Every product is carefully selected by our editors. If you buy from a link, we may earn a commission.
Building a strength-centric setup for at-home training? Get everything you need for PR-busting success with these premium barbell and weight plate combos.
Sometimes, you just can’t beat the classics. Despite the amount of fancy, high-tech home fitness equipment out there, the traditional barbell and weight plate combo is still a go-to for many fitness enthusiasts. With weightlifting continuing to grow as a popular training discipline, more and more people are turning to the iron to sharpen up their physiques.
If you’re someone that favors at-home training over waiting your turn at your local gym’s bench press, you’ve probably thought about turning your garage or empty space into a personal strength training mecca. But where’s an athlete to start with so many plate and barbell options on the market today? Barbell weight sets are a fantastic option for any budding strength athlete, taking the hassle out of home gym construction by including weight plates and barbells in one bundled purchase.
Before you load your cart with just any set, though, there are some factors to consider. Features like plate composition, barbell type and overall weight included can help you get the most out of training — and your investment.
One of the most important decisions you need to make when buying a barbell weight set is which plate style to choose. Most sets are available with either cast-iron or bumper plate styles, and whichever you opt for can influence how you arrange your home gym setup, how many plates can be stacked onto the barbell and other factors.
Cast-iron weight plates are the traditional silhouette you’d probably think of when picturing a barbell setup. These dishes can be thinner than rubber or urethane-based weights, allowing for more plates to fit on a traditional barbell. Because of the iron construction, though, you need to be wary of where you set up your strength training space. Cast-iron plates can rust if exposed to moisture, so damp basements might not be the best home — although a little rust can certainly enhance that rugged look. Additionally, cast-iron plates will make much more noise than bumper plates, which is something to consider if you don’t want to irritate any children or pesky neighbors with your workouts.
Bumper plates are typically made from a rubber or urethane base, which can help improve durability and lessen potential floor damage when dropped. Some bumpers can be thicker than their cast-iron counterparts, so if you’re maxing out with multiple 45s on the bar, you may run out of sleeve at some point. When looking at bumper plates, it’s also important to consider the sourced material. Brands will oftentimes use recycled rubber in weight plates, which can carry a strong odor. Virgin rubber is available but can come with a higher price point.
Barbell weight sets cater to a lot of strength enthusiasts but can be especially helpful for newcomers due to their one-stop-shop nature. Because of this introductory aesthetic, most sets will come equipped with a standard or Olympic weightlifting bar. Measuring 7 feet in length and roughly 29 millimeters in diameter at the shaft, these barbells will weigh either 20 kilograms or 45 pounds and are a great option for a multitude of exercises. These barbells will feature medium knurling and two marks per the International Powerlifting Federation (32 inches apart) and the International Weightlifting Federation (36 inches apart).
Naturally, as you progress in your strength training journey, you may want to invest in a more specialized barbell like a power bar or deadlift bar, but for a majority of athletes, these standard barbells will be more than capable of handling your workout intensity.
Okay, so you’ve narrowed down your desired plate style and understand the typical barbell offerings in most weight sets. Now to choose just how much weight your kit will contain. There are a number of sets available ranging anywhere from 65 pounds and up. While the weight total you choose depends entirely on your fitness goals and experience — no sense in getting 600 pounds of weights when you’ll never lift that much in a single exercise — I recommend looking at weight sets between 300–350 pounds in total. This is a good number, as it not only allows for some training progress but also gives you a multitude of plate sizes.
Most of the barbell weight sets included in this roundup feature weights around this mark, and include multiple 45s, 35s, 25s and change plates, opening up your workout possibilities even further as you grow and strengthen each lift. Now, let’s get pumped, braced and ready for new totals with these top picks for premium barbell weight sets.
With 350 pounds of total weight, a barbell with a tensile strength of 209,000 PSI and a clean, black aesthetic, the Ignite Package from Again Faster is a perfect weight set for your home gym. The 350-pound kit includes two 10s, two 15s, two 25s, two 35s and four 45s for a wide variety of available weight combinations across a plethora of lifts. Also, each plate is constructed from virgin rubber, so there’s no stinky smell when training. While the barbell doesn’t feature a center knurling patch, which can help in stabilizing the bar during squats, this is an effective, efficient weight set that’s more than affordable for the amount of weight provided.
Colored weight plates allow for easier identification of weight totals and simply look damn good in any fitness setting. This set from Vulcan Strength Training Systems has been one of my favorites for quite some time due to the IWF-standard plates with virtually no bounce and thinner profile, as well as the impressive Bravo Olympic Bar. Training with these bumper plates is a dream thanks to the thin, sleek design and virgin rubber construction. Plus, Vulcan offers a three-year warranty on bumper plates ranging from 25–55 pounds, which outside of change plates will ultimately see the most use in any home gym.
Efficient, easy-to-maneuver weights? Check. Spring clip collars for added security and safety? Check. A price that won’t deter you from at-home strength training? Double-check. The 300-pound Olympic weight set from CAP Barbell is a great option for those just getting into strength training that don’t want to drop a ton of cash on equipment. I really like the included change plates — four 5s and 2 2.5s — as this allows for more precise totals when you’re slowly growing those muscles. If you do decide to fall in love with weightlifting, though, prepare to buy another barbell. This included Olympic bar maxes out at just 500 pounds, which could limit your training down the road.
Rubber-coated bumper plates can help preserve your training floor and have proven to be more durable than iron-based dishes. Combine that notion with an easy-to-grip slotted profile and you get this impressive set from XMark. The Texas Star silhouette allows you to load and unload the 365 pounds of available weight with ease, and I appreciate the included Blackhawk Olympic bar with its 1,500-pound capacity. While the knurling could be more aggressive, in my opinion, this barbell weight set could be a true blessing to your at-home workouts — and your garage floors.
Yeah, bumper plates might be less of a strain on your floor, but there’s something special about the clang and bang of good old-fashioned cast-iron plates. With plenty of history in-tote, this Legacy Cast Iron Milled Olympic set from York Barbell is ideal for those wanting that classic, barbell vibe. The Elite Power Bar delivers premium rigidity, making controlling the weight during bench and squat movements much easier, and the smooth, black aesthetics of each weight plate promote that hard-nosed mentality when training for a new PR. This barbell weight set is a little light on poundage, though, so for those breaking the 300-pound barrier on any modality, expect to order some more weights for your setup.
If you want the best of the best, then use what the professionals lift in competition. Eleiko has been the gold standard of weight plates and barbells since the brand set out to create the perfect barbell in 1957. This IPF-sanctioned set includes over 400 pounds of calibrated cast-iron weight plates, as well as the IPF-certified competition bar. The proprietary Swedish steel feels great in the hands and is built to take a beating, too. If you’re willing to shell out over $2,000 for a weight set that’s as comfortable in the garage as it is on the world’s stage, look no further.
One of the beauties of working out with a barbell and free weights is the versatility of the setup. You can easily follow along with live and on-demand classes that include barbell-centric movements like rows, presses and more. To make switching weights between exercises easier — i.e., less time pausing your session to swap out plates — I recommend opting for a studio barbell weight set, like this premier pick from Les Mills. With a shorter barbell and easy-to-maneuver slotted plates, you’re able to follow along with your instructor while still reaping the benefits of barbell training. This isn’t a great pick for more traditional exercises like bench press or squats, but for class-style workouts, this takes the cake.
Just getting started in weightlifting? The Ethos 205-pound Olympic Bumper Plate set is great for novice lifters just finding their groove under the bar. I’ve found the rubberized plates to be great training tools thanks to the limited bounce and overall quietness, and the resilient barbell included in this package has plenty of knurling for optimal grip and control. The included poundage is limited to just 160 pounds, but Ethos offers additional plates to add to your strength training collection as your muscles grow stronger. Plus, who wouldn’t want to add more stylish examples of that red, raised lettering to their setup?
Barbell weight sets are a great starting point for building out a home gym, but this kit from PRx Performance packs in everything but the kitchen sink — even that may be in the box, too. The Men’s Elite Home Gym Package not only includes 275 pounds of weight plates and a 20 kg Olympic barbell but also features a squat rack, flat-folding bench, PRO dip station, four-peg weight storage and a slew of other fitness accessories. If you’re starting from the ground up, this impressive kit can provide more than enough training opportunities. Before ordering, though, be sure to measure your height limitations — the squat rack needs at least nine feet of clearance for proper setup and storage.
A personal trainer can help you stay safe when lifting weights, as well as serve as a positive boost in terms of motivation and fitness dedication. Instead of inviting a stranger into your abode — or worse, traveling out to another establishment — the Tempo Studio brings the personal trainer to you in digital form. This connected fitness essential provides guided workouts for sweat-inducing progress, and the 3D-mapped form feedback keeps you in the right stature regardless of your exercise. To get the best weight set for a variety of lifts, I recommend the Pro Package, which includes a 25-pound Olympic-style barbell, two competition-grade 25s and two competition-grade 45s in addition to the 75 pounds of weight plates in every Tempo Studio package.