Best Weight Plates for 2022

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Whether you are planning to create your own home gym, or you own a gym and are looking to upgrade, you need to stock a workout space with the proper weight plates.

After the squat rack and barbell, you're going to need some weights to get you lifting, which is why I've compiled my best weight plates list to help you find the right ones in the vast sea of iron, rubber, bumper, and competition plates.

Your barbell deserves the best weights, which means they better be able to withstand tons of dropping (when needed), minimal bounce, resist any damage, fit on your bar properly and most importantly - look good.

Top 13 Best Weight Plates for 2022

Why You Should Trust My Reviews

I don't play around when it comes to reviewing products for you here at Barbell Pursuits. Weight plates are no exception as they are a pivotal piece of strength equipment in a gym.

I've tested and tried out many of the weight plates you'll see today, and of the ones I haven't had the chance to, I've done my due diligence and scoured reviews from people who have, along with completing in-depth research about them.

Best Overall Weight Plates - Rogue Echo Bumper Plates

Price

Pairs: $64 - $190


Sets: $401 - $637

Weight Units

Pounds

Weight Options

Pairs: 10 Lb. - 45 Lb. 


Sets: 160 Lb. - 260 Lb.

Weight tolerance

+/- 1%

Material

Virgin Rubber w/ Stainless Steel Collar

Collar Opening Size

50.6mm (1.99")

Durometer Rating

88 (Low-to-Medium Bounce)

Warranty

90 Days (10-15 Lb.)

3 Years (35+ Lb.)

The Rogue Echo Bumper Plates provide excellent durability, low bounce, and a low weight tolerance (1%) all for a great value price for pairs or sets.

My choice for the best overall weight plates felt like an easy one - the Rogue Echo Bumper Plates.

Why do they reign supreme as the top choice? Well, for starters, they have a great value in terms of price to quality. You can purchase in either sets or pairs, and they range from $64 - $190 (Pairs) and $401 - $637 (Sets).

Bumper plates are usually more expensive than iron plates, so those prices are good, but it isn't just about the cost. Quality is a major factor in finding the right weight plates because they take some abuse over the years.

The Rogue Echo Bumper Plates have a 1% weight tolerance, which is good, and have minimal bounce, also helpful for keeping them sustained over a long period of time.

Stainless steel inserts (collar) will withstand a lot of use and prevent rusting.

My only knocks on the Rogue Echo Bumper Plates are the fact that they use imported rubber from China, which is unusual given their commitment to manufacturing most of their equipment in the US and the fact that the width of the plates is wider.

This means you can fit up to 500 Lb. on the bar at most.

They're minor inconveniences but don't take away from the fact that the Echo Plates are among the best of the best.

Pros

  • High Durometer Rating 
  • Weight Tolerance is Within 1%
  • 3-Year Warranty on 25 Lb.+ Plates
  • Stainless Steel Inserts
  • Pair or Set Options

Cons

  • Imported Rubber
  • Width Allows Only Up to 500 Lb. On the Bar
  • Strong Rubber Smell

Price

Pairs: $19.99 - $159.99


Sets: $364.99 - $789.99

Weight Units

Pounds

Weight Options

Pairs: 2.5 Lb. - 45 Lb.


Sets: 175 Lb. - 425 Lb.

Weight tolerance

3%

Collar Opening Size

52mm (2.04")

Material

Machined Cast Iron

Warranty

1-Year

The REP Fitness Old School Iron Plates take you back to the golden age of bodybuilding with their deep lip design, durable matte finish, and excellent price.

REP Fitness Old School Iron Plates harken back to the good old days of Arnie, Columbo, Serge Nubret, Sandow, and many other legends of the bodybuilding world.

Old School Iron Plates aren't just excellent for their aesthetic qualities, they're damn find weights too. They come in either pairs of sets if you're looking to get a few iron plates and mix with bumper plates, or if you want an entire set of iron.

Using a durable matte finish, the plate exterior is good quality so it won't succumb to much rust damage which is crucial for iron as it's exposed unlike rubber bumper plates.

The deep lip of the weights on the marked weight side also makes it easier to carry which can be a problem for iron plates - but not these ones.

REP also provides these plates at a very good price as far as iron plates go. A full 425 Lb. set will run just under $800, which is plenty of weight for most home gym owners.

On the downside, iron plates are loud so think about if your neighbors will like or hear the sound of metal on metal. They have a 3% weight tolerance, which is a bit higher than desired, but not a deal breaker.

Finally, iron can scuff and scratch, so if you're worried about how they'll look in a few years time, take that into consideration.

Overall, I love the combination of durability and classic look that the REP Old School Iron Plates brings to a garage gym, and at a great price too.

Pros

  • Pairs and Sets Option
  • Classic Plate Design is Attractive
  • Durable Matte Finish
  • Deep-Lip Provides Grip
  • Good Price for Iron Plates

Cons

  • Loud
  • Only 3% Weight Tolerance
  • Iron Plates Scuff and Scratch Easier

Best Urethane Weight Plates - American Barbell Pro Urethane Bumper Plates

Price

Lb. Pair: $352 - $550


Kg Pair: $330 - $550

Weight Units

Pounds and Kilograms

Weight Options

Lb. Pairs: 25 Lb. - 55 Lb.


Kg Pairs: 10 Kg - 25 Kg

Weight tolerance

N/A

Material

High-Strength German Urethane w/ Hard Chrome Insert

Collar Opening Size

50.4mm (1.98")

Durometer Rating

N/a (Low bounce)

Warranty

3-Years

The American Barbell Pro Urethane Bumper Plates are among the best bumper plates around thanks to high-quality virgin rubber, minimal bounce, and pebbled coating grip.

The American Barbell Pro Urethan Bumper Plates come out as among my favorite bumper plates around, especially urethane coated weight plates.

Great value is found here as they run from $352 - $550 (Lb. Pair) and $330 - $550 (Kg Pair), which may seem like a lot, but they're high-quality urethane.

As you can see, they either come in pounds or kilograms. Kilograms is recommended for anyone that is lifting for competition or Olympic lifting as that's the weight units they use.

The virgin rubber they use for coating is very durable and provides minimal bounce, but oddly, these plates can be loud when dropped. Similarly, the urethane is a bit slippery and the lipped-edges on either side make them a tad harder to pick up off the ground.

But, the pebbled coating itself is very grippy when you're handling the plates which is a plus and the eye-popping colors are very vibrant and visually striking.

If you want some high-quality urethane bumper plates, look no further than the American Barbell Urethane Bumper Plates.

Pros

  • Virgin Rubber Material is Very Durable
  • Minimal Bounce
  • Eye-Popping Colors
  • Increased Grip w/ Pebbled Coating

Cons

  • Urethane Can Be Slippery
  • Lipped-Edges Make It Harder to Pick Up From the Ground
  • Noisier Than Some Plates

Best Alternative Urethane Weight Plates - Bells of Steel Urethane Bumper Plates

Price

Pairs: $19.99 - $159.99


Sets: $364.99 - $789.99

Weight Units

Pounds

Weight Options

Pairs: 10 Lb. - 55 Lb.


Sets: 210 Lb. - 340 Lb.

Weight tolerance

+/- 1%

Material

Powder Coated Urethane

Collar Opening Size

50.4mm (1.98")

Durometer Rating

N/A (Low bounce)

Warranty

Limited Lifetime

The Bells of Steel Urethane Bumper Plates allow you to stock up at a reasonable price for bumper plates with a low weight tolerance and grippy lip design.

If you're looking for an alternative for high-quality urethane bumper plates, then the Bells of Steel Urethane Bumper Plates may be the answer.

These urethane plates offer a good alternative for a few reasons. First, they're slightly better in terms of cost and they come in either pairs or sets which is handy if you want to buy an entire weight set right away for your home gym.

At $159.99, the 55 Lb. weight plate pairs are a great price.

Secondly, they provide a bit better grip when picking up off the floor thanks to a unique inner lip design that's sort of waved.

They also come in weight coordinated colors for easy changing out of weights, have minimal bounce, and have a low 1% weight tolerance.

My only gripes with the Bells of Steel Bumper Plates are the fact that the set only goes up to 340 Lb. which likely means you'll have to buy more plates in the future and the powder coating isn't the best.

Other than that, these are an excellent option that are quality but won't break the bank.

Pros

  • Inner Lip Design Helps for Grip
  • Good Value for Bumper Plates
  • Easy Color/Weight for Quick Swapping Out
  • Low 1% Weight Tolerance
  • Minimal Bounce

Cons

  • Powder Coating Finish Isn't the Most Durable
  • Sets Only Go to 340 Lb.

Best Competition Bumper Plates - Rogue Competition Bumper Plates

Price

Lb. Pair: $213 - $408


Lb. Set: $929 - $1357


Kg Pair: $197 - $409


Kg Set: $807 - $1206

Weight Units

Weight Options

Lb. Pairs: 25 Lb. - 55 Lb.


Lb. Sets: 210 Lb. - 320 Lb.


Kg Pairs: 10 Kg - 25 Kg


Kg Sets: 90 Kg - 140 Kg

Weight tolerance

+/- 15 Grams

Material

Virgin Rubber w/ Chrome Plated Steel Disc

Collar Opening Size

50.4mm (1.98")

Durometer Rating

94 (Very Low Bounce)

Warranty

Lifetime

The Rogue Competition Bumper Plates offer top of the line performance, low weight tolerance (15 grams), IWF-approved standards, thin plates and pound or kilogram options.

If you want the top of the line bumper plates, the Rogue Competition Bumper Plates are your best bet for premium quality.

There's just so much to rave about when it comes to these plates. I'll start by mentioning that they're IWF (International Weightlifting Federation) approved, so they can be used for certain competitions.

Next, they have 15 grams of weight tolerance which is incredibly low meaning you're getting the weight you're paying for. Plates come in sets and pairs, and as mentioned, in either kilogram or pounds.

Something that's a big bonus for these plates is that they are thin, meaning you can stack many more plates on the bar than most bumper plates which are wider. This also allows you to store more plates in your home gym.

A durometer rating of 94 gives it a very low bounce rating as well so they're useful for powerlifting, Olympic lifting, or CrossFit. They're made of virgin rubber and chrome steel insert so they use top-tier quality materials.

As good as these plates are, they're not perfect. They run more expensive than most home gym owners may want to spend on plates and the chrome insert is scuff-prone.

Otherwise, the pros outweigh the cons to make the Rogue Competition Bumper Plates the best competition bumper plates around.

Pros

  • Pound and Kilogram Options
  • IWF-Approved
  • Low Weight Tolerance - 15 Grams of Listed Weight
  • Pairs or Sets Available
  • Thinner Plates allow for More Weight on the Bar

Cons

  • Expensive for Most Home Gym Needs
  • Chrome Insert Is Scuff-Prone

Best Cast Iron Weight Plates - Rogue Deep Dish Plates

Price

Pairs: $42 - $357


Sets: $582 - $2515

Weight Units

Pounds

Weight Options

Pairs: 5 Lb. - 100 Lb.


Sets: 230 Lb. - 1000 Lb.

Weight tolerance

+2% / -0%

Material

Ductile iron

Collar Opening Size

50mm (1.96")

Durometer Rating

N/A

Warranty

Lifetime

The Rogue Deep Dish Plates have that classic iron weight plate look plus a very dip lip to help you grip onto the highly durable e-coated ductile iron.

The Rogue Deep Dish Plates are another throwback to the old days of iron plates, which also means they can be quite loud depending on your workout area/neighbors.

Nevertheless, the Rogue Deep Dish Plates have a striking look which means they have a deep lip to help grip them. This is a pro and con because they are wider meaning you can't load too many plates on the bar.

You won't need to worry about the durability as they use e-coating on ductile iron so they're very strong and remain most rust-proof.

The value is good as well for iron plates for sets or pairs so you can get the most out of your purchase.

Overall, these iron plates are good option, but the potential for weight on the bar (or lack thereof) may be slightly off putting compared to other plate options.

Pros

  • Low Weight Tolerance - 2%
  • E-Coating and Ductile Iron is Durable
  • Best Value for Cast Iron Plates
  • Old-School Plate Style is Aesthetically Pleasing
  • Deep Grip for Carrying

Cons

  • Very Thick, Hard to Load Many Plates on a Bar
  • No 2.5 Lb. Change Plate Option
  • Iron Scuffs Easier

Best Weight Plates with Grips - REP Fitness Urethane Coated Equalizer Plates

Price

Pairs: $25.99 - $279.99


Sets: $604.99 - $1334.99

Weight Units

Pounds

Weight Options

Pairs: 2.5 Lb. - 45 Lb.


Sets: 175 Lb. - 425 Lb.

Weight tolerance

+/- 3%

Material

Urethane Coated w/ hard chrome insert

Collar Opening Size

51mm (2")

Durometer Rating

N/a

Warranty

3-Year

The REP Fitness Urethane Coated Equalizer Plates have a unique 6-hole design for easy grip and come at some of the best price for plate sets.

If you want weight plates that have a grip, but you can put more on the bar and won't scuff easily, then the REP Fitness Urethane Coated Equalizer Plates are for you.

A 6-holed design makes these easy to grip and grab, but it's not the only selling point. The urethane coating on the rubber makes them very durable and they have an excellent pricing for urethane plates.

You can get them in either pairs or sets, as REP Fitness must have heard the complaints when they previously only offered them in pairs.

Sadly, they have a lower weight tolerance at 3% and these plates aren't ideal for Olympic or CrossFit lifting.

Thankfully, they have a 3-year warranty which will cover most possible mishaps assuming they even occur. 

The REP Fitness Urethane Plates are a good choice for people that need a well-protected weight plate.

Pros

  • Easy-to-Grip 6 Handled Design
  • Excellent Pricing
  • 3-Year Warranty

Cons

  • 3% Weight Tolerance
  • Not Ideal for CrossFit or Olympic Lifting

Best Calibrated Metal Weight Plates - Rogue Calibrated Steel Plates

Price

Lb. Pair: $26 - $303


Lb. Set: $1158 - $2963


Kg Pair: $31 - $601


Kg Set: $1087 - $2937

Weight Units

Weight Options

Lb. Pairs: 0.25 Lb. - 55 Lb.

Lb. Sets: 358.5 Lb. - 1018.5 Lb.

Kg Pairs: 0.25 Kg - 50 Kg

Kg Sets: 159 Kg - 459 Kg

Weight tolerance

+/- 10 grams

Material

Machined Cast Iron

Collar Opening Size

50.4mm (1.98")

Durometer Rating

N/A

Warranty

Lifetime

The Rogue Calibrated Steel Plates come in either kilogram or pound units, are IPF-approved, and have some of the lowest weight tolerance on the market.

In the same vein as the competition rubber plates, the Rogue Calibrated Steel Plates are ultra-accurate, very thin, and insanely high quality.

Whether you want them in kilograms or pounds, the 15 gram weight tolerance makes them very tight to the stated weight as they are machined to be calibrated.

Thinner plates allow for more weight on the bar is a huge bonus for heavy lifting for powerlifting. They're steel so they aren't a great choice for Oly or CrossFit lifting, sadly.

Still, they're IPF-approved which is more than many steel plates can say, but they aren't without minor faults.

Primarily, as high-quality as these calibrated plates are, the paint coating can chip easily which I find disappointing for more expensive sets/pairs of weight plates.

A center ring issue is that it's slightly smaller so it might not fit cheaper barbells, but why would you want to use a cheap barbell anyways?

If you want some steel plates that are very tight weight tolerance and equally appealing in looks, then the Rogue Calibrated Steel Plates should make it on your 'want' list.

Pros

  • Available in Kg and Lb.
  • Thin Plates Allow for More Weight on the Bar
  • IPF-Approved
  • Very Small Weight Tolerance - 15 Gram 

Cons

  • Paint Coating Chips Easily
  • Smaller Center Ring May Not Fit Cheaper Barbell Sleeves
  • Fairly Costly

Best Premium Calibrated Competition Plates - Eleiko IPF Powerlifting Competition Plate

Price

Individual: $73 - $168

Weight Units

Kilograms

Weight Options

Individual: 10 Kg - 25 Kg

Weight tolerance

+/- 10 grams

Material

Cast Iron

Collar Opening Size

50.4mm (1.98")

Durometer Rating

N/A

Warranty

10-year

The Eleiko IPF Powerlifting Competition Plates are among the best weight plates around thanks to their super low weight tolerance (10 grams), IPF-approved performance, and 10-year warranty.

Oddly, I was expecting Eleiko IPF Powerlifting Competition Plates to cost a ton more, but they're actually fairly affordable all things considered.

Eleiko is considered a premier leader in strength equipment, especially barbells, but their competition plates are equally well-known and you've probably seem them somewhere or other.

As you'd expect, they're IPF-approved, which is no surprise, but what is a surprise is that they only sell them individually. They range in weight from 10 Kg - 25 Kg, so they cover all of the basic weights you'll need plus they sell change plates.

I wouldn't recommend these for most lifters as these are pretty expensive for novice lifters that don't need razor-thin weight margins. A super tight 10 gram weight tolerance is one of the lowest I've seen which is impressive.

You can expect them to last a long time thanks to quality, but Eleiko offers a 10-year warranty to soothe your nerves over any potential faults.

Pros

  • Super Tight Weight Tolerance - 10 Grams
  • 10-Year Warranty
  • IPF-Approved
  • Eleiko Guaranteed Top Quality

Cons

  • Only Sold Individually
  • Not Useful for Most Home Gym Lifters

Best Ultra Budget Plates - CAP Barbell Olympic Grip Plates

Price

Individual: $35.03 - $94.99


Sets: $21.81 - $47.03

Weight Units

Pounds

Weight Options

Individual: 25 Lb. - 45 Lb.


Sets: 2.5 Lb. - 10 Lb. 

Weight tolerance

+/- 5%

Material

Black-Enamel Coated Cast Iron

Collar Opening Size

50.8mm (2")

Durometer Rating

N/a

Warranty

30-Day

The CAP Barbell Olympic Grip Plates are among the best budget weight plates money can buy thanks to their easy to grip 3-hole design and quick Amazon shipping.

On the opposite end of the spectrum are the CAP Barbell Olympic Grip Plates.

I won't lie, these plates aren't my go-to suggestion but they are great for the budget lifters looking to add some plates to their home gym for cheap.

CAP's weight plates have a 3-hole design for easy grip which is nice for a budget plate, but they come in odd weight pairings and individual plates. The heavier plates come in pairs, while the lighter plates come in sets.

Regardless, they don't go more than $100 so again it's good for rounding out your weights, or if you're just starting out.

They don't offer what their weight tolerance is which is probably because it's not that low. Available on Amazon, they make up for weight tolerance questions with fast shipping.

Not very durable is the enamel coating, but in a pinch, the CAP Barbell Olympic Grip Plates are a good ultra budget choice.

Pros

  • Easy-to-Grip 3 Hole Design
  • Available in Singles and Pairs
  • Quick Shipping - Available on Amazon
  • Very Budget Friendly

Cons

  • Not Very Durable
  • No Kg Options
  • Unusual Pair/Set Options

Best Budget Bumper Plates - Fringe Sport Black Bumper Plates

Price

Pairs: $82 - $269


Sets: $300 - $849

Weight Units

Pounds

Weight Options

Pairs: 10 Lb. - 55 Lb.


Sets: 100 Lb. - 370 Lb.

Weight tolerance

+/- 1%

Material

Virgin Rubber w/ stainless steel insert

Collar Opening Size

50.4mm (2")

Durometer Rating

90 (10-15 Lb.)

85 (25-55 Lb.)

Warranty

1-year (10-15 Lb.) 

3-Year (25-55 Lb.)

The Fringe Sport Black Bumper Plates have some of the best 10 Lb. bumper plates around, and are a good budget friendly bumper plate set option for home gyms.

Budget and bumper plates usually aren't found together, but the Fringe Sport Black Bumper Plates are a good budget choice that don't sacrifice on quality.

The biggest pro here is their 10 Lb. bumper plates which have a good durometer rating of 90, making them very low bounce and durable, but it has a smaller insert.

Larger weight plates for the Fringe Bumper Plates have a lower durometer rating, but are still low bounce and have good quality because of the insert ring. The plates are also stiffer for the 10 Lb. plates so they'll last longer than other thinner plates.

You can get them in sets or pairs to fully build your home gym without breaking the bank.

Pros

  • Better Durometer Rating Than Rogue 10 Lb. Bumpers Plates
  • Stiffer Plates
  • Durable Center Ring
  • Budget Friendly
  • Pairs and Sets Available

Cons

  • Heavier Plates Has Lower Durometer Rating
  • 10 Lb. Plate Insert is Smaller in Diameter

Best Durable Bumper Plates - Vulcan Alpha Bumper Plates

Price

Pairs: $85.99 - $299.99

Sets: $420.97 - $981.94

Weight Units

Pounds

Weight Options

Pairs: 10 Lb. - 55 Lb.


sets: 160 Lb. - 370 Lb.

Weight tolerance

+/- 1%

Material

Virgin Rubber w/ stainless steel insert

Collar Opening Size

50.6mm (1.9")

Durometer Rating

89 (Low bounce)

Warranty

1-year (10-15 Lb.)

3-Year (25 Lb.)

4-Year (35-55 Lb.)

The Vulcan Alpha Bumper Plates are as visually striking as they are durable thanks to virgin rubber and low 1% weight tolerance.

Vulcan Alpha Bumper Plates are the most durable bumper plates on the market that also come at a reasonable price, something that's hard to find.

A weight tolerance of 1%, virgin rubber, and a color fleck pattern are the highlights of these plates.

You can get either pairs or sets, which range from 10 Lb. - 55 Lb. or 160 Lb. - 370 Lb. for sets. 

An 89 Durometer rating provides low bounce too so they can be dropped often without too much concern. Again, a big appeal is their fleck pattern which is weight/color coordinated. 

You've seen the pattern on other plates before but Vulcan claims that they originated it. This isn't something I can confirm or deny, same as their claim that the plates are the quietest bumper plates.

Heavier plates come with up to a 4-year warranty, so even if they do have manufacturer faults, you're covered.

Unfortunately the center insert isn't stainless steel and the plates can be thicker so less plates on a bar.

All in all though, the Vulcan Alpha Bumper Plates are very durable.

Pros

  • 4-Year Plate Warranty
  • Cool Color Fleck Pattern Design
  • Durable Virgin Rubber
  • Low 1% Weight Tolerance

Cons

  • Center Insert Isn't Stainless Steel
  • Thick Plates
  • Unsure About Claims as a Quiet Plate

Best Change Plates - Rogue KG Change Plates

Price

Lb. Pair: $31 - $99


Lb. Set: $196 - $211


Kg. Pair: $31 - $114


Kg. Set: $319

Weight Units

Weight Options

Lb. Pair: 1.25 Lb. - 10 Lb.


Lb. Set: 35 Lb. - 37.5 Lb.


Kg Pair: 0.5 Kg - 5 Kg


Kg Set: 25 Kg

Weight tolerance

+/- 10 grams

Collar Opening Size

50.4mm (2")

Durometer Rating

N/A

Warranty

1-year

The Rogue Change Plates allow you to make smaller incremental increases to your weight, but also offer a miniscule 10 gram weight tolerance and durable rubber coating.

Saving the smallest for last, the Rogue Change Plates (KG and LB) are a great addition for lifters that need more precise weight denominations.

Change plates are good when you want to make linear progress for your lift PRs or weekly improvements but need smaller increments below the typical 10 Lb. plates. 

The Rogue Change Plates come in kilograms and pounds, and in sets or individual for both units. I'd recommend kilograms again because they're competition-styled in weight units and are more precise to actual weight.

Both have a miniscule 10 gram weight tolerance, so regardless, the stated weight is very close to the actual weight.

Rogue's change plates are rubber coated for durability, but I noticed the rubber coating can get dirty easily.

Sadly, for change plates, they can be a little expensive, but these are plates you'd add after you build your home gym and get your bigger plates first.

Pros

  • Very Low Weight Tolerance - 10 Grams
  • Rubber Coating Improves Durability
  • Color Coordinated for Easy Weight Change
  • Fit Snugly on Most Bars (50.4mm Insert)

Cons

  • Can Get Dirty Easily
  • More Expensive Than Expected for Low Weights

Why You Need Weight Plates for Your Home Gym

Rogue KG Competition Plates

What good is a barbell without some weights? Those two pieces of equipment combined unlock the potential to perform nearly 100% of all the exercises you need. A barbell and two 45 Lb. plates is better for your home gym than even the best cardio machines or even the best dumbbells you can find.

Barbells and plates allow you to do squats, bench press, deadlifts, overhead press, rows, good mornings, lunges, cleans, snatches, and so much more. You can even add accessory work with a barbell. Things like skull crushers, bicep curls, deadlift variations. The best barbell exercises are best when you combine it with weight plates.

No matter if it's a metal plate or a bumper plate, they're a staple in a home gym. Good weight plates will last a lifetime with the proper care and make your life better as a lifter.

Metal Plates vs. Bumper Plates

People will try to make arguments for metal plates over bumper plates, or bumper plates over metal plates, but there's no slam-dunk winner. They both serve a purpose and offer plenty of value for lifters. The right weight plate is the one that works best in your gym and for your goals.

Bumper Plates - These plates are best for Olympic lifting and dynamic fitness training (ex. CrossFit). Planning on dropping the bar from overhead positions or above the rack? Bumper plates are the way to go. The reason is that bumper plates use rubber for material, with an iron/steel inner plate that is protected by a layer of rubber.

Metal Plates - Metal plates do not have a rubber or protective outer layer. Metal plates should not be dropped for that reason. If you're planning on doing powerlifting, instead of Olympic or CrossFit, then metal plates are a good option. Iron or steel plates can be noisy, either from the clanging against each other, the bar, or when lowering the bar on the ground or racking weight.

How to Pick the Best Weight Plates for Your Home Gym

Picking the best weight plate for your home gym isn't so cut and dry. What works for you might not work for someone else, much like every piece of strength equipment.

Choosing the best weight plates for a home gym comes down to many factors, which include these important factors.

Construction & Materials

Rubber plates vs. metal plates is the eternal debate when figuring out how to pick weight plates for a home gym. It's a bit more nuanced than just that, but it's a good place to start as almost any weights you'll find are in one of the two material categories.

After you've chosen between the two, you can pick between subcategories of materials for rubber or metal plates. Say you pick bumper plates, do you want cheaper, but lower quality recycled rubber types like crumb rubber? Or would you prefer a pricier, but better build rubber with more density and less bounce like urethane rubber? If you choose metal plates, check out the differences between steel and cast iron. 

As with all plates, pay attention to the calibration of the weight. Weight tolerance will help you see how close the true weight of the plate is to the stated weight.

Look at what the center ring of your weight plates are made of. A stainless steel center ring is the best in terms of durability (rust-protected, strong). Some coated center rings, like zinc-plating, are good but are prone to scratching/scuffs and could rust over time depending on environment. Brass rings are lowest quality, soft and scuff-prone.

Durability

Following on construction and materials; durable, higher quality weights will be pricier, but hold up longer. 

Urethane rubber plates are higher quality than crumb rubber. They are pricier, but they'll hold up longer than crumb rubber. Metal plates are durable, but can be susceptible to oxidation (rust) so it's best to find metal weight plates that have powder coating, e-coating, or rubber-coating to prevent rust and wear.

Price

Price of weight plates, and your budget, will determine whether you get higher quality, more durable weights with a tighter weight tolerance or lower quality weights. 

Lower priced weights have lower weight accuracy, may have more bounce, or have lower quality build overall.

Training Needs

How you train, or your training goals, will help you figure out which weight plates work best for your home gym.

Most lifters, especially those in Olympic or CrossFit lifting, will like bumper plates because they provide minimal bounce, but can still be dropped without causing damage to the bar, plates or floor. Powerlifters might like iron plates because their lifting needs requires very little dropping of the bar, and uses slower lifts.

Home Gym Setup

Your home gym setup will help determine which kind of plates you need. Lifting on wood or concrete vs. Olympic platform or rubber mats is the difference between iron or bumper plates. As is how loud you can be - are your neighbors going to care? Do you even have neighbors?

Ideally, we could drop the plates when we choose but it's not always the case. Regardless of your home gym setup, or how loud you think you can be, get some inexpensive horse stall mats as your flooring option. Tractor Supply Company offers some of the best around to outfit your home gym flooring, but overall, bumper plates are the most forgiving for your gym floor.

Calibrated vs. Uncalibrated Plates

Regardless of what lifting you participate (powerlifting, Olympic, CrossFit), you want to pick calibrated weights whenever possible. Powerlifters should go for iron or steel plates. Olympic lifters should go for competition bumper plates. 

No matter which training you choose, find calibrated plates that deviate no more than 15 grams from the listed manufacturer weight.

Best Weight Plates FAQs

What are the Best Weight Plates for Powerlifting?

Powerlifting uses slower, more controlled range of motion and movements (squat, deadlift, bench press), so any type of weight plate is good for powerlifting needs.  

You won't be dropping weights from above your head, so iron/metal plates are fine, but bumper plates are as well. It's suggested that you purchase a calibrated weight set in kilograms if you compete in powerlifting for weight accuracy.

What Are the Best Weight Plates for Olympic Lifting?

Olympic lifting requires weight plates that can be dropped and won't be damaged, which is why competition bumper plates are best for Olympic lifting. Again, buying them in KG instead of LBs is advised because Olympic lifting uses kilo for weight units.

Competition bumper plates have higher weight accuracy than most standard rubber plates. They're thinner as well which allows for more plates on the barbell sleeve.

What are Best Weight Plates for CrossFit?

For CrossFit lifters, you'll be fine with regular bumper plates.

There's a high chance you'll be dropping your barbell, so urethane bumper plates are an excellent option as they have low bounce compared to Hi-Temp weight plates or crumb rubber plates.

Is It Okay to Drop Metal Weight Plates?

No, you should not drop metal weight plates, even if they have rubber coating. This can damage the plates, the barbell, and possibly your flooring, all of which you don't want to replace.

How Accurate Are Weight Plates?

Weight accuracy in plates varies greatly from plate to plate. Generally the higher the price, the more accurate the weight is. Cheaper plates have a wider tolerance range.

Average weight plates will likely have a 5% weight tolerance. More expensive weight plates can have a weight tolerance range of 1 - 2%. Competition plates are more stringent on weight tolerance, and shouldn't deviate more than 15g from the listed weight.

Denver Matheson
 

I spend a lot of time at the gym and even more time in the kitchen giving my body what it needs to repair itself and grow stronger. The third most important place for any athlete is their research zone. That's exactly why this site exists, to help me share all of the information I've learned throughout the years just like people did for me in the first place!

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