- Top 5 Weight Plate Brands
- Factors to Consider in Weight Plates
- Related Questions
During the global pandemic, we've all had to figure out how to stay fit and sane while gyms are closed. If you were lucky enough to procure weight plates for your home gym before everything sold out, you've probably established a good routine. However, if you still are in the market for weight plates to build out your home gym, there are some important things to consider.
Be honest about what your goals are with your home gym, what kind of lifer you are, what your budget is, and what space constraints you might have. Once you take inventory of these three things, it will help to narrow down the large selections of options for home gym equipment.
Lastly, be patient. Weighted plates are an essential piece of equipment for every home gyms and the demand for them are still very high so don't be surprised if it will take a while for more inventory to become available.
1. Fringe Sport
4.5 out of 5
2. American Barbell
4.5 out of 5
3. REP Fitness
4.5 out of 5
4 out of 5
4.5 out of 5
Top 5 Weight Plate Brands
1. Fringe Sport
The company sells bumper plates in pairs of two or by the set. They also have a one-year, no-questions-asked return policy on all purchases to make sure you’re perfectly happy with your plates.
The company also sells some novelty bumpers, including hot pink and pizza varieties. They have one retail location in Austin and are heavily involved in the local fitness community. There is free shipping with every order, but limited availability for a majority of their products. Visit their website to see if they have what you’re looking for in stock.
2. American Barbell
The company does not sell iron plates on their website, exclusively dealing in urethane and rubber products. They sell Olympic rubber plates that come with four handholds, and urethane bumper plates in increments of 10kg, 15kg, 20kg, and 25kg.
Despite their limited selection, they are one of the few manufacturers to offer customized urethane plates. Targeting collegiate athletes, they market school mascots and personalized logos through their website. Though they are one of the more high-end and expensive weight plate companies, given they were the first to introduce urethane products to the US market, their quality has been time-tested and proven.
3. REP Fitness
They offer a wide variety of plates, from iron to urethane to rubber to Olympic. They have offerings of iron plate package sets from 175lbs., 245lbs., 275lbs., and 355lbs., with a 3% tolerance. They have a similar offering for their rubber-coated and urethane-coated plate sets. All three materials are also sold individually.
They have a wide variety of bumper plates, from hi-temp rubber to Olympic-standard, and change plates for all the incremental values in between. REP does not have free shipping included in their purchases, but their weights tend to be less expensive. Warranties and availabilities differ from product to product, so make sure to check out their website to see availability.
Titan sells beveled cast iron plates with the option to buy a 245lb set. They have a great selection of Olympic and calibrated plates, in the standard color-coding system of the International Weightlifting Federation.
All of their plates come with free shipping and a one year warranty. Titan also offers financing plans in the event you need to space out your payments. Their products have gotten excellent reviews from their customers, and the company has created a reward program to return value to loyal and returning customers. Their iron plates are currently out of stock, but they still have availability from their wide selection of bumper plate products.
It’s not out of the question that your local gym uses Rogue weight plates and equipment. With one of the largest selections of plates out there, they have no shortage of inventory. Their steel plates are sold by the pair or in a set.
They sell their bumper plates by the pair, or in sets ranging from 160lbs. up to 1,000lbs. They even have a nice graphic outlining the range of rubber durability, rating each product from softer (more bounce) to harder (less bounce). With an easily navigated website and excellent marketing, it’s clear this company has known what they’re doing for a while. Individual plates are sold with a 180-day warranty, while plate sets are sold with free shipping and 3-year warranties.
Factors to Consider in Weight Plates
Types of Weight Plates
Cast iron plates are are the most common type of plates, and usually the cheapest option. However, given that they are metal, they tend to be louder to use, so noise can be an issue. They also can rust over time, but a majority of recent plates are coated to prevent such a thing. Being all-metal, they can also hurt more in the event of a drop or accident.
Machined Cast Iron
A more expensive option than cast iron, but a quality improvement. These tend to fit better on bars, with less spinning and more control. They are smoother to the touch and won't irritate your hands when you change weights. There's also less of a variance in the actual mass of the weights.
The other cheapest and most common option for plates. It is the most durable but can suffer more wear and tear because of it. These won't damage the floors of your home gym, and if you buy them new, won’t have any odor. Best for powerlifting workouts and CrossFit exercises.
The fancier older brother of metal plates, urethane plates don't degrade as quickly as traditional rubber plates and are quieter and cleaner to use. These tend to have built-in handles and flat edges. They also tend to be thinner than iron plates, making it easier to stack more of them on a barbell.
These are the ones that look like tires. These are on the cheaper end of rubber weight plates, made from recycled rubber. However, because they are so thick it is difficult to fit multiple weights on your bar. Furthermore, because they are so bouncy, beware of not dropping it too hard or it might crash into something. Or back into you!
These are Olympic lifting plates that all have the same diameter but vary in thickness depending on the weight. They are identified by the metal ring surrounded by rubber or urethane. These are great for doing power-lifting and workouts where you need to drop the bar on the floor. These can be hard to fit a lot of weight on, and you'll need an Olympic barbell to safely use these plates.
Cost of the Plate
Weight plates can add up, especially if you're strong and need volume to keep up with your workouts. If you’re just starting with resistance training, then iron plates are the cheapest option and the baseline for weightlifting.
If you have some experience resistance training and are exploring powerlifting, then rubber weight plates are your best option. Crumb rubber plates are the cheapest of the rubber options, being made from recycled material.
Moving up from there are machined iron plates and rubber plates for their respective material categories. If you’re buying a weight plate set from scratch, expect to budget between $200-$500 for iron plates, and $800-$1,000 for rubber/urethane plates.
Either way, add in what your monthly gym membership would have been to give your purchase some additional value. An upside to investing in a home gym is that you don't necessarily have to buy your whole set of plates in one go. You can always go for a the base kit and feel up how much extra weight you will need down the road.
Depending on the type of lifter you are, the type of weight plate you need will be different. If you exclusively use a bench and squat rack to try and bulk up, then cast iron or urethane weights would be your best option.
If you are a CrossFitter who does more full-body workouts in frequent reps, then bumpers plates or crumb rubber plates will be most useful for you and your garage gym floors. If you’re a powerlifter and training for the Olympics, well you probably don’t need to read this article. But if you’re reading, then Olympic bumper plates are your best bet.
The more movements your workout requires, the more you want to err on the side of rubber plates and bumpers. If you’re in a fixed position focusing on one muscle group, then an iron plate is your best option.
Different types of weight plates can have mass values that are different than what is printed on the side of the plate. This discrepancy is known as weight tolerance.
Cast iron plates tend to have the largest gap in weight tolerance, usually in the range of 3-4%. This will mean that what is marketed as a 45 lb plate will be closer to 47lbs. It is hard to mass manufacture iron weights to be precise, so this variance is a commonly accepted practice.
Other weight plates, like urethane and competition bumper plates, tend to be calibrated to be within 10 grams of the stated weight. Because these are easier to stack on a bar, that precision doesn’t add any undue weight to your calculations and reduces the risk of injury.
Material Preference and Durability
Now that you’ve learned about the difference between iron, urethane, rubber, and crumb rubber plates, what’s the best option for you?
This depends on many factors, including where your home gym setup is, and what type of lifting style you do. If your gym setup is near fragile objects, you probably don’t want to slam down 500lbs. of rubber and shatter your valuables nearby. If you do bench workouts, you probably don’t need crumb rubber plates for your sets.
Envision your workout and your workout space and decide what makes the most sense. Also be aware of how often you lift, and which material would degrade the fastest. This might mean a price increase, but it’s better to invest once than buy that same product twice.
Plates can come in a variety of shapes and designs, depending on the manufacturer. Think about what you most often use the plates for before making your investment.
Most plates are round, but some plate sizes can be hexagonal or octagonal. This can make it difficult to stack plates on a bar if you have a mix of plate shapes, not to mention dangerous. Furthermore, some plates have built-in handles while others are smooth all the way around. Heavier weights can be difficult to load without a hand-hold, and rubber weights can be tricky to move if your hands are sweaty.
Be aware if the weights have beveled or flat edges. Iron plates tend to be beveled, making them easier to pick up off the ground. Bumper plates tend to have a smooth edge because they are frequently dropped on the ground and would break apart otherwise. Figure out what the best configuration is for you and the type of lifting you do.
How much of each weight plate do I need?
This depends on the type of lifter you are and the goals you're trying to achieve. If you are training for the Olympics or doing strength training, you're going to need a lot of plates.
If you are someone who works your entire body, you probably just need a standard tree set. If you have a high tolerance for weight on your bar, then you're going to need to invest in some additional 45 lb plates.
If you are adding additional weight, be mindful of the type of barbell you use. A standard barbell can usually only handle up to 350lbs., while an Olympic barbell can hold up to 1,100lbs.
What are the differences between Olympic and Standard Plates?
Olympic plates have a 2-inch hole in them, while Standard plates only have a 1-inch diameter hole in them.
It is important to remember that Olympic plates can only be used on Olympic barbells, and standard plates can only be used on standard barbells. Olympic weights are also coated in rubber, allowing them to be dropped from standing height without breaking.
Standard plates are often solid metal. Furthermore, Olympic plates have a color-coded system to make the plates' weights easily identifiable. Standard plates are usually all the same color, with a weight value designated on each plate.