≡ Menu

Bumper Plates Review and Shopping Guide – Selecting Weights

Bumper Plates Buying Guide - Selecting Weights

Is it time to pick out some Olympic weightlifting plates for your home or garage gym? Are you unsure of what kind of plates to buy? Rubber bumper plates or steel plates?  Where should you get them? Should you buy new weights or used weights? Are they expensive to ship, or should you expect free shipping on weight sets? I’ve been through all this myself when I needed weights for my gym so let’s see if my bumper plates review can help you find weights for your gym

What are Bumper Plates?

Skip the primer, see the plate prices !

Bumper plates; or just bumpers, are Olympic weightlifting plates that are made of thick, hard rubber for the purpose of allowing a loaded bar to be safely dropped without risk of damaging the plates themselves, the lifting platform, or in the case of most garage gyms; the floor. Bumpers are available in both pounds and kilograms in the same weight variety as normal cast-iron strength training and powerlifting plates. Most general purpose bumpers are black, though colored varieties do exist. Competition bumper plates are almost always color coded by weight using set color schemes.

Comparison of rubber bumper plates vs steel plates

(From left) Competition bumper plate, typical steel/cast iron plate, and basic bumper plate. Basic bumpers are more than adequate for training in a garage gym.

Bumper Plates or Steel Plates?

So do you choose bumper plates or classic steel plates for your garage gym? Well that depends. If money is really tight, steel weights might be the way to go. Steel plates are less expensive and much easier to find second-hand. Check craigslist and you’ll be blown away by how many folks are selling their used plates from the local sporting good stores. Prices on new steel plates are already about 70% of the price of basic bumpers, so finding used plates can mean major savings.

On the other hand, if your training includes the Olympic lifts (or CrossFit), you pretty much need bumpers, as steel plates are more for general strength training. You’ll probably need to buy them new, but you never know what you’ll find used until you look. If you can’t find used bumper plates, hopefully the pricing guide at the bottom of the page will help you find a good price.

Rubber / Urethane Coated Steel Weights

Another option for general strength training is urethane-coated steel plates. These plates are typically what giant global box gyms have these days, probably because they are quieter, look more professional than old school iron, and they are easier to work with.

The cost for these coated plates is closer to bumper plate pricing than steel plate pricing, but they’re definitely not bumpers. They are not intended to be dropped from overhead like a bumper plate is, so they are useless for CrossFit and Olympic weightlifting. Because of that, and the fact that they aren’t really any cheaper, there really is no need for anyone other than a commercial gym owner to buy coated plates.

Urethane / rubber coated weights vs standard bumper plates

The two plates on the left are just steel that is coated in urethane or rubber. The plate on the right is an actual bumper plate. The coated plates are clearly nicer than standard steel plates, but they’re still not the same thing as a bumper plate.

So why are bumpers better than steel? First of all, they’re safer. Safer as in, they won’t smash through your foundation or crack and chip if you drop them accidentally. Consider that if you cannot safely drop a 45-pound steel plate while just transporting it to and from the bar without having to worry about what it would do to your floor or platform, you obviously can’t safely drop a bar loaded with steel plates from an overhead position, or ditch it the bar in a failed squat or snatch.

With so many athletes becoming interested in the Olympic lifts again (thanks to CrossFit), it makes sense to just go for the bumper plates initially so those lifts are an option for you later, even if you’re fitness level or current workout doesn’t necessitate them right away. Bumper plates really are not that expensive when compared to new iron plates. 

Side-by-side comparison of bumper plates - Power Discs, Competition, and Basic Bumpers

This picture demonstrates the differences in thickness among different plate styles. All of these Eleiko plates are 20 kg. (From left) Powerlifting disc, Competition Olympic bumper, and basic black training bumper.

There is another reason so many prefer bumper plates over steel. It may seem a little trivial, but for those who have worked out with steel (or still do) you will understand. It’s the noise. Steel is crazy loud on the bar. Even on relatively smooth movements, those giant plates banging against each other is definitely loud. When you let that bar down from even a few inches above the ground or rack, it’s loud as hell. Bumpers don’t clang and bang like that. Just something else to consider.

Keep in mind that you don’t have to go with 100% bumpers. I have a combination of steel and bumpers in my garage gym; both have their uses.

Technique Plates – the other bumper

One other option for Olympic training plates are Technique Plates. These are one-piece solid plastic plates really meant to be abused. They are mostly commonly available in 5 and 10 pound plates, or 2.5, 3.75, and 5 kilogram plates. If you’re new to Olympic lifts, these allow you to get your form down with very little added weight, but you still have the feel of plates on the bar. They are not cheap per pound, but you shouldn’t need more than one; maybe two pairs.

These are technique bumpers from Hi Tech. Abuse them, they can take it

Technique plates are perfect for mastering form with low weight while still having the feeling of plates on the bar.

The Bumper Plates Review

Below I’ll go over the different types of bumpers as well as the features of of each. Then you will find suggestions on where to buy each brand based on best price, shipping costs, and availability. In most cases you buy the brand you prefer direct from that manufacturer for the best pricing. HI-Temps can be found all around, but Rogue seems to be the only place that keeps them in stock.

Standard bumpers

There are a number of manufacturers out there for basic, non-competition bumpers, but I’ve narrowed this down to a handful of different brands to keep things relatively simple: Rogue HG, HI-Temp, Vulcan Alphas, American Barbell Sports, and Vulcan Strength bumper plates. I removed any mention of Troy VTX due to some serious complaints about them cracking and showing very early signs of insert separation, and Pendlay/MDUSA is no longer in business.

There are literally dozens of off-brand bumper plates out there. Many of them are the same, and even more of them just look the same. Like anything else, there are levels of quality in this industry. No one is making you buy any brand I discuss here, but I do strongly suggest you research any off-brand plate thoroughly. Saving 10% on bumpers that you’ll replace in 6 months isn’t saving money at all!

Rogue HG, Vulcan Strength, and HI-Temp bumper plates

-Hi-Temp Bumpers are solid plates, and the slightly higher price is acceptable considering that they are manufactured in the USA. HI-Temps are on the thicker side of available bumpers, but unless you are putting more than 400-pounds on the bar it shouldn’t be an issue. Lots of equipment vendors offer HI-Temps, but Rogue Fitness has the most reasonable prices, a chance at free shipping (depending on your location), and maintains the most consistent inventory. Biggest advantages of HI-Temps is that they can be used outdoors on abrasive surfaces and that they are made domestically. Biggest disadvantage is the unusually high and unpredictable bounce.

-Vulcan Alpha Bumpers are the all around most versatile basic bumper plate that I know of. They offer the same indoor/outdoor versatility as HI-Temps, are 30% quieter than all other basic bumper plates, are among the thinnest of non-competition bumpers, and are in color. Alphas have durable, hooked inserts that stay put, low bounce, low odor, and are just a hell of a reliable bumper plate at a more than reasonable price. Free shipping is also available for many regions. Only at Vulcan Strength.

Vulcan Alpha Bumper Plates

-Vulcan Bumper Plates are probably the best choice for black bumpers. Not only does Vulcan have very competitive prices on sets, they have the most innovative basic bumpers currently on the market. A hooked and knurled (inner) steel insert helps to prevent the rubber disc from ever separating from the insert, and a new rubber compound is used help to eliminate the common warping and bending of the smaller plates. Not only are the prices on the Vulcan Strength bumpers great, but free shipping is available as well.

FYI: Vulcan Strength has an inventory reduction sale10% off all basic black bumper plate sets starting July 19 2017 and running until… they reduce inventory sufficiently? The best basic bumper design around is already competitively priced, so 10% off that is pretty solid. I’m told the discount is reflected in cart.

-Rogue HG 2.0 bumper plates – These plates make up the bulk of my collection and I am happy with them. I’m not a huge fan of the 10- and 15-pound discs, but I have enough other 10’s that I don’t need to destroy the Rogue’s any more than they already are. They are slightly less expensive than the Hi-Temps, and they are a bit thinner as well – so you can get more on the bar. They are warranted for 3 years (25 pound plates and up) and it is possible to get free shipping on sets, but not pairs. Read some of the reviews here.

-American Barbell Sport bumpers – American Barbell Sports are basically the same as Rogue HGEchos, and so forth. They have a more “unique to AB” look to them but they’re still functionally the same plate. What makes them different is the starting price for sets. The 160-pound set starts $20-$30 less than the others, and shipping can still be had for free in certain zones. Even if you’re out of zone, shipping isn’t bad at all. The Sports are also available in IWF colors and kilograms. Pretty sweet!

Competition (& Training) Bumper plates

Competition bumpers like the Eleiko Olympic plates are thinner, more durable, and significantly more expensive than basic bumpers. These plates have but one purpose, and that is for Olympic lifting on a professional level. If you’re not serious about the clean and jerk and the snatch, these are not the plates for you.

Complete Bar and Plate by Eleiko

Many manufacturers also offer “training” versions of these plates. They’re pretty much the same plate as the competition plate only not calibrated, and in the case of IWF/IPF certified brands, the training plates are not considered to be certified (in some cases there can be minor discrepancies with the SHORE rating, but it’s not even worth thinking about.) They are still professional Olympic discs though. Whether you buy training or true competition plates, you will spend a lot more money on these than you will on basic bumper plates.

Various Competition Bumper Plates - Werksan, Uesaka, Eleiko

I’m not going to try and do a side-by-side comparison of Competition plates here. I don’t really have a bunch of different brands of comp plates lying around my garage waiting to be judged (although that would be nice). I can say that Eleiko, Werksan, and Uesaka have all been used in the Olympics, Rogue supplies their Competition plates for the Reebok CrossFit Games, and you’ll find Ivanko and all the others used in one professional setting or another.

If you are so inclined to spend the money required to own competition plates, one of the major benefits to you using these plates versus standard bumpers is the reliability of the claimed weight. The tolerances are so tight that you know you’re lifting the weight that the plate claims; usually within 10 grams or less. Also, if you currently (or intend to) compete on a professional level, training with the same equipment you will be expected to compete with would also be beneficial. Of course, comp plates are also more durable by design.

When it comes down to it though, the extra durability and reliability of comp plates versus standard bumper plates is going to be meaningless in a typical garage gym setting, especially after you factor in price. I have no brand recommendation for this article, but I did include price links for all the major brands towards the bottom of the price list.

Olympic Plate Pricing Summary

Below is just some pricing to give you an idea of what you will spend to get your hands on some new plates. Last updated March 2016.

!! You’ll need to buy your bumper plates in sets to get to the lower end of these pricing windows, and the bigger the better. Buying in pairs is not a very economical way to gather a bumper plate collection. Fear not though, I have a bumper plates sets guide!!

Steel Olympic Plates

Steel / Cast Iron Olympic Plates

Price: Approx $1.00 a pound (new). Definitely shop for used; very easy to find. Used price can be as low as $.25-.50 a pound! Expect inaccuracies of up to 5% in claimed weight with box-store brands though.

Craigslist (used) | Rogue | Amazon

Precision Milled York Legacy Cast Iron Olympic Plates

York Legacy Precision Milled Iron Plates

Price: Approx $1.50 a pound, sold in pairs. More accurate than off-brand cast iron plates, but not by much. 100-pound plates available.

Rogue Fitness

Rogue steel Wagon Wheel plates

Rogue 45-pound Wagon Wheel

Price: $425 a pair. An extremely pricey yet remarkably classy way of pulling deadlifts from the same height as 3″ pulling blocks. Not at all economical, but about as unique as it gets. Thanks Mark Bell!

Available only at Rogue Fitness


Vulcan Strength Bumper Plates

Price: Approx $1.50-$1.75 per pound. Free shipping is possible on sets. These are the most innovative basic bumper model available – only the Alpha is a better basic bumper.

Available only at Vulcan Strength

Rogue HG 2.0 Basic Bumper Plates

Rogue HG 2.0 Bumper Plates

Price: Approx $1.60-$1.75 a pound. Best price on basic bumpers when purchased in pairs rather than sets, but price does not include shipping. Very mid-grade level bumper plate, but warranty is nice.

Available only at Rogue Fitness

HI TEMP Bumper Plates

HI-TEMP Bumper Plates

Price: $1.60+ a pound. Rogue has best HI-Temp price, and sets may receive free shipping depending on shipping zone. One of few plates suitable for outdoor use.

Rogue Fitness

American Barbell Sport Bumper Plates

American Barbell Sports

Price: $1.50+ a pound. Set prices are extremely competitive. 55-pound plates are available. These are rarely in stock, but the prices just blow away Vulcan, Rogue and the other guys when they are. [review]

Available only at American Barbell

Vulcan Alpha Bumper Plates

Vulcan Alpha Bumpers

Price: Approx $1.50-$1.90 a pound. Indoor/Outdoor use, 30% quieter, slim profile, anchored stainless inserts, low odor, and more. Amazing plates! I dare say the best plates. [review]

Available only at Vulcan Strength

American Barbell Sport Bumpers

Colored Basic Bumpers

Price: Approx $1.50-2.00 a pound. Slightly more expensive than black, but a nice compromise between black and competition plates.

Vulcan | Echo (closeout) | American Barbell

American Barbell Colored Sport Bumpers (kg or lb)

Colored Kilogram Bumpers

Pretty much the same deal as the basic black Sport bumpers from above, only in kilograms and in colors.

Vulcan | American Barbell

HI TEMP Technique Plates

Technique Plates

Price: Approx $14-16 a pound (ouch!).

Rogue | American Barbell

Training Bumper Plates

Training Olympic Bumpers

Price: Approx $3-$7 a pound. Generally sold in kilograms.

VulcanRogue | Uesaka | Werksan | Ivanko | Rogue (lbs)

Urethane Training/Comp Bumper Plates

Urethane Training Bumpers

Price: Approx $3-7 a pound. Urethane has a dead bounce, and they’re very durable. American Barbell originated these, but the Rogue’s are more affordable and in stock more often.

Rogue (lbs) | American Barbell (kg)

Competition Bumper Plates

Competition Olympic Bumpers

Price: Approx $3 -$8 or more per pound. Generally sold in kilograms, but Rogue offers pounds for the CrossFit Games. The Eleiko’s are IWF-certified; not that it matters.

Eleiko | Uesaka | Rogue | Rogue (lbs)

♦ ♦ ♦

I hope this article has been helpful. I realize that there are a ton of other brands and places to buy bumper plates, and I considered literally dozens of alternatives. I dare say 90% of home and garage gym owners will find exactly what they need either at Rogue Fitness, Vulcan, Amazon, or maybe even Craigslist. If you want to add your two cents on the type of plates you have and love (or hate), please do. Thanks for reading this bumper plates review! Please share this article – it’s much appreciated!

Vulcan Alpha Bumper Plate - Versatile & Unique Basic Bumpers


{ 102 comments… add one }
  • Carl November 5, 2014, 9:04 am

    The Rogue HG Echo level and up all have listed tolerances. I have some of the Rogue Hi Temp 45s and they both come in at 43.4. Its kind of frustrating for some of my weaker lifts where a few Lbs matter. So my next pair of 45s needs to have some level of weight precision. OFW look good but if they come in under weight I will be highly disappointed. Since they don’t list tolerance I am hesitant to purchase.

    • jburgeson November 6, 2014, 10:14 am

      Hey Carl, you’re not going to find very strict tolerances on any of the basic bumpers. Some will definitely be better than others, but if you need weights accurate to within a few grams, that’s what competition and training plates are for. Having said that, I see no reason why you couldn’t inquire as to the actual tolerances of any brand and go with the one more likely to be accurate. Fringesport would at least be honest with you; that’s my take on them anyway.

      • Carl November 13, 2014, 12:31 pm

        I emailed them and asked. I was told 2%. If you check their website, they now list the same +-10g weight tolerance that many of the other suppliers list. At this price and having a smaller width, these are easily the best plates around. The 45s at least.

        • jburgeson November 13, 2014, 1:58 pm

          The site does say +/- 10 grams, I can see that… and they told you 2% via email? Interesting.

          Well 2% as a worst-case scenario isn’t great, but considering box-store brands like CAP can be off more than 5%, it’s still good for the price. I mean, that’s not even a pound off a 45-pound plate, and again that’s worst-case. Pretend it’s a 20 kilo plate and it would be spot on! =p

  • Paul December 20, 2014, 5:21 pm

    I’m looking to buy aused bumper plates, bars and a rack for my garage from a Crossfit box. Obviously, they have been used daily. I would think I should pay no more than 30-40% of what I can purchase new. I’d appreciate your thoughts. Thanks!

    • jburgeson December 20, 2014, 6:27 pm

      Paul there is just no telling what used gear from a box is worth. There are so many variables… How old is it? What brand is it? What kind of condition is it in?

      If stuff is priced anywhere near only 30-40% of new, it’s probably not in the best of shape unless this box is distressed financially and has to sell super fast. Racks are hard to do anything but cosmetic damage to, but bars and bumpers can easily be destroyed in the hands of novice lifters given enough time. If all pieces are in good shape, I doubt you’ll get such a good price as 30-40% of new; I’d expect to pay more.

  • Mitch December 27, 2014, 6:15 am

    Just had to say thanks for writing this. Definitely cleared up some confusion on my end. Building a home gym and initially I don’t plan on doing Olympic lifts but maybe I will in the future.

    • jburgeson December 27, 2014, 11:46 am

      Thanks Mitch. Congrats on getting a home gym going. Bumpers really are the way to go. I didn’t get to snatch or clean in the box gym because they didn’t have the equipment for it. Didn’t take long after getting set up at home for me to start though. Having the option is always nice

  • wieland February 11, 2015, 8:45 am

    Thanks for the great work! One bit of information that would be useful for people like me, who want to build a workout space in their living room that will be completely disassembled and stored away in a closet, is the smell of the bumpers. I read some discussions over the net about some bumpers smelling a lot while others are practically void of odor. While this doesn’t matter in a garage gym, for someone who has to store the plates under their bed the odor is of great importance.

    • jburgeson February 11, 2015, 9:09 am

      That’s a good point. It used to be that some manufacturers would claim “low-odor”, but I don’t see much of that anymore. Matter of fact, I only see odor really mentioned on Amazon, where people are less familiar with bumper plates. Of those that claim the lower odor, the reviews always seem to disagree anyway. I think the level of odor directly relates to how long ago the plate was molded. You can get high- or low-odor from anywhere; just depends on how long ago that batch was run. Other than Hi-Temps and AB Urethane Comps, they’re all Chinese plates and all made from the same material, and should all stink for a couple weeks.

      • Carl February 17, 2015, 2:05 pm

        How long before we see “aged” or sun baked bumpers? :-)

        • jburgeson February 17, 2015, 3:58 pm

          I don’t even know what that means!

  • Rhy March 3, 2015, 7:06 pm

    Let me start by saying THANK YOU for all your feedback. It’s honest and real based off of your experince or those you know personally. So here goes.

    Hi Everyone,

    So I’m looking to buy a decent set of colored Kilo competition plates. For the price I’ve been considering the Again Faster Dmitiry Klokov, Fring Sport Chad Vaughn’s or MDUSA. I’m really looking for best value and quality (low bounce, good construction etc)

    Any feedback or a brand that matches this price point you recommend would be appreciated.

    Obviously Eleiko, Wersan, ZKC, DHS are nice, but those are out of the budget right now.

    Thanks in Advance

    • jburgeson March 3, 2015, 8:32 pm

      Vaughn’s are the best price. They are practically the same plate as the Klokov. Both are low bounce, bolted hub.

      Pendlay bounces more, and I’ve heard that both the Klolov and Pendlay plates have issues with the bolts coming out. It’s possible that the Vaughn’s do too, but I haven’t heard about it yet.

  • Elias April 6, 2015, 11:05 pm

    Hi everyone,
    I’m about to buy a 260lb bumper plate set from Rogue, but I don’t know what type of plate to buy..
    I’m between HG 2.0, Echo, and Hi Temp; I’m going more with the Echo’s because they are chipper but I’m afraid to drop them from a Overhead and broke..
    Can someone help me with my purchase.
    Thank you.

    • jburgeson April 6, 2015, 11:28 pm

      You can drop any of those models from overhead. Don’t drop only 10’s or only 15’s on the bar, but other than that you can toss them around for years assuming that you’re dropping them on a platform or stall mats, and not bare concrete/asphalt.

      • Elias April 7, 2015, 3:46 pm

        Thank you so much, that was my only concern..

  • Skywalker June 12, 2015, 2:37 am

    Any recommendations between Rogue’s HG, Hi-Temp and Echo bumpers? Looking for a first set to go with the rogue 2.0 bar.

    • jburgeson June 12, 2015, 9:18 am

      The Echo and HG aren’t really that different from one another, but the Echo has better pricing on the intro sets (160-260 pounds.) HI-Temps bounce a little more, have a bit more width to them, but they work better on non-platform type surfaces like a bare garage floor or driveway. They can take drops on just about any outdoor surface. So long as you aren’t dropping 10’s and 15’s alone on the bar, all three models will last a very long time. If you have rubber floors or a platform, just go the Echo route. If you’re more likely to be benching and squatting than snatching and cleaning, the Echo and HG are going to ultimately allow for more weight on the bar.

  • Jim June 13, 2015, 5:21 pm

    First, great website! I keep coming back to it and finding new nuggets of wisdom that are very useful. Bought my first barbell after reading your reviews. Now I’m in the process of setting up my home gym for me and my wife… and maybe I’ll even coach some folks in Oly lifts. Having said that, do you have recommendations for 5kg bumper plates that won’t taco after a few drops?

    • jburgeson June 13, 2015, 5:35 pm

      Thanks Jim. For 5 kgs, only tech plates will survive for any length of time. Hi Tech and Eleiko offer them, but both are kind of pricey. There are imported off-brands, but I’ve not actually seen any of them in person.

  • Eric Oltersdorf June 28, 2015, 10:13 am

    OFW just listed a new 55lb black bumper on their website. My guess (or my hope rather :D) is they’ll redo their nonstandard IWF color scheme to incorporate this new bumper.

    • jburgeson June 28, 2015, 10:58 am

      Yeah I never did get that color scheme. Seems weird lol

  • Alex August 26, 2015, 10:24 am

    Does the shore durometer have anything to do with the increased durability you cite for competition plates? We have non-comp Pendlay HDs that have a high shore durometer, which gives them much less bounce than VTX, thus I much prefer them for lifting. Maybe it’s a combination of durometer plus the much larger insert that makes comp plates more durable?

    Also, is there a marked difference between competition plates from Pendlay vs. Rogue? At the time when I bought Pendlay competition plates, they appeared to be the same except for price. They’ve held up well so far, except there is a slight gap forming between the insert and the rubber. Maybe this isn’t a big deal, but I emailed them to ask about it since the plates are only 8 months old.

    On a durability note, not all Crossfit boxes can afford competition plates, but it got me thinking about ROI. If comp plates last twice as long on average as regular bumpers, maybe they’d be a worthwhile investment for a box. Any idea how much “more durable” comp plates are?

    • jburgeson August 26, 2015, 2:21 pm

      I don’t know what the Shore rating does in terms of overall durability. I’m sure there is a sweet spot, but all these brands only vary a little, and there is a pretty big window for each Shore category. Rogue plates are no longer sourced through MD, so they are not the same anymore. The only real difference is that the bolts stay in on the Rogue’s, and they notoriously come out of the Pendlays. All comp plates will form that ridge between the hub and the rubber given enough time, but 8 months seems pretty quick. Like I said previously, not a fan of that brand on any level.

      Durability between the two probably isn’t proportionate to the cost. I see no reason for a box to own competition plates. I see reason not to let members Olympic lift with only 10 or 15 plates on the bar, which can be avoided with comp plates, but other than that it’s probably a waste of money for a box to invest in massive amounts of colored comp plates for WODs. If the owner has cash and wants to, then by all means go for it.

      • Alex August 26, 2015, 3:44 pm

        Thanks, I thought at the time I was looking that Rogue and MD might have been the same. I’m sure all of these companies aren’t making their own stuff, so it would be nice to know which are the same except for the markings.

        Other than a “cool” factor, I agree that comp plates might not be worth it. The Vaughns aren’t that much more than a regular 90 kg set, so they might be worth it for the cool factor :)

  • Alex September 17, 2015, 6:47 am

    Hey, I”m looking for some quick feedback on these:


    These are less than $2/pound shipped, which is very cheap for training/comp plates. I know AF isn’t the best with QC, but are these worth a shot.

    • jburgeson September 17, 2015, 9:25 am

      I wouldn’t, it’s gambling.

      • Alex September 17, 2015, 9:30 am

        Ok, why do you say that? It appears most of these plates are made in the same place, so I’m curious why these would be worse than another comp bumper? I know you don’t like the Pendlays.

        • jburgeson September 17, 2015, 10:09 am

          Technically I’m sure they’re fine, and they couldn’t be any worse than Pendlay, right? Thing is, I have little to no confidence in the brand for exactly the reason you mentioned already, so I’m not going to say anything that makes it look like I’m recommending them because I wouldn’t buy them myself. Doesn’t mean that they aren’t just as durable as the next guy though, I just don’t like gambling.

  • SteveL October 12, 2015, 3:41 pm

    I just got my home gym set up with Rogue equipment. I bought the 260lb Rogue HG2.0 bumper set based on reviews and especially your site. I’m new to this barbell style strength training but my dead lift is now going to over the total 275lbs I have so I’m looking to buy more weight. Buying a set of 45lb Rogues again will cost me over $60 just in shipping costs. I looked at the Fringesport site you mention and I can get them for roughly the same price and free shipping. Would mixing these makes cause a problem? Thanks!

    • jburgeson October 12, 2015, 5:44 pm

      They’ll be fine mixed with the Rogues. Any 450 mm plate would work. I actually have the same combination of basic weights; the Rogue and OFW plates. I have more Rogue than OFW, but I wish it were the other way around as the OFW plates are narrower so they take up less sleeve and storage horn space.

      • Stevel October 12, 2015, 8:59 pm

        Thanks much!

  • ssmmgg October 13, 2015, 3:05 pm

    When I deadlift with steel plates, it will create very big sound just caused by the barbell sleeve hitting the plate even with the commercial coated plates (which is snug on barbell with less than 0.5 mm gap). So I decide to buy some bumpers next year.

    But I have a question about the noise between comp plates and regular plates. Since comp plates have much larger steel hub than the regular insert, will it create larger metal noise than regular plates or just similar or even better?

    • jburgeson October 13, 2015, 4:23 pm

      I don’t personally find comp plates to sound much different than nice fitting basic bumpers, or even the commercial coated plates that you’re talking about, which have a very similar insert to standard black bumpers. The sound of the bumper on the mat is different, but the sleeve within the bumper insert doesn’t seem different enough to make a huge difference. I think that steel plates vs all the others is where the real difference is, but maybe someone more perceptive than myself has a different opinion.

      Keep in mind though that as you move from comp bumper to basic bumper to commercial plate to steel plate, the tolerances on the insert get looser and looser, so in theory the comp should be the quietest. With comp plates though, you need to make sure your bar is of a quality high enough that the sleeve is accurately crafted. In other words, trying to get some nice, calibrated comp plates on a CAP or Body Solid barbell probably won’t even happen. Maybe one or two plates out of a set may slide on a cheap bar, but most won’t fit. Those steel plates are made with such a large hole because it’s better to be too big than too small.

  • Mike October 20, 2015, 8:10 am

    Hello John,
    it’s me again ;-)

    My first bumpers – what would you do?

    1. option:
    150 kg for 390 Euro (China, odor/smell ?)

    2. option:
    150 kg Hi-Temp 560 Euro (USA, nearly no odor).

    I’m over 50 Jahre and in this life I won’t lift more than 200 kg. Therefore the thickness of the bumpers is not really a problem for me.
    I will not drop the bar normally (but perhaps my son in a few years), nevertheless I want “silent” and soft plates (floor and neighbors).
    And at last 150 kg iron plates in 50 mm will cost too more or less 300 Euro.
    So in the long run bumpers seem to be the better choice.

    Best regards,

    Danke und Grüße,

    • jburgeson October 20, 2015, 10:45 am

      Well you definitely want crumb rubber for quiet, so I’d say the HI-Temps. That price doesn’t seem too much worse than what we pay for them here. A little worse, but not much.

  • Mike October 20, 2015, 11:11 am

    Thanks John!
    So did I understand you correctly? You think the other rubber-option (370 Euro) is not a good choice although it is 170 Euro cheaper?
    I will pay for the Hi-Temps.
    I just would like to understand, why I don’t take the other rubber plates – or better said, why you would prefer the Hi-Temp…

    I found I good solution for shipping from USA to Germany.
    So I share this here:

    American Barbell wrote me, the shipping rate to Germany is $350 for one barbell!!
    After a Scotch (or two) I felt better…

    • jburgeson October 20, 2015, 11:42 am

      haha wow. You can buy something fancy in Europe for that kind of money.

      I said HI-Temps because your two concerns were noise and smell. Normal rubber plates will not only be louder than crumb rubber plates, but they will indeed stink for a few months. In all fairness though, the noise is nothing compared to steel, and the smell does indeed dissipate.

      • Mike October 20, 2015, 11:52 am

        OK I have understood. My English is sometimes not good enough….
        We are talking about different kinds of rubber. And this crump rubber is ” better “

        • jburgeson October 20, 2015, 12:37 pm

          well, different. For your purposes though, it sounds like it’s a better fit. Disadvantages of HI-Temp are price, thickness, and slightly more bounce. The crumb rubber that makes them bounce is also what makes them quieter. Eleiko XF is the quietest plate I know of.

  • kpierre November 10, 2015, 4:33 pm

    I just wanted to comment on plates from Again Faster. I purchased the set of 160lbs. After sitting in my house for two weeks unopened, I tried them onto my 45lb male bar. All the weights fit but 1 10lb plate. It’s about an inch on and it won’t budge on or off. I reached out to their CS to rectify before I leave bad feedback. I wish I found this site before I purchased from them. I was originally eyeing the Fringesport.com set but they went up in price. Cheaper is not always better.

    • jburgeson November 10, 2015, 5:06 pm

      Ya I’m sorry to hear that. AF is not my favorite spot for anything. Fringesport has the winner bumpers. They’d do better if they made a nicer website I think lol. Well I hope AF takes care of you.

  • RJP November 17, 2015, 8:46 am

    Hi – very informative site, thanks! I am looking to get a garage gym set up going and need to get the bar and plates. You’ve convinced me to get bumper plates, but was wondering about the bar. I only really plan to do PL things – squats, deads, press, but may end up doing some cleans, too. I was looking into a PL bar – center knurl, more aggressive grip knurl and less whip. If I go with a PL bar and do some cleans or even just drop a heavy deadlift weight, is a PL bar more susceptible to bending than an oly bar because it has less whip? I’ve heard that any bar can bend if you drop it and it lands a bit off. Any advice would be welcome and thanks!

    • jburgeson November 17, 2015, 10:53 am

      You’re not going to bend a power bar by dropping it from the clean’s rack position, especially with bumpers. A quality bar will also withstand being dropped unevenly; to a point. What will bend any bar is to drop it on something else; a bench, spotters, etc.

      A power bar is perfect for your needs so long as it has some spin to it for those power cleans, and any decent bronze or composite bushing bar will do that.

  • Mike November 23, 2015, 1:26 am

    Hello John,

    my AB SP Bar has arrived! Looks and feels great :-)
    And my 150 kg set of Hi-Temp Bumpers has arrived also.

    Is it normal or ok, that all the heavier plates weigh 300 to 400 grams less?
    The 20 kg plates have only 19,6 kg. The 25 kg plates have 24,6 kg.
    That means depending from the plates on the bar you work with one or two kilos less…
    This disappoints me al little bit.
    Hi-Temp does not give information what is the maximum deviation in percent (not on the homepage?) Or I didn’t find it.
    Do you know what deviation is allowed?
    By the way: That could be an interesting argument for prospective buyers when you compare bumpers.

    • jburgeson November 23, 2015, 1:48 am

      0.5% – 1% isn’t that unheard of. 19.6 kg is about 2% off if I can math correctly though. It’s not that surprising, but you shouldn’t have weighed them lol. All of our (us collectively) non-competition bumpers are a little off, but not by enough to feel it, and if we don’t weigh them we’ll never know by how much. You went and weighed them so now you know.

      If it makes you feel any better, had you bought box-store plates you’d be as much as a full kilo off those 20 kg plates. Had you bought competition plates, you’d have paid twice as much. But ya, aside from that I’m glad you hear you finally got your uber bar. Can I call it an uber bar? =p

      • Mike November 23, 2015, 2:22 am

        Okay, grrrr ;-)
        You mean “über” – in German?
        Yes, Germans will understand it lol
        But today they use a hell of superlative words…. I guess like in the USA too.

  • Mike November 23, 2015, 5:01 am

    Now I have understood it ;-)
    Never heard this english word before – but actually it is similar to the german word “über”
    Mega-, or Super- is the german meaning. It fits, yes.

    uber- {prefix} [coll.] Mega- [ugs.]

  • Mike November 26, 2015, 10:03 am

    Hi John,
    I sent Rogue a question because of the weight tolerance.

    The answer could be interesting for more people:

    With HG 2.0 bumpers the weight tolerance is just 10 grams of claimed weight.
    The difference in tolerance is due to a fact that Hi-temps are made from more raw material compared to HG 2.0, and there for it’s not that simple to get the weight as accurate. Also the manufacturing process is totally different.
    For Hi-Temp Bumpers the max tolerance that is acceptable is around 230g. That is the max tolerance for all plates, no matter the weight.
    We don’t usually control the weight, but of course we are able to do that.
    If the weight difference is more than 230g, we will of course replace the plates and pick up the original once from you.
    230g – rule is a Rogue Promise for Hi-temp plates.
    See also here:

    OK! 230g sounds good. But does only Rogue promise that?
    Or is this a Hi-Temp promise?

    By the way: We here in Germany live behind the black friday moon – at least if we talk about strength training :-(
    Not even Rogue Europe offers nothing until yet…
    But I do not begrudge anyone the great chances in the USA ;-)

  • bob zerg December 18, 2015, 1:10 pm

    This is more of question about iron plates. I have some iron rubber grip plates made by CAP that are scratching my B&R barbell sleeves when loading and unloading. Some scratches you can feel with a fingernail. Is this normal on these kind of plates? I am trying to deburr them with a dremel tool with a small measure of success and am looking for suggestions on how to deal with this. Bumpers are smooth and don’t scratch.

    • jburgeson December 19, 2015, 11:44 am

      Anything without that smooth insert like on a bumper definitely has the chance to leave gouges on the sleeves. Keep in mind the less expensive the plate (or even just the brand) the larger the holes tend to be and the less refined the plate is overall. Those scratches are straight up metal on metal tears, and that’s especially true of a bare bar since there isn’t even a finish to scratch. I’m sure you can buff out the very shallow scratches to a certain degree, but I think you’ll drive yourself crazy trying to do that so long as the plates keep leaving new marks. If you don’t want to buy new plates, you may be better off taking that Dremel to whatever imperfection in the hole of the plate leaving the scratch.

  • Andrew January 3, 2016, 3:59 pm

    260 lb set of high temps or OFWs? Or set of hight temps with OFW 10 lb plates?? What is the diameter of the HTs? to make sure OFW 10s wouldn’t be a larger diameter.

    • jburgeson January 4, 2016, 1:33 am

      HI-Temps are 17.5″ (444 mm) and OFW are 450 mm except for the 10’s and maybe the 15’s (I don’t have the 15’s to confirm). The idea with the slightly smaller diameter 10’s is that when they are loaded with other heavier plates, the 10’s don’t take on any of the load from the heavier plates when the loaded bar is dropped. It’s actually a pretty ingenious idea to help keep those 10’s straight for longer. You can mix the OFW 10’s with the HI-Temps IF those 10’s are still the same diameter or smaller than the HI-Temps (the 444 mm). I’d ask Fringe for an exact diameter on those 10’s if I were you because if their 10’s are still bigger than the HI-Temps, you’ll smash those 10’s up pretty quickly since they’ll always eat the shock of a drop before the rest of the plates. Normally this stuff isn’t an issue; it’s the HI-Temps that are not standard 450 mm, everyone else’s are.

  • Matt January 13, 2016, 1:41 pm

    Appreciate all of the great work you’ve done on this site. Do you have any familiarity with a company out of Everett, WA called PR Lifting (http://www.prlifting.com/)? Their products – specifically Bars and Bumpers – have the look, price and warranties (2 years on big bumpers, lifetime on bars) of similar products offered by Rogue/OFW. Their website claims that they are affiliated with several local CF boxes (I cannot verify as I’m not a CF member), and it looks like they’ve been in business for 2-3 years. I am interested because their showroom/warehouse is 20-minutes away from me.

    • jburgeson January 13, 2016, 6:52 pm

      I do not, no. But there are a ton of these smaller CrossFit suppliers all over the place, some have just done a better job of establishing themselves online. When it comes to the lower end bars and basic black bumpers, there isn’t much difference. A PR bar is probably no different than a GetRx or Rep Fitness bar, and bumpers really only come from a handful of places in China. Of course they’ll all say they have the best bars and so on, but clearly not everyone could have the best, and if they were they’d be pretty well known like Rogue.

      That said, if prices for pick-up are low enough to be enticing, and you aren’t lifting at a level that would require you to own premium or elite equipment, I see no reason to not go check out their gear. At least since you’re near their showroom you can physically handle the equipment prior to a purchase. It looks like they also offer the Texas Power Bar, which is a solid option if you aren’t an Olympic lifter especially since it eliminates any question of construction quality you may have for PR branded bars. Stay away from that DHS stuff though; you can do better for that kind of money.

  • andy January 26, 2016, 2:47 pm

    Hey I’m trying to find bumpers that are thin enough to load 6 plates on each side. Most being around 3 inches bring the total to 18 inches and loading length on rogue bars being 16.4 doesn’t work for me. Thanks.

    • jburgeson January 26, 2016, 3:02 pm

      Most comp bumpers. The 25kg/55lb plates are 2.5″ thick. That’s 6 you can fit on. You can probably fit 7 maybe 8 of the 20kg/45lb plates. You won’t find traditional black bumpers that thin; just not going to happen. That many competition plates will be pricey of course, so you may be stuck with steel at that weight.

  • Jason March 15, 2016, 8:34 am

    How do you feel about the Urethane plates Rogue and American barbell have? These seem to be designed for use as legit bumpers? Haven’t found anyone really talking about them around the web.

    • jburgeson March 15, 2016, 10:50 am

      I’ve got a 25 kg pair of the AB’s, and I like them plenty… just as much as any other comp bumper. There isn’t much to say though honestly. I don’t necessarily think one is better than the other unless you need your plates to have custom branding. Urethane holds color forever, where as we all know that color on rubber falls away eventually. Bounce, insert fit, width… it’s all the same. The small hub is cooler looking for what that’s worth lol.

  • Jesse Carrigan March 19, 2016, 3:15 pm

    Rogue often has some of their training or games-used competition bumpers on closeout for what ends up being around $2.25 / lb. Seems like a pretty good deal, at least if there’s free shipping. Any drawbacks that you see?

    • jburgeson March 20, 2016, 1:05 am

      Generally no problem with those, only the limited selection (only 25’s, for instance). Just compare to current prices taking into account they are sold as singles on closeout and not pairs. If the price is lower, then sure good deal.

  • Alexandria Roemke July 24, 2016, 3:08 pm

    Hi! I am setting up a garage gym and trying to choose between the Vulcan alpha bumper plates VS. Fringesport’s OFW contrast bumper plates. Any recommendations between the two?

    Are the Vulcan’s definitely more quiet than the OFW’s?
    (We have the horse stall rubber flooring)

    • jburgeson July 24, 2016, 3:13 pm

      The alphas are definitely quieter. The Alphas are quieter than everything but XFs, but who can afford those!

      Most people don’t ever take their plates and bar outside, but that’s another perk of the Alphas.

      From a customer service standpoint, all things are equal.

      • Alexandria Roemke July 24, 2016, 8:35 pm

        Great, thanks for the input!

        • Bryan Dunbar February 13, 2017, 9:47 am

          Which plates did you go with, I’m debating between these two as well.

  • Bill August 12, 2016, 11:21 am

    For the $ do you think the Vulcan Alpha’s are worth upgrading to for the durability and longevity for crossfit workouts and oly lifts? They are only $24 difference between the standard black vulcan bumpers right now, but they are currently out of stock of the alphas. Are they normally priced that low?



    • jburgeson August 12, 2016, 11:37 am

      I think it’s worth it, yes. And yes they have always been priced well, but I don’t think that will last much longer. I have good reason to believe that once pre-orders are caught up, the price will go up. Demand is too high and margins are razor thin. Bumpers are not profitable for these retailers, but you gotta have them. What you don’t have to do (generally speaking) is make good bumpers, and Vulcan does.

      Usually items on pre-order like this at Vulcan are discounted even more just so money still rolls in where it normally wouldn’t. Pre-order status is merely keeping the price static right now. They’re actually two containers behind right now on those – it’s really rather insane.

      I guess the short answer is yes, if you’re willing to wait for them, they’re a great deal. I think they’ll still be priced well even if the went up 5% because they are better plates. I say that not even factoring in the color because I know many can take or leave color – myself included.

  • j.r. August 13, 2016, 10:10 am

    I bought the 230 lb Alpha Set and should be delivered mid September based on your review here. Thanks for the thorough review. I also found a Rogue Ohio Bar with e-coat (?) on closeout for $195 on the rogue site. No idea what e-coat is but I thought that bar was too good a deal to pass up. I plan to use these in my garage to lift and practice oly lifts while doing wods at the box I attend. Later I’ll add the Rogue S-2 2.0 and keep adding on to my bumper set with change plates and other pairs. I built a list on what to buy based on your reviews and what how to start. Thanks, I really appreciate it.

    • jburgeson August 13, 2016, 11:00 am

      Thanks JR. You find that bar in the new Boneyard section? Honestly I have no idea what e-coat is, but I’m going to assume it’s something relatively affordable to do in order to offer at least some oxidation protection on a closeout bar.

      • j.r. September 16, 2016, 6:34 pm

        Just now seeing the reply here. Sorry about that. I found the bar on the regular page and clicked price lowest to highest. And there it was. They said it was a coat electronically applied like for automobiles. It feels slippery when it gets sweaty. I’m sure chalk will help. Also, I ordered the Alpha’s that were supposed to ship on or about 9/15. I called today and they said it could now be late september before they even arrive at their warehouse. Anyhow, I’m thinking of cancelling my order and getting the Rogue HG 2.0 since they’ll be here in only a couple of days. Question to you is should I wait for the alphas or stop getting fat, cancel the order and purchase the HG’s? Thanks for the help.

        • jburgeson September 17, 2016, 4:13 pm

          haha I can’t decide that. I’d wait if you got the impression they would still ship this month, but probably not if you think it would be October. You heard them on the phone so maybe you got a feel for how confident they sounded.

  • kba September 4, 2016, 8:44 pm

    Hi – I am interested in the HiTech Plates (5kg) because I am still working through technique at lights weights, they are not wobbly when on the bar, and they have no bounce when dropped. The one issue is that they are loud when dropped. This is no bother to me, but it is to others around me.

    Are there any alternatives that you would recommend?

    The gym that I go to have the black Pendlay 5kg plates. They do not wobble (generally) but they do bounce.


    • jburgeson September 4, 2016, 11:08 pm

      You won’t find anything in that size quieter. HI-Temps are notoriously quiet compared to virgin rubber, and only Vulcan Alphas are quieter but their 10-pound plates are smaller in diameter.

  • billy September 8, 2016, 1:24 pm

    I’m talking to a guy about purchasing his OFW plates on craigslist. It’s 280lbs in OFW bumper plates for $275. I know you said in the past your high on OFW and Vulcan bumpers. Seem like a solid deal for use plates? Its 4-45s. 2-25s, 2-15s, and 2-10s.
    Seem like a solid deal?

    • jburgeson September 8, 2016, 1:44 pm

      Is everyone getting lazy? So many bumpers on Craigslist. It wasn’t like that a year ago!

      $275 is what they charge for 160 pounds new so for an extra 120 pounds that seems like a good deal. As always, fiddle with those inserts when you go to check them out and make sure none of them are loose. And of course make sure the 10’s don’t look like taco shells. Other than that, pretty solid.

      • billy September 8, 2016, 8:05 pm

        Just got back from picking them up. The guy who sold me the bumpers didn’t use them for anything other then squatting. You hardly can tell they are used. They still have the year they were manufactured stickers on the bumpers and he threw in the 15 pounds of change waits for free. I guess he’s trying to clean out his garage and wanted a quick sell.

        • billy September 8, 2016, 8:06 pm


  • Rod November 7, 2016, 7:30 am

    I picked up a 160 lb set of OFW bumpers on Craigslist a few weeks ago. I’m not sure if I will ever get to the point where I need additional bumpers, but just in case…….would any bumpers be the same size (except 10’s, of course), or would I need to buy OFW bumpers specifically?

    • jburgeson November 7, 2016, 8:53 am

      With the exception of HI-Temps, all other bumpers will be the same size of 450 mm.

  • Jason Li November 26, 2016, 6:57 am

    Hey – this is fantastic site :) and I wanted to get your thoughts:

    If price wasn’t an object, would you recommend Hi-Temps or Eleiko XF bumpers? I read your note regarding the XF plates and scratching of barbell sleeves which is a bit concerning.

    Additionally, my wife is allowing me to purchase an Eleiko wl comp bar for a milestone birthday. Are there any other barbell brands that you think are better and secondly would either the hi-temps / xf bumpers fit on the bar.

    Thanks in advance, cheers!

    • jburgeson November 26, 2016, 11:20 am

      Well price aside, you can’t really do any better than the Eleiko Comp. That’s like end-game equipment. You’ve got other options that are close to Eleiko in performance, and definitely cheaper, but not better.

      Both HT and XF bumpers will fit, and both will last figuratively forever in a personal gym setting. There is that issue of the seam in the XF plates, not to mention the excessive thickness of XFs, but if the price was right (like when on sale) I wouldn’t turn them down. Also they are super quiet which is nice.

  • Sean T December 15, 2016, 10:19 pm

    I was wondering if there was a major difference in durability between the Olympic Training Bumper Plates and Olympic Competition bumper plates? I know you mentioned that the comp bumpers are slightly more accurate but are the oly comp plates more durable then the oly training plates?

    Also would you recommend a brand of either Olympic Competition Bumpers and Olympic Training Bumper Plates that offer the best bang for the buck and that are still very durable? I’m really starting get more and more into Olympic Weightlifting and I’m hoping buy the expensive bumpers only once. Any major differences between the quality/durable between Rogue/FringeSport/Vulcan? I was also looking into Again Faster comp bumpers, because they tend to have a few more sales and slightly cheaper but I heard their barbell quality has slip significantly, but not sure about their comp bumpers? Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks ahead of time!

    • Sean T December 15, 2016, 10:23 pm

      Also I notice Rogue has Comp Plate 1.0 version and 2.0 versions. Is there any difference in quality/durability of the plates between 1.0/2.0? There is a slight pricing difference.


      • jburgeson December 15, 2016, 11:23 pm

        There is a little difference actually. The 1.0s just weren’t as nice as a plate. For a home gym, they’d probably last just as long as the 2.0, but the price difference is minimal, and technically the 2.0 is a better disc. If the 1.0 is clearance priced then by all means save some dough.

    • jburgeson December 15, 2016, 11:21 pm

      No, there are no major differences. In the case of actual IWF brands (Eleiko, Uesaka, WerkSan, etc), ‘Competition Disc’ means IWF-approved and each plate is within IWF allowable weight tolerances, whereas the ‘training disc’ is not IWF-approved, and is likely not checked for such accuracy.

      Only IWF brands have actual ‘competition’ discs. All others are really training discs that are named competition discs because 99% of people don’t know that there is supposed to be a distinction. That said, Rogue uses slightly different rubber for their comp discs and training discs, but all this really changes is the Shore rating, which is so minor it’s not even worth paying much attention to – unless you think a few mm difference in bounce is important.

      There is no need to own actual IWF-approved competition plates. You certainly may, but it’s not a very good use of money for a home gym. Rogue’s Training 2.0 are great plates, and Vulcan’s “competition” plates are also great plates. Fringe and Again Faster use a slightly less costly disc – like the old Pendlays – so I suggest not going that route unless the minor savings make a big difference to you. You won’t ruin any of them soon, but the longer they go the longer before you replace them.

      Again Faster is not the same company they were a year or two ago. I try to steer clear of them myself. I don’t even consider them for reviews anymore.

  • Russ McBride January 2, 2017, 12:12 pm

    The horrible off-gassing odor of bumper plates is likely the smell of carcinogens and hormone-disrupting chemicals entering your body. I see that the Vulcan Alpha bumpers are low odor. Are any of the colored bumpers (or even just colored-text bumpers) low odor? Thanks!

    • jburgeson January 2, 2017, 12:55 pm

      No, Alphas are the least smelly plates I’ve come across. Crumb rubber is second best, but virgin rubber is definitely high-odor for a couple weeks. Longer if kept indoors.

  • Jason January 3, 2017, 8:01 am

    Hey there, great site I’ve narrowed down my purchase to either black rogue hg 2.0 bumpers or black Vulcan bumpers. I was wondering what set you think is better?

    Thanks again

    • jburgeson January 3, 2017, 9:04 am

      Both are great, and both will last forever in a private gym setting, but Vulcan uses the anchored insert and Rogue does not. The anchors give the lighter plates a slight durability edge. So in this case I think Vulcan is slightly better.

  • Paul Claveloux January 11, 2017, 11:12 pm

    Hi, JB. First of all, wanted to let you know I really enjoy your site and find it very informative. It’s become my go to for equipment info as I set up my home gym, so many thanks! Have a question regarding comparison of noise levels between OFW bumpers and Vulcan Alphas. As a bit of background, I work out from home, and my workouts are either early in the morning or late at night (usually late at night) so noise is big concern for me as I don’t want to wake up my wife or kids with my workouts. To further complicate, I recently had to move my gym out of my garage and into my basement, so noise concern is now even higher on my list. Am still very novice at Olympic lifts, but from my limited experience and research, the bar is usually the loudest part of the equation so I purposely bought a bar is quieter for drops (AB Training Bar). For my bumpers, I have a set of black OFW bumpers. I know you don’t recommend OFW bumpers as strongly as you once did, but mine have served me well and have no real need to replace them other than than if there is a significant benefit (in this case, reduced noise) to moving to another brand. Your review of the Vulcan Alphas got me wondering if the Alphas are really that much quieter, so thought I would ask if you have any comparison of noise levels between the Alphas and OFW bumpers. Personally, I don’t find my OFWs to be all that loud, but if the Alphas are significantly quieter, I may need to make the switch. Greatly appreciate any insight you may be able to provide!

    • jburgeson January 11, 2017, 11:57 pm

      Paul they are quieter, but not by so much that I think you’d be doing much good by replacing a perfectly good set of pre-existing plates. The difference is not huge, as the OFWs are certainly not the loudest basic plates on the market. Depending on your areas market though, you could get as much as 80% of what you paid for the OFWs on Craigslist and put that towards Alphas and you wouldn’t be out much, but I still don’t think the difference is going to blow your mind or anything.

      The idea behind the Alphas from how Vulcan explained it to me was to eliminate the compounding noise of a dozen lifters in a small gym or box doing a WOD. In cases like that the noise is deafening, so the difference can be huge (especially since many basic bumpers are in these gyms are older model black plates where the 45-pound plates are close to 4″ wide with completely flat edges… lots of surface area slapping the mats.) So while I’d say the difference is worth the small up-charge if you have no plates to begin with, it’s a tough call to actually replace a whole set unless you can get a really good price on the old set.

      Also just FYI, I don’t have a problem with OFW plates. It’s about the only thing they offer that I could make an actual argument for buying. With my goal being to steer people clear of box-store gear, I’ve had to back off Fringe because so many of their new releases (what few they have) are going in that direction. More imports, weaker steel, shorter warranties, etc. They’ve always had their share of cheap stuff, but I would prefer for there to be less of it over time, not more of it. Their plates are solid, and I don’t regret recommending them when I did, but they are the same as Vulcan’s, and Vulcan actually innovated them in the first place so I’ve been more than happy to point in their direction instead.

      • Paul Claveloux February 24, 2017, 4:19 pm

        JB, Thanks for the insight on Alphas. I ended up selling my OWF plates for close to what I bought them for and ordered a 260 lb set of the Alphas. Will definitely give you some feedback once they come in (Vulcan estimates 30 days before they ship, so I’m anxiously awaiting their delivery). Thanks again!

  • Sara March 15, 2017, 3:57 pm

    Hi there – amazing article. We are buying a set of Vulcan bumpers and I can’t find any 2.5lb or 5lb plates on their sise. Do you have a link or recommendation as to where I can get some? Thank you!

  • Dan March 16, 2017, 8:28 am

    I found an online supplier that sells Vulcan Alpha pairs for less than Vulcan’s website. Although the 45’s aren’t available at the moment (hopefully one day Vulcan can keep up with demand on those) the pricing is $129.54/pr with estimated $13.95 shipping. Vulcan sells them for $171.99 (shipping included).


    • jburgeson March 16, 2017, 9:37 am

      That’s random

  • Stephen April 5, 2017, 6:30 pm

    If I am looking to buy bumper plates from a local source (North Carolina), what are the key things I need to ask about to make sure they are good quality? It would be great to support a local company, while also saving on shipping. However, I don’t want to waste my time if they aren’t going to be worth it. I plan on using them mostly outside, but being dropped on 1/2in horse stall mats. Price he sells them at is 1.30$ a lb.




    • jburgeson April 6, 2017, 4:15 pm

      Oh goodness. You almost certainly won’t be buying any of the better models locally unless they’re just selling HI-Temps. Re-branded Diamonds are okay too; they are crumb rubber like HI-Temps. If they are selling virgin rubber plates, look at the thickness (if the 45’s are nearly 4″ then they are an older, basic model), look at the insert and make sure it’s stainless steel and not brass or some other random metal that doesn’t look appropriate, and you can ask if the insert has rebar (that would be a nice plus, but it’s very unlikely.) The easiest way to spot the better, newer plates is to look at the 10’s. If they edge is completely flat all the way around rather than beveled, it’s a newer model.

      That said, even shitty bumpers will last a while with a single user so long as the 10’s and 15’s aren’t alone on the bar for Oly lifting. But if you’re not saving a ton I wouldn’t really suggest buying cheap plates. It’s a hard industry to support local business with, but if you can do it you can do it.

Leave a Comment

Sorry for the Captchas *