Many people spend a large portion of their lives in the gym. Of course, there's nothing wrong with paying a bit costly and dozens of hours a month or more to keep up that excellent physique. However, you can save a ton of time and money if you set up a gym right in your home. You can easily avoid all the crowds, stares, and machines drenched in other people's sweat provided that you pull the trigger and get this going in your garage, basement, or spare room. To do that, you're going to need the best barbell for your home gym to get things kicked off.
Studies show that free weight training is the most effective workout you can do to tone every muscle in your body. Furthermore, people training professionally know it's the best way to create muscle mass with a healthy dose of machine training thrown in. Whether you want to up your game and your fitness routine, or you are just starting, and you need to add this essential piece of equipment to your home gym, we found the best barbells on the market.
What Is a Barbell?
Before we find you the best barbell for your home gym, let's go over a few of the basics. First, let's start with what exactly a barbell is. Essentially, a barbell is a piece of gym equipment that's a long, straight metal bar. As you're probably aware, a barbell has sleeves on the end that hold the weights, or plates in place. You use a barbell as resistance during strength-training exercises. There are two main types of barbells -- standard and Olympic.
Standard versus Olympic barbells
The best barbell for your home gym will vary depending on your needs. It's essential, first, that you know the difference between a standard barbell and an Olympic barbell. Overall, when you get right down to it, it's all about size. An Olympic barbell is longer and weighs more than a standard barbell. In most gyms, you will find Olympic barbells because they hold more weight than the others.
An Olympic barbell is 7 feet long and weighs 45 pounds. A standard barbell will be 5 to 6 feet long and weigh between 15 and 25 pounds. Both standard, as well as Olympic barbells, vary in diameter, though. The amount of weight you can lift on each type of bar depends both on the size of the bar, the diameter, and the material used in the construction.
Bearings/bushing and flex
Equally important to the size, there are a few more critical differences between Olympic and standard barbells and that includes the bearings/bushings. Each Olympic bar has special bearings or bushings on either end of the pole. They are sleeves that fit over the pole that spin around the barbell. You slide the plates up over the bearing/bushing and the sleeves spin around as you raise and lower the barbell.
Standard barbells generally don't have that same feature. Instead, those bars have other unique features, depending on what you want them to do. Typically, manufacturers create standard bars with particular types of knurling to help up the comfort factor. Overall, one of the most significant differences is how much each kind of barbells flex.
The different types of barbells and what they do
Outside of the standard barbells and Olympic barbells, there are several other types of barbells on the market these days. Overall, we only included Olympic and one powerlifting barbell on our list today. However, keep your eyes peeled for these newer types of bars in case one of them will make the best barbell for your home gym. Please note, you don't need anything special to get the job done and build muscle. However, the following barbells can help in specialized areas:
- Powerlifting bar: a bar that accommodates a lot of weight and has little to no bend
- EZ curl bar: curvy bar perfect for curls and more comfortable for beginners or someone recovering from an injury
- Trap (hex) bar: in the shape of a hexagon with handles instead of a bar used for trap exercises like shrugs and helps ease back pain
- Swiss bar: looks like a standard bar with a fat part in the middle with neutral grips to accommodate wide a close grip and remove tension from shoulders
- Log barbell: barbell used by strongmen with a thick cylinder in the middle with handles to create an even more intense workout
How to find the best barbell for your home gym
Concerning how to find the best barbell for your home gym, there are a few considerations you need to think about beforehand. First, the type of training you want to do will determine which bar you should get. Secondly, you need to consider where you will locate your gym. Of course, you don't want to get a barbell that's too large for the area. And third, pick out a barbell with the type of finish you need both to look awesome in your space as well as useful for your type of workout. If you are still unsure, there are a ton of guides on the internet like this one to help you along.
Terms you will learn on the search for the best barbell for your home
Finally, there are several terms you will come across in your search for the best barbell for your home gym. First, you will see the term "shaft." The shaft is the pole itself. As we said, the shaft comes in several different diameters depending on your hand size. Second, you will see the term "knurling." Knurling defines the textured area on a bar designed to help you grip it better. Of course, different bars come with varying types of knurling. Though, most experts recommend that you get a bar with as much knurling as possible so that you can adjust your grip however works best for you. But, certain types of lifters won't want a bar with knurling in the center because it can be painful.
Third, you will also come across the term "flex." The flex describes how much wiggle room each bar has. Typically, CrossFit athletes and powerlifters will use a bar with very little flex, and everyone else uses a bar with more. Remember, the Olympic types of bars will have a much higher flexibility than the others. Conversely, you can find yourself a hybrid bar which will have a little bit of flex, but not too much.
What You Will Pay for a Brand New Barbell
Of course, on your search for the best barbell for your home gym, the price is a pretty important factor. If you have experience and you need a barbell that will hold more weight.
How We Found the Best Barbell for Your Home Gym
So you know our choices aren't just random, here's how we found the best barbell for your home gym. First, we read every professional review we could find. Second, we looked up the top sellers to see which barbells on the market are the most popular with consumers. Then, we took that master list and read real customer reviews for each item. After that, we kept the products on the list that deserve to be there based on what the end user had to say about them.
The Top 5 Best Barbells for Your Home Gym
Now let's get down to it and find you the best barbell for your home gym. As we said, we included mostly Olympic barbells on our list today. Consequently, if you are in the market for something a little different because of special needs or injury, think about one of those specialized barbells we looked at earlier. This list is in no particular order.
1. The ROGUE Bar 2.0
First on our list searching for the best barbell for your home gym is the ROGUE Bar 2.0. This Olympic style barbell, made right here in the U.S. is hugely popular right now. If you look closely, it's not hard to see why. ROGUE even uses space-age composite bushings that self-lubricate to keep things smooth even during the most intense workout.
- Material: 190 PSI steel
- Knurling: dual knurl marks for both powerlifters as well as Olympic lifters (no knurling in the center of the bar)
- Weight: 20 kilograms or 45 pounds
- Length: 86.75 inches
- Tensile strength: 190,000 pounds per square inch
- Shaft diameter: 28.5 millimeters
- Spin: composite bushings that self-lubricate
- Finishes: Shaft is black zinc with bright zinc sleeves
- Warranty: lifetime warranty
- You can purchase optional silicone bracelets to help with grip
- Price: MSRP $265
The ROGUE Bar 2.0 is only available on ROGUE's website. There, it scored 4.8 out of 5 stars with over 100 reviews. Users love this bar. Review after review states that this bar is "bulletproof," great value for the money, well-made, perfectly balanced, and versatile.
2. CAP Olympic Barbell OB-86B
- Specs: 110, 000 Psi Tensile Strength Japanese Cold Rolled Steel; 15 Inch Loadable Sleeve Length; the Shaft Length (Inside Length Between the Sleeves) Is 51; 5 Inches; Handgrip Diameter 28; 5mm; 5 Year
- Construction: Built From Solid Cold Rolled Steel With a Black Phosphate Finish; Used for Training, This Bar Measures 2185mm in Length and Weighs 20KG (44LB); for Commercial or Home Use
- FEATURES - The sleeves are designed with snap clips and the bar features medium depth diamond knurling for a secure grip when lifting heavy; Built to accommodate any 2 inch Olympic plates; No center knurl
- DURABLE: Original bar is made of steel, black oxide finish and polished steel sleeves; Color bars are ace coated in red, blue, purple or pink & have UV stable acrylic clear coat with metallic flake; green and orange bar have same quality with matte finish
- TRUST: Trust experience; CAP has been a pioneer in the fitness industry for over 30 years and has locations worldwide; Chances are, if you have ever worked out before you have used a CAP product
Next up in the search for the best barbell for your home gym is the CAP Olympic Barbell OB-86B. This barbell is on the lower end of the spectrum as far as price. Even so, according to the ratings -- this bar does not lose quality as the price drops.
- Material: steel
- Knurling: medium-depth diamond (no center knurling)
- Length: 86.8 inches
- Weight: 44 pounds
- Tensile strength: 130,000 pounds per square inch
- Shaft diameter: 28.5 millimeters
- Spin: bright zinc sleeve finish
- Finishes: black oxide
- Warranty: very limited
- Weight capacity: 1,000 pounds
- Price: $128 to $189
The CAP Olympic barbell is available from many online retailers. On Amazon, this item scored 4.3 out of 5 stars; and on WalMart.com, it scored 4.4 out of 5 stars -- on both sites it had well over 100 reviews. Customers are largely in agreement about this bar -- it's a great bar for the price. We did find a few reviews that stated the coating wears off quickly. In summation, if you need to save a few bucks or you are just starting, the CAP Barbell may be the one for you.
3. ROGUE Ohio Power Bar
Third on our search for the best barbell for your home gym is another bar by ROGUE, the Ohio Power Bar. Unlike the other bars on our list, you can get this powerlifter's bar in several different finishes -- bare steel, black zinc, and stainless steel with chrome. In the end, you choose the finish that works best for the type of workout you want to do.
- Material: bare steel, black zinc with bright zinc, and stainless steel with chrome
- Knurling: made for powerlifting with marks as well as center knurl
- Weight: 45 pounds
- Length: 86.52 inches
- The distance between sleeves: 51.5 inches
- Tensile strength: 200,000 (stainless) or 205,000 pounds per square inch for the others
- Shaft diameter: 29 millimeters
- Spin: depends on the finish you choose
- Finishes: varies
- Weight capacity:
- Warranty: lifetime warranty (unless you do something to mess it up yourself)
- Price: $265 to $395 MSRP
Like the other bar from Rogue, the Ohio bar is only available on their website. There, these bars scored a whopping 4.9 out of 5 stars with 252 reviews. Users state that these bars are "very grippy," perfect for use when benching and squatting, and the best bar they have ever owned.
4. XMark Voodoo Commercial Olympic Bar
- A 5-STAR STAPLE OF ANY HOME GYM. The XMark VOODOO Olympic bar is over built for performance, under-priced for everyone.
- The VOODOO weight bar offers a superior tensile strength of 185,000 PSI with moderate flex and a 1500 lb. weight capacity.
- Crafted using a heat treated alloy steel and a snap ring lock system, the VOODOO barbell offers ultimate performance for Olympic and power lifting routines.
- The 28mm grip shaft of the VOODOO Olympic barbell has a black manganese phosphate coating which is one of the hardest coatings available and provides unbeatable abrasion protection. Protect your investment by wiping down your bar regularly with a light coat of WD-40 or a 3-in-1 oil.
- The Voodoo's collars have micro grooves assuring your plates stay in place. Not only does this increase the safety of your exercises but it also ensures a comfortable, consistent feel during sets. This is particularly important for dynamic lifts like the cross training workouts, olympic lifts, and functional training.
Fourth on our list is the XMark Voodoo Olympic Bar. On Amazon, you can order this bar with different weights and get everything you need in one shot, provided you don't already have plates at home.
- Material: heat-treated alloy steel
- Knurling: small aggressive profile (no center knurling)
- Weight: 45 pounds
- Length: seven feet
- Tensile strength: 185,000 pounds per square inch
- Shaft diameter: 28 millimeters
- Finishes: black manganese phosphate shaft
- Weight capacity: 1500 pounds
- Collars have microgrooves to increase the hold on the plates
- Price: $155 to $206 (you will pay more if you get a package with plates included)
While you can find this bar for sale in a couple of areas, including WalMart, we only found reviews for it on Amazon. There, it scored 4.6 out of 5 stars with 58 reviews. The customers that reviewed this bar absolutely love it. Users say the build is very sturdy, long-lasting, and stands up to regular use over time.
5. Body-Solid Olympic Bar
- OLYMPIC BARBELL: Our Olympic bar weighs 44 pounds and has a 600 weight plate capacity on a loadable sleeve length of 11. 25-inches
- WEIGHT TRAINING: Our 7-foot Olympic bar is perfect for various forms of power lifting, weight lifting, bench press and cross training exercises
- PRODUCT SPECS: Olympic bar has a shoulder bolt collar bolt and is built with a 30mm bar diameter
- DURABILITY: Our 7-foot Olympic bar is precision engineered of the highest quality components. The black oxide finish protects against rusting, chipping, scarring and peeling
- PRODUCT DIMENSIONS: Overall bar length is 86" with a 51. 5" shaft length and 2" end bar dimension
Finally, we round out our list helping you find the best barbell for your home gym with the Body-Solid Olympic bar. This bar is another one at the low end of the price scale. However, by all accounts, that does not affect its quality.
- Material: steel
- Knurling: medium knurled grips includes center knurling
- Weight: 44 pounds
- Length: seven feet
- The length between sleeves: 51.5 inches
- Tensile strength: 195,000 pounds per square inch
- Shaft diameter: 30 millimeters
- Finishes: black oxide
- Weight capacity: 600 pounds
- Price: $108 to $134
With 520 reviews, this item scored 4.4 out of 5 stars on Amazon; and on eBay, it scored 4.8 out of 5 stars. Obviously, people love this bar and say it's an excellent piece for the price. In short, this is another great discount item for those of you on a budget or just starting on your free weight journey.
Erase the Excuses
All things considered, you know you are running out of reasons not to get started on your journey. Indeed, with this list in hand, you have a jumping off point in your search for the best barbell for your home gym. Remember, no matter which barbell you ultimately choose, doing the work is what truly matters.
We wish you the best with your search and on your ultimate journey to get toned and ripped in the comfort of your own home.