3 Best Barbell Collars and Clips: Stay Safe

Barbell collars are a small piece of equipment that any gym should have. It keeps the barbell user safe and it’s small and cheap so there is no reason not to get a set. But there are so many different ones, which ones are best?

Barbell collars and clips keep the weight plates safely on the barbell. Quick release collars are a good option. They’re easy and quick to use but good ones are pricey. Barbell clips are cheap and work very will but are more difficult to use.

Let’s take a look at the different types and the best barbell collars and clips to choose.

3 Best Barbell Collars

Here are the 3 best barbell safety collars and clips. These are for 2″ Olympic style barbells.

The 3 best barbell collars;

  1. Lock Jaw Flex
  2. ProSourceFit Spring Clip
  3. Clout Quick Release

Suggested: 9 Tips To Stay Safe Without a Spotter

Lock Jaw Flex

The original quick release collars. Often faked, never improved.

Yes, there are cheaper versions available that look similar. Let’s call them ‘replicas’ to be nice. Most of those work well when they’re new but they don’t last as long as the real thing. At some point they start losing grip and can start sliding.  

The Lock Jaw quick release collars cost a bit more but are very durable. They won’t damage your barbell but still clamp onto the bar tightly, securing your plates.

The Flex is largely made from aluminium which gives it even more strength and durability. The aluminium also looks really good. These clamps are narrower than the original Lock Jaw collars which means you can put more weight on the bar.

They also feature a magnet so you can easily stick them to the power rack or other metal to get them out of the way but still within easy reach. They aren’t cheap but they are strong, look good and work for a long time.

ProSourceFit 2” Spring Clip

It’s the classic barbell collar. Almost every gym in the world will have these clips laying around. They’re cheap, don’t break and last forever. Sure, they’re not the most comfortable to use but people have been using them for many decades with success.

There are many brands who provide these clips but they’re all pretty similar. Some have plastic handles like the ProSourceFit ones. That makes them a bit more comfortable and easier to use.

These are very cheap for a little bit of insurance in your gym.

Clout Quick Release

If you look on Amazon or elsewhere, you can find a ton of quick release collars that look suspiciously like the Lock jaw ones. These are copies of varying qualities. Some are good, others aren’t really great. So if you pick the right one, you can save a bit of money. However, don’t expect to get the same quality as the Lock Jaws.

These clips are made from plastic and not metal. They will not last as long as the metal ones but you can buy about 4 pairs for the same price as one metal pair.

Types Of Barbell Collars

There are a few types of barbell collars to be aware of. They mostly do the same thing (keeping the plates on the bar) but how easy they are to use can be different.

Spring clip: The most common barbell collars you will find. They’re a round spring you slide over the sleeves of the barbell. You open up the spring by squeezing the handles that stick out. When you let go, the spring tightens. They’re cheap and super simple but the clamping force isn’t always good and/or consistent. They tend to wear out over time.

Quick release: These collars are a bit bulkier and heavier but actually easier to use. The spring clips can be a bit hard to squeeze if your grip strength isn’t super strong. Quick release barbell collars are easier to put on the bar and easier to lock. You’re just flipping the lever and it’s done. These collars also tend to have a bit more clamping strength so they’re safer.

Screw: There are two types of screw collar. One goes on the ends of a threaded bar. Almost all bars with treaded ends come with a set of collars. The other type is a bit of tube with a screw perpendicular to the bar sleeve. Tightening the screw locks it in place. This type is quite rare.

Competition: Competition collars are ones that are certified for use in official weightlifting competitions. The IWF sets the following standards for collars;

  • 2.5 kg per side with a max tolerance of +10 grams
  • Made from chromed steel
  • 5 cm diameter hole

So you can see there is no rule that states exactly what type of collar it has to be but in practice, all of them are quick release collars.

Image of a set of dumbbells with screw collar
Dumbbells with screw collars

Why You Need Barbell Collars

Image of a lot of barbell clips

Do you really need these clips? Doesn’t a barbell work perfectly fine without them? Sure, lifting weights without using the barbell clips will be perfectly fine in most situations. However, the potential danger is in some situations is worth using the clips.

Barbell clips are meant to keep the weight plates on the barbell and prevent them from sliding off. A few are also used to attach chains but that’s a small minority.

Especially if you’re lifting heavy, it’s possible you will fail a repetition at some point. Usually when you fail, you don’t fail ‘symmetrically’. Usually one muscle on one side will fail and cause a chain reaction that makes you go down. That means one side of the barbell starts pointing to the floor.

When that happens without a collar, the plates will start sliding off. When that happens there are two dangers;

  • The load suddenly becomes very uneven. Since you’re already failing a lift, your body is not in a position to compensate for that. This can cause injury since your body will be subjected to an uneven weight, suddenly.
  • When plates slide off, one side is suddenly very heavy and the other side very light. If the bar is still on your body, the light side will suddenly whip up. That end of the bar can build a significant speed in very little time and when it hits something, it can do some real damage. The heavy side will fall down and do some damage on the other side.

So when things go wrong without collars, they can go very wrong very quickly. Adding them is a small insurance that doesn’t cost much time or money but could prevent some damage or injury.

Another reason to use barbell clamps is bar bend. The bar will bend a little under very heavy loads. That means both ends point down which means the plates can slide off. So if you’re lifting heavy, barbell collars are an absolute necessity.

Does having collars on the bar complicate changing the weight on the barbell? Yes, it requires an extra step. However, there are different types of collars that add different levels of complication.

Also, barbell collars aren’t necessary on every exercise. In some cases you might even want to avoid them.


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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