What is the best trap bar on the market?
Looking for more tools for your toolbox? A trap bar might be exactly what you’ve been missing.
Trap bars – also referred to as hex bars – are enclosed, trapezoidal bars. Lifters stand in the middle of the metal frame and grip a pair of handles that run parallel to the arms.
Being centrally positioned means, the weight is loaded straight along the line of the body.
Basically, you’re pulled down, not forward – as is the case for straight bar movements.
The mechanics inherent to the bar help protect your back during heavy compound movements like the deadlift.
They’ve earned a decent reputation in athletic training and rehabilitative programs for their advantageous, safe leverages.
But what bar should you go with?
We’ve researched many options and chosen 10 candidates for the best trap bar out there – evaluated for quality, value, and customer satisfaction.
Let’s dive in!
The Best Trap Bars Compared
Our equipment lists are created by researching the best-reviewed products from the most reputable companies and web sources.
Here’s our list of the 10 best trap bars on the market:
In A Rush? Here’s Our Top Pick:
We’ve gone with CAP Barbell’s Olympic Trap Bar.
Manufactured in a sleek red and black aesthetic, this 28lb trap bar taps out the competition with its fantastic price point, and quality carbon steel build.
Individuals looking for an affordable, sturdy addition to their home gym or personal equipment collection will be more than satisfied by CAP’s model.
At a 500lb weight capacity, 74,000 PSI tensile strength, and 37,000 PSI shear strength, the bar will endure regular use by beginners, intermediates, and hobbyists.
10. HulkFit – Olympic Open-Frame Trap Bar
HulkFit will show up on our list a few times. That’s because their trap bar comes in a number of different shapes, sizes, and designs.
They achieve the same general purpose, but personal preference will dictate which one you’re most drawn to.
To start, their open trap bar stands as the end-all, be-all open frame bar in our recommendations.
At a 1000lb weight capacity, and with 83” of total bar width, lifters of all strength levels, stances, and body sizes will feel right at home using this piece of equipment.
- Multiple designs – standard enclosure frame and open trap bar frame
- 1000lb weight capacity – higher load-bearing than many competitors
- Longer weight sleeves than most other options
- Reviews have noted some inconsistencies with the weight capacity
9. Valor Fitness – OB-HEX Super Trap Bar
Valor Fitness’ OB-HEX “super” trap bar looks more like a satellite component than a piece of gym equipment.
Primarily black, its 4 rotating handles are finished in shiny chrome. The handles vary in diameter, allowing you to change up your grip width, angle, and difficulty.
The bar is fitted with rubber stoppers along its bottom portion for additional balance, and to reduce any damage to the floor from accidental drops.
- Rotating handles enable lifters to modify their grip height and width – large amount of variability
- Built-in rubber stoppers protect the floors from accidental slamming
- Max load weight of 500lbs can limit advanced lifters who wish to load the bar up
- More parts involved in the construction increases the risk of coming apart due to wear and tear or poor welding
8. GYMAX – Olympic Hex Trap Bar
The GYMAX Olympic trap bar equips users with adjustable handles.
The grips are bolted to the frame and can unlock into horizontal or vertical positions.
Doing so allows lifters to modify their grip width, hand placement, and exercise range of motion. GYMAX includes a pair of snap springs to lock in your plates after loading.
- Mobile handles that can be adjusted vertically or horizontally for varied grips and ranges of motion
- Straightforward, sturdy design with adjustable components to improve storage ability
- Knurling may be a bit more subtle than other options – not ideal for those who prefer a sharper grip
7. PEXMOR – Olympic Hex Trap Bar
Back to the basics. Pexmor’s Olympic trap bar is exactly what you probably picture in your head when conceptualizing a trap bar.
This 45lb bar is effectively graded up to 600 lbs and loads any weight with the appropriate 2” aperture.
Similar to GYMAX, Pexmor provides a set of spring collars for your weights with the purchase of any hex bar.
- 600 lb weight limit is appropriate for beginners, intermediates, and many advanced lifters
- Long handles at varying heights with knurling along the entire length – many different possible grip positions and angles
- Arrives with complimentary spring collars (2 ct)
- Trap bar frame can be a bit restricting to larger individuals or those with wider stances
6. HulkFit – Olympic 2-Inch Hex Trap Bar (Chrome)
HulkFit rises again. This time, we’re evaluating their closed frame 2-inch hex bar.
The bar comes with the same general specs – a 1000lb weight capacity, and 56” length and 21.65” W.
Whereas the open-frame model weighs 77lbs, the closed design is only 45lbs – better aligned to the standard weight of straight barbells.
Some people note a slight difference in the center of gravity when using open frame bars, which is why we’ve placed a more traditional model higher. However, preference takes priority.
- Multiple designs – regular and open – to accommodate different space restrictions and lifter needs
- 1000 lb weight capacity perfectly meets the needs of lifters of all experience levels
- Reviews sometimes note the knurling workmanship as lacking
5. Papababe – Hex Trap Bar
Papababe’s hex bar pumps up the weight capacity to 800 lbs, making it a close runner up to HulkFit’s 1000lb models.
Cold rolled steel and a chrome varnish come together to provide a definitive trap bar experience.
If there’s any complaint to be had about this bar, it’s that the sleeves maybe a little too short to accommodate anything near 800 lbs. Length restrictions are not exclusive to Papababe, however.
If anything, it just means Papababe’s bars have been given the proper engineering controls to endure a lifetime of frequent, mid-range use. That’s reliability.
- 800 lb weight capacity provides a great range for lifters at all levels of experience – beginners, intermediates, and advanced
- Sharp, diamond knurling for superior grip – something that is often lacking in trap bar design
- Bar coating can be susceptible to chipping while it is being broken in
4. Synergee – Olympic Hex Trap Bar
Reliable. Sturdy. Clean. Heavy-duty. What more can you ask for out of a bar? Synergee’s trap bar comes in 20 kg and 25 kg base models and is graded to 750 lbs.
Handles are arranged both in high and low positions to allow for grip and range of motion variability.
With any-reason replacements on their products, Synergee is also selling you peace of mind and complete satisfaction.
- Multiple weight (20 kg and 25 kg) and color (chrome and black) options are available for variability
- 750lb weight capacity is suitable for all levels of experience and uses
- Bar enclosure might be a bit constrained for wide stance lifters
- The coating might tarnish relatively easily
3. CAP Barbell – Olympic Super Trap Bar
CAP is another multi-appearance star on our list.
We like CAP for their commitment to affordable, reliable products all across the fitness equipment industry.
Their Olympic “Super” trap bar is crafted to a 64-inch length and 31-inch width. That’s good news for larger or wider stance lifters who need some extra room around the legs.
The sleeves are elevated away from the bar, so you never have to struggle against the floor sliding weight plates on.
Like other CAP hex bar models, the bar is graded to 74,000 PSI tensile strength, 37,000 PSI shear strength, and a 750lb weight capacity.
- 64-inch length provides extra legroom for wider stance or larger lifters
- 750lb weight capacity meets the accessory needs of elite athletes and top-end demands of beginner and intermediate athletes
- Rubber footed, shock resistant bolts to protect the floor and ensure ease of weight loading
- 74,000 PSI tensile strength and 37,000 PSI shear strength – many competitors, do not even list these measurements! A great indicator of the bar’s resilience to deformation over time.
- The sleeve design can cause the hex bar’s balance to tilt slightly forward or backward at heavier weights
2. HulkFit – 20 KG Olympic Hex Trap Bar
HulkFit shows up for the third time on our list – this time taking a commendable 2nd place.
Competition is fierce – any one of the options on this list will provide you with a complete lifting experience.
The HulkFit 1000lb weight capacity standard for its bars makes them the most durable bars of all our selections.
Any of HulkFit’s models will perfectly suit intermediate to advanced lifters, or individuals who just want a heavier-duty construction.
- 1000lb weight capacity that meets the needs of any kind of athlete or lifter
- Extremely great value for weight capacity, quality design, and price
- Dimensions may be restricting for larger athletes or lifters with broader stances
1. CAP Barbell – Olympic Trap Bar
CAP Barbell takes the top spot with their Olympic trap bar model.
Like their “Super” trap bar, this piece of equipment is graded to 74,000 PSI tensile strength, 37,000 PSI shear strength, and a 500lb weight capacity.
That’s a bit lighter than other options on the list, but the bar itself is relatively compact by design.
We selected this bar as the top spot specifically for its balance of maneuverability and portability while still maintaining notable durability metrics.
CAP’s Olympic trap bar is by far one of the best options for lifters on the go, or with limited equipment space.
- More compact design than its competitors – great for a discrete home gym
- Carbon steel bolted, with 74,000 PSI tensile strength and 37,000 PSI shear strength – unlikely to bend or deform even with frequent, heavy use
- Dimensions are better suited to narrow stance lifters – larger individuals may struggle to find the right amount of clearance once inside the frame
FAQs About Trap Bars
Here are our answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about trap bars:
Q: What is a trap bar good for?
The trap bar shows up in all kinds of programming – from sports-specific training to being used as powerlifting accessories.
Al Gerard, a powerlifter in the 80s, engineered the first trap bar to help him train around a lower back injury.
The design of hexagonal bars enables lifters to emulate a number of straight barbell movements with a different center of gravity.
While lifting a standard bar, the body will be pulled forward as force is exerted against the weight.
Hex bars align the load directly along the vertical axis of the body – meaning there are fewer potential torsional forces experienced by the lower back.
People who are looking for a lower body exercise variation that limits strain on the back might benefit from access to a trap bar.
The central loading favors activation of the quadriceps to initiate movement of the bar – similar to a hack squat.
Athletes and bodybuilders regularly utilize trap bar deadlifts (as an alternative to straight bar squats or conventional deadlifts) to target quad and glutes development while minimizing fatigue to their lower backs and hamstrings.
A trap bar can also be used for lunges, shrugs, rows, and a number of pressing variations.
Lifting equipment is mostly limited by your imagination – not design.
Q: Why is it called a trap bar?
There are a number of guesses that have persisted through the years regarding the trap bar’s name.
Does it refer to the trapezius muscles (which the trap bar is great for targeting)? Maybe it’s called a trap because you may feel “trapped” standing inside a closed bar?
Unfortunately, the real answer is the least inventive. The trap bar is trapezoid-shaped. Similarly, hex bars form an enclosed hexagon.
Though the shape differs, both trap and hex bars achieve the same end goal: aligning the center of gravity with the body.
Q: What kind of trap bar is best?
The best trap bar is the one that meets your goals – pure and simple.
Consider pricing, material quality, handle design, knurling, and base weight.
Poorly made bars can begin to warp early into their use cycle. If the knurling is too light, gripping the handles might prove difficult at heavier weights.
If the knurling is too sharp, it might rough up your hands a bit too much with frequent use.
Q: What’s the difference between a trap bar and a hex bar?
A trap bar is trapezoidal.
A hex bar is hexagonal.
Trust us; we would’ve hoped for something a bit more impactful than that, too.
Often, hex bars are categorized under as “trap,” and the terms are used interchangeably. The purpose of both bars is to center the weight’s alignment straight up and down along the body.
The most important aspect regarding differences between trap bar variations is the placement of the handles, not the bar’s shape.
Q: What size trap bar do I need?
The size of a trap bar does not typically vary enough to be a game-changing element.
Things like the spacing of the handles, their heights, or the length and width of the hex bar itself might impact how you are able to store the bar.
If you have space limitations, an open-design hex bar might be best. Otherwise, size will mostly be a matter of personal preference.
Q: Are trap bar movements easier than straight bar movements?
The term “easier” gets thrown around a lot in gyms and lifting circles.
It’s more accurate to say that the trap bar allows for a superior mechanical position in certain lifts.
For instance, lifters are usually able to hex bar deadlift more than their conventional, straight bar deadlift.
Saying one is easier than the other doesn’t quite tell the story, since you can just continue loading the trap bar until it’s as hard or harder than the other variation.
In fewer words: yes, a trap bar will likely allow you to lift more total weight. But no, the weight lifted will not be the same as if you were using a straight bar.
With a hex bar, you will be engaging different muscle groups and training unique movement patterns that are not guaranteed to transfer over to straight bar variations (and vice versa).
Q: What can I use if I don’t have a trap bar?
Short of stacking 4 barbells together in a square-like formation like a crazy person, your options are limited.
A trap bar is a fairly unique piece of equipment that is difficult to replicate fully.
That said, a trap bar loads the body in a similar way to dumbbells (when they are held at your sides).
You’ll be able to keep your weight aligned over your center of gravity, but this isn’t a perfect solution.
Trap bar handles will have your arms angled differently than holding dumbbells, and the grip widths and knurling will certainly differ.
Depending on your strength levels, you’ll be limited by dumbbell weight.
If you’re deadlifting over 400lbs on a trap bar, you’re going to be hard-pressed to find a pair of 200lb dumbbells or more to match it.
Q: Is the trap bar safer?
The trap bar was invented specifically to address training around lower back issues in training. Innately, they’re no more or less safe than any kind of barbell or dumbbell.
Proper use and healthy movement trump equipment safety any day of the week.
The bar, however, places less overall strain on the lower back during barbell-analogous lifts – like deadlifts, lunges, shrugs, and rows.
Individuals experiencing a low-back injury or general concern for their lower back might benefit from replacing straight bar movements with a trap bar.
Q: Are trap bar deadlifts safer than straight bar deadlifts?
In general, trap bar deadlifts are mechanically safer than straight bar deadlifts.
The weight on a trap bar is loaded linearly along the body’s primary axis, meaning there are far fewer torsional forces being placed on the body than in front-loaded straight bar movements.
Q: Is a trap bar cheating?
Whenever the word “cheating” is brought up to describe something related to lifting, we should ask what it’s being compared to.
For example, newer lifters like to refer to the use of straps as cheating. But, cheating relative to what?
Trap bar lifts are trap bar lifts with their own specific techniques, form, and loading. They don’t need to be directly compared to straight bar movements, nor should they be.
Let’s be honest: should someone claim they deadlift 500lbs if they’ve only executed the weight on a trap bar? Probably not.
However, they’re not technically wrong, and it doesn’t mean they cheated at any point. It’s simply a different variant on a specific lift.
Q: How much weight can a trap bar hold?
Bars are usually rated to a certain weight capacity. The amount a trap bar can bear before deforming or warping will depend on the material and make of the bar.
If a bar’s weight capacity is rated for 500lbs, then it should withstand up to that weight without significant impact on the bar’s integrity – on paper, at least.
In reality, most bars begin to flex and bend well below their rated weight threshold.
That 500lb rated bar would likely begin to deform around 225lb – 315lb and be near its last legs at max load.
If possible, find a bar that is rated on its tensile strength (TS). TS will give you a better idea of the bar’s resilience against bending at heavier loads.
Q: Can you do squats with a trap bar?
Technically, yes, you can perform certain variations of the squat with a trap bar.
If the handles are low enough to the ground, or you invert a set of raised handles (so that they hang lower than the bar’s frame), you can effectively execute analogs to a hack squat or goblet squat.
You can also perform lunges and Bulgarian split squats – so long as you carefully coordinate your movements to avoid smashing your shin against the frame.
If you want to get a little more mad scientist with your options, you could simply hold the trap bar around you at shoulder level and perform a traditional squat motion.
You won’t be moving much weight this way, and people will definitely look at you funny. Experiment at your own risk.
Q: Are trap bars worth it?
Strength and conditioning coaches from all over the weightlifting world have gone back and forth on the value of the trap bar in effective programming.
Some argue that there’s not enough transferability to other movements.
Others defend the bar by noting its use in rehab, or for its use in safely introducing movement patterns in novice lifters or injured individuals.
A good adage for lifting goes like this: another tool in your toolbox can’t hurt.
Having access to varied equipment means your gym is always going to be prepared for different training circumstances – the most difficult of them being injury.
Trap bars can help you train around injuries, or get in additional volume for your posterior chain without excessively taxing the lower back and spine. That could very well be an invaluable benefit.
Q: How to choose the best bar for me?
What are your needs? Do you want a higher seated grip or a low handle? Rough or smooth knurling, or somewhere in between?
Would you prefer the bar to have a heavier base weight, or be lighter? Do you have limited space in your gym area?
This way or that, our list has set you up with 10 great trap bar options.
Evaluate the characteristics of each bar and see how they match up to your training goals.
A good start is to look at the grip handle diameter, the knurling, and the bar’s weight capacity.
These will give you an idea of how the bar will sit in your hand and how it will hold up to heavy use.
Trap bars are an interesting tool.
They can be used to train general movement patterns necessary for heavy straight bar lifts while limiting the strain placed on the lower back.
With less stress on larger muscle groups, you can introduce higher volume (in the deadlift, for example) and build quite a bit of mechanical efficiency in a short period of time.
Nagging back pains during straight bar lifts? Rejoice. The trap bar was built for that exact purpose. Our picks are here to get you started.
Here’s a quick recap of the 10 best Trap Bars:
- CAP Barbell – Olympic Trap Bar (Best Trap Bar Overall)
- HulkFit – Olympic Trap Bar (Most Durable Trap Bar)
- CAP Barbell – Olympic Super Trap Bar (Most Spacious Trap Bar)
- Synergee – Olympic Trap Bar (Most Reliable Trap Bar)
- Papababe – Trap Bar
- HulkFit – Olympic 2-Inch Trap Bar
- Pexmor – Olympic Trap Bar
- GYMAX – Olympic Trap Bar
- Valor Fitness – OB-HEX Super Trap Bar
- HulkFit – Olympic Open-Back Trap Bar (Best Open-Frame Trap Bar)