Buying a bumper plate set may not sound like a big deal because, no matter which one you pick, they are all made of a metal core with a thick rubber coating.
But, once you start using them, you realize not all of them are equal. The cheaper ones could be made of crumb rubber, which is brittle and bouncy. Good quality bumper plates are usually made of virgin rubber, which is stronger and less bouncy. This helps prolong their life and the life of your barbell.
With so many options to choose from, it is but natural for you to feel lost. That’s why we have come up with our list of best affordable bumper plates that has some of the top-rated products meant for decent home use.
This article is an in-depth review of the REP Fitness Black Bumper Plates, which has made it to our above list. We have also written detailed reviews of many other top-rated products such as AMGYM LB Bumper Plates and Titan Fitness LB economy black bumper plates, so do not hesitate to do a thorough comparison before placing your order.
PS: If you are an athlete, these budget bumper plates may not be a good option for you. But, don’t worry, we have already created a list of the best competition bumper plates that should be good enough to bear the toughest possible uses.
Quick Review Summary
As expected from a good-quality, long-lasting product, the REP Fitness black bumper plates are made of virgin rubber. Just in case you don’t know, virgin rubber is more durable i.e. it is less prone to chipping and cracking when compared to crumb rubber. Virgin rubber also has a very low bounce, so the REP Fitness Black bumper plates are going to keep your barbell and floor safe even when you drop them regularly, which you mustn’t. Plus, the steel inserts have hooks that help them stay firmly hooked to rubber, so they do not come out prematurely.
There are two things that you may not like about these REP Fitness black bumper plates; they have a strong odor and they are more expensive than other competitive products. However, if you are looking for quality products, do not hesitate to spend a few more dollars on these bumper plates.
- Made of virgin rubber
- Have hooked stainless steel inserts for longer durability
- Tested to last for more than 12000 drops
- Have a low bounce
- 3-year warranty
- Expensive than other competitive products
- Have a strong rubber smell
We are giving this a rating of 4.8 out of 5.0.
Now on to our full review.
- Sold as pairs of 5lbs, 10lbs, 15lbs, 25lbs, 35lbs, and 45lbs. Not sold as sets but you can anyways make your own set by choosing individual pairs, as needed.
- Made of virgin rubber.
- Diameter of the plates- 17.7”
- Have hooked steel inserts for extra durability.
- This review is of black bumper plates but color-coded ones are available too.
- The plates have a low bounce. We do not know what is the durometer/shore rating, a factor that decides the bounce but we guess it would be around 85.
- The manufacturer claims that these plates are factory tested to withstand more than 12,000 drops from 8’ height.
- Warranty- 6 months for 10 and 15lbs plates and 3 years for the rest. 1 year warranty for commercial use.
REP Fitness black bumper plates are a good investment for fitness enthusiasts and athletes on a budget
As mentioned above these weight plates are made of virgin rubber, which is much better than the cheaper ones that are made of crumb rubber.
Crumb rubber plates are the ones that are made by processing recycled rubber with binding agents and some chemicals. They lack aesthetic appeal and they are more prone to cracking and chipping than virgin rubber plates.
Crumb rubber also has a low shore/durometer rating, something which determines the bounce. The higher the durometer rating is, the lower will be the bounce and that's exactly what you need. If your plates bounce a lot when dropped, the inserts will start to loosen up and may come out, rendering the plate useless.
REP Fitness black bumper plates have a very low bounce, so you can expect them to last much longer than the ones that are made of crumb rubber. A low bounce also helps protect the barbell’s sleeves and your floor.
The 10lbs plates are thicker than they should have been but almost all manufacturers intentionally make them thicker to ensure they don’t bend or ‘taco’ when dropped. The 45lbs plates are thinner than other competitive products, which helps save space on the sleeves of the barbell, so you can add more plates.
REP Fitness offers up to 3 years warranty on its plates, which is surprisingly good because other competitors are hardly offering 1-year warranty.
The steel inserts have hooks molded into the rubber
Just in case you don’t know what a steel insert is, see the above image.
These inserts help maintain the shape of the hole of the bumper plates so you can slide them in and out of the barbell easily. If these inserts come out, the plates will be useless, as you won’t be able to load them on the barbell. There are some DIY methods to fix it back on the plate but they are all temporary fixes.
The only reason why the inserts could separate from the plate is rough use, which is mostly dropping. If you are rather careful with them, you may not worry about buying the best bumper plates for your home gym. But, if you want something that could last for a lifetime and can bear a bit of rough use, you will have to be careful while making a purchase.
The Fringe Sport Black Bumper Plates and the REP Fitness black bumper plates have hooked inserts like these:
The fangs/hooks get so well-embedded into the rubber that they don’t let the insert loosen up any time soon. No wonder why the REP Fitness black bumper plates are one of the top-rated products with hundreds of satisfied buyers claiming that the quality exceeds their expectations. Just make sure you don’t drop these (or any other) plates when done. And, then they should last for more than a decade.
Just so you know, the Titan Fitness LB Economy bumper plates have reinforced inserts i.e. they have an extra tie-wire that works exactly like the hooks and allow larger and stronger adhesion to the rubber so the inserts do not loosen up prematurely.
The REP Fitness black bumper plates have a strong rubber odor that takes weeks to go away
That's the most common issue buyers have. Unlike Rogue Echo Bumper Plates V2 and Titan Fitness LB economy black bumper plates, the REP black bumper plates have a very strong odor, which could take some time to dissipate. If you have a basement gym with not-so-great ventilation, you may not be able to use them until the smell goes away.
All rubber products smell and there is nothing much you can do about it. The ones made of recycled rubber have a far more overwhelming smell than the ones made of virgin rubber. The manufacturer claims that the REP Fitness Black bumper plates are made of virgin rubber, so we didn’t expect them to have such a strong odor.
In case you are worried about the harmful effects of the rubbery odor; we would like to inform you that there is no scientific evidence available as of writing this article that states that rubber odor or rubber products such as horse stall mats are toxic.
The smell of the plates will go away within days if you air them out properly.
We are giving this a rating of 4.8 out of 5.0.
The last thing that we would like to add here is that the REP Fitness black bumper plates are more expensive than Titan LB economy bumper plates and other similar products. As they say, quality comes for a price. Titan economy bumper plates aren’t bad though, so in case you are low on budget, you can go with it.
That’s it for this article. If you have any questions or queries, do not hesitate to get in touch with us.