Best Olympic Barbells Under $300 – Introduction
What is the best budget barbell to buy for your garage or home gym in 2023?
No serious home gym is complete without a quality barbell.
Dumbbells are handy, but they’re not as versatile as a long, straight bar.
For starters, getting heavy dumbbells into the correct position to start your exercise can be tricky.
They’re also less than ideal for leg training, i.e., deadlifts and squats.
Barbells are more straightforward to use and incredibly versatile, too.
You can use a barbell to tone up, build muscle, increase strength, or even burn fat and get fit with complexes and circuit training.
Plus, they’re easier to load and unload than most adjustable dumbbells.
On the downside, barbells can be expensive, with some of the best costing well over $1000.
The good news is that there are plenty of budget-friendly barbells that are perfect for home use.
Ranging from under $100 to about $300, these bars may not be as strong as a $1000+ barbell but are more than adequate for most home trainers.
This article explains what to look for in a home barbell and provides you with mini-reviews of our seven favorite budget Olympic barbells for your home gym.
What Is an Olympic Barbell, Anyway?
Olympic barbells are the type of barbell you’ll find in most commercial gyms.
Typical Olympic barbells weigh 20kg or 45 pounds and are seven feet long.
They have revolving end sleeves, so the weights spin instead of the bar twisting in your hands.
These sleeves are made to take Olympic-sized weight or bumper plates and have a diameter of two inches.
Most Olympic bars have sections of knurling, which is a pattern pressed into the metal.
Olympic barbells are knurled in two places for a more secure grip during bench presses, deadlifts, and overhead presses.
Some also have center knurling, which can be helpful during squats.
Olympic bars are made from high tensile strength stainless steel and may be chromed, painted, or plated with another protective outer coating to prevent rusting and tarnishing.
Colored coatings also make your bar look good!
You can use an Olympic barbell for a wide range of exercises.
In fact, armed with nothing but an Olympic barbell, you can train your entire body.
Particularly effective Olympic bar-only exercises include:
- Romanian deadlifts
- Good mornings
- Power cleans
- Hip thrusts
- Floor press
- Bent over row
- Pendlay row
- Overhead press
- Biceps curl
- Skull crusher
Add an adjustable workout bench to your home gym setup, and you can also do bench presses and a host of seated barbell exercises.
Combine your barbell with a power or squat rack, and you can include all types of squats in your workout.
In terms of variety, functionality, and value for money, a budget Olympic barbell is hard to beat!
What to Look for In A Budget Olympic Barbell
With so many Budget barbells to choose from, it can be hard to know where to start.
To make things easier, here’s what to look for in a budget home barbell.
The first thing to decide is what you are willing to pay for your barbell and then stick to that figure.
You can get a budget barbell for a little under $100 to about $400.
Anything much above $400 would be a medium-priced barbell.
Your budget should represent a price you are comfortable paying, and there is no reason to spend more than this.
Once you know your budget, it’s much easier to narrow down your options.
#2. Full-size or compact?
While standard Olympic barbells are seven-feet long and weigh 20kg/45lbs, you can buy lighter, shorter barbells.
These smaller barbells are ideal for less roomy training spaces, beginners, females, and teenage lifters.
Measure your training area and be realistic about your strength.
You may find that a smaller bar is all you actually need.
Barbells are rated for strength, usually from about 5-600 pounds up to 2,000 or more.
Stronger bars are generally more expensive as they’re made from higher-quality materials.
750-1,000 pounds is a good strength for most home lifters, even if you never anticipate lifting that much weight.
This will ensure your bar lasts a long time and won’t stay bent after heavy use.
However, suppose you only ever anticipate lifting light to moderate weights.
In that case, a lower-rated bar will probably be sufficient, as well as cheaper.
#4. Knurling depth and location
If you want to use a barbell for squats, central knurling can be a bonus, as it will help stop your bar sliding down your back.
That said, deep central knurling can also be uncomfortable and cause abrasions, so this is a matter of personal preference rather than necessity.
Knurling also varies in depth, from shallow to aggressive.
The deeper the knurling, the better your grip will be, but also the rougher your bar will be on your skin.
Except to develop some gnarly callouses if your bar has aggressive knurling.
If possible, try training with a few different depths of knurling to see which you prefer.
Remember, you can always enhance your grip by using gym chalk.
Medium knurling is probably best for all-around training.
Most Olympic barbells are chromed to protect them from rust and give a silver appearance.
Other bars are coated with a material called Cerakote, which is a sort of ceramic paint.
Cerakote is more hardwearing than chrome, comes in various colors, and won’t chip or flake like chrome can.
While you should never leave your Olympic barbell outdoors, if you want to train outside, a Cerakote-coated bar is probably best.
But, if your barbell is never going to be exposed to moisture, a cheaper chrome finish should be fine.
The 7 Best Budget Olympic Barbells
Now you know what to look for, you may want to buy a budget Olympic barbell for your home gym.
Here are my top seven recommendations for Olympic barbells that won’t break the bank.
#1. CAP “The Beast” Olympic Barbell
- ✔️CONSTRUCTION – Constructed from high-quality solid cold rolled Japanese...
- ✔️SPECS – Measures 2185mm in length; 15-inch loadable sleeve diameter;...
- ✔️FEATURES – Great for Olympic weightlifting training; No center knurling;...
- ✔️VERSATILE – Use this bar for Olympic weightlifting training; Get a full...
- ✔️TRUST – Trust experience; CAP has been a pioneer in the fitness industry...
CAP Barbell makes some of the best budget strength training equipment around, and The Beast is a steal at just over $200.
Available in silver and black finishes, this full-sized Olympic barbell has no center knurling, so it’s an excellent choice for deadlifts.
With a tensile strength of 132,000 psi, this versatile bar from CAP is strong enough for serious Olympic lifters and even the heaviest home workout at an affordable price point.
#2. XMark Blackhawk Olympic Bar
- The XMark BLACKHAWK Olympic Barbell will help you soar to new heights in your...
- A black manganese phosphate coating on the 28 mm shaft of the BLACKHAWK bar...
- The BLACKHAWK has dual spec IWF and IPF medium depth fine knurling that feels...
- This barbell features hard chrome sleeves with a no-maintenance snap ring lock...
- All it takes to protect your investment is a couple of minutes and wiping down...
When it comes to buying an Olympic barbell, you can pay 1000s of dollars for a premium product.
But, you can also get a perfectly servable bar for a little over a tenth of that price – like this one from XMark.
This Blackhawk model from XMark has a weight capacity of up to 1,500 pounds, double that of their popular Lumberjack, and this well-made general-purpose bar is ideal for the budget-conscious home lifter.
#3. Synergee Open 15kg Olympic Barbell
- ★ INCREDIBLE VALUE ★ - Don’t let the low-price fool you – this bar is...
- ★ POWERFUL DESIGN ★ - The Open Barbell is made of high-grade steel, giving...
- ★ BEARINGS, NOT BUSHINGS ★ - We choose needle bearings over bushings and...
- ★ WHAT’S IN THE PACKAGE ★ – Each bar has a black phosphate coated shaft...
- ★ NO SWEAT GUARANTEE ★ – Leave the sweating and swearing for your...
Standard Olympic barbells are typically seven feet long with a 28mm circumference and weigh 20kgs/45lbs.
This black phosphate and chrome Open model from Synergee weighs 15kg/33lbs with a 25mm grip and is a little shorter, making it ideal for beginners, women, and anyone a little short of training space.
With a maximum load rating of 1,000 pounds, this budget Olympic barbell isn’t the strongest budget Olympic barbell, but it’s more than strong enough for most lifters.
#4. Synergee Games 20kg Colored Cerakote Barbell
- ★ SUPERIOR CONSTRUCTION ★ – Our Synergee Games Bar is built to handle your...
- ★ FITTER, FASTER, STRONGER ★ - With a loadable sleeve length of 16.4 inches...
- ★ CERAKOTE FINISH ★ – Our steel bar is finished with a Cerakote coating:...
- ★ WHAT’S IN THE PACKAGE ★ – This bar is a Red 20 KG Bar. It is 86.75...
- ★ NO SWEAT GUARANTEE ★ – Leave the sweating and swearing for your...
While there is nothing wrong with a plain chrome finish, some lifters may prefer a better-looking bar.
This product from Synergee is red and black and looks great!
But, the color has more than just aesthetic value – the Cerakote coating also protects the underlying steel from rust.
The Synergee Games barbell is a little more expensive, but the long-lasting finish should mean it will provide a lifetime of use, even if you use it outdoors.
#5. Valor Fitness OB-86 Men’s Olympic Barbell
- HEAVY DUTY BARBELL- 20kg/44lb barbell constructed of steel for strength and...
- SMOOTH ROTATION- 2 ball bearings per sleeve ensure a smooth and stable rotation...
- OLYMPIC SLEEVE- The OB-86-750B Barbell features 16. 25" of loadable sleeve...
- KNURLED- Standard knurling with dual knurl-free guide marks to ensure a strong,...
- ADDITIONAL- Standard Olympic barbell 28mm diameter, measuring 86. 25" in total...
This good-looking black multipurpose barbell has a weight limit of 750lbs, so it’s not the most robust product on review.
But, in all honestly, how many home lifters are going to need a stronger bar?
Despite its lower relative tensile strength, this barbell has plenty of whip for more comfortable deadlifts and squats.
The Valor Fitness OB-86 Olympic Barbell comes with a three-year warranty so you can buy it with confidence.
#6. IRON COMPANY Body-Solid OB86C Chrome Seven Foot Olympic Weightlifting Bar
- 7' Chrome Olympic Bar
- 600lb. Capacity
- Not recommended for commercial gyms
This Body-Solid Barbell is an absolute bargain at under $100.
It’s only rated to 600lbs, so it’s not so good for advanced or experienced lifters, but for most home trainers, it’s plenty strong enough.
It weighs 37 pounds but is still full-length at seven feet despite this.
The bar has a center knurl, so it won’t slip off your back during squats.
This Weightlifting Bar from IRON COMPANY is a decent beginner’s Olympic bar that won’t break the bank.
#7. REP FITNESS Gladiator 15kg Olympic Bar
- PERFORMANCE DRIVEN DESIGN: The Gladiator is a true Olympic bar that is 28mm...
- MEDIUM-DEPTH KNURL: This barbell has plenty of grip for your heavy lifts, but...
- SUPERIOR SPIN: With needle bearings in each sleeve, the spin is smooth and the...
- DURABLE COATING: Hard chrome coating has the most rust resistance and lowest...
- BUY WITH CONFIDENCE: Rep Fitness is a full-service equipment company based in...
While you may think that a 20kg barbell is best, you’ll probably find that a lighter bar is more useful.
For example, it could be better for isolation exercises like biceps curls and triceps extensions.
A lighter bar is also helpful for warm-ups and while perfecting your technique.
This seven-foot bar weighs 15kg/33 pounds, has medium-depth knurling, including in the middle for squats, and is rated up to 1500 pounds.
This 15kg Gladiator Bar from REP FITNESS is a well-priced, well-made Olympic barbell.
The 7 Best Budget Olympic Barbells – Wrapping Up
Olympic barbells can be very expensive, often costing upward of $1000.
But, unless you are an elite powerlifter or Olympic lifter, you probably don’t need to spend that much on a barbell.
In fact, you can meet your training needs with a bar for $300 or less!
Choose between a full-size seven-foot, 20kg bar or something a little shorter like a 6-foot, 15kg bar, which is ideal for small training spaces.
Regardless of what you buy, your barbell should provide many years of productive workouts.
Combine your bar with a compact power rack and an adjustable bench, and you really do have everything you need to get strong and build muscle at home.