Best Bumper Plates For Your Home Gym

Best Bumper Plates For Your Home Gym
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As a gym owner, I tell people that my plates are as important to me as a restaurant’s plates are to them. They’re literally fundamental to gyms–buying poor quality plates can be an absolute disaster (I’ve been there) and can restrict your gym versatility, your workout options and your overall enjoyment of your training.

Bumper plates can be confusing to many; there’s differences in plate types, materials used and construction methods, so you have to make an informed decision. Your plates are likely to be one of the more expensive items you buy for your home gym, so make sure you’re armed with enough information on them before you click the buy button. 

I own every different type of bumper plate, all bought for different reasons, so I’ll pass on that knowledge to you in this article.

In the content below, you’ll find how I ranked the bumper plates, my in-depth top 4 ranking list, and helpful bumper plate information I think you’ll find great value in knowing at the bottom (which I highly recommend reading before buying).

For those who want a quick overview, below is our comparison table:

  • Our #1 Pick For Best Home Gym Bumper Plates – Rogue Color Echo (Overall Best Quality & Great For Crossfitters) $710 for 350lb Set
  • Our #2 Pick For Best Home Gym Bumper Plates – Rep Color Bumper Plates (Great Value) $579 for 350lb Set
  • Our #3 Pick For Best Home Gym Bumper Plates – Rep Competition Bumpers (Best Value Competition Bumpers) $750 for 140kg Set
  • Our #4 Pick For Best Home Gym Bumper Plates – Rogue MIL Spec Echo Bumper (Best Budget Choice) $435 for 260lb Set

 

  
 
Our Rating
Why We Love It
Price For Lb
Who It’s Best For
Free Shipping
Ratings
Price

Rogue Color Echo

Our Rating : 1
Why We Love It : Great build quality, hard wearing, versatile
Price For Lb : $2.02/pound
Who It’s Best For : Best Overall Quality & Great For Crossfitters
Free Shipping : Yes
Ratings : 5.0*
Price: $710

Rep Color Bumpers

Our Rating : 2
Why We Love It : Excellent value, versatile, low bounce
Price For Lb : $1.65/pound (+ Shipping Cost)
Who It’s Best For : Best Middle Ground Between Quality & Price
Free Shipping : No
Ratings : 4.9*
Price: $579

Rep Competition Bumpers

Our Rating : 3
Why We Love It : Great spec, excellent warranty, hard wearing
Price For Lb : $2.43/pound
Who It’s Best For : Best For Competitions
Free Shipping : No
Ratings : 4.8*
Price: $750

Rogue MIL Echo Spec Bumper

Our Rating : 4
Why We Love It : Good quality, great price, free shipping
Price For Lb : $1.67/pound
Who It’s Best For : Most Affordable
Free Shipping : Yes
Ratings : 4.7*
Price: $435

How I’ve Ranked the Bumpers

The plates need to be well-constructed, have useful features (not gimmicky add-ons that don’t improve usability) and they have to be accurate (45kg needs to be 45kg).

Most importantly, they have to offer a great user experience and value for the money. Where applicable, I’ll mention retailer benefits such as free shipping.

Let’s dive in.

Our #1 Pick For Best Home Gym Bumper Plates – Rogue Color Echo (Overall Best Quality & Great For Crossfitters) $710 for 350lb Set

Why We Love It!

  • Colored plates
  • Virgin rubber, low bounce
  • Available in large sets (350lb)
  • Excellent value for money
  • Hard wearing
  • Free shipping

OUR RATING



Our #1 Pick for Best Bumper Plates

5/5

5 out of 5

ROGUE COLOR ECHO BUMPER PLATES

You should always buy your bumper plates in a set because the savings are huge. When it comes to quality and value for money, the Rogue Color Echo is the best combination in my opinion.

If you’re a crossfitter, a serious lifter, or you simply want the highest quality bumper plates money can buy, that won’t empty your pockets, these are the ones I would go with. 

It has 508 reviews and a 4.9 average rating–both are excellent.

ROGUE COLOR ECHO BUMPER PLATES

These are colored bumpers. They’re made from high quality virgin rubber and they’re thinner than a lot of other plates–and they’re accurate to within 1% (which is phenomenal). 

When you consider their price per lb, build quality, the fact they’re so hard-wearing, quiet, bounce softly when they hit the ground (88 durometer score), and excellent warranty, it’s a killer combo–and an easy decision for the #1 spot on the list.

ROGUE COLOR ECHO BUMPER PLATES

You could save some money and buy black plates, but in my mind I could justify the extra money for the colored plates–they make it easy to identify plates by weight & prevent mistakenly putting different weights on the bar (yes, it happens). 

The black equivalents aren’t available in sets up to 350lb either, which further sways my decision. You should always buy as many plates as you can afford to allow for strength progression.

Pros

  • Colored plates
  • Virgin rubber, low bounce
  • Available in large sets (350lb)
  • Excellent value for money
  • Hard wearing
  • Free shipping

Cons

  • N/a

The Verdict: These bumpers from Rogue are suitable for pretty much everyone. As a set, they cost just over 2 bucks per lb. For plates of this quality, including free shipping and after-sales support, that’s a steal. If you are looking for the best quality bumper plates that will last a lifetime, these are the ones you want.

Our #2 Pick For Best Home Gym Bumper Plates – Rep Color Bumper Plates (Great Value) $579 for 350lb Set

Bumper Plates

Why We Love It!

  • Excellent value for money
  • Versatile and at home with Weightlifting or Powerlifting
  • Colored set for easy use
  • Low bounce

OUR RATING



Our #2 Pick for Best Bumper Plates

4.9/5

4.9 out of 5

REP COLOR BUMPER PLATES

If you want good quality bumper plates at a reasonable cost, you could do a lot worse than the 350lb set from Rep Fitness

Where they lack the refined elements of the Rogue (the extra thick smaller plates aren’t ones for the purists), they’re a great all-rounder that offer excellent value for money.

Again, I’ve gone for the colored plates because with Rep, the price difference between black and color is miniscule and I love the look and feel of the colored plates.

They’re low bounce, hard wearing and relatively thin. Although they may appear cheaper than the Rogue set that beat them to the top spot, they don’t free shipping and the warranty comes with plate-pairing caveats, so just be aware of that.

For shipping to Arizona (I just confirmed), it would be an additional $75 for standard shipping via UPS (see screenshot).

REP COLOR BUMPER PLATES

Pros

  • Excellent value for money
  • Versatile and at home with Weightlifting or Powerlifting
  • Colored set for easy use
  • Low bounce

Cons

  • Thicker than standard plates
  • No free shipping available 

The Verdict: At the price point this bumper plate set from Rep will cope with anything you can throw at it. Hard wearing and well made, these are suitable for all types of lifting.


Our #3 Pick For Best Home Gym Bumper Plates – Rep Competition Bumpers (Best Value Competition Bumpers) $750 for 140kg Set

Why We Love It!

  • Excellent value competition bumpers
  • Fantastic warranty
  • Hard wearing, great spec plates
  • Versatile enough for all lifting

OUR RATING



Our #3 Pick for Best Bumper Plates

4.8/5

4.8 out of 5

REP COMPETITION BUMPER PLATES (KG)

I believe that for the vast majority of garage gym lifters, competition bumpers are an unnecessary expense.

However, if you are serious about your lifting, train competitively, and are looking for high-quality competition plates, this competition plate set from Rep is fantastic value and should be on your radar. 

Boasting a two-piece zinc-coated steel disc insert, these plates are accurately weighted and with their 92 score on the durometer, are very low bounce. They’re slightly on the thick side for competition bumpers, if that’s important to you.

They’re very hard-wearing and have been tested with over 30,000 drops. These things are built to last and represent fantastic value for money. 

Rep is so confident with these that they offer a 5 year warranty, which is largely unheard of. Although shipping isn’t free, at $400 less than their Rogue competition bumper equivalents, the price is unlikely to be an issue.

If you are looking for high quality bumper plates that won’t break the bank, I can’t recommend these ones from Rep enough. 

Pros

  • Excellent value competition bumpers
  • Fantastic warranty
  • Hard wearing, great spec plates
  • Versatile enough for all lifting

Cons

  • Slightly thick for competition bumpers
  • Shipping not free

The Verdict: A competition plate set for only $750 is an excellent deal. They’re very well made, low bounce and are super hard wearing. These are a fantastic value for your home gym and will suit you for competition preparation.


Our #4 Pick For Best Home Gym Bumper Plates – Rogue MIL Spec Echo Bumper (Best Budget Choice) $435 for 260lb Set

Why We Love It

  • Reliable build quality – it’s Rogue!
  • Great versatility
  • Competition size
  • Can be expanded to include spotter platform

OUR RATING



Our #4 Pick for Best Bumper Plates

4.7/5

4.7 out of 5

ROGUE MIL SPEC ECHO BUMPER

Budget shouldn’t just mean ‘cheap’–it’s an issue of quality combined with price.

The Rogue Mil Spec Echo Bumpers aren’t the cheapest black bumpers on the market, but they’re made with a good quality crumbed rubber and are versatile enough to cope with any style of lifting you want to do in your garage gym.

As a crumbed rubber construction, they’re softer and quieter than other bumpers.

They have over 80 reviews and a 4.8 average rating–which shows I’m not the only one who values these.

ROGUE MIL SPEC ECHO BUMPER

The plates are a decent thickness for the price and thanks to the 90 (10 & 15lb plates) and 88 (all others) durometer rating, they’re low bounce and suitable for tight spaces in a home gym. For the price, you won’t find many plates with this quality of construction. They’re accurate to within 1%.

The standard Rogue free shipping makes this a more attractive bumper plate set. If you’re on a budget, or you just need a no-frills plate set that doesn’t go to super heavy weights, these are an excellent choice.

Pros

  • Great price
  • Excellent quality construction
  • Low bounce
  • Free shipping

Cons

  • Limited weight – only 260lb
  • Warranty not great

The Verdict: If you need a functional, well-made yet basic bumper plate set, you don’t need to look any further than this budget option from Rogue. They’re accurate, they’re tough, and they’re cheap.

The Most Important Points to Consider When Choosing Bumper Plates For Your Home Gym

Faced with so many options, you really need to narrow down your requirements for bumper plates. You might end up paying over the odds for something you simply don’t need. Likewise, you might overlook the importance of a feature and end up with something that isn’t suitable.

Here are the key considerations:

  1. Style of training – if you’re a high-rep CrossFit enthusiast, you’ll need to buy bumpers that will cope with lots of drops. Think virgin rubber rather than crumbed. (Our #1 option above)
  2. Competitive Requirements – if you compete, you’ll want to consider investing in competition plates for the familiarity element. (Our #3 option above)
  3. Flooring – if your gym has nice platforms or rubber mats, you’ll probably get away with crumbed rubber plates (our #4 option above). If you lift on concrete, you’ll want virgin or vulcanized rubber. If you’re outside, avoid crumbed composite if you want longevity. 
  4. Strength – if you’re really strong, you may want the thinnest plates you can buy so you can fit more on the bar. That means getting your wallet out for competition plates! (Our #1 option above)
  5. Space – if your gym is tight for room, you want a low-bounce plate for safety. I’d also look at picking up thinner plates to save storage space. (Our #2 option above)
  6. Budget – above all else, you can only get what you can afford. Buy the most suitable bumper plates your wallet will allow. (Our #4 option above)

Why Should I Buy Bumper Plates For My Home Gym?

I could waste your time explaining all of the detailed reasons around why you should buy bumper plates for your home gym, but the reality is it comes down to a handful of reasons: versatility, sound, floor protection, and dropping.

Versatility

You can do any kind of lifting with a bumper plate–weightlifting, bodybuilding, powerlifting, high-rep CrossFit style lifting. You can’t match that versatility with other plates–for example, you can’t use standard cast iron plates or powerlifting plates for weightlifting.

Sound

Bumper plates are rubber coated/constructed and are usually lifted on a platform, so they are significantly quieter than other styles of plates when it comes to dropping them on the floor. If you have neighbours, this is important. You don’t want to upset them every time you train!

Floor Protection

Bumper plates are more forgiving to a floor than iron plates. They’re also much wider, so the weight is distributed across a larger surface area. These two factors help to protect garage floors from the potential weight damage!

Dropping

If you’re performing weightlifting or powerlifting movements, you’re going to drop the weight on the floor. While other types of plates will crack and become unusable after enough drops–You can do this perfectly fine with bumpers.

What Are Bumper Plates?

Historically bumper plates were only used in weightlifting. Since the turn of the millennium when CrossFit exploded onto the fitness scene, they’ve become far more popular and widespread. 

They’re the only plate you can use for weightlifting, but they’re also versatile enough to use for other types of lifting. They’re thicker plates, made with rubber and are designed to be dropped on the floor.

Bumper plates are color coded in line with the IWF (International Weightlifting Federation) guidelines. The colours represent their weight and derivatives:

  • Red – 25kg and 2.5kg
  • Blue – 20kg and 2kg
  • Yellow – 15kg and 1.5kg
  • Green – 10kg and 1kg
  • White/Grey – 5kg and 0.5kg

This allows you to see the weight on a bar quickly and only colored plates are competition legal.

Different Types of Bumper Plates

To confuse matters slightly, there’s two different types of bumper plates–competition bumper plates and standard or ‘training’ bumper plates. They’re made with different materials and are different thicknesses.

Here’s a selection of the bumper plates I own–they’re all 25kg (55lbs), but you can see the differences. 

The competition plates (colored red) have the central steel hub, whereas the training plates are black and have the metal insert rather than the whole central section.

Types of Bumper

Competition Bumper Plates

The competition bumper plates are the most expensive. They have a steel hub in the centre, securing the rubber or urethane that the rest of the plate is made from. With the steel hub being heavy, it allows the plate to be thinner. Depending on the construction material, competition plates tend to bounce less than the training plates.

Competition plates are always color coded and in order to be ratified by the IWF, have to pass weight accuracy tests (although any good bumper plate will also be accurate). 

The IWF certified plates are big bucks and not necessary for the vast majority of lifters.

Competition bumper plates are generally really hard wearing because they’re made with more expensive materials.

Standard/Training Bumper Plates

The standard bumper plates are usually constructed from either a composite recycled rubber (crumb rubber bound with an adhesive and moulded into shape) or virgin, vulcanized rubber which is rubber that hasn’t been used before. 

Vulcanized rubber has been treated to make it harder. Standard plates typically bounce higher than competition plates when dropped. If you want a low-bounce plate, you’ll need one with a high durometer score (over 85). 

Rather than having a steel hub in the centre of the plate, training plates typically have a metal insert which protects the rubber from the bar, but the use of less metal makes the training bumpers thicker. 

Whilst this isn’t an issue for most, it’s something to bear in mind if pushing massive weight around and need to fit more plates on the bar.

Standard bumpers are usually black, or in some cases they’re ‘colour coded’ by the inclusion of colored rubber crumbs in the material mix to show their weight.

Thickness of Plates

Generally the cheaper the material, the thicker the plate (although not always the case). In the picture below you can see the differences in thickness between the plates (they’re all 25kg). 

The biggest difference is between the competition plates and the standard training plates. 

The exception here is the $475 Eleiko plate (in darker red) is thicker than the Primal Strength plate (in lighter red), despite being more than double the price! 

The thicker plates on the right are made from crumbed rubber. 

The black plate in the middle is made from virgin rubber. It’s a combination of quality, sturdiness and price that will suit most people. 

The plates on the left are very expensive and not worth the expense for most garage gym users.

Thickness

Additional Important Bumper Plate Factors

With bumper plates it’s not a question of features–they don’t differ much in terms of design. They’re roughly the same size and they’re exactly the same shape! Instead you have to look at price, materials and suitability.

Buy the hardest-wearing plates you can afford–solid rubber rather than crumbed. If you can only afford crumbed, buy mats for dropping the bar on to protect the plates.

That being said, if sound is really important to you, consider the crumbed rubber–they’re much quieter than other plates.

A low bounce is ideal in a garage gym, so look for plates that score at least 85 on the durometer. 

If you can afford colored plates, they’re slightly easier to work with because you can identify the weights immediately. If not, it’s not a huge deal.

Final Thoughts on Bumper Plates For Your Home Gym

I’ve looked at four different bumper plate sets here, because rather than waste time reviewing sub-par sets, I’d rather just show you great plates that I’d be happy to have in my own gym. 

There’s no bad set here, but I’ve picked the Rogue Color Echo Bumpers as the winners. In my opinion, they’re the best combination of quality and price and if your budget stretches to the $700 region, I’d urge you to grab them with both hands–they’re a great addition to any garage gym.

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