Best Barbells 2023: Reviews & Buying Guide

When looking for a new barbell, you may find yourself scouring the internet in an effort to figure out which one is right for you.

Maybe you already have a bar but you want a better one or maybe you’re a beginner looking to buy your first bar.

Regardless of your reason for desiring a new barbell, the amount of information that you’ll come across in your search for one can be overwhelming. This is especially true if you’ve never purchased one and don’t know what to look for.

To choose the right barbell, you not only need to compare the quality and cost of different bars, but you also need to identify what type of barbell is best for you based on your training goals. For example, if you’re going to be performing the main barbell lifts – the squat, bench press, deadlift, overhead press, row, barbell curl and power clean – and you only want to buy one bar, you shouldn’t choose a deadlift bar, which is made specifically for deadlifting.

In this article, we’ll not only be reviewing some of the best barbells available, but we’ll also tell you what things you should consider when shopping for one.

Best Multipurpose Barbells

Rogue Bar 2.0

Rogue Bar 2.0

Rogue Fitness is one of the best barbell manufacturers out there, and after taking a look at the Rogue Bar 2.0, it’s easy to see why.

The bar weighs 20kg/44lbs, and has a shaft diameter of 28.5mm. It’s made using strong 190 PSI steel and includes durable composite bushings. The bushings are self-lubricating, meaning they’ll spin well.

The Rogue bar 2.0 has a black zinc shaft and bright zinc sleeves. The color of the sleeves and shaft give it a sleek look. Additionally, the sleeves have grooves that allow you to add silicone bracelets that come in a variety of colors to them.

This bar has dual knurl marks like the original Rogue Bar, making it great for Olympic weightlifting, powerlifting, or CrossFit. In fact, Rogue changed the knurling a bit for the 2.0. It now has medium knurl aggressivity, which makes it more powerlifting friendly. Also, like many multipurpose barbells, the Rogue Bar 2.0 lacks center knurling.

Although this isn’t the cheapest barbell out there, it’s also not the most expensive. You get what you pay for, and you’ll definitely get the right amount of bang for your buck if you choose this one. Also, you can’t beat the lifetime guarantee offered by Rogue on all of their bars.

The Rogue Bar 2.0 is perfect for new home gym owners and anyone looking to replace an old barbell. It’s definitely one of the best around.

Rogue Ohio Bar

Rogue Ohio Bar

Not to be confused with the Rogue Ohio Power Bar, the Rogue Ohio Bar is another great multipurpose bar from Rogue Fitness. Whether you’re a powerlifter, Olympic weightlifter or CrossFitter, it’s a great option.

The Rogue Ohio bar is made of 190k PSI steel, the same as the Rogue Bar 2.0. It comes in four available finishes – black oxide, black/bright zinc, Cerakote (ceramic-based), E-coat, and stainless steel.

The bronze bushings allow the sleeves to spin smoothly, which also reduces wear and tear. The end caps are adorned with the Rogue Ohio Bar logo.

This bar is fairly priced. Just know that each finish option is priced differently, with the higher-quality ones costing more. The black zinc and E-coat finishes are the least expensive, and the stainless steel finish is the most expensive.

The Rogue Ohio bar is an awesome multipurpose bar. The quality, appearance, and durability of this bar make it a great choice for all of your recreational and/or competitive training needs.

American Barbell California Bar

American Barbell California Bar

Prior to the release of the California Bar, American Barbell only sold Olympic weightlifting bars. This is their first attempt at making a bar for functional athletes, and considering it’s their first try, they did an amazing job.

Built for CrossFitters, the California Bar is durable and has the specifications expected of a top-quality weightlifting bar. Its tensile strength is 190k, which is the standard for a barbell of its caliber.

Finished with Cerakote and made from alloy steel, this bar is more resistant to corrosion and abrasion than others. Cerakote is used by many firearm manufacturers because it can stand up to harsh treatment.

The sleeves rotate via composite bushings, which make for a smooth spin and a reduction in friction and wear.

The California Bar comes with dual knurl marks. The knurling isn’t as coarse as other bars, making it a great choice for lifters who don’t like super aggressive knurling.

Manufacturing a good barbell isn’t cheap, but this bar is fairly priced considering its quality. Though it’s not the cheapest multipurpose bar out there, it’s not the most expensive either.

American Barbell offers a limited lifetime warranty for this bar, so you can rest assured that this manufacturer stands behind their work.

Because of its design, durability, and feel, the American Barbell California bar really stands out from its competition. You can’t go wrong choosing this one!

Best Olympic Weightlifting Barbells

American Barbell Stainless Steel Bearing Bar

American Barbell Stainless Steel Bearing Bar

The first Olympic weightlifting barbell we’ll be looking at is the American Barbell Stainless Steel Bearing Bar. This bar has a 28mm stainless steel shaft that was crafted with precision technology to ensure that it’s perfectly straight.

The stainless steel finish not only allows for easy maintenance and less corrosion but also gives the knurling a “raw” feel. Also, like many Olympic weightlifting bars, this bar has center knurling.

The sleeves include a bearing system with a protective ring that prevents chalk from getting into the bearings.

This barbell has a 190k PSI tensile strength rating, making it on par with many other popular Olympic weightlifting bars.

While the American Barbell Stainless Steel Bearing Bar’s quality is great, the price is not. It’s probably priced higher than what most people are comfortable spending. Don’t get us wrong, it’s worth the quality, but a barbell that’s this expensive may not be for everyone.

All in all, this bar has a lot to offer. Though the cost is a little high, it’s worth it. The American Barbell Stainless Steel Bearing Bar’s high-quality construction makes it an exceptional piece of equipment.

Vulcan 20KG V4.0 Elite 28 MM Olympic Barbell

Vulcan 20KG V4.0 28MM Olympic Barbell

Next up is the Vulcan 20KG V4.0 28MM Olympic Barbell, which has all the key features of a high-quality Olympic barbell.

This barbell is made of chrome molybdenum steel, which minimizes corrosion, and in turn, reduces how frequently the bar must be cleaned to keep it in tip-top shape. To complement the steel, the bar was coated with a thin-dense chrome matte finish.

The Vulcan 20KG V4.0 Elite has a 28mm shaft and is verified by the manufacturer as having a 221k PSI tensile rating.

The knurling is moderately aggressive, giving you just the right amount of grip for performing Olympic weightlifting exercises.

Another great thing about this bar is that it doesn’t cost as much as other bars of similar quality, making it more budget-friendly.

If you’re looking for an affordable barbell, the Vulcan 20KG V4.0 28MM Olympic Barbell is a good choice. It’s not as expensive as some of its competitors.

If you choose the Vulcan 20KG V4.0 28MM Olympic Barbell, you can expect a high-quality barbell for a price that won’t break the bank. This bar is a good option if you’re just starting out with weightlifting and don’t want to spend a ton of money.

Rogue Olympic Weightlifting Bar

Rouge Olympic Weightlifting Bar - Stainless Steel

Another great contender is the Rogue Olympic Weightlifting Bar. Starting with the basics, it has the standard 28mm shaft and weighs 20kg.

Its tensile strength rating is 215k PSI, and like many other Rogue barbells, this one comes in multiple finish options.

This bar doesn’t include center knurling, which can be good for those that have a problem with a barbell’s center knurling scraping their chest/collar area when holding or catching the bar in the rack position.

The Rogue Olympic WL Bar is equipped with friction-welded sleeves and needle bearings, guaranteeing that the sleeves spin smoothly.

Because of its tensile strength and diameter, this barbell produces the right amount of “whip” for performing Olympic lifts.

The general cost for the Rogue Olympic WL bar is pretty standard compared to other bars, with the price depending on the finish option you choose. Basically, its cost fits right in the middle of the price spectrum for Olympic barbells of its caliber.

Overall, the Rogue Olympic Weightlifting Bar is exceptional and reasonably priced, making it a great addition to any Olympic weightlifter’s home gym.

The Best Powerlifting Barbells

Texas Power Bar

Buddy Capps Texas Power Bar

Buddy Capps has been manufacturing the Texas Power Bar for four decades, so its design has been perfected, making it one of the best powerlifting barbells on the market. It’s been used in national and world powerlifting championship meets since 1980, and is virtually indestructible.

The bar weighs 20kg/44lbs and has a shaft diameter of 28.5mm. It’s tensile strength is 186k PSI, which is slightly less than similar bars. Don’t let the tensile strength fool you, though. Because of its solid construction, it’s highly unlikely that this bar will ever snap or permanently bend.

This bar has aggressive knurling, so you’ll have a nice, solid grip when deadlifting. If you prefer moderate knurling, you may want to look elsewhere because this bar’s knurling is somewhat aggressive.

The shaft has a black zinc finish and the sleeves are raw steel, giving it a rugged, hardcore look. The end caps are branded with the Buddy Capps logo.

The price is in the mid-range when compared to similar barbells, which is reasonable for such a high-quality and legendary barbell.

Whether your goals are competitive or recreational, the Texas Power Bar can help you achieve them. It’s a fairly priced force to be reckoned with.

Rogue Ohio Power Bar

Rogue Ohio Power Bar

Here we are again, looking at another high-quality Rogue barbell. This time, it’s the Rogue Ohio Power Bar.

This bar is available in 20kg and 44lb versions, with a shaft diameter of 29mm, which is normal for powerlifting barbells.

The Ohio Power Bar has a 205k PSI tensile strength rating, so you won’t have to worry about it permanently bending. Also, this bar is about as stiff as they come, so you’ll barely get any whip when using it.

The bar’s knurling is aggressive, but not sharp, providing a good grip while minimizing the chances of you ripping your hands open while gripping it.

It has bronze bushings that provide excellent bar spin, even though this isn’t a requirement for performing the powerlifting lifts. You’ll have to periodically lubricate the bushings to keep them spinning smoothly, which is typical for any barbell.

The finish options are bare steel, black zinc/bright zinc, stainless/chrome, and Cerakote. The Cerakote finish is available in different colors, which is quite cool. The 20kg bar is only available in black zinc/bright zinc and stainless/chrome.

The price of this bar will depend on the version you choose. The 20kg version is more expensive than the 45lb version, and the finishes are priced differently as well, with bare steel being the least expensive and stainless/chrome being the most expensive.

With Rogue’s track record as an outstanding strength training equipment manufacturer and the Ohio Power Bar’s lifetime guarantee, this bar is a great option.

American Barbell Power Bar

American Barbell Power Bar

Despite being one of the least talked about powerlifting barbells, the American Barbell Power Bar is one of the best in its price range.

This bar weighs 20kg, has a 29mm shaft diameter, and has a tensile rating of 190k PSI, which is the standard for power bars. Its precision-grade alloy steel and the strength of its shaft make it a powerful bar with very little “whip”.

The American Barbell Power Bar uses a bushing system for its sleeves that provides good bar spin. Although bar spin is irrelevant if you only plan on performing powerlifting exercises, it’s nice to know that the manufacturer didn’t skimp on the sleeve assembly’s construction.

The shaft and sleeves sport a hard chrome finish, which is much more resistant to corrosion than zinc. Because of this, the bar won’t require a significant amount of cleaning.

This barbell’s knurling isn’t overly aggressive or sharp, but it still allows you to get a good grip on the bar. As is the case with all powerlifting barbells, this bar features center knurling.

The American Barbell Power Bar is priced in the mid-range. When compared to similar bars that have a hard chrome finish, the price is pretty reasonable.

The American Barbell Power Bar is great for people who want a low-maintenance barbell for their home gym. It definitely won’t disappoint.

Choosing the Right Barbell

Not all barbells are created equal, so when shopping for one, it helps to know how to identify its quality and what type of bar it is. In this section, we’ll be going over the features and specifications you need to be familiar with when shopping for a new barbell.

Types of Barbells

When looking for a new bar, the first question you’ll need to answer is “What type of bar am I looking for?” The answer to this question will depend on your training goals. In this sub-section, we’ll be taking a look at the different types of barbells that are available.

Olympic Weightlifting

An Olympic weightlifter performing the barbell snatch at a weightlifting compeittion

In the sport of Olympic weightlifting, lifters perform two lifts at competitions – the clean and jerk and snatch – and when performed, each lift attempt (three attempts per lift) is judged to determine whether the lift was successful or not. An Olympic weightlifting barbell is used to perform these lifts, and it comes in two versions, one for men and one for women.

Men’s Olympic Bar Specifications

  • Weight: 20kg (44lbs)
  • Bar length: 2200mm (around 7′)
  • Shaft diameter: 28mm
  • Loadable sleeve length: 415mm (around 16 1/4”)
  • Knurl marks: Olympic weightlifting
  • Center knurling: Depends on the bar
  • Rotation system: Bearings

Women’s Olympic Bar Specifications

  • Weight: 15kg (33lbs)
  • Bar length: 2010mm (around 6′ 5”)
  • Shaft diameter: 25mm
  • Loadable sleeve length: 320mm (around 1′)
  • Knurl marks: Olympic weightlifting
  • Center knurling: Depends on the bar
  • Rotation system: Bearings

Knurl Marks

The knurl marks on Olympic weightlifting bars are wider than those found on powerlifting bars. The location of the knurl marks is meant to help identify proper hand placement when performing an exercise.

Center Knurling

Competition bars typically have center knurling, even though many lifters prefer not to train with bars that have center knurling because the knurling can scrape your neck while in the rack position.


Olympic barbells should have a fair amount of whip. This will allow for a smoother pull when initiating the clean and jerk, and if timed correctly, the oscillation of the bar can help a lifter at both the bottom and “jerk” portions of the lift.

Sleeve Assembly

Olympic bars use bearings, as opposed to bushings, in their sleeve assembly. Bearings allow a barbell’s sleeves to spin smoothly, which is necessary for performing the Olympic lifts. They’re also fairly expensive, which increases the cost of the bar.


A powerlifter performing the barbell bench press during a powerlifting competition

The lifts performed at a powerlifting competition are the squat, bench press, and deadlift. Similar to Olympic weightlifting, a lifter gets three attempts at each of these lifts and is judged on each. There are three types of powerlifting barbells – power, squat, and deadlift bars.

Power Bar Specifications

  • Weight: 45lbs
  • Bar length: 7′
  • Shaft diameter: 29mm
  • Loadable sleeve length: 16 1/4”
  • Knurl marks: Powerlifting
  • Center knurling: Yes
  • Rotation system: Bushings

Squat Bar Specifications

  • Weight: 55lbs
  • Bar length: 8′
  • Shaft diameter: 30mm
  • Loadable sleeve length: 17 1/2”
  • Knurl marks: Powerlifting
  • Center knurling: Yes
  • Rotation system: Bushings

Deadlift Bar Specifications

  • Weight: 45lbs
  • Bar length: 7′ 6”
  • Shaft diameter: 27mm
  • Loadable sleeve length: 14 1/2”
  • Knurl marks: Powerlifting
  • Center knurling: No
  • Rotation system: Bushings

Knurl Marks

The knurl marks on powerlifting bars aren’t spaced out as far apart as those found on Olympic weightlifting bars. When performing the squat, bench, or deadlift, the lifter’s hand placement is usually narrower than when performing the Olympic lifts.

Center Knurling

Power bars and squat bars have center knurling because it helps prevent the bar from sliding down your back when squatting. Deadlift bars don’t have center knurling because it doesn’t serve any purpose when performing the deadlift.


Power and squat bars are constructed to be stiff. When bench pressing or squatting, you don’t want a bar with a lot of whip. Deadlift bars have lots of whip because the whip makes the concentric part of the deadlift, or the “pull”, feel smoother and allows you to lift more weight.

Sleeve Assembly

Powerlifting bars use bushings instead of bearings. Because of the nature of the power lifts, a powerlifting barbell’s sleeves don’t have to spin as smoothly as an Olympic weightlifting barbell’s sleeves.


Lifters at a CrossFit gym performing exercises multipurpose barbells

Multipurpose barbells combine the characteristics of Olympic weightlifting and powerlifting barbells. Its most recognizable feature is that it has both Olympic weightlifting and powerlifting knurl markings.

Men’s Multipurpose Bar Specifications

  • Weight: 20kg
  • Bar length: 7′
  • Shaft diameter: 28.5mm
  • Loadable sleeve length: 16 1/2”
  • Knurl marks: Olympic weightlifting and powerlifting
  • Center knurling: Depends on the bar
  • Rotation system: Bushings

Women’s Multipurpose Bar Specifications

  • Weight:15kg
  • Bar length: 6 1/2′
  • Shaft diameter: 25mm
  • Loadable sleeve length: 13”
  • Knurl marks: Olympic weightlifting and powerlifting
  • Center knurling: Depends on the bar
  • Rotation system: Bushings

Important Specifications, Characteristics, and Features

A loaded barbell lying on a gym floor - Best barbells

Tensile Strength and Yield Rating

You’ll see many barbell manufacturers give a “weight capacity” for their bars, but that isn’t as accurate as a “tensile strength rating”. The tensile rating tells you how much force a bar can take before it breaks. As a rule of thumb, a bar that has a tensile rating in the ballpark of 190,000 PSI is pretty strong, although there are exceptions.

There’s also the less-mentioned “yield rating”, which tells you how much force can be applied to a bar before it’s no longer able to revert back to its original shape (straight). In other words, the yield rating tells you how flexible the bar is.

Shaft Diameter

The diameter of the shaft is important when performing lifts that require you to pull the bar from the floor, such as the deadlift and clean and jerk. The thinner the bar, the easier it’ll be to maintain your grip. With the squat and bench press, maintaining your grip isn’t as difficult, so bars that cater to them can be slightly thicker.


The knurling is the rough part of the bar shaft. Its purpose is to help you maintain your grip when performing a lift. Some bars have coarser, or more aggressive, knurling than others. While aggressive knurling can be helpful when deadlifting, it can also be uncomfortable on your hands. Choosing a bar with the right knurling is dependent on personal preference.


The reason for adding a finish, or coating, to a bar is to prevent it from rusting. Finished barbells are resistant to corrosion, although to varying degrees depending on the type of coating. Barbells that don’t have a finish tend to feel better and have sharper knurling, which is why many lifters prefer them. The downside is that they are more prone to oxidation, or rusting. To prevent oxidation, you’ll have to regularly clean your barbell.

Here are some of the most common barbell finish options (in descending order by the least oxidation resistance to the greatest):

  • Stainless steel
  • Hard chrome
  • Cerakote
  • Zinc
  • Black oxide
  • Raw steel (no coating)


When a manufacturer includes a warranty with their product, it shows that they stand behind it. If the bar bends due to faulty manufacturing, and not improper usage, you should be able to contact the manufacturer for a replacement. When buying a new barbell, we recommend only buying those that come with a warranty.

Now You’re Ready to Shop for a Barbell

In an effort to help you make an informed decision, we’ve gone over the most important things to look at when purchasing a barbell. We’ve looked at all the specifications and features you’re most likely to come across, such as the barbell’s type, tensile strength rating, knurling aggressiveness, and finish. Now, you have the knowledge necessary to choose the right bar!

The Bottom Line

Hopefully, this article helped you understand a little bit more about your options when it comes to choosing a barbell and has given you an idea of which barbell you want to purchase.

All of the barbells we reviewed in this article reign supreme in their specific functions and price points, so you can’t go wrong with any of them as long as their functionality aligns with your training goals. They’re all durable, many of them come with lifetime guarantees, and they’re all unique in some way. Whether you’re looking for a multipurpose, powerlifting, or Olympic weightlifting barbell, you should be able to find one that suits your needs.