10 Best Budget Barbells (2024): Cheap Home Gym Options

James Cunningham, BSc, CPT
Published by James Cunningham, BSc, CPT | Staff Writer & Senior Coach
Last updated: February 28, 2024
We personally test every product featured in our reviews and guides. By ordering products anonymously and getting a group of independent testers, we are able to get first-hand experience and provide data-driven recommendations. Learn more.

Many believe budget barbells are always of lower quality, but that's not the truth.

To prove that, I have researched and tested more than 50 budget barbells and singled out the ones I believe are the best.

All barbells were evaluated based on certain criteria, some of which include metal quality, center knurling, and tensile strength.

Here's the list of the 10 best budget barbells, as well as a buying guide to help you choose the one that will suit your home gym the most.

The Best Budget Barbells

Editor's Choice
Rogue Fitness Bella Bar 2.0
Rogue Fitness Bella Bar 2.0
Rated 5.0/5
Click For Best Price
2nd Best Choice
Rogue Fitness Black Oxide Ohio Bar
Rogue Fitness Ohio Bar
Rated 5.0/5
Click For Best Price
3rd Best Choice
Fringe Alloy Steel Wonder Bar
Fringe Alloy Steel Wonder Bar
Rated 4.9/5
Check Current Price

Our Top Budget Barbells for Home Gym (April 2024)

1 - Rogue Fitness Bella Bar 2.0 (Best Overall)

Rated 5.0/5
5.0
Durability
5.0
Weight
5.0
Price
Rogue Fitness Bella Bar 2.0
  • Snap-ring Bronze Bushings
  • 190k Tensile Strength
  • 25 mm Diameter

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Perfect for women who lift a significant amount of weights due to its grip size
  • It arrives in just two days
  • Highly durable, and it doesn't wear off
  • It offers just the right amount of spin

Cons

  • Black zinc coating fades after some time

Rogue Bella Bar 2.0 is one of the most popular 15kg barbells on the market that is versatile enough for powerlifting exercises, Olympic weightlifting, CrossFit, and general fitness (bilateral and unilateral) training [1].

After weeks of incorporating the Rogue Fitness Bella Bar 2.0 into my regimen, I can confidently say its dual knurl marks and grip size are a perfect match for lifters with smaller hands.

Furthermore, it has up to 190k PSI tensile strength, which, according to a study we found on PubMed, is enough for some serious heavy lifting [2].

In addition, it comes with some extra coating options that add to its durability [3].

Product Facts:

2 - Rogue Fitness Black Oxide Ohio Bar (Best for Durability)

Rated 5.0/5
4.9
Durability
5.0
Weight
5.0
Price
Rogue Fitness Black Oxide Ohio Bar
  • 28.5 mm Diameter
  • 190k Tensile Strength
  • Black Oxide Sleeve Coating
  • Black Oxide Shaft Coating

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Grooved sleeves keep the plates on the bar effortlessly
  • Very comfortable in the hands
  • Perfect balance between rigid and whippy, making it versatile lifts-wise

Cons

  • The chalk that builds up will eventually show signs of rust

Rogue Black Oxide Ohio bar is a multipurpose budget barbell that uses black oxide shaft/sleeves. According to a study on Research Gate, this adds to its durability [4].

Having spent countless sessions with the Rogue Ohio Bar, I found the 28.5 mm grip size is just right, offering a comfortable hold for both powerlifting and Olympic lifting.

The dual knurling marks provide excellent guidance for hand placement, enhancing my lifting confidence.

However, our tests found that surface rust will eventually appear on a black oxide surface, which is something to keep in mind.

Product Facts:

3 - Fringe Alloy Steel Wonder Bar (Best for High-Rep Workouts:)

Rated 4.9/5
4.9
Durability
4.9
Weight
5.0
Price
Fringe Alloy Steel Wonder Bar
  • Alloy Steel
  • 25 mm Diameter
  • 160k Tensile Strength

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Very well made barbell
  • Perfectly spins when doing cleans
  • Knurling locks hands perfectly for higher-rep sessions

Cons

  • The zinc finish doesn't last as much

The Fringe alloy steel Wonder bar has a tensile strength of 160k PSI and yield strength of 200k, which is perfect for vigorous heavy lifting sessions.

The sleeves are built from stainless steel to ensure the highest quality and durability.

My hands have thanked me after high-rep sessions with the Fringe Alloy Steel Wonder Bar. Its knurling strikes the right balance, offering a firm grip without the abrasiveness that can come from more aggressive designs.

However, the bar spins insanely fast, which might not be the preference of some people enjoying heavy lifting.

Product Facts:

4 - Rep Fitness Sabre Bar (Best for Deadlifts)

Rated 4.9/5
4.9
Durability
4.9
Weight
4.9
Price
Rep Fitness Sabre Bar
  • 28 mm Diameter
  • 150k Tensile Strength
  • Zinc Coating

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • It comes with a free shipping
  • Performs excellent with bigger bumper plates
  • The knurling is perfect

Cons

  • It comes with a 1-year warranty

Rep Fitness Sabre bar is one of the best budget bars for deadlifts since it has a grip size of 28 mm.

During my Olympic lifting sessions with the Rep Fitness Sabre Bar, the medium-depth knurling was gentle on my hands while providing enough grip.

Also, you have the option to choose the bar with or without center knurling, which is to be left to your personal preference. You can choose between the 20 kg and 15 kg bars.

However, one of the downsides of this bar is the tensile strength which is just 150k, making it easier to get damaged when dropped on the floor.

Product Facts:

5 - Bells of Steel Barenaked Powerlifting Bar 2.0 (Best for Powerlifting)

Rated 4.9/5
4.9
Durability
4.9
Weight
4.8
Price
Bells of Steel Barenaked Powerlifting Bar 2.0
  • Alloy Steel
  • 29 mm Diameter
  • Chrome Finish

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Knurling is great for 1st post-starting-out bar
  • It's very solid and doesn't flex with weights on it
  • It doesn't have the fast spin

Cons

  • The bar requires regular maintenance

Bells of Steel Barenaked powerlifting bar 2.0 comes with a very aggressive knurling that is perfect for higher loads but less repetition.

Putting the Bells of Steel Barenaked Powerlifting Bar 2.0 to the test with heavy loads, I can attest to its robust 210k PSI tensile strength. It's held up to the challenge, making it a reliable piece of my powerlifting gear.

It passed all the tests and is truly designed to meet International Powerlifting Federation (IPF) standards.

Also, it comes with a thinner block, allowing you to load the bar with more weight plates. Keep in mind that knurling can be inconsistent in some areas.

Product Facts:

6 - E.T. Energic Olympic Bar (Best for Heavy Lifting)

Rated 4.8/5
4.8
Durability
4.9
Weight
4.8
Price
E.T. Energic Olympic Bar
  • Alloy Steel
  • 28 mm Diameter
  • 200k Tensile Strength

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Smooth needle bearings
  • It fits nicely with all 2" regular-weight plates
  • The bar feels solid and works well with Lock Jaw clamps

Cons

  • The grooves on the sleeves cause a harsh vibration when putting weight plates

E.T. Energic Olympic bar is the best budget Olympic barbell that comes with a tensile strength of 200k PSI and hard chrome sleeves, which ensure the durability of the bar.

Also, when I was testing this bar, I noticed it has the perfect amount of spin, which doesn't make the bar feel bouncy. It's become a favorite for my clean and jerks, where control is as important as strength.

However, one of the downsides is that the black chrome isn't resistant to scratches, so you are likely going to see some wear and tear after some time.

Product Facts:

7 - Titan Fitness Atlas Bar

Rated 4.8/5
4.8
Durability
4.8
Weight
4.8
Price
Titan Fitness Atlas Bar
  • Alloy Steel
  • 28 mm Diameter
  • 220k Tensile Strength

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Great quality and fast shipping
  • Perfect spin for all-around workouts
  • It doesn't require much maintenance

Cons

  • It doesn't offer much grip because it lacks friction

Titan Fitness Atlas bar is a multipurpose barbell that comes with a 28 mm grip size and up to 220k PSI of tensile strength, making it the best barbell for heavy deadlifts.

The sleeves are built from stainless steel, and with brass bushing and bearings create perfectly smooth and consistent spin.

From personal experience, the Titan Fitness Atlas Bar's medium dual knurl marks have been spot-on for finding my grip during lifts. Whether I'm racking up or going free-form, hand placement has been a breeze.

However, our tests found the knurling isn't the best, and this bar may not be the best if you have rough hands and are already an experienced lifter.

Product Facts:

8 - Synergee Games Cerakote Bar

Rated 4.8/5
4.7
Durability
4.8
Weight
4.8
Price
Synergee Games Cerakote Bar
  • Alloy Steel
  • 25 mm Diameter
  • 190k Tensile Strength

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • It comes with a pair of wrist wraps
  • The bar feels sturdy
  • It is rust-free

Cons

  • The color wears away quickly

Synergee Games Cerakote bar has a medium aggressive knurling that is excellent for Olympic weightlifting and powerlifting.

It has up to 190k tensile strength, which is enough for all heavy lifting, including heavy squats, deadlifts, and bench presses.

Having used the Synergee Games Cerakote Bar extensively, I've noticed how the high-quality shaft stands up to the elements, warding off rust and corrosion even in my humid garage gym.

Furthermore, both sleeves have five needle bearings which leads to faster spinning.

One of the downsides is that the bar doesn't come with a chrome sleeve option, which doesn't add much to its durability [5].

Product Facts:

9 - XMark Blackhawk

Rated 4.7/5
4.7
Durability
4.7
Weight
4.7
Price
XMark Blackhawk
  • Alloy Steel
  • 185k Tensile Strength
  • 28 mm Diameter

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • The knurls are grippy and solid
  • The rotation of the barbell is great
  • The needle bearings are smooth and operate well

Cons

  • Misses center knurling for squats

XMark Blackhawk bar comes with medium knurling and can handle up to 185k PSI of tensile strength.

After an accidental drop during a heavy set, the XMark Blackhawk proved its mettle, withstanding the impact without a bend or scratch. In addition, it is built from high-quality steel, which adds to its durability [6].

It is affordable and has a medium knurling, which is neither rough nor soft.

However, the bar tends to collect dust and stay wet, so you will have to maintain it regularly to have a bigger lifespan.

Product Facts:

10 - RitFit ToughFit 7FT Olympic Barbell (Cheapest Option)

Rated 4.7/5
4.7
Durability
4.7
Weight
4.6
Price
RitFit ToughFit 7FT Olympic Barbell
  • 28 mm Diameter
  • 500 Pounds Weight Limit
  • Chrome Finish

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • It doesn't slip from hands when heavy lifting
  • Very fast shipping
  • The grooved sleeves perfectly fit the 2’’ barbell plates

Cons

  • The color tends to come off after a couple of sessions

RitFit ToughFit 7FT Olympic barbell has a solid construction and a weight capacity of 1200 lbs, which is excellent for the majority of heavy lifters.

It has a grip size of 28 mm, making it excellent for performing heavy deadlifts.

Also, I found this Olympic barbell is coated with chrome on the sleeves and has a black oxide finish on the shaft, which makes it among the most durable barbells I used.

However, the knurling may be too aggressive for some lifters, and the more inexperienced ones may hurt their hands due to bigger friction.

Product Facts:

How We Tested the Best Budget Barbells

Here's how we chose the best affordable barbells:

1. Material

We tested barbells constructed from high-grade steel, noting their tensile strength and resilience. Our hands-on approach revealed that a barbell boasting a tensile strength of at least 190,000 PSI could endure heavy lifts without warping, a crucial benchmark for both beginners and seasoned lifters looking for reliability without breaking the bank.

2. Knurling

Our testing protocol included evaluating the knurling on each barbell, as this feature is pivotal for a secure grip. We gripped, lifted, and performed multiple sets to ensure that the knurling was firm enough to enhance our hold but not so aggressive as to cause undue discomfort or calluses.

We paid special attention to the presence and quality of center knurling, which can be a game-changer for exercises like squats, providing extra stability against the back.

3. Weight Capacity

We loaded each budget barbell to its maximum advertised weight capacity to test its limits. Our goal was to ensure that the barbells could handle the stated loads without any signs of bending or instability. This step was vital, as it confirmed whether the barbells would be able to support a lifter's progression in weight over time.

4. Sleeve Rotation

We tested the smoothness of the rotation under various loads. By performing snatches and jerks, we assessed how the rotation of the sleeves affected the fluidity of the lifts and the strain on our wrists.

The best budget barbells featured sleeves that rotated with just the right amount of spin, reducing torque and facilitating a smoother lift.

5. Bar Length and Diameter

We considered the bar length and diameter to ensure compatibility with a range of body types and lifting preferences. We had lifters of different statures use barbells of standard lengths and diameters, taking note of how well they accommodated various wingspans and grip widths.

The best budget barbells offer a comfortable fit for a diverse group of users, making them versatile additions to any home gym.

6. Durability

To gauge durability, we didn't shy away from putting these barbells through rigorous and repeated use. We dropped them from overhead, loaded them to capacity, and even exposed them to the elements where applicable.

The barbells that impressed us most were those that showed little to no signs of wear, such as deformation or compromised finish, after months of consistent use.

Buyer's Guide

A person online shopping on her phone

If you are still trying to decide which budget barbell is recommended for your home gym equipment list, I have listed some factors below to guide you.

"Similar to any other big home gym equipment purchase, buying a barbell should be handled with care and attention."

- Jake Boly, Certified Personal Trainer

How to Find the Best Budget Barbell for Your Home Gym?

To find the best budget barbell for your home gym, you need to consider your goals, how you intend to use it, its weight capacity, build quality, and more.

Also, yield and tensile strength play a significant role in selecting a barbell since those are closely related to the overall durability of the barbell.

In addition, everything starts with a budget, so before you even begin searching for the perfect barbell, set the price tag immediately.

Related: 10 Best Barbells For Your Home Gym

Intended Purpose

A person working out in the gym with a barbell

All classic barbells fall into the categories of multipurpose or hybrid, Olympic, and power bars.

Depending on your intended purpose, you will choose the category accordingly.

The general rule is that the lower you go with the price, the blurrier the line gets between a multipurpose bar and an Olympic bar.

Most of the Olympic barbells have dual knurl markings.

Generally, these barbells can't be used by a professional Olympic weightlifter but are an excellent option for recreational Olympic lifters since they offer enough quality for the price.

Simply put, if you aren't sure which of these three categories you fall into, go with a multipurpose bar.

A multipurpose bar is a jack of all trades and, in my opinion, the best option for all beginner lifters looking for a budget barbell.

Weight Capacity of a Budget Barbell

Weight capacity plays another significant role in choosing the best budget barbell for your home gym since you don't want to buy something that can't withstand the amount of weight you want to lift.

You need to look for a couple of factors, and one of them is the quality of steel.

This is important because the bar can be listed to have 1500 lbs weight capacity, but if the steel isn't made from a high-quality and durable material, this doesn't count.

Most manufacturers lie about the weight capacity, and that's why you must evaluate the material quality first.

Yield and Tensile Strength

A person lifting a barbell at a home gym

The tensile strength is mainly important to evaluate if the bar is going to break, get damaged, or wear off when you drop it loaded with heavy weights on the floor.

The higher the tensile strength number, the less chance the barbell gets damaged after throwing it to the floor with a bunch of weights on it.

Keep in mind that barbells below 165 PSI might bend, and those below 150k shouldn't even be considered because they are the least durable.

Spin

Most of the budget barbells on the list will have a decent system in the sleeves that allows them to spin properly.

The quality spinning system is important because when the barbell spins, it protects your wrists from sudden changes in direction, making you less prone to injuries.

Usually, the power bars have little to no spin since stability is the most important factor when performing different squat variations, deadlifts, and bench presses.

Finish of the Sleeves and Shaft

A person working out with a barbell

How resistant your barbell is to mechanical and chemical abuse is mainly determined by its finish or coating of it.

Most of the budget barbells are coated in either Chrome or Zinc and only for use Cerakote or inferior phosphate.

Stainless steel is generally missing in budget picks, so you should always look for barbells that come with hard chrome to ensure durability.

Warranty of a Good Budget Barbell

All budget barbells on our list have at least 1-year warranty.

However, some even include a lifetime warranty. In addition, one of the things you should look for when you see a 1-year warranty is tensile strength and quality of steel.

If the tensile strength is well below 150k PSI, there is a great chance that the barbell will wear off or break faster.

Price of a Budget Barbell

In my opinion, the budget is the most important to set at the beginning of your buying journey, so you can filter through the more expensive budget pieces and be left with the ones that are well within your price range.

Most of the barbells on our list are between $150 and $300.

"Owning a home gym is convenient, cost-effective in the long run, and more private."

- Andrew Gutman, Certified Personal Trainer

Who Should Buy a Budget Barbell for a Home Gym?

A woman working out with a budget barbell in her home gym

A budget barbell is a must-have piece of home gym equipment for:

  • Beginners: Those new to weightlifting who are still learning proper form and technique can benefit from a budget barbell. It allows for practice and progression without the intimidation or unnecessary features of more advanced barbells.
  • Home gym starters: Individuals who are just starting to build their home gym will find a budget barbell an essential and versatile piece of equipment that can be used for full-body workouts.
  • Casual lifters: Not everyone is training for competitions. Casual lifters who want to maintain or improve their fitness can utilize a budget barbell for regular strength training sessions.
  • Space-savers: For those with limited space, a barbell can replace several pieces of equipment, making it a practical choice for small home gyms.

Related Article: 10 Recommended Barbell Exercises

Who Shouldn’t Buy a Budget Barbell for a Home Gym?

Everybody who isn't into Olympic lifts, powerlifting, or staple lifts, such as bench press, squat, and deadlift, shouldn't buy a budget barbell for a home gym.

In addition, there is no need to buy a barbell for your home gym if you are still a beginner lifter since you should probably start with some bodyweight training first.

Also, if you plan to use your barbell only a few times a month and leave it in your home gym to collect dust and rust, there is no need to buy it and waste money.

How to Clean and Maintain Barbells

Here's how to clean and maintain your barbells:

  • Clean regularly: Wipe your barbell after each use with a dry cloth. For a deeper clean, use a soft brush and, if necessary, mild detergent, then dry thoroughly.
  • Prevent rust: Lightly oil the bar occasionally with 3-in-1 oil or barbell maintenance oil, focusing on the sleeves and any bare metal.
  • Store properly: Keep the barbell horizontal on a rack or off the ground, and never store it loaded with weights to prevent bending.
  • Inspect often: Regularly check for signs of wear like rust, bending, or cracking, and ensure end caps and sleeve rotation are in good condition.
  • Avoid dropping: Don't drop the barbell on hard surfaces without proper bumper plates and a lifting platform to absorb the shock.
  • Use collars: Always secure weights with collars to prevent damage to the sleeves and ensure safety during lifts.

Barbell Exercises Beyond the Basics

Incorporating advanced barbell exercises into your routine can significantly enhance your strength training program. Here’s which beyond-the-basics barbell exercises you can do with barbells:

  • Landmine Press
  • Barbell Hip Thrust
  • Pendlay Row
  • Zercher Squat
  • Overhead Squat:

When performing these exercises, start with a lighter weight to master the movement before progressing to heavier loads.

Also, consider incorporating these exercises into your routine 1-2 times a week to improve your overall strength and conditioning.

FAQs

Which Barbell Is Good for Home Gyms?

The Ohio bar is a good barbell for a home gym. However, any barbell that has more than 150k of tensile strength and is built from high-quality and durable steel can be suitable for a home gym.

How Much Should I Spend On A Barbell?

You should spend anywhere between $150 and $350 on a barbell. This price range has many excellent and high-quality home gym barbells to offer.

What Size Barbell Is Best?

The best size for a barbell is anywhere between 28 mm and 29 mm in diameter. These two diameters or grip sizes are the best for Olympic lifting and exercises such as deadlifts, squats, and bench presses.

Our Verdict on the Best Budget Barbell for a Home Gym

Our tests showed that the Rogue Fitness Bella Bar 2.0. is the best choice for the best budget barbells.

During the months I used it, I found its grip strikes the perfect balance between comfort and control, a feature that has earned it a place in CrossFit gyms and our own workouts alike.

The barbell's construction is not just smooth but inspires confidence in every lift, aiding in precise control over a diverse range of exercises.

If you're looking to elevate your home gym with a barbell that meets professional standards without stretching your budget, the Rogue Fitness Bella Bar 2.0 is the investment to make.

Our #1 Recommendation

Rogue Fitness Bella Bar 2.0 (Best Overall)

Rogue Fitness Bella Bar 2.0

Rated With Total Shape's Scoring System

5.0
Durability
5.0
Weight
5.0
Price
Pros
  • Perfect for women who lift a significant amount of weights due to its grip size
  • It arrives in just two days
  • Highly durable, and it doesn't wear off
  • It offers just the right amount of spin
  • Get the BEST PRICE until the end of April
Cons
  • Black zinc coating fades after some time
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About The Author

James Cunningham, BSc, CPT
Staff Writer & Senior Coach
James Cunningham, BSc, CPT holds a BSc degree in Sport & Exercise Science from University of Hertfordshire. He's a Health & Performance Coach from London that brings a unique blend of academic knowledge of health supplements and practical exercise experience to the table for his readers.
Learn more about our editorial policy
Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC
Staff Writer & Senior Coach
Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC is an ex-National Soccer player turned MMA and Kickboxing champion, with ACE CPT and PN1-NC certifications. His advice is rooted in education and experience, ensuring that readers receive scientific and battle-tested insights. His mission is to empower his clients and readers to realize their potential and become the best versions of themselves.
Learn more about our editorial policy

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Our durability score is based 3 factors including: material quality, maintenance, and warranty terms. The score is a measure of objective test results against set standards. For more information see our durability score explanation here.
Our weight score is based 2 factors including: portability and total weight. The score is a blended calculation of subjective measures and objective tests against product specifications. For more information see our weight score explanation here.
Our price score is based 3 factors including: cost justification, market comparison, and overall value. The score is a subjective measurement of the product's value against its price when compared to similar products. For more information see our price score explanation here.
Our scoring system is the result of objective testing data and subjective expert analysis by a team of fitness coaches and medical experts. Our scoring factors are weighted based on importance. For more information, see our product review guidelines.