This is the third and last article of our ‘best olympic barbell’ series. Here, we will be reviewing 5 high-end barbells meant for people who are already lifting a decent amount of weight and want to upgrade their existing barbell with something better. Some of the barbells listed here are meant for fitness freaks whereas a few others are meant for people who are into competitive sports and need something that is built as per IWF standards.
If you are a teenager, a beginner, or someone who has no intentions of lifting beyond 100lbs or 150lbs, this list is not really suitable for you (unless you are a rich guy). You should check out our list of Best Affordable Olympic Barbells (Under $200). People who have been into strength/weight training for some time should check out our list of Best Mid Range $200-500 Olympic Barbells.
As mentioned above, here we will be reviewing some of the best high-end barbells. As you can guess, these products are really expensive and not easily found on Amazon, Target, or Walmart. Most of them are sold directly by their manufacturers.
Before we go to our list, let's first understand what makes these barbells so expensive and why they worth their high-price.
Features of high-end barbells
Two factors determine the strength of a barbell; tensile strength and yield strength.
- Yield strength is the amount of weight that can be loaded on a barbell before it gets completely deformed. Most manufacturers do not provide this information and we have no clue why.
- Tensile strength- This indicates the amount of weight that can be loaded on a barbell before it breaks. It is measured in PSI i.e. per square inch. The higher the tensile strength, the stronger the barbell is.
Inexpensive barbells usually have a tensile strength of less than 150,000 PSI.
They are usually cheap Chinese products suitable only for beginners and for occasional training. If you are even a bit serious about weight training, buy a barbell that has a tensile strength of at least 150,000-170,00 PSI.
Mid range barbells have a PSI of 175,000-200,000.
They are enough for most of us, as they can hold a decent amount of weight. But, if you are a fitness freak or someone who wants to train like an olympic level athlete, you need high-end barbells with more than 200,000 PSI.
Kabuki strength barbells have highest tensile strength
Well, that’s what we conclude after reviewing so many high-end barbells.
Kabuki Strength ‘The Power Bar’ that we are going to review in this article, has a tensile strength of 250K, which is the highest of all products that we evaluated. Others hang around 215K PSI.
If you are looking for a tough, competition-quality, high-end barbell, you can choose anything that is above 200K PSI.
Image source: Yankee Fitness
The image above depicts barbells without and with a good whip.
So, basically, whip indicates the flexibility that a bar has. The more flexible it is, the more whip it will have and vice versa.
Whip can be good or bad depending on what you want
If you practice snatch and clean & jerk, the whip i.e. the bounce will create a momentum that will help you take the whole load over your head without using too much of your own force.
But, if you are more into static movements such as deadlifts, squats, and bench presses, the whip can be very annoying and may even cause imbalance and injury, especially if you are training with heavy weights.
This video from Fringe Sport will help you understand more. But, if you are already an advanced trainer you probably know this. Anyways, it’s still worth watching.
High-end barbells meant for powerlifting have almost no whip whereas the ones meant for Olympic lifting have an excellent flex that can help you move the loaded barbell above your head using the momentum energy. Make sure you choose something that best suits your needs.
Ball bearing, thrust bearing or needle bearings
As obvious, bushings are only restricted to economy and mid-range barbells. High-end ones have bearings. But, those meant for powerlifting still have bushings no matter what their price is. That's because power bars do not need to spin.
Bearings provide an absolutely smooth spin to the sleeves, no matter how much weight is loaded on them.
To understand why the spin is so crucial, let’s understand the anatomy of a barbell.
The shaft and the sleeves are independent pieces. The sleeves have a thicker diameter and they are basically slipped onto each end of the shaft. Now, if you leave them like that, the sleeves will rotate directly on the shaft and create a lot of friction. This friction can damage the barbell and reduce its life significantly. Plus, it will also put a lot of pressure on the wrists of the lifter.
Bearings or bushings are used to reduce this friction. They fit between the sleeves and the shaft.
Bearings are of three types as mentioned above; ball bearing, thrust bearings, and needle bearing.
Ball bearings are the cheapest
They are usually used in mid-range barbells. Even thrust bearings aren’t that great. High-end barbells have needle bearings because they provide the smoothest, most precise rotation, even when you are training with maximum possible load.
Ideally, the more bearings a barbell has, the smoother spin you will get (unless the bearings are of cheaper quality).
We aren’t discussing other obvious features such as knurling, finish, etc. because they are the standard things and most products in a specific price range and meant for a specific type of audience do not vary much in terms of these features.
Are high-end barbells worth their price?
Image source: Alphamale
The answer depends on what you want to do with it and what you expect from it?
If you are an avid trainer, would you want to take the risk of having a barbell that doesn’t spin well and leaves your wrists sore and injured? Can you trust an inexpensive barbell to handle heavy weights? Would you be OK to have a barbell that gets damaged when dropped or rusted when left in your garage?
If the answers are NO, then yes, high-end barbells are worth their price just as an iphone 13 or a pack of $50 Ralph Lauren boxers are worth their price. You pay for the quality, comfort, technology, and innovation.
A few economy barbells that we have in our home gym are probably 7 or 10 years old and they are still in good shape. And, we can expect them to last for some more years because we take good care of them. But, we do not trust them with heavy weights or for competition training.
5 best high-end barbells for avid trainers, athletes, and bodybuilders
|Name||Bar type||Tensile Strength||Warranty||Our Rating||Price|
|Eleiko Performance Weightlifting Bar||Olympic barbell||215,000 PSI||12 years||4.7/5||Check Price|
|ROGUE PYRROS BAR||Olympic barbell||200,000 PSI||Lifetime||4.7/5||Check Price|
|Stainless Bearing Bar (Comp. Spec.) By American Barbell||Olympic barbell||190,000 PSI||Lifetime||4.6/5||Check Price|
|Kabuki Strength- The Power bar||Power bar||250,000 PSI||5 years||4.7/5||Check Price|
|REP Deep Knurl Power Bar Ex||Power bar||200,000 PSI||Lifetime||4.5/5||Check Price|
This is an obvious recommendation. How could we not have Eleiko in our list of high-end barbells? It is renowned for manufacturing some of the best barbells meant for competitive sports that are used by top athletes and bodybuilders. It sells quite a variety of barbells but its website fails to guide which one is meant for whom. It took us some time to thoroughly evaluate all of them and we have picked up the Performance bar for you.
Although it is designed as per Olympic standards, it isn’t meant for Olympic training. The Eleiko Performance barbell is meant for people who are religiously into strength training and conditioning.
- Dimension- 86.61 in length
- Diameter- 28mm
- Loadable sleeve- 415mm
- Weight capacity- 1500 kg
- Tensile strength- 215,000 PSI
- 1mm knurling
- Has 10 needle bearings
- Sleeves have dust proof seal that keeps it greased for a long time
- Warranty- 12 years
What we like about the Eleiko Performance Weightlifting Bar
Provides everything that you can expect from Eleiko’s competition bar
As obvious, the barbells meant for competitive sports practice are the Rolls-Royce of the industry. They are the finest possible products and that makes them irreplaceable and, of course, expensive.
The Eleiko performance barbell provides everything that you can expect from it's high-end barbells and yet it costs significantly less. It uses the same steel, same bearing, same premium Chrome finish, etc. The only thing that it lacks is IWF certification.
We truly appreciate Eleiko for coming up with this product for people who do not want to settle for anything less than the best.
Probably the most flexible barbell that we have tried so far
Eleiko uses its proprietary Swedish steel blend for all its barbells. The steel has 215K PSI, which means it can be trusted with the heaviest possible weight that you can use for your training.
Despite being so strong, this Performance bar, like all its big brothers, has the typical ‘Eleiko’ flexibility. This whip or flexibility is the foundation of a high-end barbell. If you are a beginner at weight lifting, you might not have to worry about it but if you lift a decent amount of weight, the whip of a barbell can help you minimize the strain that your body has to take.
All high-end Olympic barbells listed here have excellent whip but none of them can match Eleiko, thanks to its ‘treatment process’, as claimed by the manufacturer.
What we don’t like about it
Doesn’t come with lifetime warranty
As mentioned above, the Eleiko performance bar comes with a 12 year warranty, which is great. But, most other competitive barbells, especially the Rogue ones come with a lifetime warranty.
Barbells are probably the toughest home gym equipment but they are also the ones that suffer a lot of rough use. So, a lifetime warranty would have been great. Honestly, we are still happy because Eleiko’s products are unquestionably designed for rough use and we do expect this barbell to last for a lifetime.
Doesn’t have a IWF certification
That's because this Barbell is designed for hardcore fitness trainers and meant to be used in home gyms. It isn't designed for Olympic training. So,Eleiko hasn't got it certified by IWF. If you want an IWF-certified barbell, you can go with Eleiko IWF Weightlifting Training Bar or the Eleiko IWF Weightlifting Competition Bar.
Now, the main issue here is that some of the less expensive barbells listed in this article like the ROGUE PYRROS BAR and the American Barbell's Stainless Bearing Bar come with IWF certification, which means they are suitable for Olympic competition training. But, this one, despite being expensive, is only meant for weight training but not for competition training.
Our Rating: 4.7/5
This is a very basic product as compared to other high-end barbells listed here. It is also one of the most affordable ones. If you are not someone who is willing to spend $1000, Rogue Pyrros bar is the best bet. Although being inexpensive, it is built as per Rogue’s standards, so don’t worry; unless you are Hulk, you probably won’t be able to outgrow this barbell.
Rogue Fitness has named this barbell after Pyrros Dimas, the legendary weightlifter and 3 times world champion. Rogue asked him to help them build an ideal barbell, a product that he believes is the best for him and others. Pyrros helped Rogue Fitness decide the exact knurling, the spin, the finish, the whip, and all other important features. The final product met his expectations and that's why Rogue named it after him.
Now, since Pyrros Dimas was involved in the designing of this barbell, it is obvious that there wasn’t any guesswork. The manufacturer created something that the buyers wanted and not something that it could make within its comfort zone. No wonder why Rogue Pyrros bar has made it to our list of high-end barbells.
- Dimension: total length- 86.60″, loadable sleeves- 16.30″
- Weight: 20kg
- Tensile strength: 200,000 PSI
- You can choose the shaft to be in stainless steel or chrome finish
- Has needle bearings. 5 bearings in each sleeve.
- Warranty- Lifetime
What we like about it
IWF certified barbell
It isn’t easy to get IWF certification. You will have to adhere to strictest quality measures and manufacture products that can be used in IWF competitions and events. No wonder why IWF certified barbells are so expensive. Only Rogue has made it possible to provide you with an IWF certified bar in a $600 price range. Rogue Pyrros barbell gives tough competition to other IWF certified barbells manufactured by distinguished brands such as Uesaka, Eleiko, etc.
Less expensive than other competitive products such as Eleiko Performance bar
Rogue Pyrros barbell provides everything that you can expect from its more expensive counterpart, the Eleiko Performance barbell. Be it 10 needle bearings or the excellent whip, it doesn’t lack anything.
Plus, it comes with a lifetime warranty, a standard set by Rogue Fitness! The only area where it can’t beat the Performance bar is the tensile strength but that doesn’t matter unless you want a training barbell for your upcoming IWF competition.
What we don’t like about it
Knurling is very aggressive
A few buyers have stated that the knurling is quite rough and might dig your skin or make you feel uncomfortable. But, that’s because this barbell is meant for Olympic training. Eleiko and Uesaka barbells have even more aggressive knurlings.
As we always say, knurling is a subjective thing. Some like it passive whereas many others like it to be razor-sharp. In general, high-end barbells have aggressive knurl marks. If you are not comfortable, you might go with Rogue Ohio barbells or wear gloves.
Our Rating: 4.7/5
This American Barbell bar has a low tensile strength compared to other high-end barbells listed here but it is still good enough for people who want to train hard. It is a very basic barbell but it excels where it needs to excel such as in spin, whip, and durability. The spin is probably the smoothest you can expect in barbells under $1000. And, it only gets better with higher loads. Read below to learn more about American Barbell’s patent-pending spin system.
- Dimension: total length- 86.6”, loadable length 16.3″
- Weight: 20kg (available in 15kg as well)
- Tensile Strength: 190,000 PSI
- Manufactured as by IWF specifications but the manufacturer hasn’t mentioned if it is certified by IWF or not
- Comes with internal chalk or dust guard
- Comes with lifetime warranty
What we like about it
Uses its proprietary bearing technology in its sleeves
Most people assume the faster the barbell spins, the better it is. But, that's wrong. The barbell shouldn't just spin randomly. Rather, it should spin smoothly and effortlessly and that too when it is heavily loaded.
American Barbell claims that its proprietary bearing Technology helps address this important feature of high-end barbells meant for competitive sports. It utilizes a slightly different needle bearing system, in which the bearings do not come in direct contact with the bar shaft. They have a grooved sleeve or race separating them from the shaft.
This technology helps the bars spin smoothly and consistently, especially when they are loaded with excessive weight. Plus, it also helps make the barbell spin quietly. AB claims that its evolved spinning system enhances the overall durability of the barbell.
What we don’t like about the American Barbell Stainless Bearing Bar
The sleeves are made of hard chrome
Hard Chrome finish is usually used in mid-range barbells because it is cheaper than stainless steel.
American Barbell products are decently priced and meant for competitive sports training. So, we expected this barbell to match the overall industry standards. To be honest, hard chrome does a pretty good job in preventing corrosion but it still can't compete with stainless steel.
Anyways, it is still a pretty good product for its price.
The knurling is rather passive
As we always say, knurling is a personal choice. Some people like razor sharp knurling marks whereas some others prefer the sandpaper type. However, the choice of knurling also depends on the amount of weight a user is going to lift. Barbells for beginners have passive knurl marks whereas the mid-range ones have moderate to aggressive marks to help the user get a good grip even with sweaty hands.
This American Barbell bar is designed for advanced lifters and people who are into competitive Sports. So, obviously the knurling should have been a bit aggressive. Rather, buyers have stated that it is mild and gets a bit slippery when you have sweaty hands.
Our Rating: 4.6/5
First thing that we want to tell you about this bar is that it is not meant for everyone. It is a very pricey equipment and price matches with the high-end features that makes it suitable for people like Kevin Oak.
Secondly, it is a power bar, not an Olympic weightlifting bar. If you are already into competitive sports, you probably know the difference. But, just in case you are a fitness freak and need something better for your home gym, you should know that power bars are meant for benching, back squatting, and deadlifts. They are not for Olympic moves such as clean and jerk, snatches, etc. but you can still use them if you are not lifting a muscle-breaking amount of weight.
Power bars are supposed to be rigid because you can’t keep your balance while back squatting with a loaded barbell that bounces up and down. So, this Kabuki Strength power bar has very less whip. Please keep this mind and buy it only when it suits your exercising needs.
Thirdly, as we mentioned at the beginning of the article, Kabuki Strength barbells are the only ones that use steel with 250,000 PSI tensile strength, making it incredibly strong and as stiff as a power bar should be.
- Dimensions- total length- 86.5”, loadable sleeve length- 16.5”
- Shaft diameter- 29mm
- Weight- 20kg
- Tensile strength- 250,000 PSI
- Available in three different finishes.
- Uses bushings instead of bearings. This is because power bars are not required to spin.
- Warranty- 5 years
What we like about it
Electroless Nickel coating
If you have set up a home gym in your garage or any other area of where humidity levels are high, your barbell and other equipment will rust away sooner than you expect. Very few barbells are designed for such an environment and this Kabuki Strength Power bar is one of them. The stainless steel shaft plus an electroless Nickel coating on it provides the strongest possible resistance to corrosion, making it a barbell that you can trust for a lifetime.
You will have to pay an extra price for this high-grade coating but it's worth it.
Highly durable knurling
Watch this video above where the founder of Kabuki Strength, Chris Duffin, has spun his Power bar against another competitive barbell. The knurl marks of the competition bar faded away within seconds whereas the Kabuki barbell remained intact.
You might wonder how this is relevant to you. Well, it is relevant because it demonstrates the quality of steel used for making the barbell. 250,000 PSI is worth its hype. No matter how hard you train, this barbell is going to last long.
Aggressive knurl marks for serious powerlifting sessions
Kabuki Strength power bar uses diamond knurling marks, which is pretty common. But, what’s uncommon is their depth and aggressiveness.
The knurl points are mountain-style, not flat-hill style. As obvious, mountain-styled points are aggressive as they stick to your palm and make it grippy enough even if you have sweaty hands. But, don’t get us wrong; they don’t dig into your skin or cut through it. The knurl marks are hard because you need them that way for powerlifting.
According to the manufacturer, the Power Bar has a high knurl point density i.e. there are more points per square inch than other competition barbells. Now, the more the number of points, the better grip you will get.
What we don’t like about it
In the video above, Chris Duffin has claimed that their barbell is the strongest one in the market. The tensile strength is unmatched, especially among barbells under $1000. Yet, the manufacturer is offering just a 5 years warranty on it!
Rogue and American Barbell are offering lifetime warranties for products that are much cheaper than this one.
The warranty period reflects the amount of trust a company has on its products. If Rogue offers lifetime warranty, it knows what its products are made of and how long they can last. Kabuki Strength should also consider extending its warranty to maybe 10 years or lifetime.
Our Rating: 4.7/5
If Kabuki Strength is not in your budget, you can opt for this REP Fitness Power bar. It is entirely made of stainless steel, a rare feature in this price range. Others like American Barbell, despite being expensive, have hard chrome sleeves. As mentioned above, stainless steel is more resistant to corrosion, so it definitely makes this REP bar suitable for garages and other areas where humidity is an issue.
As obvious from its name, it is meant for powerlifting moves only such as deadlifts and squats. It is stiff with almost no whip.
- Dimensions: Total length- 86.52 in, loadable sleeves- 16.25″
- Shaft diameter- 29mm
- Weight- 20kg
- Tensile strength- 200,000 PSI
- Uses bronze bushing systems for spin
- Has almost no whip
What we like about it
If you aren’t an athlete, you probably don’t need an Eleiko or Kabuki Strength bar that could rip your pockets. You just need something that is enough to let you challenge yourself. REP Fitness Deep Knurl Power Bar is probably the only option below $500 that you can trust for training with a crazy amount of weight.
The bar has end-to-end stainless steel finish. It is made of 250,000 PSI strength steel, something that only premium quality barbells like Rogue, Eleiko, and American Barbell use. It too comes with a lifetime warranty. What more can you expect from a $500 barbell!
We highly recommend it for people who want to train hard and yet do not want to spend $700 for something that is almost similar to this one.
What we don’t like about it
The sleeves are perfectly smooth
Look at the above picture. They are enviably smooth, which isn’t something we like. The grooved sleeves are great for keeping the plates secured during workouts.
You anyways won’t be working out without using barbell clamps but the manufacturer should have still provided slightly groovy sleeves.
Not a dealbreaker but you should know.
Check out these best barbell collars if you don’t already have a decent set.
Knurling is passive considering that it is meant for powerlifting
Image Source: Lift The Barbell
The top barbell is the Rogue Power bar and the below one is the REP power bar. As you can see, there is a lot of difference in the knurling.
The Rogue bar can’t just slip out of your hands without taking some of your skin.
REP deep Knurl Power bar doesn’t have such deep knurls. If you aren’t lifting really heavy weights, this shouldn’t be a problem. But, if you are looking for a competition-grade barbell, this might not match the standard because of passive knurl marks.
Well, again, knurling is a personal choice, so we suggest that you should give it a try and see how it feels on your hands.
Our Rating: 4.5/5 (only because of passive knurling marks)
We hope you like our list of best high-end barbells. We have tried our best to provide you with an unbiased list of products that provide the best value for money and serve their purpose to the fullest.
Buy good quality weightlifting shoes as well
If you are looking for a top-quality barbell for hardcore training, we assume you would also need good quality, weightlifting shoes. These shoes are not your regular walking or running shoes. Weightlifting shoes are specifically designed to help you keep grounded and stable during lifts. They often have a firm yet cushioned sole and an elevated platform.
This article on 8 Best Weightlifting Shoes will provide you with more details and some good recommendations.
Upgrade your gym flooring to handle heavy weights
Make sure you upgrade your gym flooring to handle the extra weight that you will be using on it. The conventional flooring options such as puzzle tiles are not enough to protect your floor against damages. You need to cover it with something thicker, denser, and more reliable like Horse stall mats from Tractor Supply Co.
Horse stall mats are stinky, which is why a lot of people assume that they are toxic. But, that's not true. So far, no study has ever concluded that they are toxic or cancerous.
We understand your concern because no one would want to use toxic products in their home. This is why we did extensive research to find out the truth. Our article on ‘Are Horse Stall Mats Toxic’ will provide you more insight on our research and conclusion. And, don’t worry about their stinkiness. Here is how you can get rid of the smell from horse stall mats.
Need squat racks or readymade deadlift platforms? We have some recommendations for you.
Rogue Fitness squat racks can burn a hole in your pockets. But, don’t worry. We have spent weeks figuring out its cheaper alternatives. Check out our article on The Best Squat Racks Besides Rogue’s for some of our top recommendations.
If you don’t want to do DIY with horse stall mats and wood, etc. you can buy readymade deadlift platforms. They are expensive but they are an absolute necessity for your home gym floor, especially if you have started lifting heavy.
Looking for recommendations for some other home gym equipment? Just leave a message and we will be happy to help!