Picturing a home gym in 2020 might conjure up images of a fully-kitted room with full racks of weights, machines, and every type of specialized equipment you can think of.
While it would be nice to have a full gym at home – especially this year – you can get all the strength training you need with one piece of equipment.
Whether it’s because of budget constraints, lack of space, or that you just like to do things old school, one barbell – and a few plates to throw on it – can be used to add strength and size to every muscle in your body.
This article will provide you with some options for the best barbell for your home gym, with the pros and cons of each barbell, and a comprehensive guide on everything to look for in an Olympic bar for your home gym.
Here are the contenders!
11 Best Barbells for Home Gym
1. Rogue Ohio Bar
The pride and joy of Rogue Fitness, the Ohio bar is made from quality American made steel. The Rogue Ohio Bar comes in a range of finishes, from the black oxide to suit those who want a more naked bar feel and don’t mind doing a little maintenance on their bar, to a stainless steel finish that will make the bar impermeable to rust and oxidation.
The Rogue Ohio Bar is a solid, get-what-you-pay-for barbell, with quality in every aspect of its make. This bar will not let you down.
- Tensile Strength: 190K PSI
- Coating: Full Range
- Balance between stiffness and whip
- Dual knurl marks for Olympic and powerlifting
- Choose any coating from oxide to stainless
- Balanced knurling
- Jack of all trades – may not be suitable for highly specialized lifters
One of the best all-around Olympic barbells, the Rogue Ohio Bar will get the job done for most home athletes, with finishes – and price points – for everyone.
2. Rogue Echo Bar
The little brother to the Rogue Ohio in some ways, the Echo barbell retains all the best features of that bar, including its tensile strength and quality bearing surfaces.
The main difference with the Echo is its more specialized nature towards Olympic lifting, with singular knurl markings, and a single zinc finish to provide a balance between whip and oxidation resistance.
- Tensile Strength: 190K PSI
- Coating: Bright Zinc
- Most of the main features of the Ohio bar
- Slightly cheaper
- Optimal stability for high-intensity Olympic lifts
- Lack of dual knurls for powerlifters
- Only available in one finish
A slightly more budget-friendly option for intermediate lifters or those who specifically want to improve their Olympic lifts.
3. Rogue The Bella Bar 2.0
The Rogue Bella bar is basically the Ohio bar specialized for female athletes. It retains all the best features of the Ohio; the dual knurl marks and range of finishes make it suitable for everything from powerlifting to CrossFit competitions.
The accommodating features of the barbell for women include its slightly smaller diameter and sleeve length, as well as its weight of 15kg.
- Tensile Strength: 190K PSI
- Coating: Multiple options
- Competition standard for the female athlete
- Full range of prices and coating options
- All the features of the Ohio bar
- Multiple color options
- Altered grip diameter and bar weight will put one at a disadvantage when using a standard Olympic barbell
The Rogue Bella is the perfect option for women of all fitness levels, with all the quality and more optimal specifications for the female athlete.
4. Rogue Euro Olympic Weightlifting Bar
This is the best of the best of the barbells on this list. Everything from its blend of American and European steel makes, to the clear cerakote finish and five-needle bearing sets in each sleeve, this bar has been tested like no other to create the perfect whip, spin, and corrosion resistance – backed up with a lifetime warranty.
That being said, for the price of this barbell you could get several plates, cuffs, maybe even a cheap rack. So if you’re not planning on entering any competition anytime soon, this bulletproof bar may be overkill for what you need.
If you want the best barbell on the market, however – and you want one barbell to last you a lifetime – then the Rogue Euro Olympic bar is for you!
- Tensile Strength: 215K PSI
- Coating: Cerakote
- IWF certified
- VERY strong
- 28mm diameter for a stronger grip
- Lifetime warranty
- Centre knurl for chest grip on Olympic lifts
- Expensive for the average home lifter
With the highest quality materials, features, and finishes, this is the best barbell on this list – with the price tag to match.
5. REP Stainless Steel Power Bar V2
This Olympic bar is made for strength. A high-quality bar suitable for everyday trainers and the home powerlifter, this bar sports a stainless steel finish for a bare steel grip as well as freedom from barbell maintenance.
The shaft of the Power bar is also 29mm, a little thicker than the other options on this list. This adds extra stiffness suitable for powerlifting, as well as training your grip strength.
- Tensile Strength: 200K PSI
- Coating: Stainless Steel
- Different knurl depth options for those who want the extra grip
- Super strong
- Lifetime warranty
- Center knurl
- Specialized for the powerlifter – may not be as versatile as other options
6. CAP Beast 7-Foot Olympic Bar
A solid entry-level option on this list, the CAP range starts with the Beast. The Beast barbell is made from Japanese cold rolled steel, with a slightly lower weight capacity than some of the other Olympic bars on this list due to its lower tensile strength as well as its slightly shorter 15-inch sleeve being able to accommodate fewer plates.
For those not looking to lift extremely heavy in their home gym, this is still a great barbell, and remember the CAP range only gets better with its Boss, Master, and Warrior barbell options.
- Tensile Strength: 110K PSI
- Coating: Black Oxide
- A good option for home gym
- Has several upgraded versions
- Will require bar maintenance
A budget-friendly, high-quality barbell for any home gym save those looking to fit as many plates on the bar as possible.
7. Body-Solid OB86B Olympic Bar
This Body-Solid Olympic barbell is a mid-range option that will perform well for bodybuilding, weight lifting, and cross-training in any home gym.
This bar is made from aluminum rather than steel like most other barbells on this list, making up for it with a slightly thicker 30mm shaft. This is a little thicker than a standard barbell, so take that into account.
- Weight Capacity: 600 lbs
- Coating: Black Oxide
- Solid all-round
- Versatile for most types of home training
- Value for money
- Again, black oxide finish lower on the spectrum of providing protection against rust, chipping
- Thicker bar diameter may compromise grip strength initially
A decent aluminum barbell with a thicker grip diameter. A happy medium between cost and quality.
8. CAP Barbell Classic 7-Foot Olympic Bar
The CAP Classic barbell is suitable for beginners or people who just want a step up from a standard barbell to an Olympic barbell. Be aware that the CAP Classic has a weight of 16kg, rather than the standard 20kg of other full-size barbells.
A larger grip diameter and lower tensile strength than most of the other barbells on this list, if you’re looking to focus more on lighter weight training or isolation exercises, this barbell is a cheaper option that will do the job well.
- Tensile Strength: 64K PSI
- Coating: Chrome
- Good for beginners or younger lifters
- Still has Olympic barbell 2-inch sleeves
- 30-day warranty
- Not standard weight
A barbell for beginners or those who don’t require a commercial gym quality barbell for their home gym, but still want an Olympic barbell suitable for 2-inch plates.
9. Titan Fitness Atlas Bar – Men’s 20kg Barbell
The Atlas Bar from Titan Fitness will not disappoint, with a quality combination of stainless steel and chrome providing a great grip on its 28mm diameter shaft, with multiple knurl marks for easy grip adjustment.
A lack of a center knurl will keep your shins graze-free but may lack the grip on your chest if you’re looking to focus on those heavy overhead lifts and need to stick the bar to your chest in transition.
A very strong, high-quality bar that comes in slightly cheaper than some of its peers. The Atlas barbell is popular for good reason!
- Tensile Strength: 220K PSI
- Coating: Chrome
- Good whip
- Dual knurl marks
- Easy to grip with 28mm diameter
- No center knurl if you want to focus on Olympic lifts
This is a very strong barbell suitable for any kind of training in your home gym. High-quality make and materials make this a great bang for your buck Olympic barbell.
10. Titan Fitness Economy Olympic Bar – 84-IN
Titan’s answer to a more budget-friendly option, these economy barbells are still made of cold-rolled steel, however are purely made for home gym use. If you want a commercial gym or IWF grade bars, this is not it.
That being said, everything else is here. A decent knurl, weight capacity, and chrome finish will all be suitable for an average weight lifter at home. And you can use the money you save to buy more weights or equipment!
- Weight Capacity: 700lbs
- Coating: Chrome
- Quality materials
- Decent features for the lower cost
- Not commercial gym quality
- Thicker grip to make up for lower tensile strength
This cost-friendly barbell is still going to beat many other barbells out there. Will last any average home gym a long time with the right care.
11. Titan Fitness Yukon Bar
This buffalo bar-style barbel is unique on this list in its design. With a six-inch curve through the shaft of the bar, this barbell is designed to take the pressure off the shoulders during squats, by making it easier to grab the bar.
This barbell is also longer and heavier than a standard Olympic barbell, with a thicker 32mm grip. If improving your squat is a major goal, but you suffer from a lack of range of motion in your user limb, the Yukon bar may be just the solution you’re looking for.
- Weight Capacity: 2000 lbs
- Coating: Black Oxide
- Quality knurling for good grip
- Helps relieve pain and range of motion problems
- High weight capacity
- Not really versatile as its specially made for squatting
A great option for its specific purpose, this specialty barbell with a six-inch bend will take the pressure off your shoulders during a squat. For everything else, you may still need a straight barbell.
So, these are some of the best barbells for your home gym out there today. We hope this quick guide helped distinguish the multitude of options from each other, giving you some ideas as to which may be the best Olympic bar for you.
The following Olympic bar buyer’s guide will elaborate on the qualities that make a good barbell, and some other things to look out for when shopping for the best Olympic bar for your situation.
Why Invest in an Olympic barbell for a Home Gym?
The following is a list of some of the best reasons to get yourself a quality Olympic barbell as a fundamental piece of home gym equipment.
- Stronger than standard barbells
- Can be dropped without suffering damage
- Can accommodate Olympic weight plates
- Spinning sleeves for less wrist strain
- Can handle heavier weights
- Less likely to warp, bend or snap
- Bushing for protection
- Knurling marks for hand placement
- Whip for Olympic lifting
- More protected against damage and corrosion
- Better quality
- Easier to get plates on and off
- Higher resale value than standard
- Used in commercial gyms
- Wide range of exercises
- Can train every body part with one piece of equipment
- Doesn’t take up as much space as some equipment or machines
It’s important to choose the right Olympic barbell for your home gym to make sure it does everything you need it to, in the most efficient way possible. This includes minimizing your risk of injury when training with the barbell.
Also, you’ll want the barbell to last as long as possible, being resistant to scratches, warping, bending, and rust.
With these things in mind, here are some of the other factors that will influence your choice of Olympic barbell.
Different Bars for Different Lifters
Olympic weightlifting is a sport consisting of two lifts: the clean and jerk, and the snatch. These are high-velocity exercises that require several key features in an Olympic barbell.
First, an Olympic bar must have a whip. This is the elastic energy stored in the bar, allowing it to bend slightly as it is pulled explosively off the ground, helping its momentum to either the racked or overhead position.
Next, Olympic lifters need a nice smooth spin in the sleeve bearings. This is to transfer the spinning momentum of the bar away from the wrists and into the bar sleeves, preventing a lot of torque from causing injury to the athlete.
Finally, the Olympic lifts are concentric only, meaning that the weight is exclusively lifted from the ground up to the top end, then dropped from overhead onto the ground. This means the barbell needs super strong brushing to absorb the impact without getting damaged.
A powerlifter requires different things from their barbell. This sport involves the three key lifts of the deadlift, squat, and bench press. Unlike explosive Olympic weightlifting, powerlifting requires slow, controlled movement, both for the concentric and eccentric portion of the movement (excluding the deadlift, in which the weight can be dropped after sticking the endpoint).
A powerlifter needs more aggressive knurling on their bar shaft to provide more grip. They also don’t necessarily want the same spin as Olympic lifters, as spinning plates can cause imbalance.
Finally, powerlifting requires a stiffer bar; whip is less important than the bar remaining straight and secure throughout the controlled movement. A stiffer bar is also able to accommodate the much heavier weights lifted in powerlifting competitions.
General Strength Training
For the average person doing weightlifting at home, a balance of these features is often best. For example, a medium knurl – not too rough and not too passive, and a moderate amount of spin and stiffness. Probably the most important feature for an average home gym barbell is the finish, which determines the bar’s resistance to corrosion and damage.
Important Features to Consider in Your Home Gym Olympic Barbell
1. Price & Opportunity Cost
While investing in a quality Olympic bar will require some monetary cost, it’s important to weigh up what that money may be better spent on.
If you’re not training with weights that will bend lesser bars, and you’re happy to take care of your bar rather than spend money on the highest quality stainless steel finishes, a more budget-friendly option, like the CAP Beast 7-ft Olympic Bar, may allow you to spend the excess on more weight plates or other equipment.
2. Tensile Strength & Load Capacity
Speaking of loading up your bar, the tensile strength mentioned in the review refers to the PSI at which the metal breaks when being pulled apart.
Load capacity is simply the amount of weight the bar can hold. While you may not be planning on lifting bar-bending weights, low-quality Olympic barbells can still warp and bend with prolonged use.
3. Knurling & Coating
The knurling is the pattern embossed into the bar to increase its grip. Knurling comes in various depths, which can be a matter of personal preference, as too shallow can be slippery, and too deep can be rough and damage your skin on your hands and shins. There are usually gaps in the knurling to accommodate the legs, and markings for powerlifter and Olympic lifting hand placement are placed on most Olympic barbells.
Centre knurling refers to a section of knurling between the leg gaps. This is to create friction on the chest or upper back to keep the bar in place.
The coating protects the bar from damage and rust. The spectrum of quality in coating starts from bare steel, which rusts easily, followed by black oxide, chrome, zinc, cerakote, and stainless steel. Each coating requires varying degrees of maintenance, with the shaft and sleeves often having different coatings on various Olympic barbells.
The Rogue Ohio Bar comes in all of these coatings, with various price points depending on the quality of the coating on the bar.
4. Sleeve Spin & Size
As mentioned, different barbells have different types of bearings in their sleeves, creating different amounts of spin. Olympic bars can also have varying sleeve lengths, being able to accommodate varying numbers of plates on either end. Most standard size Olympic bars feature a 16.25-inch sleeve, however, models such as the women’s Rogue Bella bar have shorter sleeves.
Barbells need to be compatible with the rest of your equipment. The standard Olympic bar sleeve is two inches thick, so making sure you have the right weights and cuffs for your bar is important.
6. Specialty Barbells
The Titan Yukon bar in this review is an example of a special kind of bar made for a singular purpose. Other specialty bars include the trap bar, EZ bar, and other bars with special shapes and handles.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I choose an Olympic barbell?
The best barbells for your home gym will mainly depend on your strength training goals, available space, and your budget. In this article, we have reviewed a range of Olympic barbells with varying specifications and price points. Feel free to tailor your choice to your own fitness goals!
What size Olympic bar should I use?
Standard Olympic bars are approximately 20kgs and 7 feet long, with a 28.5mm diameter to grip. The main variation in this is the women’s bar, weighing in at 15kg, with a shorter length and smaller diameter. Try to stick to the standard measurements to ensure your training transfers to different bars.
How much does an Olympic barbell cost?
The Olympic bars in this review are from a wide variety of price ranges to give you more options. There are cheaper Olympic bars out there, but it’s easy to lose the quality you want when going too cheap. Start with the highest quality Olympic bar you can afford, remembering that you can always upgrade and that the best barbells will last you a lifetime of home gym use.
What is the difference between standard and Olympic barbells?
A standard barbell has a one-inch sleeve, whereas Olympic bars have a two-inch sleeve. Standard barbells have a lot less tensile strength and weight capacity than Olympic barbells.
Can you bench press with an Olympic bar?
Definitely! A good quality power bar, which is an Olympic bar with good rigidity, a moderate to aggressive knurl, and not too much spin would be ideal for bench pressing.