I found there wasn’t really enough good data about the pricing of Olympic barbells. So the Strong Home Gym team of certified personal trainers and I put over 40 hours of research into the best 115 barbells on the market. Here’s what we found…
A good quality Olympic barbell costs between $200-$350. It’s possible to get an entry-level barbell for under $150 but these can bend or rust more easily over time. Some of the most high-end barbells cost over $1,000 but are almost indestructible and very accurate to the IWF or IPF standards.
You can learn more about what to look for when buying a barbell here with our top recommendations.
- Entry-level Olympic barbell price range
- Mid-range Olympic barbell price range
- High-end Olympic barbell price range
- Tensile strength over 170k PSI increases the price
- Olympic weightlifting bars with a good whip are pricey
- Volcano knurling is more expensive
- Needle bearings make the sleeves spin better & bump the price up
- Stainless steel and cerakote are the most expensive barbell finish
Average Olympic Barbell cost
The average price of an Olympic barbell is $351 using data from 115 barbells. The price ranges from $85 to $1,071. But it is possible to get a barbell that will last you a lifetime for around $250.
The quality ranges a lot between the barbells included in this research.
You can see the difference between the entry-level barbells compared to more high-end bars below…
|Barbell quality||# Barbells||Avg||Cheapest||Most expensive|
Entry-level Olympic barbell price range
An entry-level Olympic barbell costs $137 on average. The price ranges from $85 to $250 for the 20 beginner-friendly bars in this research.
These barbells may be great for you if you just want a “beater” bar or if you want to use it for landmines or warming up. It can also work if you aren’t planning on lifting more than 300lbs, will never do any CrossFit movements and take good care of it.
What are the features of an entry-level barbell?
There are certain features of a barbell that can help you see if it’s an entry-level bar. Some of the things to look out for are:
- Lower tensile strength (under 130k PSI)
- Larger diameter (30mm+)
- Poor quality finish (aluminium, black oxide, bare steel or “alloy steel”)
- Sleeves spin is not always smooth (usually use bushings instead of needle bearings)
- Different dimensions or weight (a men’s Olympic bar should be 44lbs or 20kg, 7 foot 2” long and 28-29mm diameter; a women’s bar is 33lbs or 15kg, 6 feet 6” and 25 mm diameter)
The lower tensile strength means the bar is more likely to bend over time. Especially if you load 400lbs or more on the bar.
Most Olympic (aka “Oly”) weightlifting bars have a diameter of 28mm. Powerlifting bars typically have a diameter of 29mm to make them more rigid and reduce the whip and elasticity. Here are some other key differences between power bars and weightlifting bars…
However, many cheaper bars have a diameter of 30mm or more.
This may not sound like a lot but it makes the bar much harder to grip, especially for those heavy deadlifts. Combine this rigid bar with the slower spinning sleeves and you should also avoid any CrossFit movements with an entry-level bar. Movements like thrusters or a clean and snatch can damage your wrists if the sleeves do not spin as the weight moves.
The low-quality finish also makes the bars more susceptible to rust over time.
Mid-range Olympic barbell price range
Mid-range barbells cost an average of $313. The price ranges from $199 to $436 for the 68 mid-range barbells in this data. Most people will typically look for a barbell of this quality and it’s possible to buy a bar that can last a lifetime for around $250.
These are the most common types of Olympic barbells available on the market.
If you have the budget this is the barbell that is ideal for most people.
What are the features of a mid-range barbell?
Some of the features a mid-range Olympic bar might have are:
- Good tensile strength (over 160k PSI)
- Correct dimensions (44lbs weight, 7.2ft long and 28-29mm diameter; women’s 33lbs, 6.6ft and 25mm diameter)
- Good quality finish (zinc, hard chrome, cerakote or stainless steel)
- Smooth spinning sleeves (needle bearings for an Oly bar and good quality composite bushings for power bars)
- More aggressive knurling for power bars
A mid-range bar should be enough for the vast majority of people. The strong tensile strength means the bar shouldn’t bend or deform over time unless you mistreat it.
The good quality finish on the bar also means it won’t rust or corrode easily. But it is still wise to wipe your barbell down after each session and it’s still not a good idea to leave it outside in the rain!
One of the noticeable differences between an entry bar and a mid-range barbell is the smoothness of the spinning sleeves. A cheap bar typically won’t be suited for any CrossFit or Olympic weightlifting movements. If you plan on doing any fast movements above your head such as the clean and snatch then it’s better to find a bar with needle bearings in the sleeves.
High-end Olympic barbell price range
A high-end Olympic barbell costs between $445 to $1,071. The average cost is $583 from the 27 high-end barbells in this study. For $600 you can buy a barbell that will last forever and take any weight you can lift.
These bars are only needed for the most serious of lifters. For most people, they are not needed.
What are the features of a high-end barbell?
Here are some of the standout features a high-end bar may have:
- Competition approved (accurate to IWF or IPF approved knurling and dimensions)
- High-quality finish (stainless steel or cerakote)
- Strong tensile strength (190k+ PSI)
- Attention to detail (i.e. protective ring on the inner collar to keep dust and chalk out of the sleeves or proprietary technology)
The main difference between a high-end Olympic barbell compared to a mid-range barbell is the attention to detail.
Nearly every high-end bar will have something that separates it from the “normal” bars. It could be that it uses stainless steel, which is the most resistant to rust, corrosion or scratches. Or it could be the volcano style aggressive knurling which doesn’t feel as sharp as the mountain style.
A high-end bar is extremely strong and durable.
For example, Kabuki has a power bar with 250k PSI tensile strength. It simply won’t break or deform even under extreme pressure. See 30 seconds of the video below to see what I mean…
Eleiko uses propriety “Swedish steel” and Uesaka uses “hagane” steel (used in Japanese swords).
High-end bars are really made for serious professional lifters that benefit from the super accurate measurements of a bar for when they compete.
What factors affect the price of an Olympic barbell?
The reason there are such differences in the price of an Olympic barbell is because of certain features. Some of the things to look out for when buying a barbell can be seen in the diagram below…
Here are some of the trends I noticed that had a significant impact on the price when comparing the 115 bars…
Tensile strength over 170k PSI increases the price
$220 is the cheapest bar on the list that has over 170k PSI. Whereas Titan’s Olympic Power Bar has 165k PSI and costs around $150. There seems to be a significant jump over this amount.
Pounds per Square Inch (PSI) measures how much pressure can be applied to the bar before it breaks or bends permanently.
Now, you may be thinking that surely not many people can lift 170,000 pounds on a bar. And you’re right this is reserved for characters in Marvel movies!
But the pressure is only applied to the sleeves of the bar holding the largest bumper plates when you drop a bar. If you consistently deadlift 500lbs+ on a hard floor then you can imagine the pounds per square inch will be pretty high on certain parts of the bar.
Also you will perform high reps and drop weight from shoulder height repeatedly if you are into CrossFit workouts. The PSI should be an especially important factor for you.
Olympic weightlifting bars with a good whip are pricey
The cheapest bar with over 170k PSI and a 28mm diameter is the REP Fitness Gladiator bar. It is under $300 but bars that provide good whip are definitely not cheap!
“Whip” is quite a tricky one to figure out as many brands can’t tell you exactly how much whip there is.
It’s technically defined by the difference between yield strength and tensile strength. Yield strength is the PSI when the barbell starts to bend under pressure and tensile strength is the pressure it can take before it’s permanently bent.
So, the bigger the gap between these two numbers the more “whip” a bar has.
However, it’s rare to find the yield strength information provided by the manufacturer.
Many sales pages will tell you if the bar has “good whip” or not though. And combining this information with the thinner 28mm diameter (not as rigid as thicker bars) and a high tensile strength you can figure out which barbells have the best whip.
All you need to know is that whip doesn’t really come into play unless you perform fast Olympic weightlifting style movements with 200lbs or more. You can learn more about whip in our barbell buying guide here.
Volcano knurling is more expensive
The Rogue Ohio power bar can be bought for under $300. This is by far the cheapest bar that uses the volcano style knurling.
One of the biggest issues with aggressive knurling is that it can be very sharp and tear your hands if the bar twists or slips mid-lift.
Volcano knurling gets around this because it uses more contact points with your hand. Each knurling spike has 4 contact points with your hand instead of the sharp mountain’s one contact point. See the image below to see what I mean…
Whilst, this is perfect for any serious powerlifters or anyone that deadlifts more than 400lbs it does come with a price (literally).
Needle bearings make the sleeves spin better & bump the price up
You can find some good value bars around $200 that use needle bearings such as the Synergee Open barbell. But typically any bar that uses bearings instead of bushings in the sleeves are more expensive.
Needle bearings make the sleeves spin better than bushings.
If you plan on doing any fast overhead movements such as thrusters or a clean and snatch then buying a bar that has needle bearings is a good idea. If the sleeves do not spin smoothly it can cause extra strain in your wrists and cause some serious damage.
However, only 35 out of 115 bars I checked out use needle bearings. And the lowest tensile strength any of them had is Synergee’s 150k PSI.
Basic entry-level bars simply won’t use needle bearings, hence the price tag!
Stainless steel and cerakote are the most expensive barbell finish
$250-$400 are the cheapest bars that exist with a stainless steel or cerakote finish. The Synergee Games barbell uses a colored cerakote finish and costs around $250. Fringe Sports Wonder bar uses stainless steel and costs just over $350.
Stainless steel technically isn’t a “finish” on a barbell. It is the steel alloy used to make the bar itself. It is so corrosion resistant that it simply doesn’t require a finish at all. But it does come with a price tag!
Cerakote is recognised as the next most resistant type of finish on a barbell. It doesn’t rust or scratch, it’s got a good grip and it comes in a range of colors!
Most brands don’t produce cerakote finish on barbells but Synergee, Rogue and American Barbell have versions.
Are Power barbells more expensive than Oly Weightlifting bars?
Powerlifting barbells are not more expensive than Olympic weightlifting bars. They have a very similar price range with an average of $385 to $375 respectively. However, multi-purpose barbells are typically cheaper at an average price of $289.
Check the table out below to see the differences…
|Barbell type||# Barbells||Avg||Cheapest||Most expensive|
There are more entry-level multi-purpose bars as they don’t really need specific dimensions or features.
Multi-purpose bars are great for many home gyms as you can do a bit of everything with them. They typically fall in between a power bar or an Olympic weightlifting bar. For example, their diameter is often 28.5mm instead of 28mm (Oly WL bar) or 29mm (power bar).
If you’re wondering what the difference between an Olympic Weightlifting barbell and a power bar is then check out this image.
Olympic barbell brands pricing
The most prestigious two brands are still Uesaka and Eleiko for barbells. But there are more and more affordable brands producing high-quality barbells these days.
Here are just some of the main brands with a rough price range for the barbells available. (*Note – prices change regularly so you will need to check individual websites and stores for up to date pricing):
- Uesaka – $900+
- Eleiko – $450-$1,100
- Kabuki Strength – $450-$750
- American Barbell – $250-$700
- Rogue – $200-$800
- Buddy Capps – $260-$400
- Fringe Sport – $250-$500
- Vulcan Strength- $200-$750
- REP Fitness – $89-$400
- Synergee- $130-$350
- XMark – $150-$300
- CAP Fitness – $100-$300
- Titan FItness – $85-$300
So now you know what the price ranges are you’re probably still wondering…
How to choose the right Olympic barbell for you
Most people simply don’t need a $900 barbell. If you are looking to buy a barbell for your own home gym it’s possible to get one that will last you a lifetime for around $250.
You can even buy a decent bar for around $150. Especially if you never plan on lifting more than 350lbs and you will take good care of your equipment.
Our team of certified personal trainers have put together extensive research into 115 barbells. Many of them have been personally tested.
You can check out the full buying guide and see the top recommendations for the best Olympic barbells here.
This is the bar that we recommend for ‘most people’.
We have spent over 120 hours of research and tested over 100 barbells.
It is affordable but comes with some high specs. The Rogue Work Hardening and 190k PSI tensile strength mean the bar will last a lifetime in a home gym.
It is a multi-purpose bar with a 28.5mm diameter shaft and composite bushings in the sleeves. This means it’s balanced for heavy slow bench presses but you can also perform snatches and fast overhead lifts.