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The 10 best budget barbells 2023

Choosing a good barbell doesn’t mean you have to make monthly payments.

Yes, they can cost that much. But you don’t have to make that kind of investment.

A good barbell can be value-conscious and high quality. That’s true whether you’re a powerlifter, weightlifter, bodybuilder, or fitness enthusiast.

There’s a bar that can fit your needs without breaking the bank.

This guide will review the best budget barbells on the market. Don’t lift again until you read this guide!

In a Hurry? Here is our top pick:

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Here’s our pick for best overall. The XMark Blackhawk 7’ Olympic Bar can handle up to 1500lbs. That’s enough for any powerlifter or weightlifter. The tensile strength of this bar is 185,000 PSI. Also, it has a 28mm shaft. This bar features 10 needle bearings for a smooth spin. 

Plus, the sleeves use a snap ring system. It also has a black manganese phosphate coating to protect against corrosion. There’s IWF and IPF-approved medium depth fine knurling. There’s no knurling in the center. Finally, this is one of the most cost-conscious bars on this list. 

  • Holds Up To 1500lbs
  • Black Manganese Phosphate Coating
  • 10 Needle Bearings For Smooth And Quiet Spin
  • The Lack Of Center Knurling May Negatively Affect Squats

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This is our pick for the best standard bar. Many users start out with a standard bar. They are lighter and thinner than an Olympic bar. For example, Olympic bars have a 2” plate diameter and weigh 44lbs. A 7’ standard bar weighs 20lbs and holds more budget-conscious 1” plates. This bar has a weight capacity of 350lbs. 

That’s good for users that do not plan to powerlift or Olympic lift. Many users may outgrow a bar like this after a few years. Still, it’s a good budget-minded way to start lifting. Finally, this is an alloy steel bar for strength. 

  • Holds 350lbs
  • Value-Minded Option To Olympic Bars And Plates
  • Made Using Alloy Steel
  • Anyone Training For Strength May Outgrow This Bar Quickly

Most users use an Olympic bar for powerlifting. Lifting heavy is what it’s all about for these lifters. Here’s the best budget bar for this kind of training. Bells Of Steel Barenaked Powerlifting Bar has a max weight capacity of 1500lbs. It has a tensile strength of 210,000PSI. 

Also, it has a 29mm diameter. The shaft is bare steel and features aggressive knurling. The knurling is in the center and ends. This bar has sleeves consisting of ribbed chrome. This helps keep the plates securely in place. Also, the collars are thin so you can load more plates. Finally, this bar meets all IPF standards. 

  • Holds Up To 1500 Lbs
  • 210,000 PSI Tensile Strength
  • Meets IPF Standards
  • Some Users Feel The Packaging For Shipment Could Be Better

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Here’s a bar with a moderate flex that makes it our pick for the best weightlifting bar. The XMark Voodoo 7” Olympic Bar is ideal for all Olympic lifts. The medium knurling meets IWF standards. 

This bar has a 28mm diameter for a good grip.

It holds up to 1500lbs and has a tensile strength of 185,000PSI. The Voodoo Bar is alloy steel for durability. Plus, it has black manganese phosphate coating. The sleeves use a snap ring system and are micro grooved. This increases plate security. 

  • Holds 1500lbs
  • Ideal For Olympic Weightlifting
  • Coated For Corrosion Protection
  • High Humidity Locations May Cause The Bar To Rust

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This is a very cost-efficient bar for beginners. In fact, this is the best budget-conscious bar in this guide. The CAP Barbell Classic Olympic Bar is 7’ long. It’s an alloy steel bar that holds 500lbs. That’s a good starting point for beginners. If you are pursuing strength training, you will get good use out of this bar. If you’re training for fitness or bodybuilding, you should get a few more years out of it. 

Powerlifting or weightlifting will demand higher poundages. Depending on how you train, bodybuilding may also. Fitness and general conditioning will not. Finally, the grip diameter is 30mm, and it has a tensile strength of 63,000 PSI. 

  • Good Beginner Bar
  • Holds 500lbs
  • Made Using Alloy Steel
  • Some Users May Outgrow This Bar Quickly

Here’s our pick for the best budget bar for women lifters. At 33lbs, the Rogue Bella Bar weighs less than regular Olympic bars. It’s 6’9” in length and has a 25mm shaft. This bar has a 195,000 PSI tensile strength. Yet the sleeves are a little shorter than regular Olympic bars. Still, this bar will hold plenty of weight. 

The Rogue Bella Bar has a good mix of whip and rigidness. That makes it ideal for either weightlifting or powerlifting. Knurling works well for both sports. Finally, it should be noted that Rogue does not list the load capacity. 

  • 195,000 PSI Tensile Strength
  • Weighs 33lbs
  • The Bar Is Just Under 7” Long
  • No Load Capacity Listed On The Rogue Website

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The Body-Solid OB86 Tools Olympic Bar is our pick for the best value. It’s triple chrome coated for good corrosion protection. This is a bar well suited to powerlifting, Olympic weightlifting, or bodybuilding. It has a 600lb capacity and weighs 44lbs. 

There’s no listing of tensile strength. The grip or shaft diameter is 30mm. It has knurling in the center and ends. Finally, the bar uses a shoulder bolt for the sleeves. 

  • Holds 600lbs
  • 7’ Long
  • Chrome Finish
  • Some Users Find The Packaging Used For Shipping Is Poor

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Most of the bars in this guide are straight bars. Yet many users like other types of bars for specific exercises. One of these is a trap (or hex) bar. It’s called a hex bar because of its hexagonal shape. 

The Marcy Olympic HTB-6921 is our pick for the best budget trap bar

This is a specialty bar used for deadlifts and squats. You can also use it for shoulder presses and bench presses. The advantage of this bar is that it eases stress on the spine. 

This bar is steel and holds 800lbs. The bar itself weighs 50lbs. 

Also, it has regular and raised handles for more grip options. Finally, both handles are knurled for a good grip. 

  • Holds 800lbs
  • The Hex Shape Allows Users To Stand In The Center
  • Features Regular And Raised Handles
  • The Bar May Be Too Heavy For New Users

Here’s another common specialty bar. The EZ bar is a popular bar used for arm work. You can also use it for pressing exercises. Our pick for the best Olympic EZ bar is the REP Rackable EZ Bar. 

This is a 6’2” rackable bar. It will fit on the rack of many home gyms. The advantage of the EZ bar is that it eases strain on the wrists. It also angles the hands in a semi-supinated position. Finally, this bar weighs 35lbs and can hold 800lbs. 

  • Eases Wrist Strain
  • Holds Up To 800lbs
  • Rackable
  • The Rackable Length Is An Extra Cost Optional Bar

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All but two of the bars in this guide are Olympic. Some users never use Olympic bars. Here’s our pick for the best standard EZ bar. The Marcy Curl Bar is a good addition to any home gym. It’s good for both biceps and triceps exercises. Also, it works well for overhead presses. This bar is not rackable. That means you can’t use it for heavy bench presses.

The Marcy Curl Bar only weighs 11lbs but holds 200lbs. The downside of this bar is the spinlock collars. These collars do not stay tight. This is true no matter what you do. Still, this is a good budget EZ bar. It’s ideal for anyone that prefers cost-effective standard plates. 

  • Ideal For Users That Prefer A Standard Bar And Plates
  • Holds 200lbs
  • Made Using Alloy Steel
  • Has Spinlock Collars – They Always Come Loose While Training

A budget barbell is a bar that’s cost-affordable. That means it will not cost you a paycheck to get one. The bar itself can be a straight bar, trap bar, or EZ bar.  

Here’s a look at the different types of budget bars available. 

This bar is often used by people starting an exercise program. It will be more budget-minded than an Olympic bar. Also, plates will be much more cost-effective. This bar can be 5, 6, or 7’ long. It will weigh about 20lbs and the plate diameter is 1”. Finally, the load capacity will be much less than an Olympic bar. For example, the BalanceFrom Standard Bar holds 350lbs. 

This is the bar for serious lifters. This includes powerlifters, Olympic weightlifters, and bodybuilders. It also includes any serious athlete. An Olympic bar is usually 7’ and weighs 44-45lbs. It holds 2” plates only. These plates are much more costly than the 1” standard plates. Still, the best Olympic bars can hold a lot of weight. For example, our best overall, the XMark Blackhawk, holds 1500lbs. Also, the Bells Of Steel Barenaked Bar and XMark Voodoo Bar both hold 1500lbs.

A powerlifting bar has heavy knurling. This provides a good grip. If you’re doing squats, it grips your back. This helps keep the bar in place. It also grips your hands better when doing deadlifts and bench presses. Also, an Olympic bar for powerlifting is very rigid. 

Olympic weightlifting bars have more “whip”. This means the bar creates momentum. An experienced lifter can use this to help complete the lift. Knurling will be aggressive on weightlifting bars also. 

As noted, this bar has a hexagonal shape. This allows users to stand in the center of the bar. The trap bar eases stress on the spine. It’s popular for deadlifts and squats of all types. Some users perform presses of all kinds using a trap bar. It can also be used for weighted carries. 

As mentioned, an EZ bar has angles so your grip takes stress off the wrists. The angles are similar to a relaxed “W”. This also lets you use different width grips. This allows the bar to work well for arm work. One reason for this is, as noted, it puts your hands in a semi-supinated position. Supination is the action of twisting or turning your wrist. This is important for full biceps development. Also, you can use an EZ bar for presses of all types.

You will see ratings for this throughout this guide. This is the amount of weight a bar can hold before it breaks. It’s a rating applied to Olympic bars. These are the only bars used in Powerlifting and Olympic weight-lifting. The load capacity and ability of the bar to handle it are important considerations.

Here are tensile strength guidelines to consider when choosing a budget barbell:

  • 150,000 PSI or less  — This is a good range for beginners. It’s also good for anyone that does not lift heavy weights. 
  • 150,000 -180,000 PSI — This is a good range for most lifters. 
  • 180,000 PSI Or More — This is the ideal range for the strongest lifters. These bars are high-quality and well built. Our best overall, best for weightlifting, and best for powerlifting bars rate this high.

This refers to the placement of the grip markings. Heavy knurling provides the best grip. 

This is known as aggressive knurling. Most bars are knurled on the ends and the center. Not all bars have center knurling. If you squat a lot, look for a bar that does. You’ll want a good grip on your back if you’re squatting max weight.

Some bars have moderate knurling. This is better for beginners or anyone not lifting very heavy weights. 

The shaft is the area where you hold the bar. On an Olympic bar, the diameter ranges from 28mm to 30mm. Our best overall, the XMark Blackhawk, has a 28mm diameter shaft. Others, like the Rogue Bella Bar, are 25mm. This is because the bar is designed for women. These generally have small hands. A powerlifting bar, such as Bells Of Steel Barenaked Powerlifting Bar, is 29mm. The slightly thicker shaft promotes grip strength. It also adds strength to the bar. 

The whip is the amount of flex a bar has during a lift. If a bar has high whip it means it will be flexible. If it has low whip it means it will be rigid. 

If you’re an Olympic weightlifter, a certain level of whip is important. This is because whip creates momentum. In turn, an experienced lifter can use this to help complete the lift. An example of a bar with good whip is the XMark Voodoo Bar. 

If you’re a powerlifter or bodybuilder, your bar should have lower whip. You don’t want the bar itself to move while performing heavy lifts.

Spin refers to the collars, or plate sleeves, spinning while performing a lift. Like whip, this creates momentum the lifter can use. Only Olympic bars spin. 

Do you live in a high humidity area? The coating can keep the bar free of rust. Here are the most common coatings you’ll find on a budget barbell:

Alloy steel – Steel is durable and strong. Yet bare steel does not protect well against corrosion. Some alloy steel bars are bare bars with no coating. Others have chrome plating. An example is the BalanceFrom Standard Bar. This bar comes in two options. First, there’s chrome plating. It’s also available in black with no plating at all. 

Black Manganese Phosphate – This is a corrosion reducing coating that also decreases wear. Our best overall, the XMark BlackHawk, uses this coating. 

Chrome – This coating can rust, chip, and flake. While it’s on the bar, it provides reasonable corrosion prevention. An example is the CAP Barbell Classic Olympic Bar. Also, the BalanceFrom Standard Bar offers a chrome finish. 

E-Coat – The Rogue Bella Bar uses this coating. It’s a standard in the auto industry. This coating is known to provide good corrosion resistance. It’s new to the barbell industry.

The sleeves of an Olympic bar will have one of these. They help the sleeves spin. Of the two options, bearings are the best for good spin. For example, the XMark Blackhawk Bar uses a 10 needle bearing system. Both of these fit between the bar and the sleeve. Avoid ball bearings. They tend to lose their shape. 

A bar with bushings is better for slower lifts. For example, powerlifters do not need the sleeves to spin. The Bells Of Steel Barenaked Powerlifting Bar uses bushings. 

Most bar manufacturers suggest wiping down your budget barbell with a light coat of oil or WD-40. The best oils to use are mineral oil, 3-in-1 oil, or gun oil. Allow the oil or WD-40 to dry. There’s no need to wipe it off. 

The XMark Blackhawk 7’ Olympic Bar has a load capacity of 1500lbs. Plus it has a tensile strength of 185,000 PSI. This bar can handle your biggest lifts.

Would you prefer a standard bar? The BalanceFrom Standard Bar is a 7’ bar. It weighs less than half of what an Olympic bar weighs. This bar can hold 350lbs. That makes it a good choice if you’re not going to lift heavy. Also, the 1” diameter plates are much more budget-conscious. 

Are you looking for the best bar for women lifters? The Rogue Bella Bar weighs 33lbs. That’s a little less than regular Olympic bars. It also has a smaller 25mm shaft. Finally, it has a 195,000 tensile strength. 

The best budget barbell is the one that fits your training style. Our guide has a bar that will cover any training style. Choose your new bar and get lifting!


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