Home Fitness 8 Best Budget Barbells (2024): Cheap Barbells That Don’t Suck
8 Best Budget Barbells (2024): Cheap Barbells That Don’t Suck
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8 Best Budget Barbells (2024): Cheap Barbells That Don’t Suck

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In my home gym, I always make sure to invest in high-quality equipment, such as power racks, bumper plates, and barbells. However, if you are reading this list, you are likely on a tight budget and want to choose the best value bar. Plus, we can still find high-quality barbells without emptying our wallets.

Finding high-quality barbells on a budget requires some research, but I’ve done the legwork for you by compiling this comprehensive list.

Best Budget Barbell

REP Fitness Black Canyon Barbell

REP Black Canyon Budget Barbell
Specifications
Tensile Strength190,000 PSI
KnurlingMedium Volcano
Center KnurlingNo
Knurl MarkingsDual (IWF & IPF)
Shaft Diameter28.5 mm
CoatingBright Zinc OR Black Chrome
Bushing/BearingHybrid
SpinSmooth
WhipMedium
Weight Capacity1,500 lbs
Warranty5 Years

This 20kg barbell blends functionality and durability, catering to both powerlifting and Olympic weightlifting, making it an exceptional choice for mixed-use training.

The Black Canyon Bar has robust finish options. Whether you choose the striking bright zinc or the sleek black chrome, both finishes enhance the bar’s rust resistance.

It has dual knurl markings compliant with International Weightlifting Federation and International Powerlifting Federation standards so you can Powerlift and perform Weightlifting movements with consistent hand placement.

The medium-depth, volcano-pattern knurling offers an excellent grip that doesn’t shred your hands, perfect for high-rep workouts.

The hybrid bushing/bearing system in the sleeves provides a smooth rotation and controlled movement. It accommodates the rapid sleeve rotation required for the Olympic lifts with enough stability for powerlifting exercises.

With a medium whip, the bar is responsive enough for dynamic Olympic lifts while maintaining the rigidity needed for heavy powerlifting. There is no center knurl, which means less neck irritation in the front rack position.

The 28.5mm shaft diameter is standard with a hybrid multi-purpose barbell. The REP Fitness Black Canyon Bar is a beast with a 190ksi tensile strength meaning it can take a beating. The 1% weight tolerance means it’s within 0.2 kg of the stated weight.

It is rated at 1,500lbs reassures that it can handle heavy loads without bending or warping. All of these epic features for $270 and 5 year warranty makes the REP Fitness Black Canyon Bar the best budget barbell you’ll find.

Pros

  • Medium volcano knurling prevents skin tearing from repetitive lifting. However, this can be a disadvantage when lifting heavy weights in hot weather.
  • High tensile strength allows it to withstand abuse without deforming.
  • Hybrid bushings and bearings for outstanding performance during the Powerlifts and Olympic lifts.
  • Dual knurl markings for Powerlifting and Olympic Weightlifting.

Cons

  • Knurling isn’t as aggressive as specialist barbells.
  • The Black Canyon Bar is REP Fitness’s “affordable” version of the Colorado bar.
  • Due to the coating, you may need regular barbell maintenance to remove chalk buildup, which is not present with hard chrome finishes.

Best Budget Barbell

REP Fitness Black Canyon Barbell

A multi-purpose barbell for all types of lifting, from Powerlifting to CrossFit.

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REP Fitness Black Canyon Barbell

Best Budget Multi-Purpose Barbell

Rogue Fitness 28.5 mm Boneyard Ohio Bar

Rogue Boneyard Bar
Specifications
Tensile Strength190,000 PSI
KnurlingRogue Hybrid Knurling (Moderate)
Center KnurlingNo
Knurl MarkingsDual
Shaft Diameter28.5 mm
CoatingBright Zinc
Bushing/BearingBushings
SpinSmooth
WhipGood
Weight CapacityNot Available
WarrantyNone

Many people are unfamiliar with Rogue’s boneyard. It’s where you can get barbells for a fraction of the price of a new one because they have a minor cosmetic flaw. If you’re on a tight budget, this is the best spot to shop.

And, because minor scuffs and blemishes will not affect the barbell’s effectiveness, you’ll get a perfectly functional barbell for a low price. I specifically recommend a 28.5 mm barbell for multi-purpose exercise.

The 28.5 mm Rogue Ohio Bar can often be found in the boneyard. This barbell has a tensile strength of 190,000 PSI, making it suitable for intense workouts like CrossFit, where weights are frequently dropped overhead.

Dual knurl markings allow you to experiment with Powerlifting and Olympic Weightlifting without purchasing a new barbell. It features a hybrid knurling pattern that is not excessively harsh. My experience with the Ohio Bar’s knurling is that it retains a strong grip even when sweaty.

When you are sweaty, the absence of center knurling makes front squatting more difficult. I prefer the feature for front squats since it makes the bar less slippery but at the same time, the lack center knurling benefits high-rep exercises such as cleans.

Black zinc and e-coat are the most affordable coating alternatives. Both have good corrosion resistance, but black zinc may fade over time. E-coat is a relatively recent barbell coating originating in the car industry. It is extremely durable and retains its glossy appearance even after extensive use.

It feels smoother than black zinc, so your choice will depend on personal preferences. You’ll also be limited by what’s available in the boneyard, which is frequently black zinc finishes.

One disadvantage of boneyard barbells is they come with no warranty, unlike when you buy a regular new barbell.

Pros

  • Barbells with cosmetic imperfections are heavily discounted, allowing you to save money without compromising performance.
  • Find a wide selection of 28.5 mm barbells for varied home gym training.
  • Choose higher-quality coating finishes at the same or lower cost than budget finishes.

Cons

  • There is no warranty, so if you want coverage, you must purchase brand new.
  • Bars are only available for a limited time, so you may not immediately find exactly what you’re looking for.

Best Budget Multi-Purpose Barbell

Rogue Fitness 28.5 mm Boneyard Ohio Bar

The staple barbell in all CrossFit gyms that can handle the rigors of multi-purpose training.

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Rogue Boneyard Ohio Bar

Best Budget Olympic Weightlifting Barbell

Rogue IWF Olympic Weightlifting Training Bar

Rogue Olympic Weightlifting Bar
Specifications
Tensile Strength215,000 PSI
KnurlingModerate Knurling
Center KnurlingYes
Knurl MarkingsSingle (Olympic Weightlifting)
Shaft Diameter28 mm
CoatingBright Zinc
Bushing/BearingNeedle Bearings
SpinFast
WhipWhippy
Weight CapacityNot Available
WarrantyLifetime

You may be asking why I’ve included a $560 barbell in a list of low-cost bars—it’s because an IWF-certified Olympic weightlifting barbell typically costs more than $900.

Being IWF-approved indicates the barbell is competition-ready and meets their criteria, including a tight weight tolerance and a near-perfect production procedure.

For $560, this barbell is a steal. Why do Olympic weightlifting barbells cost so much more than others? The construction and materials are unique to Weightlifting bars.

First, the Rogue IWF Olympic Weightlifting Training Bar boasts an incredible 215,000 PSI tensile strength, which means it will never deform or break with proper use.

Non-aggressive knurling on the bar allows you to work out for lengthy periods of time without the risk of ripping your hands or dealing with uncomfortable grips.

The bar’s needle bearings give a buttery-smooth spin, essential for doing clean and jerks or snatches with precision while protecting your wrists and elbows.

The bar has a bright zinc coating providing it a different feel than the harsh chrome you might use on competition day while providing adequate rust protection.

And the best part? Rogue offers a lifetime warranty. This way, you’re entering into a lifelong connection with a brand that stands behind the quality and longevity of its gear.

Pros

  • IWF-certified barbell at half the price of leading weightlifting brands.
  • High tensile strength allows the barbell to withstand the rigors of everyday weightlifting training without breaking or deforming.
  • Needle bearings provide quick spin during Olympic lifts, protecting your wrists and elbows.
  • A lifetime warranty means you will get a replacement if any problems arise years after you’ve bought the bar.

Cons

  • The bright zinc coating degrades over time, especially if you use your bar almost daily.
  • Due to the coating, you will need to do regular barbell maintenance to remove chalk buildup.

Best Budget Weightlifting Barbell

Rogue IWF Olympic Weightlifting Training Bar

A high-quality dedicated Olympic Weightlifting barbell on a budget.

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Rogue IWF Weightlifting Training Bar

Best Budget Barbell For Women

Rogue Bella Bar 2.0

Rogue Bella Bar 2.0 Budget Women's Bar
Specifications
Tensile Strength190,000 PSI
KnurlingRogue Hybrid Knurling (Moderate)
Center KnurlingNo
Knurl MarkingsDual
Shaft Diameter25 mm
CoatingBlack Zinc
Bushing/BearingBushings
SpinSmooth
WhipLight Whip
Weight CapacityNot Available
WarrantyLifetime

When you pick up the Rogue Bella Bar 2.0, you’ll notice it feels lighter than a standard weightlifting bar. That’s because the 15kg bar is intended explicitly for female athletes.

Weightlifting and CrossFit require women to utilize a 15 kg barbell with a shaft diameter of 25mm. Female lifters benefit from the smaller shaft because their hands are usually smaller than men’s. A smaller diameter shaft will make it simpler to handle snatches.

While the shaft diameter is smaller, the quality is not compromised because it is made of the same material as the Ohio bar, which has a 190,000 PSI tensile strength and will not flex with use. It has a decent whip, making it ideal for CrossFit and weightlifting.

This bar, however, may be used for high-strength workouts and powerlifting since it has twin knurl markings and bronze bushings that provide a smooth spin.

The hybrid knurling provides a solid grip without being too aggressive. The Bella Bar 2.0 has the same finish as the Ohio bar but with a black zinc coating to prevent rust. However, the wear issue remains the same.

Rogue also offers a lifetime construction warranty, so as long as you use the bar properly and avoid dropping it with iron plates, you’re covered.

A women’s barbell is also extremely reasonably priced. At $235, you’re paying a fourth of the price of a standard weightlifting barbell. You may also find it in the Rogue Boneyard, which further lowers the price.

Pros

  • At 15 kg and 25 mm shaft diameter, it’s specifically designed for women
  • ¼ the cost of high-end women’s weightlifting barbells.
  • The same production method as Rogue’s Ohio bar, which has a tensile strength of 190,000 PSI.
  • Ideal for CrossFit and Weightlifting while also allowing for heavy strength movements.

Cons

  • The black zinc coating will eventually wear down, particularly in the regions held the most.
  • The coating on the barbell needs routine maintenance, such as cleaning off chalk buildup.

Best Budget Women’s Barbell

Rogue Bella Bar 2.0

Designed specifically for female lifters with a smaller shaft diameter.

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Rogue IWF Weightlifting Training Bar

Best Budget Powerlifting Barbell

Titan Elite Series Power Barbell

Titan Elite Series Power Bar
Specifications
Tensile Strength225,000 PSI
KnurlingAggressive
Center KnurlingYes
Knurl MarkingsSingle (Powerlifting)
Shaft Diameter29 mm
CoatingHard Chrome
Bushing/BearingBushings
SpinSmooth
WhipStiff
Weight Capacity2,000 lbs
Warranty1-Year

When you unrack the Titan Elite Series Power Barbell, you’ll notice the sturdy 29mm shaft diameter of a powerlifting barbell. Its strong mountain knurling is the game changer.

Whether it’s a sweaty deadlift or a challenging set of squats, this gripping pattern keeps the bar firmly in your hands, providing an unrivaled combination of comfort and control.

You may find it painful and uncomfortable if you’re not used to aggressive knurling. Due to its outstanding rust resistance and tactile feel, the barbell has a hard chromium plating, common on luxury barbells. High-quality chrome coatings resist chipping and peeling.

The maximum weight capacity is 2000 pounds, and the tensile strength is 220,000 PSI, enough even for elite powerlifters. It is the barbell with the highest tensile strength on this list since it is designed to handle incredibly heavy weights on the big three lifts.

The rough center knurling ensures it stays on your back when squatting and does not slip onto your chest when benching. One disadvantage is that Titan only offers a one-year warranty, despite many other brands giving at least ten years or a lifetime.

However, at $230, there aren’t many Powerlifting barbells with these features and specifications.

Pros

  • It is specifically developed for powerlifting, with a high tensile strength and a weight capability of 2000 pounds, to prevent bending or breaking.
  • Aggressive knurling for big deadlifts and bench presses.

Cons

  • Only one year warranty is not reassuring of the longevity of the bar.

Best Budget Powerlifting Barbell

Titan Elite Series Power Barbell

A solid power bar for dominating the squat, bench press, and deadlift.

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Titan Elite Series Power Barbell

Best Budget Barbell For CrossFit

Rogue Echo Bar 2.0

Rogue Echo Bar 2.0 Budget CrossFit Bar
Specifications
Tensile Strength190,000 PSI
KnurlingRogue Hybrid Knurling
Center KnurlingNo
Knurl MarkingsSingle (Weightlifting)
Shaft Diameter28.5 mm
CoatingBright Zinc
Bushing/BearingBushing
SpinSmooth
WhipGood
Weight CapacityNot Available
Warranty1-Year

The Rogue Echo Bar 2.0 is part of Rogue’s Echo series, which is a low-cost equipment range. Think of it as a low-cost Ohio bar. Because of the versatile 28.5 mm shaft diameter, decent whip, and 190,000 PSI tensile strength, it’s an excellent CrossFit companion.

It uses bushings to provide a smooth spin, making it suitable for high-rep Olympic lifts and heavy-duty training routines.

It’s a cost-effective CrossFit barbell. It only has Olympic knurl marks, so a barbell with dual knurl markings, like the Ohio bar, is a better choice if you intend to power lift.

The Rogue Echo Bar 2.0 has a bright zinc coating that looks good and is rust-resistant but will deteriorate with usage. There is no center knurling, which is great for a CrossFit where you will practice high-rep cleans and thrusters.

Because it is within their budget range, Rogue only provides a one-year warranty. For $265, you get a nice barbell at the lowest price point. Also, don’t forget to check out the boneyard to see if you can acquire this for as low as $165.

Pros

  • Made to the same specifications as the Rogue Ohio bar but for a lower price.
  • Ideal for CrossFit, with a good whip, smooth spin, and Olympic knurl markings.
  • You might be able to get it for less at the boneyard.

Cons

  • When you’re doing CrossFit, a one-year warranty is too little.

Best Budget CrossFit Barbell

Rogue Echo Bar 2.0

The Rogue barbell below the Ohio bar in terms of quality. Yet is still a great CrossFit bar on a budget.

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Rogue Echo Bar 2.0

Best Budget Barbell On Amazon

XMark VOODOO Barbell

XMark VOODOO Olympic Bar
Specifications
Tensile Strength185,000 PSI
KnurlingSmooth
Center KnurlingNo
Knurl MarkingsDual
Shaft Diameter28 mm
CoatingChrome, Manganese Phosphate
Bushing/BearingNeedle Bearings
SpinFast
WhipModerate
Weight Capacity1,500 lbs
WarrantyNone

I’m not a fan of purchasing barbells from Amazon. However, if you are on a really tight budget, you may search there. This is the cheapest barbell on the list, priced at $162. The low price, as usual, means you will need to make some sacrifices.

The most noticeable is the manganese phosphate coating. This is one of the lowest-quality barbell coatings, causing the barbell to rust. To avoid corrosion, regularly apply oil to the barbell and wipe it clean.

This is a practice I don’t like doing after training when I’m exhausted. The knurling is also overly smooth, providing less grip than other cheap barbells on this list. The XMark VOODOO Barbell does, however, have some solid characteristics.

The 185,000 PSI tensile strength, 1500 lb weight capacity, and needle bearings ensure longevity and resistance to deformation. It spins well, making it suitable as a hybrid barbell.

This model would not be my first choice for a major lifting barbell. However, barbells like this have a place in your collection as they are perfect to be used and abused in power racks and landmines.

You don’t have to worry about scratching or destroying the knurling because this is a low-quality barbell explicitly designed for such purposes.

Pros

  • The cheapest barbell with decent functionality is best utilized in a power rack or landmine to avoid damaging your higher-quality barbells.
  • Needle bearings provide rapid spin for fast movements.
  • Excellent tensile strength and weight capacity.

Cons

  • It’s Amazon, so there’s no warranty, only a return period.
  • The manganese phosphate coating wears quickly and does not prevent the barbell from rusting.
  • Requires regular maintenance.
  • The knurling is too smooth.

Best Budget Barbell Amazon

XMark VOODOO Barbell

Your best option if you’re adamant on buying a barbell from Amazon.

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XMark Voodoo Bar

Best Budget Trap Bar

REP Fitness Open Trap Bar

REP Fitness Open Trap Bar
Specifications
Tensile StrengthN/A
KnurlingMedium Depth
Center KnurlingN/A
Knurl MarkingsN/A
Shaft Diameter25 mm
CoatingChrome
Bushing/BearingN/A
SpinN/A
WhipN/A
Weight Capacity500 lbs
Warranty5-Year

The Rep Fitness Trap Bar is not the cheapest, but I am sure you will not be pleased with the knurling or sleeve length of anything priced lower than this. The cheapest trap bars on Amazon or at specific manufacturer’s stores include smooth diamond knurling and slippery, oil-coated surfaces.

Furthermore, their short sleeves prevent them from supporting enough weight. You should expect this if you buy a bar at $90 to $130.

Hence, the REP Fitness Trap Bar is the best deal for the money. Yes, it costs $265, but it is still half the price of higher-end trap bars.

It has dual handles, allowing you to deadlift or carry using either the high or low handles. The handles are 25 mm in diameter, the same as a women’s barbell, and are easier to grip.

The knurling is medium depth, which is why I included this trap bar on the budget barbell list. Cheaper trap bars are too smooth.

It’s chrome-coated for rust protection and weighs 55 pounds, so it’s heavy-duty. Unfortunately, its weight capability is only 500 pounds. Many males will lift over 500 pounds on the trap bar deadlift, especially with the high handles, so keep this in mind.

It also comes with a 5-year warranty, giving you ample time to put it through its paces.

Pros

  • Has better knurling and longer sleeves than the typical budget trap bar on Amazon
  • 25 mm diameter handles make gripping easier.

Cons

  • 500 lbs weight capacity is low for a trap bar.

Best Budget Trap Bar

REP Fitness Open Trap Bar

A versatile open-ended trap bar that’s light on your wallet.

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REP Fitness Trap Bar

How To Pick The Best Budget Barbell

Tensile Strength

Tensile strength indicates a barbell’s ability to resist deformation. High tensile strength is considered as greater than 180,000 PSI. The greater the number, the stronger the bar. High-tensile strength barbells are available even on a tight budget.

So, investing a little less does not mean you can’t get a good barbell in this aspect.

Coating

The majority of the inexpensive bars on this list use a zinc coating. This is the compromise that comes with being cheap. Top-notch barbell manufacturers use solid chrome or stainless steel. A zinc coating is less expensive but will wear off over time.

Knurling

Budget Barbell Knurling

Knurling patterns on premium bars tend to be more refined and comfortable, making them easier to hold without causing any discomfort. Less precise knurling, which could be excessively harsh or too soft, is possible with cheaper bars.

Most barbells on this list have moderate knurling which is good enough for most home gym lifting.

Bushings vs. Bearings

Bushings are commonly utilized on lower-cost bars, while bearings are used on higher-end barbells. However, this is not always the case. High-end Powerlifting bars require bushings to reduce spin, but in most cases, bars with bushings are less expensive.

Go for bearings if you’re dabbling in Olympic Weightlifting or CrossFit.

Spin

High-quality barbells spin more smoothly, thanks to superior bushings or bearings. Needle bearings have a quicker spin rate than bushings and are better suited for Olympic Weightlifting, where you need a fast turnover of the barbell.

Diameter

Regardless of your budget, you may get a barbell with any shaft diameter. Typically, sizes fall between 28- and 29-mm. Olympic weightlifting bars and some multi-purpose bars are 28 mm in diameter, multi-purpose bars are 28.5 mm, and powerlifting barbells are 29 mm.

Whip

Money isn’t a determining factor in whip. As a result of their versatility, many of the barbells included here have good whip. What the barbell is used for determines how much whip it has. If you want more control when lifting, a powerlifting bar is a good choice that is slightly stiffer.

Price

When choosing a budget barbell, I define a budget offer as less than $300. When you buy cheap, around $200, you usually get a barbell that isn’t worth lifting or is prone to damage and breaking.

However, some specialized barbells, such as Olympic Weightlifting bars, are more expensive, even in budget versions. The Rogue IWF Weightlifting Barbell is the cheapest Weightlifting Barbell, priced at $560.

Warranty

Rogue Fitness has a lifetime warranty on most barbells, making them a fantastic choice. However, whether purchasing from their Boneyard or Echo series, you can expect a guarantee of no more than one year.

Unfortunately, this feature must be compromised while on a tight budget.

Frequently Asked Budget Barbell Questions

Budget Barbells

How Much Should You Pay For A Barbell?

Your budget determines the amount you spend on a barbell. A reasonable guideline is to spend at least $200. It is the most crucial piece of lifting equipment for your home gym and worth investing in.

What Is The Best Weight Barbell For A Beginner?

Beginners should always use an Olympic barbell. It weighs either 45 lbs or 20 kg for men and 35 lbs or 15 kg for women.

What Barbell Should I Start With?

Begin with a multi-purpose barbell, which offers the best of both worlds. The same barbell can be used for both heavy-strength exercises and quicker Olympic-style lifting. If you desire to take strength sports further, you can purchase a specialized barbell if you have the money.

Summary

While barbells are essential gym equipment, we all have a limited budget. Fortunately, with the rise in popularity of lifting and home gyms, many companies produce high-quality barbells for a fraction of the cost of high-end models and this list should provide you with the right choice regardless of your preferences and needs.

REP Fitness has exploded in the barbell market making affordable barbells that are excellent quality and can handle the rigors of tough home gym training.

Best Budget Barbell

REP Fitness Black Canyon Barbell

A multi-purpose barbell for all types of lifting, from Powerlifting to CrossFit.

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REP Fitness Black Canyon Barbell

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James de Lacey James is a professional strength & conditioning coach that works with professional and international level teams and athletes. He owns Sweet Science of Fighting, is a published scientific researcher and has completed his Masters in Sport & Exercise Science. He's combined my knowledge of research and experience to bring you the most practical bites to be applied to your combat training.