If you’ve been looking for the best multipurpose barbell for your home gym, the Rogue Bar 2.0 is your best option. Its aggressive knurls combined with its premium craftsmanship make it hard to beat.
- Rogue’s wide range of barbell types has allowed them to populate the market with some of the best barbells for various uses such as Weightlifting, Deadlift, and Squat Barbells.
- Aggressive knurls are not suitable for beginners; if that’s the case then you’re looking for soft to medium knurls on your bars. Your best options would be the Rogue Bella Barbell or the American Barbell California.
- Before you buy your first—or next, barbell, make sure you consider the type of barbell as well as the kind of exercises you want to focus on with your new equipment.
The Rogue Bar 2.0
Rogue Olympic WL Barbell
Force USA WALKTHROUGH
REP Stainless Steel Gladiator
Rogue Deadlift Ohio
American Barbell California
Titan Fitness Atlas Bar
10 Best Barbell for Home Gym (Guide 2020)
Did you know that there are 16 types of barbells in the market? Does that mean you’re supposed to buy all of them for your home gym?
Of course not! Weeks ago, I was talking with a client of mine who was trying to build a makeshift home gym for himself. He was at a loss at which type of barbell to get, so I helped him out. Since barbells are more of a personal choice, I decided to list down some of my favorites to help you choose the best barbell for you. A great powerlifting bar will be stiff and accommodating for maximal loads in the squat, bench press, and deadlift. It will also possess dimensions required for competition.
1. The Rogue Bar 2.0 - Best All-Purpose Barbell
The Rogue Bar 2.0 is a multipurpose barbell precisely engineered in the USA. Its multi-knurl design allows you to use it primarily as an Olympic barbell. However, it also has applications in powerlifting and CrossFit exercises. It’s well-priced at under $300 and is ideal for both beginners and intermediate trainers alike.
Here are its best qualities:
F-8R Durability – this bar is rated F-8R which is Rogue’s highest durability rating to date. This means you’re getting a reliably strong piece of gym equipment without having to worry about issues like bending or warping over time.
190,000 PSI Tensile Strength – aside from its durability, the Rogue Bar 2.0 is rated for 190K PSI which is well above the industry minimum and is admittedly very sturdy especially when you consider the price.
- It is covered by a lifetime warranty
- It has somewhat passive knurling which makes it ideal for executing CrossFit exercises
- It is high in value and costs a little under $300
- The equipment utilizes composite bushings that are aircraft-grade which means they’re meant to last a very long time
- It features dual knurling which makes it easy to switch between Olympic and powerlifting use
- It is only available in one coating option—Black zinc
- Some more aggressive users may find that the knurling isn’t aggressive enough and will require you to chalk up prior to use
Summary: The Rogue 2.0 Bar is a high-value purchase for a reasonable price. Valued for under $300, its 190,000 PSI and F-8R rating makes it more durable than most mainstream barbells within the same price range. It’s an ideal purchase for you if you want an inexpensive barbell that won’t limit you to only a handful of exercise applications.
2. Rogue Olympic WL Bar - Best Weightlifting Barbell
The Rogue Oly Weightlifting model weighs only 20 kgs and features a 28mm diameter that makes it ideal for weightlifting. It is IWF certified, which means it’s officially recognized as a weightlifting competition equipment. This makes it ideal for both casual home use and training for professional competitions.
Here’s why you’ll like it:
215,000 PSI Tensile Strength – this WL barbell is rated for 215k PSI which is well above the standard. That means it won’t budge and is likely to outlast you and your most demanding weight lifting sessions.
EU Steel – the Rogue Oly 20kg is made of the highest grade EU steel. This premium EU steel gives off an optimal whip that is just the right amount of stability and whilpiness combined to help you perform snatches and cleans seamlessly.
- Certified by the IWF
- Weighs only 20kgs
- Is rated for 215,000 PSI tensile strength
- Made of premium grade EU steel
- Utilizes a needle bearing system
- The chrome finish will wear off over time
- It is quite expensive at over $500
Summary: The Rogue WL is an ideal choice for you if you’re looking for a top of the line Olympic bar. Its EU steel shaft combined with 215k PSI tensile strength makes it one of the most durable—yet expensive, barbells in the market. However, its needle bearing system and premium craftsmanship mean it’s well worth its nearly $550 price.
3. Fringe Sport - Top All-Around Hybrid Barbell
The Fringe Sport Barbell is among one of the highest-rated hybrid barbells in the market for tensile and yield strength.
While it features a standard 28.5mm diameter and moderate whip-like most multipurpose bars, it also sports top of the line qualities for a little under $400.
Here are its best qualities:
Needle Bearing System – unlike other pieces of equipment within the same price range, the Fringe Sport boasts four needle bearings in its sleeve that supports its rotational mechanism. This allows for smoother, quieter, and better spins with every lift,
High Yield and Tensile Strength – most mid-range multipurpose barbell models like this stick to around 190k PSI. This barbell on the other hand, boasts a 216,000 PSI tensile strength and 206,000 yield rating.
- It has a center knurl feature
- It utilizes a needle bearing system
- Its matte chrome finish offers better grip and oxidation protection
- The barbell is well-priced at under $400
- The knurl is reasonable grippy, but not too aggressive
- It ships for free
- It’s under $100 more expensive than multipurpose bars in the same category because of the bearing system
Summary: If you’re looking for a top of the multipurpose line equipment for under $400, then the Fringe Sport Hybrid Barbell is a good choice. It features a few key upgrades you won’t find in other multi bars like the center knurling, needle bearing rotation, and above average tensile and yield strength rating which guarantees that it will last you a very long time.
4. Force USA WALKTHROUGH - Best Trap Bar
Force USA is a well-known brand in and of itself for its innovative designs that merge effective workouts with comfort and convenience.
Their Walkthrough Trap Bar is no different. It features a unique design that allows you to perform a wide range of exercises like lunges and carries without hindering your lift capability.
Here’s why I recommend it:
Innovative Walkthrough Design – unlike traditional hex bars, the Walkthrough features an open-back design that lets you—well, walkthrough and into the middle of the bar. This design not only makes it more convenient to use your equipment, but it also allows for more exercise variety.
Ergonomic Handles – you’ll find two, precisely placed handles on the Force USA trap bar which feature a medium knurl, and optimized angle to help you remain comfortable and feel your best while you work out.
- It features an in-built barbell jack that helps you load your weights more easily
- Its knurling provides enough grip without any discomfort
- Its walkthrough design lets you perform a variety of other exercises you wouldn’t be able to on traditional hex bars
- It’s reasonably priced, and costs under $400
- The knurls may be too mild if you’re used to aggressive grips
- The handles seem to be made of a coated plastic material
Summary: The Walkthrough Barbell by Force USA is an ideal investment if you want the best entry-level trap bar that allows you to perform more than just your traditional hex bar exercises. It’s well-priced at under $400. However, its plastic handles should have been made of steel instead.
5. REP Stainless Steel Gladiator WL Barbell - Best Stainless Steel Barbell
The REP SS Gladiator Weightlifting Barbell features a bare stainless steel finish that is rust-resistant and requires less maintenance while keeping the feel of an authentic bare steel bar old-timers and serious lifters seem to adore. Aesthetics aside, it’s also rated for 1,500 lbs and boasts a lifetime warranty guarantee.
Here are its best features:
Smooth Rotating Mechanism – each sleeve packs five needle bearings that offer a smooth and quiet spin each time you lift your weights.
Ribbed Sleeves – the ideally designed ribbed sleeves prevent slippage when lifting. This means you don’t have to worry about your weights sliding off when things are getting a bit intense.
- It is rated for 1,500 lbs of weight
- Rated for 205,000 PSI tensile strength
- It is covered by a lifetime warranty
- Its stainless steel finish gives you a better grip experience without the need for additional maintenance
- The knurl is the only medium; it may not be aggressive enough for some
Summary: At under $400 plus needle bearings and a beautiful stainless steel finish, it’s easy to see why many lifters recommend the REP stainless steel gladiator. Although not authentic bare steel, it still gives off that bare steel feel for a cheaper price and is ideal if you don’t want to spend hours maintaining your bar to keep it from rusting.
6. Rogue Deadlift Ohio - Top Barbell for Deadlifts
The Rogue Ohio Deadlift Bar is one of the most popular deadlift bars in the market today. Its raw steel finish costs a little over $310 which makes it both cost-effective and durable with the best knurl possible. However, if you aren’t a fan of bare steel, there are also other finishing options.
Here’s why you’ll like it:
Optimal Gripy Volcano Knurls – the smaller diameter of the barbell lends to the sharper and grippier feel of the knurls on Ohio. This allows for better grip, without sacrificing the comfortable grip on Rogue’s Power bar.
Snap Ring Sleeves – this bar features snap ring sleeves that allow you to load weights more efficiently and accurately. The rings lock onto grooves that keep your weights in place without the need for additional security methods.
- Aggressive grippy volcano knurls
- Raw steel finish option for under $400
- High whip capacity
- 190,000 PSI tensile strength rating
- It is also available in a zinc finish
- Utilizes oil-impregnated bronze bushings
- The raw steel finish requires consistent maintenance to avoid rusting
Summary: There is a reason the Rogue Ohio Deadlift Bar nearly sold out the minute it was released. Its optimally aggressive knurls combined with the high-tensile strength steel and optimal whip allow you to perform deadlifts with less effort. It’s well-priced at under $400 and will last you considerable time when taken care of properly.
7. American Barbell California - Best for Functional Fitness
The American California Barbell was designed specifically for functional fitness athletes. This means it boasts the qualities of a standard weightlifting bar while maintaining enough versatility so that it will last longer in your use even if you use it for a variety of other exercises recommended by the company themselves.
Precision- Engineered Sleeves – the sleeves of the bar are engineered with precision using machines and are coated in hard chrome. This hard chrome coating protects your bar against intentional impact. Its aircraft-grade bushings are also designed to outlast your heavy workouts while maintaining a smooth rotation.
IWF Certified – the American Barbell is certified to follow IWF specifications. This means you’re able to train at home with a competition-approved piece of equipment that is both versatile and functional.
- Covered by a limited lifetime warranty
- Follows a standard weightlifting bar size but is also ideal for other programs and exercises
- It’s affordable and costs just a little over $300
- It is rated for 190,000 PSI tensile strength
- The sleeves make a distinct zipping noise when you load weights
Summary: If you’re looking for a functional barbell that complies with IWF specifications, then the American California Barbell is ideal for you.
It’s rated for 190k tensile strength, which is a little above average, plus it features a Cerakote finish that is both durable and aesthetically-pleasing all while costing just a little over $300.
8. Rogue Ohio - Top Barbell for Squats
The Rogue Ohio Power Bar features a 29mm diameter shaft that lends to its rigidity. It also features an optimal center knurl that is neither too aggressive, nor is it too smooth making it ideal for lining up during squat exercises.
Here are its top qualities:
High Rigidity – The Rogue Ohio Power Bar is designed to have a very little whip to it which is not needed for performing bench presses and squats. This is partly because of the 29 mm shaft diameter and 205K tensile strength rating.
Aggressive Knurls – the grippy volcano powerlift knurling on this bar makes it ideal for heavy lifters and deadlifting. Despite the smoothness of the center knurl, the main knurls are optimally grippy without digging into your hands.
- It has little to no whip
- The center knurl makes it easy to center the bar without hurting yourself
- It’s rated for 205,000 PSI tensile strength
- It has an F8-R rating, which is the highest rating Rogue has
- There are three finishes to choose from—stainless steel, black zinc, and bare steel
- It is not designed to hold up against constant overhead dropping
Summary: The Rogue Ohio Power bar is an ideal choice for you if you tend to favor squats, bench presses, and deadlifts over any other type of exercise. It boasts little to no whip which is ideal for squats and bench presses where you don’t really need flexibility in your bar and it costs just a little under $400. However, if you’re planning on consistently dropping it from overhead, it may not last you a very long time.
9. Titan Fitness Atlas Bar - Good Budget Powerlifting Barbell
The Atlas Bar is one of the most affordable pieces of equipment on this list. Priced at under $250, this bar is ideal for beginners and low-budget weight lifters who want a sturdy bar without too many unnecessary features that drive up its price.
Take a look at why we like it:
High Tensile Strength Rating – this bar is rated for 220,000 PSI tensile strength. The company attributes this to the chrome and stainless steel combination of the bar.
PROLOC Collars – the bar utilizes a unique PROLOC collar feature that keeps your Olympic bumper plates in place with little to no difficulty. All you need to do is lock the screw top, and your plates are secured.
- It’s affordable and well-priced at under $250
- It is rated for 220K PSI tensile strength
- It’s individually tested to guarantee optimal whip
- The knurls are only moderate which might be a problem if you want an aggressive grip
Summary: If you’re looking for an affordable starter weight lifting barbell, the Titan Fitness Atlas Bar is a good choice. Its moderate knurls make it ideal for newbies paired with the affordable less than $250 price tag, making it both cost-effective and functional for those just starting out.
10. Rogue BELLA Bar - Best for Women
The Rogue Bella Bar is designed specifically for women. This multipurpose bar weighs only 15kgs and features multi-knurls so you can use it for a variety of exercises and movements without having any difficulty. Its ergonomic design makes it ideal not only for powerlifting workouts but for weightlifting and CrossFit exercises as well.
Here’s why you’ll like it:
High Tensile Strength Rating – the Rogue Bella bar is rated for 190,000 PSI tensile strength. This makes it both ideally whippy, and durable so it will last you a very long time despite daily use.
25mm Shaft Diameter – the shaft is ideally sized to make it easier to grip, and so it’s more comfortable to hold. Combine it with the tensile strength rating, and you’ve got yourself a well-designed and ergonomic barbell for women.
- The sleeve is smooth, so it’s easy to load and unload plates
- It boasts an F6-R and 190K PSI tensile strength rating making it one of the most durable multipurpose bars for women in the market
- The bushing is oil-impregnated and is self-oiling
- It will oxidize over time, especially without proper care and maintenance
Summary: Despite it being marketed heavily for women, I found that the Rogue Bella barbell was an ideal companion for casual lifts. The smaller shaft diameter made it easier to grip, while maintaining effective results.
You may not be aware of this, but there are actually 15 types of barbells. Aside from the more popular Olympic and Standard barbells, there are several specialized barbells designed to execute certain exercises more efficiently.
The standard barbell is the most common type of barbell and one that you’ll often see in most commercial gyms. They’re usually five to six feet long and weigh around 45 pounds. These bars are used to execute a wide variety of workouts like bench presses, squats, and deadlifts.
Olympic barbells are most commonly used by Olympic athletes and serious weightlifters. It’s similar to a standard bar in theory. However, its length is traditionally 7 feet long and unlike Standard barbells, which are a bit more bendable and have a “whip” to make it easier for you to lift heavy weights.
Trap or Hex Bar
The Trap—or Hex barbell has a special trapezoidal shape. To use it, you have to stand inside the trapezoid and lift with your arms at your sides. This unique shape makes it easier to grip and keeps your arms and hands in a more neutral position. While it may not be as versatile as other bars due to its shape, it does help lessen the strain on your muscles and joints and targets areas in your lower body like your legs.
Safety Squat Bar
Safety squat bars are designed primarily for casual lifters or newbies. What makes it unique are the shoulder pads that attach to the bar and sit on your shoulders for more comfort. You’ll also notice that a squat bar has two “arms” that stick out from the padding which you hold onto.
A Cambered bar—also known as an Arched bar, is designed for intermediate lifters. These bars have a unique arched shape designed to rest on your shoulders, so your weights actually rest in level with your waist. The shape increases the load on your posterior and forces you to have a tighter squat due to the position and movement of the weights.
A Swiss barbell—or sometimes called the Football bar, has a similar shape to a trap bar, except you’re not expected to stand in the middle of it. It helps keep your grip at a neutral position and is used for rows, presses, and exercises that target your arms and torso.
EZ Curl Bar
The EZ barbell is designed to target your arms specifically. They have less weight and are smaller compared to other barbells, and it primarily got its name because it’s most commonly used to perform bicep curls.
Deadlift barbells are designed specifically for performing deadlifts. They look similar to standard barbells, except they have more whip. The added whip optimizes the bar for deadlifts because it makes it easier to lift heavy weights from the floor more quickly.
A Powerlifting barbell may look similar to Olympic bars, but they are structurally different. They are built to be more rigid, with less whip and flexibility, which allows them to hold more weight. This means the bars tend to last longer because they’re made with higher quality steel.
Log barbells are usually reserved for extreme lifters. You may be familiar with them if you follow Strongman competitions. These bars can hold over 1200 pounds and feature a straight bar with a cylindrical “log” in the middle with hollow points designed for gripping.
A Tsunami bar is a highly specialized type of barbell that requires precise skill to master. The barbell is designed to flex and oscillate with every movement, which increases your workout’s difficulty.
The Earthquake bar—or sometimes referred to as a Bamboo bar, features a bamboo base. It’s also designed to oscillate similarly to a Tsunami bar. However, it’s designed to increase muscle stability instead.
An Axle bar is another barbell that is popular in Strongman Competitions. It’s basically a straight barbell but is thicker than a standard barbell. It’s used to perform axle clean exercises and presses in competitions.
A Freak barbell is a patent-pending bar that is loaded with plates and springs that allow lifters to move it freely while adjusting their grip during lifts. The general idea is to give its users better bar stability control which will then enhance upper body strength.
Buffalo Bow Bar
This barbell was created by a respected powerlifter—Chris Duffin. It features a curved design that reduces stress on your back, biceps, and shoulders during workouts. Some also claim that it’s more comfortable for your wrists.
How to Choose the Right Olympic Barbell: Features to Look For
Back when I was just starting out, there were no helpful guides to choosing your equipment. You’d have to rely on what you knew—or heard from your gym buddies. And I’m not gonna lie, I wasted hundreds of dollars and a lot of my time settling for barbells that just weren’t good quality at all. To save you the trouble, here are some things I wish I knew before I bought my first Olympic bar.
The first thing you need to consider is the whippiness of a bar. One of the hallmarks of an Olympic barbell is its whippiness which makes it easier to perform quick lifts. You should invest in a bar that has an optimal whip to it, but not too much that it becomes unstable.
A factor you should consider is the thickness and length of your equipment. Ideally, you should choose a standard-sized Olympic barbell that is 7 feet long with a 50mm diameter.
Another thing that sets Olympic bars apart is their sleeves. Sleeves are added so your weights spin when you lift them. This is achieved through the use of small hardware like bearings or bushings.
I recommend a bushing-based sleeve more, especially if it’s made out of brass. This ensures longevity. Bearings, on the other hand, spin faster, smoother, and with much less noise compared to bushings. However, they are significantly more expensive.
Many mainstream bars will tell you that it’s tested for a certain amount of weight. And while this sounds impressive, it’s not a good hallmark of a bar’s strength. Brands often use this tactic to trick unsuspecting buyers into purchasing a lower-end bar, thinking they’re getting it for a good price.
Instead, you should look for yield and tensile strength measurements. The minimum you should go for is at least 165,000 PSI. It’s important to note that the higher the number, the sturdier your bar will be.
There are three types of grip or knurls. You have the standard slippery hill or sharp mountain grip, and then there’s the grippy volcano knurl, which is my personal favorite. Slipper hill knurls are more commonly used in commercial gyms because they’re easier on beginner’s hands and won’t hurt as much. However, they also offer a terrible grip for intermediate lifters.
If you want a severely aggressive knurl, you should look into sharp mountain patterns. They’re better for gripping heavyweights. However, they also tend to hurt your hands since the sharp edges of the pattern will dig into your hands.
On the other hand, grippy volcano knurls offer a good blend of comfort and grip. They’re not as aggressive as sharp mountains. But their design still lends a good amount of grip that even professional lifters like me find no issue in them.
Last but not least, you need to consider the finish of your bar. While most old-school lifters will tell you to just choose bare steel and be done with it, I beg to disagree. Bare steel may have an authentic feel to it that does not interfere with knurls, but it can be a pain to maintain since it isn’t protected and tends to rust if not cared for properly.
If you want a bar with less maintenance involved, I suggest looking into black zinc bars. They protect against rust quite well and don’t interfere with the knurling significantly.
Frequently Asked Questions
I remember when I was just a newbie to lifting weights at the gym. Unlike most gyms now, there was a wide variety of barbells displayed with varying sizes, lengths, and weights.
Not knowing the difference, I decided to try them all out on my own. I know now that this was a big mistake and wish that I had just asked for help. That’s why I compiled some of the most frequently asked questions about barbells below to help you out.
Final Words. What is the Best Barbell to Buy?
After careful consideration, I decided that the Rogue Bar 2.0 is the best, most cost-effective multi-purpose barbell option in the market today. Its high tensile strength rating combined with the aggressive knurling and price tag of under $400 makes it an ideal investment if you want something that is versatile and will last you a very long time.
On the other hand, the Titan Fitness Atlas bar is a good choice if you’re trying to shop within a budget. For just a little under $250, you’re taking home an above-average high tensile strength bar that can be used for a multitude of exercises.
Some of your other options include the REP SS Gladiator bar for fans of bare steel bars but don’t want to spend inordinate amounts of time maintaining your bar. The Force USA Walkthrough Trap bar is also a good option if you want a well-optimized hex bar that allows you to perform squats and other exercises you won’t be able to perform with other trap bars.