The Best Bumper Plates Guide 2023

Gluck November 2023

The Best Bumper Plates For Your Gym

Olympic Bumper plates are the most versatile weight plates you can buy but choosing the best one can be difficult. Bumpers range widely in materials, quality, specs, price, and even ones that look the same can be made in a completely different way. This in-depth guide is a culmination of years of research, collecting, and testing of every type and material of bumper. No, your eyes don't decieve you. We even went so far as to cut over a dozen plates in half to study them. No stone was left unturned.  

This article will walk you through all of the best options for every style of bumper plate. We'll provide a budget, alternative and top pick for standard, urethane, competition and training plates, and even crumb rubber bumpers. We'll also break down why you may want bumpers explain their specs and features,  and cover everything you could ever want to know. You will not find a better resource than this. 

The Best Olympic Bumper Plates for 2023

The Best Standard Bumper Plate: Fringe Sport Bumpers

Fringe Sport Olympic Bumper Plates
  • Material: Virgin Rubber
  • Weight Tolerance: +/- 1%
  • Durometer: 90 on 10 & 15 lb plates, 85 on 25lb+
  • Warranty: 1 year on 10-15 lb & 3 years on 25lb+
  • Plate Width (45 lb plate): 2.9" 
  • Insert: Anchored Stainless Steel Insert
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Fringe Sport makes the best standard bumper plates out there and not only that, they make 4 different sets of them. Their Black, Contrast, Color, and Savage plates use the same base bumper with the only difference being how they look (and price). These all feature the same high quality virgin rubber, a tight 1% weight tolerance, and a stainless steel hooked insert. They're also the only company I know of that tells you to drop their 10 lb bumpers. 10 lb bumpers are known for being the least durable bumper because of how thin they are but Fringe has a few tricks up their sleeve to make sure the 10s (and 15 lb) are more durable than most. They're using a stiffer rubber with the 10s and 15s and they've also made the diameter of the 10s a little smaller (445mmm vs a standard 450mm). This is so when they're used with larger bumpers they don't take as much of the shock during a drop. 

Fringe's heavier plates have a few tricks up their sleeves as well. They use a hooked ring insert in all of their bumper lines which anchors the insert in place so it can't work it's way out. They also knurl the inside of the ring and apply an adhesive as well to further solidify it in place. I've tried getting the ring out of Fringe Sport bumper and the only way to do so is to literally destroy it. They've put a lot of engineering into the rubber as well. If you look at our pictures of the cut Fringe Sport Savage bumper you can see the various layers of rubber inside the plate. That's because Fringe Sport is using different ruber mixes to change the hardness of the rubber and increase the bumper's durability. The outside layer is stiff to limit bounce and the center and against the ring is softer to absorb shock and protect the hub. 

Fringe Sport Savage Olympic Bumper Plates

Fringe Sport Bumper Plates

Fringe Sport makes some of the best bumper plates on the planet. They're durable, have a tight weight tolerance,  feature a great warranty, and they're using high quality materials in all their sets.

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The Best Budget Bumper Plate: Giant Lifting Bumpers

Giant Lifting Olympic Bumper Plates
  • Material: Virgin Rubber
  • Weight Tolerance: +/- 3%
  • Durometer: 90 on 10 & 15 lb plates, 88 on 25lb+
  • Warranty: 6 months on 10-15 lb & 3 years on 25lb+
  • Plate Width (45 lb plate): 3" (Base Bumpers), 2.75" (Color & Contrast) 
  • Insert: Stainless Steel Insert
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Giant Lifting has makes great bumper plates and quality of their bumpers rivals that of much more expensive options. Giant's Base (our budget pick), Contrast, and Color bumpers are all priced very well against the competition but code Gluck takes another 5% off anything on their site making these bumpers even cheaper. 

If you take a look at Giant's specs versus some other popular options like Rep Fitness and even Fringe Sport (our top bumper pick) you'll notice Giant Lifting's Contrast and Color bumpers are a bit thinner. They also have a higher duromoter rating (88) than many other standard plates which gives them very little bounce. Their warranty is on par with some of the best in the industry (3 years on 25lb+ bumpers) and better than many others. They're crafted from a high quality virgin rubber and have held up very well to our abuse.

A few things to note, Giant Lifting's Base bumper plates are the cheapest variant Giant makes but they are also a little wider than the others (3" vs 2.75").They're also made from a mix of rubbers rather than 100% virgin rubber which is why they're not identical to the Contrast and Color bumpers. While all of Giant Lifting's bumpers are well made they only have a 3% weight tolerance but Giant is looking to improve their build quality. Having spoken with them they're planning on adding hooked inserts and tighten the weight tolerance. Either way these are very well priced bumper plates and all three of their lines perform well. 

Giant Lifting Base Olympic Bumper Plate

Giant Lifting Base Bumper Plates

The Giant Lifting Base bumpers are a budget friendly well made plate. They perform great and have the specs to back up their incredible user reviews (4.95 out of 5 starts with over well over 500 user reviews) .

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Runner Up Standard Bumper Plate: Rep Fitness Color Bumper Plates 

Rep Fitness Color LB Olympic Bumper Plates
  • Material: Virgin, mixed
  • Weight Tolerance: +/- 1%
  • Durometer: 90 on 10 & 15 lb plates, 78 on 25lb+
  • Warranty: 6 months on 10-15 lb & 3 years on 25lb+
  • Plate Width (45 lb plate): 2.8" (Base Bumpers), 2.75" (Color & Contrast) 
  • Insert: Zinc Plated Steel Insert
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The Rep Fitness Color Bumper plates are a great choice if you're shopping for high quality bumpers for your gym. Their Black Bumper Plates are actually the same plate just without the colored dye added. They have a +/- 1% weight tolerance which is the best you'll find on standard plates. It took some poking around but we found out their durometer rating is 78 on the heavier plates and 90 on the 10 lb and 15 lb plate. This means they're not as hard as some other options but we've found their bounce to be very similar to other standard bumpers. Interestingly enough the center ring on Rep's Colored bumpers is zinc plated steel rather than stainless but I'm not sure many people would ever noticed over the lifespand of the plates. Rep offers a very competitive 3 year warranty on the 25lb plates and up and a 6 month on the 10 and 15lb plates. 

Our Rep Color Bumper plates are the oldest set we currently have in our gym. They've made it through years of use and abuse and are still working great. These are a durable and well made plate that as my wife says, are "very, very pretty", whatever that means. 

Rep Fitness Color bumper Plates

Rep Fitness Color Bumper Plates

The Rep Color Bumpers are durable and have great user reviews. They're a good looking plate with the performance to match making them a good choice for your home gym.  

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The Best Urethane Bumper Plate: American Barbell Pro Urethane Bumpers

American Barbell Urethane Bumper Plates
  • Material: Urethane
  • Weight Tolerance: +/- 1%
  • Durometer: High 80s
  • Warranty: 5 years
  • Plate Width (45 lb plate): 2"
  • Insert: Large single solid piece, hard chrome
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American Barbell makes some of the nicest bumper plates on the planet and their urethane bumpers are the best example of that whether you pick the lb or kg version. These plates have an incredible build quality, vibrant colors, and outstanding performance with a dead bounce (very little bounce). They also have the longest bumper warranty available at 5 years. American Barbell can afford such a long warranty period (many companies offer 1-3 years) because they're using the highest quality materials and their quality control is second to none. In addition they test their plates more than anyone else. Many companies will test drop test their plates 5,000 times but American Barbell tests theirs for 50,000 drops. Of course that quality comes at a price and these are expensive plates but to be fair to American Barbell they were techincally designed to withstand commercial gyms. Urethane is a superior material when compared to virgin and crumb rubber and urethane bumpers feature better hubs than standard bumpers. If you want more details on urethane bumpers then check out our section on them below. You'll also be able to read about how others are copying American Barbell bumpers.

American Barbell pioneered the urethane plate and I would argue nobody has caught up to them. If you look at other urethane bumper plates you'll notice many of them look strikingly similar to American Barbell's. That's because these companies are trying to emulate the techniques American Barbell came up. When we cut 4 different pairs of urethanes in half from different companies all of the hubs fell out without us having to pull on them but American Barbell's took some effort to get out. My only complaint is that the smooth hub they're using can get scratched which normally I wouldn't  care about on a bumper plate but with a product as pretty and expensive as this, it's hard not to notice.  

American Barbell LB Pro Color Urethane Bumpers

American Barbell Urethane Bumper Plates

You will not find a better quality bumper plate than the American Barbell Urethane bumper plates. These have a tight 1% weight tolerance, vibrant colors, and are quite possibly the most durable bumper on the planet.

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The Best Budget Urethane Bumper Plate: Titan Fitness Color Urethane Bumpers

Titan Fitness LB Color Urethane Bumper Plates
  • Material: Urethane
  • Weight Tolerance: +/- 1%
  • Durometer: 90
  • Warranty: 1 year
  • Plate Width (45 lb plate): 2"
  • Insert: Large single solid piece, hard chrome
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The Titan Fitness LB Color Urethane Bumper Plates (there's kg version version too) are our budget urethane pick because as far ss we can tell, they're identical to Rogue's and other options. Why do we think that? When we cut various bumpers in half the only ones that stood out from the crowd were American Barbell's, our top urethane pick and Bells of Steel, our alternative pick. Titan's plates feature the same tight 1% weight tolerance of other well made urethanes. They have an identical center hub to Rogue's.  Even the thickness on their plates match others though they're listed as slightly different. About the only thing that's actually different on these plates is the fact that Titan Fitness offers a full set of plates whereas many companies don't go below 25lb. Also, Titan's 1 year warranty is shorter than most.

If you're looking for a high quality bumper plate there's nothing on the market that compares with urethane and Titan Fitness makes the cheapest one. All well made urethanes perform very similarly because of the properties of urethane so they'll all have a high durometer rating with a dead bounce. They're built to the same IWF specs. Urethane also takes colors better than virgin rubber so they're brighter and more colorful. It's a more durable material too. Put bluntly, they all basically perform the same but Titan offers more value with their lower prices and shipping included in the price. The only other thing to note about the Titan Urethane  bumper plates is the weight callouts aren't colored on them which doesn't affect performance but I personally think plates look better with them colored.

Titan Urethane Bumper Plates

Titan Fitness Color Urethane Bumper Plates 

The Titan Fitness Urethane Bumper plates are a high quality and well made bumper plate at a more affordable price point than other options. These are made to the same specs as the Rogue Fitness urethane bumpers and perform exactly the same. 

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The Best Competition Bumper Plate: Rogue Fitness Competition Bumper Plates

Rogue LB Training Bumper Plates
  • Material: Urethane
  • Weight Tolerance: +/- 15 grams
  • Durometer: 94
  • Warranty: 
  • Plate Width (45 lb plate): 2.15"
  • Insert: 2 piece bolted together steel disc with a chrome finish
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Competition and training plates are the gold standard of bumper plates if you're competiting. If not, I don't see a reason to spend this much money since urethane bumpers offer several advantages over competition plates for about the same price. Rogue makes a lot high quality competition style plates (see them all here) and if you find yourself in the market  I would say all of Rogue's competition bumpers are very well made. They're also priced similarly so pick whichever one meets your criteria. Rogue has kg and lb options, IWF approved versions, customizable variations, and the list goes on.

Competition plates are manufactured to the highest of standards. Their weight tolerance is within 15 grams of the stated weight or sometimes better. They have a massive 2 piece bolt together hub and (often) a steel disc inside helps to keep them thin. They also have a slew of other features such as a raised inner lip and outter flange that keeps the hubs from bumping into each other which increases their durability. Our top pick is the Rogue Black Training Plates in either kg or lbs because I think the raised weight callouts look better than on the Rogue Training Plates 2.0 where it's just printed onto the face of the bumper and I also prefer the color band as to an all black plate it makes it easier to identify their weight. 

Rogue Competition Bumper Plates

Rogue Fitness Black Training  LB Plates

If you're looking for premium training plates that perform excellently than Rogue sells some of the best in the world. The Rogue Fitness Black Training plates are a high quality, durable, plate with great user feedback.

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The Best Budget Competition Bumper Plate: Titan Fitness Elite Color Competition Plates

Titan Fitness Elite Color LB Bumper Plates
  • Material: Rubber
  • Weight Tolerance: +/- 10 grams
  • Durometer: 
  • Warranty: 1 year
  • Plate Width (45 lb plate): 2.15"
  • Insert: 2 piece bolted together steel disc with a chrome finish
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The Titan Elite Bumper Plates are a more budget friendly competition bumper. They're available in both kg and lb though there are some differences between the two. The kg version has raised weight callouts whereas the lb version has printed on flat lettering. The lb version is listed also the more accurate of the two with a +/- 10 gram weight tolerance and the kg variation is accurate within 1% of the stated weight. Having both sets I feel difference in tolerances may be an error in the listings because mine are both within the +/- 10 gram spec. Either way these are often on sale making their already low pricing even more attactive. 

As with all competition style plates Titan's Elite Bumper plates have large a two piece steel hub with a chrome finish. Raised flanges on the plate to prevent the hub from metal on metal contact. They're also very thin (the same thickness as our top pick) meaning you can fit more weight on the bar. 

Titan Fitness KG Competition Bumpers

Titan Fitness KG Elite Color Competition Plates

The Titan Fitness Elite Bumper plates are a more affordable option if you're looking for competition plates. They're incredibly accurate, well made, and a little friendlier to your wallet than other options.

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The Best Budget Crumb Bumper Plate: Home Grown Lifting URA-MAX Colored Bumper Plates

Home Grown Lifting URA-Max Crumb Rubber Bumper plates
  • Material: Urethane
  • Weight Tolerance: +/- 2%
  • Durometer: 80
  • Warranty: 1 year
  • Plate Width (45 lb plate): 3.6"
  • Insert: Recessed Stainless Steel Ring 
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The Home Grown Lifting URA-MAX bumper plates became our budget crumb rubber pick not only for their build quality but they're one of the cheapest options and made in the United States. These are sold in pairs and sets and available with either colored flecks or black. Crumb rubber plates are made from recycled rubber which makes them durable enough to use outdoors but the binding agent and overall quality of crumb bumpers varies between manufacturers. It is our opinion that Home Grown Lifting isn't cutting any corners producing these which is evident by their plates having less odor than others. All crumb plates have some odor but because of the high quality urethane binding agent Home Grown is using the smell is limited. Home Grown Lifting also recessed the stainless steel center ring so that there's no metal on metal contact between plates which will increase the lifespan of the bumpers since that's a common failing point of that style of bumper.

It's not only us that believes these are well made plates. The Strength Co is selling their own version of Home Grown's Plates (check them out here) which is another testament to their quality since The Strength Co is known for only selling quality products. That's not to say these bumpers are perfect as they suffer from some of same issues all crumb rubber plates do. For example, crumb rubber plates bounce more than other styles of bumper plates because it's not as dense of a material.  Although Home Grown Lifting's and Rogue's US-Mil Spec bumpers (our crumb bumper alternative pick)  have a durometer rating of 80 which is more than Hi-Temp's 75, they will still bounce more than standard, competition, and urethane bumpers.

Crumb rubber plates are almost always wider than other bumpers because of the rubber's density. These are 3.6" wide for a 45 lb plate versus Rogue's US-MIL Spec at 3" wide and Hi-Temps at 3.75". This can be a factor if you're loading a lot of weight onto the bar as its difficult to load more than 405 lbs. While I enjoy the color flecks on the URA-MAX bumpers because it adds to their aesthetic it would've been nice if they matched the colors to IWF scheme. It would be easier to identify the weight increment on the plates if the 45s were blue, 35s were yellow, and so on. As with all bumper plates the 10lb and 15lb plates are the least durable and while our URA-MAX plates have held up the smaller increments bounce more because they weigh less and are thinner. Ours haven't taco'd (when a plate develops a taco shape) but it's something to note. Also, although these are advertised as standard 450mm diamter bumpers they're closer to 442mm which means if you're using them with other plates they will have a slightly smaller diameter. All that being said these are a great quality crumb rubber plate that's priced very well. Oh, and bonus points for making matching URA-MAX bumper change plates.

Home Grown Lifting URA-MAX Color Bumper Plates

Home Grown Lifting URA-MAX Bumper Plates

The Home Grown Lifting URA-MAX bumper plates are a high quality, made in the United States, crumb rubber plate. They're also cheaper than many other options but they're not skimping on quality.

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Anatomy of a Bumper Plate

Bumper plates are made up of two parts. The actual plate which can be entirely rubber or have a steel disc inside, and the hub or insert. The insert can take a few different shapes so we made sure to cut a wide variety of plates up so that we could show off the most common types.

The Insert
There's 4 main types of inserts, the center section of the bumper that makes contact with the barbell sleeve. It's purpose is to provide a strong, durable surface that can take the withstand the contact between your barbell sleeve and plate. When a bumper plate fails it is often because of the insert coming loose and spinning or falling out. If you're shopping on the used marketplace you'll want to check out the integrity of the insert.  

Bumper Plate Hubs

1. The Ring
The most common type of bumper plate insert is a stainless steel ring that get's pressed into the plate. I've seen them made of brass too but it's rare with modern equipment. If you're purchasing a crumb rubber or standard style bumper plate, this is what most likely has been done to your insert. All types of inserts can loosen or work their way out over time causing the bumper to fail but it happens most often with a ring because there's no bond between the two. That being said it's rare in a home gym setting though I've had it happen to a pair of my old Rogue MIL Specs and oddly enough another rebranded version of the same thing.

2. The Anchored Ring
In an effort to keep the insert from loosening a few companies started anchoring their rings to the plate. Bells of Steel, Fringe Sport, and a few other companies commonly do this. To create this style of bumper short rods are welded to the ring and then the rubber is poured into the bumper mold so that it can form around the insert. This secures the bumper to the insert making it harder for it to become loose or damaged. I mention Fringe and Bells when it comes to anchors because they take extra steps to maximize this connection. They knurl the inside of the ring and apply an adhesive as well. You can see other similarities between some of their bumpers in the chart (below) or read about them in more detail in our Standard bumper plate section but suffice it to say I find this style of insert to be more durable then a pressed ring.

3. The Solid Hub
The next step up in inserts are hubs, a large solid piece of steel that typically has a hard chrome finish applied to it. These are baked into the plate and because of their weight (approximatly 11.5 pounds) you'll end up with a thinner bumper plate. They are often paired with a disc that also makes the plate narrower.. These hubs have grooved channels along the inside that provide more surface area to distribute the shock the bumper is taking while locking the hub and plate together. This results in a much more durable but more expensive bumper which is why you'll typically find these in higher end options like urethane bumpers.

4. The Bolt Together Hub
The final type of hub is a large two part design that is bolted together, sandwiching the rubber between. You'll typically find these on competition and training plates. Much like a solid hub they're often paired with a steel disc that helps makes for a narrower plate. I speak from experience when I say they don't come apart easily because a threadlocker is a applied to the bolt but suffice it to say these are normally found on high end plates because of their cost.

The Plate

The second part of the bumper plate is the plate itself. Bumpers can be made from a few different materials and the material and process used to make them can vary quite a bit. This results in plates with very different durabilities, weight tolerances, warranties, and overall quality. Some plates are made from a single type of rubber (urethanes for example) while many standard plates are often mixed with crumb rubber or other mixes of rubber to tweak the durometer (bounce of the plate. Not only that but adhesives and other additives are added to the rubber which can affect their appearance, performance, and smell. Some higher end plates will have a steel disc inside (and often a large hub) that helps to keep make narrower. Regardless of the design, bumpers are often wider than metal plates which can affect how much weight you can load on a barbell as well as the bar's whip. 

Different Rubber Types of Bumper Plates

Types of Bumper Plates

Bumpers can be made from a few different materials which affect how they perform, their durability, price, and many other factors. Of course the manufacturer and quality of the material plays a role as well but we'll break those things down as we discuss each type of plate.

The Different Types of Bumper Plates

Crumb Rubber

Crumb rubber plates are made from recycled rubber and are easy to tell apart from other bumpers because of their rough look and feel. They're the thickest style of bumper because crumb rubber isn't as dense as other materials. This will limit how much weight you can get onto a bar though typically at least 4 pairs of 45s will fit and can also increase whip as the plates get further out on the bar. Unfortunately those aren't the only areas where crumb bumpers underperform other options. They have a lower durometer rating meaning they bounce higher and because  materials used to make them they have a more potent smell than other bumpers. None of that may matter to you but their worst attribute could. The ring insert on crumb plates come loose more often that other bumpers causing the bumper to fail. This is caused the properties and characteristics of crumb rubber but also because they're no frills budget plates and typically made to a lower standard than other styles.

Crumb Rubber Bumper Plates

So why get crumb plates if they have don't perform as well as others? They can be used outdoors and they're often the cheapest bumper option.  

Although crumb rubber plates are the only type of bumper that can be made in the US, not all of them are. Regardless of where they're made the process is basically the same. Rubber is recycled (generally from tires) by being ground into small pieces called crumbs. Those pieces are then glued together with the use of adhesives, heat, and pressure. The quality of the both the adhesives and the rubber will play a roll in how much odor these bumpers have. 

Standard Bumpers

The most commonly sold style of bumper doesn't actually have a name so we're going to call any bumper that isn't a urethane, competition, or crumb plate, a standard bumpers. These are a step up in quality vs crumb plates because they're using a different mixture of rubber.  Often called virgin rubber, though synthetic mixes vary, which has a smoother finish. It's denser resulting in plates that are thinner and have less bounce than crumb, have less odor, and they take to colors easier than recycled rubber. This results in plates with more variety in design, better aesthetics, and their colors make it easier to indentify which weight increment they are. Of course those upgrades also means they tend to be more expensive.

Not only that but standard bumpers tend to be more durable than crumb plates. For example, Fringe Sport (the winner of our top standard plate award) uses anchored inserts with their bumpers rather than a pressed in ring like many others. This makes it much more difficult for that center ring to become loose of fall or out of the bumper.

Color and Black Bumper Plates

As with everything there's levels of quality but because of the popularity of standard bumpers you'll often find more variety here than in any other bumper. I don't think anyone would fault you for thinking many standard bumpers are just rebranded and coming from the same factory but we found there's a lot of subtle differences between plates that look very similar.  Many times a company will list various specs like durometer rating, and weight tolerance, but we've found quite a few that seem to purposefully ommit that information.  Unfortunately it's nearly impossible to tell exactly what a company is mixing into their bumpers but cutting them open did reveal a few things to us.

What became immediately apparent to us once a few had been cut was that virgin rubber is sometimes a buzzword used by companies meant to say they're not using any recycled rubber. Reality is that some bumpers are using recycled rubber for the core of the bumper or they're mixing different synthetic rubbers to provide the desired bounce, density, durablity, etc. One of the easiest plates to see this on is Fringe Sport's Savage bumpers (below). Fringe spent a lot of time and effort optimizing the performance and durability of their bumpers by create layers within their bumpers. The outside layer has a higher durometer rating (it's harder) to limit bounce and the center and up against the insert is softer to absorb chock and protect the insert.

Durometer Layers of a bumper plate

That's not to say other companies don't mix layers as well but that's often to cut costs, not to make the best possible plate. If you look at the BalanceFrom Everyday Essentials plates (above) you'll see they're using filler and crumb rubber for the center section. That isn't an inherintly bad thing but they are an extreme example of the quality differences between plates. The layers aren't bonded particularly well (notice the split) so they're coming apart from the inside. They have a much stronger smell because they're using lower quality rubbers and additives and even the screen printing on the letters is very poorly done and scratches easily. That being said they are often the cheapest bumpers you can buy and their hub is actually quite good for this style of bumper. Sure they're lying about it being stainless steel and the finish peels off very easily but if you have a limited budget nobody would fault you for buying them.

Urethane Bumpers

Urethane bumper plates are superior to crumb, standard, and competition plates in almost every possible way but that doesn't mean they're the best choice for your home gym because they're also pretty expensive. Some of that is because  of higher material costs, better build quality, and the process to make them is more complex. The properties of urethane make them the most durable plate, they're odorless, and have less bounce. Urethane plates have more vibrant colors and even their large single piece hubs are better than most. Those characteristics are reflected in their longer warranties, tighter weight tolerances, and color lettering that's molded into the plate rather than screen printed on. Not only that but they're thinner than all but competition bumpers because they have steel discs for a core that the urethane is then poured and baked onto.  

Urethane Bumper Plates

There are of course levels of quality to urethane bumpers as well but the difference between them isn't as extreme as standard or crumb plates. If you take a look at the pic above you'll notice a lot of similalarities and that's because many companies are copying American Barbell, our top pick. Some urethane bumper plates such as Rogue and Titan seem to be rebranded and possibly made in the same factory.

Competition and Training Plates

Competition and training plates are the gold standard of bumpers if you're competing in weightlifting (practice like you play). Otherwise we don't recommend them for your home gym because of their high cost. A true competition plate is one that has been manufactured to International Weightlifting Federation standards (IWF) and has also gone through an approval process by the IWF. Training plates can also go through this process but many companies don't get their plates approved because it's an additional hoop to jump through and adds to the cost. If a company sends their plates through the certification process and is approved they'll mention that in their listing and the plates will have an IWF logo on them. Many companies do not go through this process but still call them competition or training plates because it's the style of plate their trying to emulate even if either don't quite meet the standards.  

Fringe Sport Competition Bumper Plates

Competition and Training plates are often similar in price to urethane bumpers even though they're not using urethane which is a better quality material. Their high prices are a reult of them being manufactured to higher standards. For example, they have the best weight tolerance, often within 10 or 15 grams of their stated weight. They have massive bolt together hubs that are often paired with an interior steel disc which makes them thinner than most bumpers. They'll also normally have high end touches like a rubber raised outter rim and interior flange (near the hub) so there's no metal on metal contact between plates. Training plates are very similar to competition plates and often made to the same exact specs but instead of being fully colored they're black with colored lettering or black with a colored stripe.

Plates That Are Technically Not Bumpers


Bumper Plates that are different

Why Use Bumper Plates (The Benefits)

Whether you pick metal or bumper plates they can end up being one of the biggest investments for your gym and although bumper plates are typically more expensive than iron plates there's a few reasons you may want them for your space. 

Bumper plates are simply more versatile than iron plates. That doesn't mean they're without their flaws but they can work for essentially any training style. The only time I wouldn't recommend bumper plates is to a powerlifting who needs to maximize the amount of weight they can get on the barbell and because it's helpful to train with the equipment you'll be competing with. That being said bumpers can work for powerlifting and they're great for bodybuilders and essential for Crossfit and Olympic weightlifting.

They're Quieter
I often get asked why on YouTube you can see me deadlifting with a pair of bumper plates on the inside of my bar and iron plates on the outside (not something I necessarily recommend). Originally it was because we could't afford a full set of plates so we worked with what we had but it turned out to be quite a bit quieter too. Bumpers absorb some impact and reduce vibrations so even though we didn't have a full set, it really helped cut down on the noise. Believe me, we've been asked by more than a few neighbors what we're doing in my garage. 

If you invest in a quality bumper plate it'll last last a lifetime time especially in a home gym setting. High end options like our top choice for urethane bumpers (which is in my opinion the best bumper out there) is drop tested over 50,000 times from 8.5 feet. Also, since a bumper absorb some shock they can increase the longevity of your barbells and platform or foundation.  Go ahead and watch some of my barbell reviews where I deadlift with the iron plates. Those bars pretty much always have permanent ring shaped scars from the plates and bar smashing together.

I've never dropped a 45 on my foot but my friends have helped me out by dropping them on me. It's a terrible experience filled with a moment of nervousness where you wonder if something is broken. I'm not going to say bumpers won't hurt as well but they're much gentler on you should something happen during a lift or otherwise. 

I'll be the first person to argue my vintage (and modern) deep dish plates are beautiful but there's as much to be said about the color and designs of bumper plates as there is about the classic appeal of iron. There's colored flecked designs, full color, black, contrasting letters, heck, we even bought a pair of bumpers that look like donuts for my son.

Bumper Plate Aesthetic


Color Coding
 Hi Temps
 10s durability
How plates are made
Warranty & Company
Weight Tolerance

Final Thoughts

After testing dozens of bumper plates and cutting 14 we've determined the best standard bumpers are from Fringe Sport. They're durable, have a tight weight tolerance, a great warranty, and they're using high quality materials in all their sets. The only differences between Fringe Sport's Black, Contrast, Color, and Savage Bumpers are cosmetic as they're all using the same base plate.

If you're looking to upgrade your plates we think urethane bumper plates are the best high end choice for a home or commercial gym. In our opinion there is no better urethane plate than the ones American Barbell makes. Their  Color LB Urethane Pro Series Plates or kg variation are the highest quality urethanes you can buy. With a +/- 1% weight tolerance, vibrant colors, and unmatched quality control these are possibly the most durable bumper plates on the planet.

When it comes to competition and training plates nobody offers more choice than Rogue Fitness (check them all out here). If you're looking for premium plates that perform excellently than Rogue sells some of the best. The Rogue Fitness Black Training LB Plates are our training plates pick because of their high quality, durability, and great user feedback. If you're looking for an IWF certified competition plate or any another variation Rogue Fitness is the first place we'd look.

Those on a budget or who need to workout outdoors should check out the Home Grown Lifting URA-MAX bumper plates. These are available in sets and pairs, made in America, and are also one of the cheapest options available. They feature a high build quality and a performance to match.

The Best Bumper Plates Video Review


  • MatthewApr 20, 2024

    Tremendous video! What would be your recommendation for a garage gym that has just one person using them in a CrossFit like fashion. I got 12 years out of a no-name set of virgin rubber bumpers, would love to get 15 years from the next set.

  • JoshApr 20, 2024

    Agree with Jon, would have liked to see Vulcan included as they are the brand I have.

  • David TApr 20, 2024

    I would love to see what your opinion is on the Nike bumper plates with their shoe ground crums

  • toddApr 20, 2024

    Regarding Vulcan, I would advise ordering from them. I left a comment on the youtube video describing my experience with Fringe, Rep, and Vulcan in regards to bumpers.

  • JonNov 30, 2023

    Would like to see some Vulcan bumpers cut in half. They’re at a similar price point to Fringe and Bells, and they were the first I saw to advertise the anchored core.

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