If you belong to a gym, then you’re likely already very familiar with weight plates, which are metal plates you can take on and off barbells for a variety of strength training exercises. The best weight plates make it easy to adapt your workout as you sweat, and complete weight plate sets for your home gym are essential if you want to lift weights at home.
Strength training with resistance bands, kettlebells, adjustable dumbbells or, eventually, barbells and weight plates is one of the best ways to build muscle, tone your body and stave off osteoporosis as you age. Regularly and safely lifting weights has both physical and mental benefits that can range from building muscle and burning calories more efficiently, to improving your heart health, stabilizing blood sugar levels and losing abdominal fat.
All beginners should start with lighter weights in the form of dumbbells or kettlebells and work their way up to heavier weights and barbell work with weight plates. Kettlebells can provide effective resistance for moves like squats and deadlifts without messing with your center of gravity, and dumbbells are great for upper body work and working on your form before throwing a barbell on your back.
Once you’re ready, though, barbell work with weight plates is a great way to strengthen your entire body through back squats, front squats, deadlifts, chest presses and much more. A squat rack is helpful for these exercises, as well as protective flooring so you don’t damage your apartment, home or workout space.
Read More: How to Build Your Own Power Rack at Home (Safely)
Buying Weight Plates Online: An Overview
Weight plates pair perfectly with a barbell and a squat rack. If you want to build your own at-home strength training setup for muscle-building, then weight plate sets are absolutely essential. Due to the size, price and heavy weights involved, ordering these products online can be daunting. Weight plates are some of the most important equipment you can purchase for your home gym, and so it’s important to invest wisely.
SPY has tested a number of popular weight plate sets, and we’ve written in-depth guides to outfitting your home gym and building a full home weightlifting gym. In this guide, we’ll give you
Before you pick out your weight plates, we want to give you an overview of the many different varieties there are. Some are more budget-friendly, some are designed to absorb the shock of a weight drop better, and some are designed for very experienced, heavy powerlifters.
There are two main kinds of plates: steel and bumper plates. We’ve given you a brief overview of each one, the pros and cons and who each kind is perfect for below.
Steel Weight Plates
- Typically made of iron or steel
- Easy to find and virtually indestructible, although they might damage floor or barbell depending on how you use them
- Great for beginners, traditional weightlifters
Steel weight plates are the most budget-friendly option as it’s the cheapest material that can pack substantial weight into a slim piece of equipment. They can be made of cast iron, iron, steel or some other material. They’re very durable, easy to use and get started with, and have few downsides.
However, steel plates are NOT the right pick for you if you’re looking to drop weight or do any Olympic or CrossFit-style lifts. Steel doesn’t absorb force nearly as well as other materials, and the plates will likely damage your floor if dropped.
- Bounce when dropped
- Less likely to damage your floor
- Harder to find but higher-quality
- Great for Olympic weightlifters, CrossFit-ers and more experienced weightlifters
Within the bumper plate category there are also a few different subcategories: high-temp plates, urethane plates and Olympic plates. They all have different pros but without getting too in the weeds — high-temp plates are excellent for durability, standard urethane plates are going to be the most accessible for all people, and Olympic plates are great for powerlifters who want to drop weight from higher up and don’t mind spending a little extra coin.
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The Best Weight Plate Sets
SPY Editors have only tested a few weight plate sets, but the ones we’ve tried have been top-notch, and are well worth the money if you’re an avid weightlifter who will use them often.
Omni Viking V.2 Bumper Plates
SPY EDITOR FAVORITE
Why We Chose It: High-quality, extremely durable, excellent bounce and color-coded for easy weight identification
SPY’s Senior E-Commerce Editor, Taylor Galla, is a fitness enthusiast whose written about gym equipment ranging from spin bikes to adjustable dumbbells. Her boyfriend, an avid weightlifter, owns a full weight plate set of Omni Viking V.2 Competition Bumper Plates and they’re fantastic. They’re high-quality, vulcanized with metal middle inserts for extra durability and are built for bouncing efficiently and absorbing shock.
They’re a bit thicker than other plates, so you can’t stack as many of them on the barbell at once as you can with slimmer, more compact brands made for competition-level weightlifting. However, they’re made of a softer rubber material made to not damage floors. They’re also color-coded, which makes it easy to identify the precise weight you want mid-workout.
Their plates are sold by the individual plate, and are not a budget-friendly option. These should be a worthwhile investment for an experienced powerlifter who knows they’re very passionate about strength training, and want to use the best equipment possible.
Rogue KG Competition Plates
Why We Chose It: Reputable brand made in USA, high-quality bumper plates that bounce, durable interior ring and calibrated weight for accurate lifts
Our editors have also tested Rogue competition plates, and they’re a top-notch option that’s a bit more affordable than the Omni plates. Their weight plate sets are approved for weightlifting competition use, so you know they’re top-notch, and they offer the same bounce-friendly rubber exterior with slightly slimmer bodies than the Omni plates. They also have durable metal interior rings and come in a variety of KG weights.
One important note: many plates are made regulation size, which means they’ll fit on most standard-size barbells. Make sure you double check before purchasing that your plates will fit on the diameter of your barbell, but if you buy from a large, reputable brand you can assume they’ll be compatible.
Tempo Weight Plates
Why We Chose It: Made by one of our favorite fitness mirror brands, great weight variety for beginners, color-coded and well designed
Tempo, the smart at-home fitness brand known for their best-selling Tempo Move and Tempo Studio fitness mirror systems also sells their weight plates on the side, so you can purchase them without buying their larger equipment. SPY Senior E-Commerce Editor Taylor Galla has reviewed both the Tempo Studio and Tempo Move, and in the process received all of their weight plates. The brand makes solid, high-quality plates that are standard-size and fit on many of the most popular barbells including the Ohio Power Bar and Olympic lifting barbells.
Read More: SPY Tempo Studio Review
Titan Fitness Cast Iron Olympic Plates
BEST BUDGET-FRIENDLY OPTION
Why We Chose It: Very budget-friendly, cast iron is extremely durable, excellent for beginners and those not looking to drop weight
Titan Fitness makes budget-friendly strength training equipment that’s high-quality for its price point without being prohibitively expensive. This set of cast iron plates is perfect for beginners interested in lifting heavy without doing anything too fancy, and without doing a lot of drops. The cast iron is built tough and durable, and the weights come in a full set or pairs of two in individual weights.
Rogue Deep Dish Plates
BEST FOR BEGINNERS
Why We Chose It: Classic design that’s proven to work, stack well on top of one another, built very durable
This weight plate set is perfect for beginners because of its relatively affordable price tag and the plate’s durable iron construction. The plates’ design is modeled after vintage plates used in the 1960’s but made using modern casting methods and finishing techniques that give them the high-end feel you want for the price tag. They’re 100% made in the USA out of ductile iron with graphite nodes that make them tougher than other cast iron plates. The back portion and center rings of the plates are also precision-machined so the plates fit tightly on the bar and sit flush stacked against each other when loaded.
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