General Advantages of an Open Trap Bar

Skip to the next section if you know, but for those unaware, the open-ended design is miles more versatile than a traditional closed trap bar (also called a hex bar), with hardly any disadvantages other than the fact that it’s more expensive.

Perhaps the biggest selling point is the open design lends itself to being propped up onto the open side, with built in feet, for easy plate loading. No more jacking up the bar to load it! You just roll the thing up onto its side and it stays stable on the feet for loading, with enough clearance for any 45lb plates or bumpers. This goes for all models featured here.

The second advantage is when doing lifts on the floor – usually trap bar deadlifts as it was mainly designed for – an open design mitigates the tripping hazard.

Notably you can also do lunges, which is impossible with the restrictions of a closed trap bar. Farmers carries are easier, with more room to take large steps.

When you have it set on the safety bars in a power rack, for doing rack pulls, shrugs, overhead presses or bench presses, you can simply walk into it, or lay down on your bench normally, instead of having to awkwardly crawl your way under it to get inside. Most of the bars featured here are the right width to be “rackable”, except as noted.

Some of these bars have additional design features that make them suitable for cambered bar squats or presses using the frame instead of handles.

As you should see by now, it’s not a dumb gimmick. This is a much-needed alteration to trap bars that’s going to stick around.

Comparison Chart

(scroll right to see all 6)

Eleiko Oppen BarKabuki Trap Bar HDRep Open Trap BarBoS Open Trap BarGiant Northland Open Trap BarTitan Open Trap Bar
24.6″23″, 25″, or 27″23″, 25″, 27″, or rotating 23.6″25″23″
28mm29mm (optional 1″, 1.5″, 2″)28mm (optional 38mm, 48mm)28mm28mm, 38mm32mm, 38mm
Aggro VolcanoAggro VolcanoVolcanoHill (Passive)VolcanoAggro Volcano
Knurl Ring
Powder CoatPowder CoatPowder Coat with Chrome SleevesBlack Oxide Handles with Bright Zinc SleevesPowder CoatPowder Coat with Chrome Sleeves
Weight55 lbs66 lbs58.4 lbs47 lbs45 lbs65 lbs
Made InSwedenUSAChinaChinaChinaChina
Price$970$749$400 & free shipping$300 & free shipping$330 & free shipping$350 & free shipping

A Note on Handle Spacing

25″ spaced handles on a trap bar is suitable for most people. Get one around this size if in doubt. The manufacturers have all settled on this size as standard.

A narrower handle spacing such as 23″ works better typically for women or children with narrower frames, so that they can keep a more vertical arm position, maximizing comfort and gripping ability for heavy weight. On the other hand, 23″ spacing might be perfect for overhead presses or bench presses. Check your preferred grip width on a straight bar, and consider that with a neutral grip you will want to go narrower.

An extra wide handle spacing like 27″ is mainly for larger lifters that simply can’t fit their hips inside otherwise. Handles that are too wide apart for you will feel a little awkward and require you squat deeper in the starting position to reach them.

Eleiko Oppen Bar

Eleiko Oppen Bar

Eleiko is one of only two brands here (along with Rep Fitness) with a round tubing frame that is wide enough in the middle to make it suitable as a sort of cambered squat bar, putting your shoulders in an easier position for squats than a traditional straight bar.

Eleiko is known for their aggressive knurl on their olympic bars, and if you think they’ll do the same thing on a specialty bar, you’d be right. They use a deep volcano style knurl that I doubt you would want to be any more aggressive.

Eleiko Oppen Trap Bar balancing

A super nice touch is they balanced the weight of the front and back so it balances level with plates loaded.

The one possible objection is the sleeves are only 12.6″ long. That could limit you somewhat, depending on the plates you use (bumpers will eat that up quick).

Bottom line: Crazy expensive, but nearly perfect.

Kabuki Trap Bar HD

Kabuki Trap Bar HD

First, take note this is the only USA-made bar here!

The bar weighs in at 66 lbs, a little annoying being off from a 5-lb round number, as with a few bars here.

The handles come standard at 29mm. When you’re dealing with a neutral (palms facing) grip, with aggressive knurl like this, you should find that 29mm handles are about perfect. If you want thinner handles, they sell some extras including 1″ (25mm) and a couple fat handles. For that matter, if you want different handle spacing than the standard 25″, you can buy replacement handle brackets too. You can also set the handles to fixed or rotating with a switch on the bracket.

Kabuki trap bar rackable area

This bar, unlike all the rest here, is only somewhat rackable. Yes, you can lay it on the safety bars / safety straps of your rack, and the entire loadable portion of the sleeves sits outside. That much is fine. The issue comes in if you try to put it on J-cups. It has to be racked on the triangular braced portion of the frame, and that’s not going to work on J-cups.

If you are using this bar on a wooden platform, the bar’s treaded steel feet could dig into and damage the wood. They’re made this way so they won’t slide when you tip it onto the feet on any surface. On rubber flooring you’ll be good, but then rubber flooring already gives you so much traction that I don’t think the treaded feet are even necessary, making me wonder what exactly they are for.

Aside from the overly textured feet, I really like the feet’s curved shape, which makes it easy for you to rock it up into loading position.

Bottom line: A USA-made bar that is overall a good design and easy to use.

Rep Open Trap Bar

Rep Open Trap Bar

This bar weighs in at an odd 58.4 lbs, which is annoying for most of us and mildly infuriating for those with OCD.

Up to Nov 2022, these had only 27″ spaced handles. Now you have the choice of 23″, 25″, and 27″.

open trap bar alternate handles

The other option on the handles is thickness. For another $70 you can get the rotating handle bracket (the handle grips themselves are non-rotating, so you get a good grip), which gives you 3 handles measuring 28mm, 38mm, and 48mm thick. With this option, you’re stuck at the 25″ spacing, which is what most of you will want anyway.

cambered bar squat on an open trap bar

Want to do squats or presses with the solid end of the bar? This bar, like the Eleiko (it appears they based this heavily off the Eleiko, by the way), can work well as a cambered squat bar because of how long the round tubing is, allowing you to get your shoulders and arms fully under it and grip the sides in a nice position. It’s even knurled in the center to keep traction on your back, illustrating that they specifically had this in mind.

In the same way, you have room to do overhead presses holding the tubing. First you had best remove the handles, which are made to come out quickly with a thumb screw. Eleiko’s handle bracket is welded on, so the Rep is totally unique in this regard.

Without this frame design, technically you can do presses holding the handles of any trap bar instead, but due to the “lower” handles being on the center line of the bar, it’s unstable, meaning you could lose control of it in a bad way if your hands aren’t perfectly centered or it starts to tip. Pressing using the round tubing frame is stable in the sense that it will keep reverting to center given the weight hanging below, albeit with some pendulum/swinging action.

Also like Eleiko, the handles have a ring in the knurl for consistent hand placement by feel every time. The aggressiveness of the knurl, on the other hand, is only average.

Finally, again like Eleiko, they took care to put the right counterbalance into the foot design so the bar front and back hovers level when you have plates loaded. All these details together really tell you the amount of effort they put into this design.

Bottom line: Nearly perfect design, interesting handle options, and a middle of the road price.

Bells of Steel Open Trap Bar

open trap bar deadlift

It weighs in at 47 lbs, which is toward the lighter end of the scale here.

Bells of Steel trap bar feet

The foot stands are basically steel tubes with rubber handles slipped on that would normally be used on cable attachments. To put it bluntly, a cheap design, and the price reflects that as the cheapest bar here. As far as I have heard, they hold up fine to the unusual application. The shape makes the feet a little more difficult to rock up onto, whereas other brands have feet that are more curved in some way or another.

Compared to other open trap bars, the frame is more of a traditional (closed) trap bar design, with handles where the frame comes together, while the other bars have a more roomy frame and separate steel handles poking inside the frame. This restricts your stance and movement for some exercises. If you’re used to a traditional trap bar, this is no worse, and you of course have extra room on the open end.

The knurl could be better. It’s just pressed into the steel tubing, which on specialty bars like this is never as good as a volcano style knurl on thicker steel handles that the rest of the bars here have.

The bar is a little unstable side to side. When you load a 45lb plate, the foot on the opposite end lifts off the floor. This only ends up being a minor concern, nothing that really affects your routine. I bet if they spaced the feet out more it would fix it.

On the positive side, they went out of their way to add rotating sleeves, which makes them the only brand with them. Although like a few other bars the front of the frame is heavier and tips to the floor when you have plates loaded, the rotating sleeves make it so it takes almost no pressure to tip the bar level, as you aren’t rotating the plates, only the center.

Bells of Steel Open Trap Bar dimensions

Speaking of sleeves, they are only 9.7″ long! As they point out, with low-profile iron plates you could load it to 600 lbs. But does everyone have those? With bumper plates, forget about it, you’ll max it out at 2 bumpers per side if you leave room for collars. Bells of Steel had a previous trap bar with longer sleeves that you might see in older reviews, but for whatever reason they ditched it in favor of this design.

This is the only bar that is entirely not rackable. The loadable part of the sleeves will be sitting on the rack.

The Bells of Steel people are experienced lifters and generally know what they’re doing when designing equipment. Unfortunately I can’t recommend this particular bar of theirs, given that it is only a little cheaper than other options that are in my opinion better modern designs.

Bottom line: Much like a traditional trap bar that was cut to be an open design, and missing some features of other open trap bars.

Giant Northland Open Trap Bar

Giant Northland Open Trap Hex Bar

This is the only open trap bar engineered to weigh exactly 45lb like a straight olympic bar, making the loading math the same as you’re used to: 135lb, 225lb, etc. It’s just a number, but this is the kind of thing that could make you seriously consider this bar for the sheer ease of math down the road.

In 2023 they revised this from rotating handles to fixed handles. At the same time they changed the knurl pattern to cover the entire handles, and moving from a hill knurl to the popular and more aggressive volcano knurl that is used on most straight barbells nowadays and most of the trap bars here.

Despite the round tubing, the shape is such that you can’t use this as a cambered squat bar as well as you can with the Eleiko or Rep. Users with narrower body frames may find it just right. Same thing with pressing using the frame: maybe enough room, maybe not.

Like most others, the weight front to back is not quite balanced, leaving the front to tip down after you load plates. I should point out, however, that nothing is stopping you from duct taping counter-weights to the frame to balance it if you really want to.

Giant Lifting notes on their site that they can’t guarantee the fit of extremely tight fitting plates like competition bumpers or steel powerlifting discs, due to the range of sleeve size tolerances on this bar. Not a problem for most of us.

Get 5% off at Giant Lifting automatically by following any of our links, or enter code TWOREP.

Bottom line: Overall great design, and a low price point.

Titan Open Trap Bar

Impressively heavy duty at 65 lbs, only a pound lighter than the Kabuki!

The handles spaced at a narrow 23″ apart are restrictive. A couple other brands offer that, but only as an option. On the plus side, the handles at this spacing might be ideal for presses.

A strange decision to note is the 32mm thick handles (the second pair is 38mm) to go along with the narrow spaced handles. Who exactly is this for? Someone with a narrow frame and big hands? Anyway, you’re forced to work your grip a little more than you might like to.

The knurl on the handles is impressive, more like Eleiko and Kabuki than the others. This isn’t unheard of for Titan; they have aggressive knurl on their power bars as well.

While the bar is indeed rackable, be sure not to use it on 3″ wide safety arms on a 3″x3″ tubing rack with 47″ outside width. I know that’s very specific, but popular racks like for example the Rep Fitness PR-4000 and PR-5000 fit that exact criteria to not fit. Normally a narrow 47″ rack (versus 48″ or 49″) gives you more lateral slop to fit your (straight) bar on, but this type of bar has a limited area to rack on, and critically the way the bolts stick out of the sleeve brackets on the Titan trap bar make it not fit.

Bottom line: A specialized design that caters best to a minority of lifters, at a low price.

My Pick

While the Eleiko bar lives up to the hype, and I’d recommend it if price were no object, very few of us can justify spending $1000 on a trap bar from Sweden.

best open trap bar
Rep Fitness Open Trap Bar

The Rep Fitness Open Trap Bar is the one I would personally go with if I had to pick right now. All the little details do it for me: the counterbalancing, the knurl marks, the versatility with the tubing design, and the overall size of everything that makes it roomy enough and rackable.

A year from now you won’t care that you paid an extra $70 over the Giant Lifting bar, which is pretty decent but lacks a couple features.

The odd 58.4lb weight will have you starting over with gym math like a newbie, no doubt, but I don’t know what to tell you… Figure it out.

Every one of these bars has a possible use case for those with wildly different priorities than I have. I’ve provided as much information as I can to help you choose based on what’s most important to you.

Thanks for reading, and I look forward to reading your comments on how you see things with these open trap bars!