A few years ago, if you wanted an open-ended trap bar, the only options you had were manufactured by Eleiko and Kabuki strength. Both of them are high-end brands, known for manufacturing competition-grade equipment. So, obviously, their open trap bars used to be ridiculously expensive and not many of us would want to buy them.
Thankfully, a number of affordable options are available these days. The Bells of Steel Open trap bar/Hex Bar 3.0 with rotating sleeves and CAP Barbell Olympic open trap bar are some of them. This article is a detailed review of the Hex bar 3.0 by Bells of Steel.
We have already reviewed the CAP Barbell Olympic open trap bar and the Fitex open trap bar and HulkFit hex bar. If you haven’t read our review articles, please go through them so you can compare all of these options and decide which one suits you the best.
Quick Review Summary
The Hex 3.0 open trap bar by Bells of Steel is a well-built open trap bar that can add a lot of versatility to your workouts. The rotating sleeves are highly marketed by the manufacturer but we don’t think that feature is necessary at all. The sleeves are well-built and compatible with Olympic plates. It can be used to train with up to 700lbs. The sleeves are short though and they cannot hold too many plates. May not be suitable for athletes and people who train heavy but it is a good product for most of us.
- Can stand on its own for easy loading and unloading of plates
- Has two sets of handles so you can grip any of them as per your comfort levels
- Short sleeves restrict the number of weight plates you can load on it
Now on to our full review.
Noteworthy features of Open trap bar 3.0 by Bells of Steel
- Dimension: 59″ long x 23″ wide x 7″ deep
- Weight- 47 lbs
- Max load capacity- 700lbs
- The frame is made of alloy steel with a black zinc finish
- Has built-in bar jacks so the bar stands independently on its own unlike the standard trap bars that had to be placed on barbell jacks for loading. Check out some of the best trap bars that we recommend.
- Has rotating sleeves with bronze bushings. We don’t know if rotation is needed at all but the manufacturer has heavily promoted this feature. Read below for more details.
- Loadable sleeves measure 10” long and 50mm thick
- Comes with 30 days money-back guarantee
- Comes with a limited lifetime warranty
Bells of Steel Hex 3.0 open trap bar weighs much less than the other competitive products
It weighs just 47lbs i.e. 21.3kgs. That’s what the barbells weigh. The manufacturer has intentionally done this so you feel a familiar weight while training with it.
However, other competitive trap bars are quite heavy, which indicates that they are meant for heavy-duty use. For example; the CAP Barbell open trap bar weighs 71 lbs and the Fitek open trap bar weighs 70.5lbs. This extra weight indicates that they have a solid frame.
It is probably the only affordable open trap bar that has rotating sleeves
Rotating sleeves are an important feature of barbells. They keep your wrists safe while performing Olympic lifts such as snatch, clean and jerk, etc.
Trap bars are, however, meant for deadlifts, shrugs, carries, and other lifts where the weight plates or barbell isn’t required to rotate. So, rotating sleeves aren’t really necessary.
That being said, even those barbells that you don’t use for Olympic lifts come with bushings or bearings for the rotation of the sleeves, so why not trap bars? Rotating sleeves anyways help you train comfortably.
Hex bar 3.0 by Bells of Steel has two sets of handles
The higher set of handles provides a shorter range of motion, which is helpful for people suffering from mobility issues. They will not have to bend beyond their comfort zones to do deadlifts. The higher set of handles also helps trainers keep their back flat and maintain good form.
This is the only affordable open trap bar that has dual handles.
The built-in jack makes it easier to load and unload the weight plates
If you have ever used a trap bar, you would know what this means. Look at the below image. Do you think you will be able to add or remove weights from these trap bars instantly?
Now, look at the image of the BOS Hex bar 3.0 below. The jack i.e. the feet makes the whole bar stand independently, so you can quickly and easily change the plates. Plus, it also prevents the bar from rolling off and hitting your shin or crushing your toes.
The jack also prevents the loaded bar from smashing the floor accidentally.
Knurling on the handles is rather passive
As we often say, knurling is a personal choice. Some people love aggressive knurl marks that really dig into the skin and give you a good grip. Others, however, prefer medium knurl marks that make you feel confident enough to hold a loaded bar but they do not really dig into your palms.
Some buyers of the Bells of Steel Hex bar 3.0 have stated that the knurl marks are quite shallow. They should have been deeper but it all depends on your personal preferences.
Loadable sleeves could have been longer
That’s undebatable. The sleeves of the Hex 3.0 open trap bar by Bells of Steel measure just 10” in length. A few buyers have even stated that the sleeves are not even 10”. They are around 9.5”.
If you are a beginner, they may hold enough weight plates to challenge you for some years. Instead of bumper plates or cast iron plates, you can use fractional weight plates to gradually take up your weight training level.
But, if you are already training with a decent amount of weight, you will outgrow this bar sooner than expected. That’s because you won’t be able to load more than 350lbs of plates on them and that too if you choose not to use barbell collars (which we do not recommend). If you use cast iron plates, you might be able to load 400lbs but not beyond that.
That’s strange. A bar rated for 700lbs should at least have sleeves that could accommodate 700lbs of plates.
The only reason why we believe the manufacturer has done this is to cut down the cost
And we totally get it. The competition is really tough and price is often the primary decision-making factor. Every manufacturer has to strive hard to provide the best possible thing at the least possible price.
We appreciate BOS for putting a lot of effort into coming up with an open trap bar that best suits intermediate-level trainers and people who do not intend to lift really heavy. Other competitive products cater to advanced trainers.
We are giving this a rating of 4.4 out of 5.0.
The Hex bar 3.0 open trap bar by Bells of Steel probably deserves a better rating. But, we didn’t like its short sleeves and that’s the only reason why we have rated it a bit low. Anyways, its affordability justifies its shorter sleeve length. So, if you are fine with these not-so-major flaws, do not hesitate to order one for your home gym today.
If you are serious about doing deadlifts with heavy weights, make sure you use a proper deadlift platform to protect your floor and subfloor against damages. Here is how you can build a weightlifting platform.
Don’t want to get into DIYing? Here are some of the best readymade deadlift platforms you can buy.
Before you go, do not forget to check out our list of best weightlifting belts because these accessories can help you lift more weights than what you can without wearing a belt. These belts also help minimize the strain that weightlifting can put on your spine and lower back. More details on the benefits of weightlifting belts are mentioned in our article on Gymreapers 7MM Weight Lifting Belt review.
We also have selected some of the Best Weightlifting Shoes for you just in case you don’t already have one.