Are you looking for the Best Bumper plate/weight plate sets for crossfit and weight training in 2017?
Finding the top rated bumper plate is not an easy task. But our unbiased bumper plate set review can help you pick the best bumper plates for your budget in 2017.
Well, regardless of whether you are getting started or buying your second bumper plate set or looking to add more weights to your inventory, this article should give you more than a few pointers as to how you can go about it.
Trust me, when I was doing my research it wasn’t easy finding all the important aspects that you need to be aware about bumper plates and various brands. But I hope after this post, people will have a resource that they can look up easily and refer it to their friends as well.
I’ve managed to collect material that deals with everything from black standard bumpers to training bumpers, finishing off with competition bumpers from many vendors, from reputable manufacturers and bargain deals. I believe that I have gathered enough data to help you with your purchase.
Traditionally, there have only been iron or steel plates for the longest amount of time. In the Olympics weightlifting events, they had to come up with an alternative to this because accidental drops could damage the flooring as they were dealing with really massive poundage. This inspired the creation of bumper plates, which were basically Olympic weightlifting plates which were made of really thick rubber so it wouldn’t damage the floor when dropped.
You can find them in both kilograms and pounds. Most of the common plates are all black, but when you go for competition ready plates, they are color coded for easy identification of weight.
There are different schools of thought when it comes to bumper plates vs regular iron or steel plates. While most of them feel like they are a waste of money there are people who feel that money spent bumper plates can save you a bundle elsewhere, like on flooring or protecting your walls.
Most people who have a home gym prefer to go with the cheaper option of regular plates until they see their floor chafing and cracking in places because of this. While bumper plates can save your gym floor from breaking up all over the place, entry level bumper plates do not have enough protection to be considered “ready to drop”. The higher end bumper plates are pretty expensive but you can safely drop them around and they won’t fail you.
Ultimately, though it comes to down to choice, bumper plates clearly offer a lot of advantages over regular plates and most people consider it money well spent over a longer period of time. Also, if you are into Olympic lifts or Crossfit, chances are that bumpers are more of a necessity rather than a luxury.
The brands: HI-Temp, Vulcan Alpha (moved to the color section), Rogue HG 2.0, Vulcan Basic, Rogue Echo, Eleiko XF, and Fringesport OFW bumper plates.
Who didn’t make it: some basic brands just get their name stamped on different version of the same bumpers. They are Kraiburg, AF, Ader, York, Bendlay, and other lesser known CrossFit shops.
To keep this section informative and easily readable, certain brands that do not offer sets. Some brands which are expensive, redundant or without warranties have been intentionally left out. I believe that this is in the best interest of the readers to have a list that can offer maximum value.
These are the following bumper sets that I’ve been able to review here, 160 lbs (10’s, 25’s, and 45’s in pairs), 260 lbs (10’s, 15’s, 25’s, 35’s, and 45’s in pairs), and the 350’ish range. These are the most commonly used according to me and hence most desirable. You should be able to get a good idea of what you need.
Black bumpers are mostly similar and hence there is not much of variation when talking about brands. Some of them even come from the same manufacturer. Except the HI-Temps, all the plates adhere to the IWF standard, which is 450 mm diameter plates come with 50 mm steel inserts. Hi-Temps are 444 mm in comparison. When you are shopping for other brands, I advise readers to stay away from plates that have brass or bronze as they are never as strong as steel or stainless steel.
While width of different sized plates can vary according to the brand, HI-Temps and XFs are coated with crumb rubber rather than dense virgin rubber. OFW and Vulcan plates have an innovative insert assemble that is purported to increase the life of the bumpers, and I’m inclined to agree with them. OFW plats are the narrowest bumpers that are for non-competitive use.
Each of these brands can be summarized below.
HI-Temps have a lot thicker coating when compared to other brands in this comparison. They are more resilient when compared to virgin rubber brands and produce greater bounce. They are fantastic for outdoor use and have black default bumpers that are manufactured in the USA. The problems include higher costs and smaller diameter compared to most plates sold in the market (444 vs 450mm).
One of the brands of bumpers I was most impressed with were OFW Bumpers from Fringesport. I feel that they are easily the best bumpers on the market right about now and their prices are pretty competitive and feature multiple design innovations that make it an overall pretty durable proposition in the long run. One of the key improvements is that they use a knurled, anchored steel inserts plus more effective compounds to bind the plate to the rubber coating. If you thought that all you heard has been smoke and mirrors, I’m here to tell you that it isn’t.
Another prominent brand for manufacturing bumpers is Vulcan Strength which are pretty well and of exceptional quality. When it comes to variety, they offer a huge set of options consisting of about 10 different sets starting from 160 lbs to high 300’s when the inventory allows. There are a lot of similarities between OFW and Vulcans so they are pretty durable. When you are purchasing, it’s a good idea to run both brand’s prices and find out which one is cheaper and get that considering they are similar in quality.
Rogue HG 2.0 offers a standard basic bumper model that is no frills and all brawn. Most lifters are quite familiar with the design ethos employed at Rogue, simple and functional. They are quite similar to traditional sets from York, Pendlay HD, Echo, etc. Their HG series recently underwent a makeover and now has gotten even better looking, refined and slimmer than the other competitors on the market.
If you like this look when it comes to bumpers, then I recommend you stick with Rogue. They are a pretty well-known brand and they have a lot of retailers all over the country. Their asking price is on par or lesser than their competitors and they also have a solid, hassle-free warranty program they can offer you. Compare it to a defective period of Pendlay bumpers of just 30 days, you begin to understand how much better Rogue is going to be.
Eleiko XF is the latest offering from CrossFitters that are economy bumpers. Being one of the thickest bumpers and pretty expensive as well they only come in 370-pound sets or a 100 Kilogram sets. If you require lesser weights than this, you’ll need to buy pairs. They are pretty nice place and are very quiet but they have seam within their inserts that will put your bar through hell. Clearly, not the best choice for a lot of people.
Let’s take a look now at various weight classes in bumpers.
The 160 pounder would be the minimum available weight from all the brands. It has a pair of 10’s, 25’s and 45’s. This is a small and compact set which might be okay for you if you were a beginner. For people intermediate and higher, you might need to shoot for a 260-pound set minimally. The reason I’ve included these is that they are featured in almost every other manufacturer’s website. The key is to keep in mind that the heavier the set is, the lesser cost per weight unit.
When you are talking about 260 pound sets is when you are breaking into the more serious part of the training spectrum. Many people consider this as the introductory set of weights for your Olympic barbells. It has all weights from 10 – 45 pounds (10’s, 15’s, 25′, 35’s, and 45’s). I prefer Vulcan strength for this set if you live within vicinity of their free shipping/delivery option as they have great prices to offer. Although you might need to take note of the durability problems they have. If you aren’t from that area or Vulcan’s are out of stock then my choice would be OFW.
For people who are looking at 45 pound plates, Vulcan Strength has a 250 pound set that replaces the 15’s and 35’s with a pair of 45’s. While I prefer this over the 260 pound as it’s about the 45 pound plate for me, you are free to do your own thing.
Big bumpers are not easy to set aside when compared to the previous 2 classes of bumpers because of the difference with the number and total weight of plates offered as a package. Their weight ranges from 340 to 370 pounds which depends on where you buy them from. They can be cost-effective when you compare them on a cost per weight basis. The only drawback is the shipping charges which can spiral out of control when you’re talking about heavy sets of bumpers like these. Brands like OFWs charge you higher to include shipping as well.
If you are looking for bumpers which come in kilograms instead of pound in the United States, then you might be in for a long ride. But, you have many options when it comes down to it. Eleiko has their famous XF range in kilos, Rogue has popular HG 2.0 KG bumpers as well. While it’s a bit of a hit or miss when you are searching for them in the Rogue inventory, stocks are being regularly replenished.
York has basic black bumpers in kgs but regardless of the place I looked their prices were not at all attractive.
Most of the popular brands like Rogue, Vulcan and Fringesport offer good rates on bulk bumper purchases. This is great news for Crossfit boxes and small gym owners who want to get as many as plates as possible. Just select how many pounds you’d like delivered and the combination of plates. Fringesport continues to price their equipment competitively and at great price points. If you fancy a dash of color, Fringe and Vulcan offer that as well in bulk orders.
Vulacn, OFW, American Barbell Sport and Rogue Echo bumpers are available in different colored variations. While being a bit more expensive, you can choose to add a bit of zing to your home or commercial gym.
All of these are the same as their black bumper counterparts in terms of lastability. Rogue, American Barbell, and Vulcan uses colors that resemble the IWF kilograms scheme, not that it matters in the long run.
OFW colored plates are also offered in bulk purchases which I think would be the right choice to make when you're setting up a small gym or a box.
These are non-certified versions of competition plates and have dead bounce and are generally color-coded. They feature considerably larger steel hub/inserts and stricter weight tolerances than basic bumpers reviewed earlier. The allowable deviation on these plates is +/- 10 grams of claimed weight. While they are marked in kilograms you can also find weights in pounds if you’re buying from Eleiko, Rogue, American Barbell, to name a few.
While a lot of manufacturers refer to training plates range as “competition bumpers”, they aren’t certified so you can’t use them in sanctioned events. Thought not many people are aware of this, the rest of us who deal with this on a daily basis are. But I still wrote this article based on the name given to them. You need to make sure that you are getting yourself actual certified competition class bumpers and not the regular training bumpers. Rogue competition offers Competition Bumpers that aren’t IWF certified but used as official bumper in Crossfit Games.
If it were up to me, I would only get these training bumpers only if I was super keen on using an IWF brand and I couldn’t afford their actual certified line. You could save a bunch of cash (over a grand!) if you stuck to Eleiko Sports instead of Comps. The cheaper option will still set you back by a reasonable amount of cash but you pay for the brand. Lesser known brands like Vaughn and Vulcan can give you “competition” plates for much less than specialized stuff. They’ll last just as long as the more expensive ones.
This set of 140kg includes 10’s, 15’s, 20’s and 25’s. The 320 includes pairs of 25’s, 35’s, 45’s, and 55’s. Rogue has one of the best pricing on these kinds of sets, you can browse through their website. You can find lower priced, non-certified sets in the competition section below (like Vaughns).
Rogue can be your one stop shop for almost all training bumper plates. This is definitely a good thing for all people involved!
The Rogue inventory has several basic, training and competition bumper plates in their Closeouts section which you can browse on their website right now. They also have used plates from the 2015 Crossfit games.
The thing with competition bumpers is that not too many people go for them because of their considerable price. The people that do buy them are pretty much experienced folk and know exactly why they are getting them. Currently I’ve added 140 kg sets, if you want more you can find them on the internet.
Note: You need to take this section with a pinch of salt as most of the manufacturer’s claim that they are “competition” bumpers. Very few of them are certified if at all, so you need to read the fine print before you put your money on the line. That said, please research thoroughly before you buy plates from a brand for events, so you can be sure that you won’t run into problems.
This set of 140 kg includes pairs of 10’s, 15’s, 20’s, and 25’s. Standard Olympic plate colors are green (10’s), yellow (15’s), blue (20’s), and red (25’s). The list below is in no particular order and when it comes to Vaughn’s, they can be found at bargain prices.
Bumper plates are one of the basic pieces of equipment that you should consider, even for your home gym. It does add a lot of utility to your home gym because you can save your flooring and it’s a lot safer to have around.
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