Every home gym needs a quality set of bumper plates to help get those big swells and add some proper weight to that bar. Unless it is cardio set up, a garage or spare room should easily be able to accommodate a set but there is more to a quality product that how slim each plate is.
To help make this purchase easier, we have created a list of the best bumper plates available. Each one is known for its durability, is easy to pick up, and will help any lifter reach their home gym goals. There is something for every budget and some of the worlds leading brands are featured.
Quick Summary of Best Bumper Plates
Editor’s Choice: HulkFit Color Coded Olympic 2-Inch Rubber Bumper Plate
The color-coded plates make them easier to differentiate and there are also kg’s and lbs displayed on each one. The material helps to protect floors compared to metal so lowering the bar onto the floor can be done safely. The 10 lb plates are not designed to be used alone but whatever combinations you purchase, when used properly, they should last a long time.
- Different colors for each weight plate
- Both kgs and lb are displayed
- 2-inch inner ring
- Made from quality high-density rubber
Best Alternative Option: Sporzon! Cast Iron Olympic 2-Inch Grip Plate Weight Plate
The baked enamel finish makes them a little grippier and although they sold single, the quality makes it a decent value. This is also what protects them from corrosion and rust so expect them to last a long time before signs of wear and tear show.
- Solid cast iron
- Three openings make them easy to carry
- Black enamel finish
- Weight displayed in both kgs and lbs
- Can be on the pricey side for some
Best Value: CAP Barbell 2-Inch Olympic Grip Plate, Various Sizes
They are available in sizes that range from 2.5 lbs to 45 lbs and can be used for both strength training exercises as well as a warm-up. There are raised numbers to complement the raised logo, but this also makes them easier to identify. For a solid cast iron bumper plate from a reputable brand, these are the best.
- Available in different sizes
- Cast iron plates
- Grip holes on every plate
- Two-inch center
- Not as quiet as rubber
Best 2.5 Lb Plate: Day 1 Fitness Cast Iron Olympic 2-Inch Grip Plate for Barbell
The weight size is raised on the surface making it easier to read and these cast-iron bumper plates are available in a range of sizes with everything from these 2.5 plates to 45 lbs. A lot of these are also available in pairs and are some of the easier to pick up and move on and off the bar because of their generous opening size.
- Each plate has a 2-inch opening
- The semi-gloss finish looks professional
- Raised weight size
- Quality feel
- The coating can peel over time
Best Fractional Plates: CFF Competition Rubber Fractional Weight Plates
Their color-coded look makes it easier to differentiate and each one is made from 100% virgin rubber. Increasing the weight in small amounts can help reduce the likelihood of injury and are available in both lbs and kgs. The 50.5 mm inside diameter is useful for different types of bars and each one is made to IWF specifications.
- Pairs of different small weights
- Made from 100% virgin rubber
- Helps to avoid injuries
- Not everyone wants to use fractional weights
Best Competition Plates: 1 Pair Competition Rubber Bumper Plates 2 inch Olympic Weights Plates
Each plate is color-coded, features a 2-inch opening, and has a -/+10 gram tolerance as per IWF standards. The steel hub insert adds to the durability and provides a better dead bounce than other brands. Sold as a pair and available in sizes ranging from 5 kg to 25 kgs, they are made from virgin rubber to a high standard.
- Competition standard plates
- 2 inch opening with a steel hub insert
- 10-gram tolerance
- Sold as a pair
- Not everyone needs competition level bumper plates
Bumper Plates Buyer’s Guide
Anyone with aspirations to compete or build muscle mass at home should invest in a quality set of bumper plates. This can mean building up a collection of different sizes to match an Olympic bar but the range in quality is so vast that this is no easy feat. A lot of people go for the brand with the best marketing, but it is always better to know what the best products are capable of.
Because of this, we have compiled the following buyer’s guide. It details everything there is to know about bumper plates so you can make a sensible purchase.
What To Look For In Bumper Plates
The materials used can make a big difference in the quality of a bumper plate. a lot of people like the durable feel of cast iron. As long as the coating can match the quality, these are a good option but some prefer rubber. Rubber tends to have a good bounce when easing the bar onto the ground and is less likely to chip. These are also not susceptible to corrosion and rust, although a quality cast iron bumper plate should also not have an issue in this area.
Not every style of bumper plate is going to offer this, but it can make life a lot easier. When picking up the bumper plate, grip holes can make carrying them more comfortable, not to mention removing them from the bar. Look for a brand that has 3 holes so no matter what angle the plate is at, it is easy to get a hold.
A dead bounce is an aim so any bumper plates that can stay close to the ground when dropped are going to be better. High-density virgin rubber is particularly good for this.
Correct Inner Ring Size
Before purchasing be sure to check on the size of the inner ring so that it matches the size of the bar. Most Olympic bars will require a 2-inch diameter opening. Thankfully, most brands make this clear but it is something worth checking to ensure they are compatible. If this opening can be reinforced with a steel hub then this will increase the strength and durability of the plate, and give it a better dead bounce.
This can be from a color-coded plate, or with raised weight indicators, preferably in both lbs and kgs. At the very least, it is important to purchase a product in the metric that suits you best so you can easily and safely increase and decrease the weights when necessary.
With so many people looking for quality bumper plates, a lot of brands are shamefully hiking their prices. This being said, there are plenty of reliable options available that are still good value. Look for a brand that ticks all the boxes uses quality rubber for their bumper plates, and has not tripled their prices because of the increased demand.
If buying a set of bumper plates, make sure you have enough weight on there to reach your goals. A lot of the time, a couple of 10 kg plates can become quite limited fast. Anticipate that you will be flying through the weights before too long and buy a set that has enough weight included.
Bumper Plates Vs Iron Plates
We’ve included both in our list to offer a bit of variety but when choosing between the two, there are some subtle differences. A lot of people prefer bumper plates because they are far quieter when going on the bar and during a lift. This is especially the case when the bar is dropped to the ground, so any late-night lifting session will be better off without the clatter if cast iron hitting the ground if possible.
Because they compress as they drop, bumper plates made of rubber are going to be less painful if they fall on a foot and are also kinder on the ground, which is much better for your home.
Are Competition Bumper Plates Worth It?
The quality is noticeable but a lot will depend on what the user wants to achieve. Anyone with aspirations for competing should of course do all they can to emulate the real thing by using quality competition bumper plates at home. Their precise gram weight is one of their best traits, and all-important when competing.
Their diameter is also the same no matter what the weight which makes it better on the bar. Anyone who wants to load their bar as much as possible and fit on as many weights as they can look to cast iron plates though.
When Should Bumper Plates Be Used?
Any type of Olympic lift is going to benefit from bumper plates rather than steel. This is especially the case when dropping from the waist up as there is less bounce, noise, and risk of injury or damage. Not only do they look good, but rubber plates are better for the bar as well.
What Size Hole Should Bumper Plates Have?
Any Olympic bar is going to need plates with a 2-inch diameter opening. This is the standard that most brands adhere to and any product with a different size opening is likely to be intended for use with a different type of bar.
What Are THe Best Bumper Plates?
In terms of value and performance, we found that out of all the products we tried and tested, the HulkFit Color Coded Olympic 2-Inch Rubber Bumper Plate was the best. Their color-coded design makes it easier to load accuratelyandthe2 inch opening ensures they can be used for Olympic lifts.
On top of this, they are made from high-density rubber meaning they are fine to drop from waist height and above and represent good value compared to the competition.
How Much Do Bumper Plates Cost?
Competition standard bumper plates are going to set the user back a lot more so if the competition is not an aim, it is possible to save a lot of money. A quality pair of bumper plates can cost as little as $100 for some of the smaller weights, with the price rising the bigger the weight of course.