Bumper plates are an increasingly common feature of home and garage gyms due to their versatility and safety. They’re used in weightlifting competitions, are uniquely suitable for CrossFit, and can be dropped during a lift without worrying about noise or damage to the plates and floor. As such, it’s no surprise that they’re often considerably more expensive than steel plates. But, there are plenty of affordable bumper plates out there. In this article, we’ll take a look at the five best budget bumper plates that you can buy to deck out your home or garage gym without spending a fortune.
Best Budget Bumper Plates At a Glance
Best Budget Bumper Plates Overall
Rep’s black bumpers are the best budget bumpers you’ll find because they’re strong and (obviously) they’re inexpensive. You’ll struggle to break these ones, even the 10-15 lbs. plates, even when dropping them from overhead. Just watch out for a little greasiness.
Next Best Budget Bumpers
Though American Barbell’s plates don’t have any other special features per se, they avoid inconveniences like rubber odor and are an effective option at an affordable rate. Furthermore, they’re one of the few brands in the US offering plates in both kgs and lbs.
Top Quality Budget Bumper Plates
Rogue’s Echo bumpers are a premium product at the price of budget bumper plates. They are incredibly tough and adhere to IWF disc diameter standards. These plates also have a dead bounce, minimising the chance of mishaps. The only caveat is the strong rubber odor that might last for a while.
5 Best Budget Bumper Plates
|Rep Fitness Bumper Plates||
|American Barbell Black Sport Bumpers||
|Rogue Echo Bumper Plates||
|OneFitWonder Black Bumpers by Fringe Sport||
|Titan Fitness Elite Olympic Black Bumpers||
|Rep Fitness Bumper Plates|
|American Barbell Black Sport Bumpers|
|Rogue Echo Bumper Plates|
|OneFitWonder Black Bumpers by Fringe Sport|
|Titan Fitness Elite Olympic Black Bumpers|
Though being able to safely drop weights from an overhead position is a big advantage of bumper plates in general, this is often not true for 10-15 lbs plates, which can be too thin to withstand the damage. This can result in scratches, or worse, cracking of the plate. However, Rep’s bumper plates prevent any potential mishaps. Their 10 lbs plates are thicker than those offered by other brands and have lower bounce to avoid injuries.
What’s more is that all their plates, regardless of weight, have been factory tested to be able to endure over 15,000 drops from 8 feet high. This, combined with their low bounce, means that you could train for decades, drop them multiple times every session, and still not have to worry about them breaking. These plates are as durable as they get, and they have the standard weight range of 10 lb pairs up to 45 lb pairs. You can load 515 lbs of these plates onto a standard 7’ Olympic barbell with 41cm sleeves.
- Thicker 10 and 15 lb plates compared to other manufacturers
- Factory tested to withstand 15,000+ drops from 8 feet
- Low bounce
The Not So Good
- Plates can be slightly greasy out of the box
Though American Barbell’s black bumpers were once even cheaper than they are now, the quality of their products has remained the same. They come with a standard 1 year warranty on all weight plates, which is almost double the 6 month period usually offered for the 10 and 15 lbs plates. Though these plates don’t have any additional protection like added thickness like Rep’s plates, the warranty will help cover any harm suffered by them.
Like all other entries on this list, these bumpers are guaranteed to get the job done. They’re durable, aesthetically appealing, and have minimal bounce. However, the thing that sets them apart is the fact that they’re available in both kg and lb units. While the choice merely comes down to preference, it can be incredibly hard to find the former produced by a quality manufacturer in the US. American Barbell has also ensured that the typical rubber odor of these plates is light to begin with, and dissipates quickly after unpacking.
- Available in both kg and lb variations
- Minimal rubber odor
- Double the standard 6 month warranty for 10 and 15 lbs plates
The Not So Good
- Lack of bevel makes a chore out of picking the heavier plates off the ground
Though Rogue’s Echo bumpers are the affordable variant of their HG 2.0 plates, the two have fairly similar specs. They have the same Shore Durometer ranking of 88, which measures the hardness of bumper plates, and come with the same warranty (90 days for 10-15 lbs and 3 years for 25-45 lbs).
Additionally, these bumpers have IWF standard diameters with a weight within 1% of the target (known as ‘tolerance’). They’re made of virgin rubber that help facilitate a dead bounce for maximum safety. Given this long list of features, Rogue is offering a certifiable premium product at an extremely affordable price.
Having said that, there are a few things to note before purchasing these plates. A strong rubber odor has been a common complaint with these plates, so you might want to wash them with a mild soap before usage. The width of these plates also restricts the weight you can load onto a standard 7’ bar to below 500 lbs.
- As hard as Rogue’s flagship HG 2.0 bumpers.
- IWF standard diameters
- Dead bounce
The Not So Good
- Strong rubber odor
- You can only load 500 lbs on a bar with these plates
Fringe Sport’s OneFitWonder bumpers are arguably the toughest plates on this list. These plates have been drop-tested over 30,000 times, which is double the industry standard of 15,000. This includes the 10 and 15 lbs plates, which are the weights that most commonly break when dropped. This, along with the beveled edges makes the plates easier to grip and uniquely suited for CrossFit. The high density of rubber ensures that the heavier plates are thinner than their competition, allowing you to load more weight on the bar.
It’s hard to fault these plates. Their virgin rubber carries with it a very low smell that disappears soon after unpacking. The plates have hooked steel inserts to minimise the chance of separation. Fringe also offers a one year return guarantee, no questions asked in case you’re unsatisfied with their product. The only sticking point is the price. While they appear significantly more expensive than other choices on the list, they’re easily some of the best bumper plates for the money you’ll be spending. A note on their cost: Fringe Sport ship all of their products for free. This idea of “free shipping” is a bit of a ruse. The shipping is simply baked into the price, and this is demonstrated with these bumpers and the Titan competition bumpers below. You’ll end up paying roughly the same amount overall for the bumpers above when you factor in freight costs.
- Drop tested over 30,000 times, double the industry standard
- Suitable for both CrossFit and heavy lifting
- One year money-back guarantee
The Not So Good
- More expensive than others on the list
Titan’s Elite plates are the most affordable competition bumpers on the market. They have a Shore Durometer rating of 90, which makes them one of the hardest weights on this list. Accuracy is key if you intend to get into Olympic lifting, and the weight tolerance stated here is +/- 20 grams as opposed to the standard 1%. The edges of these plates are raised, making them easier to carry, and the diameter of the discs matches IWF standards. The weight increment labels are also colour coded, allowing for quicker identification during workouts.
As with the OneFitWonder bumpers, the price here might be too steep for many; they’re easily the most expensive bumpers on the list. However, comparing them to other competition bumpers reveals that they’re much cheaper than any other premium option. Besides cost, a common issue with these plates has been their strong rubber odor, however as with all properly molded rubber products it will dissipate over time.
Be aware that Titan sells the 10s and 25s in pairs, but the 35s, 45s, and 55s as singles. Be sure to select 2 as your quantity when purchasing the heavier plates.
- Best budget competition bumpers
- Weight tolerance of +/- 20 grams
- Raised edges allow you to carry them easily
- IWF standard disc diameters
The Not So Good
- The most expensive on the list, but cheaper than other competition bumpers
- Rubber odor lasts for a few weeks
Should You Get a Budget Bumper Plate?
Budget or cheaper products automatically attain a bad reputation for their low price, but bumper plates in general are meant to withstand a lot of wear and tear. However, it is imperative that you are well-informed before making a decision on purchasing bumpers.
Low quality plates will start giving way only a few months after regular usage, and you don’t want to be repurchasing sets of bumpers that cost hundreds of dollars. You could also face other undesirable issues such as unbearable odors that stink up your garage, or centre rings that loosen easily. Thankfully, these problems can easily be avoided if you look out for the right details while shopping. Good products in this price range can be as durable and safe to use as premium bumper plates.
Choosing the Right Budget Bumper Plate
There are five main things to consider before buying bumper plates: Warranty, inserts, plate thickness, durability, and bevel.
Warranties can vary from 3 months to a year for 10-15 lb plates and 1-3 years for the 25-55 lbs plates. Though the heavier plates are harder to break, this is a much bigger concern for the smaller ones. Ensure that they have a warranty of at least 6 months.
The inserts, or centre steel rings, are another source of problems for weightlifters. In low-quality products, these will detach easily, making for unstable weights on your bar. Once that happens, you will likely not be able to use them anymore. Thus, make sure that the centre rings in your plates are reinforced or hooked, and made of stainless steel.
Plate thickness is vital if you intend to lift heavy. The thinner the plates, the more weight you can load onto your bar. But, the thinner the plates, the more likely they are to bend, warp or break.
This is perhaps the most important consideration of all. Measures like the Shore Durometer scale help ascertain how hard a plate is, while the type of rubber used is another indicator. A third one is the number of times a plate has been drop-tested from a certain height. Verify that the plates you choose score in the 80-90 range on the Shore Durometer scale, and preferably that they’re made of virgin rubber. The industry standard for the number of drop tests is 15,000.
Lastly, the bevel of bumper plates tells you how suitable they are for routines like CrossFit that involve gripping the weight more frequently. They also make for easier carry and handling in general.
Frequently Asked Questions About Budget Bumper Plates
Bumper plates are a unique piece of equipment. If you’re relatively new to strength training you may be unsure whether they’re right for you. Let’s look at some of the most common questions asked about bumpers.
Are bumper plates worth the money?
It depends on what kind of lifting you’re doing. For Olympic lifts and serious CrossFit, bumper plates are not only worth the money, but absolutely necessary. Bumpers are made to be dropped without damaging the plates, your barbell, or your flooring. Oly lifting and high volume CrossFit lifting inevitably involve dropping the bar, often from overhead. You can’t do that with steel / iron plates (well, you can but you’d be an idiot)!
If you’re Powerlifting, or just doing general weight lifting to stay fit and strong, then steel plates are perhaps the better choice. They’re generally cheaper and thinner (meaning you can load more onto the sleeve of your barbell).
Should I get bumper plates or iron plates?
You should get Cast iron Olympic weight plates if you’re Powerlifting, where the lifts are slow, heavy, and you won’t typically be dropping the bar (e.g., back squats, deadlifts, and bench presses). Steel (or iron) plates are usually less expensive than bumper plates, but they’re also more susceptible to breaking if dropped. They can also cause damage to your flooring and barbell’s sleeve. Many studios and strength gyms continue to use cast iron plates because they’re cheaper, you can load greater weights onto a bar, and because of the old-school feeling of the clanging of metal.
Get bumper plates if you’re doing the Olympic lifts or CrossFit. These kinds of lifting involve dropping the bar regularly, often from overhead, and only bumpers can withstand this kind of abuse.
Ultimately, it’s a case of getting the right equipment for your purpose. That said, bumper plates are a more versatile option as you can do all kinds of lifting with them.
What’s the difference between standard bumper plates, training bumpers, and competition bumpers?
Competition bumper plates are the highest quality Olympic plates you can buy. Though they cost significantly more, they are much more durable, make less noise, and the weight tolerance of these plates is only off by a few grams. They are also thinner than standard plates to allow you to load more weight on the bar. These are mainly found in commercial settings or in gyms used by professional lifters.
Standard training bumpers, as the name suggests, is the basic bumper plate for everyday training, whereas training bumper plates are geared towards competitive lifting with specifications that are similar to competition bumpers. However, the price difference between the two can be massive, and if you don’t intend to get into Olympic lifting, there are few reasons for you to spend extra on expensive training bumpers.
Are bumper plates easier to lift with?
In one sense, bumper plates are no easier to lift than other weight plates. Weight is weight, and a 45 lbs. bumper plate is equivalent to an iron plate of the same weight. However, there is a chance that some bumper plates haven’t been weight calibrated well, leading to a distortion between the indicated and actual weight.
In another sense, bumper plates make lifting easier by reducing sway on the bar and allowing for dropping the weight safely.
Well, there you have it: The 5 Best Budget Bumper Plates currently available.
With this list, you’ll not only save yourself a fortune, but also end up buying the best value bumper plates that will last you for a long time to come. Whether you need bumpers for Olympic lifting, CrossFit, or just general training, this article has you covered.