Crumb or Virgin Rubber? Black or colored bumper plates?
Do my bumper plates need to be IWF certified? What durometer rating is best for my bumper plates?
If you are on the hunt for the best bumper plates for your garage gym you may have these questions and more.
If you are looking for answers, and the best CrossFit bumper plates for your home gym, you have come to the right place.
I have answers to these questions, a quick guide on how to choose the right bumper plates, plus an in-depth review of the 15 best bumper plates out there.
Best Bumper Plates
|Rogue Bumper Plates by Hi-Temp|
|Fringe Sports Color Bumper Plate Sets|
|Rogue HG 2.0 Bumper Plates|
|HulkFit Olympic Rubber Bumper Plate|
|X Training Equipment Bumpers|
Competition, Training or Technique Plates, What is Right for You?
Good quality bumper plates can really make a difference to your workout. You want them to be durable and long-lasting, and if we’re being honest here you want them to look cool on Instagram!
The problem is that to the untrained eye, all bumper plates look the same, this article will help you to pick the best bumper plates for you.
There are three main types of bumper plates available, these are:
competition standard, training standard, and technique bumpers which are very basic (but very durable).
If you are shopping for a home gym or CrossFit box then the basic set of bumper plates is probably your best bet, although training plates would also be acceptable.
The Competition standard plate sets are only required for competitions, or if you’re very serious about your lifting (i.e. powerlifters).
The difference between bumper plates and regular steel and iron plates is that bumpers are made of rubber and are designed to be dropped, whereas regular steel plates are designed to stack well.
Bumper plates feature a uniform diameter, which means the 10 lb plate is the same diameter as the 45 lb plate. They vary in thickness, giving them their weight.
If you’re looking to place as much weight on the bar as possible, then steel plates are usually the go-to weight.
But if you plan to do any Olympic lifts, where dropping the bar (by accident or design) is inevitable you need bumpers.
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.
Vulcan Strength Bumper Plate
Review: Vulcan bumper plates are built to withstand the abuse of weightlifting and CrossFit due to the hard dense virgin rubber construction.
They can be dropped from overhead with no problem and because they are thinner than recycled rubber, you can stack more weight on the bar.
These bumper plates have very little odor when new and low bounce.
- Solid Virgin Rubber.
- Low Bounce, durometer rating of about 88.
- Anchored steel collars won’t fail or slip out.
High quality virgin rubber bumper plates.
Xtreme Monkey Crumb Rubber Bumper
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.
Fringe Sports Color Bumper Plate Sets
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.
- Low bounce.
- 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.
Titan Elite Olympic Bumper Plates
Review: The Titan Elite Oly bumper plates are very strong with a durometer rating of 90. They are known for having tight tolerances and spot on weight.
The plates are color coded for easy weight identification and because the plates are narrower than less expensive plates you can get a lot of weight on the bar.
- 90 durometer rating – low bounce, very durable.
- Raised plate edge for easy pick-up.
- Color coded for quick weight ID.
High durability, low bounce plates designed for heavy lifters.
HulkFit Color Coded Olympic Rubber Bumper Plate
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.
- Low bounce.
- 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.
- IWF certified.
- Abrasion resistant SBR rubber that ages better than standard rubber.
The perfect training discs for athletes who plan to compete.
XMark Olympic Bumper Plates
Review: XMark Bumper Plates are described as “The Gold Standard” for weightlifting by the company who makes them and they are good quality.
A decent set of plates that will serve you well when deadlifting, squatting, pressing etc… But they may not last too long if dropped.
These bumpers would be fantastic for a CrossFit home gym and can take the abuse that regular gym work would put on them.
- Eco Friendly (60% recycled rubber).
- Synthetic Rubber added to increase tensile strength.
- Plates fit a standard bar well.
- May not survive the rigors of Olympic lifting.
The XMark Bumper plates are an excellent choice for home gyms and CrossFit boxes.
They are better suited to powerlifting than they are Olympic lifting, so you might want to avoid dropping them from an overhead position.
The use of recycled rubber is a nice touch, as is the addition of synthetic rubber to increase tensile strength.
X Training Equipment Bumper Plate
Review: If you’re looking for some decent CrossFit-ready bumpers at a reasonable price, then X Training Equipment has an excellent set of bumper plates for you.
These bumpers are designed by CrossFit coaches to survive even the most rigorous WODs.
There have been some issues with plates becoming damaged when dropped on concrete, but that’s something you’re not supposed to do anyway.
- Great value for money.
- Low Bounce when dropped.
- Designed and tested by CrossFit coaches and athletes.
- Some users have reported breakages.
- Metal ring in center of plates does not seem properly integrated.
These bumpers have been used in lots of CrossFit boxes all over the country.
If a set of plates can survive the treatment of hundreds of passionate Crossfitters it can survive anything.
OneFitWonder Bumper Plates
Review: If you’re looking for proper bumper plates that you can throw around with a worry these are it.
You can perform snatches, cleans and jerks with heavy weight, fail and drop them, without fear of damaging them.
These bumper plates are thin and dense material, with a slimmer width that less expensive plates. They also look good, and that always helps
- Dead bounce.
- Striking design.
- Excellent price.
- No 35lb plates available.
These bumper plates are a great value for money!
This set of 250lbs should provide you with all the bumpers you need to start your home gym.
Rep Fitness Bar and Bumper Plate Package
Review: What’s awesome about the Rep Fitness Bumper Plate Package is the amount of options you have. You can buy sets from 160lbs all the way up to 370lbs.
All packs also come with a barbell and spring clips.
These bumper plates have been proven to survive over 15,000 drops from an 8 ft height.
These REP bumper plates are dense so they take up very little space on the bar, allowing you to put 515lbs on the bar comfortably. Nice!
The bar included in the set has great spin and is excellent for Olympic Lifts and CrossFit workouts.
There is a lot of competition out there for the title “best bumper plates” but Rep Fitness has some of the best out there.
- Huge variety of package options.
- Factory tested for drops.
- Low Bounce.
Having survived 15k drops from 8ft you know that you can beat these plates up and they will stay in shape.
Ivanko Calibrated Bumper Plates
Review: If you are looking for the true “Gold Standard” of bumper plates then Ivanko sell the ones for you, these are properly calibrated and can be used for competitions.
These competition plates by Ivanko exceed the International Weightlifting Federation’s International Standards with weights are so precise they will be “accurate to 3rd decimal place”.
These Ivanko plates are the color-coded design. One downside is that they only fit an Ivanko bar.
They are pricy, but plates of this quality are well worth the price.
- IWF certified.
- Color Coded standard for quick weight identification.
- Precisely Calibrated to competition standard.
If you are looking for bumper plates that can be used in competition, or you simply want the best bumper plates for CrossFit or Weightlifting in your gym then these Ivanko plates are perfect.
Once bought, treat them well and they should be the last set of bumpers you ever need to buy.
York Training Bumper Plates
Review: York bumper plates are the perfect set for a novice lifter, or someone on a budget.
You could buy a set of York’s best weight plates and outfit your whole gym for less than the cost of 1 Ivanko plate.
They have a strong rubber smell when first taken out of the packaging, but it dissipates eventually.
- Great product for those on a budget.
- Reliable and well-known company.
- Decent design.
If you are looking for the best bargain bumper plates, I recommend a set of Hi-Temp bumper plates by Rogue or a set by Fringe sports is another great choice.
With either of these two, you can have a quality set at a decent price and you will not end up regretting your purchase.
Now that you have seen a sampling of all the bumper plates out there, it’s time to decide.
Are you going for the budget option? Or are you looking for something that may cost more initially but will last you 5-10 years? Maybe you want to make a statement and get the best there is?
The real question is what works for you.
If you’ve never lifted before, then a set of $600+ plates might be overkill. Then again, maybe a premium set is just what you need to motivate you to get to the gym everyday.
If you are running a CrossFit box and have 50 people a day throwing your weights around can you really afford to buy cheap?
If you run a commercial gym you know your weights are not necessarily going to be treated with the respect they deserve.
Whichever set you decide on, treat them well. Never drop them if you don’t need to.
Place them on lifting platforms, not concrete, and don’t throw the plates around. Even the best set of 10lb plates on the market can break if mistreated.
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