-rating
The higher the number in the F rating, the more durable the bar. If there’s an R in there, it indicates RWH-treated.
For example – the stainless steel Ohio bar has an F2 rating while the Cerakote version is rated at F8-R. The stainless steel bar isn’t RWH-treated, and the Cerakote is.
What it means for you
It doesn’t mean much for home gyms in ways of choosing between different Rogue barbells.
Since that’s what probably brings you here, don’t delve too much on the F-scale because the bars we’re talking about can handle generations of home gym use, even if it’s for Crossfit. None of the bars here are going to let you down – we’re just picking the best of the best so to speak.
Is it all it’s cracked up to be?
In the industry as a whole, I’d say ‘no.’
There are great barbells out there that would have a meager projected lifetime…were we to trust Rogue’s durability calculator, that is.
Within the Rogue brand, I have no reason to doubt it.
3 – Rogue shaft finish options
Rogue has stopped using hard Chrome on their shafts after the research they did for the Rogue Work Hardening and the F scale. They found that Chrome, which is still the industry standard, actually weakens the bar.
Again, for a home gym, it’s not a massive factor because it means a chrome bar might bend after 100,000 drops instead of a million.
Among the shaft finish options in the Rogue roster, Cerakote stands out because it exists at the fine line between durability and visual awesomeness.
It’s the only finish that takes print well, which allowed Rogue to offer the Cerakote version of the Ohio bar in 12 color combos.
The trade-off of Cerakote is that it changes the knurl feel slightly – not as much as Chrome or nickel, but still more than a bare or a stainless steel finish. Since Rogue doesn’t use Chrome or nickel on their shafts, Cerakote pops right up to the top as a “knurl-feel changer.”
You can see the corrosion resistance and the “knurl-feel” scale of Rogue bars below.
4 – Rogue sleeves – finish and spin
The corrosion resistance graph (above) also applies to the finish of the sleeves.
There are Rogue barbells with a “Proprietary Matte Black” finish, like the Ohio bar 2.0s. The jury is still out on this new finish, but it will be the black alternative to stainless steel if it does deliver on the Rogue promise.
It doesn’t coat the sleeve but “transforms” it and gets into the steel.
As a secondary factor within the sleeve category, pay attention to whether the sleeves are grooved.
Bonus tip: If this is your first Rogue barbell, note that their sleeves have fine groves to increase friction so you can use the bar without collars. It’s not a defect. I’m stressing this because I’ve heard people mention it as a “disappointment.” If you’ve used a Rogue bar in a gym and the sleeves are perfectly smooth, it’s because they’re worn down so it’s probably an old bar.
Bushings vs. bearings
(0-2 points towards our score)
Differences between the spin of the sleeves between Rogue barbells within categories (multipurpose, power, weightlifting, deadlift) are too fine to notice.
You get bushings for the multipurpose and power bars – either bronze or composite. I’m giving composite a slight edge because they require no maintenance and perform just as well as bronze.
For Olympic-style weightlifting, Rogue will give you needle bearings nine out of ten times. It’s because they have a smoother spin, and you need that extra protection for your wrists on cleans and snatches.
5 – Tensile strength of a Rogue Fitness bar
(0-2 points towards our score)
Tensile strength describes how much force a bar can take before breaking.
ALL Rogue bars are in the 190-215 K tensile strength range (PSI), which is the “sweet range” because anything over that and the steel becomes brittle.
I did award points in the tensile strength to emphasize what are otherwise slight differences. It does feel like nitpicking but choosing the “best” of Rogue Fitness means splitting the occasional hair.
On the lower end of the range lives your standard multipurpose barbell like the Ohio bar. In the upper range are the Olympic weightlifting bars (typically 205.000+ PSI).
6 – Thickness of the bar
(no points one way or the other)
We awarded no points for shaft diameter because none of the few available is inherently “better.”
There exists such a thing as better on a per case basis, though.
Shaft diameter by barbell type
If you’re looking for a standard bar for multipurpose use, go with 28.5 mm for the shaft diameter. Even if you want to go over or under, you’ll have to look beyond Rogue because all their men’s bars in this category are 28.5 mm thick.
Rogue’s power bars are thicker at 29 mm. The extra husky grip is paired with stiffer steel (higher tensile and yield strength) to lower the whip and flexibility.
Their Olympic weightlifting bars are 28 mm. All but one are made of stiffer steel (200+ higher tensile strength).
The dedicated deadlift bars are thinner (27 mm) to allow for more flexibility and whip.
7 – Loadable sleeve length of the bars
When choosing a barbell, loadable sleeve length is a major factor. But within the Rogue line-up, it’s secondary because the differences are minimal.
For example, all men’s bars fall within the 16.25 to 16.5-inch range of sleeve length. For women’s bars, the range is 12.5 to 13 inches.
We did award 0.2 points to the men’s bars with 16.3-inch sleeves or longer. It’s because, in our calculations, 16.3 is the cutoff point between 600 and 690 lbs of weight for 45-pound deep-dish plates with collars.
8 – Knurling of Rogue Fitness barbells
If you already decided to go with Rogue, that takes away much of the knurling-related dilemmas.
Their “standard” knurling is refined and “gets more aggressive” with a tighter grip, which is exactly what you want from high-rep bars.
The power bars are much more aggressive and feature a sharper Volcano knurl. Still, we’re not at the cheese-grater level…and we (almost) never are with Rogue. That’s because the aggressiveness is not achieved through sharpening the knurl but by cutting away the micro tips.
If you want something crazy aggressive, look into the Aggro bar – a version of the Ohio power bar with sharpest knurling available from Rogue.
Points for Rogue knurling
Knurling type carried no points here because I’m yet to hear of a Rogue bar that’s too aggressive or too passive for its use.
They get this part right as a rule – from the basics like aggressiveness and pattern to the more nuanced aspects like precision and clean termination (part of the barbell where the knurling stops).
All the standard bars from Rogue are marked; it’s just a question of dual vs. single markings. The multipurpose bars are double marked, and the dedicated power and WL bars have single markings.
Most multipurpose and deadlift bars from Rogue have no center knurl, the exceptions among men’s bars being the Chan and the Echo bar.
On the other hand, the dedicated WL and power barbells have a knurled center to increase friction, prevent the bar from slipping on heavy squats and help with alignment.
It’s highly individual and comes down to how you lift and what you’re used to – so we awarded no points for center knurl one way or the other.
9 – Price – how much does a Rogue bar cost?
A Rogue bar costs anywhere from ~ $100 (for something like the OSO mini Junior bar) to over $750 for the “Russian” men’s bar.
For a medium-tier multipurpose bar for men, expect to pay between 260 (Echo bar 2.0) and 470 dollars (Ohio Bar with a stainless steel finish).
The price range for a Rogue Ohio bar is $300-470, depending on the finish. At the lower end of the range lives the Zinc-coated version, and on the high-end is the stainless steel version. Nested around 350 bucks is our top overall pick – the Rogue Ohio bar with a Cerakote finish.
Prices of multipurpose Rogue bars for women start at around $240 (Rogue Bella bar finished in black zinc or e-coat) and go up to $400 for special editions of the Bella, like the DAVIDSDOTTIR in light blue Cerakote.
*we stay on top of things and update these regularly, but with the frenetic market, we can’t guarantee the accuracy at a given time. I’m sure you get it.
10 – Rogue Fitness warranty
Only one bar among the standard men’s bars is not covered by a Lifetime warranty which also covers bending. The exception is the Echo bar with a 1-year warranty.
For women’s bar, a warranty on “Construction” is typical.
I talked to a Rogue customer service rep about this. Alain his name was and he showed awesome patience for my pesky, detailed questions. I now finally understand what a “construction” warranty is.
It basically means that you’re not covered against bending…which kind of makes sense with the thinner 25 mm shaft and all.
They absolutely could do a better job at being clear about what a “construction” warranty means. If an industry veteran doesn’t understand it, it’s not clear enough.
How we reviewed and rated the Rogue Fitness barbells
Below is a step-by-step rundown of our rating methodology – from creating the initial database to reaching the final scores and picking the winners.
- We compiled a long list of every Roque barbell in existence.
- To avoid comparing apples to oranges, we split the initial database into categories – standard men’s and women’s barbells (multipurpose, power, and weightlifting), specialty bars (hex, trap, Swiss).
- We defined the quality criteria to rate the role barbells against – 17 categories in total.
- We awarded a gravity score (statistical significance) to each quality category. You can see the gravity scores listed in the “rating factors” section.
- We consulted in-house and with industry experts to craft (and then tweak) a fair rating formula.
- We created statistical models for two barbell categories – standard men and standard women. For other barbells (like short of safety squat), we chose the winners based on our previous guides.
It did take some elbow grease (around 50 work hours among us), but it was well worth it because we created what, I believe, is the single most well-rounded guide on the best Rogue Fitness barbells out there.
Before we move on – let’s put a controversy to rest
Not everyone in the industry is a fan of Rogue’s ways. Some people think there’s a monopoly on muscle in the US, and Rogue is pushing the competition out.
I stand with Rogue on this one.
If you’re blazing new trails and making superior products, it can be nothing but good for the industry. Whether it’s good for a guy who’s dropshipping Chinese bars as a side hustle is a whole different story – one I have zero interest in.
Most of the industry’s leading minds like Kabuki’s Chris Duffin will tell you that Rogue’s innovation has pushed them towards innovation.
FAQs about Rogue barbells
Is the Rogue Ohio bar worth it?
Yes, the Rogue Ohio bar is worth it, especially if you choose a highly resistant finish like Cerakote.
The projected lifespan and the overall quality fully justify the premium price tag. Barbells from other high-end brands with similar projected lifespans and durability can cost twice or three times as much.
How much weight can a Rogue bar hold?
Most Rogue barbells are made to hold 1,000 pounds (435.5 kg) or more. The bottom line is that they can hold more weight than 99.9% of people will ever lift.
But there is no straightforward answer to how much weight can a Rogue bar hold. Instead of listing the weight capacities, Rogue typically provides the yield strength for their bars (amount of pressure a bar can take without bending).
And it kind of makes sense because static weight capacity tests don’t tell the whole story – i.e. how a barbell handles dynamic loads.
This is a moot point for most people because their best bars come with a lifetime warranty (for anything that hasn’t been mistreated i.e. deliberately smashed with a sledgehammer to see how strong you are).
So, even if you do somehow bend a rogue barbell, you’ll get a new one.
Also, given the absolutely overwhelming likelihood that you’re not capable of lifting anything near the capacity of a barbell, I wouldn’t go worrying about it.
It’s a bit like worrying whether or not Jennifer Lawrence would like the outfit you’d wear on a date with her…
Bottom line – you won’t bend it!
Other Rogue barbells we reviewed and rated (Close-But-No-Cigar)
If there ever was a guide where the close-but-no-cigar section makes sense, it’s this one.
The differences between the top-rated Rogue Fitness barbells are so nuanced they deserve to be whispered.
It reads like who’s who of best ‘losers.’
For you, it means that some of the bars listed below might be a better fit than our top picks.
Other Rogue multipurpose barbells for men
1 – Runner-up – Rogue OPERATOR BAR 3.0 (rated 15.5 out of 21) – practically identical to the overall winner, this military-themed bar only dropped slivers of points in secondary categories. None of those dropped points are in aspects with a direct impact on quality – it’s stuff like customization, the number of color choices, or optional sleeve finishes.
2 – Rogue bar 2.0 (rated 14.2 out of 21)– a great multipurpose bar that checks all the boxes and was the top pick in the previous iteration of the Olympic barbell guide (update coming soon). It’s slowly slipping though, because we’re tweaking our algo towards durability. In the face of those changes, a Zinc finish can’t stand its ground against Cerakote… although it’s more than enough for most home gyms!
3 – Other versions of the Ohio bar – three primary rating categories are the finish of the sleeves, finish of the shaft, and price. This is where the rating margins between different versions of the same bar are created.
Below is a list of the Ohio bar’s versions and their respective ratings (out of the max 21):
- E-coat – 14
- Stainless steel – 13.2
- Black Oxide – 12.4
- Zinc – 11.9
4 – Rogue Castro Bar (rated 12.95 out of 21) has higher tensile strength than the Rogue Ohio bar (205 K PSI) but only comes in bare steel. If you’re old-school, like the patina look, and you’re OK with a high-maintenance barbell, look into this one.
5 – Matt Chan bar – One of my personal favorites but it’s lower on the durability scale (F2). It has a stainless steel shaft finished in Cerakote and Chrome or Cerakote-finished sleeves, this bar was made with direct input from the man himself – Matt Chan. It’s ideal if you do a lot of CrossFit lifts but like a bit of center knurl and you’re a tall guy. It’s pricey, though.
6 – ROGUE OHIO BAR 2.0S – to make the 2.0, Rogue took the original Ohio bar and added sound dampening.
When dropped, it’s about 10 decibels quieter than the regular version.
How much is that?
Well, Rogue says it’s “half as loud” as other barbells. To be honest, I don’t know what that means exactly – I can’t picture a situation where I’d need barbells to be ‘quietly’ dropped! I haven’t used this one, and I’ll have to wait ’till I get my hands on it to decide if it’s worth it – as is, I awarded no bonus points for sound-dampening.
7 – ECHO BAR 2.0 – if you’re looking to get a barbell with identical specs to the Ohio bar and you’re OK with the less resistant Zinc finish, you can save a pretty penny by going with the Echo 2.0. You only get a one-year warranty, though.
Other top Rogue power bars for men
This is an overview of the versions of the Rogue Ohio power bar that didn’t make it to the top of dedicated powerlifting bars:
- Ohio Power bar in stainless steel – more direct tactile feedback on the grip than Cerakote with a lower durability rating (F2) and a higher price tag.
- Rogue Ohio power bar in bare steel – the least expensive bar in the Ohio power line-up…better grip than any coating (bear in mind that stainless steel isn’t a coating) but poor corrosion resistance.
Other Rogue dedicated and professional weightlifting bars:
- 28MM Training bar (black zinc) – a less expensive, less-resistant alternative to the Euro 28 mm.
- Pyrros bar – awesome bar with a price tag to match. It was made in collaboration with the legendary Pyrros Dimas (three-time Olympic gold medalist). It’s a bit more aggressively knurled than any Olympic WL bar here, and the sleeves spin less.
- Russian WL bar – the most expensive Rogue bar we looked at. Unique grooved sleeves with included locking collars.
- IWF-approved Rogue Olympic bar – the Zinc version of this bar is officially IWF-approved. If corrosion weren’t an issue, this bar would be pillaging villages in the fight for the top.
Other versions of the Rogue Ohio deadlift bar
In the deadlift category, Rogue Fitness puts all their eggs in the Ohio basket…and what a great basket it is.
If price weren’t a factor, two of the three best deadlift barbells would be versions of Rogue Ohio – Cerakote and E-coat.
The Cerakote version of the Ohio deadlift bar is e-coat, followed by bare steel and black zinc.
Few great Rogue barbells for women out of the top picks
Bella 2.0 dominates the women’s bars category.
All but one multipurpose bar belong to the Bella line-up. Even when Rogue labels a bar “Bella’s cousin,” it’s the same bar top to bottom. That’s the case with the 25mm Operator bar – it’s just a take on the Bella that boasts military colors.
The differences come down to how much you’re paying for extra corrosion resistance.
So, let me first list the versions that lost out to the Cerakote-coated Bella and their ratings:
- E-coat – rated 13.2 out of 21
- Black Zinc – rated 12
- Stainless steel – rated 11.85
- Special editions of the Bella bar – Freedom (10.1), (Toomey (rated 11.05), and Davidsdottir (10.8). The lower ratings of the special editions compared to the “basic” Cerakote Bella are only about the higher price tags.
Multipurpose women’s bars outside the Bella line-up:
- 25mm women’s Operator bar – Rogue calls it “Bella’s cousin,” but this is basically a military-themed version of the Cerakote-coated Bella 2.0.
Best barbells by Rogue – resume and takeaways
For the vast majority of men looking for a multipurpose bar for a home gym, the Rogue Ohio bar is the way to go.
Our top pick is the Cerakote-coated version because of the balance between durability, corrosion resistance, and visual appeal. Click here to skip back to its mini-review.
The Bella bar 2.0 is the queen of the women’s bar domain. Again, the finish that stands out is Cerakote.
Click here to skip back to that mini-review.
You can skip back to the table with all our top picks by clicking here.