Best Barbells iMore 2020
Barbells a one of the few pieces of equipment that are essential when it comes to strength training. There are many different varieties of barbells, so there's a lot to consider when picking out the right one for you. The Synergee Games Barbell has the most features and it'll be sure to get the job done.
- Best Overall Olympic Style: Synergee Games Barbell
- The Upgrade Olympic Style: CAP Barbell Warrior Bar
- Best Budget Olympic Style Barbell: CAP OB-60
- Best Mid-range Olympic Style Barbell: XMark VOODOO
- Best Standard Size Barbell: CAP RB-60 Standard Bar
Best Overall Olympic Style: Synergee Games
Synergee is a small company that started in Michigan with a gym, but as the company flourished, so did the desire to create their own super high-quality fitness products. Plus, it managed to keep it affordable for everyone. In 2014, Syergee released its first barbell, the S-1, and it was a hit. Building on that, they created more versions of it, and one of those is the Synergee Games barbell.
The Synergee Games barbell is made from 190,000 PSI tensile strength steel and given an extremely durable Cerakote coating. You can trust that it's a bar that can get you through everything from standard presses and cleans to advanced CrossFit movements. Their dual knurl marks and good whip help this bar be a reliable performer for both Olympic and Power lifts. The Synergee Games barbell has black sleeves and 10 Needle Bearings (5 Per Sleeve) to allow for a smooth spin to reduce strain on the body when lifting weights.
The bar comes in a black, red, gray, or pink shaft and either a red or black Synergee logo on the shaft. The shaft also has an excellent feeling diamond pattern knurled grip with dual knurl marks indicators for powerlifting or Olympic lifts. While this bar may not be for the most intense powerlifters out there, it is a great piece of hardware that can handle some serious weight.
- High-quality 190K PSI tensile steel
- 10 Needle Bearings (5 Per Sleeve)
- Dual knurl marks and grip
- Bearings aren't completely silent and may be bothersome
- Black finish on the sleeves wears off quickly
Best Overall Olympic Style
Synergee is more than a buzzword
A high quality, durable, general weight lifting bar with great sleeve spin, and the grip is almost perfect for any lift.
The Upgrade Olympic Style: CAP Barbell Warrior Bar
The Warrior Bar from CAP an extremely durable barbell with a stronger 230,000 PSI tensile strength stainless steel that maintains a good whip quality. This bar comes in a hard chrome finished shaft with dual knurl marks as well as a knurled center. The sleeves have over-sized self-lubricating bushings and a ten-pin needle bearing to ensure you get smooth, consistent spin while lifting.
Along with the high tensile strength steel, this cold-rolled steel barbell has a weight capacity of 1,800 pounds, so you know that it can handle whatever you throw at it. The great sleeve spin, high tensile strength, and nearly one-ton weight capacity mean this barbell will help you power through your toughest workouts.
- 230K PSI tensile strength stainless steel
- Good whip
- The knurled grip is aggressive without being uncomfortable
- Lifters may prefer quieter spin in the sleeves
- Chrome coating can chip off, allowing rust in higher moisture climates
The Upgrade Olympic Style
Go to battle
Take the Overall Winner, but increased strength to 230K PSI, use bushings, and ten-pin needle bearings to get a superb barbell.
Best Budget Olympic Style Barbell: CAP OB-60
CAP has been making fitness equipment for 30-years, and their OB-60 bar is a great starter bar. The cold-rolled steel bar has a tensile strength of 63,800 PSI and has a medium-depth diamond pattern for a grip. With a five foot length, it is enough for most home work-outs — especially if there is limited space.
The sleeves utilize bushings to allow them to spin while in use to reduce strain on your forearms and wrists. The bar also has a chrome plating that gives it a nice finish yet can chip off and allow for corrosion.
- Short length for lifters with limited space
- Bushings in sleeves for allowing for spin
- Good starter bar for lighter weights
- Lower tensile strength
- Bushings in the sleeves can wear out
- Coating chips off easily allowing corrosion
Best Budget Olympic Style Barbell
CAP OB-60 bar is an entry-level bar or for limited space. It has spinning sleeves and good grip, but lower tensile strength.
Best Mid-range Olympic Style Barbell: XMark VOODOO
VOODOO bar from XMark has a lot going for it in this price range. Made from heat-treated alloy steel, it has a nice tensile strength of 185K PSI. You'll get a moderate whip and a weight capacity of around 1500 pounds. This bar has dual knurl rings and a good diamond pattern grip to allow this bar to work for both Olympic training as well as powerlifting routines.
The VOODOO comes with a black manganese phosphate coating that not only has a nice look to it but also is extremely durable. The sleeves have a micro-groove treatment to help collars and weights slide around less. Bearings are also included in the sleeve construction to allow spinning while working out to reduce strain. XMark VOODOO is a solid choice for upgrading your entry-level bar while not breaking the bank.
- Good 185K PSI tensile strength
- Dual knurl marks
- Spinning sleeves
- Bearings on the sleeves may wear out faster than others
- Uncoated areas show corrosion quickly without treatment
Best Mid-range Olympic Style Barbell
It's not magic; it's VOODOO
Solid steel, spinning sleeves, with 185K PSI tensile strength means this bar will get you through nearly lift you throw at it.
Best Standard Size Barbell: CAP RB-60 Standard Bar
While most gyms you visit will have the Olympic style bars with the larger two-inch sleeves, there are still plenty of home gyms that prefer to utilize the one-inch plates. This is where the standard barbell comes in. CAP makes two options when it comes to this style of barbell: threaded sleeve or smooth sleeve. They also come in different bar lengths depending on your needs. Regardless if you choose the threaded or smooth sleeve, the size of the sleeve stays the same.
Standard bars are good for general, lightweight training as they have lower tensile strength and weight capacity. The CAP RB-60 standard bar has a 250-pound capacity limit so that it won't be useful for powerlifters. The bar has a good knurled grip with a polished chrome steel finish. Should you choose the threaded sleeve, a threaded collar will be necessary to keep the plates from sliding off, rather than a standard tension collar.
- Suitable for beginners with a home gym
- Various length and finishes
- Simple to move into different lifts
- Low weight capacity
- Weight plates can be less common
Best Standard Size Barbell
Just the standards
A no-frills barbell that's great for beginners with a home gym. Works for a wide variety of lifts, just no powerlifting.
Whether you are new to strength training or a veteran, a quality barbell is a must. While it might be a bit of a misnomer, the standard barbell is far less common than Olympic style barbells. That doesn't mean there isn't a place for them in the fitness world. Personally, it's what I have in my home gym due to cost, and I was gifted a bunch of standard size plates. However, when possible, go with the Olympic style barbell as the plate is far more ubiquitous. Plus, the barbell will give you far more flexibility in lifts that will be possible with it.
For the barbell that will not only be a great starter but will also last you a very long time, you can't go wrong with the Synergee Games barbell. Using a high tensile strength of 190K PSI and a process to add durability with Cerakote coating, this bar can withstand almost anything you can throw at it. Its high durability and strength, with a limited whip, is what helps this bar not only be an excellent option for powerlifters but also work for CrossFit athletes as well. The inclusion of 10 Needle Bearings in the sleeves gives it a good spin for reduced strain on the lifter. So whether you are looking for your first barbell or you're ready to upgrade, there are plenty of options out there for you.
Credits — The team that worked on this guide
Chris Wedel is a fan of all things tech. Living in the rural midwest with his wife and two young boys can make finding ways to stay connected with all the gadgets and streaming services complicated, but it's a welcomed challenge. Bring it on!
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