The Best Barbells of 2021

The Best Barbells

If you’re setting up a home gym, buying a barbell is going to be one of your most vital purchases. It may not be the most expensive item you purchase, but it’s probably the one you’ll use more than any other. Unless you buy right, you’re likely to end up with less than optimal workouts. 

In this article, we reveal the 10 best barbells currently on the market. As well as the standard Olympic barbell, we’ll also feature the best EZ Curl barbell bars as well as unique barbell variations like the Trap Bar barbell. 

Quick Overview of The Top 3 Resistance Bands for Bodybuilders

Rogue Monster Band 

The best resistance band that we found was the Rogue Monster band, which provides the range of resistance to be used as a stand-alone exerciser and to be added to squats and bench presses. 

Vulcan Strength Band System

Made in the USA, these bands are extremely rugged and hard-wearing. The Vulcan range also impressed us, offering top-quality bands that range up to 200 pounds in equivalent weight.

Black Mountain Band Set

Our third favorite is the Black Mountain range of bands, which provide 5 stackable tubes, two handles, a door anchor, ankle strap, exercise chart, and carry case. Black Mountain also provides a lifetime guarantee.

The 10 Best Barbells Rated:

BarbellPriceFunctionalityOverall
Rogue Ohio Barbell Bar4.25/55/54.75/5
American Barbell Elite Bar4.25/54.75/54.5/5
Rep Fitness Excalibur Bar4.5/54.25/54.5/5
Cap Barbell Standard EZ Curl Bar4.75/54.5/54.25/5
Ivanko EZ Curl Bar4.5/54.5/54.5/5
Body-Solid EZ Curl Bar4.0/54.0/54.0/5
CAP Barbell Olympic Trap Bar4.75/54.0/54.0/5
Cap Barbell 7’ Olympic Barbell 4.0/54.0/54.0/5
Papababe Hex Bar4.0/54.25/54.0/5
Titan Fitness Regular Bar4.25/54.0/54.0/5

The 10 Best Barbell Reviews:

1. Rogue Fitness Ohio Barbell Bar

Rogue Ohio Barbell Bar

Pros:

  • High tensile steel
  • Twin knurlings
  • Range of finishes

Cons:

  • No center knurling which squatters may not like

Rogue is the acknowledged market leader when it comes to barbells for both home and gym use. The Rogue Ohio Bar is the best general use Olympic bar that they produce. It is manufactured from extremely high tensile strength of 190,000 pounds per square inch. The sleeves are 16 inches in length and the bar has a thickness of 28.5 mm. 

This bar comes with two knurling marks to allow you to get the right-hand placement. It doesn’t have any center knurling, which is a good thing if you’ve ever had the knurling catch on your t-shirt in the bottom of the bench press. 

Rogue allows you to select the type of finish that you prefer with this bar. You can choose between stainless steel, black oxide, black zinc, and cerakote. The cerakote bar comes in a range of 13 colors. 

Rogue sells this bar with a lifetime guarantee, which is about as good as it gets!

2. American Barbell Elite Bar

American Barbell Elite Bar

Pros:

  • Center Knurling
  • Holds up to 1000 lbs
  • Mild knurling
  • High-quality bushings

Cons:

  • Quite expensive

The American Barbell Elite Bar is able to handle a max resistance of 1,000 pounds, making it suitable for every training application. This bar features a slightly milder level of knurling than the Rogue Bar, making it easier on the grip. Unlike the Rogue Echo, this bar does feature center knurling, which many squatters prefer.

The 16-inch sleeves on this bar rotate on a pair of high-load composite bushings. Not only are these bushings extremely good at providing a quality revolution, but they are also very quiet. Overall this is a fantastic bar that will allow you to perform every barbell exercise that exists. However, this is a comparatively expensive bar. 

3. Rep Fitness Excalibur Bar

Rep Fitness Excalibur Bar

Pros:

  • 1500 max weight allowance
  • High quality steel alloy
  • Hard chrome coated finish

Cons:

  • Only a 5-year warranty

The Rep Fitness Excalibur Bar first hit the market in 2012. Recently a new version of the bar has been released which features more aggressive knurling and a slightly larger diameter of 28.5 mm. This is a popular bar among the CrossFit community that is also great for HIIT workouts. 

This bar is rated to a max weight of 1500 lbs and is made from a high-quality steel alloy. It is finished in a rust-proof hard chrome coating and features quality smooth bushing that allows the sleeves to spin effortlessly. You won’t have to contend with lateral movement of the plates when you load up this bar. 

The knurling on the Rep Fitness Excalibur is rated as medium to provide the balance between that used by powerlifters and general gym users. There is no center knurling on this bar, which is a bonus if you are doing exercises like cleans and don’t want to end up with scratches on your neck area. 

The warranty on the Rep Fitness Excalibur bar is 5 years, which seems pretty paltry compared to the lifetime coverage that Rogue provides on the Echo bar. 

4. CAP Barbell Standard 47 in. EZ Curl Bar

 CAP Barbell Standard 47 in. EZ Curl Bar

Pros:

  • Collars included
  • Less pronounced angling
  • Good price

Cons:

  • Collars take time to put on and off

The CAP Barbell standard EZ curl bar is framed from solid chrome steel. It has threaded chrome ends with EZ spin collars which come with the bar. It fits a one-inch standard barbell plate and is able to hold up to 200 pounds of plate weight. The weight of this EZ hammer curl bar is 13 pounds.

The curve on this CAP Barbell EZ curl bar is less pronounced than on most bars, allowing for reduced forearm and wrist strain and greater bicep involvement on each repetition. The CAP EZ curl bar on this french curl bar is comfortable to hold with knurling on curved handle portions for added comfort. This is a solid, functional arm curl bar that comes in at a very good price point.

5. Ivanko OBZ-30B Olympic EZ Curl Bar

Ivanko OBZ-30B Olympic EZ Curl Bar

Pros:

  • Commercial standard
  • Double knurling
  • Black oxide finish

Cons:

  • A little long in terms of standard EZ curl bars

The Ivanko OBZ-30B Olympic EZ curl bar is a commercial-grade Olympic bar that is ideal for home use. It has a 60-inch length with 38.5 inches between the Olympic collar sleeves. The bolt fastened sleeves are 9.5 inches long, providing plenty of room to load plates. Sleeves are easily spun to allow for hassle-free plate loading. Ivanko collars are sold separately.

The Ivanko OBZ-30B curl bar has knurling on both the close grip and the wide grand hand positions to ensure a secure grip. The black oxide finish gives this unit a stylish look. If you’re after a quality, stripped-down bar from a top name at a bargain-basement price, this Olympic super curl bar is the one for you.

6. Body-Solid 47-Inch EZ Curl Olympic Bar

Body-Solid 47-Inch EZ Curl Olympic Bar

Pros:

  • Effective groove angling
  • Easy rotating sleeves
  • Chrome finished

Cons:

  • No collars included

The Body-Solid 47 inch EZ curl bar is 47 inches long and finished in chrome. This Olympic-style unit weighs 18 pounds, with 31.75 inches of length between the sleeves. Sleeves rotate to allow for easy placement of the weight plates. Collars are not included in your purchase. The dual grips on this Body-Solid EZ curl bar are biomechanically designed to reduce wrist and forearm pain when performing bicep and forearm exercises.

The inner angled grips on this adjustable curl bar are designed to target the inner head of the biceps, while the outer grip hits the outer head. As a result, this EZ curl has sharper angles than you will find on many other products on the market.

7. Cap Barbell Olympic Trap Bar

Cap Barbell Olympic Trap Bar

Pros:

  • Well priced
  • 25-inch distance inside the frame
  • 9-inch sleeves
  • Mild knurling

Cons:

  • According to some reviewers, sanding of the sleeves is required for the weight to fit securely

The Cap Barbell Olympic Trap Bar is the best priced high-quality trap bar you are likely to find to perform the trap bar deadlift. The space inside the bar is 25 inches in length. This will be plenty for most users but behemoths who weigh in at more than 250 lbs will struggle to fit into the bar (if that sounds like you, check out the Papababe trap bar below). You also get the choice of a straight or angled handle. This bar also features medium-level knurling to secure your grip without digging into your hands. 

The Cap Barbell Olympic Trap Bar has 9-inch sleeves to give you plenty of room to fit the weights on the bar. It is zinc coated for a stylish, rust-resistant finish. 

8. Cap Barbell 7’ Olympic Barbell

Cap 7’ Olympic Barbell

Pros:

  • 110,000 Psi tensile steel
  • Finished in black phosphate
  • 7 bar variations
  • Affordable

Cons:

  • Warranty limited to 5 years

CAP Barbell has forged a reputation for supplying top-quality gym hardware at budget prices. Their 7-foot Olympic bar is a top seller, and for good reason. It is constructed from 110, 000 Psi tensile strength Japanese cold-rolled steel and is finished in back phosphate. 

CAP offers 5 versions of the 7’ Olympic bar, each with a slightly different focus. They are the Beast, Boss, Rebel, Master, and Warrior. Each of these bars features a 15-inch rotating sleeve with high spec bushings to provide a smooth spin. There is no center knurl on the CAP bar.

CAP offers a 5-year warranty on their 7’ Olympic Bar. 

9. Papababe Hex Bar

Papababe Hex Bar

Pros:

  • Wide internal distance for bigger users
  • Mak load = 1000 lbs
  • Black powder coated
  • Flat and raised handles

Cons:

  • Handle width may be too wide for shorter people

The Papababe Hex Bar is the best trap bar for tall people. It has a larger than normal internal area of 33” x 24 inches. That makes this trap bar ideal for bigger people. The max weight that can be loaded on this bar is 1000 pounds, which is going to be plenty for all but world-level powerlifters. This stainless steel bar is black powder-coated to provide an attractive, rust-resistant finish.

The Papababe Hex Bar provides you with both flat and raised handles

10. Titan Fitness Regular Bar

Titan Fitness Regular Bar

Pros:

  • Medium priced bar
  • Chrome finish
  • Center knurling
  • Max capacity = 1000 lbs

Cons:

  • Weights may move around unless securely collared

The Titan Fitness Regular Olympic bar is a medium-priced bar that features a good spin on the sleeves and is finished in chrome. There is a distinctive red Titan Fitness logo on the shelves which adds a bit of style. The bar features center knurling, with all areas of knurling being medium thickness. The maximum capacity of the bar is 1000 pounds. 

The sleeves on this bar are very smooth. That means that the weights are likely to move around unless they are secured with quality collars. 

Check Price

Barbell Buyer’s Guide

Here’s what to look out for when shopping for a barbell for your home gym:

Barbell Type

If you are going to buy just one barbell, you need to decide which type will best suit your training goals. The standard barbell is the best all-purpose bar, It is 6 feet long and one foot in diameter. It weighs in at 33 lbs (15kg). The sleeves at the end of the bar do not rotate. This is not a very good bar to buy, even if it is cheap. If you put more than 300 lbs on the bar, it will probably bend. They also do not fit properly on a squat rack. Because the sleeves don’t rotate, you will have to endure torque while lifting. 

An Olympic barbell is 7 feet long and has a 2-inch rotating sleeve. They have a mild level of knurling for a comfortable;e secure grip, a smooth middle, a thin flexible shaft, and high-end bearings. 

A power barbell is 7.2 feet in length and has 2-inch rotating sleeves just like an Olympic bar. However, the knurling is more aggressive, along with bench press marks, center knurling, and a thicker shaft. 

A Squat Bar looks very much like a standard Olympic bar but features a thicker shaft. It is also heavy at 55 lbs (compared with 44 lbs). They are designed for people who squat with heavy poundages. Squat bars also have extra center knurling.

A deadlift bar is designed to flex under heavy poundage, which is the opposite of what you want with a squat bar. They are designed to help you to pull the maximum possible weight off the floor for a single rep. As a result, they are really only for powerlifters. 

You can also get EZ curls bars, such as those reviewed above. These are great for isolation arm and shoulder exercises like barbell curls and skull crushers. 

Sleeves

The sleeves are the end part of the barbell where you load the weights. On Olympic bars, the sleeves are 2 inches in diameter to fit Olympic plates. The sleeves on your Olympic bar should spin freely so that the weights are able to rotate when you move the bar. As a result, the amount of torque will be reduced to make it easier for you to get a stronger and more secure grip. 

Tensile and Yield Strength

The tensile strength of the barbell refers to the amount of weight that can be loaded onto the bar before it breaks or fractures. It is measured in pounds per square inch or psi. The higher the tensile strength of the bar, the better overall quality it has. To test the tensile strength of a bar, manufacturers press down on the center of the bar with a piston. 

If you are a beginner weightlifter, you can go with a psi of around 150,000. Most experienced lifters will be good with a psi of between 150,000 and 180,000. The best quality barbells have a psi of over 180,000. 

Yield strength is slightly different from tensile strength. It refers to the amount of weight that can be loaded on the bar before it bends. The higher the yield strength, obviously, the better. Unfortunately, many barbell manufacturers do not list their yield strength. 

Knurling

The knurling is the beveled part of the bar that is finished in either horizontal, vertical, or criss-cross fashion. Olympic bars will either position the knurling on the sides of the bar or in the center or both. A stronger knurling will provide a better grip, while a softer grip will allow the hand to move on the bar. This may sound like a bad thing but some Olympic lifts actually require the athlete to slide their hands along the bar. 

If you are a beginner weightlifter, you will be better off with a softer level of knurling as this will be easier on your palms. 

Whip

The whip of an Olympic bar is the amount of flex that the bar undergoes without actually changing the shape of the bar. There may be occasions where you drop the bar to the floor from a height, requiring a good deal of whip to prevent damage to the bar. However, this is really only an issue for top-level athletes who are using a lot of weight and performing Olympic lifts. For the everyday gym user, the whip is not a problem that you need to concern yourself with. 

Type of Steel

There are a number of different types of steel that can be used in the manufacture of an Olympic barbell. The most common options are:

  • Molybdenum-alloyed steel
  • Cold worked austenitic stainless steels
  • Martensitic stainless steels

Length

Barbells come in a range of sizes. Men should always go for a 7-foot long Olympic bar as this will provide a sufficient length to perform every exercise effectively. For women, an effective length is 6.5 feet. However, women will be able to use a 7-foot bar without too many problems. If you are buying an Olympic barbell for youth, it should be 5.5 feet in length. 

Finish

Olympic bars may be finished, in order of quality, in bare steel, chrome, black oxide, stainless steel, or cerakote. The better the quality of the finish, the more rust-resistant the bar will be – and the more money you will pay. 

Warranty

When you buy a barbell you expect it to last for decades. Some manufacturers, such as Rogue, provide you with a lifetime warranty but that is not standard. You should expect to get around 10 years. 

Keep in mind that if you leave the bar out in the elements or keep it fully loaded on a rack for an extended period of time, you will usually void the warranty. Of course, if you buy a second-hand bar, it will not come with any warranty cover at all. 

Barbell Only Workout Program

If the only thing you’ve got in your home gym is a barbell and a bench, you can still get in an effective workout. Here is a full-body barbell workout you can do 3X per week:

  • Squat – 5 x 15/12/10/8/6
  • Lunges – 3 x 12 (each leg)
  • Bench Press – 5 x 15/12/10/8/6
  • Deadlift – 5 x 15/12/10/8/6
  • Military Press – 3 x 12/10/8
  • Barbell Curl – 3 x 10/8/6
  • Barbell Skull Crusher – 3 x 18/8/6

Conclusion

The barbell is the center of your training world. Taking the time to make sure that you get the highest quality bar will pay off big time when it comes to getting in a quality, reliable workout week after week. Use the guide provided here to help you make the smartest decision.If you’re after the best all-around multi-purpose Olympic bar, you can’t do any better than the Rogue Ohio Bar.

The best Trap Bar on the market right now is the Cap Barbell Olympic Barbell and for the best EZ curl bar, we recommend going with the CAP Barbell Standard 47 in. EZ Curl Bar.

This article was last updated on November 30, 2021 .

By Steve Theunissen

Steve is a former gym owner, personal trainer, and 20-year veteran of the fitness writing industry. Steve has written for websites such as Hardcore Muscle, Fitness, Carblite, and Men's Health and has been a fitness expert columnist for 2 international magazines.