Without weight plates, your barbell is pretty useless. The way to bigger and stronger muscles is progressive overload and if you don’t have a good set of plates, that’s going to be very hard to accomplish. There are tons of sets out there and not all of them are good. To make it easier, we’ve selected the three best sets of weight plates for your home or garage gym.
The best weight plates 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 Plates
Let’s see how we picked these plates first. That way you can see how these picks line up with your own requirements.
If you don’t have a barbell yet, check out the best Olympic barbells that fit these plates here.
Best Olympic Garage Gym Weight Plates
Best Overall Garage Gym Plates: XMark Texas Star
These plates are made from cast iron and then covered with rubber. Cast iron plates can last a very long time as long as you don’t abuse them. The rubber casing helps to protect them but also makes them more comfortable to handle. The rubber casing also helps to reduce the noise in your gym.
The downside of this rubber casing is that it will emit a chemical odor for a while after unpacking. This wears off over time and ventilating your gym well is recommended.
The plates have stainless steel inserts around the holes. This makes it much easier to slide the plates on and off the bar and protects the plates at the same time. The large grip holes also help make handling these plates easier.
What I don’t like about these plates is the weight indicator. It’s embossed in the rubber casing and not that hard to see but I’d like the numbers to be in a contrasting color to make it a bit easier to see the weight. All in all, a great weight plate that will last a long time, looks good, and is comfortable to use.
They are available in different sets. For people who don’t lift very heavy (yet), the 185-pound set is the best. It contains exactly the needed amount of plates to progress linearly without big jumps in weight. If you need more weight, go for the 365-pound set or add more 45s to the 185-pound set.
Best Cheap Weight Plates: Cap Barbell Grip Plates
They are cast iron plates, like the XMark ones but these aren’t covered in rubber. That means you’re just touching the metal exterior when grabbing these. The downsides of this are that they’re less comfortable to use, get damaged sooner, damage your floor or equipment a little easier, and are noisy.
The upside? They are a lot cheaper at a roughly 40% lower price than the XMark plates. You’re getting a lot of weight for your money and while there are some downsides, if you’re on a budget, these are a great choice. They will still last a long time but just be a bit less comfy to use.
They still have grip holes to make handling a bit easier. The exterior is enameled so the plates won’t rust although it is possible to chip off this coat. Using these plates in combination with a good rubber gym floor is recommended. As a nice bonus, the weight indicators are large and very easy to read.
They don’t come in complete sets so you’ll have to build your own set. You can find the perfect amount of weight plates you need here.
Best Bumper Plates: REP FITNESS Bumper Plates
Are you an Olympic lifter, CrossFitter, or just like to drop weights from chest height or higher? You’ll need bumper plates instead of cast iron plates.
Not sure if you need bumper plates? Click here to find out.
You might think all bumper plates are pretty much the same since they’re all made from rubber. That’s not correct and there are large differences between bumpers although they’re not always easily visible. The exact material and composition can impact; durability, bounce, smell, dimensions, and price.
REP Fitness isn’t the most well-known brand in the fitness space but they’re growing and for good reason. They make quality products for a decent price and their customer service is excellent.
Their bumper plates in particular are very high quality and stand up to a lot of abuse without problems. The 10-pound plates are made thicker than usual to protect them from folding when dropped which is a nice touch. These plates have been tested by dropping them 12,000+ times from 8′ high, which they survived!
The stainless steel inserts are molded into the low-odor rubber to make sure they can’t pop out. The low-odor rubber is a bigger deal than you might think because many plates can leave a chemical smell in your gym for up to weeks. That’s not an issue with these.
REP sells these plates in sets and that’s a great place to start. That saves you from buying all the plates separately. The 230 lbs. set is a great place to start since it comes with pairs of 10s, 25s, 35s, and 45s. So you got all the different weights you need right there and you can just add more 45s when needed.
What To Look For In Weight Plates
What Kind Of Weight Plates To Avoid
When shopping for weight plates for your home gym, there are certain types of plates that you may want to avoid or be cautious about, depending on your specific needs and preferences. Here are some types of weight plates to consider avoiding or using with caution: