Best Budget Bumper Plates for Your Home Gym – Introduction
Lifting weights is arguably the best type of exercise for everybody’s body.
Whether you want to build muscle, increase your strength, boost your sports performance, lose fat and transform your body, or hold back the years and age better, you need to get to the gym and train.
You can overload your muscles, including bodyweight and resistance band exercises and using dumbbells.
However, arguably the best way to build the body of your dreams is with a barbell and weight plates.
Armed with these simple tools, you can train every muscle in your body.
Add an adjustable bench and a squat rack, and you’ve got the perfect home gym.
While your body can’t tell what kind of weights you are lifting, the type of equipment you use can affect the exercises you perform and the comfort of your workouts. It can even have an impact on your safety.
That’s why it’s usually best to buy a good-quality power or deadlift bar.
They feel better and are more pleasant to use than a thin fitness-type barbell.
But, in the same way that you wouldn’t put low-quality wheels on a racing car, you also need to consider the type of weight plates you put on your barbell—quality and design matter.
The main decision to make is between cast iron plates and bumper plates.
Bumper plates are probably your best choice, so this article will explain the advantages and benefits of training with bumper plates and reveal the best budget bumper plates for your home gym.
What are Bumper Plates?
Bumper plates are large-diameter-weight plates with a rubber surround.
They’re designed to put your barbell at the perfect height for deadlifts, cleans, and snatches.
They’re made for Olympic barbells and are usually uniform, so a 10lb plate is the same size as a 45lb plate.
The rubber surrounds ensure that your bar is at the right height for lifting; they also protect the floor and the inner weight plate from damage.
Bumper plates can survive being dropped, which often happens during the Olympic lifts (clean and jerk, snatch, etc.)
There are two types of bumper plates – competition and training, which refers to their general quality.
Competition plates are precisely weighed and measured and usually have a solidly built “hub” for the barbell sleeve to slide into.
They tend to be narrower than training plates so that you can get more of them onto a barbell.
Competition plates are often costly, but they are also incredibly hardwearing.
In contrast, training plates are often thicker and less accurately weighed and measured.
Depending on the manufacturer, they may or may not be exactly the regulation size.
The central sleeve is usually less substantial, and training plates are cheaper.
Training plates are probably all you need if you are looking for weight plates for a home gym.
That said, if you are a competitive weightlifter or powerlifter, you may appreciate the accuracy of competition plates.
But, such precision is not much of a benefit for the average lifter.
The Benefits of Training with Bumper Plates
Plain cast iron plates are usually cheaper than bumper plates, so you may be wondering if you really need to pay extra money for your weights.
These are the main advantages of training with bumper plates.
#1. Uniform bar height
It doesn’t matter if you are deadlifting 80 or 280 pounds; the bar will be at the same height when you train with bumper plates.
While this isn’t much of a benefit to strong, experienced lifters, it’s a real advantage for beginners.
Trying to deadlift with the bar below nine inches makes an already challenging exercise much harder.
Using bumper plates will save you from having to get so low to the ground to grip your bar or putting your weights on blocks to raise it to the correct height.
#2. Protect your floor
Cast iron plates have hard, sharp edges that will quickly chew up your floor, even if you use mats or a lifting platform.
Bumper plates won’t cause any damage to your floor, even if you drop the bar instead of lowering it down gently.
#3. Quieter workouts
Bumper plates will not rattle and clang during your workouts because they’re fully enclosed in rubber.
You’ll also make less noise when you put them on the floor, which is valuable if you train in an apartment or don’t want to disturb your family or neighbors.
#4. Safer to drop
If you do CrossFit or Olympic lifting, you have probably been taught to drop the bar between reps.
You may occasionally drop your barbell when training to failure, too.
Bumper plates are made to be dropped, whereas cast iron plates are not.
The rubber surround will absorb shock, protecting your floor, inner weight, and barbell.
If you plan on dropping the bar after cleans or snatches, bumper plates are a must.
#5. Protection from rust
Rust is more than just an aesthetic issue; it can flake off and could easily enter your eyes, causing severe discomfort.
While cast iron plates are painted, that paint is easily chipped, and the metal beneath will soon start to rust.
In contrast, bumper plates are sealed in, so they’re not susceptible to rust.
Some bumper plates are different colors according to their weight. This makes it easier to recognize and select the correct weight for the exercise you’re about to do.
Bumper Plate Drawbacks
There aren’t too many disadvantages to training with bumper plates, but it’s worth considering these drawbacks before you part with your hard-earned money.
Bumper plates can be expensive and are usually more costly than cast iron plates.
However, if you look after them, they should last a lifetime, so they represent a solid investment.
#2. Very thick
Some budget bumper weight plates are inordinately thick, so you won’t be able to load as much weight on your barbell.
If you are very strong, you may need to seek out thinner bumper plates so you can fit all the weight you want on your bar.
Thinner plates are often more expensive.
#3. Not indestructible
While bumper plates are very tough, they’re not unbreakable.
The rubber surround can degrade and break down, coming away from the inner weight.
That’s especially true if you abuse your weight plates by dropping them onto concrete.
The Best Budget Bumper Plates for Your Home Gym
If you are serious about strength training, bumper plates make a lot of sense.
They’ll make a big difference to your deadlift and are useful for cleans, snatches, and any other barbell exercise that starts and finishes on the floor.
There are lots of bumper plates to choose from, but to save you time, effort, and hopefully money, here are the best (and our favorite!) budget bumper plates for home gyms.
#1. BalanceFrom Everyday Essentials Color Coded Bumper Plates
- SOLD AS PAIR
- Bumper plates are constructed of high density rubber with solid stainless steel...
- Each bumper plate has an inner ring with a diamter of 2" and fits any olympic...
- Each bumper plate is color coded for easy identification and labeled in both lbs...
- IMPORTANT - 10lb plates can bend when dropped ALONE while on a barbell
A lot of bumper plates are sold singularly, which is kinda pointless given weight plates are used in pairs.
These bumper plates from BalanceFrom are sold in pairs and sets, which makes much more sense!
Each bumper plate is color-coded to make choosing the right weight easier, and the wide metal hub is solid and smooth.
All in all, these Everyday Essentials plates are of excellent quality and very well priced.
#2. ONFITWAY Olympic Bumper Plates
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Each plate is black with a colored “fleck” pattern to make each weight easy to identify.
These plates themselves are well-made, sturdy, and have a steel inner hub for reduced wear and tear.
#3. HulkFit Color-Coded Olympic Bumper Plates
- Purpose - Our multi color shock absorbing bumper weight plates will be the...
- Usage - Use for strength training and conditioning. Exercise with the plate only...
- Materials - Solid high density rubber. Stainless steel collars. Semi-gloss...
- What’s Inside - 10 lb plates are sold in pairs. 15, 25, 35, 45, and 55 lb...
- Product Specifications - Size ranges from 17.6” diameter (all sizes) x .75”...
HulkFit color-coded Olympic bumper plates are well-made and well-priced.
They’re sold individually, in pairs, and in sets.
These plates look great and are built to last.
#4. Steelbody Olympic Rubber Bumper Plates
- SOLID RUBBER – This bumper weight plate has a premium construction and an...
- DESIGNED FOR OLYMPIC-SIZED BARS – This high-quality 10-pound plate is...
- STAINLESS STEEL CENTER SLEEVE – The center sleeve, made of stainless steel,...
- HIGH-QUALITY DESIGN – The Olympic Weights Plate from Steelbody features a...
- PERFECT FOR HOME AND GYM USE – Great bumper plate for modern HIIT training,...
Colored weight plates are great to look at, but they can also get very dirty.
Black plates don’t show the dirt so much, so they’ll look like new for longer.
On the downside, these plates are not as cushioned as some other bumper plates, so they are probably less suitable for dropping.
#5. AMGYM LB Bumper Plates
- 120 lb Set bumper plate, include 2X10lb, 2X15lb, 2X35lb. Fit all Olympic...
- A good bumper plate set is the centerpiece for modern HIIT training. Perform...
- 100% High-Density natural rubber durable with a low-bounce, withstand repeated...
- Expertly designed stainless steel "hooked" insert that remains firmly seated,...
- AMGYM Bumper Plates are available in 6 weights: 10LB, 15LB, 25LB, 35LB, 45LB,...
While you can buy bumper plates individually and in pairs, the most convenient and often the most cost-effective way to buy them is in sets.
Each set includes various plate weights and is available from 120lb to 260lb.
They also sell plates in pairs.
The bumper plates themselves are of excellent quality and very well made.
#6. Synergee Competition Bumper Plates
Top-quality competition bumper plates are usually very expensive.
That said, there are some bargains around, and these competition plates from Synergee are much more affordable than those made by companies like Eleiko, Rogue, and American Barbell.
The weights are color-coded for easy recognition, and the steel hubs are precision made and should withstand many years of use.
These plates ARE more expensive than most training plates, but, for Competition Bumper Plates, they’re very well-priced.
#7. GYMENIST Bumper Plates
- VERSATILE USAGE: Perfect for powerlifting, weightlifting, functional fitness,...
- OPTIMAL COMPATIBILITY: The bumper plates fit seamlessly on Olympic-style 2-inch...
- HIGH BOUNCE ANTI-SLIP DESIGN: Comfort and safety are paramount with our high...
- RESILIENT & DEPENDABLE: These barbell plates adhere to the highest durability...
- QUIET & FLOOR-FRIENDLY: We understand the importance of a peaceful workout...
These plain black bumper plates from GYMENIST are perfect for home gyms.
They won’t get dirty, should remain looking new for many years, but are clearly marked with their weight for easy identification.
The contoured edges make them easy to pick up, and they’re available in the usual weight denominations up to 55lbs.
These bumper plates are very hardwearing and competitively priced.
Best Budget Bumper Plates for Your Home Gym – Wrapping Up
Bumper plates may seem like something of an extravagance, but they can add a lot to your workouts.
If nothing else, they’ll ensure you start every deadlift and power clean from the perfect height.
You don’t even have to buy a full set of bumper plates – two 45-pounders are all you really need to get started.
Providing any cast iron plates are smaller in diameter, only the bumper plates will rest on the floor, so you can enjoy all the benefits of bumper plate training without the cost.
Not sure which bumper plates are right for you?
Any of the products in this article have our seal of approval and deserve a place in your home or garage gym.
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