Bells of Steel SS4 Safety Squat Bar Review: A Versatile SSB

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By Alex
Last updated on

In this Bells of Steel SS4 review, I’ll help you decide if this is the best safety squat bar (SSB) for you.

If you don’t want to read the full review, here’s my summary:

The Bells of Steel SS4 is a well-priced safety squat bar with good build quality and performance that brings some novel handle and sleeve features not seen in other SSBs. I generally recommend it. In fact, it made my list of the best safety squat bars as the “Best Versatile Safety Squat Bar.”

ModelPros & ConsRating

Bells of Steel SS4 Safety Squat Bar
Bells of Steel SS4 Safety Squat BarCheck Price

  • Four removable handle types available (one comes standard)
  • High-quality knurled steel handles
  • Comfortable, supportive padding
  • Olympic-sized sleeves
  • Lightweight for easy handling
  • Rotating sleeves
  • Short loadable sleeve length
  • Camber drop could be greater

Rated 4.6 out of 5
4.6 Stars
View product page

Notably, the Bells of Steel SS4 has some great improvements over its predecessor, the SS3. I’ll break down the differences between versions in just a bit.

While the SS4 a great SSB, there are a couple of minor features some lifters may not want. I’ll tell you everything — the positives and negatives — in this review.


Bells of Steel SS4 Safety Squat Bar - Front View
  • Bar Type: Traditional Safety Squat Bar
  • Weight Capacity: 1,500 lbs
  • Handle Type: Multiple, Removable (Short and Straight, Long and Angled, Chain, Seal Row)
  • Loadable Sleeve Length: 11.75”
  • Sleeve Diameter: 50mm
  • Sleeve Finish: Bright Zinc
  • Shaft Diameter: 32mm
  • Shaft Finish: Black Titanate
  • Distance Between Cambers: ~50”
  • Bar Length: 87”
  • Bar Weight: 45.6 lbs (bar only; various handles add 4.2 – 11.7 lbs per pair)
  • Warranty: Lifetime
  • Manufactured: China
  • Price: $319.99

Pros & Cons

Bells of Steel SS4 Safety Squat Bar - Camber Drop


  • Four removable handles for grip versatility (one standard; three sold separately)
  • Handles are high quality and made from solid knurled steel.
  • Good overall pad support, comfort, and quality
  • Olympic-sized machined sleeves
  • Lighter weight makes for easier moving, storage, and plate math
  • Rotating sleeves can be useful on JM presses


  • Short loadable sleeve length may not provide enough length for strong lifters using bumper plates
  • A longer camber drop would help make squatting more challenging

Bells of Steel SS4 vs SS3

Bells of Steel SS4 vs SS3

The SS4 is Bells of Steel’s latest iteration of their safety squat bar. The SS3 was great, and in fact, was also on this list. But this version is even better. Here are the biggest changes between the SS3 and SS4:

  • The SS4 now has solid steel knurled handles. The SS3 handles were not knurled and instead had cheaper rubber grips on the handles.
  • The SS3 came with three removable handle options included standard. The SS4 has four total removable handle options, but only one (short straight handle) comes standard, with the others sold separately.
  • The SS4 has a brand new handle; the seal row handle attachment, which lets you do seal rows with your SSB.
  • The SS4 handles are compatible with the SS3.
  • The SS4 fits properly in the j-hooks on racks as wide as 49″. The SS3’s shaft was narrower between cambers, so it only fit properly on racks up to 47″ wide.
  • There are higher quality end caps on the SS4, with the bar weight and handle weights listed for convenience.
  • The SS4 uses a black titanate finish on both the shaft and sleeves. The SS3 had a black zinc shaft and bright zinc sleeves.

Removable/Swappable Handles

Bells of Steel SS4 Safety Squat Bar - Knurled Steel Handles

These are all of the swappable handle options available for the SS4. As mentioned they’re all knurled solid steel handles with a black titanate finish. The knurling is moderately aggressive, providing plenty of grip.

  • Short handles (included standard): Some people prefer short handles to keep things tighter and avoid the handles getting in the way of your legs at the bottom of the squat. The only potential critique on these is that an extra inch of length might be beneficial for those with very large hands. I have large hands myself and was fine, but if my paws were a bit bigger, I’d benefit from slightly more grip length.
  • Long, angled handles aka “spider handles” (sold separately): Some people prefer the long handles for more leverage and a more extended arm position.
  • Chain handles (sold separately): These handles work the grip slightly more, but mostly, they keep you honest by preventing you from using leverage to tilt the bar in a way that helps you lift it more easily.
  • Seal Row Handles (sold separately): These are angled at 90 degrees. You can use these to do seal rows on an incline bench with your SSB upside down. I’ve never seen these available for an SSB, and I haven’t tried the, but I love the creative thinking in coming up with these.
Bells of Steel SS4 Safety Squat Bar - Handle Attachments

No other SSB on the market offers swappable handles, though REP has teased them.

While it was nice that the older SS3 included all handles standard, it makes sense that the new SS4 handles are sold separately because they’re much higher quality and thus are more expensive to produce.

Bar Weight and Handle Weights

Bells of Steel SS4 Safety Squat Bar Review

This is the lightest safety squat bar featured in this guide. It weighs 45.6 lbs without handles. If you use the standard short straight handles, it weighs 49.8 lbs, making it slightly heavier than a regular Olympic bar (20kg/44 lbs or 45 lbs).

The different handles have different weights, which will change the total bar weight. Here are the weights of each handle:

  • Straight Handles: 4.2 lbs (Total bar weight = 49.8 lbs)
  • Chain Handles: 6.6 lbs (Total bar weight = 52.2 lbs)
  • Spider (long, angled) Handles: 11.7 lbs (Total bar weight = 57.3 lbs)
  • Seal Row Handles: 7.0 lbs (Total bar weight = 52.6 lbs)
Bells of Steel SS4 Safety Squat Bar - End Cap with Bar and Handle Weights Listed
The Bells of Steel SS4 has two different end caps. One with the Bells of Steel SS4 branding and the one shown here that lists the bar weight and the handle weights. This comes in handy for calculating total bar weight depending on which handles you’re using.

While the bar is not as beefy as most of its competitors, the light weight does offer benefits:

Novice and youth lifters will have no issue with the empty bar weight.

It’s easier to move around your gym.

Assuming you’re using the standard short handles, it’s close enough to 20kg or 45 lbs to make the “plate math” easier. Just do the math like it’s a 45 lb bar, then add 5 lbs to the total. Easy enough.

It achieves this lighter weight by being smaller overall:

  • It’s just 87” long, which is nearly the same length as an Olympic bar (86.6″), again lending itself to easier maneuverability. This relatively shorter length is a major benefit to any home gym owners with limited clearance on either side of their barbell.
  • The shaft is 32mm thick vs 38mm on most SSBs. Despite this, it still manages a 1,500 lb capacity rating, though I’m sure the thicker SSBs are stronger in absolute terms.
  • The loadable sleeve length is just 11.75” compared to 15-16” for most SSBs. This limits how much weight you can add if you’re very strong or if you have thick bumper plates.


Bells of Steel SS4 Safety Squat Bar - End Cap with Bells of Steel Branding

The Olympic-sized sleeves ensure your existing collars will work.

The sleeves, like the shaft, are black titanate. I haven’t used a bar with a black titanate finish before, but my worry is that adding/removing plates will scratch and mar it over time — a common occurrence with most other black sleeve finishes. Only time will tell on this. If I could choose, I’d prefer a chrome sleeve finish.

The sleeves rotate, which isn’t seen on any other SSB. This is more of a novelty feature, in my opinion. Sleeve rotation isn’t really helpful on vertical movements like squats. Though, it may have a minor benefit if you do JM presses, and maybe good mornings.

Bells of Steel SS4 Safety Squat Bar - Loadable Sleeve Length and Bar Camber

As mentioned earlier, the loadable sleeve length is just 11.75″ long. If you use bumper plates and squat a lot (i.e. 350-400+ lbs), you may need another SSB with longer sleeves (e.g. the REP Safety Squat Bar). But if you have regular iron plates, which are much thinner, you’ll have plenty of space.


Bells of Steel SS4 Safety Squat Bar - Yoke

The padding is good. Not stellar, but definitely not bad. It’s dense, and maybe a bit hard, but gives you good support and isn’t painful at all.

The vinyl quality is also good. It’s pretty standard compared to most of the options available. It’s sufficiently thick and the stitching all looks fine — though I did see one stray thread that was sticking up, but it was at the end of the stitching so it’s not actually unraveling.

Time will tell how well the vinyl holds up. If I notice any premature degradation, I’ll update this Bells of Steel SS4 review.

I will note that I spoke to an SS3 owner, @beangainin, who’s had his bar for years. He actually uses it in a small commercial gym that he runs. He loves his SS3 overall and said that the pad wear was one of the only negatives in his opinion — but he has many lifters using it multiple times per day.

Bells of Steel SS3 Safety Squat Bar - Yoke Pad
Source: @beangainin — Note the pad wear in his heavily-used SS3 (previous version of the SS4)

I noticed that the logo on the vinyl faces the opposite direction as most other SSBs. That is, you don’t see it when approaching the bar. I suppose you could flip the yoke around, but this may make the velcro flap rub against your neck, making it slightly less comfortable.

Bells of Steel SS4 Safety Squat Bar - Yoke Velcro

The logo placement isn’t necessarily bad and it certainly doesn’t affect performance. I’m just noting it as an observation since it’s different from most other SSBs.

In terms of the yoke width, it’s just right for me. Not too wide and not too narrow. It rests on my outer traps, with the pad atop the end of my collar bones (i.e. in line with the shoulder joint).

If you’re looking for specific yoke measurements, here they are:

  • Distance between handles (center-on-center): 12.8″
  • Distance between pads (inside width): 8″
  • Distance between pads (outside width): 18″
  • Pad thickness: 5″


Bells of Steel SS4 Safety Squat Bar - Camber Angle

In terms of bar balance, it’s good but there’s room for improvement. While its 22-degree camber angle aligns with industry standards, the shorter camber drop makes squatting a bit less challenging while also minorly impacting the balance compared to SSBs with larger drops.

In my use thus far, I haven’t felt like the bar would actually roll back, but I do usually grasp on the handles just in case — and because holding the handles just provides more stability in general.

I’ve done Hatfield squats (no hands on the handles) a couple of times successfully on the SS4. Though I only used light weight; it was only for testing purposes since this isn’t an exercise in my routine.

Alternatives to the Bells of Steel SS4

I believe most people considering the Bells of Steel SS4 will also be considering the REP Safety Squat Bar and the Titan Safety Squat Bar V2. Below, I’ll compare both to the SS4.

Bells of Steel SS4 vs REP Safety Squat Bar

FeatureBells of Steel SS4REP Safety Squat Bar
Weight45.6 lbs (without handles)68 lbs
Handle TypeFour types (one standard, three sold separately), solid steel knurledShort, straight, removable, knurled steel
Sleeve FinishBlack titanateHard chrome
Shaft Diameter32mm38mm
Loadable Sleeve Length11.75”15.6”

The Bells of Steel SS4, which costs slightly less than the REP Safety Squat Bar, is lighter and offers more handle versatility, including a unique seal row handle. However, the extra handles must be purchased separately.

It stands out for its innovative features like rotating sleeves but has a shorter loadable sleeve length and less challenging camber drop.

The REP Safety Squat Bar, on the other hand, emphasizes premium build quality and balance, with a comfortable and more durable pad, hard chrome sleeves, and bright chrome handles.

It is heavier and longer due to its longer sleeves and thicker shaft. This makes it more heavy duty, but at the same time makes it a bit more challenging to move around and store.

Both bars are excellent choices, with the SS4 focusing on versatility, innovative features, and compactness, while the REP emphasizes premium build quality, balance, and performance.

Bells of Steel SS4 vs Titan Safety Squat Bar V2

FeatureBells of Steel SS4Titan Safety Squat Bar V2
Weight45.6 lbs (without handles)61 lbs
Handle TypeFour types (one standard, three sold separately), solid steel knurledShort, straight, removable with contoured grips
Sleeve FinishBlack titanateChrome
Shaft Diameter32mm38mm
Loadable Sleeve Length11.75”16”

The Bells of Steel SS4, slightly more expensive than the Titan V2, is lighter and offers a greater variety of handle options, including a unique seal row handle, and features innovative rotating sleeves.

If you opt for any of the extra handles for the SS4, just be sure to account for the added cost (only the short straight handles come standard).

Its shorter loadable sleeve length and less challenging camber drop may limit its appeal for some advanced lifters. If you need more sleeve length, Titan is a better choice.

The Titan Safety Squat Bar V2, priced for affordability, offers a heavier bar with a focus on value. It features chrome finishes on both the sleeves and shaft, a firm pad, and generally a design that tries its best to mimic the EliteFTS SS Yoke Bar.

Notably, the Titan SSB has a narrower distance between cambers of 48″, posing potential issues if using it in a 49″ rack — This is the issue the SS3 had, which the SS4 no longer has.

Both options present strong choices in the SSB market, with the SS4 prioritizing innovation and versatility while still delivering good performance. The Titan V2 also offers solid performance at a more budget-friendly price but without the versatility of more handle options.

Overall Rating

Bells of Steel SS4 Safety Squat Bar

The Bells of Steel SS4, an improvement over its predecessor the SS3, offers a competitively priced safety squat bar with innovative sleeve and handle designs, including a unique seal row handle. It features high-quality, solid steel knurled handles, and a variety of handle options, though only one comes standard. While lighter than its peers for ease of use, its shorter sleeve length may not suit all advanced lifters using bumper plates. The SS4's design effectively combines novelty, versatility, quality, and affordability, making it a standout choice in the safety squat bar market.

Editor's Rating:


  • Four removable handle types available (one comes standard)
  • High-quality knurled steel handles
  • Comfortable, supportive padding
  • Olympic-sized sleeves
  • Lightweight for easy handling
  • Rotating sleeves


  • Short loadable sleeve length
  • Camber drop could be greater


The Bells of Steel SS4 stands out in the market with its unique features, offering users a balance between novelty/variety, quality, and price. You just have to make sure that the short sleeve length and shorter-than-perfect camber drop isn’t a dealbreaker before buying.

I hope you found my Bells of Steel SS4 review. If you think this is the right SSB for you, you can get yours from the link below:

Buy Now – Bells of Steel SS4 Safety Squat Bar »

Alex from King of the Gym
Hey! My name is Alex and I'm the founder and author of King of the Gym. I've been lifting weights seriously since 2005 in high school when I started a home gym in my parents' basement. I started writing about fitness in 2009. Then, in 2014, I got into writing home gym equipment reviews and I haven't looked back. My current home gym is in my own house and it's constantly growing and evolving. My goal is to help you build the home gym of your dreams! Read more about me here.

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