If you’re in the market for a heavy duty flat bench, this Vulcan Prime 3×3 Flat Competition Bench review is a must-read.
I’ve tested the Vulcan Prime 3×3 Flat Competition Bench thoroughly for 3 months before writing this review. I’ll relay all my findings to you, from the big things to the nuanced details.
I won’t just list out the features and specs. I’ll tell you how they make a difference in training.
Finally, I’ll discuss alternatives to the Vulcan Prime 3×3 Flat Competition Bench to analyze how it stacks up against the competition. This includes the Rep FB-5000 (see my Rep FB-5000 review), Griffin Fitness Competition Bench and Rogue Monster Utility Bench 2.0.
Before I get into the nitty-gritty of my Vulcan Prime 3×3 Flat Competition Bench review, here’s a quick summary of the pros and cons:
|Model||Pros & Cons||Rating|
Rated 4.7 out of 5 in Benches
The Vulcan Prime 3×3 Flat Bench is, of course, a competition style bench. That is, its dimension specs adhere to the competition guidelines for the IPF, which are as follows:
- Bench pad length: 48” (1.22 m) or less
- Bench pad width: ~11.5”-12.5” (29-32 cm)
- Bench height: ~16.5”-17.7” (42-45 cm)
I’ll discuss each key spec of the Vulcan bench in the section below. But first, here’s an image showing the measurements of ALL parts of the bench:
Bench Pad Length
The bench pad length of the Vulcan Prime 3×3 Flat Competition Bench comes in at exactly 48” long.
This is the maximum length possible for an IPF bench. It gives you plenty of length to position yourself properly for bench press or any other lift you may use this flat bench for.
Bench Pad Width
The bench pad is 12” wide (techically 300mm or 11.8″ if you want to get technical). This puts it smack dab in the middle of the IPF bench pad width range. Most competition flat benches have the same 12” pad width, though some (like the Griffin Competition Flat Bench) give you an extra half inch.
Twelve inches will provide plenty of width, and by extension, sufficient mid-back/scapular support for the majority of lifters.
However, some people, especially bigger and wider lifters, will want an extra wide back pad. For example, some lifters will want to use the Thompson Fat Pad, which would give them 14.5”, which is of course wider than competition regulations, but can be helpful for training purposes.
For those who want to use the Thompson Fat Pad, they’ll have to drill their own holes into the bottom of the pad and install their own lag screws to make it fit.
Unfortunately, Vulcan does not have its own version of a wide pad that would be built with holes that fit this bench.
Whereas, Rep, Rogue and Griffin, all have wide pad options for their competition benches.
The bench is 17” high from the floor to the top of the pad. This puts it smack dab in the middle of the IPF bench height spec range of ~16.5”-17.7”.
Not only will this be the height you’ll want if you’re training for a competition, but it will generally feel comfortable. Assuming you’re not extremely tall or extremely short, this bench height is ideal for firmly planting your feet and using as much leg drive as you need.
Note that the height of the bench frame (i.e. without the pad installed) is 13” tall. Many bench frames are taller than this, but only because they are designed for use with thinner pads.
If you decide to upgrade the bench pad and get the extra wide Thompson Fat Pad, know that you’ll still be within IPF specs for bench height. The Thompson Fat Pad is 4.5” thick compared to the 4” thick pad that comes with the Vulcan bench. So it will increase the bench height by 0.5” to 17.5” tall.
The Vulcan Prime 3×3 Flat Competition Bench has a 19.6” wide x 52.75” long footprint (length measured from the wheels to the front foot).
Frame Tubing Size & Gauge
This bench has a beefy 3”x3” 11 gauge steel frame. It won’t let you down in terms of robustness.
Many flat benches on the market use 2”x3” tubing, which is sufficient for most. But this is a competition bench. It needs to be able to handle even the most elite lifters. As such, any competition bench on the market these days should have this larger tubing size and thickness.
Bolt-together Installation with Gusset Plates
In addition to the tubing, there’s another part of the frame that I want to discuss: the gusset plates.
The bench uses 6 different 5 mm steel plates as part of its bolt-together construction. These thick gusset plates are used to bolster the overall strength of the bench.
While these gusset plates are a net positive for the bench setup as a whole, there are a couple issues.
The first issue is one that won’t affect most people, but it’s worth noting. The lower gusset plates on the rear foot post prevent it from fitting in the Rogue Bench Prop. This accessory, which allows you to center your bench inside of Rogue Monster power racks, isn’t that common, but if you have one, you’ll want a bench that works with it.
The other issue with Vulcan’s bolt-together gusset plate design is that it creates a potential issue during installation. Let me explain…
…I had to install the rear feet of the bench two or three times to get it right. You need to make sure that the vertical tube that sits atop the rear feet tube stays flush against it as you tighten the bolts in the gusset plates. The bench should also be right-side up during this process. If you don’t do this, the bench will wobble.
You also need to make sure that all of these bolts are very tight, as it will eventually wobble ever so slightly after some amount of use if they are not tight enough.
In my opinion, this design could be improved to have a seamless installation process as well as reducing the risk of wobbling ever happening in the future if bolts ever loosen.
My design improvement idea would be to have it similar to the design used on both the Rep FB-5000 and the Griffin Competition Flat Bench. That is, to have dual flanges on the bottom of the vertical tube.
The bolts would then go through the flanges and into the rear feet tubing below. This would make installation dummy-proof and remove any possibility of wobbling. This would also make the bench compatible with the Rogue Bench Prop.
Alternatively, they could weld the vertical tube and rear foot pieces together, like on the Rogue Monster Utility Bench, but that would probably raise the price significantly.
Weight Capacity Rating
The Vulcan Prime 3×3 Flat Competition Bench has a super high 2000 lb weight capacity rating.
Clearly, that’s way more than anyone will ever need. But it speaks to the strength of the frame.
I don’t know of any other free standing flat bench with such a high weight capacity.
Most others are listed at 1000 lbs.
I attribute the higher strength rating on the Vulcan Prime 3×3 Bench to a couple of things:
- 6 gusset plates on all connection points. This effectively translates to thicker gauge steel in these key points. All other competing benches have fewer gusset plates (4 for Rogue; 4 for Griffin; 0 for Rep), though they use other mechanisms to secure the connection points (e.g. welding or flanges).
- The spine (long tube that the pad attaches to) has 3 support segments along its length, all of which have holes for bolting to the back pad. No other bench I know of does the same. I’ll talk about this more later.
Now, I should say I’m not convinced the Vulcan Prime 3×3 Flat Competition Bench is truly twice as strong as comparable benches (2000 lbs rating vs 1000 lbs rating). My guess is that other companies don’t test beyond 1000 lbs. That said, I do believe the Vulcan bench is stronger than at least the Rep and Griffin benches, I’m just not sure by how much. I’m not convinced it’s stronger than the Rogue bench, however.
One thing that separates the Vulcan Prime 3×3 Flat Competition Bench from other competition benches on the market is its weight.
It’s super heavy, coming in at a whopping 67 lbs. That’s a lot for a flat bench.
It’s got a full 9 lbs on the Griffin Competition Flat Bench (58 lbs). And it weighs 5 lbs more than the Rep FB-5000 Flat Bench (62 lbs).
Only the Rogue Monster Utility Bench 2.0 has it matched. The Rogue bench weighs 1 lb more at 68 lbs.
Why does weight matter? Well generally, heavier benches are more stable, all else being equal. It also correlates with the overall strength and build quality because it implies that heavier duty materials are used.
I’ve already talked about the bench pad width (12”) and bench pad length (48”) earlier in this Vulcan Prime 3×3 Flat Competition Bench review.
In this section, I’ll talk about other key aspects of the bench pad, including pad thickness, padding material, upholstery cover material and stitching.
The Vulcan Prime 3×3 Flat Competition Bench is listed as having a 4” thick pad. However, I measured it and it’s actually closer to 3.8” thick.
NOTE: My Rep FB-5000 bench has the same discrepancy, so I’m assuming these manufacturers just round up the measurement. In any case, 0.2” is a small difference, but worth noting.
Note that the pad thickness measurement includes a 0.7” thick plywood baseboard, which means the foam padding is 3.1” thick.
The approx. 4” thickness of this Vulcan pad qualifies it as a “fat pad” because it’s notably thicker than standard bench pads, which are usually around 2-2.5” thick.
The benefit of a fat pad like this is that it provides more comfort and support than a thinner standard bench pad. The extra thickness ensures you’ll never compress the foam so much that your back presses against the hard, underlying baseboard — even if you’re benching extreme weights.
In terms of my personal experience with the thickness on this Vulcan pad, it’s very positive. It feels good and there’s more than enough support.
Most competition style flat benches these days come with a fat pad. So the Vulcan flat bench lines up well with the competition in regards to pad thickness.
Pad thickness matters. But only if there’s quality foam padding inside.
If it’s too soft, it may feel great to lay down on, but you’ll lack support.
If it’s rock hard, you’ll be uncomfortable. Plus, the foam won’t form to your upper back shape, which can result in inefficient shoulder/scapular positioning when bench pressing.
If it has trouble expanding back to its original form after compression, you’ll quickly end up with a warped pad.
The foam padding on the Vulcan Prime 3×3 Flat Competition Bench hits the sweet spot. It’s a high-density foam that I would characterize as firm but comfortable. It has just enough compression to lightly cup your upper back so you can dig your shoulder blades in and stabilize your torso.
The foam quickly bounces back to its original shape after compression. It has shown no signs of deformation in the months I’ve used it.
That being said, the quality and properties of the foam on comparable benches is very similar. These types of fat pads have been out long enough now that manufacturers know what type of foam performs best.
To compare the padding to my Rep FB-5000 bench, I’d say the Vulcan bench’s padding is maybe slightly firmer. Any difference is subtle. And you also have to consider that I’ve been using my Rep flat bench for a few years now.
Pad Cover Material
The Vulcan Prime 3×3 Flat Competition Bench pad is upholstered in a grippy vinyl material. This pad cover consists of thousands of small circular indentations that give it a textured pattern.
The result is a tacky, high-friction surface that prevents you from sliding during bench press.
If you’ve ever benched on a smooth surface, you know how easy it is to slide backward, especially if you’re sweating.
The grippy pad eliminates sliding. It’s truly night and day between benching on a non-textured pad.
Grippy pads were a brand new feature in the mid/late-2010s. However, they’ve proven so popular in such a short time that they’re expected on any competition-style flat bench offering these days.
I personally would never even consider a bench that doesn’t have a grippy pad. So I’m glad that Vulcan included this must-have feature.
And I have to say they did a good job in sourcing the specific grippy vinyl material. I found it to be grippier than the Rep FB-5000.
Now, I have heard others say that the Rep material is grippier. But I have to disagree. I felt each one side-by-side in a sort of blind tactile test, and the one with more friction was the Vulcan bench. I made sure to test the sides of the bench to rule out the possibility of the top of the Rep pad being more worn down from years of use.
Of course, the Rep pad is still plenty grippy. And it’s hard to actually tell a noticeable difference between when you’re actually benching on the two benches.
There’s one last detail I want to mention about the bench pad cover. It has the “Vulcan” text logo printed on the top of the pad, toward the rear.
This looks slick and has held up well so far with no signs of wear. However, this is bound to fade given enough use. As such, it would’ve been a better design choice if they printed the logo on the sides of the pad, similar to how Rogue does with their Thompson Fat Pad or how Rep does with their default FB-5000 fat pad.
Beyond increasing the lifespan of the printed logo, it’s actually visible when you’re benching. So anyone watching you bench will be able to see the brand, whether that’s other people in your gym or your friends online if you post a video to social media.
The Vulcan Prime 3×3 Flat Competition Bench has quality stitching on the bench pad cover.
It uses double stitching on the top and bottom. This is pretty much the standard way all similar pads are stitched.
The line of the stitching remains pretty straight around the perimeters. There’s no loose threads or anything to indicate current or future durability issues.
Everything points to a properly installed, durable bench pad cover.
The frame “spine” refers to the long tube that the bench pad attaches to. It also includes the shorter segments that are welded on top and run perpendicular to the tube.
The spine segments have holes that the bolts go through to secure the pad to the frame. The segments provide lateral support to the bench pad, which prevents any side-to-side rocking of the pad when under load.
The Vulcan Prime 3×3 Flat Competition Bench has the most robust spine that I’ve seen on any flat bench. Let me explain…
…All competing flat benches either:
- Don’t have as many spine segments. For example, Rogue has just 2, with one in the front and one in the rear
- Or, if they do have 3 spine segments, only 2 of them have holes for attaching bolts to the bench pad. For example, the Rep and Griffin flat competition benches both lack holes in the middle spine segment.
The Vulcan Prime 3×3 Flat Bench would still be plenty strong if the middle segment didn’t bolt into the pad. However, I like that it does. It’s an easy and cheap design choice that makes the bench stronger and more secure.
Tripod Style Frame
The Vulcan Prime 3×3 Flat Competition Bench has a tripod style frame design.
This means it has a single relatively narrow foot front, and a very wide rear foot. You can basically think of it as like a camera tripod; one point of contact with the floor in the front and two points of contact in the rear (though technically the rear foot is one point of contact as well, but it covers a wide distance).
Contrast this to the more classic style of flat benches that have wide feet in both the front and the rear.
The benefit of the tripod style design is that the front foot allows you to place your feet anywhere you want without obstruction.
On a classic flat bench frame design, the full width front foot gets in your way; you either have to put your feet on top of it, use an extra wide stance or slide your torso further down the bench so that your feet are planted in front of it. It’s not ergonomic.
There is a drawback to any tripod style bench frame. You lose some stability. However, the loss of stability usually isn’t apparent when you’re benching. Rather, you notice less stability when you’re sitting on the end of the bench, which you might do for other exercises like seated shoulder exercises like shoulder press, dumbbell curls or lateral raises.
Despite this drawback, I’ll personally go for a tripod style flat bench over a classic style flat bench every single time…
…And in the case of the Vulcan flat bench, there’s one major improvement in regards to the front foot as it relates to stability. I’ll talk about that next.
Extra Wide Front Foot
As far as front feet on tripod style benches go, the Vulcan Prime 3×3 Flat Competition Bench is unique. It has an extra wide front foot. It’s wider than any other tripod style flat bench that I know of.
It consists of a wide, flat pentagonal base plate welded to the bottom of the front foot post. The front foot base plate has the Vulcan “V” logo cut into it, which is a nice aesthetic detail.
The front foot width is a full 7” wide and 7” long. Compare that to 4.25” wide and 4.25” long on the Rep FB-5000. I don’t know the exact front foot widths of the Rogue Monster Utility Bench 2.0 and the Griffin Competition Flat bench, but it’s apparent they’re very similar to Rep just by looking at product photos.
Believe it or not, this extra width makes a huge difference in the stability when sitting on the front of the bench. You have to make a concerted effort to make the bench wobble side to side when you’re sitting on the end; it won’t rock when you’re doing seated exercises in a normal way.
Compare this to the Rep or similar tripod benches with smaller front feet — You will most definitely notice some wobble when doing seated exercises on the end of the bench. You have to be more conscious of planting yourself better.
For this reason, the wide front foot is my favorite feature on the Vulcan bench. It makes a real functional difference that you’ll appreciate every time you do a seated exercise on the end of the bench.
No Rubber Pads on Feet
The Vulcan Prime 3×3 Flat Competition Bench has no rubber pads on the feet. It’s just the powder coated steel frame feet touching the floor. There’s no protective buffer.
I’d consider this to be the main drawback of this flat bench.
All other comparable competition flat benches have protective rubber feet.
While I wouldn’t say the lack of rubber feet is a deal breaker in most cases, I do think it makes it a less attractive option for some people.
A lack of rubber pads can be an issue in a couple of ways:
- The bench has less traction against the floor and thus is more likely to slide. This is mostly an issue if you’re using the bench on a wooden lifting platform or on cement. It’s not really an issue if you have rubber flooring like I do, since the rubber provides plenty of traction against the powder coated steel feet. But even then, rubber on rubber would be better; for instance, I found that there was a small amount of shifting when doing barbell hip thrusts on this bench compared to my Rep bench, which has rubber feet.
- There is no protection against damaging the powder coating on the bottom of the feet and subsequent oxidation. Damage to the powder coating is unlikely if you have rubber flooring. But it could be an issue on other flooring, especially concrete. Also, if you’re lifting on a wooden platform, the feet could scratch up the wood a bit.
All that being said, I need to point out that Vulcan deliberately designed this bench without rubber feet. Their reasoning is that it “eliminates the flexion that rubber bench feet have under heavy loads.”
That’s reasonable. I’m just not sure how much any reduced flexion makes a difference to performance. And if it does make a difference, I’d assume the lifter would have to be putting up some really big numbers — way more than the average person buying this bench.
I just don’t think this outweighs the protective and anti-slip benefits of having rubber feet. At least not for me.
Wheels and Lift Handle
The Vulcan Prime 3×3 Flat Bench comes with a set of wheels in the back and a handle on the front.
This lets you easily pick up the front of the bench with one hand and roll it wherever you want with minimal effort.
I personally consider this a must-have feature, especially since I’m constantly moving my bench around. It makes it so much faster and more convenient.
The wheels are sturdy and spin well. They’re actually very low to the ground, such that they barely touch the floor when the bench is flat. This means you barely have to lift the bench off the floor before you’re able to roll it back or forth. Compare this to the Rep FB-5000, which you have to raise above knee height before it will roll. This doesn’t make much of a difference practically, but it’s a detail worth noting.
Another small detail worth noting is that the steel brackets holding the wheels are thicker than on my Rep bench. They don’t need to be this thick, but it’s still nice.
The lift handle is a chrome finished solid steel cylinder. It’s one of the aesthetic highlights of the bench. Plus, it’s functional in terms of its ergonomics.
The chrome’s contrast with the otherwise black bench makes it stand out in a very eye-catching way. For a little while, Vulcan sold this bench with a light knurling on the handle. I wish they kept that detail, but you can’t win them all I guess.
In terms of the functionality, the handle is well placed. It is located relatively high up on the front foot post. This means you don’t have to bend down nearly as far to reach it as you do on the Rep FB-5000.
The handle is oriented so that it’s parallel to the floor, rather than perpendicular like on the Rep FB-5000 or Rogue Monster flat benches. Either orientation is fine, but the parallel orientation might be slightly easier to grab onto.
The handle is similar to the Griffin Competition Flat Bench in terms of its horizontal orientation and height off the floor. The Vulcan handle is obviously beefier though, since it’s made of solid steel and has a bracket connecting to both sides instead of one.
The Griffin handle, while still sufficient, is connected on just one side. And it’s made of lighter duty materials; aluminum and foam to be specific.
You can stand the Vulcan Prime 3×3 Flat Competition Bench to store it vertically…
…Though, it’s not a perfectly vertical angle. It leans at a slight 5-10 degree angle. However, it is stable in this position. You’d have to push it with intent to knock it over.
In comparison, the Rep FB-5000 is more vertical when stood up; not completely vertical, but it’s pretty close. The Griffin bench seems to stand at a similar upright angle as the Vulcan bench. Only the Rogue Monster Utility Bench stands at a true vertical angle.
While it’s not a big deal, it’d be nice if the Vulcan design was more vertical; ideally perfectly vertical like the Rogue bench. This would save a little extra room when storing it. Plus, it would prevent any long term wear of the foam from compression of the pad against the floor.
The powder coating is basic but good. It’s a matte black finish with little to no texture.
In comparison, Rep has a glossy finish with an orange peel texture. Rogue has a finely textured sandpaper-like finish, which is more high end. I believe the Griffin bench’s finish is similar to the Vulcan bench from all the photos I’ve seen.
Overall, the coating on mine was applied very evenly, other than a portion of one edge on the front foot post, which was a bit over-applied.
Other than that, I only noticed some small chips in one of the gusset plates, which probably got damaged in storage or shipping, since it arrived that way.
I’m confident the finish will hold up well over time.
The only thing I’d like to see is more color options. It’s only available in black. If you want a different bench color, then the Rep FB-5000 is the way to go.
All Black Hardware
The Vulcan Prime 3×3 Flat Competition Bench comes with black zinc hardware to match its all black frame.
This is a pretty cool little detail that adds to the aesthetic of the bench. It gives you a stealth look. Most other benches, including the Rep FB-5000 and the Griffin Competition Flat Bench, have a basic bright zinc (silver) finish.
Only the Rogue bench also uses black zinc hardware.
The current price of the Vulcan bench is $229.99 with free US shipping.
That’s a decent price point, but it could be improved slightly to compete better with some of the other options in the same range. Namely, the Rep FB-5000 and Griffin Competition Flat Bench. The current prices of these 2 alternative benches are as follows:
- Rep FB-5000: $209.99 with free US shipping
- Griffin Competition Flat Bench: $165 + shipping (usually $45)
So basically, either of these other options will run you $210, or about $20 less than the Vulcan bench.
So that’s not a big difference, but you have to remember that they’re pretty similar benches.
If Vulcan was able to keep the current price point while also having rubber feet, I’d say it would be a better value even with the extra $20. But without the rubber feet, I’d like to see the price knocked down $10-20 on the Vulcan to compete with these other benches when it comes to “best value.”
Of course, those are hypotheticals. With the current price and current set of features, I think the Vulcan can still be the best value for you IF you value the notably better stability on the front foot AND if you don’t need rubber feet since you already have rubber flooring.
Compared to the Rogue Monster Utility Bench 2.0, the Vulcan and the other benches are much less expensive. The Rogue bench comes in at $345 with the fat pad option (before ~$30-50 shipping), with the ability to add another $40 to the price if you want the stainless steel knurled handle option.
The Rogue bench is of course the highest quality bench overall, but it’s certainly not the best bang for your buck. It will cost nearly twice as much as all other comparable options when all is said and done.
My Experience Using the Vulcan Prime 3×3 Flat Competition Bench
Overall, I’ve had a very positive experience with the Vulcan Prime 3×3 Flat Competition Bench.
It’s very stable to bench press on. No rocking at all. The padding is firm but comfortable; you’re able to dig your traps in to set up properly.
The grippy vinyl has plenty of friction; a bit more than my Rep bench. I’ve experienced no sliding even when sweating, though I always wear a shirt these days.
While it’d be nice to have rubber feet, I personally wouldn’t benefit much from them, since I have rubber flooring, which provides enough friction to prevent the feet from sliding on all exercises I use it for.
It’s easy to transport with a nice looking and conveniently positioned chrome handle and wheels. You can store it upright; it’s not perfectly vertical, but it’s good enough for practical space-saving storage.
It’s got a clean, sleek aesthetic to it that will look good in most gyms.
As I’ve said throughout this Vulcan Prime 3×3 Flat Competition Bench review, my favorite part is the tripod design that uses the extra wide front foot.
The tripod design of course allows for you to have an unobstructed stance during bench press. While the extra wide plate on the front foot gives you way more stability in the front of the bench compared to all other tripod flat bench designs I’ve seen.
Throughout my Vulcan Prime 3×3 Flat Competition Bench review, I’ve been constantly comparing and contrasting this bench to 3 other popular and comparable offerings from other brands, including:
In this section, I’ll summarize all the key differences I’ve already mentioned between the Vulcan vs each of these 3 alternatives.
Rep FB-5000 vs Vulcan Prime 3×3 Flat Competition Bench
- The Rep FB-5000 has a much smaller base plate on the front foot than the Vulcan Prime 3×3. Accordingly, it’s noticeably less stable when you’re sitting on the end of the bench for seated exercises.
- The Rep FB-5000’s handle is positioned lower than the one on the Vulcan, so you have to bend down further to pick it up.
- The Rep bench has a 1000 lb weight capacity while the Vulcan has a 2000 lb capacity. It’s likely that Rep simply didn’t test beyond 1000 lbs. Though I’d say the Vulcan is at least somewhat stronger, but certainly not twice as strong.
- The Rep bench weighs 5 lbs less at 62 lbs compared to the 67 lb weight of the Vulcan bench.
- The Rep bench has rubber feet while the Vulcan bench does not.
- The Rep bench is closer to vertical when stored in the upright position compared to the Vulcan bench.
- The Rep bench is available in multiple colorways including metallic black, matte black, red and blue. Whereas the Vulcan Prime 3×3 bench is only available in black.
- The Rep bench has an extra wide 14” fat pad available separately. There is no such option for Vulcan.
- The Rep bench will accept a Thompson Fat Pad without any customizations. If you want to install one on the Vulcan bench, you’ll have to drill new holes.
- The Rep FB-5000 is $20 less, at $210 (free shipping) compared to $230 (free shipping) for the Vulcan bench.
Read my Rep FB-5000 review for more details on this popular alternative.
Griffin Competition Flat Bench vs Vulcan Prime 3×3 Flat Competition Bench
- The Griffin Competition Flat Bench has a much smaller base plate on the front foot than the Vulcan Prime 3×3. As such, it’s not as stable when you’re seated on the end of the bench.
- The Griffin bench is rated at a 1000 lb capacity compared to 2000 lbs for the Vulcan bench. I’m sure Griffin just didn’t test beyond 1000 lbs, but I’m still confident the Vulcan bench is stronger based on the design and heavier weight.
- The Griffin bench weighs 9 lbs less at 58 lbs vs 67 lbs for the Vulcan bench.
- The Griffin bench has rubber feet. The Vulcan Prime 3×3 bench does not.
- Both benches have a similar handle height and orientation; however, the handle grip on the Griffin bench has a plastic/rubberized grip, whereas the Vulcan bench has a beefier solid steel grip.
- The Griffin bench is compatible with the Thompson Fat Pad; no customizations required. To have one fit on the Vulcan bench, you’ll need to do some DIY work by drilling new holes and securing it with lag bolts.
- The Griffin bench is $20 less, at $210 ($165 + $45 S&H) compared to $230 (free shipping) for the Vulcan bench.
Rogue Monster Utility Bench 2.0 vs Vulcan Prime 3×3 Flat Competition Bench
- The base plate on the front foot of the Rogue Monster Utility Bench 2.0 is smaller than on the Vulcan Prime 3×3. This makes it less stable when doing seated exercises on the front.
- The Rogue bench’s handle is positioned far back under the bench pad, so you have to bend pretty far down to grab it. In comparison, the Vulcan bench’s handle is positioned high up and in front of the pad, so you can more easily grab it.
- The Rogue bench is rated at 1000 lbs compared to the Vulcan’s 2000 lb capacity rating. However, I believe the Rogue bench is at least as strong as the Rogue bench, since part of the Rogue’s frame is actually welded together. The likely reason for the discrepancy is that Rogue simply didn’t test beyond 1000 lbs.
- Both benches are on the heavier side, but the Rogue bench weighs slightly more at 68 lbs compared to 67 lbs for the Vulcan bench.
- The Rogue bench has rubber feet. The Vulcan bench does not.
- The Rogue bench can be stored in a perfectly vertical position, being propped up on the frame instead of the pad. The Vulcan bench can be stored upright, but not quite at a perfectly vertical angle; it rests partially on the edge of the bench pad.
- Not only is the Rogue bench compatible with the popular Thompson Fat Pad, but you have the option to buy it with the bench. If you want to use the Thompson Fat Pad on the Vulcan bench, you can do it, but you’ll need to drill your own holes in it and install it with lag screws.
- The Rogue bench is significantly more expensive. The price varies based on the options you choose. However, assuming you get the fat pad option (either the 12.5” competition fat pad or the extra wide Thompson Fat Pad), it’ll cost you ~$385 ($345 + $30-50 S&H). If you want the knurled stainless steel handle option, it’s another $40. In comparison, the Vulcan bench comes in at $150+ less, costing just $230 shipped.
Conclusion: Is the Vulcan Prime 3×3 Flat Competition Bench the Best Flat Bench for You?
To me, the decision of whether or not to buy the Vulcan Prime 3×3 comes down to asking yourself 2 things:
- Do you want significantly better stability on the front foot of the bench for doing seated exercises such as curls, shoulder press and others?
- Do you need rubber feet?
If you answered yes to the first question and no to the second, then I’d strongly recommend the Vulcan Prime 3×3 Flat Competition Bench.
Otherwise, you should buy either the Rep FB-5000 or Griffin Competition Flat Bench to get a better bang for your buck.
Or if you want the highest end option, look no further than the Rogue Monster Utility Bench.
If you think the Vulcan is the best choice for you, you can buy it here:
Check Current Price – Vulcan Prime 3×3 Flat Competition Bench »
2 thoughts on “Vulcan Prime 3×3 Flat Competition Bench Review: Is It Worth It?”
Awesome, awesome review. I mean I’m not surprised at the detail but still very impressed. I’m glad you even mentioned details like the handle not being slightly knurled anymore.
I own the Rogue Monster Bench with the Thompson Fat Pad and owned the Griffin bench previously. I’ve also used the Vulcan bench and the REP FB-5000. I would say Rogue > Vulcan > Griffin > REP. If I didn’t have the Rogue bench, I would go Vulcan for sure. Vulcan is probably the best choice for most people, but most people will also honestly go REP since it’s the more well-known brand.
One of the reasons I would say Vulcan is the best choice because I don’t pay sales tax for them and I believe they don’t charge sales tax for most states. So without tax, it ends up being cheaper than REP and is a better bench functionally as long as you’re using it on rubber flooring. I would have picked Griffin over Vulcan before they switched to a free shipping model because they’re local to me. But their new free shipping model is unfavorable for local pick-up now.
Thanks Will. I appreciate your added insights.