Connor Sellers
Published by Connor Sellers
Fact checked by Donald Christman, BHSc FACT CHECKED

If you’re serious about building up some muscle mass, you will have to work with free weights. While most people jump on a set of dumbbells, you might actually get a lot more out of your workouts with Olympic barbells.

The problem is that you’ll find a lot of barbells online that look great but just aren’t suitable for any serious kind of lifting.

That doesn’t mean that you have to spend a fortune for your home gym, as we were able to find some great products that shouldn’t break the bank.

Our Top Barbells For Home Gyms

1 - Rogue Olympic Weightlifting Bar (Editor's Choice)

Rogue Olympic Weightlifting Bar

This is a higher-end Olympic barbell from Rogue Fitness, and I’ll highlight the zinc-coated stainless steel first.

This gives it a nice finish that should avoid signs of rusting.

The dimensions are ideal of Olympic lifting techniques, and you might notice the smooth motion of the sleeves thanks to good quality bearings.

  • 20 kg weight
  • 28 mm diameter
  • 16.25-inch sleeve
  • 88.6 inches long
Pros
  • 215K PSI tensile strength for better whip
  • Positive comments about the durability of the needle bearings
  • The 88.6-inch total length makes it a standard Olympic dimension
  • Zinc coating to make it more oxidation resistant
Cons
  • It’s not the cheapest option

This isn’t one of the cheapest barbells, but if you want a model that will last for years, then you could save in the long term.

2 - Rogue Ohio Bar

Rogue Ohio Bar

The Rogue Ohio Bar might be a good choice if your budget doesn’t stretch to the Olympic one above.

It’s also made of stainless steel and coated in black zinc that may limit the amount of maintenance you need to plan.

It’s also suitable as a powerlifting bar due to the dual knurling, which may give you more flexibility for different types of Olympic lifts.

  • 20 kg weight
  • 28.5 mm diameter
  • 16.4-inch sleeve
  • 88.75 inches long
Pros
  • 190K PSI tensile strength for good flex during your lift
  • Black zinc coating should make this less likely to oxidize
  • Dual knurl marks may make this suitable for power lifts
Cons
  • Uses a bushing sleeve rather than needle bearings

One of the reasons it’s a bit cheaper is that it has bushings instead of bearings on the sleeve, which may not last as long [1].

3 - Rogue Bella Bar

Rogue Bella Bar

This bar might be a great home gym option for women as it has been designed to suit smaller hands and not for extreme loads.

The bear weight is also a bit lighter at 15 kg, which makes this one of the lightest power bars we were able to find.

At the same time, it still provides dual knurling marks for better hand placement during Olympic lifting.

We also liked that the sleeves seemed to move nice and smoothly for less strain on your wrists.

  • 15 kg weight
  • 25 mm diameter
  • 13-inch sleeve
  • 79.13 inches long
Pros
  • 200K PSI tensile strength should give a good whip during lifting
  • Specifically designed for women with a smaller diameter
  • The chrome sleeves seem to move smoothly
Cons
  • Doesn’t have any shaft coating so will require some maintenance

The main downside is that it doesn’t have a coating, which will mean that you’ll need to do some occasional cleaning.

4 - Buddy Capps Texas Deadlift Bar

Buddy Capps Texas Deadlift Bar

Users say the Texas Deadlift Bar (TDB) is comparable to the Rogue Ohio, and I see the similarities between the two.

I like that the TDB has zinc plating so the material is almost chip resistant.

And while the knurling isn’t as sharp as Ohio, it is still aggressive and effective, which I find very impressive.

  • 20 kg weight
  • 27 mm diameter
  • 17.25-inch sleeve
  • 91 inches long
Pros
  • Aggressive knurling
  • Chip-resistant zinc plating
  • You can choose from different shaft and sleeve material options
Cons
  • It’s not knurled all the way

The only thing that may affect your snatch-grip deadlifts is that this one from Buddy Caps is not knurled all the way to the sleeves.

5 - XMark Lumberjack 7' Olympic Barbell

XMark Lumberjack 7' Olympic Barbell

The XMark Olympic barbell has become a very popular and cost-effective option as it comes with two plates included.

That should give you a 90 lbs bar straight out of the box.

We also liked the black finish, which doesn't seem to scratch too easily and might mean less work to keep it clean.

  • 19.5 kg weight
  • 28 mm diameter
  • 16.5-inch sleeve
  • 84 inches long
Pros
  • Two 25 pound weight plates are included
  • Black manganese phosphate coating should help reduce oxidation
  • Reasonable price for a bar with a 700 lbs limit
Cons
  • Collars are not included in the box so make sure you order those extra

Just keep in mind that you’ll need to add some collars to be able to use it once it arrives.

6 - Yaheetech Olympic 7 Feet Bar

Yaheetech Olympic 7 Feet Bar

This is another affordable option for a home gym, and it seems to be favored by people with big hands, thanks to the 30 mm diameter. That is at the top end of Olympic specifications.

The knurling and grip should be comfortable enough to use for heavier weight and to use it as a power bar as well.

  • 19.5 kg weight
  • 30 mm diameter
  • 13.6-inch sleeve
  • 86 inches long
Pros
  • Wider than standard diameter may make it more suitable for large hands
  • The grip seems to be comfortable and not too harsh on the skin
  • Collars are included, so you just need some plates
Cons
  • The sleeve length might be a bit short for some powerlifters

Just take note of the sleeve length if you plan to load it with multiple smaller plates.

7 - CAP Barbell 6-Foot Solid Olympic Bar

CAP Barbell 6-Foot Solid Olympic Bar

If you don’t have a huge amount of space for your home gym, then this might be a good option if you’re not weightlifting at the heavy end of the scales.

It’s a shorter and lighter design, but should still work pretty well for a standard deadlift, squats, and powerlifting.

The reviews highlight that the sleeves seem to move smoothly to give you less strain on your hands and wrists.

  • 12.7 kg weight
  • 28 mm diameter
  • 11.5-inch sleeve
  • 72 inches long
Pros
  • Smaller length may make it more suitable for a garage or home gym
  • Sleeves seem to rotate easily even under full load
  • Affordable solution for anyone who doesn’t need huge weight loads
Cons
  • 63K PSI tensile strength might be too low if you plan to build more mass

Just keep in mind that this might not be a long term weight training solution if you plan to build up muscle mass.

8 - GYMAX Olympic Bar

GYMAX Olympic Bar

This is another full-size Olympic bar, and the first thing to highlight is that it uses bearings instead of bushings. This should give you a longer-lasting and smoother experience.

Dependent on your fitness and strength levels, you may choose from a 700 or 1,000 lbs limit model that should give enough flexibility for serious powerlifting.

  • 20 kg weight
  • 28 mm diameter
  • 15.5-inch sleeve
  • 86.5 inches long
Pros
  • Uses bearings that should provide a smooth movement
  • Available for 700 and 1,000 pounds max weight limit
  • Positive reviews about the comfortable knurls even at higher loads
Cons
  • Collars are not included so make sure you add some to your order

Just make sure you order the collars as they are not included in the package.

9 - Okie Power Bar

Okie Power Bar

Another good powerlifting option for people with large hands is this Okie, one that has a 30mm bar.

We saw plenty of reviews that highlighted that it feels comfortable to grip even with a heavy load.

The sleeves might also be long enough to fit a good few heavy plates with the bushings moving smoothly to avoid unnecessary strain.

We also like the zinc coating on the steel as it should reduce the amount of oxidation.

  • 20 kg weight
  • 30 mm diameter
  • 15.6-inch sleeve
  • 84 inches long
Pros
  • Many positive comments about the comfortable grip
  • Zinc plating should reduce the need for regular maintenance
  • Good sleeve length should provide enough room for plenty of plates
Cons
  • It’s quite expensive compared to other power bars

I would say that this one is at the higher end of the price scale, and you might be better off with the Roque Olympic for this price.

10 - Topeakmart Olympic Barbell Bar

Topeakmart Olympic Barbell Bar

The final one of our best Olympic bars is this Topeakmart model. It also has a wider diameter for larger hands, and it comes with the collars in the box for a bit of a cost-saving benefit.

The bushings seem to be good quality as well as we didn't see any negative comments about the rotation being sluggish.

  • 19.5 kg weight
  • 30 mm diameter
  • 13.6-inch sleeve
  • 86 inches long
Pros
  • Sleeves seem to rotate smoothly to avoid strain on wrists
  • Collars are included, so you only need some plates
  • Seems to use a good coating that may limit the amount of maintenance
Cons
  • Limited to 330 lbs, which might not be enough for serious bodybuilding

The only thing is that it may only be suitable for moderate weightlifting up to 330 pounds, which may limit your squats and deadlift.

Whichever barbell you choose, make sure to pair it with one of the best power racks we've reviewed

Buyer’s Guide

buyers guide image

1 - Materials

barbell material

The one thing I would always say to clients is to avoid iron-based barbells as much as you can.

Yes, they tend to be cheaper.

But unless they are properly coated and regularly checked for any rust, they could end up causing problems.

Stainless steel is the only material I would use, and the next thing to look at is how strong the steel rating is.

This is usually indicated as 150K or 200K PSI [2], and the higher this rating is, the less likely it is to permanently bend under pressure.

If you only need to do some lightweight training, then 60k barbell PSI may be enough. But for serious weightlifting, you’d want at least 180K PSI.

2 - Type of Grip

The best Olympic bars we tried out were actually multi-purpose ones that had dual knurling marks on the grips.

“Powerlifting bars generally have more aggressive knurling to accommodate the needs of deadlifters pulling on much heavier weights.”

 

- Dresdin Archibald, Strength, and fitness coach.

This would allow you to use the bar to deadlift some serious loads where you would actually need a lot more grip.

If you just plan on doing bench presses, then this might not be important, but I would advise having the flexibility if you need it in the future

3 - Bar Diameter

You’ll see different barbells advertised with a range of 25 mm to 30 mm in diameter. This is an important factor to consider, especially if you have large hands or you need a high weight limit.

The thicker diameter should make it a lot more comfortable and safe to grip.

“I’d say pulling exercises are a completely different animal, and in that case, a thicker bar could be beneficial.”

 

- Helen Kollias, Ph.D. and fitness science writer

A standard bar probably has about 28 mm, which may be a good option to aim for if you’re not sure what to buy.

4 - Length

There is no best length. This is mainly going to be a limiting factor if you’re stuck for space, or you won’t be lifting weights at the extremely high range.

What’s a lot more important is to focus on the length of the sleeves as this will dictate how many plates you might be able to attach.

More on this feature shortly.

A standard length would be about 80 to 84 inches, so if you have space to safely move one of these, then it might be better to avoid the short bars.

5 - Maximum Capacity

barbell capacity

Commercial Olympic barbells are designed with limits up to 1,000 lbs and more.

That does sound crazy as even powerlifters don’t get to that extreme.

But there’s a good reason to aim for a high range.

It’s not really an indication of how many plates you could pile on.

But more a feature that tells you how stable it might remain as you get to the higher limits.

This should also ensure it’s more likely to remain a straight bar over many years of use.

6 - The Finish

Some people like the look and feel of bare steel. Personally, it doesn’t bother me too much.

But you have to remember that bare steel might oxidize over time, which could leave a rusty residue.

This isn’t just ugly looking, but could also be a safety issue as it might reduce the grip [3].

Black zinc seems to be a popular choice these days, but you may also want to consider manganese as a slightly cheaper option.

What it does is protect the steel and reduce the risk of a rust build-up.

7 - Price

So, price is important, and not everyone can afford high-end barbells that would suit a commercial gym.

But I would also advise you not to set your budget too low.

Why’s that?

The lower your budget, the less suitable it will be to grow with your demands as you build up muscle strength. 

The cheaper models will most likely either have a limited weight-range, or they’ll be made with metals like iron that won’t last a long time.

You could end up saving yourself a fortune in the long term by spending a little bit more for the right materials and coatings.

Components Of A Barbell

components of barbell

Olympic barbells should all have a fairly similar design, which includes four main components.

1 - The Sleeves

These are the slightly thicker parts at each end of the shaft. I can’t say this often enough, but you have to make sure that the sleeves are well designed.

What does that mean?

During an Olympic lift, your hands will have to rotate around the shaft in order to get the bar from below your hips to over your shoulders. To do this, the sleeves need to be able to rotate. 

Otherwise, you would end up with a huge amount of strain and pressure on your wrists and the skin on your hands.

If your budget stretches to a bearing sleeve design, that’s the best long-term solution you could invest in.

2 - The Knurl

barbell knurl

The knurl is the criss-cross marking where your hands will grip the shaft. It’s designed to give you more grip and avoid the bar slipping out of your hands.

The design of the knurl has to change depending on how much weight you’re lifting and for deadlifts that could be very heavy.

And that’s why you’d often see dual knurls that have a different design.

The knurl marks would indicate which section is for powerlifting vs. Olympic style lifting.

3 - The Whip

The best Olympic bars that you’d see used at professional events would generally have a lot of whip.

If a bar has a good whip, it means that it’s more flexible, which is an important factor for the sudden pressure that this lifting style puts on the bars.

For powerlifting, you’d want the opposite with a much more rigid design that doesn’t flex as much.

You wouldn’t want a lot of whip during a deadlift because you gradually increase the force and wouldn’t want to feel a slight bend in the bar.

4 - The Tensile Strength

barbell tensile strength

Tensile strength is a physical measure of how strong a bar is, and that directly translates into how many weights you might pile on.

A good range to look out for is over 150K PSI. That means that a bar has been tested to withstand pressure over 150,000 pounds per square inch.

That might sound excessive, but it’s an indication of how well a bar will stand up to constant exposure to high amounts of pressure.

FAQs

What Size Barbell Should a Woman Use?

A woman should use a barbell that has a 25 mm shaft and is about 6 feet long. This is assuming that you do not intend to power lift 500 pounds or more on a regular basis. The thinner shaft should be more suitable for a smaller hand to make it feel a bit more comfortable.

What Weight Barbell Should You Buy?

Most people should buy a 20 kg (40 lbs) barbell. This should be heavy enough for some light training with fewer plates but still allow for some heavier workouts. Standard weights of bars would also be directly linked to the maximum capacity.

Can You Bench Press With a 5ft Bar?

Yes, you can bench press a 5 ft bar. However, many bodybuilders prefer a longer bar to spread their hands further apart when lifting particularly heavy loads. You would generally have quite a lot more flexibility with a longer bar, which is why we recommend them.

How Much Does an Olympic Barbell Cost?

An Olympic barbell can cost anything from $150 to over $1,000. The commercial-grade ones are a lot more expensive as the type of steel they use is a lot harder and resistant to bending. But it should last for years under constant use in a gym.

Which Barbell Is Best For Home Gyms?

The one product that stood out the most for us was the Rogue Olympic barbell. Out of all the barbells on this list, it just seems to have the best grip from a comfort perspective, and we’ve even seen them used in CrossFit gyms.

It has a very smooth feeling construction that will help lifters to gain more control and confidence over their moves.

Order yours today and see how easy it is to use for a wide range of different workouts.

Rogue Olympic Weightlifting Bar

Rogue Olympic Weightlifting Bar

Our #1 Recommendation

  • 215K PSI tensile strength for better whip
  • Positive comments about the durability of the needle bearings
  • The 88.6-inch total length makes it a standard Olympic dimension
  • Zinc coating to make it more oxidation resistant
  • Get the BEST PRICE until the end of September
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