You need a good set of weight plates in your home gym, but don’t know where to start? Buying a complete set is an easy way to get started. But what are the best weight plate sets? Here’s what you need to know.
For most people, a weight plate set that has a total weight of +-250 lbs. and enough different size plates is a good starting point. Rubberized plates with grip holes and 2” sleeve holes are the most versatile and work with most barbells. Separate barbells tend to be higher quality than in a combo.
Below, we’ll take a look at the best weight plate sets that come with a barbell and some that come without a barbell.
- 1 Best Weight Plate Sets Without Barbell
- 2 Best Weightlifting Plate Sets With Barbell Included
- 3 What Makes A Good Weight Plate Set?
- 4 Should You Get A Weight Plate Set With Barbell Included?
Best Weight Plate Sets Without Barbell
Here are the best weightlifting plate sets that don’t come with a barbell included. If you’ve already got a barbell or want to pick your own, these are the sets for you. You can find the selection criteria at the bottom of this article.
1. 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.
2. BalanceFrom EveryDay Essentials Bumper Plate Set
For most people, i’d recommend the set above. However, if you want to drop your barbell to the floor from higher than your knees, bumper plates are what you need. Bumper plates aren’t usually sold in sets but here we have one and it’s quality as well.
BalanceFrom makes affordable yet quality gym equipment. They have two sets available: 260 and 370 lbs. A good starter set is the 260 lbs. set. That set comes with 10, 15, 25, 35 and 45 lbs. pairs. While that is a decent starter set, you want to have a few smaller weights as well. You’ll want to get a pair of 2.5 and 5 lbs. plates as well.
That means getting an extra set of so called “fractional” weight plates. This is a set with very small plates of ¼ to 1 lbs. so you can really fine-tune the weight on the bar.
Best Weightlifting Plate Sets With Barbell Included
While buying your own barbell is almost often going to get you a better barbell than the one that’s included in a set, you can often get a good deal if you buy both the plates and the barbell together. Here are the best options.
1. 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.
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.
2. 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 sleeve, black oxide coating for corrosion protection. 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.
What Makes A Good Weight Plate Set?
Not all sets are great. What are some things to look for when shopping for a weight plate set? Here are the most important things to keep in mind.
- Total weight: The total weight of the set is important. You want enough weight to be challenging. However, with weight plates, it’s pretty easy to add extra 45 lbs. plates later on. If you’re not too strong yet, starting with 225 lbs. is OK, 275 lbs. would be better. If you’re new to weightlifting, that should be plenty for a while. If you’re more experienced, you know how much you need.
- Amount of different plates: You want a good distribution of 2.5, 5, 10, 25 and 45 lbs. plates so you can linearly increase the weight.
- Diameter of the inner hole: If you’ve already got a barbell, match the inner hole in the weight plate to that. If you don’t have a barbell yet either, go for a 2” weight set.
- Bumper plates or cast iron: Bumper plates are made out of rubber. These plates are meant to be dropped from overhead (Olympic style weightlifting). For most home gyms cast iron plates are fine because the weights are lowered in a relatively controlled manner and have to absorb less of an impact.
- Rubberized or not: Cast iron plates can be covered in rubber or not. Rubberized is slightly more expensive but protects your floor, equipment and is quieter.
- Grip holes: If you don’t get bumper plates, get plates with grip holes in them. Grip holes are the holes not in the middle of the plate. Grip holes make the plates easier to move around and use for other purposes.
- Quality: Weight plates are honestly one of the parts of a home gym where quality is not a primary concern but it does depend on how you use them. If you always lower your barbell in a relatively controlled manner, almost any plate is going to survive that. If you’re dropping weights from knee height or higher, it’s a bit more of a concern.
- Suggested post: Can weight plates break?
Should You Get A Weight Plate Set With Barbell Included?
Should you pick a set with the barbell included or not? It seems like a good idea to have the barbell included since you would get a discount, right?
If you’re starting out and have nothing, getting a set with barbell makes sense. Of course if you already have a barbell you’re happy with, you don’t need one.
The barbell is the part you’re always touching when working out so it’s a good thing if it feels nice and stays nice for a while.
The problem is that the quality of the barbell varies wildly depending on the set. For example the XMark set I recommend above has a high quality barbell. The CAP set is not nearly as good. So you can get the cheaper set but keep in mind you might have to replace it at some point.
If you use it for relatively light lifting and are somewhat careful with dropping the bar and keeping it clean (rust free), even the cheap bars will do a decent job and work. Usually the lower quality barbells corrode faster, could bend with very heavy lifting and don’t have spinning sleeves or the sleeves don’t spin well.
If you get a good barbell, it’s easy to get one that lasts for decades. Since It’ll last so long, it’s really worth paying a little extra for one you really like and is high quality. Buying separately, you’ll have way more options to choose length, finish, quality, etc. But again, the XMark set recommended above comes with a high quality bar.
When buying separately, make sure to match the hole in de weight plates to the size of the sleeves on the barbell. All the plate sets recommended above have a 2” inner diameter hole so make sure to get a so called “Olympic” barbell.