How Much Do Bumper Plates Cost?

How Much Do Bumper Plates Cost, March 2022

If you are like many of us, stuck indoors because of quarantine or you just find the limited space capacity at the gym annoying; then building your own set of workout equipment at home is a fantastic solution.

The only issue getting the proper equipment for what you are looking to do and paying fair prices. There are a variety of different types of weights available, I will help you sort through some of the more relevant equipment that will be most beneficial for your workouts.

Bumper plates are specialized for Olympic and Crossfit lifts, but that does not mean you can’t use them for other types of exercises as well.  Investing in a quality set of bumper plates will ensure they last a lifetime and take all the punishment you can give. 

What is a Bumper Plate?

Ever walked past a CrossFit gym and seen people throwing around sets of colorful weights?

These colorful plates are bumper plates. They are various rubbers with a steel core at the center of each one.

Their ideal purpose is to be used for Olympic-style lifting, typically found in such places as cross-fit gyms.

This being because of the nature of Olympic Lifting pushing for maximum weight and having many failed attempts in the process and often dropping the weights. The bumper plates are designed specifically to handle this drop very well. 

Olympic lifting is when an athlete attempts a maximum weight single lift of the barbell loaded with weight plates. The primary lifts in this style are; Power Clean, Front Squat, Squat Clean, Push Jerk, Power Snatch, Squat Snatch.

Bumper plated have many advantages over Iron and Traditional Weights, here is a quick run-down on some positives and negatives of bumper plates.

Pros

  • Color-coded IWF standard
  • Rubber is less inspirational
  • Grades of quality
  • All built to a standard
  • Make less noise
  • Better for floors and durability

Cons

  • Large, takes up more space on a barbell
  • Expensive
  • Irregular sizes
  • Cheap rubber is smelly
  • Cheap rubber scuffs easy

Materials

Bumper plates are comprised of Steel cores with a thick coating of rubber around them. This rubber is varied across manufacturing processes and qualities. Here is a quick brief on the three most popular bumper plates available in ascending order of quality. 

Crumb Rubber

Crumb Rubber is the cheapest technique for producing Bumper Plates, and I often find the cheap price is accompanied by a cheap binding agent smell, coming from the rubber.

Crumb Rubber plates’ quality actually comes from the quality of the binding agent and not the recycled rubber.

 So the better the quality of the agent, the less smell and better rubber you get.

The recycled rubber comes from old car and truck tires that are ground up into smaller “crumbs” hence the name.

Virgin Rubber

These bumper plates are not made of any recycled content.

They still have the steel core on the inside however, the rubber does not have crumbs or binding agents to deal with, meaning a less nasty smell.

Seriously, of the worse quality crumb rubber smell absolutely awful and the smell never goes away. 

With less of a mixture of items going on, the virgin rubber plates are more durable than their crumb rubber counterparts. 

A slightly disappointing note to mention is that the virgin rubber tends to scuff easily and quickly loses that nice new look. They don’t deteriorate, just take on a more used look.

Urethane Plates

The cream of the crop for bumper plates. These urethane plates are the best available on the market, and coincidentally the most expensive too.

 These plates have a much thinner coating but are much more durable than the alternative.

Because these plates have a thinner thickness, any serious lifters can pack on more weight onto their barbells. The downsides? None except for the price. 

Urethane rubber is nearly indestructible and will not easily scratch or scuff. Not only that but the rubber quality is far superior and the colors “pop” giving your gym space that extra nice factor.

Colors

Probably, the most noticeable difference between the 2 types of plates is the color differences. Traditional plates are usually black or grey but have varying sizes to tell the difference in weight.

Bumper plates however come color-coded according to the  IWF(international weightlifting federation) and IPF (international powerlifting federation) standard color set.

Technically speaking these federations only sanctions the use of KG plates so the lb plates are not guaranteed to fall under those rules but most usually do anyway. 

Plate colors and associated weight

COLOR

KG major

KG minor

LB major

LB minor

RED

25kg

2.5kg

55lb

5.5lb

BLUE

20kg

2kg

45lb

4.5lb

YELLOW

15kg

1.5kg

35lb

3.5lb

GREEN

10kg

1kg

25lb

2.5lb

WHITE

5kg

.5kg

10lb

1.25lb

Please note that this color coding standard applies not only to bumper plates but to all competition plates where color coding is used.

Shape

Bumper Plates are only ever round in shape, this is the safest and most predictable shape to drop.

With the exception of the smaller plates such as the 10lb and 15lb plates, all the weights are the same diameter, allowing for further security when dropping the weights. 

It is important to mention that Bumper Plates can be difficult to handle, and I don’t mean in a weightlifting kind of way.

Better quality bumper plates will come with the edge of the plate having a nice 45-degree bevel.

This bevel is not for looks, it helps when the plate is lying flat on the ground. Poorer quality plates do not come with this incredibly simple but quality feature.

If you have ever tried lifting a 45lb plate without a bevel off the ground after a serious deadlift session, then you know exactly how difficult and frustrating it can be. Do yourself a favor and always get bumper plates with a beveled edge.

Final Thoughts

Not all plates are built the same way, contrary to popular belief.

Is the general idea a cylindrical weighted plate true? Yes, but bumper plates prove that there's more than meets the eye as you can now see there are multiple different considerations to make before buying one.

Ranging in size, cost, design and style, a good bumper plate will always be durable and properly coated, but sometimes it doesn't hurt to have a bumper plate set that looks good too.

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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