Get Stronger in 3 minutes (or less)

World records, results, training, nutrition, breaking news, and more. Join the BarBend Newsletter for everything you need to get stronger. Join the BarBend Newsletter for workouts, diets, breaking news and more.
BarBend Newsletter

The Best Barbells For Training, Weightlifting, Powerlifting, and More

Find the best barbell for your lifting, strength sport, and budget needs!

We receive free products to review and may receive commissions on purchases made through our links. See our disclosure page for details.

Out of every piece of equipment you can find in a gym, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a more versatile tool than the barbell. Barbells are great tools for any fitness level and can be used for practically any form of lifting. If you’ve landed on this article, then you’re probably interested in taking your barbell training to the next level by investing and finding the best barbell for your lifting style, home gym, needs, and wants.

Similar to any other big gym equipment purchase, buying a barbell should be handled with care and attention. There are a ton of different barbells on the market, which can make it even harder find the best fit for your lifting needs. This best barbells round-up will aim to demystify some of the confusion that can come along with buying and shopping around for a new barbell.

The list below includes a large variety of barbells including IWF/IPF approved barbells, the best barbells for deadlifts, and even the most cost efficient barbells on the market. As experienced lifters, gym owners, and recreational athletes, we thought it would be useful to first breakdown what to look for in a barbell before going into our “best” categories.

Note: We are doing our best to keep this article updated based on what’s currently in stock at various manufacturers. Out-of-stock items have hit an all-time high in fitness equipment, so thank you for your patience as we work to keep these updated.

Best All-Around Barbell

The best all-around barbell needs to be durable, versatile, and a great option for almost any type of athlete and activity.

American Barbell Stainless Bearing Bar

American Barbell has made an exceptional stainless steel bar with fantastic, smooth spin, durable knurling, and a lifetime limited warranty. Each shipment of raw material for the bar is tested for tensile strength, and the stainless steel plus hard chrome finish (on the collars) makes it easy to clean and resistant to corrosion.

The Stainless Bearing Bar also features additional protections against chalk and dust interfering with the bearings. The bar is drop-resistant and has a preferable amount of whip. These bars are manufactured in the United States to IWF specifications. 

[wpcd_coupon id=60286]

Who Should Buy the American Barbell Stainless Bearing Bar

  • Lifters who want a strong, durable barbell. This barbell has tensile strength of 190k and a corrosion-resistant finish, with hard chrome finish on the sleeves.
  • Athletes who want a traditional stainless steel knurling finish. This will be familiar to weightlifters and helps ensure fantastic grip on the barbell. 
  • Customers who want a warranty (limited lifetime) and a barbell from a reputable manufacturer. These barbells are proudly American-made.

Who Shouldn’t Buy the American Barbell Stainless Bearing Bar

  • The beginner lifter that plans to use a barbell only once in a while. This isn’t the most cost-conscious option available, though it’s competitively priced compared to some other high-end models.
  • Lifters who may be after something more commonly seen in functional fitness settings.
  • Athlete who want a “softer” knurling.

Best Functional Fitness Barbell

Functional fitness athletes need barbells that are versatile and durable, yet comfortable on the hands for daily use. 

American Barbell California Bar

Made in the USA with materials tested to 190,000 PSI tensile strength, American Barbell’s California Bar has many features we look for in competition-spec weightlifting bars. What sets it apart is the Cerakote finish that’s both comfortable on the hands and extremely durable.

Functional fitness athletes need a bar they can use for a variety of movements, often for high reps. This bar’s finish and feel may be preferable for those athletes on high-repetition movements and barbell cycling. It also features preferable whip, chrome-coated sleeves, and composite bushings to help ensure smooth rotation — another must-have for many athletes repping out dozens of power cleans and snatches in their daily metcons. 

[wpcd_coupon id=96959]

Who Should Buy the American Barbell California Bar

  • Functional fitness athletes who want a durable barbell with a slightly more forgiving feel on the hands
  • Athletes who want a barbell that requires minimal maintenance with daily use
  • Customers who like the feel of Cerakote for a competitive price

Who Shouldn’t Buy the American Barbell California Bar

  • Competition weightlifters who want a barbell that perfectly mimics the knurling and feel they’d find on the platform
  • Lifters who prefer steel finishes
  • Powerlifters who want a bar with minimal whip and/or rated to loads well over 700 pounds. 

Best Weightlifting Barbell

A great barbell for weightlifting needs to have bearings that create smooth and fast rotations, in addition to possessing knurling and dimensions that are competition approved.

Rogue Olympic WL Bar

To no surprise, our top pick is the Rogue Olympic WL Bar. This barbell is great for weightlifters specifically for a couple of reasons. First, it has smooth moving bearings to accommodate fast rotations under the bar.

Second, the dimensions and knurling are marked similarly to what the IWF requires for competition for both men and women’s bars. Lastly, the barbell has an F6-R rating, so it’s one of the most resistant to being dropped.

[wpcd_coupon id=55090]

Who Should Buy the Rogue Olympic WL Bar

  • The competitive weightlifting athlete. This barbell has IWF approved measurements, so this barbell will closely emulate competition settings.
  • Lifters that want a barbell to last. This barbell has a tensile strength of 215k and Rogue Work Hardening construction. 
  • The athlete that needs a bar with great whip, a 28mm diameter, and standard knurling. 

Who Shouldn’t Buy the Rogue Olympic WL Bar

  • The beginner lifter that doesn’t do weightlifting or have a need for this type of bar.
  • The budget-conscious recreational lifter.

Best Barbell for Powerlifting

A great powerlifting bar will be stiff and accommodating for maximal loads in the squat, bench press, and deadlift. It will also possess dimensions required for competition.

Rogue Ohio Power Bar

Our favorite powerlifting bar is the Rogue Ohio Power Bar. This bar is a great choice for powerlifters for multiple reasons and is a common bar used in meets, especially in the USAPL.

For those who compete in the USAPL, then a stiff bar is required, which makes the Rogue Ohio Power Bar’s lack of whip a perfect fit. Additionally, this bar comes in 45 lb and 20kg options.

Who Should Buy the Rogue Ohio Power Bar

  • The lifter that wants a bar to replicate competition barbell. This bar has “no whip” rating, which makes it a good option for those who compete on stiff bars often.
  • Athletes like variety, the barbell comes with options containing both an F2 (stainless steel) and F8-R (black zinc & bare steel), so the bar will serve most lifters a long time.
  • Lifters that want great knurling, as this bar has an “aggressive” knurling rating and each option offers either 200k or 205k tensile strength.

Who Shouldn’t Buy the Rogue Ohio Power Bar

  • Beginners that just need a bar to lift with recreationally.
  • Cost-conscious athletes that don’t mind training with a more budget-friendly barbell.

Best Women’s Barbell

Women’s barbells will have subtle changes that make them ideal for this type of athlete, like a difference in bar diameter and total weight.

Fringe Sport Women’s Wonder Barbell

Our favorite pick for women’s barbells is the Fringe Sport Women’s Wonder Bar Olympic Barbell. We like this barbell for two distinct reasons. First, it’s a great all-in-one type of barbell that comes with a ton of promising construction features that suggest durability and versatility.

Second, it’s a cost-efficient option that offers either a bushing or bearing collar, so you can choose a barbell based on your needs that also sits well in the wallet.

[wpcd_coupon id=60156]

Who Should Buy the Fringe Sport Women’s Wonder Bar

  • Athletes that want a strong bar. This barbell has tensile strength of 160k, yield strength of 199,000, and test strength of 1,000 lbs.
  • Cost-efficient shoppers. This bar comes with bushing and bearing availability, which makes this is a dynamic pick for every athlete.
  • Athletes that want some form of warranty. This barbell has a one year warranty for manufacturer’s defects/design issues. 

Who Shouldn’t Buy the Fringe Sport Women’s Wonder Bar

  • Women athletes that want a barbell with a longer warranty than one year.
  • Competitive women athletes that need a weightlifting-focused barbell for competition purposes.

Best Barbell for Squats

A great squat-focused barbell will be stiff to limit whip when using maximal weights and will have knurling to create security when the bar is on the back.

The Rogue Ohio Power Bar could best be described as “ole reliable”. This barbell has a lot going for it with respect to being a great bar for powerlifting and heavy squats.

First off, it has plenty of tensile strength to limit premature breakdown or fracturing. Second, the Rogue Ohio Power Bar offers a “no whip” rating, which is great for heavy squats and lifts that require maximal body tightness, as whip can cause the loss of balance.

[wpcd_coupon id=55108]

Who Should Buy the Rogue Ohio Power Bar

  • The lifter that wants a bar to replicate competition barbell. This bar has “no whip” rating, which makes it a good option for those that want to limit whip during heavy squats.
  • Athletes like variety, the barbell comes with options containing both an F2 (stainless steel) and F8-R (black zinc & bare steel), so the bar will serve most lifters a long time.
  • Lifters that want great knurling, as this bar has “aggressive” knurling which is good for preventing sliding on the back.

Who Shouldn’t Buy the Rogue Ohio Power Bar

  • Recreational lifters that don’t push the limits for their squat strength and will benefit with a regular barbell.
  • The beginner that needs a barbell for infrequent recreational training.

Best Deadlift Barbell

A great barbell specifically made for deadlifts will have ample while, great knurling, and a strong tensile strength to avoid bending over time.

The Rogue Ohio Deadlift Bar is coming in at number one for our deadlift-focused barbell. This deadlift bar offers all of the specs you’d want from a standard deadlift bar with the addition of Rogue Fitness’s construction and durability.

What do we like most? This barbell has a tensile strength of 190kg and aggressive knurling, so if you’re pulling maximal weight, then this barbell will be the perfect tool to do so.

[wpcd_coupon id=55655]

Who Should Buy the Rogue Ohio Deadlift Bar

  • Powerlifting athletes that want to acclimate to competition settings, this barbell has a “great whip” rating and aggressive knurling to ensure grip is great.
  • Athletes that need a strong, versatile bar. This bar has a tensile strength of 190k and a 27mm diameter to ensure all hand sizes can pull on it.
  • Lifters than want a strong warranty with their product. This barbell has a lifetime warranty for manufacturer’s defects/design issues. 

Who Shouldn’t Buy the Rogue Ohio Deadlift Bar

  • Lifters that need a barbell for every type of exercise, not just deadlifts.
  • The beginner or casual lifter than wants to avoid spending extra for specialty bars.

How We Assess Barbells

Testing barbells is a pretty tedious task and it takes ample to get just right. Here are some of the ways we make our assessments for our favorite barbells.

Task At Hand

The first thing we consider when testing a barbell is to establish what they’re designed to do. For niche barbell, we train with them in the fashion they’re intended to be, then compare what we experience with the notes that the company provides for the barbell. For example, if the company says their bearings rotate well for a weightlifting bar, we test that exclusively with diligence.


Another major component we consider is the barbell’s durability. We first assess how the barbell holds up over time in our gym, then we look at intricate factors that the company lists about the barbell. These are all the specs that no one considers, but make a huge difference!


The final component we consider in our tests is the price of a barbell. We tie the performance specs into the price to find barbells that walk harmonious lines for those on a budget that want the most for their money.

What to Look for In a Barbell

To help to take it a step further, we’ve included why and what beginner, intermediate, and advanced athletes may want to consider when assessing their perfect barbell’s construction. A barbell is a sizable investment that will last multiple years, so we want to make sure it lasts you a while, but also serves your needs best.

Types of Barbells

There are multiple types of barbells on the market, and for the beginning lifter or home gym owner  it can be a little daunting when shopping around and seeing all of the options. In respects to major types of barbells, there are really three that are relevant to recreational lifters and strength athletes, and these include: Standard barbell, weightlifting barbell, and power bar.

These three barbells will each offer a different construction features to match specific needs. Below, we’ve quickly highlighted some of the main differences in the three major different types of barbells.

Different Types of Barbells and Best Uses

Author’s Note: The points and construction specs in the graphic above may vary from bar to bar.

Outside of these three types of barbells, there are also specialty bars that are common in niche strength sports gyms and sports. We’ve listed a few of the major types of bars below, along with their ideal uses.

  • Deadlift Bars: Best for deadlifts, as they offer a lot of whip, aggressive knurling, and a sometimes smaller diameter.
  • Squat Bars: Best for squats, as they’re typically made with no whip and have center knurling for gripping the back. 
  • Hex Bars: A bar shaped like a hexagon and a useful niche implement for variation and teaching hip hinging. 
  • Women’s Bars: Women’s bars are made with weights of 15kg or 35 lbs and have a diameter of 25mm. 


The knurling on a barbell is the rigid, sandpaper-like texture that covers each side of the barbell and sometimes the middle. Knurling on a barbell is important for three major reasons. First, it promotes grip and can help improve lifting by allowing the barbell to remain still in the hands. Worn down knurling is more prone to rolling out of the hands during movements like rows and deadlifts.

Second, knurling is a useful tool for finding proper positioning on the bar. Each side of the barbell’s knurling will have a ring, sometimes two, and these can be useful for accurately finding hand and body positioning when trying to be centered on a barbell. Third, knurling can be supportive and strength-sport specific. For example, Olympic bars will have a smooth center knurling to avoid scratching the neck during cleans, and deadlift bars will have even more rigid knurling to promote grip.

Different types of barbell knurling and their best uses

  • Beginner: A standard knurling will often benefit beginner or recreational athletes best, as it’s not incredibly rigid and too rough on the hands and it can help acclimate a newer athlete to what knurling feels like.
  • Intermediate/Advanced: A standard or more rigid knurling will suit more advanced athletes best. By this point in one’s lifting career, more than likely they train in a certain way (strength sport), are slightly stronger, and know exactly what they’ll be getting if they opt for a more rigid barbell.

Knurling Tip: If you use chalk frequently when you’re working out, then make sure you brush down the knurling afterwards to promote the longevity of your barbell. Dirt and chalk can cause knurling to lose its rigidness over time if it gets permanently lodged into the grooves.

Barbell Grip Diameter

A barbell’s grip diameter can be an easily overlooked construction attribute that can be very important. The diameter of a barbell can be catered to one’s needs based off of preference, gender, and strength sport. The most common grip diameter for men’s barbells tends to be around 28mm-29mm and women’s are 25mm.

These are important diameters to remember because if you’re investing in a barbell, then you’ll want to use a barbell that you’ll be using in training and in competitive settings. And if you don’t compete, then simply knowing what could fit your hand’s needs best can help support your lifting.

Common Barbell Grip Diameters Useful for Whom/What
Men’s 28-29mm (Deadlift Bars Average 27mm) Recreational lifting, powerlifting, weightlifting, CrossFit
Women’s 25mm

Recreational lifting, weightlifting, CrossFit

Some barbells can vary even more than the most common grip diameters listed above, but we’d recommend considering sticking with what’s most commonly used. This will help promote carryover from training to competition, also, your barbell will feel like what most gyms offer, so there will be no awkward learning curve between your personal barbell and a gym’s “thick” bar.

Grip Diameter Tip: If you do, or plan to compete in weightlifting, powerlifting, or functional fitness, then check out your preferred federation’s rules so you can invest in the correct size barbell that they use in competition.

Barbell Strength

Tensile strength, yield strength, and test on a barbell can all be great suggestions for a barbell’s long-term durability and can help highlight the likelihood of the barbell prematurely/resisting breaking and fracturing. All, or some of these attributes are listed by most barbell manufacturers, and we’d suggest straying from any company that isn’t willing to readily share their barbell’s details, as that could mean that their bar will be prone to quicker breakdown.

Different types of barbell strength components

Tensile Strength: Out of the three attributes above, tensile strength is possibly the most important and widely used to highlight barbell strength/durability. This attribute entails how much your barbell can be loaded with before it breaks or fractures, aka high tensile strength = better barbell. Below, we’ve highlighted some general tensile strength guidelines.

  • 150,000> — Decent for beginners, but it might be worth spending a bit extra to make your investment last.
  • 150,000-180,000 — Good and suitable for most athletes.
  • 180,000+ — Well constructed barbell that should last a long amount of time.

Yield Strength: This construction attribute entails how much weight can be loaded on a barbell before it becomes deformed. Have you ever lifted on a barbell that is shaped like a noodle? That is exactly what failed yield strength looks/feels like. A lot of companies don’t list their yield strength, but that’s not the biggest deal. This attribute can often be prevented by simply using good barbell practices (ex: not dropping a barbell on safeties with weight, etc), and high tensile strength often correlates with high yield strength.

Test: This construction attribute entails the documentation of how much weight a company has used to physically test the barbell. Some companies list the test of their barbell’s, and some don’t. If a company doesn’t list their barbell’s test, then make sure you look at tensile strength as these two can be very related.

Barbell Strength Tip: We didn’t include types of metals in this review, but paying attention to what materials companies use can be useful for also assessing a barbell’s strength and durability. Steel and chrome are the most common materials used in well-made barbells, and barbell coatings/finishes include things like steel, cerakote, and block oxide.


The whip of a barbell is the final construction aspect we’ll discuss before diving into our categories. Whip entails how much the bar will flex and give without losing its original shape. For the recreational and beginner lifter, this aspect isn’t a huge concern, but it becomes more important as athletes get deeper into their lifting careers and start competing.

Some companies will list how much whip their bars have, and most likely, these bars will have a specific purpose like weightlifting, deadlifting, squatting, and so forth. Below, we’ve included some general recommendations for different athletes considering a bar with whip.

  • Beginner/Recreational Lifter: Standard whip is fine and will be best for every movement.
  • Weightlifter: A bar with whip is useful for training, as this will closely resemble what’s used in competition.
  • Powerlifter: Check out your federation’s rules. Deadlift-specific bars will have a lot of whip, which is great for pulling, but problematic in other movements. Power bars will be much more stiff and are used in federations like the USAPL.

Whip Tip: If you’re brand new to lifting, or you lift recreationally, then avoid worrying about whip when investing in a new barbell. Strength athletes — check out your federation’s rules!

Warranty Overview

Every company will typically offer some form of warranty for their barbell. Each company will vary in respects to what they offer and warranty can be a huge factor to consider when investing. Most companies will cover their barbell for a year or more in regards to manufacturer’s defects and design issues. This is typically based off of original ownership, so on that note, if you buy a resold barbell, then often times warranty terms will be void. Additionally, all of the warranties below do not cover negligence for barbell care. For example, dropping a barbell on rack pins and bending it will not be covered by a warranty.

Looking for Some Other Equipment? Read These Reviews to Build Your Best Home Gym

Wrapping Up

The perfect barbell is out there for everyone. One of the toughest parts about making a great choice is the simple education that’s required before pulling the trigger on a bar. Hopefully, this round-up and information helped you find options or an option that perfectly suits your lifting needs.


What makes a great barbell?

A quality barbell will come with some form of warranty and a full rundown of performance specs. Some companies leave out key details that provide insight into how long their bar will likely last, so always be mindful of things like tensile strength, whip, shaft material, and so forth.

What does a barbell's tensile strength mean?

Tensile strength for a barbell entails how much your barbell can be loaded with before it breaks or fractures, aka high tensile strength = better barbell.

Does whip matter in a barbell?

Yes! Whip is an important component to consider for athletes and lifters that are training heavy and have specific strength sport focuses.

2 thoughts on “The Best Barbells For Training, Weightlifting, Powerlifting, and More”

  1. I am specifically looking for a barbell for bench pressing, Spoto press, and close grip bench press…My max is 320lbs and last week I did 275lbs only 5 times…I am 55 years old…I just bought a Rogue Ohio Deadlift bar…My thoughts are Stainless steel Ohio bar or stainless Ohio power bar…Which would you pick for benching twice a week. Thank you for your expertise. @chocolateviking on Instagram


Leave a Comment