4 Complete Barbell & Plate Starter Packs For a Home Gym

A set of weight plates and a barbell are the way to start building your home or garage gym. But which sets are actually good? There are some pretty bad ones out there so we’ve selected the best starter sets that are worth your money.

  • Best Overall Bar + Weights Combo: Xmark Texas Star 185 lbs. + Bar (Amazon)
  • Best Budget Barbell Starter Pack: Cap 300 lbs. Set (Amazon)
  • Best Bumper Plate Set: FringeSport Garage Gym Starter Pack (Amazon)
  • Best Plate Only Set: XMark Texas Star Sets (Amazon)

In the rest of this article, you can find out why these sets are your best options. Which set is best for who and what you should look for when selecting a starter pack like this?

Best Overall Home Gym Bar + Plates Starter Set

XMark Texas Star 185lbs. Set With Barbell

This set is a great deal. It’s made by a well-known brand and comes with a high-quality barbell and weight plates. The plates are rubberized for less noise and more comfort while the barbell has a 700 lbs. load limit, which should be plenty for most mortals. 

There is a good distribution of plates in all the sets but the smallest set I would recommend is the 185 lbs. one. It has;

  • 2.5 lbs. x2
  • 5 lbs. x4
  • 10 lbs. x2
  • 25 lbs. x2
  • 45 lbs. x2

It comes with a good 7’ long Olympic barbell that has good corrosion protection and spinning sleeves. This is a great barbell for all weightlifters. It’s actually one of the bars I recommend for garage gyms when buying bars and plates separately.

This is a high-quality starting set where you can adjust the weights with 5 lbs. increments which is ideal. This is the all-in-one set with the best finish and all the features you want and it doesn’t cost more than comparable sets which is why this is a good choice. 

While most beginner sets come with a questionable quality barbell, the one that comes in this set is high quality and can serve you well for a long time. 185 lbs. is the smallest starter set I would recommend. If you want to lift heavier, it’s easier to pick that weight immediately. However, you can easily add 45-pound plates later on.

This is the combo that gets your home gym started the right way. You get a high-quality bar and plates that will last for a long time without the need to upgrade.

Best Budget Home Gym Bar + Plates Starter Set

CAP Barbell 300 lbs. set

Need something a little cheaper? Here’s another complete set with weight plates, barbell, and clips. The distribution of weight plates is also good;

  • 2.5 lbs. x2
  • 5 lbs. x4
  • 10 lbs. x 2
  • 25 lbs. x2
  • 35 lbs. x2
  • 45 lbs. x4

The plates are bare cast iron and don’t have grip holes but will do the job. The machining is not the highest quality but the barbell and plates fit together and are heavy which is all they basically have to do. This set is simpler 

The barbell is OK. There are some nice features like spinning sleeves, and black oxide coating for corrosion protection. Black oxide isn’t the best or longest-lasting coating so after a while, you might start seeing some rust.

The bar is 30 mm thick. If you like this is up to you. A normal barbell is 28 mm thick so if you have small hands this isn’t a good bar for you.

This is a cheap way to get 300 lbs. of weights in your home gym. It’s significantly cheaper than the XMark set but you get lower quality plates, barbell, and finishing. It will still do the job for most home gym duties. 

You’ll likely need to upgrade the barbell at some point so take that into account when looking at the price. But, it’s a cheap way to get your garage gym started.

Best Bumper Plate + Bar Starter Combo

FringeSport Garage Gym Starter Pack

This is a complete starter pack that’s great for people who want to use bumper (rubber) plates. You get everything you need;

  • 20kg/45lb Olympic barbell with 28 mm shaft, designed for loads up to 1500 lbs.
  • 2×10, 2x 25, 2×35, and 2x 45 pound bumper plates
  • 2x 2.5, and 4 x 5 pound metal plates
  • Total weight: 255 pounds of plates + a 45-pound barbell = 300 pound total.

FringeSport might not be the best-known fitness brand out there but they’re a reliable brand from Austin, Texas that makes high-quality gym equipment and provides excellent customer service.

Their bumper plates are very durable and will last you a long time. If you need more weight, you only have to add a pair (or two) of 45-pound plates and you’re good to go. The barbell can handle the extra weight without issues.

This Fringesport Starter Pack is for people who want to lift heavy Olympic style and drop their weights. If you don’t need the bumper plates, the Xmark set is a better choice.

Best Weight Plate Only Starter Set

XMark Texas Star

The best option for a home gym weight set is the XMark Texas Star sets. They are rubberized grip plates and are very well made. They will last you for a long time. The rubber makes them more comfortable to handle and a bit quieter. The grip holes make them easy to load on the barbell and makes them suitable for other exercises. 

It’s a brand and model that’s been around for a while so chances are you can still get extra plates of this model a few years down the line. That keeps your gym looking nice and tidy even when you buy more plates later on. 

These plates are sold separately but also in sets from 65-365 lbs. The best option for most people is going to be the 215 or 235 lbs set. So you’ve got the choice and can easily add on extra plates in one order. This is the weight plate set you can’t go wrong with. 

You can also choose the 185 lbs. set. if you’re not sure you need more. That’s a good starting set with all the smaller plates you need. If it turns out you need more than 185 lbs. you can easily add 45 lbs. plates when necessary.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Plate + Bar Starter Set

When choosing a plate and bar starter set for your home gym, several key factors should guide your decision.

  • Quality of the Barbell: Evaluate the quality of the included barbell. Look for features like durability, load capacity, and grip comfort. A higher-quality barbell can enhance your lifting experience and longevity.
  • Weight Plate Total: Calculate the total weight of the plates in the set. Choose a set that offers a range of weights suitable for your current and future strength goals.
  • Weight Plate Types: Check the type of weight plates included. Common options include cast iron plates, rubber-coated plates, and bumper plates. Consider the type that suits your training preferences and flooring.
  • Weight Plate Increments: Ensure that the set includes weight plates in appropriate increments for your strength levels and progression. Look for sets that provide a variety of plate sizes.
  • Barbell Length and Diameter: Confirm the length and diameter of the barbell. The length should accommodate your preferred exercises, and the diameter should match the weight plates’ inner hole size.
  • Long-Term Viability: Evaluate whether the set can accommodate your fitness progress over time. A versatile set should cater to your increasing strength levels.
  • Load Capacity: Check the barbell’s load capacity to ensure it can handle the weights you plan to lift, both now and as you progress.
  • Cost and Budget: Determine your budget for the starter set. Compare the cost of the set to purchasing the barbell and weight plates separately. Consider any additional equipment you might need.
  • Brand Reputation: Research the brand’s reputation for producing reliable, high-quality fitness equipment. Brands known for durability and customer satisfaction are preferable.
  • Warranty: Check if the set comes with a warranty for the barbell and weight plates. A warranty provides added peace of mind and can be indicative of the manufacturer’s confidence in their product.

Choosing a Weight Plate Set: To Include a Barbell or Not?

The decision to choose a weight plate set that includes a barbell may seem straightforward, but there are some things to keep in mind. While you can save a bit of money by combining the purchase, here are some points to consider.

Starting Out or Already Equipped

If you’re just starting to build a home gym and don’t have any equipment, getting a set with a barbell is a logical choice. On the flip side, if you already have a barbell or some plates that meet your need, there’s no need to double up.

Quality Disparity

Cheap sets come with cheap barbells. For plates, a lower quality isn’t that much of a concern. For a barbell, it’s more important.

The quality of included barbells can vary significantly based on the set. For instance, the recommended XMark set boasts a high-quality barbell, while the CAP set falls short in comparison. Opting for a more budget-friendly set means you might have to buy another bar down the line.

Matching Your Usage

If you’re lifting moderate weights and are careful with them, even budget barbells can be good enough. It’s important to note that lower-quality bars can corrode faster, are easier to bend with heavy loads, and don’t have sleeves that spin freely.

For serious lifters or people who want to have high-quality stuff, a cheap beginner set isn’t for you.

Investing in Longevity

Cheap metal plates can last decades if handled with some care. Cheap barbells do not. So while buying a cheap combo might seem attractive, you’ll likely have to buy another, better, barbell in the not too distant future. Spending some more money now means you get started from a better position.

Separate Purchases: More Options

When you buy the plates and bars separately, you have way more choices of both bars and plates.

If you decide to buy a barbell separately, ensure the hole diameter of the weight plates matches the barbell sleeves. The recommended plate sets all feature a 2” inner diameter hole, meaning you need an “Olympic” barbell.

Other Barbell Necessities

In addition to a barbell and weight plates, there are several other essential items you’ll need to create a well-equipped and functional home or garage gym. These items can enhance your workouts, ensure safety, and provide a comfortable training environment. Here’s a list of additional items to consider:

  • Power Rack or Squat Stand: A power rack or squat stand provides a secure frame for squatting, bench pressing, and other heavy lifting exercises. It also includes safety bars or straps to catch the barbell in case of failure during a lift.
  • Bench: A weight bench is good for various barbell exercises, such as bench presses and incline bench pressing. Look for an adjustable bench that allows incline, decline, and flat positions.
  • Flooring or Matting: Rubber flooring or matting helps protect your floors and equipment from damage caused by weights and impacts.
  • Weight Plates Rack: A weight plate storage rack keeps your weight plates organized and easily accessible. This helps maintain a tidy workout area and prevents clutter.
  • Collars or Clips: Secure your weight plates on the barbell using collars or clips to prevent shifting during lifts and ensure safety.
  • Mirror: A wall-mounted mirror provides visual feedback on your form during exercises, enabling you to make necessary adjustments and maintain proper technique.


Hey, I'm Matt. Welcome to HomeGymResource.com. After working out in many different gyms for almost 20 years and helping people build their own home gyms, i've learned a few things i'd like to share with you.

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