Best Barbells 2020

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Of all the gym equipment you can find, you’ll struggle to find a tool more versatile than the bar. Since their inception barbells are known to be excellent tools for all fitness levels and can be used for virtually any form of lifts. If you’ve ended up on this article, you’re probably interested in taking your home barbell workout to the next level by investing in and finding the best barbell for your lifting style, needs and desires.

It should be noted that buying a barbell should be managed with care and attention, similar to any other big gym purchase. There are thousands of different barbells on the market, from Olympic barbells, to deadlift hex bars, each bar is designed for specific lifts. In this best barbell round-up, we will look at some of the most popular barbells from some of the top lifting companies and help you when it comes to buying that new bar.

Our list below includes a variety of barbells, which includes IWF/IPF approved barbells, barbells designed for deadlifts and the most effective bars for women. These barbells are designed for experienced lifters and gym goes, recreational to pro athletes and the absolute beginner.

Best Barbells Reviewed

Best All-Around Barbell: Rogue Fitness Ohio Bar

Best All-Around Barbell
Rogue Ohio Bar

A cost-effective, versatile bar which comes with a lifetime warranty against bending.

The best all-around barbell needs to be durable, versatile and an option for any type of athlete. Introducing the Rogue Fitness Ohio Bar.

Our pick for the best all-around barbell has to be the Rogue Ohio Bar. Whether you’re a recreational power-lifter, a professional athlete of a beginner, this is the barbell for you.

Rogue is known for their excellent equipment, which is why you will see quite a few of these bars on the list. The Ohio Bar features construction which is great for powerlifting, functional fitness, strength training and general rehabilitation.

The Rogue Ohio Bar is For

  • Lifters who want a durable barbell at a great price. With a tensile strength of 190k and a “good whip”, this bar can help assist with multiple exercises.
  • Lifters and athletes that like a varied lifting regime. This barbell has four different finishes, which all have different F-Scale ratings, so you can decide what will work best in your specific routine.
  • People who like quality but are also valued conscious. This is an excellently priced barbell, with a lifetime warranty.

The Rogue Ohio Bar is not For

  • This bar should not be considered for the casual lifter who only lifts a bar once in a while
  • Recreational lifters who don’t mind looking for a cheaper barbell that had less performance-based traits

Best Weightlifting Barbell: Rogue Olympic WL Bar

Best Barbell For Weightlifting
Rogue Olympic WL Barbell

Matching all of the IWF's approved dimensions for competition barbells, the rogue Olympic WL Bar features smooth bearings designed for quick rotation.

A great weightlifting barbell needs to have bearings which smooth out plate rotations. They also need to possess traits and dimensions that are competition approved.

So no surprises that our pick for the best weightlifting barbell is the rogue Olympic WL Bar. This barbell is specifically designed for weightlifters down to its design elements. Firstly, the bar features smooth bearings that accommodate a fast bar rotation.

Secondly, the dimensions and knurling for this bar are similar to what the IWF requires for men and for women. 

Finally, this weightlifting bar has an F6-R rating, which means it’s incredibly durable and resistant to being dropped.

The Rogue Olympic Bar is For

  • This bar is definitely for the competitive weightlifting athlete. With IWF approved measurements and weight, this barbell emulates competition settings as close as possible
  • Any lifters who want a barbell to stand the test of time. With a tensile strength og 215k, this bar also features Rogue’s Work Hardening construction.
  • If you need a great whip, this bar is also for you. It features a 28mm diameter and standard knurling

The Rogue Olympic Bar is Not For

  • The beginner who has never lifted, who does not have a need for a bar such as this.
  • The budget-conscious lifter.

Best Women’s Barbell: Rogue Bella Bar 2.0

Best Female Barbell
Rogue Bella Bar 2.0

Offering a strong tensile strength and yield strength, this mighty bar is perfect for the female athlete.

Women’s barbells will have a slight difference to the standard barbell, which will help the female athlete, things like diameter and weight load can help with smaller hands.

The Rogue Bella Bar 2.0 is our pick of the bunch when it comes to the best women’s barbell. We love this barbell for two big reasons. Firstly, this is a great all-in-one style barbell, which comes with an incredibly promising construction. 

Secondly, this bar is incredibly cost-efficient. Offering a bushing option, this is an excellent all-arounder for female athletes.

The Rogue Bella Bar is For

  • Female athletes who want a strong bar. This bar features a tensile strength of 160k and a yield strength of 199,000 and a durability strength test of 1000 lbs.
  • Cost-conscious buyers who want the best bar for their buck. This bar is a dynamic pick for any female athlete.
  • An athlete that knows their getting quality with a lifetime guarantee. This is a bar to stand the test of reps and time.

The Rogue Bella Bar is Not For

  • Women athletes who need something cheaper for their needs.
  • Competitive weightlifting of powerlifting athletes who are training competition.

Best Barbell for Squats: The Rogue Ohio Power Bar

Best Barbell for Squats
Rogue Ohio Power Bar

The perfect barbell for squatting. Featuring "no whip" and aggressive knurling to grip onto your back

When it comes to the best barbell for squatting, you need to look at a stiff bar that’s not going to whip when using large amount of weights and knurling that’s going to feel secure on your back.

Known as Ole Reliable in the industry the Rogue Ohio Power Bar is the only pick for the best barbell for squats.

With a tensile strength that’s going to give you confidence in those heavy lifts, you can rest assured that there’s not going to be any premature breaking or fracturing. Secondly, the Ohio Power Bar offers a “no whip” rating, which is perfect for heavy squats and lifts which require maximum body tightness. A barbell with the whip can cause a loss of balance when squatting.

The Rogue Ohio Power Bar is For

  • A lifter who wants to replicate that competition barbell feeling.
  • Someone who needs “no whip” in their barbell. This bar features a “no whip” rating meaning it will stay stiff during those heavy sessions.
  • Lifters who need great knurling. This bar has aggressive knurling, which is great for gripping onto the back and prevents sliding

The Rogue Ohio Power Bar is Not For

  • Recreational or beginner lifters who don’t want to push the limits of their squat
  • A beginner lifter who only needs a bar for a few lifts

Best Deadlift Barbell: Rogue Ohio Deadlift Bar

Best Barbell for Deadlifts
Rogue Ohio Deadlift Bar

Featuring aggressive, grippy knurling and excellent whip designed to help you reach your newest PB

A great barbell made specifically for deadlifts will have ample whip, great knurling and an incredibly strong tensile strength, meet the Rogue Ohio Deadlift Bar.

Cousin the Power Bar, the Ohio Deadlift Bar is our top pick for a great deadlift-focused barbell. This barbell is perfect for deadlifts as it features all the spec you need to pull your next PB.

The thing we love the most about this bar is the tensile strength of 190kg and aggressive knurling. So if you’re pulling your one max rep, this barbell won’t let you down.

  • The Rogue Ohio Deadlift Bar is For
  • Serious Powerlifting Athletes who want to acclimatise to competition sessions. It has an excellent whip rating and knurling to make sure your grip is spot on.
  • Athletes that need a versatile bar that’s also strong. With a tensile strength of 190k and 27mm diameter, this bar is designed for all hands.
  • Lifters who want a good warranty with their products. Rogue’s lifetime warranty is perfect for heavy pullers

The Rogue Ohio Deadlift Bar is Not For

  • Casual lifters who want to avoid spending the extra money for a deadlift bar
  • Lifters who need a bar for a large range of exercises

Best Budget Barbell: CAP Olympic 7-Foot Barbell

Best Budget Barbell
CAP Barbell Classic 7-Foot Olympic Bar

Featuring a chrome finished design, this barbell is the perfect starting point for anyone looking to get into weight lifting

If you need to be friendlier on your wallet but also like to get the best performance for your price then look no further than the CAP Olympic 7-Foot Barbell.

At a budget-friendly cost, the CAP Olympic 7-Foot Barbell is a fantastic option for a beginner or recreational lifters looking to get a bar that won’t break the bank. With a support limit of 700lbs, this bar is plenty for the beginner lifter.

Made of chrome, this bar has a “moderate whip”, which makes it an excellent all-around barbell with a great price tag. The Knurling is also moderate and has marks that are similar to powerlifting and weightlifting competitions.

The CAP Olympic 7-Foot Barbell is For

  • The beginner home gym owner looking to start their collection and dip into the world of home gyms
  • Recreational lifters, who lift a few times a week and need a bar to tackle every task
  • The performance to price conscious who want quality without splashing out

The CAP Olympic 7-Foot Barbell is Not For

  • This Bar is not for the serious athlete who needs a bar for a specific lift.
  • Lifters who are going to be pushing or pulling weight more than 700 lbs.

Buyers Guide: How to Pick the Best Barbell For You

Glossary of Barbell Terms

Barbells use nice niche terms that are used more than a medicine ball. Here’s your essential glossary that will make buying one easy.

Tensile: This note is about the weight a bar can support before it breaks. This is measured in pounds per square inch (PSI) or more commonly in thousands of pounds per square inch (KPI). Do not consider a bar unless it is 165KPI or more. For those who have the ambition to become the great Green Avenger, you should look at barbells with 195KPI and above.

Yield: The yield of a bar is the weight it can take before it bends irrevocably.

Whip: This describes the bending of the bar during lifts. If the bar has a high whip, it will be flexible during use; low whip and this bar should be rock solid. A bar intended for use on heavy bench presses must have a very low whip, otherwise, it may feel like a jackhammer is falling on you.

Rotation: Rotation on a bar is the rotation of the jaw you hold on the shaft. To help the rotation, the bar will be made with bearings or rings. Bearings are preferable to bushings, although even the models of big brands like Eleiko use bushings. Whether you need a bar with effect depends on the movements you are going to make with it. If you perform movements that require rotation of the bar, such as cleaning and pressing, you will need a high rotation bar to take care of your wrists.

Knurling: As much as we would like knurling to be a superior game for sliding weights on the ice, it is not. This is the term most manufacturers use to describe grip marks on the bar. If there is a lot of knurling, there is a lot of grip. If there is really heavy knurling, try not to tear your hands. In general, if the lifts you plan to do are fairly static (lying down developed, back squat). The other reason knurling is important is that it can indicate where you should keep your hands for certain competitive standards.

Bolts and stop rings: The last thing to watch for. The ends of the bar are secured with elastic rings or bolts. Elastic rings are much softer for the bearings or rings on your bar and do not require tightening. Bolts are just about the opposite and you will find them on cheaper models.

Styles of Barbells

Olympic Barbell

Olympic barbells are fairly large pieces of equipment – they must be used to perform complex lifts such as snatching or cleaning and pressing. An Olympic bar must not be less than 185KPI and has a standard weight of 20kg, which is generally distributed over a length of 6-7 feet (1.8-2.1m), with a whippable diameter of 28mm. This is how a lift can use the flexibility of the bar to help move the weight. If you look closely at Olympic weightlifters, you will see that they stop to catch the right amount of flex before completing a movement.

Spinning an Olympic bar is a must. Bar movements would bend the wrists too much for comfort (comfort being a relative term here).

Knurling on Olympic barbells will vary but should be fairly light. If you purchase an Olympic bar for training at competitions, check the distances between the grips with your regulator to see if the knurling is in the right place.

Powerlifting Barbell

Power bars are used for lifts that really stack the weight, such as bench press, ground lift and back squat. They tend to weigh 20 kg, are 5 to 6 feet long and have a diameter of 28.5 to 29 mm. The pull rating should be a minimum of 190KPI if you want a bar that will last and perform well. The whip on a powerlifting bar must be very low to give you the required control.

Minimum rotation is important, especially if you plan to perform movements such as the back squat, bench press or military press. However, some rotation is still necessary if you plan to do front squats, as the bar will need to rotate a little as you move into position.

The knurl must be raised on a powerlifting bar. Quite simply, if you are lifting heavy and controlled loads, you must have a good grip. Also look for knurling in the centre of the bar, as this will be important for grip during squats.

All-around Barbell

The specialized barbells above focus on specific movements – and let’s be honest with ourselves, they’re pretty cool. However, they’re not perfect for everyone. In fact, just looking at an Olympic bar may make you feel like lifting isn’t for you.

Enter the mid-range multipurpose bar. They’re for anyone who focuses on building muscle and improving fitness. A tensile rating of approximately 175KPI will do, and it is worth aiming for a 28.5mm diameter that will support a decent amount of flex but will also help decompress your powerlifting.

Knurling and rotation should be of the medium variety. You don’t need a knurled bar because the multi-purpose bar is not suitable for moving very heavy weights, but you will certainly want one to counter sweating. As far as spin is concerned, it’s good to opt for rings. You don’t need the fractional difference provided by bearings – for now.

Barbell FAQs

What makes a good barbell?

A good barbell will come with some form of warranty and a complete overview of performance specifications. Some companies omit key details that give an idea of the likely life of their bar, so always pay attention to things like tensile strength, whip, rod material, etc.

What does the tensile strength of a bar mean?

The tensile strength of a bar is the amount of load on your bar before it breaks or fractures, i.e. high tensile strength = better bar.

Is the whip important in a bar?

Yes, the whip is an important consideration for athletes and weightlifters who train heavily and focus on specific strength sports.

About the author

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Richard Presley

A purple belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Richard is the owner and primary writer of Attack The back. Check out my About Me Page to learn more!