If you’re serious about your training, you don’t want just any barbell, you want the best barbell you can get for your home gym.
That’s because the barbell is the connection between your hands and your workout. The bar you choose is the bar that will take you through hundreds of workouts for years to come.
The truth is, there’s more to choosing the right bar than you might think.
Do you go with a standard bar, or an Olympic bar?
What’s the difference?
Also, you have to think about length. You can get a 5’, 6’ or 7’ bar and your choice depends on how the bar will be used. It goes without saying that you want to make sure you choose the best one that fits your budget and your goals.
Let’s take a look at what’s out there and find the best barbells for your home gym!
In a hurry? Here is our top pick:
Quick Answer – The Best Barbells For Your Home Gym 2020
- XMark Voodoo Commercial 7′ Olympic Powerlifting Bar (Editor’s Choice)
- Body-Solid Tools Olympic Straight Bar 7’
- CAP 7-Foot Olympic Bar
- Sunny Health & Fitness Threaded Chrome Barbell Bar
- REP FITNESS Sabre Olympic Bar
- IRON COMPANY USA-Made 7′ Olympic Power Bar
- Synergee Regional Olympic Hard Chrome & Black Phosphate Barbells
- Titan Fitness Olympic Bar, Bench Press Barbell
- CAP Barbell 84″ Standard Solid Bar
Reviews – 9 Best Barbells For Your Home Gym
1. XMark Voodoo Commercial 7′ Olympic Powerlifting Bar (Editor’s Choice)
Before we review this bar, let’s talk briefly about tensile strength.
This will be covered in more detail in the Buying Guide, but for our purpose here, tensile strength refers to how much weight a bar can handle before it breaks. This rating is usually measured in PSI, or Pounds per Square Inch.
The XMark Voodoo Commercial 7’ Olympic Powerlifting Bar is designed to handle the heaviest loads with a 1,500 lb. capacity and an excellent 185,000 PSI tensile strength.
You’d think a bar like this would be expensive but surprisingly it will fit virtually any budget.
This bar is manufactured using heat treated alloy steel. It also features a 28mm diameter.
The grip shaft is coated with black manganese phosphate to provide protection against abrasions. The collars have micro grooves so your plates stay secure during your lifts no matter how heavy you go.
There’s also medium depth knurling set to competition standards. This is so a competitive weightlifter knows where to place their hands.
This bar is a great choice for anyone that wants a good bar but was specifically designed to handle the massive poundages used in Powerlifting and Olympic lifting.
At the same time, at this price point it’s a bar that’s meant for any use, whether it’s bodybuilding, Cross-Fit or general fitness training.
This bar is the best choice in a specific Powerlifting/Olympic lifting bar and the best bar overall.
- Holds A Massive 1,500 lbs.
- 185,000 PSI Tensile Strength
- Provides Good Protection Against Abrasions
- Wish The Warranty Was Longer
2. Body-Solid Tools Olympic Straight Bar 7’
The Body-Solid Tools Olympic Straight 7’ Bar is a reasonably priced choice in Olympic bars.
This bar features a triple-plated chrome finish that helps protect against rusting, chipping, scarring and peeling.
The bar weighs 44 pounds with a 2” diameter for Olympic plates. It features a collar length of 15.5” so you can pile on those plates.
It can handle up to 600 lbs., making it a good choice for average lifters. It also features a knurled grip that runs along the length of the bar for a strong grip.
Not every lifter cares about the color, but this Body Solid Bar is available in black or chrome.
- Good Olympic Bar For Average Lifters
- Holds 600lbs. For Serious Workouts
- Your Choice Of Black Or Chrome Finish
- Won’t Hold Enough Weight For All Lifters
- No Tensile Strength Information
- No Lifetime Warranty (30 Day Only)
3. CAP 7-Foot Olympic Bar
If you’re serious about strength, you should buy a bar that’s at least 165,000 PSI, with 185,000 and above being ideal. With that out of the way, the CAP 7-Foot Olympic Bar is available in 7 options.
The most reasonably priced option is manufactured from Japanese cold rolled steel, has a 15” sleeve length and a tensile strength rating of 110,000 PSI.
This bar is called “The Beast” and as an entry-level bar, it’s best used for moderately heavy workouts.
As you move up in choices to the top 3 bars (called “The Master”, “The Rebel” and “The Warrior”), you’ll pay more but you will also end up with more tensile strength (190,000 PSI, 190,000 PSI and 230,000 PSI respectively).
Not every bar lists a weight capacity, but the strongest bar (Warrior) can handle up to 1,000 lbs., making it the best choice for serious strength training.
All bars weigh 44lbs. and every bar except the lowest price option (“the Beast”) features center knurling for an improved grip.
- 7 Choices, One For Every Budget & Experience Level
- Top Level Bar Holds 1,000lbs.
- Made From Japanese Cold Rolled Steel
- Only The Top 3 Bars Feature A Tensile Strength Of 190,000 (Or Higher) PSI
- No Weight Limit Listed For Every Bar
4. Sunny Health & Fitness Threaded Chrome Barbell Bar
This is a standard 5’ straight bar.
You won’t be able to use a bar like this in a power rack because it’s too short to sit on the J Hooks or Safety Rods.
You can stand in the rack and do exercises that don’t require safety rods but typically you’ll stand outside the rack. This choice will be partially based on space.
Regardless, you can use this bar for any exercise you want to do, even if you don’t own a rack and want to do bench presses or squats.
A spotter or adjustable catch bars is always a good idea for those exercises.
This bar holds standard plates, making it more affordable than an Olympic bar.
An important note here is that a standard bar has a smaller 1” diameter than an Olympic bar, which has a 2” diameter.
This is one reason a bar like this and standard plates cost less than an Olympic bar and plates. Also, an Olympic bar will weigh considerably more.
The Sunny Health & Fitness Bar is made of solid steel, weighs 12 lbs. and can handle up to 250 lbs.
This is more of a beginner bar from a strength standpoint and in the sense that the home gym it would be used in could be a basic set-up.
This might be an adjustable bench with perhaps squats stands attached to the back.
You won’t break any strength records with this bar, but as stated previously, you can use it for any exercise that calls for a straight bar.
- Will Be Priced Less Than Olympic Bars
- Uses Standard Plates Which Are Less Expensive Than Olympic Plates
- Good Choice For Most Exercises
- Star Lock Collars Tend To Loosen As You Train
- 5 Foot Bar Is Too Short To Be Used In A Power Rack
5. REP FITNESS Sabre Olympic Bar
The Rep Fitness Sabre Olympic Bar comes in four versions, with two 7-foot versions weighing 44 lbs. and two 6 ½-foot versions weighing 33 lbs.
The 7-foot bars feature a 28mm diameter, can handle up to 1,000lbs. and have a tensile strength of 150,000 PSI.
The lighter bars are designed for women and feature a smaller 25mm diameter so it fits comfortably in smaller hands. The smaller bar has the same load capacity and tensile strength.
Both bars feature a medium depth knurling for an improved grip. Also, all bars come with a zinc coating to help prevent rust.
The Sabre Olympic Bar is reasonably priced and is designed for Powerlifting, Olympic lifting or Cross-Training.
- Features Bars Designed For Women & Smaller Adults
- Holds 1,000 lbs. For Serious Training
- Designed For All Types Of Training, From Powerlifting To Cross-Fit
- 150,000 PSI Tensile Strength Is Low Compared To Higher Quality Bars
- The 6 ½ Foot Bar May Not Fit In Most Power Racks
6. IRON COMPANY USA-Made 7′ Olympic Power Bar
The Iron Company 7-Foot Olympic Bar is made in the Midwestern US, just outside of Chicago.
This is a serious bar that will hold up to 1,500lbs. This bar is just over 7’ long and weighs 44lbs. with a 28.75mm diameter.
This is a bar designed for heavy weights on the Big 3 (Squats, Deadlifts & Bench Presses) with a sleeve length of 16.5”.
This bar has a tensile strength of 155,000 PSI. It also has dual medium knurling marks for correct hand placement in Olympic and Powerlifting competition.
The bar has a black oxide finish with chrome sleeves.
- Holds A Huge 1,500 lbs.
- Good Choice For Powerlifters & Olympic Lifters
- Lifetime Warranty Against Bending
- 155,000 PSI Tensile Strength Is Low Compared To Other Olympic Bars
- May Be Too Expensive For Some Users
7. Synergee Regional Olympic Hard Chrome & Black Phosphate Barbells
This bar has 4 different versions and is designed for both men as well as women.
The two 33lb. options are meant for women and feature an excellent 190,000 PSI tensile strength. These bars can handle up to a huge 1,500lbs. and feature a 25mm grip diameter.
They are designed for any type of workout, whether it’s Powerlifting, Olympic lifting, Cross-fit, bodybuilding, or general fitness training.
The men’s version weighs 44lbs with a 28mm diameter and has the same load capacity as well as tensile strength.
All bars are either black phosphate or hard chrome.
These bars are reasonably priced, functional, and can handle more weight than the competition, making them our top choice in an all-around bar for men and women.
- Features Bars Specifically Designed For Men & Women
- Holds Up To 1,500 lbs.
- 190,000 Tensile Strength
- Some Versions Of This Bar May Be Too Expensive For Some Users
8. Titan Fitness Olympic Bar, Bench Press Barbell
The name of this bar is a little misleading.
It’s not just a “bench press” bar, it’s an all-around bar that can be used for Bodybuilding, Powerlifting and Olympic lifting.
This bar is 7’ long, weighs 44lbs, and is made from cold rolled steel for good durability. This finish also helps prevent rust.
It can hold up to 700lbs., making it more of a bar for average lifters.
In fact, it was specifically designed for home use.
It features knurling for an improved grip, and a 33mm diameter grip area, a little larger than the other bars on our list.
- Designed Specifically For Home Use
- Holds Up To 700 lbs.
- The Large 33 mm Diameter May Indicate Lower Quality
9. CAP Barbell 84″ Standard Solid Bar
Most bodybuilders and strength athletes will choose an Olympic bar and set for their home gym.
That being said, if your budget does not allow you to purchase an Olympic bar, a standard straight bar can be a good choice.
I found myself in this situation 15 years ago when I put together my current home gym and bought a similar CAP 84” Standard Bar.
I went with a 7’ bar so I could use it safely in a power rack, and it has served me well.
The CAP 84” Bar only weighs 19lbs. and is made from solid steel.
It’ll hold 250 lbs., so you’ll want to keep that in mind if you plan to train for strength.
The advantage is that it takes standard plates which are more reasonably priced than their Olympic counterparts.
This bar features diamond knurling in the middle section of the bar for an improved grip.
This bar is the best choice in a reasonably priced standard bar for all-around home gym use.
- A Good Option To An Olympic Bar
- At 7’, It Will Fit In Any Power Rack
- Diamond Knurling For A Superior Grip
- This Bar Only Holds 250 lbs.
- Not The Best Choice For Strength Training
Buying Guide – How To Choose The Best Barbell?
Types Of Barbells
There’s more to buying a bar than you might think. Let’s start by looking at the different types of bars available:
An Olympic bar is probably the most common bar among serious athletes for home gym use as well as in commercial gyms.
These bars can handle more weight and have a different feel than a standard bar.
These bars are relatively heavy, weighing 44-45lbs. (with specific women’s bars weighing 33lbs.) and usually are 6-7 feet long.
Compare that to a standard bar that might weigh 20lbs. and are more commonly about 5’ in length. That’s fine for many uses but if your home gym has a power rack, you’ll need a longer 7’ bar.
Most Olympic bars have a diameter of 28mm, with women’s at 25mm. The Olympic bar has 2” sleeves for the 2” holes in Olympic style plates. Again, compare that to a standard bar which has a 1” diameter.
If you plan to buy a bar and then buy plates separately specific to your needs, rather than a barbell set, you can expect to pay more if you choose an Olympic bar and plates.
For example, rather than settle for a predetermined set, you can buy plates of any size that suits your training style.
That makes sense if you want more big plates for the big exercises, or more smaller plates for dumbbells or an EZ-Bar.
Finally, you can buy Olympic-style bars that are specific to certain sports, such as Powerlifting or Olympic lifting.
You can also buy all-around Olympic-style bars that can be used for any exercise style, such as bodybuilding.
In fact, an Olympic bar is common among bodybuilders. You can also use an Olympic bar for Cross-Fit, general fitness, or sport-specific conditioning.
The standard bar is different because it weighs less, has a smaller diameter and has 1” sleeves for the 1” hole in standard plates.
An Olympic bar is commonly considered to be the best bar for big weights, but trust me, you can use some big plates on a standard bar, such as 50’s or even 100’s.
As noted above, a good standard bar weighs about 20lbs, less than half of what an Olympic bar weighs.
They are commonly sold as part of 110lb starter sets for bodybuilders and other athletes.
That’s compared to the more expensive 310lb. Olympic sets that are commonly sold. Many standard bars are 5’ long but also are available in 6’ and 7’ lengths.
This type of bar is not meant for specific sports like Powerlifting or Olympic lifting.
A standard bar is a better budget choice and a good choice if you are not training specifically for ultimate strength.
It is a good choice for home use, whether that’s bodybuilding, fitness and general sports conditioning.
With that being said, if you perform exercises like squats, deadlifts and bench presses, and are training to get as strong as possible, you can start on a standard bar; but you’ll want to make the move to an Olympic bar once you start reaching some serious numbers in your big lifts.
What Should You Look For In A Barbell?
Price – Depending on the type of bar, you can find reasonably priced options. The best Olympic bars can be costly, and typically cost more than a comparable standard bar.
Bar Diameter – On an Olympic bar, this should be 28mm to allow for the best grip.
Cheaper bars may be thicker to compensate for lower grade steel, anything beyond a 28mm diameter will be difficult for all but the biggest hands.
The diameter on a standard bar is 1”, that doesn’t usually change.
It is possible to get a “fat”bar designed to improve grip strength but that’s more of a specialty item than a common choice.
Tensile Strength – This refers to the amount of weight a bar can take before it breaks.
This rating is typically applied to Olympic bars because that’s the type of bar used in Powerlifting and Olympic weight-lifting competitions.
In competitions like this, you can see some insane weight on the bar, such as 1,000lbs. and up for lifts like the squat or deadlift.
You can also see some big weight in the bench press. Let’s put that in perspective.
At the time of this writing, world powerlifting records include an 1,157lb. squat, a 744lb. bench press and a 1,015lb. deadlift.
That’s why you need a bar that can hold up to 1,500lbs.
The tensile strength is measured in pounds per square inch (PSI) or sometimes thousands of pounds per square inch (KPI).
A rating of at least 155,000 PSI is a good starting point, and the highest quality bars rate at 185,000 PSI and up.
Knurling – This refers to the grip markings on the bar.
If there’s heavy knurling, then there’s plenty of grip.
If the knurling is really heavy, you may want to consider weight-lifting gloves so you don’t tear up your hands.
The knurling is also important for some athletes because it shows you where to keep your hands for certain competition lifts.
Yield – This is how much weight a bar can handle before bending irreversibly.
Whip – This term refers to how much the barbell flexes during lifts.
High whip means it will be flexible, low whip means it will be solid.
A certain amount of whip is important for Olympic style lifting, if you’re a powerlifter or bodybuilder, you’ll want a bar with low whip.
Spin – Like whip, this applies more to Olympic style lifts (think clean and press or snatch). For athletes, powerlifters and bodybuilders that don’t do Olympic lifts, spin is not necessary.
Coatings – The coating of the barbell matters because it helps keep the bar rust and corrosion free. In some cases, the coating can support your grip. The most common coatings are:
Bare steel – Unless the steel is high quality, this coating offers poor corrosion protection.
Black Oxide – This type of bar is coated in chemicals that darken the bar and is then finished with an oil. Black oxide coating contributes to a good grip, but it will need regular maintenance.
Chrome – Even though chrome can flake, chip, and rust, it provides good corrosion protection for as long as it stays on the bar.
To Wrap Up
It goes without saying that the best barbell for your home gym is the bar that’s best suited to the style of lifting you plan to do.
If you plan to lift heavy, you’ll want a bar that can handle the load, such as the Synergee Regional, our top pick for an all-around bar designed for women and men, or the XMark Voodoo Olympic Bar, our top choice in a bar for strength training, and our all-around pick for best bar overall.
If you’re specifically Powerlifting, you’ll want a bar that stays straight, so that means minimal whip. In contrast, Olympic style lifting requires some flexibility. Again, the best choice is the XMark Voodoo Bar.
If you’re training for Bodybuilding or general fitness, you can certainly use an Olympic bar but you can also use a standard bar, like the CAP Standard Solid Bar.
This is as much a cost decision as anything, as you’ll pay less for a standard bar.
You’ll have to decide if you think you’ll outgrow a bar like that quickly, or if your training style is well-suited to a standard bar.
Length depends on your home gym, if you have a power rack, get a bar that fits. That means a 7’ bar.
Otherwise, you can use a 5’ or 6’ foot bar if you use a bench with stands off the back, or safety stands that adjust.
Of course, if you always train with a partner, you won’t have to worry about that. Safety is always important and a partner can spot you on any exercise you want to do.
Beyond choosing a bar designed for your lifting style, remember that ultimately a bar is what connects you to the weights.
That means that you want a bar that feels good in your hands and that you enjoy using.
This guide gives you our picks for the best barbell for your home gym.
Our top choice for strength training is the XMark Voodoo Bar.
For specific needs, we recommend the economical CAP Standard Solid Bar.
For the best all-around Olympic bar for women as well as men, we recommend the Synergee Regional.
And for an all-around barbell for home use, we choose the Titan Fitness Olympic Bar.
The choice is up to you!