Weight plates are an essential piece of equipment in any iron temple. They’re mainstays in the strength and conditioning discipline, and crucial for building muscular size, strength, endurance, and explosive power. Among the many weight plate variants available on the market today, bumper plates are the most versatile. Whether you’re into Powerlifting, CrossFit, Olympic lifting, endurance training, or just general weight lifting, bumper plates have you covered.
There are also a number of different types of bumper plates available, all with different features and intended uses. In this article, we look at the best bumper plates currently on the market. We’ll explore a range of options, from the best money can buy to those that provide the best bang for your buck.
Best Bumper Plate At a Glance
Best Black Bumper Plates
Rogue’s all American Hi-Temp weights are undoubtedly some of the most durable plates on the market. They are thicker, taller, and quieter than virgin rubber plates. They also don’t require you to install the floor padding you might need with other weights. Though the price is on the higher side, these plates will likely outlast you, and will provide value many times its cost.
Best Color Bumper Plates
Using and owning American Barbell’s Urethane plates are a luxury that is unfortunately reserved for very few of us. This is an extraordinary product on par with the best competition bumpers in terms of durability, bounce, and looks. However, the price will deter many. If you can afford it, these are undoubtedly the best color bumpers ever made and should last longer than you do.
The Best Black Bumpers
|Rogue Hi-Temp Bumper Plates||
|Rep Fitness REP Bumper Plates||
|Rogue Echo Bumper Plates||
|OneFitWonder Black Bumpers by Fringe Sport||
|X-Training Premium Black Bumpers||
|Rogue Hi-Temp Bumper Plates|
|Rep Fitness REP Bumper Plates|
|Rogue Echo Bumper Plates|
|OneFitWonder Black Bumpers by Fringe Sport|
|X-Training Premium Black Bumpers|
Rogue’s Hi-Temp Bumper Plates were made to be abused in the gym. They have a Shore Durometer rating of 75, which is slightly lower than Rogue’s HG 2.0 or Echo plates. However, these weights are 5mm taller than the HG 2.0 and thicker than those made of virgin rubber. The Hi-Temp plates are also designed from crumb or recycled rubber, which has some distinct advantages.
First, they make much less noise, which is great if you live with other people. Second, they exert less force on the floor when dropped, meaning you don’t need extra padding since they are less likely to cause damage. Lastly, the Hi-Temp plates are virtually indestructible. They can even be used outdoors! These plates are exceptional for high rep, high volume lifting and /or Olympic lifting.
- Among the toughest plates out there
- Manufactured in the US
- No extra padding needed for your floor
- Make less noise when dropped
The Not So Good
- Bounce is higher than in virgin rubber plates
If you’d love to have the durability of Hi-Temp plates but can’t afford the price, Rep Fitness offers a solution. These plates are just as heavy-duty. They have been drop-tested over 12,000 times from a height of 8 feet, making them ideal for intensive CrossFit sessions or Olympic lifting. The 10lb plate, which is usually the first to wear out, has been made thicker than normal for added protection. These weights also have steel inserts that have been molded into the plate rubber for yet another layer of defence against possible damage.
Additionally, you can load up to 515lb of these weights onto an Olympic barbell. This is significantly more than the approximately 405lb maximum for the Hi-Temp weights. This comes down to how thin these plates compared to other bumpers. Rep’s 45lb plate is only 2.83” inches wide compared to the Hi-Temp’s 3.75”. The virgin rubber construction also means it has a lower bounce and more even finish than the Rogue plates
- Reinforced 10lb plates are tougher than those produced by other manufacturers.
- Lower bounce
- Thinner 45lb plate allows you to load more weight on a barbell
The Not So Good
- Plates retain some greasiness after unpacking
Rogue’s Echo bumpers might be on the lower end price wise, but they still have the quality typical of Rogue products. With a Shore Durometer rating of 88, these plates are harder than the Hi-Temp ones. Like Rep’s bumpers, they are made of virgin rubber, making them similarly thinner but tougher than recycled rubber plates. This also gives the plates a dead bounce, minimizing the chances of erratic bounces causing injury.
Besides this, these weights comply with IWF standard plate diameter, have a +/- 1% weight tolerance, and come with stainless steel inserts. You can load around 500lb of these weights on a barbell, which is more than the Hi-Temp and only slightly below Rep plates. The one downside here is the strong rubber odor, which diminishes over time but remains prominent even years after usage.
- High Shore Durometer rating of 88
- Made of virgin rubber
- Has a dead bounce
- Plate width lets you load approximately 500lbs on a barbell
The Not So Good
- May have a strong rubber odor
When it comes to durability, Fringe Sport’s bumpers are in a league of their own. With plates that have been drop-tested over 30,000 times—double the industry standard of 15,000—they are easily among the toughest black bumpers out there. Drop-tests are often only performed on 25lb or higher weight plates, but Fringe Sport tests all their bumpers, including the vulnerable 10-15lb ones. These have an astounding Shore Durometer rating of 90, while the heavier plates rank at 85.
There’s even more to appreciate in these plates. Their beveled edges make them easier to grip or lift off the floor. The hooked steel inserts provide additional sturdiness. They possess very low rubber odor, and they have a weight tolerance of +/- 1%. Fringe Sport also offers a one-year warranty on the 10/15lb plates and three years for the others. These weights are the most expensive black bumpers among the ones we’ve listed. However, these might well be the last bumpers you’ll ever need to purchase.
- All plates are drop-tested over 30,000 times
- 10-15lb plates are among the toughest produced by any manufacturer
- Minimal rubber odor
The Not So Good
- Most expensive among black bumpers in this list
These plates are ideal for anyone on a tight budget. They have many of the hallmarks found in premium bumper plates. Made of recycled rubber, these weights are highly durable and have low bounce. They are made to IWF standard diameter, with 1-2% weight tolerance, and stainless-steel inserts. The rubber smell also dissipates quickly after unpacking. Overall, these plates are extremely suitable for CrossFit WODs as well as weight training or lifting.
Having said that, there are two caveats worth noting. First, these bumpers are thicker than most others on the market, allowing you to load less weight on the bar. Though this shouldn’t worry beginners, more advanced lifters might struggle to load their maximum weight. Secondly, X Training has an inexplicable warranty stipulation that dropping the weights automatically voids it. Given that bumpers are meant to be dropped, this policy is simply odd. That aside, in terms of functionality, X Training offers many of the features you would see in premium bumper plates.
- Very affordable price
- Low rubber smell
- Designed for intensive WODs
The Not So Good
- Plates are thicker than other options
The Best Color Bumpers
|American Barbell KG Pro Series Urethane Plates||
|Rogue KG Training Bumpers||
|Rogue Color Echo Bumpers||
|Rep Fitness REP Color Bumpers||
|Titan Fitness Color Bumpers||
|American Barbell KG Pro Series Urethane Plates|
|Rogue KG Training Bumpers|
|Rogue Color Echo Bumpers|
|Rep Fitness REP Color Bumpers|
|Titan Fitness Color Bumpers|
American Barbell produced the first Urethane plates on the market, and they are yet to be surpassed in terms of quality. The usage of urethane over virgin rubber has five distinct advantages. It makes them unbreakable. American Barbell drop-tests these bumpers over 50,000 times from 8.5 feet, far beyond the industry standard.
The urethane also improves their appearance by creating brighter, more vibrant colors. Not only that, but it also lowers the bounce and allows them to be thinner than virgin rubber plates. Lastly, it doesn’t have any of the rubber odor that you find in other bumpers. Urethane plates generally offer the very best quality money can buy.
If you’re considering Olympic lifting, the kg denotation on these plates mirrors IWF protocol. These plates also have special chrome inserts for added durability. Plus, they come with a five-year warranty. The only downside is that sets of these weights are highly expensive.
- Drop-tested over 50,000 from 8.5 feet
- Vibrant, aesthetically pleasing colours
- Completely odourless
- Available in kgs
The Not So Good
- Very expensive
Rogue’s KG bumpers are the first IWF certified weights on this list, and they do a great job of simulating the plates used in Olympic lifting competitions. The weight tolerance on these are only +/- 15 grams. The colors allow for quick and easy identification, so you don’t spend time trying to distinguish between weights. Plus, these bumpers follow the metric system. Though they have a Shore Durometer rating of 86 – lower than even Rogue’s cheapest range – the difference is negligible and only results in a slightly increased bounce.
These plates are only slightly thicker than American Barbell’s weights, with the 25 kg plate coming in at 2.50” (as opposed to 2.28”)—allowing you to load more weight on the bar. Rogue also offers an LB variation of these plates. Though not IWF certified, they are otherwise almost identical. As with the previous bumpers, the cost might again be an issue for many, yet significantly lower than the American Barbell bumpers.
- These are IWF certified
- Weight tolerance of +/- 15 grams
- Thin plates allow you to load more onto the bar
The Not So Good
- Occasional issues with the center steel insert loosening up
Rogue’s Color Echo bumpers are perfect for those who prefer color bumpers but want all the same versatility and functionality of Rogue’s black Echo plates. Besides a slightly higher price, the two sets of weights are almost indistinguishable. Both have IWF standard diameters, 1% weight tolerance range, stainless steel inserts, and a low bounce to prevent mishaps. They also share the Shore Durometer rating of 88 along with the virgin rubber construction.
All in all, these bumpers have all the qualities of a certifiably premium product at a very affordable price. The rubber holds up brilliantly against wear and tear, while the steel inserts slide on and off the bar easily. As with the black Echo’s, you’ll want to look out for the rubber smell, which can be a little strong initially. The branding and color have also been known to start fading after a while.
- Shore Durometer rating of 88
- Offers high quality at a very reasonable rate
- Inserts are smooth and add durability
The Not So Good
- Colors may start fading after a while
If you’re looking for a pair of weights that’s even cheaper than Rogue’s color bumpers but with the same features and durability, Rep’s color bumpers are the answer to your prayers. These plates are just as good as Rep’s black bumpers. They come with a 6-month warranty for the 10-15lb plates, and 3-year warranties for the rest.
Rep makes their lighter weights, which are generally the most vulnerable, tougher than anyone else’s. Along with being drop-tested over 12,000 times, their lower bumpers are also thicker. You can drop these plates without needing to worry about wear and tear no matter how intense the routine. The only downside here is the rubber odor and some greasiness like with the black bumpers.
- Most affordable color bumpers on this list
- Extra durable 10lb plate
- Has all the features of Rep’s black bumpers
The Not So Good
- May have a strong rubber smell (dissipates over time)
Rounding up the list of color bumpers is another affordable option offered by Titan Fitness. These plates offer the functionality of much more expensive bumpers. With a Shore Durometer rating of 88, these plates rank as highly as premium bumpers. While many bumpers are designed for CrossFit or Olympic lifting, these ones were designed specifically with home gyms in mind. The diameter is only 0.5mm higher than the IWF standard, with steel inserts also among its features.
Despite all the advantages, there are two potential downsides to these plates. Titan color codes its plates differently from other manufacturers, and if you’ve used color bumpers in the past, it might take some time to adjust. Second, their website specifically mentions that these plates are not meant to be dropped. The plates do hold up very well when dropped repeatedly over time, but the warning is somewhat unusual for bumper plates.
- Shore Durometer rating of 88
- Stainless steel inserts
- Designed specifically for home gyms
The Not So Good
- Doesn’t use standard colors for different bumper weights
Should You Get Bumper Plates?
If you’re in the market for weight plates, bumpers are easily the best option for intensive CrossFit training as well as Olympic lifting or general home training. They have several advantages over standard cast-iron plates. These advantages include being less noisy, being less vulnerable to breaking, and resembling the plates used in lifting competitions. You also don’t have to worry about erratic bounce potentially causing injuries. Also, they can be used long-term while being dropped repeatedly and won’t fracture and break.
Despite the fact that they’re usually considerably more expensive, bumper plates have quickly become the gold-standard in gyms of all types due to their many advantages over steel plates. However, given how much you’ll save from damage to the bar, floor, or plates themselves they’re well worth it. Nothing compares to the peace of mind that comes from knowing your weight plates can take a beating. Good bumper plates provide you with that.
Choosing the Right Bumper Plates
As we’ve shown, there’s a variety of bumper plates available with their own unique features. In this section, we’ll break bumpers down into five common and distinct categories to consider when purchasing your own set, including what to look for in each category.
One of the ways to categorize bumpers is by dividing them into black and color bumpers. The latter tend to be slightly more expensive. They both retain the same quality standards. While some black bumpers can be dull and off-putting, many have alluring designs that improve their appearance. These plates can also be as durable as bumpers many times their price, and with a little research, you can save yourself tons of money by buying these.
While durability and aesthetics are two factors to consider, low bounce is another crucial element of quality bumpers. Beveled edges are a bonus that makes them easier to grip, while compliance with IWF standards is another advantage. Also ensure that the shape is completely round, not hexagonal.
Color bumpers are almost entirely the same as black bumpers, other than their vibrancy. The color has two significant advantages, especially if you intend to enter into Olympic lifting. First, it makes the plates easier to distinguish since the heavier plates are all the same diameter. Second, the color coding matches those of plates used by both the IWF and the IPF (International Powerlifting Federation). However, while competition plates are only made in kg, the standard color bumpers are available in lbs as well.
All the requirements of black bumpers apply here as well, with the small addition that some color bumpers fade fairly quickly. While not a deal-breaker, it can be problematic with some manufacturers.
Bumper Plates for Your Home Gym
An alternative way to classify bumpers is through their intended purpose. Bumpers used for home gyms must be affordable, but of high quality to avoid repurchasing. There are several things you can look out for to obtain plates that meet both requirements. Look for bumpers made of virgin rubber instead of recycled rubber. This gives them an even finish which minimizes bounce, increases their hardness, and lowers the common rubber smell. They also ensure that your weights are thinner, letting you load more onto a barbell.
Besides the features noted for black bumpers, another one specific for home gyms is noisiness. This is essential if you have children at home or prefer your workouts to be quiet, and some plates are noticeably louder than others.
Budget Bumper Plates
A third way to categorize plates is through their price, and budget bumper plates can be either colored or black and can be used for any purpose. However, you’ll want to ensure that the ones you want to purchase are of high quality, since budget plates can often break down easily. Knowing that bumper sets cost hundreds of dollars at a minimum, breaking is obviously undesirable. Watch out for a plate’s Shore Durometer rating, and make sure they’re made of virgin rubber. Hooked or molded inserts also add durability.
Bumper Plates for CrossFit
When it comes to CrossFit, the most important variable to consider is durability. Dropping a plate with and without a barbell is fairly different, since bounce is a much more prominent factor in the latter. Demanding WODs often require repeated plate dropping over a short time, making it crucial for bumpers to be both highly resistant and having low bounce. Urethane is the best material for bumpers in both categories, but the price is too high for most. As such, many of the same requirements as budget plates apply here, along with beveled edges for better grip.
Frequently Asked Questions About Bumper Plates
What are bumper plates good for?
There are three prominent advantages of using bumper plates. First, they are ideal for performing a range of lifts due to how safe it is to drop them from an overhead position. Any potential damage to the floor, bar, or plates themselves is minimised with bumper plates.
Second, they can be used with several different types of training routines such as Olympic lifting as well as CrossFit.
Lastly, they’re far less noisy than iron plates when dropped. Thus, if you have young kids, live in a shared house or apartment, or just don’t like making a racket, bumper plates are ideal.
Should I get cast-iron olympic plates or bumper plates?
Cast iron Olympic weight plates are perfectly suitable for Powerlifting, where the lifts are slow, heavy, and you typically don’t drop the bar (e.g., back squats, deadlifts, and bench presses). Iron (or steel) plates are also usually less expensive than bumpers, but are also more susceptible to breaking if dropped. They can also cause damage to your flooring and barbell’s sleeve.
Some studios and gyms continue to use them because of the old-school feeling of the clanging of metal, but bumper plates are bound to be much more versatile in terms of utility.
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 10 Best Bumper Plates on the market right now.
As promised, there’s a wide spectrum of plates listed here, with every conceivable category discussed and analyzed. Even if you don’t end up purchasing any of our suggestions, the information provided here will help you make better choices that will land you the best bumpers for your intended purpose.