Top 10 Rogue Fitness Weight Plates in 2019

At its core, weightlifting is a very simple sport.  You have a big pole, weights on both ends of it, and you move it off the ground and raise it over your head.  However, when one looks at the science of weightlifting, you get quite a different picture. Weightlifting bars are designed and built to incredibly close tolerances, as the penalty for breakage or damage during a lift is severe.  The plates are also designed for strength, as they are typically released and dropped from height. The specifications and tolerances of both the plates and bars must fit together, or else the hole in the plate might be too small to fit on the bar, or the hole might be too large, and spin too freely on the bar.  

Let’s look at a little more detail at how a weightlifting bar, or barbell, is set up.  Here’s an example:

The bar itself is made of a special grade of steel.  Lengths may vary based on use and purpose. The weights on the bar are called plates, and vary in weight up to 25 kilograms (55 pounds).  The focus of this article will be on the plates. The part of the bar where the plates are held is called the sleeve. The apparatus at the end of the bar and toward the center of the bar, holding the plates in place, is called a collar.  We’ll get into the details behind these things in a little bit.

While you may think of a weight plate as just a weight, there is actually a lot of technology behind them, as they need to meet fairly exacting specifications.  Most weights will be available in sizes up to 55 pounds. Metric equivalents of up to 25 kilograms are also available. Plates may be steel, coated steel, solid, round, and even twelve-sided.  There is a key barbell measure, called loadable sleeve length, which is the measure of the usable area where plates can be loaded. The number of plates that can be put into this area determines the total poundage of the lift.  

In this article, we will be reviewing ten different plate versions, all manufactured and/or distributed by Rogue Fitness.  We’ll also highlight the best features of these plates, their costs, and assign them an overall rating based on quality, value, and performance.

Fact Sheet – Product Comparison Table

This section of the article will take a quick, high level look at ten different weight plate styles sold by Rogue.  They are presented in ratings order, high to low, as explained later in this document. Further on in the article, we will look into detail at each of the plate sets, and make some recommendations on which might be the best fit for the consumer.

Number Product Best Feature Price range (see below)
1
Rogue Echo Bumper Plates
Imported from China, budget friendly model; rubber coated for dead bounce and durability $
2 Rogue Machined Olympic Plates Machined to exacting tolerances, unique hammertone finish, Olympic style plates $$
3 Rogue Black Training KG Plates Produced to similar specs as Olympic plates, superior dead bounce and durability $$$
4 Rogue Color LB Training 2.0 Plates Narrow width plates for more loading, color coded for easier identification $$$$
5 Rogue HG 2.0 KG Bumper Plates Thinner than competitive plates so more weight can be loaded; imported from China $
6 Rogue 6-Shooter Olympic Grip Plates Six symmetrical grip holes for easy handling and loading, hammertone finish $$
7 Rogue Bumper Plates by Hi-Temp Heavy duty bumper plates, coated in rubber for protection, available individually or in sets $$
8 Rogue Dumbbell Bumpers Six weight increments, designed for use with the Rogue loadable dumbbell $$
9 Rogue Calibrated LB Steel Plates Machine calibrated for extreme precision; color coding for easy identification $$
10 Rogue 65LB Gorilla Bumpers (Pair) Heavier than a 45- pound plate, but only .25” thicker to allow more weight on the bar $$$

Price range:

$ – <$150

$$ – $150 – $200

$$$ – $200 – $250

$$$$ – > $250

Prices are based on cost of 2×45 pound plates, or 2×20 kilogram plates if a metric set.\

Product-Buying Guide

Any set or combination of these weight plates is perfectly suited to help you with your weightlifting endeavors.  As noted earlier, there are three subsets within weightlifting – standard (or weight training), weightlifting, and power weightlifting.  Some of these weight plates are specifically designed and manufactured for each of these purposes. Power weightlifting is the most demanding, involving lifting extremely heavy weights, typically in a competition setting.  In general, power weightlifting is centered around two specific movements, the clean and jerk, and the snatch; both of these techniques involve lifting the weight over your head. The snatch begins with lifting the weight to your knee level, bending the knees, moving the weight over your head, and then pushing up with your legs to full extension.  The clean and jerk is similar, initially moving the weight to chest level, then jerking the weight in a fluid motion so it ends up over your head, with extended arms. In each of these moves, the plates are dropped to the ground at the end of the lift. This puts a different type of stress on the plates than with other weightlifting movements. Because of this, plates for powerlifting applications typically have a plastic or rubber coating to absorb the shock of being dropped from height; this type of plate is referred to as a bumper plate.  This type of weight lifting is not about repetitions; success is measured by the amount of weight you can lift successfully.

Weightlifting involves a different set of movements – the squat, the bench press, the dead lift.  None of these moves involve lifting the weight over your head. The squat involves holding a weight at chest height, dropping into a squatting position, then using your legs to drive the weight back up.  The bench press involves lying on a weight bench, and lifting the weight off your chest using arm strength. The dead lift starts with a heavy weight resting on the floor, then raising the weight to waist height.  Weights are replaced on a rack, or set on the floor following these movements. The goal for the weightlifter is muscle building, pure and simple. This is accomplished by lifting heavy weights for a few repetitions. Weightlifting can use pretty much any type of plate; limitations may be caused by the width of the plate.  If too wide, the lifter cannot fit enough weight on the bar for his routine. Plates with small widths have developed to fill this niche.

Standard weightlifting, also known as weight training or resistance training, is usually done with a goal of increasing strength, endurance and/or muscle mass.  Weight training is often used to supplement performance in other sports, such as football or basketball. While you may use many of the same moves and lifts in weight training as in powerlifting or weightlifting, they are typically done with less weight, and more repetitions.   Weight training may also incorporate the use of dumbbells rather than using a standard barbell configuration. Dumbbells are basically a much shorter barbell designed for use in one hand. We will review one set of dumbbell plates here.

We will be looking in depth at different types of weight plates here, which serve different weightlifting purposes.  Typical divisions will include bumper plates (typically specific to powerlifting, but can be used in other applications), competition (or Olympic) plates (multi-purpose, but with an opening that only fits on an Olympic bar) , steel plates (basic, with no plastic, designed for weightlifting or training), change plates (smaller weight plates to increase weight on the bar incrementally), multi-purpose plates (used in all three applications), and dumbbell bumper plates (designed for use on dumbbells, but, depending on opening size, may be suitable for barbell use). So, now we know about the different types of weight plates available, the types of lifting they are used for, and the type of movements that are done as part of lifting.  Given that, let’s look at some of the key performance criteria and product specifications for weightlifting plates.

Loadable sleeve length

This refers to the part of the barbell where the weight plates are held; the distance from the end of the barbell to the collar.  The collar, located on the barbell itself, is typically about two inches in diameter. There is a secondary collar attached to the end of the bar to hold the weight plates in position, so they do not rotate or slide on the bar.  This secondary collar does take up bar space, but it is also a good safety feature to keep the plates from sliding off the bar. While this is primarily a feature of weightlifting barbells, not plates, it is relevant in this discussion, as the sleeve length may limit the amount of weight the bar can hold.

Collar

As noted, the collar is located on the barbell.  One of its functions is to act as a “stop” for the weight plates; they separate the sleeve and the shaft.  Inside the collar, manufacturers will place either bushings or bearings. Both of them are designed to allow the bar to spin during the lift.  Some spin is desirable; too much is not, so there is a balancing point here for both the lifter and the manufacturer.

Width and Diameter

Let’s start by looking at the weight plates with the most demanding specification – those used in weightlifting competitions or the Olympic Games.  Ten different size weights are used:

.5 kg. – 2.5 kg. in .5 kg. increments

5 kg. – 25 kg. in 5 kg. increments

15, 20, and 25- kilogram plates

The diameter on the 3 larger plates must be 450 mm, with a tolerance of +/- 1 mm.  These discs have a rubber coating. The smaller disks are made of metal or other materials, and no coating is required.  The width of the larger plates is variable, since the diameter is fixed. The largest plates, 25 kilograms, will be wider than the smaller 15- or 20-kilogram plates.  This width is where the specification of the loadable sleeve comes into play.

Standard weights are not bound to the specifications of the International Weightlifting Federation, so you may see variation in diameter and thickness based on the manufacturer and materials.  Standard weights are typically sold in pound, not kilogram, increments, with seven sizes typical. These are 2.5 pound; 5 pounds; 10 pounds; 25 pounds; 35 pounds; 45 pounds; and 100 pounds.

Bore

The center hole of the weights, or the bore, varies based on the use of the weight.  Competition level weights will have a bore of two inches; standard plates will have a one-inch center hole.  The specifications of the weightlifting barbell must obviously conform to the specification of the bore. The diameter specifications of the bore must match very closely to the diameter specifications of the barbell sleeve, or there will be fit issues with the plates.

Weight tolerance

This is the amount of variation between the actual weight of the plate, and the stated weight of the plate.  Standard specifications allow for a variation of +/- 15 grams from stated weight. Some cheaper sets may have weight variations of up to 3%.  This becomes more critical in competition and powerlifting applications, but not a big issue for the weight trainer.

Insert type

Most plates come with a center insert, which is where the bore is located.  In competition type bars, these will typically be of chrome plated steel or zinc plated steel.  Other materials used include stainless steel for higher end plates. The insert may be recessed to avoid contact with other plates while on the bar.

Shore A Durometer Test

This test measures the hardness of a material; in this case, the hardness of the steel of the plates.  The scale for steel runs from about 65 to 100. A lower score means the metal is softer, and will bounce more when dropped from height.  A higher score means the metal is harder, and will bounce less. A higher durometer test reading is more desirable in these circumstances.

Price

As with virtually any other product, price will play into your purchase considerations.  It will factor into your decision on options, features, and specifications. If you are a competition level lifter, buying low-end plates from the local big box retailer might not be the best choice for you.  Conversely, if you are a weekend lifter, using lighter weights and more repetitions, you probably do not need an Olympic or competition rated plate. But if you are planning to more from weight training to weightlifting, perhaps that higher rated plates do make sense.  In any case, your focus should be on the total value of the item, not just the price.

Making your decision

Given this information, you are already aware that there are many variations from unit to unit for product specifications, performance, and features.  So how should you decide which of these weightlifting plates is best for you? Here are a few things you should consider in making your choice:

Think about your usage patterns.  Are you going to be using the weights multiple times a week?  Or are you typically a weekend warrior, where your equipment might collect dust five days out of seven?

What type of weight will you be lifting?  If you are lifting heavy weights, the cumulative stress from dropping the weighted barbell needs to be considered as you look at things like durometer ratings. On the other hand, if you will be working from a rack, or using lighter weights and not dropping the bar, you may be able to get away with plates not rated for Olympic competition.  

Where will you be doing your workouts?  Will you be in a temperature-controlled room inside your house, or working out in your garage, with temperature swings from boiling to freezing?  These conditions may impact your choice of finish and coating, which can affect the oxidation rates of the materials of construction.

Identify the number and weight of the plates you expect to be using with the bar.  If you will be using a high number of weights to lift on the bar, the sleeve length of the bar may come into play, and push you toward buying multiple 45-pound plates rather than a graduated set of plates.  

Hopefully, all of this discussion and detail has given you some ideas about what features are most important to you.  The information so far has been at a fairly high level. Let’s drop down one more level of detail, and look at each of our top ten in depth, comparing specifications, features, advantages, and disadvantages of each version of weightlifting plates.  

Top 10 Best Fitness Weight Plates

#1 Rogue Echo Bumper Plates

First Impressions:

This bumper plate is relatively easy on the wallet, with a $ price structure.  The set offers some decent quality features, like stainless steel inserts and a virgin rubber coating.  The plates meet IWF diameter standards at 450MM, except the ten-pound plate at 446MM.

Features & Specifications:

    null
  • These plates have a 50.4MM collar opening, and feature stainless steel inserts.
  • Imported from China, these plates hit 88 on the durometer scale, so will have a minimal bounce if dropped.  
  • Weight tolerance is +/- 1% of claimed weight.

Pros:

    null
  • These plates are very budget friendly, and would make a good starter set for the novice lifter.
  • The ten- and fifteen-pound plates are warrantied for ninety days.  Larger plates are warrantied for three years.
  • The weights are available in pairs, or in full sets up to 260 pounds.  

Cons:

  • Rubber coating may have slight imperfections, but should not impact performance.

Final Thoughts:

A plate set of decent quality, with a low-end price to complete your equipment room, or give a good start to a novice lifter.  They meet IWF standards, so can be used in conjunction with other sets without worrying about variation in the diameters of the plates. The combination of durable rubber coating, a strong warranty, and a budget-conscious price make this a highly rated plate.

Check Price


#2 Rogue Machined Olympic Plates

First Impressions:

These classic steel Olympic style plates are still a go-to standard in the weightlifting set.  Featuring weights from 2.5 pounds to 45 pounds, the gray hammertone finish creates an attractive, yet durable plate.  The plates can be ordered in pairs, or in a 245-pound set.

Features & Specifications:

    null
  • Diameters and thicknesses vary for each of the weight increments, and the individual plates are machined to a tolerance of +2&/-0 for the larger plates, and +/- 3% on the two-and-a-half, five- and ten-pound plates.
  • A time-tested design, good quality, and decent tolerances make this an attractive set for any level of lifter.
  • An indentation from the rim makes the plates convenient to load or carry, even with one hand.  

Pros:

    null
  • A $$ price, with a good quality, time-tested design makes this a good purchase for the beginning lifter, right up to the powerlifter trying to add some weight to his gym equipment.  
  • Plate diameters and thicknesses are variable, but are optimized to give a good bar loading.

Cons:

  • No real negatives to this set; they are competitively priced, and deliver the quality and performance they promise.

Final Thoughts:

If I were moving up from novice to experienced, or from weight training to weightlifting, this is the weightlifting plate set I would purchase.  There are no bells and whistles here, just a fully functional set of plates that can be used for weight training, weight lifting, or powerlifting.  

Check Price


#3 Rogue Black Training KG Plates

First Impressions:

This attractive, matte-black plate comes with a rubber stripe around the full circumference of the plate, allowing for easy identification, even at a distance.  All plates are an IWF standard 450 MM diameter, and have a tight weight tolerance of +/- 15 grams of the claimed kilogram weight. They can be ordered individually or in sets up to 140 kilos (just over 300 pounds).

Features & Specifications :

    null
  • These plates reach a hefty 94 on the durometer scale, insuring almost a completely bounce-free drop.
  • Collar opening is 50.4MM, allowing a smooth fit for the plates on the bar, with a chrome plated steel disc insert.
  • They have a raised lip to make these pumpers easier to remove from the rack or pick up off the floor.  

Pros:

    null
  • These plates are manufactured to similar standards and specification as the competition level plates.
  • The rubber flanges help prevent friction and scuffing of the finish, and provide easy visual plate identification.
  • The plates are of a consistent diameter, with varying plate thicknesses, which give a good balance for your lift.

Cons:

    null
  • The 50.4MM opening gives the bars free and easy loading and movement, and most reviewers have recommended collars to ensure the plates remain on the bar.
  • While they do fall into a $$$ price range, there are really no negative points in the reviews.

Final Thoughts:

While this set moves up on the price scale, it is one of the highest reviewed plate sets of the Rogue catalog.  Based on their weight and production tolerances, and the consistent dead drop, they are on a scale with the higher quality competition plates.  These are a good value purchase for the weightlifter or powerlifter.

Check Price


#4 Rogue Color LB Training 2.0 Plates

First Impressions:

These training plates are similar to the black trainers reviewed above, but do have some important differences.  As with most weightlifting plates, they can be purchased individually or in sets up to 320 pounds. A zinc plated steel disc blends perfectly with the bright colors chosen for this set.

Features & Specifications :

    null
  • These plates have a 50.4MM collar opening, and a consistent, IWF standard 450MM diameter.  
  • They are machined to a tolerance of +/- 15 grams to claimed weight.
  • A rating of 86 on the durometer scale will give a minimal bounce, increasing plate life and durability

Pros:

    null
  • The standardized diameter leads to different plate widths, but the overall widths are consistently low here, allowing for maximum bar loading.
  • The color-coded plates are easily recognizable, even from a distance, and make bar loading a more efficient process.
  • The 50.4MM bore hole allows for smooth loading, but may require the use of collars to hold the plates in place

Cons:

  • No real negatives to point out on these, other than the requirement to add collars for stability.  These plates get consistently high ratings.

Final Thoughts:

From a specification, quality, tolerance, and visual perspective, this is a top end weightlifting plate set.  Adaptable from weight training all the way up to powerlifting, this is a flexible set, measuring in well by any standards.  The only real negative about this set is the $$$$ pricing, which may drive away some of the more casual lifters.

Check Price


#5 Rogue HG 2.0 KG Bumper Plates

First Impressions:

Built in China to Rogue specifications, these weights feature a thinner profile so more weight can be put on the bar.  They meet IWF standards at 450MM. This is the KG version of Rogue plates, and has a weight tolerance of +/- one pound of claimed weight.

Features & Specifications :

    null
  • Minimal bounce expected, coming in at 88 on the durometer scale.
  • Two-inch collar opening for Olympic lifting, stainless steel insert.
  • Three-year warranty on plates over 5 kilograms; 90 days on 5 kilo plates.

Pros:

    null
  • A $ price range for a decent quality bar with a good warranty.  
  • Meets IWF standards.  
  • 20 kg. plate is 3.25 inches wide, vs. 3.75 inches wide on Rogue bumper plates.

Cons:

  • No real disadvantages to this set.  Some may prefer American made weights, but this is a good quality, well priced set.

Final Thoughts:

These thinner plates are available individually, or in sets up to 150 kilograms.  The plates meet IWF standards, and would make a good starter set for newcomer to weightlifting, or provide additional weight to an experienced lifter.  

Check Price


#6 Rogue 6-Shooter Olympic Grip Plates

First Impressions:

This is a multi-purpose set, designed for weight trainers and weight lifters, but not for powerlifters.  These are not bumper plates, and are manufactured from cast-iron, and not designed to be dropped. They do, however, come with a five-year warranty against breakage (unless there is evidence of excessive dropping).  The unique design makes handling of the plates much more convenient than other designs.

Features & Specifications :

    null
  • These weightlifting plates have six holes spaced evenly around the plate, which make for easy lifting, carrying, and loading.  Note that this feature is not available on the smaller change plates from 2.5 – 10 pounds.
  • Hammertone gray finish with black lettering makes this an attractive set, especially complimented with the unique design.
  • The plates have a 50.6MM collar opening, and weight tolerances of +/- 1% on plates 25 pounds and up, and +/- 3% on the smaller sizes.

Pros:

    null
  • The plates have variable diameters and thicknesses, but optimized for a good bar load.  Sold in pairs, or in a set of 245- pounds.
  • A $$ price, for good quality plates.  Built for everyday use, they are durable and should last a long time if used and handled properly.  

Cons:

  • Given the materials of construction, not suitable for powerlifting applications due to the drop restrictions.

Final Thoughts:

Much like the machined Olympic plates above, this is a good “starting from scratch” plate set, with a solid rating, good quality, and a good track record.  The only reason to drop this one down a notch is that the plates are cast iron, and not suitable for the powerlifting crowd.

Check Price


#7 Rogue Bumper Plates by Hi-Temp

First Impressions:

This heavy-duty, multi-purpose set rates a 75 on the durometer scales, so expect a bit of bounce when they are dropped.  The weights have a vulcanized rubber coating to minimize clanging and scratching the finish when racking or loading the weights.

Features & Specifications :

    null
  • These plates feature a 2” stainless steel insert to make them a high-quality Olympic style bar.  
  • Collars are inset to reduce the chance of damage when multiple weight plates are on the bar.
  • Weight tolerance of +/- ½ pound.

Pros:

    null
  • US made with recycled vulcanized rubber for durability.  
  • Available individually or in sets from 160 – 1000 pounds combined weight.
  • One-year warranty.

Cons:

    null
  • Rubber finish may contain slight imperfections, but will not affect performance.
  • Diameter is 445 mm so not meeting competition specs, and may cause issues with mixed sizes on the bar.

Final Thoughts:

A high-quality set at a reasonable $$ price range.  The stainless-steel insert will resist chipping and scratches more than plated inserts.  There may be some racking issues with your bar if you have other brands of weights, and the diameters to not match.  

Check Price


#8 Rogue Dumbbell Bumpers

First Impressions:

These are the only dumbbell plates on the list.  A dumbbell, of course, is really a weight bar designed for one-handed use.  They are typically used for lifts such as rows and curls. These plates come in 6 different sizes, all 230MM diameter, with a 2” Olympic size bore for flexibility with other plates.  The plates come in various colors, with a bright finish to make a good-looking plate set.

Features & Specifications:

    null
  • All plates have a chrome plated insert for protection and durability.  The weight plates are rubber coated for extended durability.
  • While these normally would not be dropped from overhead, they come in at 88 on the durometer scale for minimal bounce.  
  • Matching collars and dumbbells for this set are available from Rogue.

Pros:

    null
  • A good specialty addition to a lifter’s equipment, this is a $$ price range dumbbell.
  • Rubber coating and chrome plated inserts make them suitable for use in the garage or in the gym.  
  • Smaller diameter makes them perfect for lower ceiling locations vs. standard diameter plates.

Cons:

    null
  • These plates are imported, which may put off some users preferring American made products.  
  • While reasonably priced, this is still an equipment investment for a specialty type product.  

Final Thoughts:

Available individually or in sets up to 740 pounds, these coated dumbbells are well-rated.  Even though they become somewhat of a novelty tool for the experienced lifter, they do offer additional flexibility and the ability to add different lifts to your repertoire.  

Check Price


#9 Rogue Calibrated LB Steel Plates

First Impressions:

These powerlifting plates are precision cut to a weight variance of only 10 grams +/- from their specified weights.  The weights have a standard 50MM opening, and are thin cut for maximum bar loading – up to 1500 pounds. The plates can be orders in sets, or in various combinations up to just over 1000 pounds.  

Features & Specifications :

    null
  • The plates have variable diameters, but the largest plate, at 55 pounds, has a thickness of only 27MM.
  • The plates are color coded in a low gloss finish for easy identification, even at a distance.
  • They are calibrated to +/- 10 grams, and have calibration plugs for even greater precision and accuracy.

Pros:

    null
  • Designed with the powerlifter in mind, the thin design allows for maximum bar loading.
  • US made, they are IWF certified, and also available in a KG version.  
  • Powder coating finish in attractive colors makes this a good-looking product, priced in the $$ range.

Cons:

    null
  • These plates have a precisely cut 50MM opening, and, as a result, may not fit well on cheaper bars with wider tolerances.
  • To maintain the thin profile, the plates have a very small lip, making them difficult to pick up.

Final Thoughts:

This set gets excellent reviews from the powerlifting crowd, and the precision tolerance for the weights makes them competition certified, and can help you gain personal records with minor, incremental adjustments.  A good-looking set in the right price range, it’s a “must buy” for the powerlifter looking for a new plate set.

Check Price


#10 Rogue 65LB Gorilla Bumpers (Pair)

First Impressions:

These specialty plates are not for everyone.  There is really only one reason to buy them. You gain an extra twenty pounds on either end of your barbell over a standard 45# plate, but only sacrifice an extra ¼” on either side in thickness.  This allows for an amazing 565 pounds with four Gorilla Bumpers on a standard Olympic bar.

Features & Specifications :

    null
  • Higher density than normal bumpers allows for more weight in less space.
  • Appealing principally to the power lifter, these weight plates are $$$ price.  
  • The plates will feature a fairly strong bounce, weighing in at 75 on the durometer scale.

Pros:

  • There is really just one: more weight in a smaller area lets you stack your bar for maximum weights.

Cons:

    null
  • These plates have a non-standard 445MM diameter, which may cause some balance issues if used with Olympic standard 450MM plates.  
  • Relative pricey for a specialty type plate.  Really marketed to only the powerlifting segment.

Final Thoughts:

This is a highly specialized plate, specialized and marketed to the elite powerlifter.  Even within this segment, most lifters will not need the extra forty pounds on the bar; they can fill the bar with standard plates and be within their lifting range.  For those elite, however, they will gain forty pounds with a bar sleeve length sacrifice of only ½” total. So truly a specialty product, and a pricey one at that.

Check Price


Spotlights — Weightlifting Plates – History, How and Why

Weight training, as we know it today, goes back to ancient Greece, where warriors lifted weights to improve their overall strength and conditioning.  They did stone lifting and throwing, and body weight exercises such as rope climbing. However, thousands of years earlier than that, during the Zhou Dynasty in the 10th Century BC, the Chinese used weightlifting tests as a qualification for those in military service.  Overall strength has always been a beneficial characteristic, and people have used weight lifting, either as a formal training program or just part of their daily lives, to gain that strength.

In more modern times, weight lifting competitions evolved in Europe in the late 1800s.  Weight lifting made its first appearance in the modern Olympics in 1896, but was dropped out of the next competition in 1900.  It reappeared in 1904, disappeared in 1908 and 1912, and reappeared permanently in 1920. The Olympic sport was fine tuned in the 1932 games, with five different weight divisions established, and three different lifting movements specified for the competition.  Women were not officially allowed to compete in weightlifting in the Olympic Games until 2000, but there were several organizations and competitions outside the Olympic venue well prior to that.

So how did weightlifting equipment evolve from the ancient days to the engineering driven science it has become today?  The ancient civilizations typically did body weight exercises for strength building, or used things like stones for lifting and throwing.  Ancient Greek pictorials show them using the earliest hand-held weights, with a hole drilled into stones and other implements for holding and lifting them, rather than a handle.  

The early version of today’s weightlifting plates were large bulbs attached to the ends of the barbell.  These bulbs could be filled with specific weights of water or sand, for instance, and then lifted. The movement of the filling agent inside the globe could create some balance issues, and the standard weight plate, as we know it, evolved from this equipment.  Over the years, as machining techniques evolved, tolerances for overall weight, diameters, sleeve openings, and so on become more and more exact. It is not uncommon today to see variances of claimed weight vs. actual weight being in the range of ten grams, fairly exceptional on a 45-pound plate!

So, here we’ve outlined a little bit about the history of weight lifting, and some details on the basic equipment of weightlifting plates.  We know that there are Olympic level competitions, and also recognize the evolution of powerlifting contests outside the Olympic venue such as the World’s Strongest Man.  But these competitions only involve a few elite athletes; let’s take a look at how the average man and woman are involved in weightlifting.

We talked earlier in this article about the differences between weight lifting and weight training.  To recap, weight lifting is typically about building serious muscle, by lifting heavy weights just a few times.  Weight training, on the other hand, is all about lifting lighter weight quantities multiple times. The objective here is fitness improvement and body toning.

Health benefits of weight training include building and toning muscle structure, and improving bone density.  Weight training also speeds your metabolism, which stimulates your body to burn more calories and help in weight loss efforts.  It has also been proven to improve one’s cholesterol profile, and reduce the risk of future heart disease. All in all, weight training has many health benefits, and should be in everyone’s health regimen in one form or another.

Final Verdict

This article has recapped weight training and weight lifting history, and discussed the origins of it in sport, such as the Olympics.  We’ve looked at key product features and specifications, and defined the terms used in weightlifting plates. Given a selection of ten different plates, the advantages and disadvantages of each were discussed, and an overall impression of the plate set given.

So, having done all that, it’s time to go ahead and make a final recommendation on the best overall weightlifting plates from the list of ten.  There were some plates here for specific specialty applications, and others that could be used in different applications, but were still primarily designed for one major application.  There were a few multi-purpose sets also reviewed.

To get down to the best weightlifting plate choices, we will look at these from the perspective of someone already weight training, looking to move up from the department store special to a higher quality bar and plate combination, and also from the eyes of a novice, just getting ready to get into weight training.  Key considerations for these fictional persons will be cost and value, within the framework of the overall features and specifications. The bars should be for general purpose use, have good quality and features, and, at least for the most part, meet International Weightlifting Federation standards. Those selection criteria, combined with the price points for the plates, will drive my recommendation for the best overall plate set.  

Let’s start out with the less controversial items, and eliminate those right off the bat.  Number ten, the Gorilla Plates, and number eight, the dumbbell plates, are very specific application plate sets.  Each of these would be geared primarily to the powerlifter, and really don’t offer any great advantages to our fictional novice or weightlifter.  

Working from the bottom up, numbers six, nine, and seven are the lowest rated of the remaining plates.  For the sake of argument, if two plates had the same overall rating, the set with the lower price was arbitrarily placed higher.  Set number 6 is somewhat of a specialty plate set, with the six sections cut out from the plate for easier handling. The biggest disadvantage of this set is we’ve capped its use at the weightlifting segment; without some level of padding to cover the impact of the drops in powerlifting, the set is just not suitable.  So, this one is also eliminated.

Both seven and nine, while not completely limited, are both pointed primarily at the powerlifting segment of lifting.  Number seven does have the rubber coating required for powerlifting, and could, in principle, be used in any segment, but I’ve ruled it out, in that the plates are not IWF specification for diameter.  Our number nine set does meet the IWF guidelines, and the very thin plates are definitely made for the powerlifter to get more weight on his bar. The precise 50MM center cutout may preclude use of the lifter’s existing equipment not meeting such a precise tolerance.  So, these two plate sets are eliminated from our competition.

From here on in, there are very inconsequential differences between the top five plates.  They all have similar specifications, applicability, tolerances, and features. Number five is eliminated, primarily because it has a slightly lower rating than the other four weightlifting plates. The only real difference here is that the number five set is imported from China, but no real issues other than that and the rating.  The $ price range makes it an attractive beginner set, or a way to add weight to an existing set. But it’s off this list, in any case.

Next up, number four, is a set that is pretty much perfect in every way but one.  Starting with a 4.9 rating, extremely tight machining tolerances, and color coding of the plates so the weight per plate can be easily identified, this set could be used in any application.  The only downside to this set is the $$$$ price, significantly higher than any of the other three left on the list. For an experienced, competition level lifter, this set would do it all. But off it goes for out two fictional purchasers.

The number three set also meets IWF standards, and, with a weight tolerance of 15 grams or less, has incredible precision in plate design and manufacture.  The coating on the plates points it to the powerlifting segment more than the other two, but it would also do perfectly fine as a weightlifting plate set. The $$$ price makes it a decent choice for someone moving up to a better plate set, but it’s somewhat overpriced for our novice builder.  

So, we are left with the number one and number two plate sets as the last two on the table.  The number one set has a $ cost, meets IWF standards except for the ten-pound plate (for an unexplained reason), a high durometer reading if dropped, and a three-year warranty on the larger plates.  They have a rubber coating for better durability, and, as noted, a budget-conscious price.

The second rated set is very similar to the top-rated set, but carries a $$ price tag.  The difference isn’t all that huge, but it is large enough to make you stop and think. This is a classically designed set, with very tight tolerances.  This set could serve as an excellent starter set for our novice lifter, and still be a decent move-up set for our more experienced lifter. The powerlifter could use the plates for added weight to his bars, as the thicknesses are optimized for better loading.

There are two sets left, and only one best choice.  However, I’m going to waffle some here, and give you two best choices.  Even though they are slightly more expensive, I would recommend the second set to our experienced lifter.  The ratings are identical to the cheaper set, but with this one you get a classic, time-tested look, along with the quality and durability the lifter wants.

For our novice lifter, the Echo bumper plates are the way to go.  The plates have a rubber coating for durability, if they are accidently dropped or fall off the bar.  The low price combined with the warranty and specifications make this a perfect starter set that should last for several years to come.  Specifications are fully comparable to any of the other plates, and these offer flexibility for growth in the future.

Realistically, you could not go wrong buying any of these sets, and it was a very tough task trying to identify enough differences between them to pick the best of the best.  Hopefully this article has given you some knowledge and guidance for your next weightlifting plate purchase.

Biddrup Mallick
 

Biddrup has built 5 gyms from scratch. He's a fitness enthusiast and spends a lot of his free time at the gym. He has competed in power lifting events in his local city.

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 0 comments

Leave a Reply: