The 12 Best Barbells of 2021

Challenge yourself with this versatile workout tool

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Our Top Picks
The versatile Olympic barbell features multiple grip positions while its steel sleeves are designed to swivel, reducing pressure.
Perfect for beginners due to its light weight, it's also lined with textured grip positions so you can get plenty of traction.
A classic Olympic barbell you can use during CrossFit and strength-training, it's capable of supporting 700 pounds at a time.
Stock up on everything you need at once with this set, complete with one barbell and four sets of weight plates.
The durable bar can support up to 1,500 pounds at a time, making it a particularly great pick for powerlifting.
Ideal for handling a variety of exercises, this barbell boasts multiple grip positions—all of which are textured for traction.
A classic curl bar that can handle up to 350 pounds of weight at a time, its alloy steel composition ensures its durability.
A solid choice made from heavy-duty steel, the trap bar's extra-long sleeves ensure you can pile on all the weight you can handle.
Adjustable while being space-friendly, the set features a 5-foot barbell, a 5-foot curl bar, and six sets of weight plates.
If you're looking to add a challenge to your usual routine, this affordable pick includes 15 pieces and added bolts for security.

Weightlifting can be an excellent way to get a workout. And if you’re looking to stock up on strength-training equipment, buying a barbell may be in order. A barbell is a (usually heavy) metal bar that can accommodate a range of different weight plates. Since barbells and weight plates are usually sold separately, you can easily customize the intensity of your strength-training routine by stocking up on a collection of weight plates that work for you.

You can use a barbell for a range of different exercises, including squats, deadlifts, bench presses, and more, so the piece of equipment tends to be pretty versatile. And since barbells are often long and thin, they tend to be relatively small space-friendly, making them an easy addition to your at-home fitness routine.

There are an array of different barbells on offer, so it's important to choose one that fits your needs and workouts.

Here are the best barbells on the market.

Best Overall: CAP Barbell 7-Foot Olympic Bar

Pros
  • Classic design

  • Versatile enough for different workout styles

  • High weight capacity

  • Lined with multiple grip options

Cons
  • Heavy bar

The CAP Barbell Beast Olympic Bar is a versatile Olympic barbell you can use during CrossFit, powerlifting, classic strength-training, and more. Crafted from high-strength steel, the bar can hold up to 1,000 pounds of weight at once.

It’s lined with multiple grip positions, which have been textured to give you plenty of traction. What’s nice? The bar’s steel sleeves are designed to swivel. This unique feature promises to keep the bar from warping, even under the stress of a heavy training load. And it also promises to reduce pressure on your wrists. 

When not loaded, the barbell weighs 44 pounds.

Bar Weight: 44 pounds | Bar Length: 7 feet | Weight Capacity: 1,000 pounds | Plate Compatibility: 2-inch plates

Best Lightweight: CAP Barbell 72-Inch Solid Threaded Barbell

Pros
  • Classic design

  • Beginner-friendly

  • Backed by a 30-day warranty

Cons
  • Weight capacity may be too low for some

  • Narrow diameter

It can be tough to find a long, classic barbell that weighs less than 15 pounds. And that’s exactly why the CAP Barbell Solid Threaded Barbell is so special. The 6-foot barbell weighs just 13 pounds, so it’s a particularly beginner-friendly option.

Despite its light weight, the barbell doesn’t skimp on durability. The bar is crafted from solid steel and finished with a chrome coating that promises to protect it over time. The barbell is also lined with multiple knurled (textured) grip positions, which promise to give you plenty of traction during your workouts. 

Bar Weight: 13 pounds | Bar Length: 6 feet | Weight Capacity: 250 pounds | Plate Compatibility: 1-inch plates

Best Olympic: Sporzon! Olympic Weightlifting Barbell

Pros
  • Classic design

  • Versatile enough for different workout styles

  • Chrome-plated to increase durability

  • Many size options

Cons
  • Weight capacity may be too low for some

The Sporzon! Olympic Barbell is a classic Olympic barbell you can use during CrossFit as well as during traditional strength-training. And since it comes in an array of different weights (10 to 45 pounds) and lengths (5 to 7 feet), you can easily find an option that suits your routine.

Though the barbell options vary in size, they’re all crafted from the same sturdy steel—and chrome-plated to ensure durability. And they’re all capable of supporting 700 pounds of weight at a time. Each of the barbells also boasts multiple textured grip positions, allowing you to tackle different exercises with ease. 

Bar Weight: 10 to 45 pounds | Bar Length: 5 to 7 feet | Weight Capacity: 700 pounds | Plate Compatibility: 1-inch plates or 2-inch plates

Best All-in-One Set: Step Fitness Club Quality 4-Weight Deluxe Barbell Set

Pros
  • All-in one set

  • Easy to use

  • Floor-friendly

  • Beginner-friendly

Cons
  • Weight capacity may be too low for some

  • Barbell can only be used with plates provided

  • Short bar

Most barbells are sold on their own—without the weights you’d use them with. But the Club Quality Deluxe Barbell Set makes it easy to stock up on everything you need at once. The set comes with one 4.5-foot barbell (which weighs a mere 5 pounds) and four sets of weight plates. The weights range from 2.75 to 11 pounds apiece, giving you a total of 60 pounds to work with. And since the weights come equipped with quick-release collars, you can easily secure them and remove them as you see fit.

Unfortunately, the steel barbell is only designed to be used with these weights, so you shouldn’t try to pair it with weights of your own. But this set does offer an easy way to get started with barbell training—and enough of a weight range to keep you going for a while.  

Bar Weight: 5 pounds | Bar Length: 4.5 feet | Weight Capacity: 60 pounds | Plate Compatibility: 1-inch plates

Best for Powerlifting: Synergee 45lb Rhino Power Bar

Pros
  • Classic design

  • Crafted from high-strength, durable steel

  • Extremely high weight capacity

Cons
  • Not a great pick for beginners

  • Heavy bar

The Synergee Rhino Power Bar is a heavy-duty barbell that can support a massive training load. The durable bar can support up to 1,500 pounds at a time, making it a particularly great pick for powerlifting. The barbell is crafted from high-strength steel, and it’s finished with a protective coating designed to cut down on corrosion and rusting. And it promises to remain rigid as you lift, so you won’t have to worry about your bar warping under pressure.

Like other barbells, the Synergee Rhino Power Bar boasts multiple grip positions, all of which are knurled to give you plenty of traction.

Bar Weight: 45 pounds | Bar Length: 7 feet | Weight Capacity: 1,500 pounds | Plate Compatibility: 2-inch plates

Best for Crossfit: Body-Solid OB86B Olympic Bar

Pros
  • Classic design

  • Great for cross-training

  • Black oxide finish should protect from wear and tear

Cons
  • Heavy bar

  • Weight capacity may be too low for some

When cross-training, you need an Olympic barbell that can handle a variety of exercises, and the Body Solid OB86B Olympic Bar promises to fit that bill. The classic Olympic barbell is crafted from aluminum and coated with a protective black oxide finish that promises to keep the bar from rusting, chipping, or peeling.

As you’d expect, the barbell boasts multiple grip positions—all of which are finely textured to give you traction as you tackle your favorite exercises. 

Bar Weight: 44 pounds | Bar Length: 7 feet | Weight Capacity: 600 pounds | Plate Compatibility: 2-inch plates

Best Curl Bar: Everyday Essentials Olympic Barbell Curl Bar

Pros
  • Classic design

  • Beginner-friendly

  • Space-saving

Cons
  • Weight capacity may be too low for some

  • Not suited for certain barbell exercises

The Everyday Essentials Olympic Curl Bar is a classic curl bar that can handle up to 350 pounds of weight at a time. Crafted from alloy steel, the curl bar promises to be durable. And it’s lined with a set of knurled grips that will give you plenty of traction as you lift.

You may notice that this curl bar is shorter and wavier than your average barbell. That’s because curl bars are designed with bicep curls in mind. They tend to be narrower than other barbells, and they’re bent to accommodate the way your hands rotate during curls.

Curl bars may still prove useful for other weighted exercises, like backloaded walking lunges, but they're not ideal for heavier lifts or compound exercises.

Bar Weight: 25 pounds | Bar Length: 4 feet | Weight Capacity: 350 pounds | Plate Compatibility: 2-inch plates

Best Hexagonal Bar: HulkFit Olympic 2-Inch Hex Trap Bar

Pros
  • Classic design

  • Extra-long sleeves let you pile on the weight

  • High weight capacity

Cons
  • Heavy bar

Looking to add a hexagonal bar (or trap bar) to your routine? The HulkFit Olympic Trap Bar is a solid choice. Crafted from heavy-duty steel, the bar promises to be durable. And since it can handle up to 1,000 pounds at a time, you can use it during your most intense strength-training exercises.

Take advantage of the trap bar’s extra-long sleeves, and pile on all the weight you can handle. Rest assured knowing that since the handles are lined with multiple knurled grips, you can easily find a lifting position that works for you.

Bar Weight: 45 pounds | Bar Length: 4.5 feet | Weight Capacity: 1,000 pounds | Plate Compatibility: 2-inch plates

Best Adjustable: Bowflex SelectTech 2080 Barbell with Curl Bar

 Bowflex SelectTech 2080 Barbell with Curl Bar
Pros
  • Space-saving

  • Wide weight range

  • Easy to use

  • Easy to rack

  • Backed by a 3-year warranty

Cons
  • Lowest weight is still pretty high

  • Cannot use with your own weight plates

If you’re looking for a small space-friendly way to stock up on fitness equipment, the Bowflex SelectTech 2080 Barbell may be just what you need. The adjustable barbell set ships with a 5-foot barbell, a 5-foot curl bar, and six sets of weight plates, which you can combine to reach training loads between 20 to 80 pounds.

To increase your training load, simply set your bar of choice inside your weight rack, and turn the bar’s built-in dial to scale up your weight. This system makes it easy to keep your workouts as challenging as you want them to be, and it doesn’t demand too much space, either. 

Bar Weight: 20 pounds | Bar Length: 5 feet | Weight Capacity: 80 pounds (120-pound upgrade available) | Plate Compatibility: none

Best Budget Adjustable: Nice C Adjustable Barbell 2-in-1 Set

Pros
  • Space-saving

  • Floor-friendly

  • Beginner-friendly

  • Backed by a 30-day warranty

Cons
  • Low weight range

  • Adjusting the weights can be a little involved

  • Cannot use with your own weight plates

If you don’t mind doing a little work, you can find an adjustable barbell set at a (relatively) budget-friendly price point. The Nice C Adjustable Barbell Set ships with 15 pieces: two dumbbell grips, one connector bar, and 12 weight plates. (The set also comes with bolts you can use to secure all these pieces).

Place the weight plates on the dumbbell grips to use them as dumbbells, or connect your dumbbell grips to your connector bar to use the piece of equipment as a barbell. You can combine the weight plates to reach a total training load of 22 to 66 pounds (depending on which set you buy). So if you’re looking for a challenge, be sure to snag one of the heavier sets. 

Bar Weight: 1.1 pounds | Bar Length: 5 feet | Weight Capacity: 22–66 pounds | Plate Compatibility: none

Best for Small Spaces: Yes4All Total Body Workout Weighted Bar

Pros
  • Space-saving

  • Floor-friendly

  • Beginner-friendly weight range

  • Can be used during a variety of exercises

Cons
  • Low weight range

  • Cannot be loaded with weight plates

The Yes4All Total Body Workout Bar is a creative solution to the problem of strength-training in a small space. Whereas other barbells require you to stock up on weight plates, the Yes4All Total Body Workout Bar requires no weights at all. Instead, the bar is weighted to give you an effective workout on its own.

The bar comes in eight different weights—between 5 to 30 pounds—so you can easily find an option that works for you. And since the durable steel bar is padded with foam, you don’t have to worry about it roughing up your floors.

Bar Weight: 5–30 pounds | Bar Length: 4 feet | Weight Capacity: none | Plate Compatibility: none

Best Portable: BodyBoss 2.0 Full Portable Home Gym

Pros
  • Space-saving

  • Portable

  • Beginner-friendly weight range

  • Can be used for both cardio and strength training

Cons
  • Low weight range

  • Cannot be loaded with weight plates

Barbells aren’t really designed to be portable. So what happens if you want to take your go-to fitness equipment with you on-the-go? In these moments, the BodyBoss 2.0 Portable Home Gym can make an apt substitution for your favorite barbells and weight plates.

The BodyBoss 2.0 Portable Home Gym is a nine-piece set that uses a barbell and resistance bands to simulate the experience of strength-training at the gym. You can combine the resistance bands to reach a training load of 60 pounds. And since the entire strength-training set packs up inside a small carrying case, you can easily toss it in the trunk of your car—or bring it with you on a flight.

Bonus: the resistance bands can even be used to increase the challenge of your cardio workouts.

Bar Weight: Not disclosed (the entire set weighs 15 pounds, combined) | Bar Length: 3.5 feet | Weight Capacity: 60–120 pounds (depending on the set you buy) | Plate Compatibility: none

Final Verdict

If you’re looking for a classic barbell that can support a lot of weight, the CAP Barbell Beast Olympic Bar is an excellent choice. Crafted from high-strength steel, the Olympic barbell can be used during a variety of exercises. And its multiple-grip positions make it great for different workouts. If you’d prefer a budget-friendlier option, the Sporzon! Olympic Weightlifting Barbell is a great pick. The barbell promises to be sturdy and versatile. And since it comes in a variety of lengths and weights, you can easily find an option that works for you.

What to Look for in a Barbell

Bar Weight

Some barbells are much heavier than others. And if you’re weightlifting for the first time, you’ll want to be sure you can actually lift your barbell before putting weights on it. As a rule, thicker, longer barbells tend to be heavier than thinner, shorter ones. So consider this interplay of size and weight when shopping.

Bar Length:

Barbells tend to be 5 to 7 feet long. And while that may not sound like a lot, 1 foot can make a big difference. Consider your wingspan while shopping, and look for an option that suits your size. (And remember, longer barbells tend to be heavier than shorter ones.)

Weight Capacity:

Different barbells can support different training loads. (This just means some barbells can handle more weight than others.) If you love heavy lifting, look for a barbell that can support even your most intense workouts. And if you’re a first-timer, know that you probably don’t have to pay too much attention to this feature.

Plate Compatibility:

Barbells tend to be about 1–2 inches thick. And this diameter will affect what kinds of weight plates you can use. If you already own weight plates, be sure to buy a barbell you can use them with. And if you don’t have any weight plates yet, keep your barbell’s diameter in mind while shopping for them. 

FAQs 


How to best add weight to barbell

If you have a rack, start by placing your barbell on the rack. Then, slide a weight plate onto one side of your barbell. (As a rule of thumb, you’ll always want to slide on your heaviest, largest weight plate first.) Continue sliding weight plates onto that side until you’ve loaded all the weight you want to, then secure the weights using a barbell collar. Repeat these steps on the other side, making sure you end up with an even distribution of weight on both sides of the bar. 

If you don’t have a rack, you may have to load your bar from the floor. To do this, you’ll want to tilt one side of the bar up, slide on one plate, carefully set the weighted bar down, and repeat this step on the other side. (By loading one plate onto each side first, you can steady your bar and maintain control of it.) Then, load the rest of your plates and secure your weights using a bar collar. If you’re loading from the floor, be mindful and consider placing your weights and barbell on a towel. (This will keep your equipment from roughing up your floors.)

What are the best barbell exercises?

There are tons of excellent exercises you can perform using a barbell. If you want to challenge your lower body, you can do deadlifts and squats. And if you want to work your upper body, you can do presses, rows, and cleans. 

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