We’ll also discuss some FAQs, and go over some important things to consider when choosing a deadlift bar.
No time to spare? Here are our top three picks:
Best Barbells For Deadlifts
Let’s begin our reviews!
In this part, we’ve reviewed the best straight bars/barbells for deadlifting.
1. Titan 60” Bar (Straight)
This is a great starter bar for those who are relatively new to deadlifting.
At 60 inches, Titan’s bar is much shorter than a standard Olympic deadlift bar, but works well for home gyms. It’ll fit in smaller spaces, while also allowing you to undertake fairly serious workouts.
The bar itself weighs 25 pounds, and has a 500-pound weight capacity, which is plenty for beginner/intermediate lifters. However, there are definitely stronger bars out there for more serious competitors.
Titan’s bar has very smooth spin considering the price, making it especially good for deadlifts. It’s also surprisingly durable, if maintained well. Simply give it a good wipe down every so often to remove chalk and sweat buildup, and this barbell will last for years to come.
This is a pretty versatile bar considering the price. Its size makes it perfect for compact home gyms, but it has very smooth sleeves, and doesn’t come with collars – meaning you’ll need to buy some separately.
2. CAP Beast 7′ Bar (Straight)
The “Beast” is the one of the most popular barbells CAP makes at the moment.
This is in large part due to the medium-depth diamond knurled handgrips, which give you a comfortable, non-slip grip when lifting. Meaning, you can focus on beating your PB, without having to worry about potentially dropping the bar.
CAP have used a really good-quality cold-roll steel to produce this barbell, and it comes with a phosphate finish, meaning it’s quite tough. You’ll pay a bit more than you would for the Titan 60″ bar, but if you’re looking for a full-size 7′ barbell, or just want something a little tougher, it’s a price worth paying.
If you’re looking to mix up your gym color scheme, the Beast also comes in a wide variety of styles including black, red, purple, and blue. The bar weighs about 44 pounds and has a maximum weight capacity of over 500 lbs – plenty for intermediate lifters.
For those who are looking to spend a little bit more, we think the Beast is a terrific option – you get a really durable bar for the extra money. The grip is great, and it even comes with a 5-year warranty.
3. REP Gladiator Olympic Bar (Straight)
The REP Gladiator is a top of the line deadlift bar. It’s quite a bit more expensive than the two other products we’ve reviewed so far.
So what do you get for the extra cash?
The Gladiator is rated for lifting up to 1500 pounds – no sweat. Meaning, this thing is an incredibly versatile bar – it’s suitable for experienced lifters as well as beginners looking for quick gains.
Even if you’re new to deadlifting, it can be worth investing in something with a little more tensile strength than you currently need. New lifters especially often see some really nice “beginner gains”.
You also get a super-advanced Olympic-style needle bearing system. Spins are super-smooth, even with faster movements, and what’s more, the knurling strikes a nice balance between grip and comfort – you can use this bar for hours at a time without hurting your palms.
As a result, the Gladiator is ideal for cross-training, Olympic weightlifting, and powerlifting. It has a 230k tensile strength, and comes in two different sizes. One is a 33-pound, 79-inch bar, and the slightly larger model is 44 pounds and 84 inches in length (Olympic size).
As you’d expect considering what it costs, this bar is incredibly durable. The steel comes with a specialized chrome coating, keeping rust at bay while also working to prevent chipping.
4. Buddy Capps Texas Deadlift Bar (Straight)
This is another relatively expensive option. It’ll handle 1500 pounds with no issue at all. If you’re fed up of having to use alternate grips for heavier deadlifts, or just don’t have confidence in the strength of your current bar, this barbell could be worth investing in.
Buddy Capps’ bar has a particularly good amount of whip. Meaning, you have plenty of feedback as you lift, making it perfect for deadlifting. This extra spring can even give you a little more upwards momentum, allowing you to lift more weight.
What’s more, this is one of the few bars made with deadlifting in mind. To accommodate, the knurling is nice and aggressive – it extends 5″ past the grip mark rings, and there isn’t any center knurling.
At 20KG, and 90.5″ long, this bar is probably better-suited to serious lifters with a reasonably large home gym. It’s bulky because it’s designed for serious weight – if you’re planning on lifting less than 500lbs on a regular basis, there are probably cheaper bars better-suited to your deadlifting needs.
Best Hex Bars For Deadlifts
Now we’ll review some of the best hex bars you can use for deadlifts.
Designed for ease of use, these trap bars allow you to lift more weight with less effort. They also enable you to load plates more easily, and some even have stoppers to prevent them scratching your hardwood floor.
5. HulkFit Olympic Bar (Hex)
As we just touched on, the main benefit of hex bars is they allow most people to lift a little more weight on a standard deadlift, making for a better workout.
This trap bar is no exception. Made of solid steel and packing a 1000+ pound maximum capacity, you can get it with either a regular or open-back design. With this second option, you can get in position and grab the handles more easily, without having to step over the back of the bar.
This design also ensures that you don’t trip up as you walk away at the end of a set – particularly intensive deadlift routines can sometimes leave you feeling a little light-headed.
HulkFit’s hex bar also comes with an extra-long loading area, meaning it can deal with pretty much any combination of plates.
It’s also very durable – you can really tell the quality of this bar, however this sturdiness has made it a little heavy.
Unfortunately, this is another option that doesn’t come with its own collars. However, this is the only real downside with HulkLift’s bar – the price is very reasonable considering what you get.
6. Valor Fitness Bar (Hex)
Valor Fitness offer what’s essentially a more expensive version of the HulkLift bar we just looked at. But is it worth the extra cost?
This hex bar offers a wide variety of grip options: women’s, men’s and axel, which can be quickly and easily changed by spinning the handle. Essentially, there are small, medium, and large grip options, making it easy to find something that works for you.
As a result, this bar would make a great addition to a home gym which is utilized by multiple people. You’re not locked into just having to use one type of grip.
Another great thing about this bar are the rubber stoppers on the bottom, which prevent any hardwood floor damage as you set it down. In addition, the handles are ergonomically designed to ensure correct lifting form, while also reducing any unnecessary strain on the knees and back.
This elevated design also works to keep the plates off the ground. This makes it infinitely easier to change them around as you begin a new set.
As you’d expect from a trap bar at this price point, Valor’s product is fantastically well-made. It can be slightly tricky to put together though.
7. Synergee Bar (Hex)
Looking for a mid-budget hex bar?
This option from Synergee has basically everything you need, without the massive price-tag. It has a good weight capacity, but isn’t too expensive. However, it’s not exactly cheap either.
At 25KG (55lbs), Synergee’s trap bar is definitely on the heavy side, but this is in large part because it doesn’t feature an open-back construction. Some people prefer this design, as it makes for a more balanced weight distribution. However, it does mean you’ll have to step into and out of position every time you use the bar.
The handles are nice and raised, and the knurling does a good job preventing slippage. On the whole, this is an extremely ergonomic hex bar. The handles feel great to touch, even after extensive usage.
It comes with a 10″ sleeve on each side, and a 750lb capacity, which is plenty for most lifters. You also get a money-back guarantee, which is a little vague – no explicit warranty period is specified.
Overall though, this bar strikes a nice balance between price and functionality.
Deadlift Bar Buyer’s Guide
Now let’s take a look at a few of the most important things to consider when choosing a bar for deadlifting.
There are a number of things to keep in mind when you’re deciding between the different barbell/hex bars on the market.
Hex/trap bar vs straight bar for deadlifting
A barbell is a long, straight piece of metal – normally 7′ long.
Typically, the ends of barbells have “sleeves” that hold the weights in place. This is what they use in the Olympics – the Olympic specification is 7.2′ long, and the barbell must weigh 20KG.
A hex (AKA trap) bar is named for the hexagonal shape located in the middle of the bar. With this type of bar, you stand in the middle of the hexagon and lift using the handles on either side. There are sleeves on each end for adding your plates.
Often, hex bars come with an open-back design, meaning you can walk into position without having to step over the back edge before beginning your deadlift.
The biggest difference between the two is that with a hexagonal barbell, the weight is in line with your body, whereas with a standard barbell the weight is in front of you. As a result, you could potentially put more pressure on your body if you don’t lift correctly with the old-fashioned straight bar.
Although both bars work pretty much the same muscle groups when used properly, a hex bar will more evenly distribute the strain on your ankle, hip, and knee joints when deadlifting. It can also allow you to lift more weight, resulting in a better workout.
There are also a few really nice design features available on modern hex bars, which we’ll discuss below. However, they do generally take up more room, and are more complex to manufacture, making them a little more prone to breaking, especially when dropped.
Tensile strength and capacity
Once you’ve decided on a type of bar, you should consider what tensile strength and maximum capacity you need.
Tensile strength is a technical rating of the strength of the bar, in terms of the maximum amount of force it can withstand before breaking. It’s measured in pounds per square inch – 170,000 PSI is a good rating.
A higher tensile strength does not necessarily mean a better bar, but it is important to think about what you need, especially if you plan on deadlifting more than 500lbs.
Most manufacturers will also include a rough guide as to how much weight their product can lift, in pounds. This makes it easier to compare different deadlift bars.
It’s always a good idea to get something with a little more capacity than you currently need. You never know how much muscle mass you’ll gain in the next year or two!
However, do note that stronger bars tend to be heavier, and more expensive. So if you need something compact for the home gym, it’s perfectly fine to go for a bar with a maximum weight-bearing capacity of only 500-750 lbs or so.
Knurling is the grip pattern on the bar, used to prevent slippage as you lift.
The amount of knurling you need is always a matter of preference – some like it really aggressive for maximum grip, while others prefer a lighter level of knurling, because if it’s too rough it can begin to hurt your hands after a large number of reps.
The other thing to consider is whether or not you’d prefer additional center knurling. As well as adding it on the hand areas, some manufacturers will include knurling in the center of the bar to make it easier to squat and do one-handed deadlifts.
Most athletes avoid bars with center knurling, because it can get annoying. For example, it can rub up against your chest when doing cleans/thrusters.
Whip essentially describes how much the bar bends as you initiate the deadlift.
This small amount of bending is a great thing to have, as it gives you feedback as you lift, letting you feel how close you are to getting the weight off the ground. It also makes lifts that little bit easier, because the whip can provide a touch of extra momentum.
However, it’s very difficult to make a cheap bar that whips really well, because it requires very good-quality steel.
Therefore, unless you’re an experienced lifter, or just want the best-possible bar you can find, whip probably isn’t worth worrying too much about.
Finish and feel
It’s always a good idea to take a look at the actual surface of the bar. Most deadlift bars will arrive pre-oiled and have some sort of coating (such as black oxide) to keep them from rusting.
Whether you live in a particularly humid area or not, these coatings are always a nice thing to have. Moisture, especially sweat buildup, can lead to rust in no time at all without adequate protection.
The finish of the bar will determine what it feels like to hold as you move it around, as well as how much upkeep is required (more on this below). The more expensive bars tend to have a nicer finish and feel, but like knurling, it’s a matter of personal preference how smooth/slick you want the bar to feel.
This is a little more complex than you might think.
You should think about how tough you actually need the bar to be, rather than just picking the strongest bar you can find.
While better durability is always a good thing, it’ll come at a cost. Not only are tougher bars more expensive, they will also weigh more in general.
Are you planning on dropping your bar from a decent height as you end your lift? Or do you always lower it all the way to the ground?
You don’t need to shell out for a super-tough, 60-pound deadlift bar to find something durable. Look at buyer reviews – especially from people who have owned the bar for a year or more – to get a good idea of how strong it actually is.
Maintaining your deadlift bar
To prolong the life of your barbell or trap bar, you’ll need to do some preventative maintenance. How often you need to do so (and what you’ll need to do) really depends on how often you use it.
For starters, it’s always a good idea to wash the chalk out of the knurling after each use. If it builds up and dries out, it can be really hard to dislodge.
Use a wet microfiber cloth to pat the knurling down. If the chalk isn’t coming off, you can use a basic detergent to dislodge it.
It’s also a good idea to remove the plates after each use. Leaving them on can cause the bar to warp – especially over long periods of time.
Finally, every month or two, you should give the bar a good wipe-down with WD-40 to remove moisture and keep it looking fresh. After wiping it down, clean it off thoroughly with a microfiber cloth to maintain your surface shine.
Note that most barbell/hex bar sleeves come impregnated with oil. So it’s not necessary to wipe them down – however, you may want to dab off any excess oil on occasion.
If you spend $100-$180 on a deadlifting bar, chances are, if you do your research, you should be able to find something fairly nice.
However, there are also bars out there that cost much, much more – up to $400 each.
Apart from the extra durability and tensile strength, here are some really nice things to have which these premium options offer. They’re by no means 100% necessary, but make for a slightly nicer gym experience.
- Clamps/clips. Some cheaper options don’t come with them, meaning you’ll need to buy them separately in order to secure the plates.
- A raised design, making it possible to add and remove weight without having to lift the actual bar. This is something you’ll only really ever find on hex bars.
- Stoppers on the bottom to protect your floor – another trap bar feature.
- Better spin – meaning the bar rotates seamlessly, independent of the plates. All Olympic bars have this feature, and it’s really nice to have, especially when lifting monster amounts of weight.
- Better whip – making it a little easier to sort of “feel” how your deadlift is going.
Thank you for reading! You’ve reached the end of our buyer’s guide.
Hopefully you’ve been able to find the right bar for your deadlifting needs.
Remember, the design of hex bars has a few important benefits for deadlifting purposes. Just ensure that if you’re buying one, you know how they work and what technique to use, especially if you’ve never deadlifted with a trap bar before.
Let us know if you have any further questions in the comments below!
About the author
Matt is the newest face on the Lift Your Game team.
He’s a former college football player, and also played soccer and tennis in high school.
In his spare time, you’ll either find him at the gym, or on the couch playing Madden!