Best Home Gym Weight Plates Buying Guide in 2022
See, now you've decided what squat rack to get, and the barbell you've always dreamed of is on its way. Plus, you're already making plans for how to position everything in your garage or basement. Everything seems to be in order for your coveted home gym.
But then one problem surfaces:
The weight plates. More specifically, how to buy weight plates, or what plates you should get. Rubber-coated ones? Cast iron plates? Or possibly even bumper plates? All of them seem great and would get the job done.
But which one is better? Which one should you choose?
To answer your questions, we've put together this guide. It will give you all the information you need to find the plates that work best with your workout routine. Let's dive in.
Bumper Plates: What Are They And What Benefits Do They Offer?
Bumper plates are standard in Olympic weightlifting, but they can also be useful when putting together a home gym. These plates come with a large rubber coating that makes them bouncy and also protects your floor if you drop a loaded barbell. Unlike standard plates, these also come with a fixed diameter, regardless of their weight.
A good bumper plate comes standard with the following features:
- Thick rubber coating that makes them resistant to bending
- Steel inserts molded into the plates to ensure durability over years of regular use
- Low bounce effect that prevents the loaded barbell from rebounding off the floor and possibly hurting you
Bumper plates are particularly beneficial for Olympic lifting, where dropping the bar to the floor is standard. They are also great for trainees who want to master the deadlift but don't have the strength to use standard 45 lb plates. The fixed diameter allows the barbell to be at the correct height for deadlifts, regardless of the load.
Perhaps the greatest benefit of bumper plates is the freedom and peace of mind they offer. You don't have to worry about making excessive noise or damaging the floor. Train as you like and drop the barbell from an overhead position if you must. A good bumper plate will absorb the shock from the impact without bending, denting, or cracking.
Plus, bumper plates are durable because they come standard with a steel ring in the middle, making it easy to slide them on and off your barbell. There is no risk of your plates wearing out in the middle or dragging against the barbell sleeve.
Rubber-Coated Plates: The Better Option?
Rubber-coated plates are another popular option for putting together a weight set. Unlike bumper plates, these come at various diameters, depending on their weight. Such plates are also coated with much less protective material, which is good and bad.
Less padding means that each plate is smaller, making for a more pleasurable training experience. Bumper plates are great, but they tend to be large, and not everyone enjoys using them, especially folks who don't drop a loaded barbell on the floor during training. But, rubber-coated plates are much harder, and dropping them on the floor could lead to serious damage.
Aside from that, quality rubber plates offer some unique benefits, making them worthy of consideration:
- Solid build and beautiful design
- Good vulcanization protects the metal within, preventing it from rusting, getting jagged, or leaving stains on your hands or clothes
- A triple precision concave grip that allows for easier and safer handling
Such plates also improve grip strength because they force you to hold them firmly with all fingers engaged. You can also use these weights to perform various movements, including shrugs, lateral raises, farmer’s carries, front raises, and more.
The RitFit Olympic Tri-Grip Rubber-Coated Plates also feature a smooth and solid stainless steel insert that makes it effortless to slide the weights on and off an Olympic barbell.
Cast Iron Weight Plates: The King Of Home Gyms?
The third popular kind of training plates is made of cast iron. They are by far the coolest-looking and offer a real sense of training at a hardcore gym, where even the weakest people can deadlift in the mid 400 lbs.
Cast iron weight plates are similar to rubber-coated ones in some ways. In most cases, both types of plates come with an identical shape: a triple precision concave grip, allowing for easier and safer handling.
Iron plates tend to be slightly smaller than those coated with rubber because they consist of bare metal. There aren't any extra materials that would increase the size, making these plates great for powerlifters and similar trainees who want to get as strong as possible. The slightly more compact size allows more plates to fit on both barbell sleeves.
Unlike rubber-coated and bumper plates, those made of cast iron also provide a feeling of raw training. The plates tend to clink against one another, which provides a satisfying feeling as you do repetitions.
Similar to rubber-coated plates, these also come in various diameters, depending on the weight. The 55 lb plates have the largest diameter and size drops as we move down to 45s, 35s, 25s, and so on.
The RitFit Cast Iron Weight Plates don't have rubber coating for protection, but they are painted, making them resistant to sweat and heat. As a result, the risk of corrosion is negligible.
What Is The Best Option For Weight Lifting At Home?
All three types of weight plates work great for people with general fitness goals, such as muscle growth, strength gain, and fat loss. We recommend getting yourself some bumper plates because those will come in handy for learning movements like the deadlift and practicing Olympic lifts.
Other than that, you can get rubber-coated or cast iron weight plates––whichever you prefer more. As discussed above, both kinds of plates share numerous similarities and provide a similar training experience.
We offer free shipping to most parts of the US, so if you live there, you can easily order a few plates, test them out, and determine if you should stick with that model for your home gym.