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.
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.
Table of Contents
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.
|Bells of Steel Utility Bar||28.5mm||Black Zinc||190,000||Brass Bushing||Dual||$199.99|
|Rep Sabre||28.5mm||Bright Zinc||150,000||Bronze Bushing||Dual||$199.99|
|Get Rx’d WOD Bar 5.0||28mm||Black Zinc||190,000||Bushing & Bearing||Dual||$170.00|
|CAP OB-86B Beast||28.5mm||Black Zinc Phosphate||130,000||Steel Bushing||IPF||varies|
|Titan Atlas||28.5mm||Chrome||220,000||Bushing & Bearing||IPF||$191.22|
Bells of Steel Utility Bar
|Shaft Finish||Black Zinc|
|Tensile Strength||190,000 PSI|
|Sleeve Spin||Brass Bushings|
|Knurl Type||Hill (passive)|
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.
|Shaft Finish||Bright Zinc|
|Sleeve Spin||Bronze Bushing|
|Center Knurl||Your Choice|
|Knurl Type||Hill (passive)|
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
|Shaft Finish||Black Zinc|
|Sleeve Spin||Bearings & Bronze Bushings|
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
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”
|Shaft Finish||Black Zinc Phosphate|
|Tensile Strength||130,000 PSI|
|Sleeve Spin||Steel Bushing|
|Knurl Type||Hill (passive)|
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 bodybuilding.com 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.
|Tensile Strength||220,000 PSI|
|Sleeve Spin||Bearings and Bronze Bushings|
|Knurl Type||Hill (passive)|
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.
I purchased the Bells of Steel Utility Bar earlier this year to use as a beater bar to keep my stainless steel bars in good shape. Find myself using the bar for more than I expected, not just rack pulls and landmine work. Grip is better than I expected. Much better than some previous bars I had at higher price points.
Very useful feedback, thank you! It can be hard to guess how the grip is going to be with some of these until you’ve got it in your hands.
Saw you updated the list for 2021, the 45lbs Rep Sabre bar is now $229. Might want to shift the article to the best bar under $250
Ok, I’ve put it on my to do list! I agree, it looks like it’s time to move the price up. I should try to add another bar under $250 at the same time. I had to remove a couple before that went up. I’m getting the feeling that I may have to keep doing this kind of shifting up for a few articles if we start seeing inflation hit the gym equipment market.
Got a boneyard black Cerakote Ohio power bar for $195 on Black Friday
Nice score! The only boneyard cerakote bar I see right now is $275.
This is a very useful article on olympic bars and your rundown as well as their reviews and features. Thank you for sharing this.
Excellent article man. Very well put together. Thank you. I have a home gym and just purchased a light industrial squat rack. I need a good bar. Not doing whips and cleans and jerks and all that whacky CrossFit mess. Just squats and presses. Any of these bars you think is best just for that? Thx!!
I’d say the Wonder Bar will work out the best. Everyone seems to love it.
Wright Equipment is making barbells in the USA that are great values for the money, you might check them out next time you do an article like this. I bought the basic box bar with bearings, $200 or so. Has cerakote & bearings, & for $200, it’s a great value for Olympic lifts.
Excellent, I’ll check out their bar too and maybe add it here soon!
I think that the Vulcan one basic is an excellent dual purpose/cross fit bar. The quality that goes into all Vulcan bars is hard to beat in the $250 price range. For an additional $35 I upgraded my order to the Vulcan standard bearing bar. It is USA made vs imported and has a lifetime warranty for use in commercial gyms and cross fit boxes, It should last decades in my home gym
Hmm, are you sure it was the standard bearing bar? That one sells for $529: http://bit.ly/2CJXOsI
Did you mean the standard bushing? http://bit.ly/2qr4FS9
Anyway, the standard bushing I’ve heard good things about too. Really well made bars. How do you like it so far?
Oops. I did mean the standard bearing version. I haven’t had very long but the knurling is perfect for me and the fit and finish blows away the bars in my local box gym. Now to eventually get a set of bumper plates for safe cross fit workouts. Not a good idea to drop iron weights on the bar.
Bronze oilite bushings vs bearings on this bar. The spin is very good though. The standard bar is a premium bar under $300
@ Randy K. 26, June 2017 21:55 comment
I was in your shoes not long ago… I was analyzing & over analyzing all the lifting equipment options out there…it can be very stressful, especially if you have to stay within a budget & you want to get stuff that will grow with your needs…I am sharing the routes I chose for barbell & bumper plates.
If you can be patient the X Training Elite Bearing Bar 2.0 could be had for much less. Back in March/April it was $199 & the X training Elite Competition bar 2.0 was only $150.
I ended up getting the X training Elite Competition Bar (190k psi bushing) for $134.50 out the door shipped to my house in very strong cardboard tube (no damage). I bought on sale through Again Faster & Joel from “As Many Reviews As Possible” gave me his an additional 10%off promo code for Again Faster. (Find one of his Youtube videos or blog & ask for his most current promo codes). The Competition bar has plenty of spin for me for cleans, c & j. The true 28mm bar made a notice grip difference for me.
My Bumper Plate recommendation is Diamond Pro bumper plates. They have two diffrent styles the standard imported & the crumb bumper plate made in ALabama. The good part is they are both the standard 450mm in diameter.
I can only speak for their import bumper plates, they are awesome! I have the 55lb, 45lb, 25lb, 15lb, &10lb sizes. The 10lb & 15lb are slightly smaller diameter so they don’t make contact with the ground on a loaded bar. The 10lb is slightly smaller than the 15lb bumper. All of my bumper plates have been dropped with loads greater than 300+ lbs. from about waist height/finished deadlift height. They have a nice dead bounce.
Walmart.com – Is were I order my Diamond Pro bumper plates…FREE SHIPPING & VERY Competitive pricing. All plates have been delivered to my house free shipping from Walmart via FedEx /Ups & none have been damaged. They are clean not greasy when they arrive. The only downside is Walmart.com is like Amazon, Best Buy etc…if they find you are interested in an item through your I.P address the price can fluctuate + or – 20%. So clear your cookies or go incognito mode to get the best prices.
If you want I can email you pics of the bar & plates…There are so many choices & on paper they all look the same…Best of luck!
Looking for a good bar for Olympics specifically and some squats and other accessory lifts. Based on your review the Get Rxed WOD 5.0 seems the right bar. I was wondering what would you recommend?
Randy, yep, that is probably the most popular bar here, and I think it’s the best choice because of the bearings. Nothing spins like a good bearing bar.
What do you think of the X Training Equipment elite bearing Olympic barbell? With their bar and set of 260lbs bumpers collars comes only to 558 with free shipping on amazon. Watched a review and believe it the best bang for your buck bar under $200.
Randy, the XTraining bar looks good, but it’s way over $200. Normally once you start getting into bearings the price starts shooting up, which is why the WOD Bar 5.0 is unusual.
Thanks for the great write up. What do you think about the XMark Fitness Voodoo Bar. It cost $192, Snap ring, brass bushings, 185,000 tensil at 28 mm, with moderate flex. I read the reviews from Amazon and from the xMark site, most all of them were 5 stars. One review on Amazon said the knurling would make a man out of you, but others said the knurling was normal and fine. Another said the bar had flexed with 200 lbs, so not sure if it will bend more than the Echo.
I considering this bar or the Rogue Echo.
The reason I came across this bar was it is part of a package called the Deadlift Package that includes 280 lbs of bumpers plus the bar for $542 and free shipping. $38 less than the cost of 260 lbs of Rogue Echo bumpers and the echo bar.
Since I live in an apartment in NYC, I will not be throwing the weights around and dropping them, but I want the rubber plates because they are quieter and will potentially cause less damage to the floor compared the iron plates. Hence I don’t need top of the line bumpers.
What are your thoughts? spend the extra $38 go with a well known and reputable brand or save money and get the extra weight too? That is if you think bars are indeterminably similar. My numbers are pretty low. At 51, I weigh 185 and Kettlebell front squat 125 for 3 sets of 5, and deadlift 220 for 2 sets of 5.
I was looking over the specs of the Voodoo a while back. It was the first bar I saw with that manganese coating. There was also an old video of it being lifted and dropped to concrete with a forklift with some crazy amount of weight on it. Anyway, I’d go with the Rogue setup. I imagine I personally wouldn’t mind using the XMark set, but Rogue has experience in selling a huge volume of good quality equipment and improving little things over the years that they’ve learned by trial and error, like using good snap rings that won’t break, that if it comes down to paying just a little more I’d prefer to do Rogue and know for sure what I’m getting. Plus, the Echo 10lb bumpers also almost the size of the others, while the XMark are more like the size of iron plates and so can’t really be used alone for light weight cleans/snatches off the floor.
I am Looking for a new home-gym barbell in this $200 range. Used for both Olympic & powerlifting. Weights on bar rarley get up over mid 500lbs. I need one that is built to last, but not break the bank. The stats on paper make it hard to choose. So What would you recommend having touched & used a variety of bars?
Diamond Pro bar $179 *this is a Usa made – (i have their bumper plates & slam balls – those products are goid quality, so im assuming this would be also)
Wonder bushing $199
Rogue Echo bar $195
Cap Beast $139
I see Diamond Pro has zero information on their own site about their bars. Just a couple pics. I know they’ve been around a few years, but that’s just weird to me, and I get nervous easily. I see Walmart has some info on their listing. On paper it looks fine. Walmart has some of the best buyers in the world on staff who negotiate rock bottom pricing, so I’d wonder what corner had to be cut on this bar to get the price low enough for Walmart to buy it.
The CAP Beast is good, but with the weight you’re pulling I’d say you could use an upgrade.
I’d personally go with the Wonder over the Rogue just because it has brass bushings that give a little better spin. If you don’t do max attempts on cleans, then the spin doesn’t matter so much (to save your wrists from a bad transition) and the Echo would be good, and you’d get the extra finger marks on the Echo.