Best Olympic Barbell for Your Home Gym

By Jeff
Last Update
Olympic Barbell

An Olympic barbell (Oly bar) is a must-have if you want a well-equipped home gym. With a high-quality barbell and a few weight plates, you can perform dozens of exercises and improve every aspect of your physical fitness.

This article breaks down the essential qualities of an Olympic barbell. We reviewed 15 barbells and came up with a list of five that we recommend, each with something special to offer, depending on what you’re looking for.

Let’s begin!

Quick Look

Rogue Fitness Ohio Bar – Best Overall Olympic Barbell
Eleiko IWF Weightlifting Training Bar – Best Olympic Weightlifting Barbell
Bells of Steel Barenaked Powerlifting Bar 2.0 – Best Budget Olympic Barbell
Eleiko XF Bar – Best Multipurpose Olympic Barbell
Rogue Bella Bar – Best Women’s Olympic Barbell

The Best Olympic Barbells for Your Home Gym

Here are our five favorite Olympic barbells, including their key specs and some of their most prominent pros and cons.

Rogue Fitness Ohio Bar – Best Overall Olympic Barbell

Courtesy of Rogue Fitness

Tensile Strength: 190,000 PSI
Bar Weight: 20kg
Knurling: Medium
Center Knurling: No
Finish: Multiple finishes

The Rogue Ohio Bar is hands-down one of our favorite barbells that Rogue Fitness has ever made. The standard Ohio Bar comes in a black oxide finish, but we prefer the durability and grip of the Cerakote finish.

This bar is 86.61″ long with 16.34″ loadable sleeve sections. This Olympic barbell features a balanced knurling for a good grip. It is designed to produce normal “whip” during Olympic weightlifting but enough stiffness to hold for heavy powerlifting.


  • The Ohio Bar has an F8-R rating which means it has above-average durability and rust resistance.
  • The standard knurling sections on the bar provide a good grip without tearing your skin.


  • Grooves near the sleeves’ end caps cause plates to catch when sliding them on and off sometimes.

Eleiko IWF Weightlifting Training Bar – Best Olympic Weightlifting Barbell

Courtesy of Eleiko

Tensile Strength: 215,000 PSI
Bar Weight: 20kg
Knurling: Medium
Center Knurling: Yes
Finish: Chrome

If you want a barbell optimized for Olympic weightlifting, look no further than the Eleiko IWF Weightlifting Training Bar. This Olympic barbell is certified by the IWF. It features weightlifting grip markings and sleeves with the needle bearings you want for weightlifting.

This bar is 86.61″ long with 16.34″ loadable sleeve sections. This Oly bar features a balanced knurling for a good grip. It also has the classic oscillation that anyone who has used an Eleiko barbell will recognize.

This bar has a 12-year warranty and a handy cleaning brush with magnetic backing for attaching it to your squat rack’s uprights.


  • The precision needle bearings give the sleeves a smooth and speedy spin.
  • This barbell has dustproof seals on the collars to help keep it in pristine condition.


  • This Eleiko weightlifting bar is too expensive for anyone on a tight budget.

Bells of Steel Barenaked Powerlifting Bar 2.0 – Best Budget Olympic Barbell

Courtesy of Bells of Steel

Tensile Strength: 210.000 PSI
Bar Weight: 44lbs/20kg
Knurling: Aggressive
Center Knurling: Yes
Finish: Bare steel shaft, hardened chrome sleeves

Bells of Steel created a great budget Olympic bar when they started producing the Barenaked Powerlifting Bar 2.0. This Oly bar has a multipurpose design with knurling to meet IPF specs.

The Barenaked bar is 86.6” long and uses bushings in each sleeve designed for slower lifts and relatively no whip to serve as a barbell for powerlifting training.

This Olympic bar is a fantastic option if you cross-train. It is an even better choice if you’re looking for a solid performer that won’t empty your bank account.


  • The 1,500lb static weight rating means the Barenaked bar can handle any heavy weight you load onto it.
  • The aggressive knurling ensures you’ll always have a great grip.


  • The bare steel finish is prone to rust/oxidation if it’s not properly cleaned and maintained

Eleiko XF Bar – Best Multipurpose Olympic Barbell

Courtesy of Eleiko

Tensile Strength: 215,000 PSI
Bar Weight: 20kg
Knurling: Shallow
Center Knurling: No
Finish: Chrome

If you enjoy Crossfit or want to train in different lifting sports, the Eleiko XF Bar is an excellent choice for a multipurpose Olympic barbell. The XF has mixed knurling layouts and shallow knurling, so you can train for long workouts without damaging your hands.

This multipurpose bar is 86.61″ in length with loadable sleeves that measure 16.34″ long. The needle bearings and bushings are high quality and work well for explosive Olympic movements.

This Eleiko bar is a fantastic option for anyone who engages in any sort of functional fitness training and will last you for years.


  • The knurling configurations for powerlifting and weightlifting make this bar perfect for all training styles.
  • The shallow knurling is less grippy but extremely comfortable during high-volume sessions.


  • The multipurpose design means this bar isn’t ideal for weightlifting or powerlifting specialists.

Rogue Bella Bar – Best Women’s Olympic Barbell

Tensile Strength: 190,000 PSI
Bar Weight: 15kg
Knurling: Medium
Center Knurling: No
Finish: Multiple finishes

The Rogue Fitness Bella Bar is our favorite Olympic barbell for women. It’s available in multiple finishes and features the same tensile strength as Rogue’s flagship Ohio Bar.

The Bella is 79.13″ long and has loadable sleeve lengths of 13″ on either side. This Oly bar is a multipurpose training bar which means it has knurling markings for weightlifting and powerlifting.

The Bella Bar uses bushings for smooth, reliable sleeve spin. It offers a responsive whip ideal for quick snatching, cleaning, and jerking.


  • The Bella Bar comes with Rogue’s Lifetime Construction Warranty.
  • The shorter length and small diameter make this the perfect Oly bar for explosive female athletes.


  • The F6-R durability rating isn’t as high as many of Rogue’s other Olympic barbells.

Buying Guide – What To Look For in an Olympic Barbell

An Olympic barbell is a simple piece of equipment. But, it still has several specifications you should understand before buying one.

Types of Barbells

People will generally refer to any barbell that’s at least 7 feet long and has 2-in wide spinner sleeves as an Olympic barbell. But, several barbells have these qualities, including Olympic weightlifting, power, and multipurpose bars.

Olympic Weightlifting Barbell

Manufacturers design this type of barbell explicitly for the official sport of weightlifting (as determined by the International Weightlifting Federation [IWF]). Manufacturers optimize these bars for the snatch and clean and jerk, the two movements performed at weightlifting competitions.

Oly bars tend to be very “whippy” (the term used to describe how much the bar oscillates). These bars also have smooth, fast-spinning sleeves and moderate to aggressive knurling.

Competition Oly bars will always have center knurling, but many Oly training bars won’t.

Power Bar

Power bars, also called powerlifting bars, are used for the sport of powerlifting. Manufacturers build power bars for lifters to use when performing the Big 3 lifts (squat, bench press, and deadlift).

A competition power bar must meet the International Powerlifting Federation (IPF) standards. Still, many versions of training power bars have more variation in specifications.

Power bars are very stiff and have little-to-no whip. Most power bars have aggressive knurling and sleeves with less spin than an Olympic barbell. Most power bars will have a center knurling.

Multipurpose Barbell

As the name would imply, multipurpose barbells, sometimes called Crossfit barbells, are a good choice if you want to do multiple styles of workouts, including weightlifting and powerlifting.

These general-purpose barbells often have knurling markings that meet IWF and IPF standards. Sometimes these bars have a center knurling, but often there is no center knurling.

Multipurpose barbells have a moderate whip quality and smooth spinning sleeves that fall between Olympic and power bars in terms of spin speed.


Men’s Olympic barbells weigh 20kg (44 lbs) or sometimes 45 lbs. The same is true regardless of whether the bar is an Oly, power, or multipurpose bar.

Women’s Olympic bars weigh 15kg (about 33 lbs) or sometimes 35 lbs.

Be wary of any Oly bar with a weight other than 45/35 lbs, as this can show that it’s a low-quality product.


Standard lengths for men’s and women’s Oly bars are both about 7 feet. If you want an IWF-qualified competitive Oly bar, the sizes should be 2200 mm and 2010 mm for men and women, respectively.

Power and multipurpose bars can vary quite a bit in size, but we recommend you stick close to the 7-ft measurement.

Tensile Strength

Tensile strength is measured in pounds per square inch (PSI). It measures how much stress a barbell can withstand before fracturing. Barbell manufacturers like to market this spec to show how strong their bars are.

In general, the more tensile strength a bar has, the less it oscillates. However, other aspects of a bar also contribute to its whippiness.

We recommend you find an Oly bar with a tensile strength of at least 190k PSI.


There are many finishes, each with its own qualities. Here are a few of the most popular options:

Natural Steel

A natural or bare steel barbell is simply an unfinished carbon steel bar. Raw steel barbells have a more natural grip on the knurling, and these bars are cheaper than finished bars.

On the other hand, raw steel is prone to rusting quickly, requiring regular maintenance.

Stainless Steel

Stainless steel bars are unfinished. But, since they use stainless steel instead of carbon, they’re more rust-resistant.

Unfinished stainless steel barbells are significantly more expensive than unfinished carbon steel bars.

Black Oxide

Black oxide is a thin finish that only slightly improves an Oly barbell’s rust resistance compared to bare steel. Black oxide requires regular maintenance, especially if you heavily chalk the barbell.

Yet, compared to thicker finishes such as zinc, black oxide preserves the original grip quality of the bar’s knurling.


Zinc finishes on barbells come in bright or black versions. The main difference is purely aesthetic, but some lifters feel that black zinc has a less natural grip than bright zinc.

Zinc resists oxidation but not as well as chrome, Cerakote, or stainless steel. Oly bars with a zinc finish can be a good middle road between performance and affordability.


Manufacturers finish some of their barbells with either an unpolished or satin chrome. Chrome-finished Oly bars are highly rust-resistant. Chrome is also resistant to fading, chipping, and scratching.

A chrome-finished barbell has a natural grip, but if the bar only has light-to-medium knurling, you might wish the grip was more substantial.

Chrome is more expensive than zinc or black oxide but well worth the price.


Cerakote finish has risen in popularity recently and has become the top-tier choice for many lifters. Cerakote allows for the use of many different colors and designs on a barbell.

In terms of performance, Cerakote is like chrome. It is highly rust and abrasion-resistant, offers a firm grip, and improves the overall durability of the Olympic barbell.


Knurling is the three-dimensional etching cut into the barbell to provide a grip for the hands. Knurling/grip is not standardized and extremely preferential. Your best option is to try to get your hands on a specific barbell to test the knurling before buying it.

There are three basic styles of knurling: mountain, volcano, and flat.


Mountain knurling comes to a point at the top of the peaks. This knurling offers excellent grip but can be hard to hold onto throughout a long workout session.


Volcano knurling has a slight scoop on the peaks. The purpose of volcano knurling is to provide a superior grip while reducing the strain of sharp peaks such as those found on mountain knurling.


Flat (or hill) knurling is flat on the tops. It’s the gentlest on the skin but provides the least grip. Flat knurling is commonly found on cheap barbells.

Find the Right Olympic Barbell for You

You’ve done it! You now have the knowledge to go out and find the perfect Olympic barbell for your home gym.

Whether you want to specialize in the sport of weightlifting or you want to cross-train in other areas such as powerlifting and Crossfit, there is an Oly bar in this article that will work.
We hope this article has given you some workout motivation and provided the answers you need to start living a fitter and happier life today.

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