Another advantage of bumper plates is that they raise the bar to a decent height off the ground, this is a real issue with steel plates and another reason why they are unsuitable for deadlifts or Olympic lifts.
What to Look for in a Bumper Plate
First, you need to decide what type of bumper plate you want, for most of you, it will be the basic, training or technique plate.
These are very hardy and they can be dropped from overhead without getting damaged. Training plates are great for beginners looking to deadlift or perform Olympic lifts, and they look just as cool as competition plates.
Training plates are the best bumper plates for CrossFit boxes, because they will be used a lot.
How Much Bounce Should the Bumper Plate Have?
Something you should look for in all bumper plates is “dead bounce”.
Dead bounce is where the plates are dropped but don’t bounce back up in the air afterwards. The best bumper plates out there will barely bounce even after being dropped from an overhead position.
Inspect the Quality of the Center Ring
Another factor to pay attention to is the metal ring in the center, if this is of poor quality then the plate will not last long.
The center ring needs to be properly integrated into the plate to prevent it from becoming loose.
Type of Rubber
High quality CrossFit bumper plates are made with either virgin rubber, recycled rubber, or crumb rubber bumper plates.
These can all be a good choice, but if you are building a garage gym on a tight budget recycled rubber is the least expensive.
Virgin rubber: More expensive, denser, slimmer profile, more durable, less bounce and harder.
Recycled Rubber/Crumb Rubber: Less expensive, not as durable, bonded together, can chip apart, are softer and bounce higher when dropped.
Bumper Plate FAQs
What do the Colors Mean on Color Coded Bumper Plates?
Generally, those colors, sometimes known as Olympic color finishes, you see on higher end bumper plates mean something.
The colors are set to IWF standards so the color of the plate indicates how much it weighs. Eg, all red bumper plates are 55 lb plates, regardless of the brand or manufacturer.
The following outlines the IWF standard:
Red Plates are 55 lb
Blue Plates are 45 lb
Yellow plates are 35 lb
Green plates are 25 lb
Color bumper plates make it very easy to quickly calculate the weight of the bar from a distance.
If you see a bar with a green and yellow plate on each side you know, without having to inspect the weight up close, that the bar is carrying 60 lbs on each side, so 120 in total, plus 44 lbs for a standard Olympic bar is 164 in total with plates and bar.
What Does the Shore or Durometer Rating on My Bumper Plate Mean?
The shore or durometer rating tells us how hard an object is. A gummy bear might have a durometer reading of 10, a pencil eraser is 40.
Most bumper plates fall between 70 and 95 durometer rating, with 95 being the harder plate, will be less bouncy and less likely to split.
Virgin rubber bumper plates have higher durometer ratings than crumb rubber. Virgin rubber is harder, has less bounce, and is more durable.
Since virgin rubber is hard, it is louder than crumb rubber when you drop it. It is also more expensive since the raw materials must be new.
What is IWF Certification, is IWF Certification Necessary for My Bumper Plates?
IWF or International Weightlifting Federation is one of the oldest sports federations in existence. The IWF governs Weightlifting.
One of the missions of the IWF is to control and regulate all international weightlifting competitions, which includes standardizing the bumper plates used.
Bumper plates used in competition must be IWF certified.
IWF certified bumper plates are very expensive, so most training plates are not certified. Instead, the best bumper plate makers create plates that match the standards, without being certified, and those are the best bumper plates to get.
What are the Best Bumper Plate Brands?
I will lay it out straight here. The best bumper plate brands are:
Rogue, Vulcan, Fringe Sports, Eleiko, Werk San, Ivanko, Again Faster, Titan, Villian Fitness, Kabuki, Uesaka and Origen.
What Lifts Use Bumper Plates?
Some say bumper plates only need to be used on lifts where you may drop the bar, such as a snatch or overhead squat.
If you are lifting from home and you are a heavy lifter, consider this.
Bumper plates are a safe option for all heavy lifts.
Even lowering heavy weight all the way to the ground, instead of dropping it, can cause repetitive damage to your floor, simply because the weight is heavy.
Those bumper plates will make your lifting quieter too, if that is a concern at your house.
Generally, the advice out there says bumper plates are used on Olympic lifts, such as the snatch, clean, and jerk where you may drop the bar.
TOP 15 Best Bumper Plates for CrossFit & Weightlifting 2019
Rogue Bumper Plates by Hi-Temp
Review: The Rogue bumper plates by Hi-Temp are some of the best bumper plates for the money.
They are more than just affordable, their design demonstrates attention to detail with features like an inset steel collar that leaves room for plates to sit flush against each other on the bar and won’t scratch or damage flooring if you slide the plate on the floor.
They are made affordable due to the use of recycled crumb rubber and are on the soft side, with a durometer rating of 75, but because they are specially processed at the Hi-Temp plant in Alabama, they are more durable than other crumb or recycled rubber bumper plates, while still offering an excellent value.
Specially processed by Hi-Temp plant to be more durable than other Crumb rubber plates.
Both affordable and high quality.
Inset steel collar allows plates to sit snug against each other.
Softer rubber means these bounce a little more than others.
Great price, outstanding quality bumper plates. A winner for the home gym.
Review: These budget priced crumb rubber bumper plates are great for beginners or those building a home gym on a budget.
While these bumper plates will last a long time if used properly, be aware that the 10 lb and 15 lb plates are not designed to be dropped with the bar unless they are paired with heavier weights that can support the bar.
Inexpensive, thanks to recycled crumb rubber.
Color coded raised lettering to identify weight easily.
Available from 10 to 55 lbs.
Cannot drop 10 or 15 lb weights alone.
Best weight plates for home gym in the budget price range.
Review: The Fringe Sport bumper plates are carefully designed and made with pride with hard, durable virgin rubber and specially designed molded in steel inserts that anchor into the rubber and won’t spin on the bar or pop out.
These bumper plates are so durable they can be dropped from 4 stories high without cracking.
Durometer of 90 for 10 and 15 lb plates, 85 for the others.
Integrated and anchored steel ring does not move.
High density, low bounce.
Color coded plates for easy weight identification.
Fringe sports has the most durable bumper plates available on the market today.
Rogue HG 2.0 Bumper Plates
Review: These economy priced hard rubber bumper plates feature a smooth black finish that will look great in your garage or home gym.
These plates are ideal for heavy lifters because their slim profile means you can stack up the bar with more weight than other brands who have thicker plates.
Durometer rating of 88- high density and hard rubber.
Slim width means you can stack more weight on the bar.
Listed plate weight is not always exactly precise.
These Rogue 2.0 bumper plates are affordable, attractive and great for heavy lifters.
Review: Hulkfit bumper plates are an economical choice for your home or garage gym. There are color coded for easy identification, and the weight is listed in both pounds and kilos.
Color coded for fast weight ID.
Weight inscribed in kilos and pounds on each plate.
Cannot drop or use 10 lb plates alone with the bar, they will crack under the weight.
Colors do not follow IWF standards.
Affordably priced, color coded bumper plates for your home gym.
XMark HI-Impact Olympic Bumper Plate
Review: These XMark High impact black bumper plates will go the distance. They are made from hard, solid virgin rubber that bounces very little when dropped from overhead.
The metal ring collar is curved so the plate goes on and off the bar with ease. The curve also helps the plate fit with less wiggle room so the plates don’t move around on the bar.
Made from 90% virgin rubber – hard, dense and low profile.
Rim lip on the weight allows for easier pick up.
The metal ring is curved-easy and snug fit.
Has new tire smell when new – will dissipate over time.
A solid set of bumper plates with a well-designed, snug fitting, steel insert.
Eleiko IWF Weightlifting Training Discs
Review: Eleiko training discs are designed to IWF standards and intended for competition level athletes to train with.
They have precise, to the gram weight, are made from a special rubber which is abrasion resistant and stable, causing these bumper plates to last for many years without the deterioration seen in standard rubber.
Olympic color finishes.
Abrasion resistant SBR rubber that ages better than standard rubber.
The perfect training discs for athletes who plan to compete.