Check out these plates I got!

What you see is bare steel, with a glassy-smooth clear coat. Looks wicked, right?

The imperfect look of the bare steel is what’s cool about them. Instead of going the obvious route of painting them in standard colors like every other steel powerlifting disc on the market, they left the look of the bare steel alone and applied a clear coat.

Good snug fit on the bar sleeve

The result is something that has an artisan-type uniqueness about them. The coloring doesn’t look perfect. That’s the way bare steel is. Tilt them in the light and you can see all the micro-scratches from the lathe and the discolored areas. Oddly enough this all adds to their appeal, if your taste is like mine.

The yellowish tint you see on some is from an anti-oxidation treatment they apply before the clear coat. Then the clear coat goes on, followed by the weight etching that you can feel on the surface.

The company who makes them, Weight It Out, offered to send me this free sample of plates (one of the perks of being a blogger). I only wanted a few 5lb and 2.5lb plates to replace my old iron ones. The pics online looked interesting. Now that I have them in hand, I like them even more than I thought I would.

They’re a brand new company that started up making these in 2020 when new plates were impossible to find (and are only a little less impossible now as of writing in early 2021), with all the madness going on with the lockdowns and broken supply chains. They’re all US steel, cut and finished in the US.

If you haven’t used steel plates before, listen to the clank sound here…

Totally different noise than iron. Almost sounds like ringing a large bell.

My 5lb plates have spots where the clear coating didn’t fully cover the steel or was rubbed off, above. In the context of the raw steel look it doesn’t seem like a big deal to me. The 2.5lb all have perfect coatings.

It goes to show that they’re still working on getting their processes down. Remember, it’s a new company. Brian told me they’re working on a new coating that’s more of a stainless steel look. I don’t know, I like the raw way they look now, and it would be a shame to mess that up it. Change it too much and it turns into every other steel powerlifting plate. Hopefully they can make the clear coating (which he said is proprietary, so I don’t know what it is) more consistent or whatever is needed to avoid bald spots.

Are They Calibrated?

Let’s clear this up. The term “calibrated” gets thrown around a lot.

Iron plates like the York Legacy Plates or Rogue Deep Dish Plates that are within 2% of the marked weight have been called calibrated (even by me), but strictly speaking they’re just pretty accurate because of the consistent casting and milling done on all sides after the casting to get perfect dimensions and edges, in contrast to plates that have little or no milling done. Iron has some density variation due to different grades, which is why you get less than perfect weight accuracy even after milling.

Steel powerlifting plates for competitions are calibrated in the machining process to within a 10 gram tolerance, or about 1/3 ounce.

I weighed a few of these 5lb and 2.5lb Weight It Out plates, and they were all dead-on or less than an ounce off. The 45lb they say can be off by a couple ounces, which comes to a 0.3% tolerance. They just machine the plates to consistent dimensions, and the consistent density of steel results in this kind of weight accuracy that you won’t get with iron.

Final Thoughts

A couple weeks into owning these, I still walk by and pick one up to admire it. The 2.5lb all look stunning and don’t have the spotty coating issue I mentioned above.

Like any steel plates, you’re paying a lot. These are in no way price-competitive to iron plates. Depending on what weight you get, these are in the ballpark price of the Rogue or Bells of Steel calibrated powerlifting plates, or even a little more on the larger weights. Of course, price means nothing when plates are out of stock.

Worth noting again that these are USA made. Rogue and everyone else has them made outside the US, usually in China.

The sizing is 450mm / 17.72″, making them the right size for deadlifts. As I mentioned in a pic caption further above, the hole sizing is nice and snug.

Really these are for people who like the raw look of them and who also have – or want to get – a bare steel barbell to match.

Imagine a gym with these plates, a bare Ohio Power Bar, and a clear-coat power rack. The youtube video below gives the best look I’ve seen of Rogue’s “satin clear” rack finish, as shown on Jared’s RM-4 rack.

What do you think of the bare steel look? Let me know your thoughts, especially if you have any kind of bare steel / clear coat equipment in your own gym!