You can spend $300 (or much more) on a new bar if you really want to. If you aren’t picky and just want something decent, something cheaper should work for you.

You do need a good bar and not a total cheapo bar selling for $115 or so, the type included in a basic 300 lb olympic weight set, for a few reasons I’ve gone over elsewhere. Here are some reasonable “budget” choices that you might even hang onto later after you’ve gotten a more expensive bar.

Revision Notes:
In 2021 I temporarily bumped up the price limit for this article to $250 and then back down to $200 in 2022 after adding the Get Rx’d WOD Bar to fill out the list. The Titan Atlas bar might not last here long, given that it’s only on sale under $200 now.

Comparison Chart

All of the bars below are 7ft long and weigh 45 lbs or 44 lbs (20kg), the right size for a general purpose bar that will serve well enough for all barbell movements.

SpinKnurl MarksPrice
Bells of Steel Utility Bar28.5mmBlack Zinc190,000Brass BushingDual$199.99
Rep Sabre28.5mmBright Zinc150,000Bronze BushingDual$199.99
Get Rx’d WOD Bar 5.028mmBlack Zinc190,000Bushing & BearingDual$170.00
Rogue Boneyard28.5mmvaries190,000variesvaries$195.00
CAP OB-86B Beast28.5mmBlack Zinc Phosphate130,000Steel BushingIPFvaries
Titan Atlas28.5mmChrome220,000Bushing & BearingIPF$191.22

Bells of Steel Utility Bar

best budget barbell
Shaft FinishBlack Zinc
Tensile Strength190,000 PSI
Sleeve SpinBrass Bushings
Knurl MarksDual
Knurl TypeHill (passive)
Center KnurlYes
Sleeve SurfaceGrooved

The founder of BoS started the company in 2010 selling push sleds and kettlebells in Canada, and over the years they added a large selection of heavy-duty equipment and expanded to a US location in 2018. I’ve bought plates from them. Good experience.

Like all bars on this page, this does not have aggressive knurl, just the passive “hill” type knurl. That’s an added cost that is hard to find in this price range.

BoS says these are brass bushings. I wouldn’t stake my life on it, but I believe that’s incorrect. Brass is an alloy of copper and zinc and makes for a soft, decorative metal that can’t hold up in applications like this. Bronze is an alloy of copper and tin and is a harder metal that is more commonly used for strong bushings in all kinds of industrial applications and has a lower friction coefficient against steel to let it spin nicely. Granted, there is a grey area in some alloys that that include copper, zinc, and tin. Anyway, you don’t need to know all that, but point being, I think these have to be bronze bushings and you shouldn’t worry about it.

Rep Sabre

best budget olympic barbell
Shaft FinishBright Zinc
Tensile Strength150,000
Sleeve SpinBronze Bushing
Center KnurlYour Choice
Knurl MarksDual
Knurl TypeHill (passive)
Center KnurlNo
Sleeve SurfaceGrooved

Rep Fitness has gained a reputation since 2012 for having equipment that is nearly as good as Rogue in quality, with a lower price tag. That holds true here, with the Sabre coming in lower than the Rogue Echo Bar.

The thing that stands out with this bar is the tensile strength is not very high at 150,000. It should be ok for home use, but questionable for the abuse of dropping a loaded bar on safety bars in a rack or by regular hard use by multiple people.

Get Rx’d WOD Bar 5.0

best barbell under 200
Shaft FinishBlack Zinc
Tensile Strength190,000
Sleeve SpinBearings & Bronze Bushings
Center KnurlNo
Knurl MarksDual
Knurl TypeHill
Center KnurlNo
Sleeve SurfaceGrooved

Lowest priced bar!

Talk about affordable. This bar has some excellent features for being Get Rxd’s best priced bar.

Get Rx’d is a Houston, TX company that has been selling equipment since 2011, mainly targeting Crossfitters. Prior to that they sold some home-grade weight machines under the name Multisports.

Alongside the brass bushings, this bar has needle bearings, which is amazing to see at this price point. This gives it a really good spin. If you do any olympic lifts, this is one you should consider.

This is the only bar here with an exact 28mm diameter instead of 28.5mm, which they prove with a pic of a caliper measurement.

The inside collars have Get Rx’d branded black silicone bracelets that can be replaced with your own if you want better identification or customization. They mention this but offer no color options or even any bracelets you can buy separately. Rogue sells some in a few colors.

Rogue Boneyard Bars

cheap olympic barbell

Made in the USA!

You can very often get a Boneyard Bar in Rogue’s closeouts, which have cosmetic blemishes off the production line but are otherwise fine. Some people have reported that the bar looked so good they weren’t even sure what blemish it had.

I’ve seen Ohio Bars listed there for under $200. If you don’t see one at the moment, check again in a few weeks. I see some available more often than not.

Considering the consistently high resale value of Rogue bars, you should consider these. Plus, they’re the only bars on this page made in the USA.

The Rogue Echo Bar used to be a good choice under $200, but they have since jacked up the price.

CAP OB-86B “Beast”

best affordable barbell
Shaft FinishBlack Zinc Phosphate
Tensile Strength130,000 PSI
Sleeve SpinSteel Bushing
Knurl MarksIPF
Knurl TypeHill (passive)
Center KnurlNo
Sleeve SurfaceGrooved

CAP re-branded the OB-86B in 2015 with a green “Beast” label on the ends. The other change was the black oxide coating is now black zinc phosphate. Other than that, it’s the same stand-out bar they’ve been selling for years.

I believe C.A.P. stands for Chinese Athletic Products. They make a few decent products, and their price points are low even on them. Most notably their line of barbells is good, and some of their dumbbells and weight plates are fine. Other products of theirs like benches and various accessories are cheaply made and not anywhere near the level of quality I like to recommend.

I had this CAP bar for a while for my own use. Note that I only cleaned 205 and deadlifted 315 on it. There’s very little rattle on the sleeves. I had no problem with the grip. The knurling is average. The zinc phosphate coating didn’t start to wear off as quickly as the black oxide coating on my previous bar.

The forum has a thread devoted to this bar, with links to reviews as far back as 2010.

On the downside, this bar is very dated. The tensile strength is not up to the standards of modern bars. It uses steel bushings, which have a higher friction coefficient with the steel sleeves than any other bushing material. Several years ago it was a good bar for the price, for light enough lifting. It’s when you have to drop a bar on the safety bars of a rack, or you drop it badly cockeyed on the floor with bumpers, or bounce hard out of the hole during a 400lb squat (yeah, most of us don’t have that problem), the low 130,000 PSI might show itself with a bent shaft. Unless you find a great sale price, you can get a better bar for the money.

Titan Atlas

$225 Titan Atlas bar
Shaft FinishChrome
Tensile Strength220,000 PSI
Sleeve SpinBearings and Bronze Bushings
Knurl MarksDual
Knurl TypeHill (passive)
Center KnurlNo
Sleeve SurfaceGrooved

The strongest bar here at 220,000 PSI!

This bar’s regular price is now $225, but it’s so often on sale under $200 that I’m leaving it here for now.

Titan Fitness came out with this bar in 2017. Prior to that they only had the typical $115 economy bars that you should generally stay away from.

They are known for having low-priced equipment, particularly their power racks and squat racks, which copy Rogue’s designs and cut some corners.