Best Powerlifting Barbell Reviews: Power Bar Guide

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Best Powerlifting Barbell Reviews

This article is a compilation of reviews on the best powerlifting barbells. It will help you find the best powerlifting barbell for your home gym.

Read on if you already know you need a powerlifting barbell and are familiar with power bar features and specifications.

If you’re not sure you need a powerlifting barbell or what to look for in one, read my guide on how to choose the best barbell for your home gym first. It discusses the differences between power bars vs Olympic bars vs multipurpose bars and how to decide which one is right for you.

Best Powerlifting Barbells Under $350 (Budget Power Bars)

Vulcan Absolute Powerlifting Barbell Review

Vulcan Black Oxide Absolute Power Bar

Key Specs

  • Weight: 20kg (44lbs)
  • Diameter: 29mm
  • Tensile Strength: 221k PSI
  • Knurl: Aggressive (center knurl less moderately aggressive)
  • Shaft Finish: Black oxide
  • Sleeve Finish: Matte chrome
  • Rotation: Bronze bushings
  • Knurl Marks: IPF
  • Whip: Stiff
  • Bar Length: 2200mm (86.61 in)
  • Loadable Sleeve Length: 415 mm (16.33 in)
  • Manufactured: Import
  • Warranty: Lifetime
  • Price: $339
Vulcan Black Oxide Absolute Power Bar Shaft and Sleeve Collars

Reasons to Buy

  • This bar has a great combination of aggressive outer knurl with a more moderate center knurl. This makes it a great all around powerlifting bar that won’t let you down on pulls but won’t kill your traps on squats.
  • It has a unique eye-catching aesthetic created by the black oxide shaft, deeply grooved matte chrome sleeves with polished chrome sleeve collars, and red end caps.
  • It feels very stiff in part due to it’s high 221k PSI tensile strength. You’ll only find a few other barbells on the market with a higher tensile strength.
  • It has a black oxide finish, which has a naturally dry/grippy feel to it that improves grip. The only thing better is raw steel. Additionally, it’s a conversion coating so it doesn’t fill in the gaps between the knurl at all, thus preserving the depth and intensity of the knurl.
Vulcan Black Oxide Absolute Power Bar Shaft and Sleeve Collars

Reasons Not to Buy

  • The black oxide provides more protection than a raw bar, but it still requires frequent maintenance. If you’re in a humid environment or just want to do less maintenance, consider a bar with a more robust finish (e.g. stainless steel or cerakote preferably; or even chrome or zinc).

Read my full Vulcan Absolute Power Bar review for more information.

Buy Now – Vulcan Absolute Power Bar »

Bells of Steel Barenaked Powerlifting Bar 2.0 Review

Bells of Steel Barenaked Powerlifting Bar 2.0

Key Specs

  • Weight: 20kg (44lbs)
  • Diameter: 29mm
  • Tensile Strength: 210k PSI
  • Knurl: Aggressive
  • Shaft Finish: Bare steel
  • Sleeve Finish: Chrome
  • Rotation: Brass bushings
  • Knurl Marks: IPF
  • Whip: Stiff
  • Bar Length: 2200mm (86.61 in)
  • Loadable Sleeve Length: 435mm (17.13 in)
  • Warranty: 5 years
  • Price: $219.99
Sleeve Collars and Shaft on the Bells of Steel Barenaked Powerlifting Bar 2.0

Reasons to Buy

  • Solid specs: 210k PSI tensile strength, built to IPF standards, aggressive volcano-style knurling and bronze bushings.
  • The super low price makes this an excellent value for the specs and build quality.
  • It has super thin competition-style barbell sleeve collars that maximize the loadable sleeve length. This is helpful if you use thicker bumper plates so you can fit more weight on. Also, it makes the bar stiffer since the weights are closer together.
  • The toned down center knurl is a plus if you’re a high bar squatter or if you don’t like the bar digging into your traps too much.
  • It’s raw carbon steel shaft provides a great grippy feel. There’s no finish to blunt the feeling between your hands and the knurling.
  • It features deeply grooved sleeves to help keep the plates from sliding around too much when you’re not using collars.
Center Knurl on the Bells of Steel Barenaked Powerlifting Bar 2.0.jpg

Reasons Not to Buy

  • The raw steel shaft means you’ll have to do a lot a more barbell maintenance to prevent rusting. Even then, it will develop a patina over time.
  • You may want a more aggressive center knurl if you’re a low bar squatter and prefer extra grip to keep the bar on your back.
  • It only has a 5 year warranty, where many others powerlifting barbells have lifetime warranties. That said, it is a budget powerlifting barbell so this is not unsurprising.

Buy Now – Bells of Steel Barenaked Powerlifting Bar 2.0 »

Bells of Steel Onyx Powerlifting Cerakote Bar Review

Bells of Steel Onyx Powerlifting Cerakote Bar

This is the same bar as the Barenaked Powerlifting Bar 2.0 with two key differences:

  • At $299.99, this bar costs $80 more than the Barenaked bar, which still makes it an affordable power bar.
  • It has a cerakote finish, which makes it very resistant to oxidation even with little to no barbell maintenance. Cerakote is a tacky finish so it doesn’t it maintains the grippiness of the knurl.
Shaft and Sleeve Collars on the Bells of Steel Onyx Powerlifting Cerakote Bar

Other than the two points above, the Barenaked Powerlifting Bar 2.0 review above applies to this barbell as well.

Buy Now – Bells of Steel Onyx Powerlifting Cerakote Bar »

Vulcan Elite Powerlifting Barbell Review

Vulcan Elite Powerlifting Barbell

Key Specs

  • Weight: 20kg (44lbs)
  • Diameter: 29mm
  • Tensile Strength: 196k PSI
  • Knurl: Very aggressive
  • Shaft Finish: Black zinc
  • Sleeve Finish: Bright zinc
  • Rotation: Oilite® oil-impregnated bronze bushings
  • Knurl Marks: IPF
  • Whip: Stiff
  • Bar Length: 2200mm (86.61 in) (unconfirmed)
  • Loadable Sleeve Length: 16.25 in
  • Manufactured: USA
  • Warranty: Lifetime
  • Price: $349.99
Aggressive Volcano-style Knurling on the Vulcan Elite Powerlifting Barbell

Reasons to Buy

  • If you love extremely sharp knurling, this is the best powerlifting barbell for you.
  • It’s made in the USA, so the build quality and quality control is there.
  • It is very stiff despite having a moderate (though adequate) tensile strength of 196k PSI. It’s stiffer than some other bars with higher PSI. This may have to do with the type of steel alloy used or the heat treatment process.
Sleeve and End Cap on the Vulcan Elite Powerlifting Barbell

Reasons Not to Buy

  • It’s extremely sharp. This is despite having the pitted “volcano-style” knurling that reduces sharpness compared to peaked “mountain-style” knurling. The reason is that the knurling is so deeply cut. Being that’s it’s more aggressive than the average “aggressive” power bar, it will be too much for most lifters.
  • The center knurl is just as sharp as the super sharp outer knurl. So even if you think your hands can handle it, you’d want to be sure you’ll be comfortable with that level of knurling on your back.

Buy Now – Vulcan Elite Powerlifting Barbell »

Buddy Capps Texas Power Bar Review

Buddy Capps Texas Power Bar End Cap

Key Specs

  • Weight: 20kg (44lbs)
  • Diameter: 28.5mm
  • Tensile Strength: 190k
  • Knurl: Very aggressive
  • Shaft Finish: Bare steel (chrome or black zinc upgrades available)
  • Sleeve Finish: Bare steel (chrome upgrade available)
  • Rotation: Brass bushings
  • Knurl Marks: IPF
  • Whip: Stiff
  • Bar Length: 86 in
  • Loadable Sleeve Length: 370mm (14.56 in)
  • Manufactured: USA
  • Warranty: 10 years
  • Price: $269+ (also available on Amazon)
Buddy Capps Texas Power Bar Shaft

Reasons to Buy

  • This is the oldest powerlifting bar in the industry. It’s been in production since 1980 and is a tried and true option that many serious lifters swear by.
  • It’s got very aggressive, deep knurling that ensures it will never slip out of your hands even on the heaviest of deadlift sets.
  • It’s made in the USA, so build quality, craftmanship and consistent manufacturing are all accounted for.
  • It’s got a classic, aesthetic look that’s hard to ignore. I love the look of the recessed end caps.

Reasons Not to Buy

  • This bar has a 28.5 mm shaft. Most powerlifting bars these days have a 29 mm diameter. Though it’s just a half millimeter, it makes the bar less rigid/more whippy, especially once you have 400+ lbs on the bar.
  • The extra wide sleeve collars mean that the weights on each end of the bar are further apart. This causes more whip at heavier weights, so it feels less rigid than many other power bars. This compounded by it being a 28.5 mm bar instead of 29 mm. The wider sleeve collars also mean that the sleeves are considerably shorter than other bars, with just 15″ of loadable sleeve length. This can be an issue if using bumper plates.
  • The knurling is sharp. It’s possibly too sharp for many people. I prefer sharper knurl myself. But even this bar was a bit too much for my preferences. I could handle it in my hands, though it was still rough. But the knurl is the same in the center, and that was too much for me on my traps (though I was wearing a thin shirt when I used it).

Buy Now – Buddy Capps Texas Power Bar »

Ohio Power Bar Review

Rogue Ohio Power Bar - Black Zinc Shaft with Bright Zinc Sleeves

Key Specs

  • Weight: 45 lbs (20kg/44lb version available)
  • Diameter: 29mm
  • Tensile Strength: 205k PSI
  • Knurl: Aggressive
  • Shaft Finish: Black zinc (more options available)
  • Sleeve Finish: Bright zinc (more options available)
  • Rotation: Bronze bushings
  • Knurl Marks: IPF
  • Whip: Stiff
  • Bar Length: 86.52 in
  • Loadable Sleeve Length: 16.25 in
  • Manufactured: USA
  • Warranty: Lifetime
  • Price: $295-480
Rogue Ohio Power Bar - Black Zinc vs Stainless Steel vs Bare Steel

Reasons to Buy

  • There are two weight options depending on your preference: 20kg and 45 lbs.
  • There is no shortage of finish options to choose from. The 20kg version comes in stainless steel or black zinc. The 45 lb version is available in black zinc, stainless steel, bare steel, cerakote and e-coat.
  • This bar has become renowned in large part because of its volcano-style knurl pattern: It is aggressive in its depth yet not overly sharp because the knurl points are pitted. Pitted knurl points means more points of contact between your hand and the shaft; thus, you get a grippier feel with a little less bite.
  • The 20kg version is IPF-certified for competition use.
  • The 20kg version also has thin competition collars. This makes the bar stiffer since the weight plates sit closer together. The other benefit is that you have more loadable sleeve length than bars with thicker collars. In this case, you get 16.875″ of loadable length. This helps if you have thicker bumper plates because you can fit on more plates before maxing out the sleeves.
  • It’s made in the USA so you can expect the top-notch American manufacturing that Rogue is known for.

Reasons Not to Buy

  • If you want a bar bar with more bite, you should consider a bar with deeper knurl points (e.g. Texas Power Bar) and/or mountain-style knurl points (e.g. Rep Deep Knurl bar).
  • If you have a wide power rack (48″ or 49″), be aware that the 20kg version may be difficult to rack if you’re not cautious because the thin collars make the weights closer to the outsides of the uprights.
  • The best values in the OPB lineup are the non-stainless steel versions. When it comes to the stainless steel bar, the newer options from Rep and LUXIAOJUN arguably provide more bang for the buck.

Buy Now – Ohio Power Bar »

Best Powerlifting Barbells Between $350-500 (Mid-Range Power Bars)

American Barbell Grizzly Power Bar Review

American Barbell Grizzly Power Bar

Key Specs

  • Weight: 20kg (44lbs)
  • Diameter: 29mm
  • Tensile Strength: 190k PSI
  • Knurl: Medium
  • Shaft Finish: Hard chrome
  • Sleeve Finish: Hard chrome
  • Rotation: Composite bushings
  • Knurl Marks: IPF
  • Whip: Stiff
  • Bar Length: 86.5 in
  • Loadable Sleeve Length: 16.25 in
  • Manufactured: USA
  • Warranty: Lifetime
  • Price: $365

Reasons to Buy

  • Excellent build quality with clear attention to detail and consistency on all parts of the bar.
  • It’s made in the USA, which is a big reason for the everything mentioned in the point above.
  • The medium knurl is milder than most power bars, but nonetheless surprisingly grippy. It’s a very comfortable alternative to the typical sharp knurl found on most other power bars.
  • Hard chrome is a good finish in general, and it’s a great finish when you consider this bar’s price point. It provides good protection against oxidation. It also protects well against scratching, chipping and fading compared to the zinc finishes that are more common on bars at this price.
  • The bar is well spec’d, meeting all IPF guidelines.

Reasons Not to Buy

  • The mild to moderate knurl on these bars is great, but it may not be enough on heavy deadlifts or shrugs. You can always use tools like chalk or straps to help in these situations. But if you’re a big fan of more aggressive knurl, this may be non-starter.

Buy Now – American Barbell Grizzly Power Bar »

Rep Deep Knurl Power Bar EX Review

Rep Stainless Steel Deep Knurl Power Bar EX

Key Specs

  • Weight: 20kg (44lbs)
  • Diameter: 29mm
  • Tensile Strength: 200k PSI
  • Knurl: Very aggressive
  • Shaft Finish: Stainless steel
  • Sleeve Finish: Stainless steel
  • Rotation: Bushings (1 stainless steel & 2 bronze bushings per side)
  • Knurl Marks: IPF
  • Whip: Stiff
  • Bar Length: 86.52 in
  • Loadable Sleeve Length: 16.25 in (mine measures in at 16.125 in)
  • Manufactured: Import
  • Warranty: Lifetime
  • Price: $399
Rep Stainless Steel Deep Knurl Power Bar EX - Closeup of the Knurling

Reasons to Buy

  • This is the only FULLY stainless steel powerlifting barbell currently on the market. That is, the shaft AND the sleeves are stainless steel. Most other stainless steel powerlifting barbells have a stainless steel shaft with hard chrome sleeves. Hard chrome sleeves are great, but stainless steel sleeves are a slightly better option for durability over the very long term.
  • This bar has a very aggressive mountain-style knurl pattern that many lifters will love for all of the Big 3 lifts. It is certainly on the sharper side, but it doesn’t completely kill your hands or traps. That said, it will take some getting used to if you’re not accustomed to sharp knurling.
  • It’s an IPF spec’d bar with overall great build quality despite being an import bar. The knurl is consistent and extends all the way to the end of the shaft, and the sleeves have virtually no play.
  • The price for everything you get with this barbell makes it arguably the best value stainless steel power bar on the market.
Rep Stainless Steel Deep Knurl Power Bar EX Shaft and Sleeve Collars

Reasons Not to Buy

  • If you prefer a less aggressive knurl, you’d be better served by a stainless steel power bar like the American Barbell Elite Power Bar.
  • The rotation isn’t great. It doesn’t spin long at all, and could be a bit smoother. I believe this may have do with it using stainless steel bushings instead of bronze bushings. In any case, it hasn’t hindered my performance at all since it’s a power bar, and rotation isn’t important for the powerlifts. Still, it would be nice to have it improved in this area.

Read my full Rep Deep Knurl Power Bar EX review for more information.

Buy Now – Rep Deep Knurl Power Bar EX »

LUXIAOJUN Mastery Stainless Power Bar Review

LUXIAOJUN Mastery Stainless Power Bar

Key Specs

  • Weight: 20kg
  • Diameter: 29mm
  • Tensile Strength: 200k PSI
  • Knurl: Aggressive
  • Shaft Finish: Stainless steel
  • Sleeve Finish: Hard chrome
  • Rotation: Stainless steel bushings
  • Knurl Marks: IPF
  • Whip: Stiff
  • Bar Length: 2200mm (86.61 in)
  • Loadable Sleeve Length: 17.05 in
  • Manufactured: China
  • Warranty: 5 years
  • Price: $399
LUXIAOJUN Mastery Stainless Power Bar Shaft and Knurling

Reasons to Buy

  • It has a great knurl for a power bar: It’s characterized by both a volcano-style knurl and a higher than average knurl density. Both of these knurling characteristics give it an aggressive grip while cutting down on “sharp” feel.
  • It has thin competition-style sleeve collars that measure just under a half-inch. This makes the bar stiffer than bars with thicker collars because the weights on each side of the bar are closer to the center.
  • The loadable sleeve length is as long as you’ll see on any power bar at an impressive 17.05″. This is great if you have thicker bumper plates because it lets you fit even more weight on the bar.
  • It has an extra-wide 6.25″ center knurling. This is about 1-1.5″+ wider than most other power bars, yet it still is within the IPF specs for max center knurl width (160 mm or 6.29 in). This gives you a bit more grip coverage on your back for squats, which is a nice bonus especially if you low bar squat.
LUXIAOJUN Mastery Stainless Power Bar Shaft and Sleeve Collar

Reasons Not to Buy

  • This is a new bar and the initial complaints from customers included some quality issues. Specifically, many bars came with metal shavings all over from where the knurl points where chopped off to create the volcano-style knurl. On close inspection, the pits (parts where the knurl points had been cut out) are of inconsistent size. These aren’t huge issues, but are nonetheless indicative that quality control needs to be improved.
  • The warranty is only 5 years on this bar. Competing bars all have a lifetime warranty.

Buy Now – LUXIAOJUN Mastery Stainless Power Bar »

American Barbell Elite Power Bar Review

American Barbell Elite Power Bar

Key Specs

  • Weight: 20kg (44lbs)
  • Diameter: 29mm
  • Tensile Strength: 190k PSI
  • Knurl: Medium
  • Shaft Finish: Stainless steel
  • Sleeve Finish: Hard chrome
  • Rotation: Composite bushings
  • Knurl Marks: IPF
  • Whip: Stiff
  • Bar Length: 86.5 in
  • Loadable Sleeve Length: 16.25 in
  • Manufactured: USA
  • Warranty: Lifetime
  • Price: $450

Reasons to Buy

  • The stainless steel shaft means that it’s basically maintenance-free and will keep the same look for years to come.
  • Like all other American Barbell bars, this one has a medium knurl that is nonetheless grippier than you’d expect thanks to the high density of knurl points. So you get a solid grip than won’t beat up your hands or traps. The grippiness is further enhanced by the stainless steel shaft that has its own natural non-slick texture to it. Plus, the stainless steel means there’s no finish applied that fills the gaps in the already-shallow knurling.
  • It is made in the USA, which is a big reason for the consistent quality of these bars.

Reasons Not to Buy

  • The medium knurl means it has less “bite” than you might want for heavy deadlifts or other heavy pull movements. This isn’t the power bar for you if you love extra sharp knurl, unless you’re buying it to complement a sharper power bar that you already own.
  • There are newer stainless steel bars on the market that are less expensive. My favorite is the Rep Deep Knurl bar, which comes in at $399. Of course, it’s also an import bar, but it may be the better option if budget is a concern.

Buy Now – American Barbell Elite Power Bar »

Titex Competition Power Bar Review

Titex Competition Power Bar

Key Specs

  • Weight: 20kg (44lbs)
  • Diameter: 29mm
  • Tensile Strength: 220k PSI
  • Knurl: Aggressive
  • Shaft Finish: Black magnetite (black oxide)
  • Sleeve Finish: Satin chrome
  • Rotation: Oil-impregnated bronze bushings
  • Knurl Marks: IPF
  • Whip: Stiff
  • Bar Length: 2200mm (86.61 in) (unconfirmed)
  • Loadable Sleeve Length: 433mm (17.05 in) (unconfirmed)
  • Manufactured: USA
  • Warranty: Lifetime
  • Price: $399
Titex Competition Power Bar Sleeve with End Cap

Reasons to Buy

  • The very high 220k PSI tensile strength, HRC 48 Rockwell hardness and super slim competition collars make this a very stiff barbell.
  • It’s IPF-certified for use in competitions. At $399, it’s one of the more affordable options, with only the Rogue OPB being cheaper.
  • The knurl is still in the “aggressive” category, but it ranks as milder than other IPF-certified bars like the Ohio Power Bar or Eleiko competition bar. So if you want a decently priced IPF-certified bar with less intense knurling, this may be the best powerlifting barbell for you.

Reasons Not to Buy

  • The bar uses a black magnetite finish, which is similar to or possibly the same as black oxide. While this is a decent finish for preserving grippiness, it’s not the best for oxidation resistance. Cerakote, hard chrome or stainless steel would’ve been better for the price.
  • If you have a wider power rack (48-49″ wide), you may have to be careful racking the bar because the thin collars mean the plates will be closer to the rack uprights.
  • If you don’t need an IPF-certified bar, then there are better options out there for the price (e.g. Rep Deep Knurl, LUXIAOJUN Mastery Bar). If you do need an IPF-certified bar, then one of the Rogue OPB 20kg bars is a better value, unless you want the Titex bar’s less intense knurl.

Buy Now – Titex Competition Power Bar »

Best Powerlifting Barbells Over $500 (High-End Power Bars)

Vulcan Absolute Stainless Steel Powerlifting Bar Review

Vulcan Absolute Stainless Steel Powerlifting Bar End Cap and Sleeve

Key Specs

  • Weight: 20kg (44lbs)
  • Diameter: 29mm
  • Tensile Strength: 240k PSI
  • Knurl: Very aggressive (center knurl is slightly less aggressive)
  • Shaft Finish: Stainless steel
  • Sleeve Finish: Stainless steel
  • Rotation: Stainless steel bushings
  • Knurl Marks: IPF
  • Whip: Stiff
  • Bar Length: 2200mm (86.61 in)
  • Loadable Sleeve Length: 16.25 in
  • Manufactured: Import
  • Warranty: Lifetime
  • Price: $599.99
Vulcan Absolute Stainless Steel Powerlifting Bar Knurling

Reasons to Buy

  • This is a fully stainless powerlifting barbell, including both the shaft and the sleeves. Assuming you do minimal maintenance, you can expect it to remain rust-free for its lifespan.
  • This is a super strong and stiff powerlifting barbell with an impressively high 240k PSI tensile strength. Currently, only the Kabuki Strength Power Bar beats it in this respect.
  • It has a very aggressive knurl. It uses a deep mountain-style knurl (peaked knurl points). This gives it a good amount of bite. If you like a knurl with an excellent grip and a sharp feel, this could be the best powerlifting barbell for you.
  • The center knurl is slightly less aggressive than the outer knurl. This is because Vulcan actually goes through one knurling blade to do the first half of the outer knurl. Then they use another blade to do the second half of the outer knurl. Finally, they do the center knurl with the second moderately worn-out blade. The result is a somewhat more moderate center knurl, though it’s far from being passive. This effect is nice because it still gives you plenty of grip on squats. Yet it doesn’t dig into your traps as intensely as if it were the same as the outer knurl.
  • As a side note, the reason it takes two blades to knurl this bar is because the steel is so strong (240k PSI) and the knurl is cut deep. Going through two blades, which cost $40 each, adds to the price of these bars.
Vulcan Absolute Stainless Steel Powerlifting Bar Shaft and Sleeve Collar

Reasons Not to Buy

  • It’s the second most expensive stainless steel power bar on the market. Only the super high-priced 29mm stainless steel Ivanko bar costs more (I’ll discuss this one later). While there were only a couple competing stainless steel power bars on the market when this came out, there are now at least four (i.e. Rogue SS OPB, AB Elite Power Bar, Rep Deep Knurl, LUXIAOJUN Mastery Power Bar). All of them are notably less expensive. The Vulcan bar ranks at the top in terms of specs, especially in terms of tensile strength and being fully stainless steel. You just have to weigh if that’s worth the extra $100-200.
  • If you prefer a milder knurling, but still want a stainless steel power bar, then the American Barbell Elite Power Bar is a better choice. As a bonus, it’s also about $100 cheaper.

Buy Now – Vulcan Absolute Stainless Steel Powerlifting Bar »

American Barbell Cerakote Mammoth Power Bar Review

American Barbell Cerakote Mammoth Power Bar

Key Specs

  • Weight: 20kg (44lbs)
  • Diameter: 29mm
  • Tensile Strength: 210k PSI
  • Knurl: Medium
  • Shaft Finish: Cerakote (over stainless steel)
  • Sleeve Finish: Hard chrome
  • Rotation: Composite bushings
  • Knurl Marks: IPF
  • Whip: Stiff
  • Bar Length: 86.5 in
  • Loadable Sleeve Length: 16.25 in
  • Manufactured: USA
  • Warranty: Lifetime
  • Price: $550

Reasons to Buy

  • This has the same refined, medium knurling that American Barbell is known for. It’s not deep or sharp, but it’s nonetheless very grippy despite this. One of the main factors in the grippiness is that the knurl points are very dense. This means there’s more total contact points between the bar and your hand. If you prefer a milder but grippy knurl over a deeper and sharper knurl, this is an excellent choice.
  • It has a cerakote finish, which provides arguably the best oxidation resistance. It also provides good resistance against scratching and chipping. Plus, it has has one of the more naturally “tacky” feels among the various types of finishes.
  • As if the cerakote wasn’t enough for protection against oxidation, the Mammoth power bar also is made of stainless steel! You could say this double protection is overkill. However, if you train in a very humid environment, this is the best powerlifting barbell for ensuring that rust is never an issue. Even years down the line if the cerakote ends up fading or chipping from heavy use, it’ll still be protected by the underlying steel.
  • Like all American Barbell bars, this one is made in the USA. You can expect excellent build quality and great quality control.

Reasons Not to Buy

  • A lot of cerakote barbells are offered in multiple colorways. This one only comes in gray. So if you were hoping to buy a more eye-catching color, you’ll have to look elsewhere.
  • If you prefer a more aggressive and/or sharper knurling, then the medium knurl on the Mammoth bar can leave you wanting more.

Buy Now – American Barbell Cerakote Mammoth Power Bar »

Kabuki Strength Power Bar Review

Kabuki Power Bar Review - Kabuki Strength New Generation Power Bar

Key Specs

  • Weight: 20kg (44lbs)
  • Diameter: 29mm
  • Tensile Strength: 250k+ PSI
  • Knurl: Aggressive
  • Shaft Finish: Zinc, Black oxide or Electroless nickel
  • Sleeve Finish: Zinc, Black oxide or Electroless nickel
  • Rotation: Oilite® oil-impregnated bronze bushings (2 per sleeve)
  • Knurl Marks: IPF
  • Whip: Stiff
  • Bar Length: 86.5 in
  • Loadable Sleeve Length: 16.5 in
  • Manufactured: USA
  • Warranty: Lifetime
  • Price: $599 (Zinc); $649 (Black oxide); $699 (Nickel) – Save 5% off these prices with discount code KOTG5

Note: This bar was previously called the Kabuki Strength New Generation Power Bar. Now, it is simply called The Power Bar or the Kabuki Strength Power Bar.

Kabuki Strength Power Bar - Full-Length View

Reasons to Buy

  • The knurl pattern is excellent on this barbell. It uses moderate depth peaked volcano-style knurl points that are packed tightly together. This gives it an aggressive feel with just enough bite. Most lifters will find that this combination of knurl characteristics hit the sweet spot for all of the Big 3 lifts.
  • You will NOT find another barbell on the market with knurling that’s as resistant to dulling and damage as the Kabuki Power Bar. Kabuki has demonstrated this by spinning the bar against a competing bar in a lathe. The result is that the competing bar’s knurl is eaten away within seconds, while the Kabuki bar’s knurl is unscathed. They achieved this by using a proprietary heat treatment process to make the steel super “hard” with an impressively high Rockwell hardness of 51 HRC.
  • The Kabuki Strength Power Bar features a whopping 250k+ PSI tensile strength rating. This puts it well above any other power bar on the market (the average is approx. 200-205k). This makes the bar stronger and contributes to the super stiff feel of the shaft even under extreme loads.
  • You have three options for the shaft and sleeve finishes: Zinc, Black oxide and Nickel. I bought the nickel version because it has the best oxidation resistance while still having a more natural feel than zinc. It also gives the bar an almost gold tone that looks stunning.
  • The sleeves rotate smoothly thanks to the oil-impregnated bronze bushings. There’s no seizing and the rotation is identical on each sleeve. They don’t spin particularly fast or long, which is a what you want in power bar. Your bar groove won’t be thrown off during heavy squats or bench by an overly sensitive rotation system.
  • It features single powerlifting-style knurl marks spaced according to IPF specs.
  • It’s a small detail, but the end caps are super cool. They have the Kabuki logo pressed into each steel end cap.
  • There are lightly defined double knurl markings in the middle of the center knurl. This neat little detail helps you line yourself up exactly in the middle of the bar for squat and bench.
  • This bar is made in the USA in Portland, Oregon where Kabuki Strength is headquartered. This lets them to do more innovation and keep quality control in line compared to if they imported.
Kabuki Strength Power Bar - Center Knurling

Reasons Not to Buy

  • The price is steep on this power bar, ranging from ~$600-700 depending on the finish. Of course, it’s a highly spec’d premium power bar that’s made in the USA and has had a lot of R&D go into it. So you can’t get too mad at the price. Still, the cost makes this the best powerlifting barbell choice for only a specific segment of lifters who can justify paying that much.
  • There’s more sleeve slop than I expected on this bar for this price. That is, the sleeve has a fair amount of lateral and vertical play to it. This doesn’t affect performance. It does make the bar louder during explosive movements and when dropped. Not to mention, it’s a detail that should be taken care of on a bar at this price.

Read my full Kabuki Strength Power Bar review for more details.

Buy Now – Kabuki Strength Power Bar »

Eleiko Powerlifting Competition Bar Review

Eleiko Powerlifting Competition Bar

Key Specs

  • Weight: 20kg (44 lbs)
  • Diameter: 29mm
  • Tensile Strength: PSI
  • Knurl: Very aggressive
  • Shaft Finish: Bare steel
  • Sleeve Finish: Chrome
  • Rotation: Graphite-infused bronze bushings
  • Knurl Marks: IPF
  • Whip: Stiff
  • Bar Length: 2200mm (86.61 in)
  • Loadable Sleeve Length: 433mm (17.05 in)
  • Manufactured: Sweden
  • Warranty: Lifetime
  • Price: $1,071
Eleiko Powerlifting Competition Bar Sleeve and End Cap

Reasons to Buy

  • It’s got an excellent, deep knurl that’s cut to 1.5 mm depth. However, it’s volcano-style knurl where the knurl points are pitted. This cuts down on the sharpness you feel in your hands compared to mountain-type knurl, while still giving you lots of grip. To be sure, this bar nonetheless has a lot of bite considering the knurl is cut so deep.
  • It’s got an above average 215k PSI tensile strength that contributes to its overall strength and stiffness. Many powerlifting world records have been set on Eleiko power bars, so it can easily hold as much weight as you need, and then some. The competition-style sleeve collars also put the weight plates closer together, which makes the bar feel even stiffer.
  • Eleiko is known for their precise manufacturing and strict quality control. You can be confident that your barbell will have no imperfections, cosmetic or otherwise.
  • This purchase makes the most sense if you’re putting on an IPF or USAPL meet and want the (arguably) best IPF-certified bar regardless of price. Or, if you’re a high-level powerlifter training for a meet where this barbell will be used; and you don’t care about price.

Reasons Not to Buy

  • The price is extremely high. There are other excellent power bars out there for far less than half the price of this bar. Even if you’re looking to buy a bar for use in a sanctioned IPF/USAPL meet, there are other IPF-certified options from Rogue and Titex that will save you hundreds.
  • It is a bare steel (not stainless) with no protective coating. While this provides an excellent tacky grip, it provides zero protection against rust. You’ll have to do frequent maintenance on this bar to minimize rust. For the price, it would’ve been nice to have stainless steel. That way, you’d still get the similar tactile sensation as with regular bare steel, but you also get rust protection.

Buy Now – Eleiko Powerlifting Competition Bar »

Eleiko Performance Powerlifting Bar Review

Eleiko Performance Powerlifting Bar

The Eleiko Performance Powerlifting Bar is the same barbell as the Eleiko Powerlifting Competition Bar, with three differences:

  • It is NOT IPF-certified for use in competition. So if you were going to buy an Eleiko power bar for this reason, you need to get the competition version.
  • It has different end caps. They’re white with black text. Whereas the competition end caps are red with white text, and they say “IPF Powerlifting Competition.”
  • The price is $966, which is about $100 less.

Other than these differences, the review for the Eleiko Competition Bar applies to this Eleiko Performance Powerlifting Bar.

Buy Now – Eleiko Performance Powerlifting Bar »

Ivanko OBXS-20KG-29mm Stainless Steel Powerlifting Bar Review

Ivanko OBXS-20KG-29mm Stainless Steel Powerlifting Bar Sleeve and End Cap
Thanks to @efrenlifts for sharing this photo and the two shots below of the Ivanko OBXS-20KG-29mm SS power bar

Key Specs

  • Weight: 20kg (44 lbs)
  • Diameter: 29mm
  • Tensile Strength: 218k PSI
  • Knurl: Aggressive
  • Shaft Finish: Stainless steel
  • Sleeve Finish: Stainless steel
  • Rotation: Bushings
  • Knurl Marks: IPF
  • Whip: Stiff
  • Bar Length: 86 in
  • Loadable Sleeve Length: 15.25 in
  • Manufactured: USA
  • Warranty: 1 year
  • Price: $1,259
Ivanko OBXS-20KG-29mm Stainless Steel Powerlifting Bar Center Knurling

Reasons to Buy

  • This is a fully stainless steel barbell, including the shaft and the sleeves. Only minimal maintenance will be required to keep this bar rust-free.
  • It features an excellent mountain-style (pointed) aggressive knurl that’s sharp but not overbearing.
  • It’s a stiff and strong barbell with a well above average 218k PSI tensile strength.
  • Quality control is extremely thorough on all Ivanko bars, which is part of the reason for the high price tag. The bar is mag tested, ultra-sonic tested and X-ray tested. These tests ensure there’s no imperfections, that the bar is perfectly straight (less than .006/ft. T.I.R.) and that the weight is accurate to within 1/2 oz.
  • It sports aesthetic curved end caps. These unique end caps are the hallmark of an Ivanko barbell.
  • This bar is made in the USA by the highly specialized barbell manufacturers at Ivanko.
Ivanko OBXS-20KG-29mm Stainless Steel Powerlifting Bar Shaft

Reasons Not to Buy

  • The price is insanely expensive. 10+ years ago, this was pretty much your only option for a fully stainless steel barbell. Thus, you had to pay this price if you wanted a 100% stainless bar. But times have changed, and there’s so many more options for much less. It’s difficult for Ivanko to lower their prices in large part because of the extreme amount of testing they do in their strict quality control process. This is good if you want a flawless bar, but bad if you were looking for a deal.

Buy Now – Ivanko OBXS-20KG-29mm Stainless Steel Powerlifting Bar »

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