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BarBend The Best Weight Plates for Powerlifting, Weightlifting, Home Gyms and More

An often overlooked piece of equipment, weight plates are the unsung hero of your gym. The loyal companions of barbells everywhere, weight plates might not be as flashy as the brand new cable machine on the market, but you’d be hard pressed to find a better dollar-per-pound option with regards to weight. Used in a vast array of training modalities, you’ll want to make sure you choose the right type of plates for your goals — be that working on your overhead press, or pushing your deadlift to the max to hit your 1RM

From rubber bumper plates to calibrated steel plates, there is something out there for everyone. And the even better news is that improved manufacturing processes and more competition in the industry have made buying options on the market virtually limitless, which is why we’ve put together a wide ranging list of the best weight plates in different categories to help you make your decision. 

Best Weight Plates

Best Weight Plates Overall

For most lifters, there are two major concerns with regards to plates: Affordability and durability. You want a set of plates that isn’t going to cost the world, and isn’t going to fall to pieces the first time you knock them. American Barbell’s Rubber Olympic plates fit the bill perfectly here.

American Barbell Rubber Olympic Plates

Made from cast iron, and covered with a high durometer and slip resistant rubber compound, these plates can handle the wear and tear from the daily bumps that occur with training. They’re also a great value for the price with their quality build, and their design with four separate handles allow users to load and unload them from the barbell with ease, while also allowing them to be used independently for exercises like skull crushers.

American Barbell Rubber Olympic Plates
American Barbell Rubber Olympic Plates

These plates from American Barbell have a convenient design with handles and a durable rubber coating to prevent wear and tear from heaving training. These plates are ideal for customers looking for a mix of value and quality. 

Who Should Buy American Barbell Rubber Olympic Plates

  • Lifters who want plates that are easy to load and remove from the bar.
  • Buyers looking for plates with good durability and a solid warranty.
  • Consumers looking for a great value set of Olympic plates.

Who Shouldn’t Buy American Barbell Rubber Olympic Plates

  • Lifters who want a set of plates without handles. 
  • Consumers who need plates that conform to the specifications of their sport association.

No nonsense, durable and with a smart design, these plates are a great choice for lifters of any level. Factoring in the price, you’ll struggle to find a better deal.

Best Weight Plates for Home Gyms

Lifting weights at home is great for convenience, but you will have to be careful not to annoy your neighbors or damage your house. The Hi-Temp Bumper Plates from Rogue are ideal in both regards. With a large surface area and softer durometer rating, they are less likely to make noise, cause undue vibration, or damage flooring.

Rogue Hi-Temp Bumper Plates

There are two things we especially like about these plates: the fact they’re made from recycled rubber and the price. Environmentally conscious, they are a great usage for old rubber that otherwise would go to waste. The price is also very attractive and it will be difficult to find a better value bumper plate.

Rogue Hi-Temp Bumper Plates
Rogue Hi-Temp Bumper Plates
Rogue Hi-Temp Bumper Plates

A staple in box gyms across the globe, these Rogue bumper plates by Hi-Temp are really affordable and can take a beating. They're known for having a good amount of bounce, which can be a pro or con depending on your personal training preferences. 

Who Should Buy Rogue Hi-Temp Bumper Plates

  • Home gym owners who want great value plates. 
  • Buyers looking for an environmentally conscious choice with their gym equipment.
  • Lifters who want a set of plates that can be dropped without any problems. 
  • CrossFitters, as these plates are staples in many boxes around the world. 

Who Shouldn’t Buy Rogue Hi-Temp Bumper Plates

  • Athletes looking for metal plates to fit more weight on the bar. 
  • Buyers who need plates that are certified for their sport. 
  • Consumers who want plates with handles for easier loading and unloading. 

For a home gym scenario where you need versatile plates that are also less likely to damage the floor when dropped, these Hi-Temp Bumper Plates are, hands down, the way to go.

Best Weight Plates for Competition

Before we go any further, we should note that we aren’t talking about competition in general, we’re specifically referring to Olympic Weightlifting. Bumper plates are essential in this regard, and we’d highly recommend training in KG too because that’s how you’ll compete. 

Rogue Color KG Training Plates

These Rogue plates are IWF approved, but because they are training plates, you get all the benefits of the competition editions without paying the premium associated with them. Very durable, they have a zinc coated steel center plate and are guaranteed to be within 15 grams of their stated weight. Finally, the high durometer rubber means minimal bounce, which is great if you don’t want to be caught off guard after hitting a huge snatch.

Rogue Color KG Training Plates
Rogue Color KG Training Plates
Rogue Color KG Training Plates

Competitive weightlifters will appreciate the details of these plates. They're dialed in to be within 15 grams of the stated weight, are ultra durable, and have minimal bounce so you don't have to worry about where the weight goes after you hit that big lift in training. 

Who Should Buy Rogue Color KG Training Plates

  • Athletes looking to compete in Olympic Weightlifting and want IWF approved plates.
  • Trainees who want plates that are easy to identify.
  • Buyers who want very durable plates that can be dropped with minimal bounce. 

Who Shouldn’t Buy Rogue Color KG Training Plates

  • Consumers with a tight budget.
  • Lifters who prefer plates with handles for easier loading and unloading.
  • Lifters who aren’t looking to train for competition. 

If you plan on taking to the platform in the future, these plates are strongly recommended. You’ll be able to lift confidently in training knowing that apart from the crowd, very little will change on the big day.

Best Rubber Weight Plates (Bumper Plates)

For the price, these bumper plates from Force USA have an incredible feature set. They aren’t competition certified, but they do match IWF designated plate standards, and should be your first choice if you’re looking for a cost effective and durable set of high-quality bumper plates.

Force USA Pro Grade Colored Plates

If math isn’t your strong point, the easily identifiable colors are really helpful and will save you some mental effort. Made using an extra dense form of rubber, these plates are also designed to minimize noise and bounce, so regardless of where you like to train, those around you will appreciate the lack of clanging and banging with this particular set of plates.

Force USA Pro Grade Colored Plates
Force USA Pro Grade Colored Plates
Force USA Pro Grade Colored Plates

The colored plates from Force USA have appeal for any type of lifter. Whether you're prioritizing a great deal or are set on a high-quality product, these plates, designed to match IWF sizes, are amazing all-around plates. 

Who Should Buy Force USA Pro Grade Colored Plates

  • Lifters who plan on regularly dropping the bar during training.
  • Lifters who like colorful plates that are easy to identify.
  • Consumers who want a dense set of plates with minimal bounce.

Who Shouldn’t Buy Force USA Pro Grade Colored Plates

  • Consumers looking for a set of budget plates.
  • Athletes who actually want a lot of bounce to their plates. 
  • Lifters who prefer all black plates.

As far as bumper plates go, you’ll struggle to find a better value option. Manufactured to IWF standards, we think they’re perfect for lifters of all levels.

Best Weight Plates for Powerlifting

Once you pass the intermediate stage of powerlifting, you can end up running out of space on the bar when using bumper plates. That’s where these plates come in. Cast from solid steel, they are very thin and mean that you will be able to increase the weight to absolutely soul crushing levels if you need.

Rogue Calibrated KG Steel Plates

The Rogue Calibrated KG steel plates are color coded and covered with a low gloss powder coat. Approved for use by the IPF, they are machine calibrated for extra accuracy. For serious powerlifters looking to account for every KG, the exacting manufacturing standards these plates go through ensure that your lifts are true and accurate. 

Rogue Calibrated KG Steel Plates
Rogue Calibrated KG Steel Plates
Rogue Calibrated KG Steel Plates

A staple in powerlifting gyms and competitions, the Rogue Calibrated KG Steel plates are IPF approved and calibrated to be insanely dialed-in to their stated weight. These plates are extremely high quality and their weight is measured in kilograms. 

Who Should Buy Rogue Calibrated KG Steel Plates

  • Powerlifters who want a very precise set of plates for training.
  • Athletes who need smaller plates to fit a lot of weight on the bar.
  • Trainees looking for IPF approved plates.

Who Shouldn’t Buy Rogue Calibrated KG Steel Plates

  • Lifters who plan on dropping barbells while training. These are not for dropping. 
  • Consumers with a tighter budget.
  • Anyone looking for plates with handles for easier loading. 

One of the best options out there for powerlifters, these plates are pricey, but you get what you pay for. Calibrated to within 10g of stated weight, the IPF seal of approval is the icing on the cake.

Best Weight Plates with Handles

When you start lifting weights, you may underestimate just how much time you spend changing the plates on the bar. Especially when you get strong, it can be a surprising amount of work. We appreciate a good set of plates with handles because they make this process just that little bit easier. Over time, this may not seem like much, but even a small benefit compounded over time can lead to massive gains.

Rogue 12-Sided Urethane Grip Plates

With a unique design that prevents bars from rolling, these Rogue plates are coated with urethane for a beautiful finish that is very resistant to impact. The smart recessed cut of the central handles means that it’s easy to grab the plates no matter how they lie on the floor, and we are impressed at how affordable they are considering the quality of materials used.

Rogue 12-Sided Urethane Grip Plates
Rogue 12-Sided Urethane Grip Plates
Rogue 12-Sided Urethane Grip Plates

These 12-sided plates are a great option if you're looking for durability and convenience. The design of these Rogue plates allows for easy loading and unloading of the barbell while also preventing roll when the barbell is resting on the ground. 

Who Should Buy Rogue 12-Sided Urethane Grip Plates

  • Buyers who want a set of plates that are convenient to load and unload. 
  • Lifters looking for a great value set of plates that can compete with higher end models. 
  • Those who want a very durable set of plates that will resist wear and tear. 

Who Shouldn’t Buy Rogue 12-Sided Urethane Grip Plates

  • Athletes who regularly drop the barbell during training. 
  • Lifters looking for plates that are certified for their sport. 
  • Consumers with a tighter budget. 

Smartly designed and very durable, these plates are some of the best value for money we have seen and should last decades if they’re well cared for.

Best Weight Plates for the Money

We know that for many, price is the deciding factor when deciding which weight plates to buy. If you are pressed for cash, we recommend the American Barbell rubber olympic plates, which are just about the best value you can find for a quality product that you know will stand the test of time. 

American Barbell Rubber Olympic Plates

Cast iron, with a stainless steel hub, these plates have four separate handles that allow for easy loading. The tough rubber compound covering helps you avoid unnecessary wear and tear and is also slip resistant. Combine all of this with a 3 year warranty, and you have a product that is absolutely incredible value for money.

American Barbell Rubber Olympic Plates
American Barbell Rubber Olympic Plates
American Barbell Rubber Olympic Plates

These plates from American Barbell have a convenient design with handles and a durable rubber coating to prevent wear and tear from heaving training. These plates are ideal for customers looking for a mix of value and quality. 

Who Should Buy American Barbell Rubber Olympic Plates

  • Lifters with a tight budget.
  • Athletes who want plates with handles to make loading and unloading easier.
  • Consumers looking for a product with a great warranty.

Who Shouldn’t Buy American Barbell Rubber Olympic Plates

  • Buyers who need plates certified by a sport federation.
  • Lifters who need plates that can be dropped during training.
  • Consumers looking for plates with a more durable outer covering.

For the lifter on a budget, you won’t find better value than these plates. Easy to use and well made, they are a solid choice. 

Best Weight Plates on Amazon

Amazon is a convenient option for most people, and there are certainly a lot of options on their website when it comes to weight plates, which can make the search overwhelming. If you want to take advantage of their shipping, you need to make sure that you aren’t saving in one area just to have the plates fall apart once you start using them. We scoured their listings and landed on the Pinroyal bumper plates as the most solid weight plates on Amazon. 

Pinroyal Bumper Plates

While they aren’t going to win any awards for innovative design, they are time tested and are made with recycled rubber — a plus for the environment. The stainless steel insert is durable and also gives them decent shock absorption. Finally, we don’t think there will be many complaints about the price, as they are relatively affordable compared to other options.

Pinroyal Bumper Plates
Pinroyal Bumper Plates
Pinroyal Bumper Plates

These Pinroyal bumper plates are made of recycled rubber and stainless steel. While they'll stand the test of time in the gym, they're also great options if you're looking to Amazon to save on shipping. 

Who Should Buy Pinroyal Bumper Plates

  • Consumers who want to make use of Amazon Prime and save on shipping.
  • Anyone looking for a durable, but affordable set of plates.
  • Buyers who like to try and be environmentally friendly.

Who Shouldn’t Buy Pinroyal Bumper Plates

  • Lifters who prefer to train in KGs.
  • Buyers looking for more colorful plates.
  • Consumers looking for plates with a warranty.

These bumper plates stand out on Amazon for their excellent value. With Prime shipping, you can save yourself a decent chunk of cash and get to lifting faster.

What to Consider Before Buying Bumper Plates

Bumper plates, cast iron plates, handles or no handles? There are a lot of choices to make when purchasing something as simple as weights. Here are some things you’ll want to consider:

Your Training Priorities

If you’re an Olympic Weightlifter or a CrossFitter, you’ll need bumper plates. It’s that simple. For everyone else, you have many more options available. Powerlifters, bodybuilders or casual lifters can all get away with using whatever plates they want so long as they aren’t slamming bars to the ground. This means you can potentially save a lot of money, though there are also plenty of high end traditional plates if you’re looking to splurge or need a top-of-the-line product to train for competition. 

Your Budget

As we just mentioned, generally bumper plates are more expensive than traditional plates, although this isn’t always the case. Certain features like urethane coverings or certification by a sport federation will mean that cast iron plates can be just as costly, if not more expensive, than a similar bumper plate. Our advice is generally to aim for the mid range and consider your needs. You get great quality here, but don’t end up paying through the nose for features that you don’t actually need.

Durability

None of the plates on this list should have any issues with durability unless you neglect to care for them. Dropping cast iron plates from an overhead press or leaving a set of metal plates outside to face the elements would be prime examples of neglect. That being said, there are a wide range of durable options available, so if you plan on (literally) throwing your weight around and don’t want to worry about your purchase surviving, we’d recommend spending more for an extra durable option.

Handles

Handles usually aren’t available on bumper plates, so if you’re partial to them, you’ll probably end up going with traditional weight plates. Handles can make loading and unloading your bar much more convenient and some consider them essential to save time and effort. This will restrict your choices, but if it’s a priority for you, the options with handles on this list are reliable and high-quality choices. 

Colors

You want neon pink plates with a bright green logo? It can be done. There are now plates available in every color under the sun. You’ll pay extra for this, of course, so those with a more restrictive budget should stick to black and make the most of other features.

Common Materials Used In Weight Plates 

Despite the variety in shapes of plates, the materials used to manufacture them won’t change that much. Here’s an overview of the main options.

Cast Iron

Pretty easy to understand here, many plates are simply made from iron cast into a solid block. They are usually then coated with either rubber or urethane, or sometimes plated with another rust resistant metal. These plates are going to be the cheapest option generally.

Steel

Steel plates are inherently more durable than iron, and can be one of multiple different alloys. Resistant to rust, they can, however, be more brittle depending on the carbon content and will be more expensive than cast iron options.

Urethane

Urethane is the most durable — and also the most expensive — option for covering the outside of weight plates. It’s very resistant to wear and tear and is also great if you want to customize your plates. Companies can add letters, numbers and even logos if they wish. Generally urethane is the go-to for commercial gyms where equipment will be heavily used, but isn’t as necessary for home gyms or recreational lifters looking to build out their bonus rooms.  

Rubber

Rubber is cheaper and less durable than urethane, but for the average lifter, you shouldn’t notice many major differences. If you want the cheapest of the cheap, then look for plates made with recycled rubber, although beware there are some reports of these plates smelling odd. Virgin rubber will be slightly more expensive, but should be odorless.

Bumper Plates vs Traditional Plates — What are the Differences?

If you aren’t immersed in the lifting world, it isn’t immediately obvious why you should want to buy a set of bumper plates instead of a set of cast iron plates. Here’s a quick overview of the main differences.

Traditional Plates

This is a huge generalisation here, as there are many different types of traditional plates, but the main commonality is that they are one big lump of solid metal. They can have different materials covering them, and come in many different designs, diameters and shapes, but at the end of the day they are designed to be cost effective. Aside from being cheaper, they are generally also thinner than bumper plates which means you can fit more weight on the bar. The downside is they may be less durable and won’t survive being dropped regularly.

Bumper Plates

Bumper plates are specifically designed to be dropped. Olympic Weightlifting would be virtually impossible as a discipline without them. These plates are made of a solid metal core surrounded by rubber or sometimes urethane. This allows them to absorb shocks with zero (or nearly zero) negative effects. Durability is the obvious advantage here when compared to traditional plates. The main downsides are the price and the size. Bumper plates are going to be more expensive compared to traditional plates and are usually bigger as they are less dense. 

Final Word

Responsible for a large portion of your gains, a reliable set of lifting plates is a no-brainer for lifters trying to build muscle and increase strength. While it may seem at first glance that plates are just plates, and that you should buy whatever you can get cheapest, this simplistic analysis is a thought-trap we recommend avoiding. 

It is well worth your time to do a little research, think about your training, and spend enough to get a set of plates that won’t fall apart after a year of rigorous training. The correct set of plates could well last you an entire lifetime, saving you money and hassle in the long run. 

FAQs

What’s the best weight plate on the market?

For our money, we really like the American Barbell Rubber Olympic weight plates. They’re well designed, affordable, and can withstand the occasional drop if the barbell slips out of your hands.

What are the different types of plates?

They tend to fall into two main categories: Bumper plates are designed to be used in Olympic Weightlifting and are resistant to being dropped for that reason. Traditional plates are generally cheaper, made from metal, and usually popular in commercial gyms. The lines have blurred somewhat with the growth of all types of fitness, but broadly speaking this is still true.

Does it matter if I drop metal weight plates?

That depends on how big the drop is. Dropping a bar from overhead will have a much different result compared to dropping it from say a deadlift. Metal plates should survive the odd drop if you’re deadlifting and the bar slips out your hands, but we would strongly recommend avoiding dropping metal plates as they could get damaged, or damage your flooring. 

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