9 Best Barbells: Powerlifting, Olympic, and Womens

John Broadway

Meet the expert

John is an experienced health and wellness professional with a history of working in corporate wellness, clinical research, fitness equipment, and non-profit organizations.

Buying a high quality barbell will allow you to do a numerous amount of exercises with great resistance while keeping you safe. In this guide below I’ll show you what to look for when buying a barbell, what to avoid, and the best barbells (in terms of quality and value) to buy.

Barbell Buying Guide

Before we get into the guide, I want to stress that importance of buying a high quality barbell. Barbells do break more often than you think and you’d hate to be lifting and the barbell harm you or someone else around you because it was an inexpensive bar.

A low price with a barbell will not equal a high quality barbell. The functionality of a barbell is to lift heavy weights and stay put together during the heavy lifting.

Most objects that are durable and able to withstand heavy weight are not low price.

Price

There are two factors that come into play with the price of barbells. One is the quality of the metal that the bar is made of and the other is the weights that go with the barbell.

The higher quality of metal the bar is made with the higher the price will be. This will be discussed in more detail in the bar strength section but if you’re wanting to body build or lift heavy weights get the highest quality of bar you can buy.

If you don’t, you will damage the cheaper quality bar and have to pay more for another bar or a higher quality bar.

The weights used for barbell lifting vary in design, functionality, and price. If you’re looking to do bench press, deadlifts, and squat exercises, stick with the traditional weights because they will be cheaper.

If you plan to do cleans, buy the rubber weights even though they are more expensive. Yes, I know they bounce and cost more than traditional weights but it will keep you from damaging your floor.

Bar Strength

Bar strength is a combination of tensile strength and yield strength.

Tensile strength is the amount of weight in pounds per square inch (PSI) that is needed to break the shaft in two.

The higher the number in PSI, the better quality of steel used to make the bar and vice versa. The tensile strength is tested by pulling on both ends of the bar until the bar breaks.

Yield strength is the amount weight that will cause the bar to become deformed. This strength is tested by adding the weight in the center of the bar until it deforms.

Yield strength is usually not included in the product description but we can assume that a higher tensile strength equals a higher yield strength but that is not always the case.

To make sure you don’t buy a high tensile strength bar with a low yield strength, compare to other bars and look at customer reviews. If the bar is at $200 and is claiming it holds a PSI of multiple bars that are listed at $500, don’t risk it.

Diameter

Diameters of bars vary mostly between 28mm and 29mm. The reason for the difference in diameter is for whip and the ability to hold heavier loads.

Whip is the elastic energy of the bar that helps a lifter use the momentum of the weight to finish the lift more efficiently.

Smaller diameter bars will have more whip than larger diameter bars. Small diameter bars are used for compound lifts like power clean and clean and jerk.

A great example of this is during a clean and jerk lift. During the start of the clean portion the lifter lifts the bar up in the middle while the weights stay on the floor creating a slight bend.

You may or may not see the bar bend due to the quickness of the clean lift. When the lifter reaches the top part of the clean the bar is pushing the weight up to straighten and correct the slight bend. Experienced lifters use this to their advantage by using the momentum of the whip to press the bar up.

Larger diameter bars are used for the 3 major lifts: Bench Press, Deadlift, and Squat. Bars will need to have a larger diameter to keep the bar from deforming during a heavy lift.

Corrosion

Most barbells will begin to rust at some point. When buying a barbell it’s important to know which barbell is more susceptible to rust over others.

Rust can weaken the bar, cause it to look horrible, and who wants rust on their hands when lifting. Below are the bars that are durable and the bars that will need maintenance to keep rust free.

Durable metals:

  • Chrome
  • Stainless Steel
  • Zinc

Needs regular maintenance:

  • Oxide
  • Bare Steel

Maintenance will include using a mild detergent to clean off the bar and then applying 3 in 1 oil to the bar. Do not use WD-40 or any other type of lubricant spray, always use 3 in 1 oil.

Best Barbells by Category

1. Powerlifting: Rogue Ohio Power Bar

Rogue 45LB Ohio Power Bar - Black Zinc | Rogue Fitness

Click here for more information on Rogue Ohio Power Bar

The Rogue brand is known for their ability to make high quality weight lifting bars. The Rogue Ohio Power Bar is the gold standard of powerlifting bars. This is bar that most use during weight lifting meets because of its features.

This bar can come in 20kg or 40kg weight sizes. It has no whip movement, making it perfect for the big 3 lifts of bench press, deadlifts, and squats. The tensile strength of this bar is around 200k PSI making it a quality barbell purchase.

Pros

  • No whip

Cons

  • Could be have higher tensile strength

Who it’s good for

  • Those that focus on bench press, deadlifts, and squats

Who it’s not good for

  • Those that do crossfit and cleans

2. Powerlifting: REP Deep Knurl Power Bar EX

REP Deep Knurl Power Bar EX

For more information on REP Deep Knurl Power Bar click here

You’re not going to find a better durable bar than the REP Deep Knurl Power Bar. This bar was made to powerlift with its design and make up.

Being made out of all stainless steel, this bar will prevent the corrosion process better than any other bar on the market. Not only is this bar durable, but its strong with a tensile strength around 200k PSI. The last and best feature on this power bar, is the deep knurling grip that allows for the lifter to feel in control during those heavy lifts.

Pros

  • Deep knurling grip
  • Made out of stainless steel

Cons

  • Above average tensile strength
  • Product doesn’t mention whip, which means there might be whip with the bar

Who it’s good for

  • Those that want a long term quality barbell
  • Those that are only doing the three major lifts

Who it’s not good for

  • Beginning exercisers

3. Powerlifting: Kabuki Strength Duffalo Bar

The Duffalo Bar - The Original Specialty Cambered Bar– Kabuki Strength

Click here for more information on the Kabuki Strength Duffalo Bar

Rogue fitness makes another entry on the powerlifting bar list with this innovative bar. This bar is made differently than most bars because of the slight curve. This curve allows for users to rest the bar more comfortably on their back during squats and can help those that have a limited range of motion during deadlifts.

This bar in my opinion, is perfect for those that are just starting powerlifting or those that have limitations when powerlifting. The bar weighs at 55 lbs, making it heavier than most standard bars. The tensile strength of the bar is at 195k, making it a great in between powerlifting bar but not a bar to max out completely.

Pros

  • Slight curve helps those learning form or those that have limitations
  • Comes in three different metal options of zinc, oxide, and nickel

Cons

  • Less tensile strength than most powerlifting bars
  • No mention of whip in the description

Who it’s good for

  • Those with limited range of motion and beginners to powerlifting

Who it’s not good for

  • Experienced powerlifters

4. Olympic: Rogue Olympic WL Bar

Rogue Olympic Weightlifting Bar - Bright Zinc | Rogue Fitness

For more information on the Rogue Olympic WL Bar click here

The Rogue Olympic WL Bar is the best olympic weight lifting bar that you are going to find. This competition verified bar is the strongest bar on this list and has a great whip for cleans and snatches.

With a diameter of 28mm and smooth bearings, this bar will be able to create a quick rotation and provide optimal whip during lifts. This bar is also recommended by weight lifting organization for weight lifting competition for men’s and women’s bars. With a tensile strength of 215k, this bar is durable and strong.

Pros

  • 28mm diameter leads to better whip
  • Tensile strength of 215k

Cons

  • More expensive than normal barbell

Who it’s good for

  • Athletes looking for a high quality bar to use for cleans and snatches

Who it’s not good for

  • Beginner lifters that are focusing on lighter weights and learning form.
  • Lifters that have a tight budget

5. Olympic: Rogue Bar 2.0

The Rogue Bar 2.0 | Rogue Fitness

Click here for more information about the Rogue Bar 2.0

Designed originally to be an all-purpose barbell for both powerlifting and olympic lifting, the Rogue Bar 2.0 has become overtime the most popular barbell to use for olympic lifts.

The main difference between this barbell and most other olympic barbells is the larger diameter at 29mm. This allows for the barbell to be used as an all around barbell with lesser whip due to the larger diameter. With a tensile strength of 195k this barbell is solid for the olympic lifts.

The biggest downside to this barbell is that the bar is made of raw steel. You will need to use 3 in 1 oil on a regular basis to keep this bar from rusting.

Pros

  • All around bar for olympic lifting and powerlifting

Cons

  • Larger diameter leads to less whip during lifts
  • Made of raw steel which means it will need to be regularly maintained to keep it from rusting

Who it’s good for

  • Those that want to do power lifts and olympic lifts

Who it’s not good for

  • Those that don’t want to deal with the upkeep
  • Those that are looking for a bar that has good whip

6. Olympic: Xmark Voodoo 7′ Olympic Bar

VOODOO Commercial 7' Olympic Bar - XMark Fitness

For more information on the Xmark Voodoo 7′ Olympic Bar click here

Coming in at 3rd on our list of olympic bars is the Xmark Voodoo. This bar is the best quality you can get for the price.

This bar is usually around $200 and is a great all around bar. Made out of Black Manganese Phosphate, this bar is going to give you better protection against corrosion compared to other types of metal finishes like Black Oxide and Zinc Phosphate.

If you plan on buying this bar, you have to go into it knowing that this isn’t going to be a Rogue bar, but that doesn’t mean it won’t get the job done for olympic lifts and power lifts.

With a tensile strength of 185k, this is not the bar for experienced lifters that want to lift max weight. Instead this is a great bar for those that are beginning lifts and trying to perfect form.

Pros

  • Great price for quality
  • Black Manganese Phosphate finish to protect against corrosion

Cons

  • 185k tensile strength

Who it’s good for

  • Beginners that want to buy a quality barbell to start off with

Who it’s not good for

  • Experienced lifters that want to lift heavy

7. For women: Fringe Sport Women’s Wonder Barbell

15 kg Women's Wonder Bar Olympic Barbell

Click here for more information on the Fringe Sport Women’s Barbell

At our number 1 spot for Barbells for Women, is the Fringe Sport Women’s Wonder Bar Olympic Barbell.

This barbell is a great all-around barbell that has great potential for durability and versatility. For the durability and versatility, it is set at a great price.

Although this bar has a low tensile strength of 160k, it actually includes the yield strength which is up to 199k and test up to 1k lbs of weight before bending the bar. Even if it does bend or break, the bar comes with a 1 year warranty from the manufacturer.

Pros

  • Yield strength of 199k and test strength of 1,000 lbs make this a strong durable bar
  • 1 year warranty

Cons

  • Tensile strength of 160k

Who it’s good for

  • Women that want a great quality bar to lift
  • Great for beginner lifters

Who it’s not good for

  • Those that want a long term quality bar, usually a 1 year warranty means the bar will break after a year of use
  • Women that want to lift in competitions and need a stronger bar

8. For women: Rogue Bella Bar 2.0

The Bella Bar 2.0 - Black Zinc | Rogue Fitness

Click here for more information on Rogue Bella Bar 2.0

At number 2 on our list, is The Bella Bar 2.0 made by Rogue. This is Rogue’s barbell for woman competition lifters.

Made at a weight of 15kg this bar is used for Olympic weightlifting, powerlifting, and crossfit lifter.

This bar is so popular it is used a the women’s crossfit competitions, including the crossfit games. With a 25mm diameter, this bar has the best whip of any bar on this list.

Even though it has a smaller diameter than most bars, this barbell is very strong with a tensile strength of 190k. Made out of steel, this bar feels very natural for the user during lifts.

Pros

  • 25mm diameter helps create more whip during lifts
  • Tensile strength of 190k
  • Lightweight bar at 15kg

Cons

  • Steel will rust easier than most metal finishes

Who it’s good for

  • Lifters in competition

Who it’s not good for

  • Beginner weight lifters due to the higher cost of the bar

9. For women: Bomba’s Womens Barbell

Bomba Bar V2 15 kg Women's Barbell for Weightlifting

Click here for more information on Bomba’s Womens Barbell

The last entry on our last is the Bomba’s Womens Barbell. Coming in at a tensile strength of 206k, the Bomba barbell is the strongest tensile strength women’s barbell on our list.

Made out of black zinc, this bar is made to keep rust off while you’re focusing on gains. The whip and spin of this bar are top notch and make for an easy and safe workout.

The best reason to buy this bar is the lifetime warranty, which is unheard of with most workout equipment. Even if the bar does bend or break, you can lift peacefully knowing that Bomba is going to replace the bar if something happens.

Pros

  • 206k tensile strength bar
  • Made of Black Zinc
  • Lifetime warranty

Cons

  • No mention of diameter in the product description makes it hard to claim if it is a great whip bar

Who it’s good for

  • Women that are looking to lift heavy weight
  • Those that plan on lifting for a long time and need a durable bar that can be replaced later down the road

Who it’s not good for

  • Beginners that are just starting off lifting

Related

Frequently asked questions

What size barbell should I buy?

Most barbells come with 7 feet of length and either a 28mm or 29mm diameter bar. To fit into most bar racks, you will need to have a bar that is at least 7 feet in length.

If you are exercising outside of a rack with deadlifts, cleans, and snatches, you will be able to use a 6 foot bar. Shorter athletes have been known to use 6 foot bars because they are easier to control for their size.

With diameter, it really depends on what you will be doing with the barbell. A lower diameter bar will lead to more whip during a lift because the bar will be easier to bend and whip back into shape with a smaller diameter. A larger diameter bar will have less whip due to the thickness of the bar.

Use smaller diameter bars for explosive lifts and larger diameter bars for non-explosive lifts.

What is the difference between standard and olympic barbells?

Standard barbells are made for non-explosive lifts such as bench press, deadlifts, military lifts, and squats. Standard barbells are made to hold heavier weight than olympic barbells. These types of barbells are made with a larger diameter to prevent whip and spin on the bar.

Olympic barbells are made for explosive lifts such as cleans and snatchs. These bars are made with a smaller diameter and functionality to create whip to make moving, catching, and lifting easier by using the momentum of the barbell and the weights on the barbell.

Summary

In summary, barbells can come in many different forms, sizes, and strengths. The main key is to find a barbell that will meet your goals and be able to hold up over time.

Please remember to take into consideration that cheap barbells will break and bend, which can lead to serious injury.

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