The barbell is one of the most versatile and effective pieces of home gym equipment.
However, they don’t come cheap and it is hard to judge quality before purchasing.
That is why in this guide we will give you a selection of the best budget barbells in the market.
Best Budget Barbells
- Best Budget Barbell for Beginners: Sunny Health & Fitness Threaded Chrome Barbell
- Best Budget Trap Bar: HulkFit Olympic Hex Weight Lifting Trap Bar
- Best Budget Olympic Barbell: CAP 7-Foot Olympic Bar
- Best Budget EZ Curl Bar: Synergee Commercial EZ Curl Olympic Bar
- Best Budget Dumbbell/Barbell Combination: Yes4All Adjustable Dumbbells
Best Budget Barbell for Beginners: Sunny Health & Fitness Threaded Chrome Barbell Bar
- Solid chrome
- 60” length
- 250 lbs capacity
- Star-locked collars
- Size: 60.8L X 4.3W X 3.7H in
- Weight: 12lbs
- Loadable Sleeve Length: Less than 1 ft
- Knurl: Diamond textured knurling
- Material: Solid chrome
- Type: Standard
- Mount Type: Barbell bar
- Weight Capacity: 250lbs
- Is less costly than Olympic bars
- Uses standard plated which are also priced lower than Olympic plates
- Is a solid choice for most standard heavy lifting exercises.
- Star lock collars may become loose over time
- The bar is just 5ft long making it too short for use in power lifting
The Sunny Health & Fitness 60 inch Threaded Chrome Barbell Bar is a 60-inch solid chrome bar that can withstand a weight of 250lbs. These bars can be used to perform any standard exercises that do not require the use of safety rods.
Since it is not very long, you won’t be able to use this barbell bar on a power rack because it does not have enough reach to sit on the J Hooks or Safety Rods.
With this barbell, you will typically do exercises standing outside the rack; however, you also have the option of standing in the rack and do exercises that do not need safety racks. The choice for this depends on how much space you have as well as your own personal preference.
However, the Sunny Health & Fitness 60 inch Threaded Chrome Barbell is best used for exercises that do not require racks like bench press and squats. You can use adjustable catch bars or a spotter for these exercises.
These bars also hold standard plates, which are more affordable than Olympic ones. These weight plates are secured on the bars with the help of star-locked collars that prevent them from shifting and sliding during lifting.
Also, Olympic bars are typically heavier and longer than standard bars. However, keep in mind that standard bars have a smaller 1” diameter than an Olympic bar which has a diameter of about 2”.
All in all, this bar is a great tool for beginner users from the strength standpoint and it can be a great addition as part of the basic set-up of your home gym.
Although you will not beat any strength records with the SunnyHealth & Fitness 60 inch Threaded Chrome Barbell, it is a good bar for any exercise that calls for a straight bar.
Best Budget Trap Bar: HulkFit Olympic Hex Weight Lifting Trap Bar
- Regular or Open design
- Solid heavy duty steel
- 1000-Pound capacity
- Size: 56.1” x 21.65”
- Weight: 45lbs
- Loadable Sleeve Length: 11.42”
- Knurl: Multiple knurling positions and length
- Material: Composite heavy duty steel
- Type: Olympic
- Mount Type: Trap bar
- Weight Capacity: 1000lbs
- Has a standard 2” Olympic diameter
- Made of high-grade solid steel
- Multiple knurling position and design makes for easier lifting
- Available in close and open-back design
- People over 6.2ft may not be able to handle the equipment comfortably
The HulkFit Olympic Hex Trap Bar offers the perfect balance between quality and affordability and this is why we are placing it on our list.
If you take a close look at this bar you will notice its superior quality. The hexagonally shaped bar is made of solid heavy-duty steel and, unlike hex bars from some other manufacturers, is not hollowed out. This means it is very durable equipment and can withstand a load of 1000 pounds.
The HulkFit Olympic Hex Trap Bar is available in two different styles to accommodate your preferences. One is the regular closed style, which can feel more secure when you are lifting it and the other is the open-back style which is easier to step into.
This Hex Bar also comes with 11.42-inch sleeves which is a longer length than many other barbells. Thanks to its length, you can load more weights on it. Other major advantages of the HulkFit Olympic Hex Trap Bar are that it has multiple knurling positions and lengths, regular and raised handles, as well as its top-quality material.
The trap bar comes in black and chrome colors so you can choose the one you want.
Overall, this trap bar offers superior quality and durability. It weighs about 44 pounds and comes at a reasonable price which is why we think it is one of the best budget barbells in the market.
Best Budget Olympic Barbell: CAP 7-Foot Olympic Bar
- 7-foot Olympic Bar
- 110, 000 Psi tensile strength
- Solid cold-rolled steel
- Size: 7 ft x 28.5mm
- Weight: 44 lbs
- Loadable Sleeve: 15 inch
- Knurl: Medium depth diamond knurling, no center knurl
- Material: Solid cold roll steel with black phosphate finish
- Type: Standard
- Mount Type: Lifting barbell
- Weight Capacity: Over 1000lbs
- Comes with 7 different choices for every experience level and budget
- Can hold 1,000lbs of weight
- Comes with moderate knurling
- Bushings provide spinning sleeves
- Material is Japanese cold rolled steel
- Some people think they could do with more knurling
- The barbell is not designed to drop with weight
The CAP 7-foot Olympic Bar for Weightlifting and Power Lifting offers seven variable options which have a tensile strength of 110,000 to 230,000psi.
The Olympic bars are quite reasonably priced and are manufactured from Japanese cold-rolled steel with a black phosphate finish. It has a sleeve length ranging from 15 to 16 inches which is equipped with a snap clip and can accommodate two-inch Olympic plates.
The entry-level bar is known as “The Beast” and has a tensile strength of 110,000psi. This is enough for moderate-heavy lifting but if you are more serious about your strength training regimen, you need to look for other designs in the model that offer more tensile strength.
Fortunately, its top three bars, “The Master,” “The Rebel,” and “The Warrior” have a tensile strength of 190,000psi, 190,000psi, and 230,000psi respectively. Although the weight capacity of every single bar is not listed, The Warrior can hold a weight of up to 1,000 pounds. Naturally, these top three bars are also more expensive than “The Beast.”
All bars weigh 44 pounds and every bar comes with a central knurling option for improved grip, except for the entry-level “The Beast.”
The bars come with a 28mm handgrip diameter and medium knurling. This latter is a problem for some consumers who require deeper knurling for a more secure hold, particularly in the top three bars.
Overall, CAP has been in the heavy lifting and fitness industry for over 30 years and hence chances are you cannot go wrong with many of its products.
Best Budget EZ Curl Bar: Synergee Commercial EZ Curl Olympic Bar
- 450lbs capacity
- Hard Chrome or Black Phosphate
- 47.25 inches long,
- 6.25” of loadable sleeve length on either side
- Bar Length: 47.25 in
- Weight: 19lbs
- Loadable Sleeve Length: 6.25”
- Material: Steel with Chrome/Black Phosphate/Cerakote
- Knurl: 1.22 mm standard
- Type: Standard
- Bar Type: EZ Curl Bar
- Weight Capacity: Over 450lb
- Steel is super-strong and can hold a weight of 450 pounds
- Coated with black oxide which protect steel from corrosion
- Comes with standard knurling for an improved grip
- Equipped with rotating sleeves that remove resistance
- 100% money back guarantee plus free replacement product
- Plates may not sit flush with bars and may be wobbly
- Knurling is quite sharp
The Synergee Commercial EZ Curl Olympic Bar is made with top-quality steel and comes in two stunning options: Hard Chrome and Black Phosphate. Both of these styles not just look great but offer protection to steel from wear and corrosion.
The Olympic bar weighs only 19 pounds and can hold 450 pounds of load. It offers a 1.22 mm standard knurl which provides a solid grip, although a few consumers complain that the knurling is quite sharp and cause discomfort when they are lifting weights.
The curves on the Synergee Commercial EZ Curl Olympic Bar are more pronounced and offer you dips and crannies where you can comfortably rest your hand. The curved design is made with ergonomics in mind so that you do not injure your wrists by putting too much stress on them, which can be the case with straight bars.
The specially designed curves allow the wrists and elbows to stay in their natural position while helping to build the forearm, upper arm, and stabilizer muscles.
The Synergee Commercial EZ Curl Olympic Bar is a very professional-looking bar that you can easily use from the comforts of your home. If you are one of those people who need to build their muscles but do not have time to go to a gym, this EZ Curl bar is what you need to start your strength training.
Best Budget Dumbell Barbell: Yes4All Adjustable Dumbbells
- Pair of 14” x 1” handles
- 4 x 3-lb plates, 4 x 7. 5-lb plates
- 1 x Yes4All Dumbbell Connector
- Size: Adjustable
- Weight: 40, 50, 52.5, 60, 105 to 200 lbs
- Loadable Sleeve:
- Material: Iron with black paint finish
- Knurl: 14 or 16-inch diamond knurled chrome handle
- Type: Standard
- Bar Type: Adjustable dumbbells
- Weight Capacity: Variable
- Are quite affordable while providing enormous value.
- Comes with four plates and a connector
- Free shipping
- Solid and straightforward gear
- 5-year warranty
- 60-day return
- Dumbbells are not exactly top of the line
- Some users said the dumbbells had a rubber or paint odor coming from them
There are a lot of manufacturers that provide limited options in their barbell set but Yes4All Adjustable Dumbbells with connecter options are not one of them.
The set is equipped with 4 cast iron 3-pound weight plates, four 7.5lbs plates, four collars, and one connector to turn dumbbells into a single barbell so that fitness enthusiasts can choose the set according to their fitness level.
The set comes with textured chrome handles which minimized hand fatigue and star lock collars that can easily lock the plates into place. Depending on what your fitness goals are, you can choose from a total weight option of 40, 50, 52.5, 60, 105, and 200lbs options.
The iron plates have a black paint finish for corrosion resistance and durability. It also features chrome handles that are knurled for a secure and non-slip grip. The connector is suitable for 1-inch spin-lock dumbbells.
Thanks to its versatility, the Yes4All Adjustable Dumbbells with connectors allow you to tweak your training levels and switch between training with dumbbells and barbells easily.
Additionally, the company offers a 5-day warranty and 60-day return to make sure you have the very best experience with the dumbbells and connector set.
Different Types of Barbells
Some of the most popular barbells types are:
Olympic barbells are relatively big barbells and are used to perform complex lifts like the clean and press or the snatch. An Olympic barbell typically has a standard weight of 44lbs or 20 kg, which is usually distributed over a shaft of the length of about 7 ft and a whippable diameter of 28mm. The latter is very important since it provides flexibility to the bar which helps to lift it.
The tensile rating on an Olympic barbell should not be lower than 15kpi.
Another important thing on an Olympic barbell is its spin since the movements of the bar can bend the wrists far more than is good for comfort.
Additionally, the knurling on the barbells should also be positioned correctly and be fairly light. Aggressive knurling can hurt your fingers so if you are buying an Olympic barbell to practice, you need to check whether the knurling is in the right place.
Powerlifting barbells are used to perform lifts that stack on weight like a deadlift, bench press, and back squat. These barbells weigh similarly to Olympic barbells but are usually on the shorter side with a length of 5.6 ft and a diameter of 28.5 to 29 mm.
The tensile rating on a powerlifting barbell should be 190kpi at least if you want it to have a high yield.
The whip-on powerlifting barbell should be very low so that they provide you with optimum control.
Additionally, the spin should also be minimal, particularly if you are using a powerlifting barbell to perform exercises like the military press, bench press, and back squat. However, the spin should not be completely absent as it is still required to do exercises like the front squat which will need the bar to rotate a bit.
Powerlifting barbells have a high knurling position so that you can get a controlled and good grip. The best powerlifting barbells will have central knurling as well as they provide the best grips during squats.
Trap or Hexagonal Bars
The trap or hexagonal bar is the bar that is used to perform the deadlift, which is one of the best lifts for working your traps with shoulder shrugs.
The trap bars are assembled into a hexagonal shape and are designed so that you can step into them and grip the bars by your side. This means your back will take less pressure during deadlifts and your legs muscles and glutes will be activated. Since your hands will be at your side rather than the front, hexagonal bars are great for shoulder shrugs.
These bars have the least amount of whip and zero spin. It should also feature prominent knurling so that you can get a good hold.
The best trap bars will have two heights for grip, one for deadlifts and the other for shoulder shrugs. You will also require weight lifting that can accommodate your heaviest lift.
The above barbell categories are specialists and they may not be suitable for everyone. If you want mid-range equipment, all-purpose barbells are your best bet. These barbells are a good investment for people who want to build their muscles and perfect their form.
Typically, all-purpose barbells have a tensile rating of around 175kpi, and a 28.5 mm diameter is a good option as well as it will allow a decent amount of flex, but not so much that inhibits your powerlifting exercise.
The knurling and spin on all-purpose barbells are of middling variety. Do not get all-purpose barbells with aggressive knurling as they are not the best for lifting heavyweights. Choose a barbell with middling knurling.
You can also get bushing for a spin and do not need bearings that provide the fractional differences.
How to Choose the Best Barbell for Your Home Gym
Today, there is an overwhelming amount of barbells you can buy. Due to the various specialization of weight training, each type of barbell can cost from less than $100 to over $1000.
A powerlifting barbell cannot offer the functions of an Olympic barbell and an Olympic barbell is unsuitable for only powerlifting. Therefore, we chose only those barbells which can be used for general training at home. Here are some of the things that we need to look for:
A good quality barbell does not have to cost you an arm and leg. There are plenty of barbells in the market that have solid construction which can offer you years of training without being overly pricey.
A barbell is intended to last you for several years so it is important that you get a barbell from a reliable and reputable manufacturer.
Tensile strength is one of the most important attributes of a barbell and is used to denote the strength and durability of the barbell. If you are a beginner lifter a tensile strength of 130,000psi may work well for you but for serious lifters, a tensile strength of at least 190,000psi is recommended.
Tensile strength determines how much weight your bar can withstand before it fractures or breaks. Below, we will show how much tensile strength is suitable for all levels of weight lifters.
130,000Ppsi and more: 130,000 psi may be decent for beginners but it is worth your while to make your initial investment is something that can last longer.
150,000 to 180,000psi: This tensile strength is adequate for regular athletes or people who do the moderately heavy lifting.
180,000+psi: This tensile strength is pretty high and is constructed for heavy-duty lifting. Barbells made from this quality of steel are expected to last for a very long time.
This attribute highlights the maximum weight that can be loaded onto a barbell before it bends or becomes deformed. The best barbells have a load capacity of 1,000 pounds and even more.
Many companies do not list the yield strength of their barbells and you may have seen some barbells in the gym that are bent out of sorts. This is what happens when yield strength fails and you place too much load on a bar.
Therefore, if you are not very knowledgeable about barbells, it is a good idea to buy one from a company that lists its yield strength or load capacity. Also, keep in mind that high tensile strength also correlates to high yield strength.
The whip involves how much the bar will flex and yield without bending out of shape. For people who are beginner weight lifters, the whip is not that big a concern since they deal with lighter weights.
However, for serious athletes who start to lift heavier weights and participate in competition, the whip is very important as it allows for easier lifting without having to strain their wrists and back.
Some companies who create bars for specialized purposes like squatting, deadlifting, and weightlifting may list how much whip their bar has. Below is a general list of how much whip athletes of different levels should consider:
Recreational or novice lifter: Standard whip is OK. Even a no whip is fine for lighter weights.
Weightlifter: A bar with some whip is needed for training.
Powerlifter: This depends on the rules of your federation. Deadlifters will require a bar with a lot of lift; however, power bars can be stiffer.
Barbells come with sleeves or bushing system that allows rotational movement to prevent wear of the bar and easy lifting. The spin should be consistent and should not stop abruptly but slowly and gently.
For home gyms, you can get a bushing system for rotation due to its lower cost and its use in exercises like the squat and bench where a lot of spin is not needed.
The knurling on a barbell is the rough texture that covers the sides and sometimes the center of the barbell. The purpose of knurling is to provide the athlete with a secure and stable grip.
Another important purpose of knurling is to provide the athlete with the proper positioning on the barbell. If you look at a barbell, you will find a ring or two that can be useful for finding the right hand and body positioning.
Knurling should be medium and not aggressive so that it hurts your palm. When the palm is chalked, a medium knurl is preferred. Center knurls are good for powerlifting but not for other exercises like front squats and power clean as they can scratch the chin or back of the neck.
Beginners: A standard knurl that is not too rough and rigid and is good for recreational athletes.
Intermediate/ Advanced: A moderate and more rigid knurling will benefit more advanced-level athletes. At this point, these athletes train in strength sports and they know what kind of support they will be getting with a bit more aggressive knurling.
Corrosion Resistant Coating
You want your barbell to last as long as possible which means you need to keep it free from rust. Here are some of the most common coatings according to their effectiveness:
Black oxide: The bar is immersed in chemicals and finished off with a coat of oil. This coating is adequate but it requires a bit of maintenance.
Chrome: A slightly better coating is chrome, though it can easily chip off from the impact of the load. It also has a slippery feel and can loosen your grip. However, it offers superb rust protection and no maintenance.
Black/ Bright Zinc: The bar is dipped in zinc which gives it a dull silver color. Zinc has excellent corrosion-resistant properties but the bar may lose its grip.
Manganese Phosphate: It has better corrosion resistance than black oxide and gives a smooth matte finish to the bar that improves grip. It also requires no maintenance.
Cerakote: This is a ceramic polymer coating that does not wear away. It also comes with a natural matte finish that helps with gripping the bar.
High-Quality Stainless Steel: The best barbells are made of Japanese and European steel. Superior stainless steel bars do not rust and require no coating.
Do I need an Olympic Barbell?
If you are a beginner strength trainer and just starting to build a gym in your home, a standard barbell can work well for you. It is cheaper than an Olympic barbell and will get the job done nicely.
However, once you have trained enough that you can transition to heavier weights, your standard bar will not be enough.
If you start to add more and more weights, the bar will bend or will run out of room for additional plates. Also, since standard bars are typically shorter than Olympic bars, they may not fit your squat rack.
Additionally, beginner trainers may not require spin on their bars. But as they start to lift heavier lift, they will need spin to take the stress off their wrist and back.
When these things start to happen, you need to invest in an Olympic bar.
However, keep in mind that Olympic bars have two-inch thick shafts which means your standard plates will no longer fit. This means you will need to replace all your weights and this can result in a sizeable expense for you.
Therefore, it is much better for you to buy an Olympic barbell from the very beginning so you do not run into these issues.
Why are some barbells curved?
EZ bars have a curved shape since they allow for a more stable and ergonomic grip. The curved bars allow you to place your hands in the most comfortable position and lift the bar easily without risking injury to your wrists,
Curved barbells are usually smaller in size and are easy to store; hence they can be a great option for your home gym.
How much does a barbell weigh?
Most barbells weigh 44 pounds. This is the standard weight for standard, Olympic, and powerlifting barbells. Of course, barbells can also be lighter as well as heavier. Heavier barbells are usually used in other heavy lifting niches like safety squat bars and deadlift bars.
What muscles does the barbell work?
The best benefit of using barbells is that you do not require multiple machines to target different areas of your body; you can activate all the muscle groups in your body with the help of a single barbell.
These include the chest, biceps, front shoulders, lats, cores, quads, glutes, and hamstrings.
Every one of us has different weight goals and exercise preferences and we can find the perfect barbell for ourselves. However, before you run to a store and spend hundreds of dollars buying a barbell, some research is advised.
We hope that this guide will give you some insight on what are some of the good barbells in the market and what things you need to consider when buying them.