The barbell is the piece of equipment you hold every workout. It’s the centerpiece most home and garage gyms revolve around. That’s why it’s important you choose one that feels good in your hands but is also durable and can handle anything you want it to.
The best barbells for a home or garage gym:
Why are those your best options? And which one should you choose? In the rest of this article, we’ll go into why this is.
How We Picked These Barbells
Let’s see how we picked these barbells first. That way you can see how these picks line up with your own requirement.s
For these recommendations, we’ve only looked at standard-length Olympic barbells. If you’re interested in the best short (6’) bars, click here to find them. And I can’t recommend a standard (1”) bar to anyone.
Here’s what we looked at when picking these barbells;
Do you need some weight plates to go with these barbells? Click here to find the best matching weight plates.
Best Home and Garage Gym Barbells
Best Value Home/Garage Gym Barbell: Synergee Regional
This bar is built well for its price with high-quality components and a very solid feel.
The chrome finish is a great corrosion protector and it’s durable. Chrome means you can just clean this bar and forget about it. No need for any other maintenance. This is perfect for home and garage gyms where you have to do all the maintenance yourself.
The needle bearings mean this bar is suitable for all general fitness and powerlifting movements but also Olympic lifts where fast spinning sleeves are necessary. Most bars in this price range have bushings that don’t nearly spin fast enough for Olympic lifts.
This bar is also available as the women’s version (slightly shorter, lighter, and thinner) and both are a good buy.
Mind you, this bar (like most bars) comes out of the box with a thin oily layer. This is an extra corrosion protection during shipping. You can just wipe it off before use. Because of the chromed finish, this bar doesn’t need any application of oil.
Something to pay attention to is the knurling which is fairly mild. If you lift heavy and grip is important to you, look for a bar with more aggressive knurling (or use straps). However, for most people, mild knurling is perfectly fine.
Best Budget Garage Gym Barbell: XMark CrowBar
On paper, the CrowBar looks very similar to the Synergee one. How does this bar differ from the Synergee Regional?
You won’t find another barbell this good in this price range. If you’re a beginner or average lifter, this barbell will do very well for general fitness and powerlifting purposes. With some maintenance, it can last for decades.
However, if you don’t want to do any maintenance on your bar and/or are an Olympic lifter, you need the other barbell.
Premium Pick: Rogue Ohio Cerakote
Rogue equipment is more expensive but it’s hard to go wrong with it.
You get a premium name tag with a good warranty and customer service. The bar is made in the U.S.A. and comes with a lifetime warranty. The only thing to be aware of is that it’s a more powerlifting-focused bar which means the shaft is 28.5 mm in diameter instead of the standard 28 mm.
The sleeves have bushings instead of (needle) bearing, making it great for general fitness and powerlifting but not for Olympic lifting.
There is a shorter 15 kg bar available called the Bella bar, that’s a great pick if you need something lighter and thinner.
You can choose many colors for this barbell, it’s one of the benefits of ceramic coatings. However, while black sleeves look cool, I’d highly recommend the chrome sleeves. On the shaft, Cerakote is durable and looks great. On the sleeves, it’s easy to scratch and chrome will hold up better over time.
What To Look For in a Barbell
When selecting a barbell for your home gym, you’ll want to look at a few things to ensuree you get a good one. The points below are for general-purpose barbells like those listed above.
1. Shaft Length: Ensure that the barbell has a shaft length of at least 50 inches between the collars. This length provides adequate space for various exercises. All the bars above have this, it’s only a problem on barbells 6’ or shorter.
2. Tensile Strength: Look for a barbell with a tensile strength ranging from 190K PSI to 215K PSI. This is an indication of how strong the bar is. Avoid bars with a rating under 165K PSI.
3. Shaft Diameter: For men, a shaft diameter of 28-29mm is ideal, while women usually prefer a slightly smaller diameter, typically 25mm. The right diameter enhances grip and comfort during lifts.
4. Sleeve Diameter: Aim for a sleeve diameter of 50mm/2”, which is standard and compatible with most weight plates. Avoid 1” sleeves since those barbells are generally low quality and have some big downsides.
5. Sleeve Rotation: Opt for a barbell with spinning sleeves. Also, pay attention to the spin mechanism. Bushings are fine for powerlifting and general weightlifting, while high-quality ball or needle bearings are preferable for Olympic lifting.
6. Knurling: Look for a barbell with medium to aggressive knurling. 1.5 mm deep is best. For most general-purpose weightlifting and fitness, medium knurling is best. For heavy lifting, you want aggressive knurling.
7. Shaft Coating: While stainless steel or ceramic-coated shafts are the best choices due to their durability, other coatings are also acceptable, though less robust.
8. Sleeve Material: Ensure the sleeves are made of stainless steel or chrome for added longevity. Ceramic-coated sleeves have the downside of scratching easily but they are great at preventing corrosion.
What To Avoid
There are also a few things you should avoid when choosing a barbell: