What are the best weight plates on the market?
Any lifter worth their salt can speak passionately about what type of weight plate they prefer.
There’s even an entire mythos of superstition surrounding proper plate etiquette – and it’s often unique to each gym.
Some plates just feel lighter. Some feel heavier. Other plates should never be mixed; your bar should always be loaded with uniform equipment, or it can throw you off.
Don’t ask questions – just trust the wisdom!
Whether there’s truth to any of these paranoias is beside the point. One thing everyone can agree on is this: hexagonal plates aren’t great.
Superstitions aside, what makes for a quality weight plate?
We’ve done the research and rounded up the 10 best weight plates into a list for your convenience.
Top 10 Weight Plates 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 weight plates:
In A Rush? Here’s Our Top Pick:
CAP Barbell is a favorite here at Jacked Gorilla for its consistent product quality, generous pricing, and overall value.
CAP’s 2-inch Olympic-grip plates nail every marker for usability, durability, and affordability.
The plates are available in 2.5 lb, 5 lb, 10 lb, 25 lb, 35 lb, and 45 lb sets.
Their 2-inch center hole is compatible with all standard Olympic barbells and most trap bars, dumbbell handles, and other bar variants.
Building a reliable supply of weight plates is an expensive venture, but CAP’s exceptional price point can ease the burden.
If for any reason, your plates break or fail to meet expectations, CAP offers a 30-day warranty on the equipment.
10. LIONSCOOL – Olympic Rubber Grip Weight Plate
Lionscool’s Olympic rubber grip weight plates start our list on an economical high note.
These plates are built with cast iron across a stainless steel hub.
The primary structure is layered with a thick, durable rubber coating to protect the weight and any surfaces the plate contact.
From 2.5 lb, 5 lb, 10 lb, 25 lb, 35 lb, and 45 lbs, each plate is designed with 3 large spacings to allow easy maneuverability and handling.
The company assures an any-reason 1-year warranty on their equipment.
- Very affordable price point relative to alternatives – third most economical selection on our list
- Durable rubber coating extends plate lifespan significantly while reducing potential damage to flooring
- Rubber coating can emit a synthetic, burning-type smell prior to use – may become exacerbated by exposure to gym environments
9. HULKFIT 2-Inch Weight Plate
Another Jacked Gorilla favorite, HulkFit, has earned a spot on the list for its 2-inch weight plate sets.
Ranges are offered in the standard arrangements – but with an option for a 1-inch or 2-inch central aperture.
Every plate is coated in a sturdy plastic enamel to increase impact absorption and improve resiliency to repeated use or dropping.
- Multiple sleeve hole series offered – 1-inch and 2-inch
- Enamel casing increases the plates’ ability to absorb impact without fracturing
- Enamel shell has been known to crack and become sharp or rigid
8. Papababe – Bumper Plate Set
Papababe’s bumper plate sets are exactly like the ones you might find in a CrossFit box gym.
Plain black, rubber-based, and more than twice as thick as their metal counterparts, bumper plates are built for high impact movements like clean & jerks, snatches, or high rep deadlifts.
The old adage to lower the bar softly doesn’t apply here – these plates are designed to be hammered into the ground directly from overhead.
The proprietary rubber construction of Papababe’s 160lb bumper set cranks up the durability, moderates the bounciness, and removes the odor that can sometimes accompany rubber lifting equipment.
- Rubber design drastically reduces noise and massively improves durability against frequent, high impact use
- A steep price jump from previous options on the list and other pure metal options
- Much thicker than traditional plates – less room on the bar, and consumes more storage space
7. Synergee – Bumper Plate Set with Barbell
Another step up the ladder, and we arrive at Synergee’s take on barbell bumper plates.
Bumper plates can sometimes bounce to unexpected heights after being dropped.
Depending on the lift and preparation of the lifter, a bouncing weight can be fairly dangerous.
At the very least, you might be at risk of scraping your shin or bruising your wrist attempting to catch the bar.
Synergee’s plates are designed to minimize that bounciness, focusing on consistency and performance instead.
Bumpers regularly come at a premium price. That’s understandable: they’re some of the longest-lasting, most durable pieces of equipment a gym can have.
If you somehow manage to damage a plate, Synergee offers immediate zero-charge replacements on their products.
- Proprietary rubber construction to improve durability and minimize excessive bouncing of the weight
- Zero charge replacement for plate defects
- Potential chemical smell and film on the plates on arrival – may be necessary to wipe them down
- High end, premium pricing for a complete plate set
6. Everyday Essentials – Olympic Bumper Plate
Everyday Essentials is certainly a mainstay company on the scene of convenient, well-priced equipment.
EE’s Olympic bumper plates are fashioned in a range of pleasant, Olympic-standard colors like red, blue, green, yellow, gold, and cream – a nice change of pace from the flat black of many other bumpers.
The plates are sold in series’ of singles – meaning you’ll need to buy two of the same set for matching pairs of each plate. These are some of the best Olympic plates on our list.
- Thinner than flat-black bumper plate competitors — allows for more traditional loading of the bar
- Olympic-standard color-coding of each plate series
- Plates can be as much as double the cost of metal alternatives – price incline might be too steep for some buyers
5. AMGYM – Olympic Bumper Plates
Back in black. AMGYM’s Olympic bumper plates follow the CrossFit box trend of all-black-everything.
These plates are built from natural rubber for minimal bounce and maximal durability.
The barbell sleeve access (2” standard) is specially hooked in a way that helps keep plates from shifting while loaded on the bar. What’s more? AMGYM offers a 3-year warranty on all plates.
- Special hooked 2” sleeve aperture to fix the plate in place once loaded onto a bar – minimizes shifting
- 3-year warranty on all plates – well above competitor offerings
- Comparatively expensive to traditional plate options and other bumpers
- Not very economic in terms of space – takes up to 2-3x more room than a traditional metal plate
4. Sporzon! – Cast Iron 2-Inch Grip Plate
We’re taking the price back down a bit to talk about Sporzon’s cast iron plates.
To this point on our list, Sporzon offers the most affordable option in terms of dollars per pound.
Every plate is coated in a rigid enamel cover to protect the plates’ metalcore and prevent corrosion (even infrequently humid conditions).
- Second most affordable selection on our list when accounting for value
- The enamel layer adds to plate durability and reduces noise while minimizing flooring damage
- Enamel is susceptible to chipping or fracturing and becoming sharp, or leaving bits scattered on the floor
3. XMark Fitness – Olympic Plates
XMark Fitness’ Olympic plates are designed to replicate the appearance of standard metal plates while being manufactured out of natural rubber.
Half traditional, half bumper – with a price point reflecting a midway point between the two, as well. The benefits of XMark’s design are a matter of balance.
Normally, the thickness of bumper plates makes them unwieldy. Many bars can’t even load more than a few bumpers at a time.
XMark Fitness’ plates are thinner – similar to classic plates – and are fitted with 3 grip apertures for convenient handling.
Further, while metal plates are harsher on the floor (and themselves), the rubber casing around XMark’s cast iron plates vastly improves durability and reduces the risk of damage to the immediate environment.
- Balanced design joining traditional metal construction and bumper plate rubber coating – decreased noise and bounce, vastly increased durability
- Thinner than bumper plates but with similar resilience qualities – much more economic in terms of storage and bar sleeve space
- The rubber material will initially have a relatively strong chemical scent
- Rubber can begin to peel with excessive damage
2. XMark Fitness – TEXAS STAR Olympic Weight Plates
The Texas Star Olympic weight plates are XMark Fitness’ most popular line of plates.
These plates are designed with a 5-spoke, 5-hole frame for an aesthetic appearance and easy handling.
Like their standard Olympic plates, XMark’s Texas Stars are top-grade cast iron layered in natural rubber.
They blend the stable, low-bounce qualities of traditional metal plates and the durability of bumpers.
XMark includes a 1-year warranty to cover workmanship, material, and use defects.
- 1-year warranty on all issues related to workmanship and material defects or normal wear and tear
- Joins the best qualities of bumper plates and traditional plates for an extremely durable, low impact plate design
- Rubber material emits an unpleasant odor due to factory coating – will fade over time
- Rubber might tear with highly frequent, intensive use over time
1. CAP Barbell – 2-Inch Olympic Grip Plates
CAP tops the list for its value. If you need quality plates sourced quickly, and at the most affordable rate yet noted, you need to grab a set of CAP Barbell’s 2-inch Olympic grip plates.
The plates are built standard with solid cast iron and complement all typical Olympic bars and most dumbbell or bar variants.
The central sleeve holes are slightly oversized to ensure ease of movement when loading them onto a bar.
If you find you are not immediately satisfied, CAP offers a 30-day warranty on their plates.
- Exceptional value and price point for the entire weight range – less than half the cost of some bumper options
- Slightly oversized sleeve apertures to ensure compatibility with most bars
- 30-day return or replacement guarantee
- The trade-off for accessibility, reliability, and price is a slight dip in quality relative to the higher-end bumpers on our list. These will be less durable than rubber options – but that should be expected!
FAQs About Weight Plates
Here are our answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about weight plates:
Q: What is a weight plate, and how are they used?
Weight plates are the round (sometimes hexagonal) hunks of metal you might see people loading onto the end of bars in a local gym.
Their use is about as straightforward as anyone could imagine: to be picked up and put down. Over and over again.
Q: What’s inside bumper plates?
The content of bumper plates can depend on the manufacturer.
Most commonly, bumpers are built with two primary components: a solid metal central hub and a dense pure rubber outer layer.
The metal hub is typically some sort of durable, rigid species like steel.
Some rubber plates – not quite bumpers – may be filled with sand or water. It is not recommended to toss these kinds of plates around like you would a bumper plate.
Q: Which material is best for weight plates?
Saying which material is best for weight plates is probably less relevant than understanding which materials are standard for a given application.
Technically, there’s no difference at all between different weight plate materials when it comes to lifting them.
For durability, rubber is generally preferred. It can absorb force much better than straight metal.
Metal, however, does not bounce and can be designed in a more compact, thin manner.
This changes the center of gravity of the bar slightly but also allows you to put more weight on the bar in general.
Advanced lifters know well that most bars cap out at around five 45 lb plates aside when using bumpers.
With metal plates, almost any Olympic bar can load well over 7 or 8 plates aside.
Q: Are rubber weight plates good?
Rubber plates are excellent for high-impact lifts, like the classic weightlifting movements (cleans, jerks, snatches).
The bounciness of the rubber makes the weight almost completely harmless on most surfaces, even when dropped from overhead.
Q: How much should weight plates cost?
The price of weights changes regularly as the fitness industry ebbs and flows.
The market is currently still re-adjusting to that sudden spike in demand for weights and lifting gear.
Roughly speaking, a fair price for straight-weight implements is around $1.5 – $3 a pound.
Bumper plates are more expensive as their design is more complex and involves more expensive materials – they’ll be found in the $3 – 5 per pound range more often than not.
Q: Can you mix and match weight plates?
Well, yes. But it’s bad luck!
The only issue you might encounter with mix and matching weight plates is mismatched plate heights or widths.
Messing with the dimensions of the loading can cause imbalances during your lift.
There is also the possibility that different plates weigh different amounts, even if they are labeled the same.
This is more likely when using mismatched brands. Make sure your weights are calibrated and that you know what’s really being loaded on the bar.
Q: What’s the difference between bumper plates and weight plates?
Bumper plates are comprised of dense rubber material stacked around a heavy metal hub core.
They tend to be larger, thicker, bouncier, and much more durable than standard weight plates.
Weight plates, in the traditional sense, are thin (under 3”) circlets of metal – usually, cast iron or steel.
They are sometimes coated in rubber or plastic enamel to improve their resiliency to impact or reduce the risk of floor damage resulting from hard impacts.
Regarding performance, the differences between bumper plates and traditional plates are mostly in their measurements. Other than that, weight is weight.
Q: Why do metal plates feel heavier than rubber?
Generally, the equipment you use most frequently is going to “feel lighter” than equipment you’re not accustomed to.
Bumper plates are significantly thicker than traditional plates and load the bar further away from its natural center of gravity.
In a deadlift, the load being balanced further out means it can shorten the time before the weight leaves the ground completely (since the bar will flex more at the center).
With traditional weights (or worse, calibrated competition plates), the primary load is located much nearer to the bar’s center.
You have to flex the bar up a greater distance before the plates break from the floor, making it ‘seem’ harder. Well – it is – but really just for that particular lift.
In reality, the leverages are just being toyed with a little bit. If you were to normalize yourself to one type of plate or the other, you might actually find the opposite to be true.
Q: Why are plates 45 pounds?
45 lbs corresponds to 20 kg, which is a standard increment defined by the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) and Olympic committee regarding Olympic weightlifting equipment.
Q: Can you squat with bumper plates?
There’s nothing stopping anyone from using bumper plates in the place of traditional plates for any movement.
The weight distribution of bumper plates (further from the bar’s center) can actually favor a “whip” effect on the bar that helps with rebounding from the bottom of a squat.
CrossFit and weightlifting athletes have noted this and benefit from it regularly. Of course, that same whip is present with traditional plates – but only at heavier weights.
Q: Can I use weight plates instead of dumbbells?
Weight plates as a substitute for dumbbells is a perfectly viable training modality.
However, you might find yourself limited in the number of exercises you’re able to perform comfortably.
Curling a 45 lb dumbbell with a single arm is a much more intuitive process than doing the same with a 45 lb plate (especially if it lacks grip openings).
Additionally, plates will load your muscles differently than dumbbells might – often in far less advantageous ways.
That can be a good thing if you are looking to make your movements as difficult as possible, but you will also be putting yourself at increased risk for injury and over-use aches and pains.
Q: What workouts can you do with weight plates?
Weight plates can be used for many different exercises:
- Weighted planks (have someone stack weight plates on your back as you hold the plank position)
- Lateral raises (plates between 2.5 lb and 10 lb are great for this movement)
- Curls (you can use 2 hands to curl a 45 lb plate, or single hands to curl 2.5 lb – 25 lb plates, or anything in between)
- Goblet squats (a personal favorite – holding a 25 lb – 45 lb plate while performing a goblet squat is fantastic for core and hip development)
- Russian twists
- Squeeze press (squeezing a plate with both hands and pressing it up – as in a bench press – is an extremely effective movement as a chest accessory)
… and so on.
Q: Can bumper plates be used for the bench press?
Absolutely. Bumper plates can be used for any number of lifts.
Q: How many bumper plates should I buy?
Depending on the size of the bumpers, and your intent in using them, it might suffice to simply buy a set of two bumper plates that are larger than the plates you normally use (i.e., if you use 25 lb weights, consider a set of 25 lb bumpers).
If you’re strong enough to go with a set of 45 lb bumpers, go with the 45s – you won’t have to worry about buying another set.
The bumpers will have a greater diameter than your traditional weights so that the latter will not have contact with the floor once loaded.
If you drop the bar, only the bumpers will receive an impact. This way, you get the benefit of a full bumper set without the exorbitant price tag.
Q: Do cast iron weight plates break?
Cast iron plates are extremely hard, and therefore brittle.
They’re designed to take a lot of punishment, but over time the plates can begin to crack.
If a crack gets bad enough, the plate will break once it is dropped with enough force.
Q: How to choose the best plate?
The best plate depends on your specific needs. If you do a lot of cleans or snatches, grab a pair of bumpers.
If you want to train with equipment similar to that used in a powerlifting meet, stick with metal weights.
Weight plates are a hot commodity. They make up the basis for just about every facet of strength training – the weight being moved itself.
Let’s be real here: without a solid set of plates, we’d be left out on the plains looking for decent-sized rocks.
Thankfully, that search is over – and so is yours.
Grab a pair of any of the weights listed here, and you’ll have one of the most important stones for a home gym or personal fitness equipment arsenal.
Here’s a quick recap of the 10 best weight plates:
- CAP Barbell – 2-inch Olympic Grip Plates (Best Weight Plates Overall)
- XMark Fitness – TEXAS STAR Olympic Weight Plates (Best Rubber Lined Weight Plates)
- XMark Fitness – Olympic Weight Plates (Best Weight Plates For School Gyms)
- Sporzon! – Cast Iron 2-Inch Grip Plate (Best Budget Weight Plate)
- AMGYM – Olympic Bumper Plates (Best Sleeve Hole Design)
- Everyday Essentials – Olympic Bumper Plate (Best Olympic Weight Plate)
- Synergee – Bumper Plate Set with Barbell (Best Weight Plate Set)
- Papababe – Bumper Plate Set (Best Weight Plates For CrossFit)
- HULKFIT 2-Inch Weight Plate (Best Weight Plate For Variability)
- LIONSCOOL – Olympic Rubber Grip Weight Plate (Best Handling Weight Plate)