Barbells are an essential piece of CrossFit equipment and in this post we review 9 of the best CrossFit barbells for your WOD workouts.
A CrossFit barbell has to perform basically the same function as any weightlifting barbell, but for home use it needs to be more versatile for a greater range of WOD exercises. It also needs to be highly durable to withstand being thrown around during those intense workouts.
The massive benefits of CrossFit have caused a surge in popularity over the last few years for this unique workout style. This also has resulted in a huge increase in the variety (and quality) of CrossFit workout equipment currently available.
To help you find the best CrossFit barbell for your own particular needs, we’ve reviewed 9 of the top contenders below, and added a buyers guide at the end.
Table of Contents
9 Best CrossFit Barbells in 2023
The E.T.Energic 7ft Olympic Barbell Bar is constructed from heat-treated alloy steel and has 200,000PSI strength, which means that it is rated suitable for weights of up to 1,500 pounds. It has a 28mm grip shaft with medium knurling so it is grippy enough to safely hold onto without causing injury and pain in the hands. The sleeves use a combination of needle bearings and bushing to comfortably allow for a range of different motions.
The E.T.Energic is an average price: all the more impressive considering the quality of the bar: it is difficult to find fault. You might feel the occasional vibration from the bearings, and some users will prefer a heavier knurling on the handles, but that is really only personal choice.
- Holds up to 1,500lbs weight
- Heat-treated steel bar is strong and sturdy
- Smooth sleeves
- Medium knurling isn’t for everybody
- Very occasional vibration from the bearings
PAPABABE does a selection of bars, ranging from this 1,000lbs training bar to a 1,500lbs competition bar. For home use during CrossFit workouts, the smaller training bar should prove ample. It’s a decent price, made from alloy steel coated with chrome, and features diamond knurling to ensure a steady grip when in use. The sleeves use bearings to offer a smooth rotation and to reduce pressure on the joints. Grip diameter is 1.1 inches.
The chrome does chip quite easily and if you need more grip, the medium knurling likely won’t give you the confidence you seek.
- Decent price
- Selection of weight capacities
- Smooth rotating sleeves
- Medium knurling not tough enough for some
- The bar chips easily
The Synergee Regional Olympic Barbell is one of the most expensive on this list, but it is made from high-grade steel with a 1,500lbs capacity with a hard chrome or black phosphate protective coating, and it has good whip so you can get decent momentum on heavy lifts. Diamond knurling ensures adequate grip while the needle bearings in the sleeves give a good smoothness to rotations.
The bar is expensive, but is very durable and good quality, although the black coating is easily worn away or scratched with ongoing use.
- High-quality materials give a strong and sturdy feel
- 1,500lbs capacity
- Good whip for heavy lifting
- Smooth sleeves
- Coating wears easily
The Hero Cerakote Olympic Competition Barbell is even more expensive than the Synergee above and it is premium quality, although it doesn’t really offer a lot more. It’s made from alloy steel but it does have a cerakote coating, rather than chrome or other materials.
Cerakote is a combination of ceramic and polymer that is durable and attractive. The bar utilizes 8 needle bearings to ensure smooth rotations from the sleeve, and its medium knurling is a good compromise between comfort and grip.
The bar is expensive, especially if you’re not competing. It has good whip, rotates well, and is as comfortable as a barbell can be, however, so it is worth the investment, if money is no issue.
- Cerakote coating prevents damage to the tough steel
- 8 needle bearings ensure sleeves rotate smoothly
- Medium knurling is grippy but not uncomfortable
The Archon Olympic Barbell is an average-priced alloy steel barbell with a black zinc coating to protect the bar underneath. It has tensile strength of 190,000PSI so it is a durable bar designed for heavy lifting. Being targeted at powerlifters, it doesn’t have any knurling in the middle of the bar, helping prevent neck rash and abrasive injuries.
Although the sleeves only have four bearings compared to the eight utilized by some of the more expensive bars, they do combine this with bushing and they do use upgraded needle bearings.
It does offer good whip for heavy weights, too, but the bar quality tends to fade after a few months and there have been some issues with the sleeves detaching from the barbell.
- 190,000PSI tensile strength
- Powerlifting knurling prevents neck rash
- Needle bearing ensure smooth sleeve rotation
- Quality fades in a few months
The Elevens Olympic Barbell Training Curl Weight Bar is made from alloy steel with a coating to protect the sleeves. The curl design means that the bar can be used for an even greater range of exercises and styles. The bar is only rated for a 330lb capacity, but that should prove ample for most CrossFit workouts and especially for workouts typically done using a curl bar like this.
The bar is inexpensive and its curl design makes it suitable for a full range of exercises used in CrossFit, but it only uses a couple of bearings in each sleeve, which means the sleeve rotations could be smoother, and it does have limited capacity that might not be suitable for all users.
- Curl bar is good for some CrossFit workouts
- 330lbs capacity
- Sleeves could be smoother
The Iron Crush Olympic Barbell Bar is made from rolled steel with a chrome coating to protect it from wear and corrosion. The 7.2ft long bar has a 750lbs weight capacity and has knurling for powerlifting and Olympic lifting. The sleeves only have two bearings and one bushing each, which is a lot less than some of the other equally priced bars. Its capacity is also somewhat lower than similarly priced bars.
- Good knurling enables grip but prevents rubbing
- Rolled steel is durable
- Chrome plating can wear away and become damaged
- 750lbs capacity
- Sleeves could be smoother
If you’re just starting out with a barbell, or you’re training high reps and lower intensity, the Sporzon Olympic Standard Weightlifting Barbell is a solid, inexpensive choice. The bar comes in 5 foot, 6 foot, and 7 foot lengths, and with a choice of a 1 inch or 2 inch diameter. Whatever size you choose, the barbell is rated for 700lbs capacity. The bars are made from an alloy steel and have a knurled grip. The knurling does a good job, and the bar is good for lower weights.
However, there are some quality issues that mean it isn’t suitable for heavy work and you might struggle to get collars to fit.
- Good choice of lengths and diameters
- Decent knurling
- Only really suitable for lighter weights
- Some quality issues
The ProSource Fit Olympic Barbell comes in a choice of men’s or women’s bar. The men’s bar is 86.6 inches long with a 1.1 inch diameter and weighing 44lb while the women’s bar is 79.13 inches long, 1 inch diameter, and 33lb in weight.
Both bars are made from steel with a phosphate finish and chrome sleeves. Diamond knurling ensures a good grip and the price is about average, if a little expensive. The weight capacity is quite low for the price and for a straight bar, at just 400lbs. The bar is good quality but it doesn’t really offer anything special or outstanding for the price.
- Choice of bar lengths and diameters
- A little expensive
- 400lbs capacity
Buyers Guide To The Best CrossFit Barbells
You will be using barbells quite often during intense CrossFit workouts, and the barbell does have a number of different purposes and uses.
Ensuring you get a bar that is suitable, long-lasting, and comfortable to use, is essential. An uncomfortable bar, or one that isn’t designed for your requirements, can lead to poor form and potentially could cause injuries and strains.
Below are some of the factors and terms to look for when deciding on the best barbell for your CrossFit workout.
Straight Or Curl Bar
The straight barbell is also known as the standard bar. It is completely straight and is the shape most often seen at weightlifting competitions and in competition. Wrists need to be slightly rotated while using these bars, but the straight metal can handle greater capacity.
A curl bar allows you to grab the bar with your hands supinated, which is a more comfortable and natural position, but the bending of the bar means that this type won’t usually handle as much weight. Straight bars are the ones used most often.
Olympic and competition barbells measure 7.2ft long for men and 6.5ft long for women, but you can buy shorter bars. Shorter barbells force you to use a closer grip which actually makes lifting more difficult, but if you’re stuck for space or performing very specific exercises, know that some bars come as short as 5ft in length.
The weight capacity you need will obviously depend on the amount of weight you can lift now, and the amount you will need to lift in the future. Most barbells offer at least 600lbs weight capacity with some of the sturdier and stronger models boasting a capacity as high as 1,500lbs.
For most people, a capacity of 600lbs or 700lbs should be enough but if you intend to do some serious lifting, aim for higher.
During a workout, you will sweat, and this can cause you to lose grip on what is effectively a smooth metal bar. Most barbells have a textured surface where you would hold the bar, called knurling. This shouldn’t be so abrasive that it cuts or blisters the hands, but it should offer enough grip that the bar won’t slip out of your hands while lifting. Diamond knurling is the name given to the shape of most knurled grips.
Steel is the material of choice for barbells because it is strong and durable. However, it is prone to corrosion and rusting, which is a problem whether you train indoors or outdoors, because of sweat and moisture in the air.
Bars can be coated with a variety of materials from chrome, which is the most common but can be prone to chipping and wearing, to cerakote, which is tougher and preferred by professional users for its longevity.
The sleeves of a barbell are not static. They will rotate as the user snatches and lifts the weights. Ideally, the sleeves need to rotate smoothly but not so freely that the weight doesn’t hold in position. The best barbells use a combination of brushing and bearings, with the number of bearings in each sleeve ranging from 2 to 8.
Verdict – Which Is The Best CrossFit Barbell?
A barbell is a commonly use piece of apparatus in CrossFit workouts and home training. It needs to be strong and tough, capable of holding standard weights, and it should be easy to grip without being painful. It also needs to have the capacity to hold enough weight to make your routines a challenge.
After reviewing of 9 of the best CrossFit barbells available and found the E.T.Energic 7ft Olympic Barbell Bar to offer the best combination of price, durability, and weight capacity.
The PAPABABE Olympic Bar 7-Foot Solid Chrome Barbell is cheaper and decent quality: it also comes with a good variety of size and capacity choices.
More CrossFit gear review guides:
- Pull Up Stands
- Jump Ropes
- Resistance Bands
- Hand Grips
- Knee Sleeves
- Gymnastic Rings
- Weight Vests
- Plyo Boxes
- Ab Rollers
Follow our Instagram and YouTube channels for workouts, fitness tips and exercise videos like this back workout: