A messy stack of weight plates in the corner of your gym isn’t very nice. What are some storage solutions that create some order in this chaos of plates?
Here are 8 options for storing weight plates;
- Weight plate tree
- Wall mounted storage rack/pegs
- A-frame rack
- Horizontal plate rack
- Vertical plate dolly
- Front loading rack
- No storage
- Power rack
What’s best for you depends on your personal situation. For the majority of people, the power rack, plate tree or A-Frame are the best options.
Let’s look at those options in a little more depth.
1. Weight plate tree (with wheels)
The first option is a plate tree. It’s called a tree because there is a vertical trunk in the center with branches that you can use to hang your plates on. This makes them easily accessible so you don’t have to dig to the bottom of the stack to get that 5lbs. plate. As long as you manage your plates correctly, all different weights should be easily accessible.
Usually there are 6 to 8 branches where you can hang your plates. That means there are enough options to sort and store your weights. Often these plate trees also have one or two storage slots for barbells where you can vertically store your bars. While vertical bar storage isn’t the best, it’s OK for most barbells. Read more about that here.
Some versions come with wheels under the frame. This makes things easier if you want to store your plates further away from where you use them. Some home gyms are multi functional and you have to move things around to make space for whatever the other purpose is. A fully loaded plate tree can weigh a whole lot so it’s not possible to move it around.
With wheels the moving around gets a whole lot easier. Just pull it from the corner to next to your barbell and you won’t have to walk through your whole gym for every plate you want to get.
Best weight plate tree
My favorite plate tree is the Fitness Reality version (Amazon link). There are a couple of reasons why that one will serve you really well;
- 1000 lbs. load limit. That should be enough for everyone. While you need a bit more total weight than you can actually lift, that load limit is plenty for 99.99% of people in this world.
- 6 storage pegs. This allows you to sort and organize your different plates in an efficient way.
- Chrome plated pegs. One of the major benefits of this tree over other ones is that the pegs are chrome plated. This is way more durable than painted metal which starts looking bad quickly.
- 2” post size for Olympic plates.
- Affordable. Check out the current price here on Amazon.
2. Wall mounted storage solution
The next option is the wall mounted option. There aren’t a whole lot of options for this type of storage but there are a few.
The major benefit is of course that you don’t have a rack taking up more of your precious floor space. Sure you’ll need a bit of space in front of the wall mounted rack to be able to actually access it but, it can be the right solution for some people.
These wall mounts are either quite large or modular so you’ll have plenty of storage space available.
The drawback is of course that mounting things on the wall is not the strongest option. It depends on your wall and mounting hardware/skills, how much weight these solutions can actually handle. It’s also the reason why wall mounted plate racks are pretty large. The size allows for more mounting points and allows for the stresses to be spread out more.
If you have a strong wall and good DIY skills, this can be a good solution for you.
Wall mounted storage solutions
There are two wall mounted options that are worth recommending.
- Single wall mount pegs. These are pegs that you can mount on the wall but they’re not part of a bigger structure. You can mount as many as you want in any location you’d like. These Yes4All plate holders are cheap, strong and look good. Check them out on Amazon.
- Titan wall mount rack. This is a whole rack you can mount on the wall. It can hold 4 barbells and has 6 posts for hanging plates. It saves some space in your gym and is cheaper than some of the other options on this list. Get it here on Amazon.
3. A-frame rack
A variation on the tree is the A-frame rack. As the name suggests, this one looks like an A. There are two posts at an angle that create a triangle. The functionality is largely the same as a plate tree although there are a few differences.
Because of the angle of the posts, the sleeves you put the plates on are on a slight angle. This can make accessing them a bit easier since they’re aimed towards you. The downside is that you have to lift the plates a little to get them off the rack.
A-frame racks take up a little more space than a tree style rack. The tradeoff is that they usually have a few more pegs for plate storage. Not all A-frame racks have an option to store barbells where plate trees usually do.
The A-frame is inherently a bit more stable than the tree. Although if the tree rack is properly designed and built, stability shouldn’t be a problem.
Best A-frame rack
If you’re looking for a good A-frame rack, look no further than the CAP Barbell rack. (Amazon link)
- 500 lbs. load limit. Not as high as the tree on top of the page but 500 lbs. is still plenty of weight. It’s more weight than many people will ever lift in their life.
- 7 posts for a lot of organization flexibility.
- 2” posts for Olympic plates
- Very reasonable price. Check the current price on Amazon.
4. Horizontal plate rack (with wheels)
Think dish rack but for weight plates. This is an interesting way to store your plates. A dishrack allows you to store your dinner plates and let them dry. This weight rack looks very similar although it is much bigger.
Usually these are designed for bumper plates. Bumper plates are much thicker than other types of weight plates so they take up a lot of space since they’re much wider than metal plates. That means you can’t fit many bumper plates on other storage solutions.
That means for bumper plates this is actually a pretty space efficient storage solution since there is very little “rack” for the amount of plates you can store on it. The way it is designed and laid out does make it take up a bit more floor space than other options but it also looks very tidy.
Some of these horizontal racks come with wheels on one side and a handle on the other. Those wheels allow you to move it around pretty easily. Storing them horizontally takes up more floor space but has the benefit that you can get to the exact weight plate you need immediately. This type of storage solution would be great for competitions and other events that are in an open space.
You can wheel one rack next to the competitor and remove it from the stage when finished.
Recommended horizontal plate racks
This horizontal rack hold plenty of plates. It has spaces for all different dimensions of bumper plates from the largest to smallest one. It also has wheels and a handle to make moving around easy. The recommended load limit is 250 lbs.
While it’s not very cheap, the Valor BH-16 (Amazon link) is a high quality product that can help to make competitions and other events a lot more organized.
5. Vertical plate dolly
If your biggest concern is moving plates around and plate organization isn’t very important, this is the one for you.
This is simply a long rod, mounted vertically on a frame with wheels. This allows you to create one stack of weight plates that’s easy to move around. The dolly is a great tool to easily move a lot of weight plates around. Stack them all up and move it around on the wheels.
For real world use in a home gym, it isn’t the best option. Since you create one stack, it’s very hard to get to a specific plate that isn’t on top. Want a plate that’s in the middle? You have to take off all the plates on top.
That alone defeats the whole purpose of a weight plate storage solution. A good storage solution makes it easy to get to any plate you want easily without having to touch all of them. For practical use, even a loose mountain of plates in the corner is easier since you can just pick one from the middle.
The dolly is great for transporting weight plates. For actual use in the gym, there are better options.
The best option is the Valor BH-19. It’s simple, high quality and will get your plates from one place to the other easily and safely. Click here to find the best price on the Valor BH-19 on Amazon.
6. Front loading rack
This type of rack only has posts on the front. That means you can put it up to a wall and you can still access all the plates with ease. Usually this type of plate storage has six pegs which provide enough room to store your plates in an organized way.
It is a bit larger than a plate tree for a similar amount of storage space but in some situations this front loaded rack makes more sense. While it’s bigger, you need less room around the rack since you only need to be in the front. In the end the total space the rack takes up plus the space you need around it is pretty similar. It also works better when close to a wall.
An added benefit is that these racks have room to store two barbells horizontally. Storing your barbells horizontally is a bit better for the bearings in the spinning sleeves of a barbell. Read this post for more information about how to store your barbells.
Recommended front loaded rack
TDS is one of the few brands that actually makes one of these racks. Luckily they are great quality and up do a great job.
This TDS front loaded rack is designed for rubber coated plates which take up a bit more space than metal versions. It’s compact but can still handle 900 lbs. of 2” Olympic plates. It’s easy to assemble and will last for a long time. Check the current price of the TDS weight plate rack on Amazon.
7. No storage
Having no rack or other storage solution could be an option. It’s cheap, doesn’t take up any space and it’s simple.
There are two downsides to this;
- It can get unorganized easily
- It takes up a lot of space on the floor
It can work for you however. If you create separate stacks for different weights, you can keep it pretty organized. The plates will be on the floor so that could degrade them a little quicker but not by much.
Creating different stacks of weight plates will take up a bit more floor space than a small rack. It depends on your personal situation if that’s a problem.
8. Power rack
I’ve saved this one for last since it’s so obvious. Most people that read this post will be looking for another solution. It has to be included however.
Most power racks have built in pegs or add on pegs to hang your weight plates. It’s the most obvious place to store your plates since many home gyms will have a power rack and in a home gym you want to keep things simple. Keeping your plates on the rack means you don’t need any other piece of equipment. It can even help stabilize your rack, especially if it’s not bolted down.
Keeping your plates on the rack means they’re close to the place you’ll often use them so you don’t have to walk far. This makes it the most convenient storage option for most people.
Some power racks come with storage pegs built in and others have add on pegs available to expand the storage space. While it makes a lot of sense, there are some reasons this isn’t a good option for you;
- You don’t have a power rack in your home gym
- There is no space next to the power rack so that storage space is hard to use.
- The power rack doesn’t provide enough storage space for the amount of weight plates you have.
- The power rack doesn’t allow for easy plate management.
If one of those is a problem for you, look into one of the other options listed above.
What to look for in weight plate storage
Weight plate storage is really simple. Still, there are a few things to look out for when you’re going to buy/build one.
- Peg size. Weight plates come with different diameter holes. 1” and 2” are very common. Be careful that the pegs aren’t bigger than the hole in the plate because that would mean you can’t actually put them on. If you’ve got 1” plates, it’s especially important. For people with 2” plates it doesn’t really matter since the plates will fit either way. For just storage it isn’t a big deal if the fit isn’t tight. Click here to find out more about the hole diameter and the differences.
- Amount of plates. How many plates can your storage solution handle? Make sure all your plates fit on the rack because otherwise you’ll still have a mess of loose plates in your gym.
- Weight capacity. Even if all your plates fit on it, that doesn’t mean it can handle the weight. Check if your rack can handle the total weight you have. While it might not collapse immediately, overloading could cause cracks and instability.
- Size. Of course it has to fit where you want it to. If it’s too big, it’ll be in the way.
- Accessibility. You probably have a location for your rack in mind. You want all your plates to be easily accessible in that location. If your plate storage is in a corner, a rack with pegs on all sides won’t be very easy to use.
It’s all about finding the storage solution that fits your situation the best.
Still looking for a barbell and weight plates? Click here to find my favorites.
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