Whether you’ve recently acquired an Olympic barbell, or you’re looking to expand your collection of weight plates, you may be confused by the vast range of options currently available. If so, you’re likely wondering which products best meet your needs.
A good set of weight plates will help you to use your bar(s) to best effect, and allow you to complete every possible exercise; from deadlifts to overhead presses.
If you’re not an experienced weightlifter, finding the perfect choice that will fulfill your needs could be hard.
But, we’re here to help: In this article we’ll take a good look at the best olympic weight plates currently on the market that’ll make nice additions to your home gym. We’ve also included a quick buyers guide to help you make an informed decision.
- #1 Rogue Machined Olympic Plates
- #2 Rep Fitness Iron Plates
- #3 Rogue Olympic Plates
- #4 Cap Barbell Olympic Grip Plates
- #5 Fringe Sport Standard Metal Plates
The 5 Best Olympic Weight Plates
An excellent set of US-made weight plates from an excellent manufacturer, Rogue’s machined olympic plates ensure you’ll get the exact weight you ordered. This is because machined weight plates go through a unique process of machining and milling, which grants a precise final weight to the end product.
With a 0-2% weight tolerance in 25-45 lbs plates and 2-3% weight tolerance in the 2.5-10lbs range, you can rest assured that you won’t find more accurate plates unless you’re looking at professional olympic-grade plates, which are way more expensive.
The design and Heavy-Duty Gray Hammertone finish is not only elegant but durable; it’ll take a serious beating to scratch these things and/or lousy maintenance before rust appears.
As with all Rogue products, these are among the more expensive weight plates, but for extremely high quality plates that are precision made in the US, they’re actually very reasonably priced.
Rep Fitness’ cast iron plates are classic weight that represent great value. Their current set of 275 lbs, which includes two pairs of 45 lb and 5 lb plates and one pair of 25 lb, 10 lb, and 2.5 lb at around $245 (at time of writing) might be the cheapest bundle you can find.
However, keep in mind that these are solid cast iron plates and haven’t been machined or gone through an extensive balancing process, so you can expect some small inaccuracies. The weight tolerance is 3-5%, which isn’t too large but can impact your lifts if you’re unlucky enough to get a very uneven pair.
As far as durability goes, the finish on the plates has a very classic and rustic feel, so you won’t have to worry about these things unless you leave them outdoors or in very humid environments.
Ultimately, these Rep Fitness plates are simply the best value, good quality olympic weight plates you’ll find.
Rogue Fitness’ classic take on Olympic weight plate exchanges the machining process of precision for a significant cut in price.
Unlike their machined brothers, these plates don’t specify weight tolerance. That said Rogue is a brand renowned for their quality, so even though traditional cast iron is typically less accurate than machined steel, you can expect low tolerance (approx. 3 – 4% in these classic weight plates. As such, you’re unlikely to find serious discrepancies in weight that might impact your lifts.
The finish on the plates is the conventional and old-school black steel, similar to Rep Fitness and other brands, however, as with all Rogue products it’s durable and tough to break.
These are a great option if you’re looking to compliment a great Rogue bar with some inexpensive but high quality Rogue Oly plates.
Cap Barbell’s weight plates are an inexpensive option that are best suited weightlifting beginners and those with outdoor home gyms.
The thick enamel finish on the plates protects the cast iron from the weather and rust, and with three grips to move them around you’ll be able to transport them easily.
One of the common drawbacks of plates with grips is that they can be weaker around the grips where the metal is thinner, and therefore they may crack if not treated properly. If you go with these plates, make sure you treat them carefully – don’t toss them around or drop them from heights (i.e., at or above waist height) – and they’ll last like any other plate.
Another small downside of these plates is that the manufacturing is obviously not as high quality as some of the above options, as you’re likely to find tolerance of up to 5% of the actual weight.
However, that lower accuracy also results in lower cost – these are cheap but effective plates from Cap Barbell.
Fringe Sport’s standard weight plates are an excellent choice if you’re looking to complete your home gym’s plate set, as they’re high-quality, affordable and consistent.
The finish is classic black steel with an enamel layer, with raised silver numbers and letters that display both kilograms and pounds. Both the paint and finish is reasonably durable, however you may find that the painted numbers flake off quickly.
In terms of precision, although not explicitly stated, the weight tolerance should be around 2-4%.
At the time of writing you could get the the 45 lbs pair for $129, which includes shipping and one year warranty on manufacturing errors. You can’t go wrong with these nice, no-frills plates from Fringe Sport.
Olympic Weight Plates Buyers Guide
At first sight it may seem that all weight plates are the same: Metallic discs to make the bar heavier. This, however, is untrue. There are significant differences between oly plates that can significantly impact the quality of your lifts.
When choosing Oly weight plates, there are three primary factors to take into consideration:
Olympic weight plates are generally made of cast iron but there are machined cast iron plates and rubber or urethane coated plates, which are cast iron with an exterior shell for protection, they are more expensive and often sought by gyms.
Ideally, you should look for machined cast iron weight plates, since they are the best value and have the best precision.
Manufacturers do their best to ensure their weight plates are as accurate as possible. Working with metals, however, is an imprecise art. Accurate weights is a must in serious weightlifting. There’s nothing worse than having to balance two significantly different loads on a bar – it’s difficult, ineffective, and extremely dangerous.
Tolerance is expressed as a percentage and indicates the degree of accuracy to the stated weight. For example, a 45 lb plate with 2% tolerance means that the actual weight will be plus or minus 2% of 45 lbs (0.9 lbs). That is, the plate will be 44.1 – 45.9 lbs.
Ideally, you want weights plates with a 0-2% tolerance, but anything below 4% is fine.
Finally, there’s durability. Most weight plates are made of sturdy materials like cast iron, which realistically shouldn’t break or damage from regular use. However, depending on the manufacturer, there have been reports of weight plates cracking after being dropped, especially in plates with grips.
If you’re going to work out alone in your home gym, transporting and frequently moving plates shouldn’t be something you’ll continuously do, so try to invest in solid weight plates for extended durability.
Well, there you have it: The 5 best olympic weight plates for your home gym, plus a brief buyer’s guide. Armed with the above info, you should be able to grab a good set of plates that fit your needs and budget, and allow you to get the most out of your strength training.
Always remember that the most important thing you should care for when buying weight plates is precision. When buying online always keep an eye out for weight tolerance values.
The weight plates we’ve reviewed above have low weight tolerances, so you don’t have to struggle to balance your bar, especially the machined cast iron plates by Rogue Fitness.
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As always, best of luck with your home workouts. Remember: We can make the effort or make excuses, but we can’t make both.
THFF (The Home Fit Freak)