Best Bumper Plates for a Garage Gym (Updated 2023)
Bumper Plates really set the tone for what kind of garage gym you want. I can tell immediately what kind of lifting is being done in a gym and how serious they are about it by the type of bumper plates that reside there. It’s also one of the biggest expenses you’ll encounter when you’re outfitting your garage.
There are a couple of things to look for and/or decide between when choosing bumper plates.
First, it will depend on what type of lifting you’ll be doing. Are you going to be Olympic Lifting, Powerlifting, Crossfitting or just general working out?
Second, it will depend on the amount of weight you’re going to be moving. Is 135 a warm-up set or a work set? If 135 is a warm-up set, then you’re going to need quality bumper plates. If 135 is a work set, then something cheaper might work out fine.
Speaking of cheaper, the final deciding factor will be how much money you’re willing to invest. (Isn’t it always?)
I use the word ‘invest’ very purposely. A really good set of bumper plates, especially in a garage gym where they’re not going to be used by hundreds of athletes every day, will last longer than you do.
I’ve seen Uesaka and Eleiko plates in college weight rooms that were 15-20 years old and, other than some faded text on the side of the plate, they still looked (and worked) great.
If they can hold up over that much usage, imagine how long they’ll last when it’s just you and your garage.
What you won’t find on my list of best bumper plates are absolute garbage plates that I was able to slap an affiliate link on like you might find on other sites.
Even the cheapest bumper plates that I have on my list are still quality recycled rubber bumper plates (that I happen to have a set of in my own garage gym).
The thing you have to keep in mind is there really is no such as cheap when it comes to buying bumper plates. Even the cheap ones are going to cost you a decent amount of money.
Then they’re going to tear up and you’ll be buying plates again in a year or two (or less). This is the best case scenario with cheap plates. If the center steel inserts pop off while rotating under a clean you could end up getting seriously hurt.
I’m going to start with bumper plate recommendations for the serious (or at least wanting to be serious) Olympic lifter. This is my current emphasis. I’ve always done Cleans as an athlete and enjoyed Olympic lifts, but I’ve now made it a goal to qualify for the US Nationals Masters.
I’m starting here because if you’re going to be spending the bulk of your time Cleaning, Jerking and Snatching then you’ll want the best plates you can afford.
Then I’ll start working my way down through the Crossfitter to the general lifter.
Finally, if you’re Powerlifting chances are you don’t really want or need bumper plates period, unless you’re really concerned about your garage floor. Steel plates may be a better option for you. (More on steel plates vs bumper plates in the FAQ at the bottom)
If you’re powerlifting and don’t want to be banging iron plates off of your floor then I’d recommend one of the more economical bumper plates because the only time you’re dropping plates is for deadlifts which is only one exercise and the plates aren’t really being dropped from height. (and you don’t need them to rotate well)
Before we get into all the in-depth reviews, here is the price guide for all the plates that I’ll be talking about below. I understand that price always plays a big role is most of our decision making so I wanted to give a clear price breakdown before we get into the reviews.
This article contains affiliate links. If you use these links to buy something I may earn a commission. Thanks.
Bumper Plate Price Guide
For comparison’s sake, I’m showing you the difference in the price of a 20kg bumper. For a true cost comparison, you’ll have to figure out what your plate needs are and total everything together. Many companies offer bundles, or sets, of plates at a discount.
This table should at least get you pointed in the right direction though.
|Sorinex||Recon Lite Bumper Plates||$152**||Sorinex|
|Titan||Economy Black Bumper Plates||$199**||Titan|
|Rogue||Echo Bumper Plates V2||$175**||Rogue|
|Fringe Sport||Bumper Plates||$232**||Fringe Sport|
|Rogue||Competition Bumper Plates||$330||Rogue|
|Titan||Elite Color Bumper Plates||$279||Titan|
|Rep Fitness||Competition Bumper Plates||$299||Rep Fitness|
|Bells of Steel||Competition Bumper Plates||$279||Bells of Steel|
|Uesaka||Colored Training Bumpers||$550||Uesaka|
|Uesaka||Pro Series Bumper Plates||$506||Uesaka|
|Eleiko||Weightlifting Training Plates||$648||Eleiko|
|Eleiko||Sport Training Plates||$438||Eleiko|
*Price of a pair of 20kg bumper plates as of 2/28/22. Prices are always subject to change.
**Price of a pair of 45lb bumper plates as of 2/28/22. Prices are always subject to change.
Best Budget Friendly Bumper Plates
There are a ton of ‘low-cost’ options out there when it comes to bumper plates. I’m not going to name names, but many of the low cost you’ll find in big box stores (and online) are going to tear up quickly.
The trick to finding good quality low cost bumper plates is to find plates that may not perform as well as more premium bumper plates, but they will at least be durable bumper plates and last you a while.
Many budget bumper plates on the market will be made of recycled rubber (or even crumb rubber) and most will have thin steel inserts instead of the thick steel inserts found on higher end plates.
You can still avoid the crumb rubber plates which tend to be oversized and not the most aesthetically pleasing, but the thin steel insert is almost a given at this level of bumper plate.
One of the other things you’ll notice about all three budget friendly plates is that they are all black bumper plates. It costs a little bit extra to manufacture color bumper plates so when companies are going after the budget friendly market, you’ll usually see most plates sporting the all black look.
Here are my top 3 picks for the best budget bumper plates, all costing around $2 / pound.
Sorinex Recon Lite Bumpers
These Recon Lite Bumper Plates from Sorinex are the only crumb rubber plates that I have on the list. I am generally not at all a fan crumb rubber plates, Sorinex put some effort into making a crumb rubber plate that actually looks nice.
They also perform pretty well and have been pretty durable for me. Stainless steel inserts are a nice added bonus.
I’ve had a pair for over a year now and while I don’t use them for Olympic lifts, I use them for pretty much everything else – squats, deadlifts, etc – as long as the bar doesn’t need to rotate they do the job just fine.
These are also the cheapest bumper plates on the list as well coming in well under $2 a pound.
If you need really need bumper plates, but you’re on a really tight budget, these Sorinex plates may be the best bumper plates for your situation.
Titan Economy Black Bumper Plates
Titan makes one of the best economy level bumper plates that you can buy for the money. They only come in pounds so sorry for the kilo purists out there like myself.
They are virgin rubber which is hard to find in an economy bumper plate and the all black plates are well-designed and look very clean. They still have the thin steel inserts so they not going to be the best for Olympic lifting, but they will get you through most movements sufficiently, especially for Crossfit-type workouts.
Titan notates that these plates are not made to be dropped, which gives you an idea of the durability if dropped repeated for Olympic lifts. But, at least they’re honest. Almost all plates I’ve seen without a thick steel insert will come loose over time and become a real issue.
Don’t forget that Titan ships everything for free, which when dealing with something as heavy as bumper plates can make a big difference in the final price.
Rogue Echo Bumper Plates V2
There are a few budget friendly Rogue bumper plates. The Rogue HG 2.0 Bumper Plates are a quality hi-temp bumper plate, but I think the Sorinex crumb rubber plate is very close on quality at a lower price.
Instead, I want to focus on the Rogue Echo Bumper Plates. Like the Titan Economy Plates, these Rogue bumper plates are made of virgin rubber – rare at this price point. They also have stainless steel inserts and are, in my opinion, the best looking plate of the three budget friendly plates.
These Rogue bumper plates have an 88 score on the durometer rating which means that you’ll get more of a dead bounce that you usually only find on more expensive bumper plates.
If you’ve ever had a pair of cheap bumper plates bounce all the way to your waist after dropping a set of cleans, then you know exactly what I’m talking about.
Fringe Sport Bumper Plates
The final bumper plates in the budget friendly level are the Fringe Sport Bumper Plates. These bumper plates are also virgin rubber and even come with stainless steel inserts.
They have an 85 durometer rating meaning that they’ll have a low bounce.
Fringe Sport also has some mid-level and even competition bumper plates, but based on performance and price I think there are much better options that I’ll cover in the next two levels.
Best Budget Friendly Bumper Plate?
If you want a good bumper plate, but are trying to save as much money as possible, go with the Sorinex bumper plates.
The other three are really a bit of a toss-up. They’re all virgin rubber plates, they’re all black bumper plates that look great, they perform well and they’re all around the same price point.
I think it’s really up to personal preference or maybe where you can find a sale that could be the difference maker.
Best Mid Level Bumper Plates
This mid-level price range is the range that most serious garage gym owners will find themselves.
No, they’re not the crazy high end (and crazy expensive) bumper plates like Uesaka and Eleiko, but the best bumper plates at this level will perform great for Olympic lifts and will be very durable bumper plates.
If you’re doing Crossfit or casual Olympic lifting (by casual I simply mean not trying to compete) then bumper plates at this level should work perfect for you.
Rogue Competition Bumper Plates
Rogue continues to push the envelope in trying to improve their plate options. Their Competition Plates and Color Training Plates are now IWF certified.
Their competition bumper plates are the ones I want to focus on though. Performance-wise, these plates are not that far off from the high end bumpers that we’ll talk about in the elite level and to be honest, unless you’re a competitive Olympic lifter you probably won’t even be able to tell the difference.
These bumper plates have a great spin, good balance and with a 94 durometer rating, they have an almost complete dead bounce.
They also look great, even with IWF symbol on the plate which I think is a nice touch.
At under $4 a pound, the Rogue Competition Plates are a great addition to any garage gym.
Titan KG Elite Color Olympic Bumper Plates
I’m going to be honest. When I first started building out my garage gym, I didn’t know a lot about Titan Fitness. Titan is just not a company that you see in college weight rooms. At least not ones I have worked in. So outside of the high end companies that I was used to, the only other company I was really familiar with was Rogue. Because, well, Crossfit.
However, now I’m becoming more of a seasoned garage gym owner. What I’ve learned is that Titan makes bumper plates that are every bit equal to Rogue and usually at a lower price point.
And I believe that’s the case here with Titan’s Elite Olympic Bumper Plates. They aren’t IWF Certified, but they do meet IWF Standards.
I have a pair of 25-pound bumper plates from Titan and I can tell you that they perform great. Good spin, well balanced and after a year and half they still look great. You can also expect that same dead bounce that you get from the Rogue Competition Bumper Plates with a durometer rating of 90.
Finally, they have a lower price point than the Rogue plates and on top of that have Titan’s always free shipping.
All I can say is after having used a pair of Titan Bumper Plates for awhile now, I wouldn’t hesitate to buy more weight.
Rep Fitness Competition Bumper Plates
The next bumper plates I’m going to include in this mid-level category is Rep Fitness. Rep Fitness makes great equipment aimed at the home gym which is illustrated by the fact that they have two of the absolute best squat racks for a home gym.
These Rep Fitness Bumper Plates are a very high quality bumper plate that is right on par with the other bumper plates I’ve mentioned on the mid-level.
Like Titan, these Rep Fitness plates are not IWF certified, but they do meet IWF standards. They come with a 5 year guarantee and are factory tested to 30,000 plus drops. That’s pretty impressive.
Price point-wise they fall right in between the Rogue bumper plates and the Titan ones.
Bells of Steel Color Competition Bumper Plates
Last but not least are the Color Competition Bumper Plates from Bells of Steel. These are another solid mid-level choice for bumper plates.
They’re made of high quality virgin rubber with a co-molded steel collar and they meet IWF specs. These bumper plates go toe-to-toe with any of the other bumper plates at this level in regards to performance, look and price.
Speaking of price, like Titan, these bumper plates also include free shipping.
Mid-Level Best Bumper Plates
So, out of the three mid-level bumper plates, which one is the best?
I think it depends on exactly what you’re looking for.
Best Overall Performance? I would lean towards the Rogue Competition Bumper Plates.
Best Bang for the Buck? If you want solid performance while stretching your budget, go with the Titan Elite Olympic Bumper Plates or the Bells of Steel Color Competition Bumper Plates.
Like the Idea of a 5 Year Warranty? Go with the Rep Fitness Competition Bumper Plates.
Best Elite Bumper Plates
In my opinion, there are two companies that stand apart from all others when it comes to making bumper plates. Eleiko and Uesaka. (Werksan used to be in this group for me as well, but their US location sadly went out of business back in 2018.)
Since we’re only comparing two different companies at this level, I’m going to discuss the competition plates and the training bumper plates for both Uesaka and Eleiko.
The reasons being it I think most garage gym owners will find the training plates more palatable from a price standpoint and still the best bumper plates you could ever hope for in a home gym.
Uesaka and Eleiko go hand in hand in terms of the highest quality weightlifting equipment.
Uesaka has been the official supplier (6 times) of equipment to the Olympics. Uesaka bars and plates have been used at the US Olympic Training Center since 1996 with zero fails or maintenance.
Let me repeat that.
Uesaka bumper plates have been used at the US Olympic Training Center since ’96 with zero fails or maintenance. That’s crazy.
Uesaka Bumper Plates
Uesaka Competition Bumper Plates
The bumper itself is made with a blend of natural and synthetic virgin rubber. The centerpiece is made with Hagane steel, the same steel that Uesaka bars are made of. I don’t actually recommend buying the Competition Bumpers, even though they’re the best plates money can buy.
Why is that? There is really no difference between the competition bumpers and the training bumpers except for extra calibration steps that have to take place for them to be deemed competition worthy.
However, if the price is no option and you really want the ultimate flex (pun intended) then put some Uesaka Competition Bumpers in your garage gym. Your dogs will be super impressed.
Uesaka Color Training Bumper Plates
Uesaka’s Training Bumper Plates are the same quality as the Competition Plates without the extra calibration. I’ve been in college weight rooms with Training Bumper Plates that were over 15 years old and still looked almost brand new. Think about how much use that equates to over time.
That’s why I made the comment earlier about plates lasting longer than you do. Are these plates a big investment? Absolutely. But, it’s nearly a guarantee that you’ll never have to purchase plates again, ever.
Uesaka Pro Series Bumper Plates
What if you could have the best plates money can buy, but without some of the color so they can be more cost-effective? You’d end up with the Uesaka Pro Series Bumpers, which is exactly what bumpers I have in my garage gym.
What is different about the Uesaka Pro Series?
The first thing you’ll notice about the Pro Series is the color. Instead of the bright blues, yellows and greens that you see with many Olympic Bumper Plates, the Uesaka Pro Series plates are black bumper plates.
However, they do have a color strip going around the outside edge of each plate so you can easily distinguish them apart. This lack of color is actually what makes them a great bumper plate for your garage gym.
If you’ve ever priced out t-shirts or really anything that involves customization the more color you add to something, typically the more it costs. This is essentially the only difference between the Pro Series and Uesaka’s Competition Plates.
The plates use the same Grade A rubber and manufacturing process, but by removing the color they are able to make a plate that is the same elite quality, but at a better price.
Eleiko bumper plates have been the official plates of 5 Olympics and over 40 World Championships. I don’t know what else I can say to convince you that Eleiko is one of the elite weightlifting companies. They were the first to introduce rubber bumper plates and the first to install needle bearings within weightlifting bars.
I’ve had the pleasure of working in two college weight rooms that used Eleiko plates. The Competition and Training bumper plates are made in Sweden by a company that obsesses over quality. They are close to absolute perfection – perfectly balanced and ultra-durable.
Eleiko Bumper Plates
IWF Weightlifting Competition Discs
This is Eleiko’s top of the line bumper plate (or disc as Eleiko likes to call them). I’m going to say the same thing about Eleiko’s Competition Disc as I did with Uesaka. I just don’t think there is a need to spend the extra money on the Competition plates.
It’s highly unlikely you’ll even be able to tell the difference between the two and in the case of Eleiko, there is a pretty good difference in cost between them.
IWF Weightlifting Training Discs
Like Uesaka, Eleiko’s Competition plates go through insane testing to make sure they are perfectly calibrated to competition standards. Eleiko Training Discs are made exactly the same and provide the same quality as the competition plates minus the extra calibration.
The plates aren’t a lot cheaper, but you will save a bit of money without sacrificing any quality. ($620 for a pair of 20kg plates)
Eleiko Sport Training Disc
While the Competition and Training Discs are manufactured in Sweden, the Sport Training plates are manufactured in China by a company/factory that manufactures bumper plates for multiple brands.
The difference here between Eleiko and some of the other brands is Eleiko still holds the plates they have made up to a high standard and back them with a 3-year warranty. You also don’t have to worry about Eleiko not being around when and if you have to take them up on that warranty.
Bottom Line with Eleiko
If you want to buy Eleiko, go with the IWF Training Discs. If you’re wanting to save some money I’d recommend going with a different brand rather than buying the Sport Training Disc.
The difference is you’re paying for the superior quality and craftmanship with the Training Disc and with the Sport Discs I believe you’re more paying for the name and there are better options out there in my opinion.
Bumper Plate FAQ
No Urethane Bumper Plates?
You may have noticed that I didn’t include a single urethane bumper plate on this list of the best bumper plates for a garage gym.
Is there a reason why? Yes. I’m not a fan of urethane bumper plates.
It’s not that I think they’re bad, I don’t. But when compared to quality virgin rubber plates, I don’t think they’re as good. Then, when you combine that with the fact that urethane plates are generally more expensive than virgin rubber bumper plates then I just don’t see the reason for them.
Obviously, there are people out there that do like them or else they wouldn’t be around anymore.
If you like a really, really dead bounce with your bumper plates then I would give urethane plates a serious look. Or, if you want to do some custom branding on your plates, urethane is a great material for that as well.
They’re just not for me and I can’t really recommend something that I don’t feel strongly about. So, no urethane bumper plates. That’s why.
Recycled Rubber vs Virgin Rubber
I mentioned both recycled rubber and virgin rubber but didn’t really go into the details of what the difference is between the two so I wanted to address it here.
Virgin rubber is rubber that hasn’t been used for any other previous purpose. This means that you’re generally getting a higher quality rubber instead of rubber that’s being repurposed from something else.
That’s why almost every bumper plate on this list of the best bumper plates is made from virgin rubber, even the two of the three budget friendly plates.
Recycled rubber means rubber that is being repurposed from previous use. The overwhelming majority of recycled rubber comes from recycled tires. Tires are basically ground up and then glued together to form recycled rubber bumper plates.
Within the recycled rubber category are crumb rubber plates. These plates are made from recycled rubber as well, but they often have a much more textured surface and are typically much wider than other rubber bumper plates.
The biggest takeaway here is that virgin rubber bumper plates look better, perform better and are more expensive for both these reasons. Recycled rubber plates, and especially crumb rubber bumper plates, are options for anyone that needs bumper plates but is really tight on budget.
Black Bumper Plates vs Color Bumper Plates
I often get asked the question if, other than the color of the plates, there is a difference between black bumper plates and color bumper plates.
The answer is no. If it is the same style bumper plate, from the same company and the only difference is one is black and the other plates are colored plates, then no, that will literally be the only difference.
If you have a real preference for the look of one style of plate over the other, then I would suggest going with that style. If you don’t have a preference then I would recommend looking at the black bumper plates which are generally always just a bit cheaper than color bumper plates.
Bumper Plates vs Steel Plates
Finally, the best bumper plates may be no bumper plates at all.
The fact is, if you’re not doing Olympic lifts, not even for light circuits or Crossfit workouts – then you may not want bumper plates period.
Steel plates are much cheaper than bumper plates, look great and are perfectly fine to use for pretty much any lift than doesn’t involve you rotating the bar.
So, if you’re thinking of getting bumper plates just because you think you’re supposed to get bumper plates then I would stop and think about if you really need them at all and whether steel plates would actually be a better fit in your garage gym.
Bumper Plates Glossary
I wanted to take a minute and do a little Bumper Plate education and go over some of the specs and terminology you’re going to run into when doing your own research on bumper plates.
International Weightlifting Federation. This is the governing body for all elite-level Weightlifting competitions. For a bumper plate to become IWF certified it must meet the highest standards of quality.
Kilos or Pounds?
If you’ve noticed that bumper plates come in both kilos and pounds and if you’re wondering which you should get – understand that there is, in fact, a right and wrong answer to that question.
The correct answer is kilos. Kilos. I will not argue this point.
Having said that, some economy plates may only come in pounds. In this case, it is acceptable to buy bumper plates in pounds.
Bumper Plate Dimensions/Specs
Weight Tolerance – This is the amount of weight that the bumper plates are allowed to be “off” of what they are supposed to be. High quality plates are going to have weight tolerances in the grams, usually less than 20g. (Reminder: 1 pound equals roughly 453 grams) On the other hand, it’s not uncommon for cheap bumper plates to be off a couple of pounds, yes pounds.
Diameter – This is the diameter of the center hole of the bumper plate. This should be EXACTLY 450mm. This is the size necessary for the plate to fit on the bar properly. I don’t know of any plates that aren’t 450mm, but if you ever see one that’s not, run away.
Disc Width – Most high end bumper plates are pretty close in width. On the 20kg plate, Uesaka’s Competition Plate is 52.95mm – the Eleiko Disc is 54mm. Close. Some of the lower cost plates are much wider. Thicker rubber plates take up more room on the bar which means fewer plates can go on the bar. If you’re moving serious weight this can become an issue.
Keep Disc Width in mind too with the 10kg bumpers and lighter if they’re offered. These are the plates that, if cheaply made, will be the first to tear up. The lighter weights are thinner and don’t hold up to thousands of drops if not well made.
Final Thoughts and Recommendations
Here are my final recommendations depending on your lifting and budget preferences.
Best Bumper Plates, Period – Uesaka Competition Bumper Plates
In my opinion, Uesaka makes the best bumper plates in the world and this is their highest quality plate.
Best Bumper Plates for the Serious Weightlifter on a Budget – Uesaka Pro Series
These are the bumper plates I have in my garage gym. I don’t know of a stronger recommendation I can give than that.
Best Bumper Plates for the Crossfitter or Casual Lifter – Titan Competition Bumper Plates
Solid plate at a good price.
Best Bumper Plates on a Shoestring Budget – Sorinex Recon Lite Bumper Plates
It’s a quality bumper at an amazing price.
If you’re trying to really save on money, don’t forget to check out the used market around you to try to find bumper plates or look into buying a bumper plate set. You can usually save per pound by buying a full set at once.
I’ll wrap this up on this and it’s basically the same way I started this review. Bumper plates are one of the biggest expenses you’re going to incur when equipping your home gym. If you buy quality plates though, you’ll only purchase plates once.
That’s even more of a reason to get the plates you really want. You and the plates you buy are going to be together for a long, long time.