Olympic barbell? Check.
Weight plates or bumper plates? Check.
Now you need barbell collars. Different types of collars are suitable for different uses: Clamp collars are best when you’re lifting 3 or more plates and when you want to preserve the finish on your bar’s sleeves. Spring clip collars are most suitable when you’re working on a budget and you’re lifting less than 3 plates (i.e., less than 300 lbs.).
Barbell collars also tend to take a beating. Getting knocked about and dropped is an Olympic barbell collar’s lot in life. Therefore, it’s critical to choose wisely to ensure you get the best barbell collars for your budget, your strength program, and your particular set up.
Best Barbell Collars At a Glance
Best Quality Barbell Collar
Rogue’s solid nylon resin HG 2.0 Collars are your go-to clamp collars for virtually every exercise. They do an excellent job of keeping a vise-like grip on the bar even through repeated drops, making them perfect for both heavy Powerlifts and the Olympic lifts.
Best Value Barbell Collars
The Iron Lab Olympic Barbell Collars are affordable clamp collars that are built with both performance and durability in mind. These collars are made from high-strength nylon that surround the grip pads and clamp the bar firmly no matter how much weight you load up.
Best Spring Clip Collar
While spring collars don’t actually differ that much, Rogue’s straightforward, stainless steel spring clips are the best around. They’re used by both powerlifters and bodybuilders because they simply do the job they’re intended for without hassle.
The Best Clamp Collars
|Rogue HG 2.0 Collars||
|Iron Lab Olympic Barbell Collars||
|Rogue USA Aluminum Collars||
|Rogue OSO Mighty Collars||
|Rogue HG 2.0 Collars|
|Iron Lab Olympic Barbell Collars|
|Rogue USA Aluminum Collars|
|OSO Mighty Collars|
Rogue has revamped their original HG Collars into a version 2.0 that features a spring tab for a quicker release. The interior rubber pads are improved with grooves on the inside to provide a more secure grip compared to the previous version. These clamp collars are made of high-quality nylon resin that makes them both lightweight and durable.
The locking mechanism works great and doesn’t budge in the slightest even when holding 3 or 4 plates. They’re extremely quick and easy to lock and unlock, allowing you to add and remove plates and transition between their exercises with little effort.
The Rogue HG 2.0 Collars fit most Olympic bars like a glove as well as other specialty bars like cambered bars and yoke bars. These collars are perfect for all sorts of exercises, be it squats or barbell curls. If you’re looking for the best quality barbell collars that get the job done at a very reasonable price, the Rogue HG 2.0 collars are worth taking a look at.
- Spring tab for a quick and easy release
- Improved rubber pads grip the bar sleeves firmly
- Locking mechanism provides sufficient clamping force
The Not So Good
- Comes in a single colour option only
The Iron Lab Olympic Barbell Collars are perfect for those who are looking for an affordable pair of clamp collars. These barbell collars do a good job of securing your weight plates thanks to their sturdy clamping mechanism. High-strength nylon is the material of choice for these collars, making them durable enough to easily withstand normal wear and tear. That said, they do feel a bit plasticky compared to more expensive barbell collars, but for the price they’re more than adequate.
The Iron Lab Olympic Barbell Collars come with a quick-release spring tab that’s highlighted by a red button, enabling you to load and unload plates relatively quickly and easily. These clamp collars can hold their own against heavy weights without sliding off, which is impressive given their price point.
If you’re seriously restricted by budget, there’s no need to settle for traditional spring clips when you can buy the Iron Lab Olympic Barbell collars.
- Performs well beyond its price
- Quick release tab for easy removal
- Clamping mechanism feels sturdy and reliable
The Not So Good
- Feels quite cheap and plasticky compared to premium collars
The Rogue USA Aluminum Collars are your premium barbell clamp collars that provide superior grip for a safe and comfortable workout. Powerlifters will love these clamp collars thanks to their excellent build quality. They’re built from advanced aircraft-grade aluminum with a clear, hard anodized finish to withstand even the most rigorous of workouts. The interior rubber lining produces enough clamping force to effectively stabilize your weight of bumper plates when performing the big 3 exercises.
Despite their robust characteristics, these aluminium collars are nice and light at just 0.5 lbs each. The original silver body with black clamp lever gives them a simple yet stylish look that underpins their top-end quality. Rogue have recently released splash red and blue finishes, that’ll give your set up some extra flair.
If you’re looking for high-performing barbell collars, the Rogue USA Aluminum Collars should be on top of your list. They might be relatively expensive for a pair of clamp collars, but you’ll definitely appreciate the reliability and premium construction.
- Premium build quality
- Perfect for heavy Powerlifting exercises
- Interior lining provides rock-solid grip on barbell sleeve
The Not So Good
- No quick release button
- Pricey, even for clamp collars
The OSO Mighty Collars were developed and manufactured after Rogue Fitness’ acquisition of OSO and are their well-delivered attempt at an economical take on the classic OSO collar.
These OSO Mighty collars are super-lightweight (around 0.3 lbs each) and are made of high quality aircraft-grade aluminum, similar to the USA Aluminiums above.
They’re designed to fit a standard Olympic bar and achieve an extremely solid lock onto the barbell sleeve thanks to the rubberized interior lining. The clamping mechanism functions as advertised and will keep the collars and plates firmly secured even when subjected to high-impact drops (e.g., at the top of Oly lifts).
While these clamps lack the bells and whistles of the more expensive and exclusive Rogue OSO Barbell Collars, they more than make up for it with their functionality and reliability (and significantly lower price tag).
The aluminum construction ensures that these OSO Mighty barbell clamp collars are built to last and can be used for either high-rep or high-load training.
- Simple and easy to use
- Very lightweight and durable
- Clamps down barbell sleeves thoroughly
The Not So Good
- Does not have a quick release button
- Interior rubber lining is on the thin side
The Best Spring Clip Collars
|Rogue Spring Collars||
|OneFitWonder Spring Clips||
|CAP Barbell Olympic Spring Clip Collars||
|Rogue Spring Collars|
|OneFitWonder Spring Clips|
|CAP Barbell Olympic Spring Clip Collars|
Spring collars are ideal if you’re not interested in spending much on a relatively simple piece of equipment. They’re also good for pyramid training since they’re easy to slide on and off the sleeve.
The Rogue Spring Collars are favored by strength training athletes because they’re cheap and effective – they do what they’re supposed to do and work well for most types of lifting.
The spring clips are easy to squeeze while the collars themselves provide a secure enough grip to hold all but the heaviest loads nice and secure, and they’ll fit on pretty much all Olympic bars with a standard 2” sleeve.
The Rogue Spring Collars are made of high-quality stainless steel and won’t get bent out of shape easily like other, more expensive spring collars often do. You can purchase them in single pairs or in sets of 4, 10, or 20 at a very affordable price, making them perfect for startup boxes. These Olympic spring clip collars are ideal for those who want a simple yet reliable barbell collar that keeps the bumper plates in place when doing a variety of exercises.
- Secure plates very firmly in place for spring clips
- Ideal for both Olympic lifting and Powerlifting exercises
- Easy to squeeze open while remaining extremely durable
The Not So Good
- No material on grip handles
- Some anecdotal evidence that they may not fit on trap bars
These OneFitWonder spring clips from Fringe Sport are not fundamentally different from Rogue’s offering. They’re made from chrome-finished steel, clip onto your sleeves nice and tight, and are easy to put on and take off. What more could you want?
They’re usually a touch cheaper than the Rogue Spring Collars and shipped for free (as is all Fringe Sport equipment).
The OneFitWonder Spring Clips make a great addition to any home gym and help make your workouts safer. There’s very little more to say about them.
- Steel design with chrome finish
- Easy to squeeze open
- Grips the barbell sleeves tightly
The Not So Good
- The bare metal may scratch the finish off your sleeves
Depending on when you buy them, the CAP Barbell Olympic Spring Clip Collars are perhaps the most affordable spring clip collars on the market. Despite their price tag, they come with a handy feature that other spring collars don’t have; comfortable grip handles. The plastic ends make them easier to grip, and therefore slide on and off the bar sleeve. These spring collars fit on a standard 2” Olympic bar with ease and provides a firm enough hold for most workouts.
They may, however, have a tendency to slide down the sleeve slightly if used with particularly heavy loads. Thus it’s a good idea to use these spring clip collars only when you’re doing high rep, low load training.
For a cheap pair of spring clips, you’re getting a pair that’s comfortable to use and serve their purpose well.
- Comfortable grip handles
- Very affordable
- Fits a regular Olympic bar just fine
The Not So Good
- Not suitable for securing really heavy lifts
- May be stiff at first, and take a while to break in
Should You Get Barbell Collars?
Barbell collars are one of the most important pieces of weight lifting equipment you can have, especially if you do high intensity / load strength training. You could occasionally make do without barbell collars when lifting one or two plates, but if you lift regularly and have three or more plates on each side of the bar, you want them to be as stable as possible.
This is because any slight weight imbalances on the barbell can affect your form and in worse cases, result in injury if you’re not careful.
Barbell collars are a worthy investment for the sole reason that they make your workouts much safer. Say for example you’re performing a deadlift of 405 lbs. If you don’t use a barbell collar, the plates will wobble or slide on the bar because of the repeated impact. Not only will it throw you off-balance, but you’ll also have to adjust the plates from time to time.
That’s inconvenient and unsafe when working with heavy weights, especially if you’re beneath the bar as with bench presses and squats.
Choosing the Right Barbell Collars
The best barbell collars for you will depend on your specific strength training program, and what kind of exercises you’re performing.
Clamp collars are widely used in the lifting sports because they hold the weight plates in the most safe and secure fashion. These barbell collars use a locking mechanism with interior rubber linings to provide a vise-like grip on the barbell sleeves. Clamp collars are perfect if you’re into powerlifting and your training routine consists of straight sets (where the weight of the bar doesn’t change). You can benefit from using clamp collars when performing pretty much all lifts, including primary compound movements such as squats, bench presses, and deadlifts, as well as accessory work.
Another benefit of barbell clamp collars is the fact that they generally have rubber inserts that both provide a more secure grip on the sleeve, and protect the finish from scratches.
Spring clip collars on the other hand, are great if you’re into pyramid sets (where you progress with the weight as you continue with your sets). Spring clip collars are easy to slide on and off the barbell sleeve, allowing you to quickly add or remove plates depending on your program requirements. While spring clip collars don’t offer the same grip level as those on clamp collars, they can still hold a reasonable amount of weight in place.
When choosing barbell collars, consider your budget, the type of workout you’re doing and the extent to which you want to keep your bars’ sleeves in good condition. If you’ve got the cash, are going heavy on your sets, and / or like your equipment to stay scratch-free, then use clamp collars. If you’re strapped for cash, want to change weights as quickly as possible, and / or aren’t concerned about your barbell getting wear and tear, then spring clip collars will be fine.
Frequently Asked Questions About Barbell Collars
Do I need to use barbell collars?
If you’re lifting with an Olympic barbell then yes, you need to use barbell collars. Barbell collars ensure a safe workout by stabilising the weights and preventing any weight imbalances that could cause injury. There are instances where omitting barbell collars may be acceptable, but this is generally reserved for highly experienced lifters. For example, if you’re bench pressing close to your limit and your rack has no safety spotter arms, then you can bail safely by tilting the barbell to the side and letting the plates fall.
But, for most instances where you have spotting options, using barbell collars is just the smart thing to do.
What are the different types of barbell collars?
You have two options when choosing barbell collars: Clamp collars (sometimes called barbell clamps or locking collars) and spring clip collars. Both of these collars serve the same function of keeping your plates on your bar’s sleeve, but how they grip the barbell sleeves is what makes them different from one another.
Barbell clamp collars are generally circular pieces of plastic or metal that use a strong locking mechanism to clamp around the sleeve and secure your weight plates. They often have rubber inserts that ensure a stronger grip, as well as preserve the sleeve’s finish.
Spring clips are usually made from thin steel cable, and use a spring mechanism to secure themselves onto the sleeve. Squeezing the ‘clips’ releases the spring’s tension and allows you to slide them on and off the sleeve. This tension is not as strong as a clamp collar’s lock, meaning they may not be able to secure particularly heavy weights.
How much do barbell collars weigh?
At their absolute heaviest, barbell collars can weigh up to 1.5 lbs. per pair. The lightest pair of barbell collars, which are the good aluminum sort will weigh around 0.3 lbs.
Well, there you have it: The 7 Best Barbell Collars for Olympic bars
Getting a pair of barbell collars will go a long way towards making your workouts safe and effective.