There are three pieces of gym equipment you should splash out for the highest quality manufacturing: a barbell, power rack, and bumper plates. Buy the right bumper plates, and you'll never have to replace them. It becomes a one-time investment.
If you try to skimp and save money, you’ll be spending more long term as you replace them in many years’ time. Why am I qualified to tell you which bumper plates to purchase?
I've been competing as an International Weightlifter for 22 years, winning a Commonwealth medal, becoming African Champion, and competing at many World Championships. I've also been a CrossFit Games athlete!
Here's me squatting with bumper plates in my build-up for Olympic qualification.
Throughout my career, I've trained with almost every bumper plate available. So, here are my best bumper plates based on my years of Weightlifting and CrossFit experience.
Best Bumper Plates
Best Bumper Plates For Home Gym
Best Budget Bumper Plates
Thickness (20 kg plate)
1.97" (50 mm)
1.97" (50 mm)
3.00" (76.2 mm)
Table of Contents
- Best Bumper Plates
- Best Bumper Plates For Home Gym
- Best Budget Bumper Plates
- Best Bumper Plates For Concrete
- Best Bumper Plates For CrossFit
- Best Bumper Plates On Amazon
- Best Urethane Bumper Plates
- What To Look For When Buying Bumper Plates
- Frequently Asked Bumper Plate Questions
- Are Bumper Plates Any Good?
- Are Rogue Plates The Best?
- When Should You Buy Bumper Plates?
- Are Bumper Plates Harder To Deadlift?
- Is It Harder To Squat With Bumper Plates?
- Why Do Bumper Plates Cost So Much?
- Are Urethane Bumper Plates Worth It?
- Can You Drop Bumper Plates On Concrete?
- What Are Other Popular Bumper Plate Brands?
Best Bumper Plates
Eleiko IWF Weightlifting Training Plates
You have two options within the Eleiko bumper plate range: the Sport Training Plates and IWF Weightlifting Training Plates. Making the choice is simple. If you are a competitive Weightlifter, go with the IWF Weightlifting Training Plates.
They are calibrated within ± 0.5% of the stated weight, so you're lifting with extreme accuracy when micro loading PR attempts. Further, the plates are much thinner than other brands and mimic the competition plates.
Lifting with thick and thin plates is a different feeling, making it important to lift with similar plates as competition. Additionally, being thinner means you can load well over 200 kg for stronger lifters.
The exact thickness is:
You can load 215 kg on a women’s bar and 290 kg on a men’s bar. They are the standard 450 mm in diameter with a 50.5 mm center hole, all within ± 0.5%.
The center hole is not a ring present in cheaper bumper plates. It's a multi-layered plate increasing durability. I've seen many bumper plates with a ring center hole come loose, making the zinced steel plate design superior.
Regarding bounce, we can refer to the Shore Durometer Rating.
The smaller the number, the softer the plate and the more bounce when dropping. The higher the number, the harder the plate with less bounce. The scale ranges from 65 to 100.
Eleiko uses a proprietary SBR rubber with a Durometer Rating of 92-93, making it a dead-stop bounce. You can see my husband James dropping Eleiko Training Plates below.
And here’s what it’s like with the full bumper plate set:
The Eleiko IWF Weightlifting Training Plates are exactly the same as the competition plates, so you're getting the highest quality plate on the market. They are used in most international competitions.
They've been tested to withstand over 100,000 drops with no damage, so their warranty is the best on the market at 10 years. You may wonder why the Eleiko plates in the video look different from the training plates on the website.
Every few years, Eleiko redesigns their plates. As a testament to their durability and quality, you’ll find Eleiko training plates in Weightlifting gyms from decades prior still in excellent condition!
You can read our full Eleiko IWF Training Plate review here.
Price By Weight
Best Bumper Plates For Home Gym
Eleiko Sport Training Plates
If you're not a competitive Weightlifter but still want the highest quality plates, opt for the Eleiko Sport Training Plate. They are cheaper with a reduced warranty period of 3 years because they use a high tensile rubber vulcanized to the metal hub.
Therefore, they may not withstand the same beating training plates can. They also aren’t calibrated to the same degree of accuracy with a ± 2% weight tolerance. However, the quality of craftsmanship from the Eleiko factory in Sweden is far superior to other companies that import their plates from China.
But for training purposes, they get the job done. They have a Durometer Rating of 92-93 so even though they use slightly different material, they are just as hard.
Their dimensions are the same as the Training Plates with the following thickness:
This means you can fit 215 kg and 290 kg on a women's and men's Weightlifting barbell, respectively. Cheaper plates will limit the total load you can lift, which can be frustrating for stronger lifters.
You can read the full in-depth breakdown in our Eleiko Sport Training Plate review.
Price By Weight
Best Budget Bumper Plates
Rogue US-MIL Spec Bumper Plates
The Rogue US-MIL Spec Bumper Plates V2 are the cheapest bumper plates I could find from a reputable manufacturer. Sure, you can find cheaper plates on various marketplaces. But they will never be worth your money.
Again, I stress bumper plates are one of the three pieces of equipment to splurge on, as they are a lifetime investment when done right. However, with budget in mind, these are the best you'll find. A pair of 45 lb plates is only $160, which is $1.78/lb making it one of the cheapest bumper plates available.
In fact, this is often cheaper per pound than second-hand bumper plates on second-hand marketplaces, which often exceed $2/lb.
The Rogue US-MIL Spec Bumper Plates V2 are manufactured in Alabama, US Military approved and used in their rigorous U.S. Army Combat Fitness Test.
They are crafted from premium recycled crumb rubber, but unlike other crumbed rubber plates, they've been given a smooth finish so that you won't lose chunks of plate with rough use.
All bumper plates are standard plate diameter of 450 mm with a 50 mm stainless steel center ring insert. I'm not a fan of the center ring insert, but they will last if you're not dropping these from overhead often. These are much thicker than the Eleiko plates limiting the loads you can lift.
The plate thickness goes as follows:
In my experience, these thick plates let you maximally load approximately 180 kg (397 lbs) on a men’s bar.
Therefore, if you can lift more than 397 lbs, thinner Eleiko plates are a better option. Rogue US-MIL Spec Bumper Plates V2 plates have a Durometer Rating of 80, making them softer and bouncier than other plates because of the crumbed rubber.
Lastly, they have a weight tolerance of ± 2% of the stated weight. This is great for a cheaper plate, but you may want a calibrated plate if you're a competitive lifter. 25 – 55 lb plates have a 3-year warranty, and 10 – 15 lb plates have a 180-day warranty.
Price By Weight
Best Bumper Plates For Concrete
Rogue Hi-Temp Bumper Plates
Before diving into this section, dropping bumper plates on concrete is not recommended. Damaging and reducing the life of your bumper plates isn't the only reason why. Dropping on concrete will void your warranty, so you cannot replace them when they become damaged.
Further, you also ruin your barbell by voiding the warranty and potentially destroying the sleeve so it doesn't spin. But, if you have an old rusty barbell you don’t mind dropping, the Rogue Hi-Temp Bumper Plates are the best option to drop on concrete.
This is because they are the softest and bounciest plates with a Shore Durometer Rating of 75. Having used these plates on a platform, when dropping them, they bounce almost to chest height. You can see in the video below how bouncy they are:
They are also the thickest bumper plates allowing more surface area to absorb force when dropping them on concrete. For example:
In my experience, you can fit 160 kg (352 lbs) on the barbell because of this thickness, so you are severely load limited. You can see the thickness of the 45 lb plates in my front squat video below:
They have a stainless steel center insert, are slightly smaller in diameter at 445 mm, and are within ± 0.5 lb of the stated weight.
Does this mean they will protect your concrete and barbell? No. Repeatedly dropping loads on the same area will eventually cause your concrete to crumble even with a rubber layer on the floor.
However, out of all your bumper plate options, these will save your concrete and equipment best. Be prepared; if you store these in a hot garage, they will smell.
Price By Weight
Best Bumper Plates For CrossFit
Rogue Fleck Bumper Plates
Being bumper plates with an epic design is only one of the reasons the Rogue Fleck Bumper Plates are excellent CrossFit plates. Most CrossFit gyms will have the Rogue HG 2.0 Bumper Plates. However, they are much thicker at a similar price.
So why not go for a thinner plate with a cool design in the same price range? They have a rating of 90 on the Shore Durometer Scale, giving them a dense dead bounce. Their plate thickness goes as follows:
They are standard plate diameter of 450 mm with a tolerance of ± 3 mm and a center hole of 50.40 mm. Their weight tolerance is ± 1% making them highly accurate plates. Unlike other Rogue plates, this particular model includes a 55 lb plate making heavy Weightlifting much easier to load.
You also have a 24-month warranty to replace any defective plates.
Price By Weight
Best Bumper Plates On Amazon
HulkFit Bumper Plates
I highly recommend not shopping on Amazon for bumper plates. Just know that my recommendation for the HulkFit Bumper Plates is picking the best from the worst. Any bumper plates on this list are better options.
Here’s the thickness of each colored plate:
The black plates are slightly thinner and more expensive, potentially being better options. However, HulkFit plates are 447 mm in diameter, making them smaller than standard plates with a 50.8 mm center hole which is larger than high-quality bumpers.
I own plates with center holes this size, and there is too much room for the barbell to move. It means you're taking the slack out of the barbell and plates when lifting instead of having a snug fit.
They are made from a rubber composite and have a 2-year warranty.
Price By Weight
Best Urethane Bumper Plates
ZKC DSB Bumper Plates
Urethane plates are typically more expensive than various rubber bumper plates and are considered the most durable. I'd argue that's not the case, and brands like Eleiko and Uesaka have perfected the durability problem without urethane.
But if you’re dead set on urethane plates, ZKC has fantastic urethane bumper plates. If you're unfamiliar with the brand, they are a high-end Weightlifting manufacturer from China that has been gobbling up sponsoring many international events, including the Olympics, supplying equipment for competition.
You'll have seen their equipment if you've watched any Chinese Weightlifting videos. But to show you how these sound when dropping them, here’s James with a drop test:
It sounds more plastic than rubber and doesn't bounce as much. They have a Durometer score of 92, making them similar to the Eleiko plates. It’s why these are named the ZKC Dead-Second-Bounce Plates.
These are competition plates you'll see on the competition stage. Do I think you need to empty your wallet for these ZKC plates over others on this list? No. But owning a set is likely a goal if you're a Weightlifting fanatic.
They are 450 mm in diameter with a ± 1 mm tolerance and a 50 mm center hole. Their thickness tolerance is ± 1 mm, and weight tolerance is ± 0.25% making them the most accurate plates. Here's the thickness of each plate:
This makes the ZKC DSB Bumper Plates the thinnest available and includes a 10-year warranty, as Eleiko does.
Price By Weight
What To Look For When Buying Bumper Plates
The material dictates your bumper plates' performance, thickness, and durability. Here are the main materials used:
Virgin Rubber: This is the highest quality rubber used in bumper plates. Virgin rubber is a rubber that has not been previously used or processed other than its original manufacture.
Plates made from virgin rubber are typically more durable and have less bounce when dropped compared to plates made from recycled rubber. They also tend to have less of a rubber smell, which some people find off-putting.
Recycled Rubber: These bumper plates are made from rubber recycled from other products, such as car tires. These plates are generally cheaper, but they are not as durable or provide the same level of performance as those made from virgin rubber. They can also have a stronger rubber smell.
Urethane: Some high-end bumper plates are made from urethane, a type of polymer. Urethane bumper plates are highly durable and usually have a low bounce.
They also tend to be thinner than rubber plates, allowing more weight to be loaded on the bar. However, urethane plates are usually more expensive than rubber plates.
The other major material component is the center ring, usually made of steel or stainless steel. This is the part of the plate that fits onto the barbell. The center ring should be durable and firmly attached to the rubber part of the plate.
Some cheaper plates may have center rings that are not well-secured, which can lead to the ring becoming dislodged over time. This is often the case with rings instead of steel plates. Stainless steel is usually preferred as it is resistant to rust and corrosion.
Buying dirt-cheap bumper plates from random manufacturers can place you in the predicament of having plates smaller than the competition size. HulkFit from Amazon is an example of this, with shorter diameters and larger center rings.
Stick with 450 mm diameter plates as that is the standard used in competition.
Top brands have weight tolerances up to ± 0.5% making them highly accurate for competition and micro loading. Typically, cheaper bumper plates have larger weight tolerances.
If you’re not a competitive lifter and using these plates for a great workout, then it’s not something to worry about.
Thickness is a key criterion of mine because thick plates make loading enough plates impossible. Further, you get a different feel with plates close to the end of the sleeve versus thinner plates closer to the knurling.
Having thicker plates gives you more barbell whip, which can make the weights feel slightly easier. You want the same feeling you’ll have in competition.
Many factors influence the durability of your bumper plates. Here are a few.
Design and Construction: How the plates are designed and constructed can significantly affect their durability.
For example, a plate with a center ring that is not well-secured can become dislodged over time, reducing the plate's overall lifespan. Similarly, poorly molded plates or rubber imperfections can be more prone to breaking down.
Usage: How the plates are used will also impact their durability. Plates frequently dropped from a height, especially on hard surfaces like concrete, will wear out faster than plates used more gently. Using the plates on a proper lifting platform or mat can help prolong their life.
Storage: Proper storage is also important for maintaining the durability of bumper plates. They should be stored in a dry, cool place and not left loaded on a barbell for extended periods, as this can cause them to deform.
Having a lot of bounce can be a problem when lifting from blocks or using jerk blocks, as there's a greater chance your bar bounces off them. Bounce is measured by the Shore Durometer Rating, with higher ratings being denser and having less bounce.
However, the one downside to dense plates is they are loud when dropped, even on soft rubber. So, if you have close neighbors, this could be an issue. Softer bumper plates won’t make such a loud sound.
The warranty period correlates with the quality of the plates. The highest quality bumper plates on this list have 10-year warranties. Everything else has 2-3 year warranties.
Hence if you spend the money upfront, you'll likely never have to replace them, and you have 10 years for any surprises to show up.
KGs vs. LBs
Whether choosing kilogram or pound bumper plates depends if you are a competitive athlete. If you compete in CrossFit, you’ll want pound bumper plates since all competitions worldwide use pounds.
However, if you’re a competitive Weightlifter, you’ll want kilogram bumper plates since all Weightlifting competitions use kilograms worldwide.
Frequently Asked Bumper Plate Questions
Are Bumper Plates Any Good?
Bumper plates are a necessity for any Olympic Weightlifting and CrossFit training. When dropping barbells, you need plates protecting your bar and floor. Rubber bumper plates absorb the force, while iron plates will destroy your barbell and floor.
Are Rogue Plates The Best?
Rogue plates have come a long way as they’ve developed competition bumper plates for USA Weightlifting competitions.
But they are not considered the best bumper plates. Eleiko, ZKC, Uesaka, and Ivanko are considered the gold standard of bumper plates.
However, if you are based in the USA and competing nationally, Rogue plates are preferred since you will be lifting with Rogue equipment.
When Should You Buy Bumper Plates?
You should buy bumper plates as soon as you do any exercises where you drop the bar. This includes any Olympic Weightlifting exercise like snatches and clean & jerks. CrossFit is another reason to get bumper plates when performing exercises like touch-and-go deadlifts.
You don’t want to touch and go with iron plates crashing on your floor.
Are Bumper Plates Harder To Deadlift?
Bumper plates are typically easier to deadlift since they cover more of the barbell sleeve than iron plates, creating more whip.
That is why you can deadlift more on a deadlift bar because they have more bend. Bumper plates can create this effect.
Is It Harder To Squat With Bumper Plates?
As with deadlifting, squatting with bumper plates can be easier because of the increased whip. When you sit in the hole, the barbell will bend over your back and spring as you push with your legs.
Why Do Bumper Plates Cost So Much?
The process of molding expensive rubber and testing it to handle repeated drops makes the manufacturing process expensive. Further, shipping costs can increase because bumper plates are bigger than iron plates.
Are Urethane Bumper Plates Worth It?
In my opinion, they aren’t worth buying over rubber bumper plates from the gold standard brands Eleiko and Uesaka. You can get hard rubber that barely bounces, similar to urethane.
Can You Drop Bumper Plates On Concrete?
You can drop bumper plates on concrete, but you shouldn't. It will significantly reduce the life of your equipment and eventually crumble your concrete.
At my first home gym, we moved our platforms after years of lifting and found the foundation had completely crumbled where the weights were dropped.
What Are Other Popular Bumper Plate Brands?
- Fringe Sport
- Again Faster
- REP Fitness
- Titan Fitness
- Vulcan Strength
- American Barbell
Buy nice, don't buy twice is my motto regarding bumper plates. It is why I recommend Eleiko bumper plates that can be used for all your gym training. From Olympic Weightlifting to CrossFit to standard strength training, you have bumper plates that will last you a lifetime.
I've used so many old Eleiko bumper plates that are dropped multiple times daily and remain in excellent shape.