The Best Powerlifting Barbell: Boost Strength Through Functional Movements

Best Powerlifting Barbell


Powerlifting incorporates some of the most basic movements such as the squat, deadlift, and bench press which is why it can improve your overall functional strength as you perform day-to-day activities. But powerlifting requires training with heavier weights, so naturally, you’re going to need the best barbell.

With so many options to choose from, finding the best barbell for powerlifting has never been easier. No matter if you’re on a budget or willing to invest some serious cash, there are bound to be plenty of choices out there for you. To save some time, we selected a variety of options so you can find the best powerlifting barbell to suit your needs.

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The Best Powerlifting Barbell - Our Top Picks

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Best Overall Powerlifting Barbell - Rogue Ohio Power Bar

Rogue Ohio Power Bar

SPECS

  • Tensile strength: 200,000-205,000 PSI
  • Diameter: 29 mm.
  • Finish: Black zinc, bare steel, stainless steel
  • Sleeve Length: 16.25”
  • Knurling: Aggressive
  • Warranty: Lifetime

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The Rogue Ohio Power Bar is our choice for the best overall powerlifting barbell because you can choose from several different finish options to suit your needs. Whichever you choose will depend on your budget and the environment you work out in. For instance, if you have a bigger budget you may opt for a stainless steel bar that will protect against corrosion that can happen in a more humid environment. If your budget is more limited or you prefer a black bar, black zinc is a more affordable option.

The knurl pattern is coarse and deep so you can grip the bar, but it’s not overpowering or abrasive on your hands. The knurling follows the powerlifting design which means the ring standards are set closer to the center of the bar for a tighter, more narrow grip. Plus, there is an added center knurl which helps keep the barbell in place during those heavy squats.

What We Like

  • 200,000-205,000 PSI
  • Center knurl
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Several finish options
  • High rating using their durability testing scale

What We Don’t Like

  • Aggressive knurling may be too much for beginners
  • Some finish options are expensive

BUY: Rogue Ohio Barbell

Best Budget Powerlifting Barbell - Titan Economy Barbell

REP Economy Barbell

SPECS

  • Tensile strength: N/A
  • Diameter: 30 mm.
  • Finish: Steel
  • Sleeve Length: 16.25”
  • Knurling: Medium
  • Warranty: 1-year

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The Titan Economy Barbell is a great option if you have a more limited budget. It’s built for beginners or intermediate lifters and can also be used for Olympic lifts. It has a medium knurling which has dual rings and a center knurling.

This barbell is made with cold-rolled steel with a chrome coating on the shaft and sleeves. A chrome finish is ideal if you work out in a more humid environment since it can protect your bar from rust. It’s also equipped with bronze bushings, which are durable and great for heavy or slow lifts.

What We Like

  • Great for beginners or intermediate lifters
  • Budget friendly
  • Versatile
  • Long-lasting bronze bushings are great for heavy or slow lifts
  • Bar diameter is slightly larger than other barbells

What We Don’t Like

  • May spin more since it’s a hybrid bar
  • Only has a 1-year warranty

BUY: Titan Economy Barbell

Best Powerlifting Barbell for Beginners - REP Stainless Steel Power Bar

REP Stainless Steel Power Bar

SPECS

  • Tensile strength: 200,000 PSI
  • Diameter: 29 mm.
  • Finish: Stainless steel
  • Sleeve Length: 16.9”
  • Knurling: Medium
  • Warranty: Limited lifetime

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If you’re aspiring to be an everyday powerlifter but are just starting out, we recommend the REP Stainless Steel Power Bar. It has the International Powerlifting Federation (IPF) standard knurl markings, so you never have to guess where your hands are supposed to go. If you’re a beginner, you’ll more than likely appreciate the medium knurling since your hands are likely softer.

This bar is made of pure stainless steel which has a high level of resistance to oxidation. The sleeves are nice and smooth so you can easily slide your weights on and off. The bushing design includes snap rings, making it ideal for slow, powerful lifts.

What We Like

  • Longer loadable sleeve length than other barbells for powerlifting
  • Smooth sleeves make adding and removing weight easy
  • IPF standard knurl markings

What We Don’t Like

  • May be too much of an investment for some beginners
  • Lifetime warranty is limited

BUY: REP Fitness Stainless Steel Barbell

Best Powerlifting Barbell for Advanced Lifters - REP Deep Knurl Stainless Steel Power Bar EX

REP Deep Knurl Stainless Steel Power Bar EX

SPECS

  • Tensile strength: 200,000 PSI
  • Diameter: 29 mm.
  • Finish: Stainless steel
  • Sleeve Length: 16.9”
  • Knurling: Aggressive
  • Warranty: Limited lifetime

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The REP Deep Knurl Stainless Steel Power Bar EX is a great barbell for powerlifting if you’re looking for maximum grip. The knurling is 75% deeper than standard knurling so this bar is ideal if you’re an advanced lifter with well-seasoned hands.

The center knurling keeps the barbell in place during your heaviest squat, and the knurl markings follow the IPF standard design. If you plan on keeping your barbell in a location that’s not climate controlled, the sleeves and shaft are made from stainless steel which is more resistant to corrosion than other finishes.

What We Like

  • Aggressive grip
  • Stainless steel is more resistant to corrosion than other finishes
  • Greater loadable sleeve length
  • Snap ring bushing design made for slower, strength-focused lifts

What We Don’t Like

  • Tensile strength lower than other brands
  • Lifetime warranty is limited

BUY: REP Deep Knurl Barbell

Most Durable Powerlifting Barbell - American Barbell Grizzly Power Bar

American Barbell Grizzly Power Bar

SPECS

  • Tensile strength: 190,000 PSI
  • Diameter: 29 mm.
  • Finish: Hard chrome
  • Sleeve Length: 16.25”
  • Knurling: Medium
  • Warranty: Limited

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The American Barbell Grizzly Power Bar is made from precision-grade alloy steel with a chrome finish making this barbell for powerlifting extra strong and more resilient against rust. American Barbell prides itself on testing each shipment of raw material to ensure that the tensile strength rating of 190,000 PSI is consistent for each barbell.

The steel grade selected to make this bar provides very little flexibility, which makes it ideal for heavy lifts. The built-in bushing system produces a slow and steady spin so you can squat, bench, and deadlift without worrying about excessive spinning.

What We Like

  • Center knurling great for squats
  • Standard 29 mm. diameter
  • Made with high-quality steel

What We Don’t Like

  • Offers limited warranty
  • Tensile strength lower than other brands

BUY: American Barbell Grizzly Power Bar

Best High-End Powerlifting Barbell - American Barbell Elite Power Bar

American Barbell Elite Power Bar

SPECS

  • Tensile strength: 190,000 PSI
  • Diameter: 29 mm.
  • Finish: Stainless steel
  • Sleeve Length: 16.25”
  • Knurling: Medium
  • Warranty: Limited lifetime

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If you’re looking for a top-of-the-line barbell for powerlifting, the American Barbell Elite Power Bar is an excellent choice. The shaft is made from thoughtfully chosen precision-grade stainless steel and tested for quality. Stainless steel also feels better on your hands and is a more long-lasting material.

Unlike other high-end barbells for powerlifting, the knurl depth is moderate but feels super grippy since the shaft is not coated. Each sleeve is equipped with premium bushings, which are meant to handle heavy loads over and over again. The sleeves are finished with hard chrome which is thick and resilient giving the plates a nice fit.

What We Like

  • Medium knurling
  • Tested, high-quality steel
  • Hard chrome sleeves provide a secure fit for plates
  • Center knurling
  • Premium bushings are long-lasting

What We Don’t Like

  • Knurling may not be suitable for athletes who are willing to invest in a high-quality bar
  • Expensive

BUY: American Barbell Elite Power Bar

Best Powerlifting Barbell for Squats - Rogue Westside Power Bar 2.0

Rogue Westside Power Bar 2.0

SPECS

  • Tensile strength: 205,000 PSI
  • Diameter: 29 mm.
  • Finish: Black zinc
  • Sleeve Length: 16.25”
  • Knurling: Aggressive
  • Warranty: Lifetime

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Co-developed by the famous powerlifting athlete and strength coach Louie Simmons, the Rogue Westside Power Bar 2.0 is rated for 205,000 PSIs, making it one of the strongest barbells for powerlifting. The knurl pattern is based on Louie’s standards, so it’s coarse but not too abrasive.

The sleeves and shaft are coated with black zinc making this barbell a sleek black color. Each sleeve features bronze bushings with a snap ring design. These make it a great barbell for squats since it has a smooth consistent feel with no whip or flexibility.

What We Like

  • Black zinc finish gives it a sleek black color
  • Bronze bushings provide a smooth, consistent feel
  • Aggressive knurl

What We Don’t Like

  • Black zinc finish may not be suitable for all training environments
  • Expensive

BUY: Rogue Westside Power Bar

What to Look for in a Powerlifting Barbell

Tensile Strength

Defined as the breaking point of a barbell, tensile strength is rated in pounds per square inch (PSI). Powerlifting by nature is strength-focused, so you’re going to need a barbell that can handle heavier weights. If you’re looking for a good quality bar we recommend not going lower than 190,000 PSI since this number is on the higher end of what a barbell for powerlifting can support without breaking or fracturing.

Diameter

Typically, barbell shafts are 29 millimeters in diameter. You may come across bigger diameters such as 30 millimeters, which isn’t a big deal if you’re a beginner or if you feel comfortable while using it. However, if you have smaller hands or if you’re used to holding a 29 millimeter shaft, you’ll probably want to stick to that diameter.

Finish

The finish you choose depends on your budget and also where you plan on storing your barbell. Bare steel that’s not coated will give you a more aggressive knurl but is not as resistant to rust as stainless steel. Stainless steel is the most resilient and is a higher quality material, but that comes with a higher price tag.

Chrome is a high-carbon steel that has more smooth knurling and offers a lot of rust protection. Black zinc is a more inexpensive option and makes the barbell black which can be appealing, but this finish will not last as long in a humid environment. Cerakote is a military-grade material that protects against corrosion and also gives you a ton of color options to choose from.

Sleeve Length

When choosing the sleeve length that's right for you, it’s important to keep in mind your needs. If you’re a very experienced lifter that can move heavy weights efficiently, you’ll want to opt for a slightly longer sleeve than beginner or intermediate athletes.

Knurling

The level of knurling that’s suitable for you depends on what you’re comfortable with. Generally, medium knurling works well for most athletes. However, if you are more experienced or feel like medium knurling doesn’t offer you enough grip we recommend trying more aggressive knurling.

Warranty

When you’re considering a barbell for powerlifting, it’s always nice to choose one with a lifetime warranty that protects against manufacturing defects if at all possible. That way, if anything goes wrong the company will help you sort out any issues you may have. Make sure to read the fine print of any warranty before purchasing.

FAQs


What is the strongest barbell?

The Rogue Westside Power Bar 2.0 and the Rogue Ohio Power Bar both have a tensile strength of 205,000 PSI and are the strongest two on this list.

What bars do powerlifting competitions use?

The United States Powerlifting Association (USPA) uses a deadlift bar for deadlifts and a squat bar for heavier weight classes. The United States Powerlifting (USPL) uses a stiff bar for every lift.

Is low bar better for powerlifting?

Low bar, also known as low bar squats, are utilized in powerlifting because they may increase posterior strength development.

About the Author

Rachael Gonzalez

Rachael Gonzalez is a Staff Writer for ACTIVE. She spent five years in education before she joined the ACTIVE team in 2022. In this role, she is still able to make a positive impact on others by writing about something she loves: health and wellness.

See More from Rachael

Rachael Gonzalez is a Staff Writer for ACTIVE. She spent five years in education before she joined the ACTIVE team in 2022. In this role, she is still able to make a positive impact on others by writing about something she loves: health and wellness.

See More from Rachael

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