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Bumper Plates Review and Shopping Guide – Selecting Weights

Bumper Plates Buying Guide - Selecting Weights

Is it time to pick out some Olympic weights for your home or garage gym? Are you not sure which type of plates to buy? Should you buy bumper plates or metal plates?  Where should you buy them? Should you buy your plates brand new or used? Are they expensive to ship, or should you expect free shipping on large weight sets or even pairs?

Well I’ve done all of the research and I know the answers to all of these questions, so let’s see if I can be of some help.

Last Update: November 2018 (extensive rewrite to bring review current; added brands).

So What are Bumper Plates?

“I already know all this – show me all the plate prices!!”

Bumper plates; or just bumpers; are Olympic-sized plates (450mm diameter with 50.4mm inserts) that are made of thick, dense rubber.  They’re designed to allow an athlete to safely drop a loaded Olympic bar from an overhead position (i.e.  the snatch or the clean and jerk) without any risk of damaging the lifting platform, the bar, the or the plates themselves.

Comparison of rubber bumper plates vs steel/cast iron plates

(from left) Competition Bumper Plates, typical machined cast iron plate, and a basic black bumper. Basic bumpers are more than adequate for a garage gym, but steel is probably better if no Olympic lifts are being performed.

Bumper plates are offered in both kilograms and pounds in the same weight variety as you would find standard Olympic and powerlifting plates in. Most basic bumper plates are black, but colored varieties do exist. The more expensive large-hub competition-style bumpers are almost always color coded, but they too can be found in black.

Bumper Plates or Steel Plates?

So do you go with bumper plates or classic steel plates for your garage gym?

Well that’s going to depend on your programming. Bumper plates are really only needed for the Olympic lifts where the bar is dropped from the hips, the rack position, and/or overhead. Normal strength training or powerlifting that consists of the squat, deadlift, various presses, and the row do not require bumper plates. Many people prefer to use bumper plates for the deadlift because they greatly reduce noise and vibration, but when using basic bumpers for this purpose there are weight limitations because of how thick rubber plates can be.

Even if you just prefer bumper plates over cast iron for general strength training (that is, not CrossFit/Olympic lifting), you still have to consider pricing. Bumpers tend to cost more cash per pound than steel. This is even more true when you consider how easy it can be to grab cast iron used (versus the difficulty in finding bumpers used.) Of course, it never hurts to do a search for used bumpers in your area (Craigslist, for instance). You may find a great deal.

At the end of the day, for Olympic lifts you’ll want bumpers. For everything else, iron will do.

Rubber / Urethane Coated Steel Weights

Another option for general strength training is the urethane-coated plates. These plates are typically what giant commercial gyms have. They choose these because they are quieter, a bit cleaner and more professional looking than old school iron, and they’re easier and safer to move around the gym.

Urethane and rubber coated weights vs standard bumper plates

(from left) Urethane-coated Plate, Rubber-coated plate, and black bumper plate. The coated plates are premium plates, but they are not bumper plates.

The cost for coated plates is closer to bumper plate pricing than cast iron prices but they’re definitely not bumpers. They are definitely 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 this style of plate in a personal gym. If you can afford these, and like the clean look and lack of clanging, then by all means get some.

Are Bumpers a Better Buy Than Steel?

Maybe. Bumper are safer than steel. That is,  they won’t smash through your foundation or crack and chip if you accidentally drop them. Consider that if you cannot safely drop a 45-lb steel plate while just transporting it to and from the bar without having to worry about what it would do to your floor,  you obviously cannot safely drop a bar loaded with steel plates from an overhead position, or ditch it the bar in a failed squat or power clean.

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 that those lifts are an option for you down the road,  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 steel 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 plates are 20 kg. (from left) Powerlifting disc, Competition Bumper Plate, and basic black training bumper.

There is another reason so many prefer bumper plates over steel. It may seem a little trivial, but it’s the noise (or lack thereof). Iron is crazy loud, even on relatively smooth movements. When you drop that bar from even a couple inches above the ground or rack, it’s obnoxious as hell. Bumpers don’t clang and bang like that.

Technique Plates – the other bumper

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

Just briefly, one other option for Olympic training purposes are technique plates. These are one-piece, solid, plastic plates meant to teach form. 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 the Olympic lifts, these allow you to get your form down with very little added weight but still have the feeling of plates on the bar. They’re not cheap per pound,  but you shouldn’t need more than a pair or two.

The Bumper Plates Review

Below I’ll go over the different types of bumper plates and the features of of each. Following that you will find suggestions on where to buy each brand/style based on best price, cost of shipping, and availability. In most cases you simply buy the brand you prefer direct from the manufacturer for the best pricing.

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Basic Black 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, Vulcan Strength Bumpers, and then FringeSport Bumpers. I removed any mention of Troy VTX due to some serious complaints about them cracking and showing very early signs of insert separation,  and I also removed Pendlay/MDUSA as they are 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 that you research any off-brand plate thoroughly. Saving 10% on plates 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 decent plates, and the slightly higher prices are tolerated being that they are one of the few plates made in the USA. They are a little on the thick side but if you are not expecting to put more than 400-pounds on the bar it won’t matter.

Many equipment vendors offer HI-Temps, but Rogue tends to have the best prices on them, may possibly offer you free shipping (depending on your location), and they maintain a very reliable inventory. The biggest advantage of HI-Temps is that they can be used outdoors on rough, abrasive surfaces like asphalt – while the biggest disadvantage is the unusually high and unpredictable bounce.

Vulcan Alpha Bumpers are the all-around, most versatile, basic bumper plates that I know of. They offer the same indoor/outdoor option as HI-Temps, they are 30% quieter than other basic bumper plates, are among the thinnest of non-competition bumpers, and are in color.

Vulcan Alpha Bumper Plates

Alphas have durable, hooked inserts that stay put, low bounce, low odor, and are just a hell of a reliable bumper at a great price. Free shipping is also available to many regions. These are exclusive to Vulcan Strength.

Vulcan’s Bumper Plates are probably the best choice for basic black bumper plates.  Not only does Vulcan have very competitive prices on sets, they have the most innovative basic bumpers currently on the market. The steel insert has a pair of hooks that are anchored into the rubber portion of the plate; preventing insert separation. A new rubber compound is also used that helps to eliminate the common warping and bending of the smaller plates. Pricing on the Vulcan Strength bumpers great too, and free shipping is available as well.

FringeSport Bumper Plates are an acceptable alternative to the Vulcans, as they have all of the same durability features like the improved rubber compound and the anchored insert. Free shipping and great prices can be found on these too.

Inside look of bumper plates with steel inserts

Rogue HG Bumper Plates used to make up the bulk of my collection before I switched to kilograms, and I was generally very happy with them. I wasn’t a huge fan of the 10- and 15-lb plates but they’re fine if you don’t use them alone on the bar regularly. HG’s are a bit less expensive than the HI-Temps, and they are a bit thinner as well.

These plates are fine for home use, but for equipping a CrossFit box or Olympic center, the hooked insert style of bumpers (like the Vulcans or FringeSports) will last longer.

American Barbell Sport bumpers are essentially the same as Rogue HGs.  They have a “unique to AB” look to them but they are still functionally the same plate. AB Sports are also available in IWF colors and in kilograms; which is uncommon. Shipping is free (included) for the lower-48 rather than just certain zones.

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Competition & Training Bumper Plates

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

Complete Bar and Plate by Eleiko

Many manufacturers also offer training versions of comp plates. They’re basically the same plate as the competition plate only not “calibrated for accuracy”, and in the case of the IWF-approved 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.

Be it training or competition discs, these are still professional-level discs, and you will spend a lot more money on these than basic bumper plates – and you probably don’t need to.

Various Competition Bumper Plates

If you are willing to spend the money required to own competition plates, one of the benefits to you using these plates over standard bumpers is the reliability of the claimed weight. The tolerances are so tight that you know you’re lifting the stated weight; usually to within 10g or less. Comp plates are also more durable than basic bumpers.

When it comes down to it, the extra durability and reliability of comp plates versus standard bumper plates is going to be meaningless in a standard garage setting, especially after you factor in price.

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 December 2017.

!! 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 | more
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 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


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

FringeSport Black Bumper Plates

FringeSport Bumper Plates

Price: Approx $1.50-$1.75 per pound. Free shipping is available on sets and pairs. These are the same innovative basic bumper model available as the Vulcans.

Available only at FringeSport | Contrast variant

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 | FringeSport

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 | American Barbell | FringeSport

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 $5-15 a pound depending on the brand. The original HITECH Plates (AB) are very pricey, but indestructible.

American Barbell | FringeSport

Training Bumper Plates

Training/Comp Olympic Bumpers

Price: Approx $3-$5 a lb for sets, more for pairs. These are offered in both pounds and kilograms, and prices have really come down over the years. At least consider these over basic bumpers.

VulcanRogue | Rogue (lbs) | Werksan | Ivanko | Rep | Rep (lbs) | FringeSport (lbs)

Urethane Training/Comp Bumper Plates

Urethane Training Bumpers

Price:  Approx $3-5 a lb for sets. Urethane has a dead bounce, and the new Pro models (American Barbell/Vulcan) are very durable. AB developed these, but Vulcan has the best pricing. These are usually in pounds in the USA.

American Barbell | Rogue Vulcan | 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.

Rogue (USAW) Rogue (CrossFit) | Eleiko (IWF)

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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 that 90% of home and garage gym owners will find exactly what they need either at Rogue, Vulcan, Rep, FringeSport, or maybe even on Craigslist. If you want to add your two cents, comment below. Thanks for reading my bumper plates guide and please share this article – it’s much appreciated!


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{ 182 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.

    • Gavin April 30, 2020, 11:07 am

      Paul- I would agree w jburg here and go further by just saying as a broker/dealer in strength equip industry for over 15 yrs now, the instances of persons buying AND selling equip privately as in classified ads, word of mouth, etc, is always and has always been done w assumptions of value based on brand and what they paid at time of purchase new. For some insider advice, I can tell you it means absolutely zilch what someone pajd for a piece of equipment. If you told me you had a hammer strength commercial gym level 3in steel full cage for sale and you paid $2800 for it new, I would have several replies, whether I said then all out loud to you in our discussion I’m not sure, but your “new” price might be 1400 over what I would pay new w my wholesale license, so same piece but one is 1400 new and one is 2800 new. Further, people make the correlation of what they paid having something to do w what the item is worth, like a car at 5yrs vs new. It doesn’t. Your piece might have been well taken care of and rust free. Someone w same age and identical piece item in classified ads might have never checked screw and bolts and rust developed in their musty home gym, maybe its nicked to hell w weights being leaned against, structurally that’s not an issue, but repaint on brand name stuff is expensive. So the value for example if we say it’s 5yrs old, is exactly what you can get for it, what I would pay for it, what the market will pay for it in otherwords. Insee people listing high end name brand stuff, but 5-10 yrs old, at 80% of list. That’s asinine, if anyonee pays it. But if they do, Hey, good idea. The true market price a fitness buying return business or dealer like myself will pay for anything 3yrs old or more is 28-30% of list TOPS. I like 25% offer to buy for most items. If they need to sell and want cash, cool, if they are offended, cool, there’s 1500 other items all across the country just like theirs in most instances so I don’t hang on one buy/sell. If you want new bumpers and worried about variance amd quality, the simplest advice I can tell you regardless of the manufacturer is to look for Virgin rubber 4 bumper plates and even dumbbells but most bumpers, not all, but most bumpers made with Virgin rubber as source of manufacturing are either US based or Europe based companies. The Chinese have very few virgin rubber offerings but leave the world in toxic recondition Tire crumb as their source of rubber melt so you’re literally buying tires from the crushed car lot industry in the outskirts of Beijing and Shanghai and Wuhan and all of the large Chinese cities that in any given month may take in 100000 tires so the buyers of that product are getting that at a price that cannot be matched anywhere in the world so that’s why you see the price difference between a competition level bumper with Virgin rubber as opposed to a common all black regular bumper plate. All the companies I deal w have US Virgin rubber or Euro sourced, yet still sell China’s black low price bumpers. Escape out of UK makes somenof the best quality shit one the planet, yet no one knows them. Rogue is thought of here as the Holy trail, but not even 4 yrs ago there was a company in San Antonio that made every piece they sold with zero outsource and the same steel and thickness and quality of rogue, but 30-40% less 95% of time. Plus shipping was free or flat rate $250 for freight loads above 2000lbs. They are out of business now…brand name buyers just didnt get past the idea “rogue is best no one beats them”, they are good, I can list 5 others just as good tho. Last point, patience is going to be a real advantage to those ready to catch the soon to be glut on market from the hundreds of cross fit boxes that will go out of biz from the corona shut down, the ones that were barely making it prior to, those wont be here in 6 months, equip will be everywhere. Make cash offer and go get it yourself, you will find a lot of equip come fall. Hope that helps..

  • 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.

      • Jason February 20, 2018, 5:30 pm

        How loud are the Urethanes compared to other bumpers?

        • jburgeson February 20, 2018, 5:46 pm

          Technically urethane is a little easier on the ears, but I try not to oversell that because it’s not a huge difference. Also I haven’t seen them myself yet, but word is American Barbell’s newest urethane plates are superior to the rest of them – including their older version (superior as in a better hub and better, more durable polymer). You can distinguish the new design by the hub – it has no ridges anymore.

  • 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.

  • Isaac September 7, 2017, 4:52 pm

    is it a bad thing to have a mix of steel, bumper, and urethane plates. I found some steel plates cheap on craigs and urethane iron grip for .50 a pound and the bumpers too. Would it affect training a lot to have that combination?

    • jburgeson September 7, 2017, 5:39 pm

      You can mix all you want so long as you aren’t using the metal plates as bumpers. It’s also better if all the plates have the same diameter when it comes to deadlifts, but 450 mm has been the standard for some time so that’s probably not an issue.

  • Alexander October 7, 2017, 4:04 am

    As of Oct 2017 Rogue Echo plates are 2.4″ thick for the black 45lb variant which costs $115 for a pair. I took the time to ask Rogue if the specs were correct. They said that the Echo plate is priced as such due to less material used than the HG 2.0’s that are 3.25″ thick for the 45lb variant priced at $126 for a pair. What are your thoughts on the Echo plates vs the HG 2.0’s?

    • jburgeson October 7, 2017, 10:19 am

      I don’t see any reason not to spend less on the Echos than the HGs so long as you don’t intend to abuse the 10s and 15s. They are super thin and will not handle solo use on the bar for long. If you ever do destroy the 10s just replace them with something better. You’ll still get years of use out of the 45s.

      I’m guessing here, but if Rogue was able to reduce the overall size of the Echo without an impact to price (upwards; which is normally how that works) then I suspect they will ultimately follow suit with the HG.

  • Alexander October 8, 2017, 10:31 am

    I do have a question on your thoughts on the rogue training bumper v the 2.0 model? The original seems to have identical specs to the competition. With the lower price it is hard to justify buying the other two? Do you think the original is just left over stock?

    • jburgeson October 8, 2017, 10:47 am

      The only non-2.0 Trainers I see Rogue still selling is the black with colored stripe around the edge. The black 2.0s with the colored text are less expensive than the full color 2.0s with white text, but I’m not seeing where you are finding the original Trainers. In any case, the originals were the old Pendlay-style plate. If I remember correctly the reason for the change was because a) the bolts tended to come out and need to be re-tightened in rare cases, and b) the rubber would start to sit loose around the hub after a lot of use. I also kind of believe that when Rogue severed ties with Pendlay/MDUSA, they just wanted their own product.

      The 2.0 is probably a better product, but I doubt a garage gym will see the destruction of either. I have had 2.0s for as long as they’ve been out and they’re in perfect condition still. I’ve also got some of the original Vulcan comps which are basically the Pendlay style as well and they are fine too. Again I don’t know where you’re seeing these, but if the price difference is substantial and you’re not buying for an actual high-traffic gym, buy the originals. If the price difference is a few %, I’d personally just get the improved 2.0. Almost nobody needs actual comps though.

      • Alexander October 8, 2017, 12:16 pm

        That makes sense. I was looking at the old style black training bumpers with the stripes. Just looking at the basic specs they looked almost identical to the current competition models. Thanks for the help! I have yet to make up my mind on what I need v want. I do more power lifting than anything else but I do some crossfit based stuff like the clean and press and military presses that I’ll drop from time to time. Bar space is a fairly big concern and I’d like to have a matched set of plates if at all possible minus change plates.

        • jburgeson October 8, 2017, 12:20 pm

          Oh I see, yeah those with the stripe are much newer than the old Pendlay style even though they don’t call them 2.0s. The black 2.0s without the stripe are actually cheaper still, yeah? Either way you’re fine – none of those are the old, old plates.

  • alex November 14, 2017, 4:29 pm

    Would love to see a table listing max loads possible for the different bumper plate styles. Many people want bumpers for their home gym and will also be using them for deadlifts. For instance, with the Vulcan Alphas, it looks like a bar with typical 16.25″ sleeves could hold 4 of the 55lb plates per side with enough room for a 1.5″ collar. With all of that, we’ve got about 1.39″ of sleeve to spare, so we could squeeze in a 15lb alpha also. That gets us up to 470lbs + 45lb bar for 515lbs. It’s more than enough for weightlifting, but may fall short for some deadlifters. I’m shooting for a 400/500/600 total in the next year or two, so Alpha may not be the way for me to go unless I can safely mix in some Iron 45lb plates with the bumpers.

    • jburgeson November 14, 2017, 4:47 pm

      You can mix 450 mm steel and bumpers on the bar for deadlifts. Nothing wrong with that at all.

      Now if you aren’t Oly lifting in addition to your 1500 total goal, it doesn’t make much sense to buy any bumpers. May as well be buying steel and saving some money. Only reason for adding bumpers to the mix would be to bring down noise levels really (which does matter to some people.)

      Also you can load upwards of 700 pounds with Competition bumpers… but you could also buy calibrated steel for that kind of money.

  • Todd November 20, 2017, 11:35 am

    Are basic black bumpers (say, from Vulcan) adequate for a garage gym with stall mat floors over say Vulcan Alphas? (I live in Southern Indiana with regular season changes if it matters)

    • jburgeson November 20, 2017, 12:11 pm

      Oh ya, anything beyond black basic bumpers becomes a luxury of sorts. Noise reduction and color with Alphas, slimmer design and slightly less bounce with competition plates, etc. There is absolutely nothing wrong with basic black bumper plates. Vulcan’s are actually some of the best basic plates if you do go that route because of their hooked, molded inserts. If you’re slamming lots of weight from overhead it might be in your best interest to have a platform rather than a single layer of stall mats for the integrity of your foundation, but the type of bumpers you use won’t change that fact.

  • Robert Rea January 14, 2018, 7:47 am

    After reading your bumper plate review, and a lot of research, I purchased a Vulcan Alpha Bumper set. Contrary to your review, the odor emanating from these plates made it impossible to have them indoors. They have been airing out in my garage for 2 weeks, and it has dissipated somewhat but I still doubt I can have them indoors. Vulcan said this is par for the course, that it may take 4-6 weeks for them to air out. If it doesn’t improve a lot I may have to sell them

    • jburgeson January 14, 2018, 9:19 am

      I have un-packaged basic bumper plates from half a dozen manufacturers at least, and there is no doubt in my mind that Vulcan Alpha were by far the least offensive plates in terms of odor; next to maybe the XFs. I’d say they have less than half of the odor of a virgin rubber plate. I mean rubber smells when it’s new, that cannot be entirely avoided, but some plates stink far less than others. You’d have to drag some brand new stall mats into your gym or get some Echo bumpers or something to know how bad it can really be maybe.

      I suggest you ride it out if you need bumpers because all you’re doing by switching to another brand is potentially getting an even more offensive odor and having to start over with the time it takes for them to air out, and all while having an inferior plate to what you gave up.

      I’m sorry if you feel as though you’ve been misled. I genuinely believe they are lower odor plates and an overall superior plate. On both of my bumper plate guides and my actual review of the Alphas I have had no other complaints about odor of Alphas.

      • jburgeson January 14, 2018, 9:21 am

        Also you aren’t really airing them out in the garage. That process is much faster outdoors. Cleaning the film that is applied for shipping off of them will also do wonders; if you haven’t already.

  • Billy February 20, 2018, 1:59 pm

    From what I can tell when looking at other brands not necessarily on this list, it seems One Fit Wonder plates seem to be comparable to the Vulcan (and it seems it’s pretty much the only thing Fringe Sport has worth checking out). Doing the math it seems I can get the set I’m looking for at a lower cost from Fringe Sports (including shipping costs). Do you have any experience to determine if I should spend the extra on Vulcan?

    • jburgeson February 20, 2018, 2:23 pm

      The are effectively the same plates. Since Vulcan came up with the design and they are generally both the same price, and because Vulcan products are easier to get behind as a whole (like what you said about having a pretty poor selection of products), I choose to avoid making that FS referral. Plus I’m of the opinion that they manipulate their reviews, and that’s pretty hard for me to ignore.

    • Todd February 20, 2018, 3:33 pm

      Just got 400lbs of basic bumpers from Vulcan and couldn’t be happier.

  • Anthony February 27, 2018, 7:35 pm

    Thanks again for all the great information. You are my go to person!

    I just saw these KG competition plates.



    • jburgeson February 27, 2018, 11:06 pm

      Thank you, Anthony.

      I’ve never heard of that company, and there isn’t even a hint of useful information about the plates on their site…. so I can’t really comment. I don’t think the price is low enough to warrant a gamble though.

  • Sylvain March 27, 2018, 7:13 pm

    I’m trying to decide between Rogue’s 320Lbs trainning plate set and Vulcan’s 370Lbs Alpha. With vulcan I would have to pay for delivery, customs and taxes so both sets would be about same price. They would be used only for olympic lifting 2-3 times a week on a platform in a 2 person garage gym, dropped mostly from shoulder\hip height but some times from over head.
    Which one do you think is the most durable plate?
    I currently have York black bumper and after 1.5 years the inserts are coming out and some of them have bulgues on the outside (not round anymore).
    I just want a very durable plate but don’t want to pay more than the rogue set ($1220 CAN)

    I currently have York black bumper and after 1.5

    • jburgeson March 27, 2018, 7:29 pm

      You’re saying that basically you can get the Rogue Training Discs (the large hub plates) or the Vulcan Alphas for about the same cost to your door?

      I don’t think you can go wrong with either, so long as the Rogue’s in question are the 2.0 version. The Alphas are super durable, and I doubt you’d ever pop an insert on them because they’re hooked into the mold, but you would also be hard-pressed to ever damage a large hub comp/training disc either. I think maybe in this case it would be easier to decide if you care about the thickness of Alphas versus the trainers, or the extra weight you’d get from Alphas rather than the life expectancy because it’s very unlikely you’ll destroy either in a garage gym with only two users.

      What’s happened to your York plates is not unusual because York is one of those brands who offers just about the shittiest model of bumpers possible. No money invested in the rubber, no special inserts, etc. They should have gone more than a year and a half, so maybe your weather is contributing to their decay? Hard to say.

      But yeah, either of these two plates will be infinitely better than the cheap York plates – by far.

  • Sylvain March 27, 2018, 9:10 pm

    Thank you for the quick response
    I just ordered the alpha can’t wait to get them!!!!

    • jburgeson March 27, 2018, 9:27 pm

      Absolutely! Glad to help. Enjoy them (you will).

  • T April 9, 2018, 1:16 pm

    Would love to hear your thoughts on urethane plates vs comp bumpers. Interesting that Vulcan throws some shade at urethane in the description for their Pro Hex rubber dumbbells (my full set arrives later this month) but now has launched their own line of urethane plates priced right at or slightly below the price of their kg comp plates. My impression was always that urethane was more durable and held color longer but that comment made me wonder if that’s truly the case. Perhaps American Barbell just threw that out there when they started popularizing urethane plates to the home gym crowd.

    • jburgeson April 9, 2018, 11:35 pm

      So what I know (or think I know) about urethane bumpers is that the original American Barbell Urethane plate model are what you see being sold literally everywhere now. It was (well, is) a patented product that was backdoor dealed to Rogue and Intek originally, and now has spread to everyone really (like Vulcan). American Barbell actually discovered that these plates didn’t last nearly as long as rubber (when abused in a commercial setting), so they went back to R&D in an effort to fix the issues (as they believed urethane is indeed superior to rubber when done correctly). They did ultimately make the urethane bumper better than rubber, and that is what is now being sold by American Barbell as their new version. You can tell this version by the hub – they removed the ridges.)

      Since AB didn’t want their new patented product being sold out the back door to their competitors, AB built their own factory to produce them – not outsourcing them like they previously did. So far, AB has managed to keep this design exclusive to themselves, so for the best urethane bumpers that last tens of thousands of drops you have to buy the AB Urethanes.

      That being said, 99% of us aren’t going to ruin any bumper – urethane or otherwise – so this advanced version of the urethane disc is technically irrelevant. If you were buying plates for a Lifetime Fitness or Olympic training center, sure buy AB Urethane. For a garage, who cares.

      Finally, urethane doesn’t hold color better (as in the color of the plates or brightness or whatever), it is just able to be dyed with graphics and logos in more depth and detail, whereas you have to paint on the surface when dealing with rubber. So graphics on urethane are for life, but graphics on rubber are until it’s rubbed off (or falls off). It’s also extremely expensive to customize urethane plates, so you’ll rarely see that aspect being taken advantage of (though AB produces for Hammer Strength and Life Fitness now, so you’ll see American Barbell discs branded as these two brands now.)

      AB maintains that urethane is a superior product to rubber, but that it takes serious skill to use it properly on fitness equipment, and it is more expensive to play around with. If it wasn’t for AB, urethane wouldn’t be a thing at all probably. AB has been using urethane on dumbbells for decades now (GP Industries).

      • Jon September 5, 2018, 1:57 pm

        Hi, may I ask if you know how much less durable are the old formula urethane bumper plates compared to rubber?

        • jburgeson September 5, 2018, 3:14 pm

          My understanding is that every urethane plate aside from American Barbell’s newer line is probably less durable over the long run than a decent rubber comp bumper, with the new urethane model being more durable than rubber comp bumpers. I don’t know what the specific drop test results are from one to the other though. Even if we did we’re still kind of taking the manufacturer’s word for it.

          I wouldn’t worry about it too much unless you’re in a high-traffic Olympic gym or training center though. You’d be hard pressed to put the kind of miles on any bumper to speed up deterioration by any meaningful level.

  • T April 11, 2018, 9:50 pm

    Dude, very helpful. Appreciated as always. Now I’m going to up the ante.

    If you had to start all over with plates, knowing what you know now, what are you buying? And I mean realistically buying not a dream list. We’d all love a full set of Ivanko PL plates and Eleiko comps, but I’m thinking more practically amongst our usual suspects (ie: Rogue, Vulcan, American Barbell, Rep, FS, etc.).

    All comps? Combination of comps and steel? Any standard bumpers (ie: Vulcan Alphas, FS econs, Rogue HGs) making the cut? KG vs lbs, etc. Including plate sizes and number of pairs of each. I train in a similar style to you so I think our needs are pretty comparable.

    • jburgeson April 11, 2018, 11:59 pm

      I’d buy all calibrated steel plates in kilograms. Probably Rogue because of price. Vulcan’s maybe – once we get a chance to see how those came out and whether or not the price changes when they are literally in stock.

      I’d buy a full set of kilogram change plates from Rogue, and I’d go Rogue because they offer .25 and .125 kg change that match their regular change plate set. I wouldn’t buy any of the steel change plates that come in these sets, as I like the eight pair set of Oly plates more than the powerlifting set, and also the rubber Rogue plates eliminate the need for collars really (at least on a grooved bar.) I can see buying just Rogue’s two smaller plates alongside Rep’s change plates and having an unmatching set if saving the difference was important.

      I’d buy a pair of 10’s, 15’s, and honestly I’d probably get 7 pairs of 20 kg plates rather than the typical 25 kg disc collection. 20 kg is easier to work with, makes for better warm up jumps (40 kg versus 50 kg), and as slim as these plates are there really is no limit to how much weight can be loaded with 20’s or 25’s. I can see most people wanting 25 kg discs and I totally get that (probably a hint cheaper per kilo that way too), but I’d probably do 20’s personally.

      As a side note, the only American Barbell plate I’d order to be shipped currently are the Urethane Discs. The rest of their plates are fine and all, just not very compelling in terms of price. I refuse to shop at Fringesport at this point under any circumstances, so nothing from them, and Vulcan is probably the place I’d go for black basic bumpers, Alphas, or Comps if that was what I needed. I can see doing Rep for Comp plates if you’re close enough for a good shipping rate, and I think they use the same hooked insert as Vulcan does on the blacks so I suppose that’s an option too.

      I don’t snatch anymore, but I do power clean. I have the bumpers now so I use them, but if I had nothing and had to shop for plates I’d probably not buy bumpers for only power cleans since it’s not an actual drop. I’d use the steel. That said, I’d never get rid of my Comp bumpers even though I not longer Oly lift – they are nice to have for those cleans and barbell rows and such.

      • Dakhil February 5, 2021, 3:29 am

        Do you mind if I ask why you would go with kg instead of lb? Thank in advance for any insight!

        • jburgeson February 8, 2021, 11:10 am

          Either because you just like the simplicity of kilos – nice even numbers.. or because you compete and your federation/organization lifts in kilos.

  • T April 12, 2018, 10:39 am

    Interesting. So you’d go Rogue rubber change plates over V Locks?

    I do still dabble in Oly lifts so I’ve been trying to debate between all comp bumpers, comp bumpers and calibrated steel, or comp bumpers +/- steel and keep some of my Alphas for general lifting. I’d really like to convert to kg if I’m going to make a large plate purchase but I’ve really grown to love my Alphas. Would be hard to let them go entirely but not sure if it would be overkill to have three different types of plates especially some kg and some lb. I could possibly justify it with the fact that my wife uses the gym a couple times a week and prefers lbs.

    Regarding comp plates, I know you prefer the Vulcan Absolutes. If both came in kgs, would you go with those or the AB urethane plates? Off the strength of your previous comment, I’d probably only purchase from AB if I was going to go with urethane.

    • jburgeson April 12, 2018, 10:31 pm

      I like V-Locks, but I think they gonna change those out. Also, and it’s dumb I know, but the 5 and 2.5 kilo plates don’t fit on my plate tree with that super large diameter unless I put them on one of the full size horns.

      I’m confused by that question – don’t both the Urethanes from AB and the Absolutes come in Kilos?

      The Urethanes are expensive, so I’m not sure how quick I’d be to buy $10/kilo plates for my garage. Granted Absolutes aren’t the cheapest out there either. I’d probably favor Absolutes in the end.

  • T April 13, 2018, 12:52 pm

    Gotcha. Yeah, they just released their new kg set today. Doesn’t sound dumb to me at all. A big part of every decision I make for my gym is how it will look moving forward and how I can organize it. While I can appreciate the cool factor of a scattered, beat up Westside style gym, that’s just not my gym personality.

    At the time I was typing the question, I couldn’t remember if the AB Urethanes came in kgs. Just didn’t take the time to look them up again before I sent the comment. They are, in fact, available in lb and kg.

    They are expensive but if I truly believed they would stay looking vibrant and less worn when compared to comp plates they might be worth the investment long term. I’ve seen some very rough looking Rogue discs although I think most of those were the training variant where the paint was worn off over time. The problem is I don’t think enough people have extended experience with urethane to really know for sure at this point.

    • jburgeson April 13, 2018, 9:26 pm

      Well but they do have extended experience with urethane dumbbells – which seem to do pretty well, and they too get tossed around. I think they are probably worth the added expense for those who can afford it, but I definitely wouldn’t recommend to anyone that they overextend their budget because rubber won’t last, cause it will.

      • T April 15, 2018, 10:38 am

        Yeah, I know AB does. More referring to the general public. Can’t really find too many people out there who can comment on having urethane plates in their home gym. Pretty much just Coop’s “these are awesome” initial purchase review.

        Think I’m going to go with Rogue. I like the Vulcan three piece hub, but Rogue’s durometer rating is higher and they have chrome-plated inserts rather than zinc. I believe warranty is five years for both. I could save around $120 picking up at Vulcan compared to Rogue shipped but Rogue always holds its resale value over anything else so I tend to lean that way if everything else is equal.

        Honestly, I think I’m going to go with the Black Training bumpers. They seem to have the same rubber and construction (94 durometer and chrome-plated) of their comp plates as opposed to their Training bumpers with inferior specs (lower durometer, zinc-plated). They still have the raised lettering that won’t rub off and the colored stripe around the outside. Like anyone I like the look of the full-colored plates, but it seems like it would be easier to restore the like new look with a paint pen later on as opposed to a full colored plate. After all my research, I really think they’re the best bang-for-the-buck for home gym purposes.

        As I side note, I save about $40 adding the individual pairs to my cart and paying shipping as opposed to the free shipping option. Thinking about adding a universal storage rack for my Vulcan dumbbells. When I add that to my cart, it only increases shipping $48. By doing it this way, I’m essentially getting the storage rack shipped for $8 along with the full comp bumper set. Just another reason for people to play around with shipping calculations.

        • jburgeson April 16, 2018, 10:02 am

          You don’t think Coop’s Urethane review was compelling?

          That’s interesting, and smart, that you tried adding to cart that way. I’m not surprised that it worked to your advantage. Tricky shipping shenanigans haha (and I mean the retailers)

  • Billy April 18, 2018, 1:56 pm

    Just saw that Vulcan Strength is doing a pre-sale on new Urethane plates

  • jburgeson April 18, 2018, 9:02 pm

    I’ve never messed with WerkSan because I’ve only ever heard complaints. You don’t want to hear complaints about a company that gets the kind of money they do for equipment, you know? There are too many other options – I just leave them alone.

  • Matt D April 20, 2018, 3:52 am

    Thanks for the great reviews! In considering bumper plates, I’d like to avoid damaging my concrete garage floor. My thought was to install 3/4 inch stall mats over the concrete and avoid building a platform to enable parking a car. HiTemps seem to fit the bill the best, but the Vulcan Alphas are intriguing. While I’m sure the Alpha plates will hold up fine, I’m still concerned with the floor since a dead bounce should mean that more force will be transmitted to the floor (especially from overhead). Should I be worried?

    Also, while looking up HiTemps I stumbled across these crumb rubber plates from Wright Equipment: https://wright-equipment.com/collections/rubber-bumper-plates/products/wright-usa-crumb-rubber-bumper-plate-pairs

    They’re American-made (also in Alabama), actually IWF diameter (an improvement over the HiTemps), have a better warranty, and are a lot cheaper. The lack of information/reviews on the web is concerning though. Do you have any familiarity with these plates?

    • jburgeson April 20, 2018, 10:52 am

      I’ve never actually heard of anyone smashing the foundation with stall mats and bumpers (any bumpers), but I suppose it’s still possible if the foundation is super old or already damaged, etc. I don’t really think HI-Temp versus Alpha vs Comp bumpers is going to be the deciding factor though.

      I don’t personally like crumb rubber plates (HI-Temp, XF, Diamond) – they are thick, they bounce a lot, and the are the most likely to come apart with use. I don’t have any reason to suggest avoiding Diamonds (what you’re seeing on Wright’s) any more than HI-Temps, but the Alpha is a much better buy than either in my opinion.

  • Daniel Hoyle May 16, 2018, 3:40 am

    Any suggestions for bumper plates in the uk? I have access to the following


    Rogue work out at about £390

    Or these for £259

    Any other suggestions?

    • jburgeson May 16, 2018, 9:21 am

      You should have the HG Bumpers as well, as a Rogue alternative to the HI-Temps.

      I read the description for the Strength Shop plates because SS can be hit or miss. If they updated to a variant of bumpers that they feel comfortable warranting for 10 years against cracking then they are current enough for you to buy – and they look much more affordable than either of the Rogue options.

      Since I don’t know the UK market nearly as well as the US market, my advice is generally just to stay away from anything you can buy in a sporting goods store (VTX/CAP-like brands), and any of those mega fitness warehouses that basically have giant multi-acre showrooms of new and used equipment of unknown brands. There really are bad bumpers out there that crack and break apart within a couple years. Seeing mention of “anchored” or “hooked” inserts in a product description is a good indicator of quality, but you will probably pay HG prices rather than those SS prices.

      • Daniel Hoyle May 16, 2018, 10:05 am

        You can get the hg plates from rogue but your looking at triple the hi temp price!

  • Andre July 10, 2018, 3:48 pm

    Hi John,

    I am trying to decide wether to buy plates in kilogram or plate is pounds. Looks like you made the switch from training in lbs to training in kg. What’s the advantage of training in kg over training in lbs? Any disadvantage of going with kg?

    • jburgeson July 10, 2018, 10:06 pm

      In the US, pounds are still probably easier. Nearly everyone in the US uses Imperial plates versus metric, so discussing totals with fellow lifters is easier without having to convert, and when it comes to steel plates, pounds are easier to find and cheaper to own. There are also less Imperial change plates to buy. I think only competitive Olympic weightlifters favor kilos 100% of the time; even stateside. Nobody Oly lifts with pounds outside of CrossFit as far as I know.

      I still prefer kilos even in steel because the larger change plate selection makes for dialing in on percentages more accurate, and also because I think it’s easier to deal in kilos in terms of mathulating than with pounds. Everything is a nice, even number. Also why do we even still use pounds? The metric system is way better.

      Anyway, it’s really just preference I guess. An argument can be made for either.

    • T July 11, 2018, 10:06 am

      Andre, I’m in medicine so I prefer the metric system, but my only hesitation to going with kgs is that I often change out and upgrade my equipment. Resale value for plates in lbs might be higher just due to more buyers being available. Otherwise, you’re just hoping some Oly gym out there could use an extra set of plates. I have no hard proof of this but I generally try to factor in how easy something would be to sell later when I make a gym purchase.

      • Andre July 11, 2018, 6:34 pm

        Thanks, T. Good point.

        If I buy a plate set though, I want them to be high-quality and durable. I will be the only user so whatever set I am buying I am hoping will last a long, long time so I don’t really foresee reselling them anytime soon. Nonetheless, you raise a good point. Let me think about it.

      • jburgeson July 11, 2018, 7:05 pm

        I’ve been trying to sell kilo bumpers for months now. Hard to move because they cost more, and less demand. Of course I know what equipment is worth and I ask for what it’s worth, and people rarely want to pay that, but I still tend to agree about resale value of kilos in the USA.

        • Andre July 11, 2018, 7:11 pm

          What specifically are you trying to sell? I might be interested, depending on what it is. You can email me directly, if you prefer. I’m on the East Coast though, so shipping alone might be a pain.

          • jburgeson July 12, 2018, 8:38 am

            140 kg of colored training bumpers. There’s like zero chance they would be less money used from me (after paying shipping) than new from any vendor, especially considering I don’t have packaging for them. They pretty much have to be picked up.

  • Andre July 11, 2018, 8:58 am

    Thanks, John. I apologize for the typos in my previous question. I really need to start proofreading before I post something.

    I am European (but have been living in the US for a long time now) so I feel very comfortable with the metric system. For that reason alone, I might just go with kilograms.

  • Andre July 14, 2018, 2:06 pm

    Going a little off the reservation here, but I like to think ahead and keep my options open.

    What if I decided one day I actually wanted to compete in IWF events. Obviously, I won’t make it to world championships and what not, but are there local, state, and national IWF events in the US? Are they open to amateurs, i.e., people who do olympic weightlifting as a serious “hobby” but have a full-time job doing something else, or are they only open to professionals, i.e., people who somehow do this for a living?

    If I do end up competing in such events, which brands of competition bumper plates do they allow at their events? Only the brands that are listed on the IWF website under “Licenses”, i.e., DHS, Eleiko, Uesaka, Werk-San, and ZKC, or other brands too as long as IWF has certfied them, even though they are not listed under “Licenses” (whatever “Licenses” means).

    If they only allow DHS, Eleiko, Uesaka, Werk-San and ZKC at their events, it seems to me bumpers from DHS and ZKC aren’t easily obtainable in the US. Is this correct?

    • jburgeson July 14, 2018, 3:54 pm

      There are local events but I don’t think the vast majority of them are sanctioned. If you have a weightlifting gym in your area you can probably check with them to see what they do, and then what other local/regional/state events that their events can lead into. Aside from professional-level events it doesn’t matter how much of an amateur you are so long as you sign up, pay, and show up.

      An event will have only one equipment provider, and it’ll almost always be Eleiko if it’s sanctioned and can be anyone else if not. I know Vulcan provides equipment to regional events, as does Rogue. There is no reason to be buying IWF-certified bumper plates on the off chance you find yourself in a professional setting some years down the road. If anything you can buy a professional bar as your skill level necessitates it, but plates – no. Pointless.

      Yes you can get DHS and Zhangkong in the states, but they’re not very good products for the money in my opinion. IWF certification only requires you to pay the annual fee to the IWF, and meet specs. The money is the hard part. Uesaka and Eleiko are the way to go for stage equipment.

  • Andre July 14, 2018, 4:55 pm

    Thanks John, as always. One day I will be running out of questions, I promise. And thanks for bringing me back down to planet Earth.

    I think I’ll go with training bumpers then, just because I like accuracy for the weight. I don’t get the sense that basic bumpers are all that accurate.

    Based on your recent review “Competition Bumper Plate Showdown – Rep, Rogue, Vulcan”, I have decided on Rep. Even including shipping from Colorado, the total is still somewhat less than Rogue. I looked at the Vulcan’s too but their 10’s are out of stock so that kills that right there.

    Do you think there are other training bumpers I should look at, with similar quality/accuracy as the Rep’s?

  • Andre July 14, 2018, 8:52 pm

    Also, just curious how this works for competitions. Do you typically bring your own bar and plates or are they provided by the organizer of the event?

    • jburgeson July 15, 2018, 12:00 pm

      It’s all provided by the organizer and their equipment sponsor

  • Reid September 26, 2018, 6:00 am

    Aloha from Maui…anybody have any experience with Hulk Fit color coded rubber bumpers with steel inserts? They’re sold on Amazon and Walmart online. I’m kinda limited to which manufacturers ship to Hawaii. Rep Fitness does but only via Amazon. Vulcan does through Amazon as well but no 45# plates.

    • jburgeson September 26, 2018, 8:56 am

      That Hulk design is not a standard design, and personally I’ve never even heard of that brand. If you’re locked into Amazon or Wal-Mart, well don’t go to Wal-Mart and maybe just stick with the Reps or Vulcans or whichever has the plates you need at the time of buying.

      I feel for you guys and gals in Alaska and Hawaii. You can’t take any equipment prices at face value – you’ve gotta add all that shipping in. sucks!

  • Reid September 26, 2018, 11:28 am

    Thanks for the info. Rogue is about the only other manufacturer that ships direct to hawaii but the shipping cost matches the plate cost, doubling up the price. We have a local shop that brings in rogue and ABB but they’re on a different island and hard to get a hold of. Looking at Vulcan or Rep. Thanks.

  • Sash January 18, 2019, 6:27 pm

    Hi Thanks for the review,
    It looks like this was written in 2013. Any new thoughts on bumper plates or companies?
    I am slowly building a home gym and do OLY/Crossfitty workouts. Any suggestions are much appreciated. Thank you!

    • jburgeson January 19, 2019, 12:12 am

      The info is very current. If you look near the top of the article you can see the last time the article was updated. I did indeed originally publish back in 2013, but the article was completely updated in November ’18 – just two months ago.

  • Steve May 14, 2019, 1:51 pm

    Great write-up, thank you! What are your thoughts on Again Faster bumper weights? There are some used available in my local Craigslist but didn’t find them mentioned on this page. Thanks.

    • jburgeson May 14, 2019, 1:53 pm

      Rep has plates on par with Vulcan and Rogue. Actually the basic plates are the same as Vulcans and the comp plates are my personal favorite simply because of the shape of the lip – very easy to pick up with one hand.

      I don’t know why I don’t have them on this page. I have them on my primary set guide here:


  • Ike July 24, 2019, 10:15 pm

    Thanks for the info. I have recently started building a garage gym and adding pieces to have a variety of options for workouts. I believe in quality but also like to save money where I can. I have a feeling that I might have wasted money on the brand I have invested in but time will tell. That being said, amazon has the Rage brand for a very good price. I know the saying, “You get what you pay for”, but with a price tag of $110.00 for Qty.2 45s, is hard to resist. I went further with this brand buying on the Rage website, their version of competition 55LB plate, Qty. 2 for $240.00(that included shipping). I guess where I am trying to get to is, have you had or know of anyone that has had experience with this brand? Thank you for your time and thoughts.


    • jburgeson July 25, 2019, 8:09 am

      Rage is not a very well-regarded brand overall. Personally I avoid them, but if you’re just buying metal plates as cheap as you can find them and you’re not concerned with weight accuracy of those plates, then it hardly matters where you get them. I sure wouldn’t be buying bumpers or barbells from Rage though.

  • Ronald N December 30, 2019, 2:59 pm

    I was watching a YouTube episode of someone that have a barn gym. It looks like the chrome plate of the Rogue Color training disc’s get corrosion overtime: https://youtu.be/xPmRUQfdnGA. The cheaper rogue echo bumper plates looks like a better alternative (stainless steel inserts) for humidity environments? Or am I wrong?

    • jburgeson December 31, 2019, 2:46 am

      I’ve seen mild corrosion on a disc hub but never anything like that. I can’t make out what year of the Games those plates are from, but it is more likely that the hub is zinc, not chrome. Chrome is fine, stainless is better, but if you want competition-style discs you’re not going to find a stainless hub. Just avoid zinc. If you don’t need competition plates then you should probably be favoring a basic bumper like the Echo anyway just on price alone.

  • Matt April 27, 2020, 7:51 am

    Hi, so obviously having a mix of bumper plates and iron/steel is fine (as in there is no problem with doing so), but is there any benefit?

    I will only be doing PL, so no dropping of weights from cleans/snatches, so personally am comfortable just having all iron plates (cheaper, take up less space, etc). I recently read someone suggesting that even just having one bumper on each side would significantly reduce the noise – is that realistic?

    It seems fairly unlikely to me, as there would still be a fair amount of iron clanging about. I would have thought that the only noise reduction would be to the extent that it would be two fewer iron plates, out of however many in total, rather than them compensating for the sound of the other iron plates.

    • jburgeson April 27, 2020, 9:35 am

      I have both, and I pretty much just use the bumpers for deadlifting because I can, and it is quieter when they’re all bumpers, but adding one bumper to a stack of iron on each sleeve is not going to “significantly” reduce the noise. I mean, I certainly wouldn’t run out to buy a single pair of bumpers just for this reason.

      It’s nice to have both, but most people could probably think of better equipment to buy rather than doubling up on plates for a single lift. With the reviews I do I just happen to have both, I don’t think I’d have ever set it up that way otherwise.

  • Brent June 29, 2020, 8:19 pm

    Great site, thank you for the valuable info! I am buying a Power Rack from Rep Fitness, and I don’t see that you have reviewed their bumper plates. Do you have an opinion on their “REP Weight Set – Black Bumpers” as they call them?

    • jburgeson June 29, 2020, 8:42 pm

      Rep’s bumpers are the same as Vulcan’s and Fringe Sports. They utilize the hooked insert and superior compounds. I tend to tell people to shop those three brands for basic black bumpers – buy whichever one you can get the best (shipped) deal on. They’ll all last.

  • TEDDY_PL November 19, 2020, 8:28 am

    Thank you for great article. Pity that I didnt find it 6 years ago when i started with rubber bumpers production. I had to learn all of those things by myself. If you look for good quality rubber bumpers or gym flooring.. just let me know.

  • Dakhil February 11, 2021, 11:48 pm

    Thank you so much for your consistently fantastic write-ups! I took delivery of about 450 lb of Vulcan bumpers today, and they are legit! And heavy!! I thought for sure the 20 kg plate had to have two in the box, but sure enough, it wight 45.1 pounds including the packaging.

    Your sire has been a godsend to so many of us. Please, keep doing what you’re doing. I bought some merchandise the other day in the hope that it helps keep the site going, even just a little bit. Oh, and I also couldn’t resist the flag, haha!

    • Dakhil February 11, 2021, 11:49 pm

      *Your site has been a godsend…

    • jburgeson February 15, 2021, 11:26 am

      Thank you, Dakhil. I saw that order come through. I hope you’ve received that already despite this shit Texas weather.

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