You’ve been getting serious about your workout, bringing it into the big leagues. You’ve invested in some home gym equipment, and you’re all about keeping it safe for you to train alone. That’s where bar clamps come into play. We’ve selected the very best barbell collars to enhance your workout, keep your regimen safe, and allow you to get the best possible training in. We cover the cream of the crop, but we’re also going to tell you what sets them apart from each other, and how they made our elite list.
The Best Barbell Collar
Greententljs created one of the best barbell collars we’ve ever tested. You see products priced this low and think, “There has to be some catch, something wrong with it.” Nothing could be further from the truth. Not only do Greententljs Olympic Barbell Lockjaw Collars create an ironclad grip, but they’re doubly reinforced by the steel skeleton and high-density rubber grips along the interior. While they keep the exterior crafted out of ABS plastic for customization, they will get scratched up after a few trips to the gym (which doesn’t impede upon their function). You’ll want to ensure the screws are tightened properly each time you go to use these, but with a bit of attention, you’ll have these inexpensive barbell collars for well over a decade. For more amazing fitness accessories, check out our guide to the best knee sleeves.
Crafted of ABS plastic, steel, and rubber
Designed to work well with CrossFit
Available in eleven colors and two sizes
- Weight10.4 ounces
High-density, wide rubber interior grips hold onto the bar with ease
Average user lifespan of ten years
ABS exterior gets scratched up very easily
Requires tightening after every tenth use
While plastic isn’t our first choice for quality barbell collars, we were blown away after testing Clout’s Quick Locking caps. First and foremost, these are super simple to use, partially thanks to the textured thumb grips on the release latches. These pop off and on like it’s nothing, and you have to fall in love with the ease of use. Clout did fall a bit short on the lack of an internal steel frame like most plastic-encased models have; these are straight ABS plastic, and as such, are prone to breaking far more easily. That being said, you’ll still be able to pop them on a 2” Olympic barbell with no problem. The only metal found in these are in the aluminum hinges, which help keep that tension when these caps are closed. They are perfect to always have in your gym bag.
Available in nine different colors
Designed for 2” Olympic barbells
Durable aluminum hinges swing easily
- BrandClout Fitness
- Weight9.6 ounces
Quick release latch doesn’t require much pressure to activate
Textured thumb grip for simple operation
Only ABS plastic, no internal frame
Easier to break than other barbell clamps
You’ll hear us rant about nylon in the buying guide below, but Iron lab did something completely different. This is a highly durable compressed, hardened nylon. That being said, they didn’t include a steel skeleton, so it still remains as breakable as plastic. One of our favorite features is the bright red release tab, allowing you to pop this off of your barbell without any hassle whatsoever. This is especially useful if you’re bringing your own to the gym. Iron Lab did a fantastic job at designing the rubber grip pad. We were hesitant based on its narrowness but were pleasantly surprised to find that nothing is going to budge on Iron Lab Olympic Barbell Collars. As an added bonus they also include a lifetime warranty. Once a customer, always a member of the Iron Lab family. Find more great products like this by checking out our guide to the best weightlifting belts.
Designed for use on 23” Olympic barbells
Available in five different colors
- BrandIron Lab
- Weight7.2 ounces
Quick and simple red release tab for fast removal
Internal rubber grip keeps its place when on the barbell
Made of nylon (compressed, harended nylon)
Wears down/shows finger oil marks and smoothening after light use
OSO is an all-American brand, one that can be found in gyms all over. Their Premium Barbell Collars are built just the way we like: full aircraft-grade aluminum construction. OSO only falls short in a few areas. For one, the color you see isn’t the color you get. Second, when you release this spring, it’s going to bounce with a ton of force. If you’re careful, you’ll have no problem. That highly tense pull-back is a testament to how powerful these barbell collars really are. Even with their rock-solid design, OSO still includes a two-year warranty on the locking mechanism. Those of you who are really motivated to hit the gym hard will be happy to know that these are rust-resistant, so a spilled water bottle or layer of sweat on the collar won’t damage or discolor them at all.
Designed for use with 2” Olympic barbells
Two-year warranty on the lock
- BrandOSO Barbell
- Weight13.8 ounces
High-quality 6061 aircraft-grade aluminum construction
Simple, highly pressurized locking mechanism
Due to the building process, colors may vary
Spring opens with extreme force
We all know CAP, the creators of budget-friendly home gym equipment. Barbell Spring Clip Collar is one of their diamonds in the rough: a simple, no-frills collar that gets the job done. We’re not here for style points; it’s all about function, and CAP delivers. These are crafted out of full stainless steel, providing a longer use on the coil, destined to last for a decade if you let them. The only thing that isn’t going to last that long is the luster on those levers. While the grips are nice, they will show wear and tear from sweat and finger oil after a few uses. The aesthetics don’t exactly hold up when it comes to the chrome plating, either. While they’ll look weather before long, we consider them battle scars. CAP won’t leave you hanging. Our handy guide to the best weightlifting gloves features more great options like this.
Lightweight build (less than a pound between both collars)
Designed to fit a 2” Olympic barbell
Full stainless steel construction promotes longevity
- BrandCAP Barbell
- Weight1.1 pounds
Handles/levers are comfortable to the touch
The most inexpensive, quality barbell collars you’ll ever own
Levers show oil/sweat wear and tear after brief use
Chrome plating scratches easily
Lock-Jaw made a lockjaw barbell collar. Fitting, right? They took their time to ensure this was the best it could be but unfortunately fell short on a few key features. We’re big fans of the maximum surface traction thanks to the interior rubber padding. This helps prevent scuffs or scrapes to the barbell, which can be a Godsend if you’re using public equipment. However, this is a short-term investment. You’ll have these for an average of two years before the hinge rods are a bit too loose to be of use to you. On that note, they’ll need to be tightened fairly frequently to upkeep performance. You’ll get your use out of them for the price you pay, but keep in mind that Lock-Jaw Hex Collars exclusively work on 2” Olympic barbells, nothing less. If you are a fitness enthusiast, be sure to check out our reviews of the best rowing machines.
Available in six different styles
Primary ABS plastic construction
Designed to fit 2” Olympic barbells
- BrandLock-Jaw Barbell Collars
- Weight8.8 ounces
Large rubber grip surface
Prevents damage to barbells
Hinge rods need to be tightened fairly often
Short life expectancy of two years
Following the fairly standard hexagonal design, RitFit took to a familiar take on the classic barbell collar. They really hit the nail on the head with most problems that barbell collar manufacturers make, by increasing their overall rubber grip contact area. They fell a bit short on the locking latch design; it rests right up against the cuff and is a pain to pull off as a result. Apart from that, we’re not fans of hardened nylon resin as a base material. That being said, RitFit is still rated to last for well over five years with proper care. Just keep in mind that scuffs and sweat markings are going to show up on this in no time. Don’t forget to check out our guide to the best weightlifting shoes for more great fitness equipment.
Designed for a 2” Olympic barbell
Available in six different bright colors
Lightweight construction keeps these under twelve ounces (paired weight)
- Weight8.8 ounces
Wide rubber surface area for maximum grip to the barbell
Extremely cost-effective with a long lifespan
Hardened nylon resin construction; thin, prone to sweat marks and scuffs
Locking latch is a pain to remove
It doesn’t get any more simplistic than this. Dark Iron Fitness created these ultra simple Barbell Collar Clamps: you slip them on, turn the lever ninety degrees, and you’re locked and loaded. Apart from them making it easy to use, it’s also enormously inexpensive. That comes at a cost, however: you’ll expect to get about two years of use out of this, and the manufacturing process is rough. There will likely be sharp juts of plastic that may need to be smoothed out, but it serves its purpose well. The good thing about that is you can enact your lifetime warranty. So long as you register your collars within a week of purchase, you’ll be able to get free replacements for life should they break down on you. Be sure to combine these with some of the best adjustable dumbbells from our list.
Designed to work with 1” and 2” barbells
Lifetime replacement policy
Extremely lightweight construction, adds almost no weight to a gym bag
- BrandDark Iron Fitness
- Weight11.2 ounces
Simple and effective pull-lever design
The most inexpensive option on our list
Rough manufactured construction; sharp edges are common
Average two-year lifespan
We’re in the bottom tier options here, and Power Guidance has their fair share of issues. While you’re only going to get a tight grip on Power Guidance Weightlifting Barbell Clamps for a couple years at best, you will get a wide rubber contact surface, and one of the most simplistic operations of any barbell collar we’ve used. It’s a lockjaw style collar with a textured locking tab and a durable release lever. Popping these on and taking them off is a walk in the park. Oils and sweat from your hands will show after your first use, tarnishing the aesthetics of these collars early on. But you aren’t really here for style, are you? Durable enough to accompany you to the gym for two years, and fitted with a short-term money-back guarantee straight from the manufacturer which makes them a perfect fitness gift for any man who loves to workout.
The wide rubber contact area
Designed for use on 2” Olympic barbells
Available in five color options
- BrandPOWER GUIDANCE
- Weight10.9 ounces
Textured lock tab makes popping these on a total breeze
Simple lock release removes these without any hassle whatsoever
Locking mechanism loosens after about two years of use
Shows finger oil and sweat stains very early on
Last but not least, we have this little gem. Few inexpensive barbell collars will have tension and pressure like these. You get a full aluminum construction, ensuring a long lifespan on these collars, while also resisting rust and standard wear and tear damage. The latch on iHeartSynergee Locking Olympic Barbell Collars is very powerful, which is both good and bad. Great tension, a rapid release that’s a bit startling. Our only major complaint with iHeartSynergee’s product is that they added unnecessary bits of aluminum all over, jacking up the cost a bit. At the end of the day, these will accompany you to and from the gym without issue. If you were to run into an issue, the manufacturer offers a money-back, product replacement guarantee. Check out our guide to the best workout clothes and make sure you feel comfortable while exercising.
Designed to fit most 2” Olympic barbells
Available in three different color options
Money-back and product replacement guarantee
- Weight13.4 ounces
High-grade aluminum construction is built to last for a decade or more
Powerful locking latch maintains great pressure
Unnecessary additional materials (spiral joints) hike up the cost
Latch lock unhinges wildly during removal
Barbell Collar Buying Guide and FAQ
There’s more than meets the eye when it comes to weight collars. We’ve outlined and showcased the best of the best, but now it’s time to find out what makes these Olympic bar collars tick. From materials to different locking mechanism styles, it’s all here to help you make a more informed decision.
Features to Look for in Barbell Collars
Material - Olympic barbell collars need durable materials to withstand pressure and stress. You’ll find a blend of steel, rubber, and either ABS plastic or nylon for the exterior (much like our top pick on this list). One key note to be on the lookout for is the rubber type. You want high-density rubber to help prevent wear and tear, and last just as long as the rest of your clamps. For steel, look for stainless or 316L (aircraft grade).
Shape - This is half about preference, half about function. Olympic bar clamps are traditionally hexagonal, which gives you more power and gripping points when trying to snap them onto a barbell. Pay attention to the shape of the actual clamp locks as well to make it easier for the application.
Size - Weight bar collars come in various sizes, fitting to different barbells. If this is for your home gym, look at the manufacturer of your barbell, and try to find out if the brand of weight collar you’re interested in is compatible with that brand.
Capacity - Weight clamps only have so much capacity, and can only undergo so much physical stress. You’ll be using this repeatedly, day in, day out, so it needs to be able to withstand the test of time. For the best results, try only meeting 80% or less of the maximum capacity to ensure longevity for your barbell collars.
Types of Barbell Collars
Standard Spring Clamps - You’ll know it when you see it: two pressure-activated prongs relieve tension on the spring, allowing your barbell to fit inside of it. When you release those prongs or lever heads, the pressure of the tightly-wound spring keeps it on your barbell. These are one of the most common and inexpensive barbell cap types on the market, though they do wear down with time.
Lockjaw Clamps - These are one of the most commonly used barbell collars due to their inexpensive cost and relatively easy use. You can attach these quickly, pressing down on the latch to apply enough pressure and essentially snap the clamp onto the barbell. They’re even easier to take off, and tend to last a very long time.
Power Clamps - Similar to standard spring clamps, these are basically supercharged versions of spring clamps that are far easier to put on.
Hex Screw Clamps - These take a bit more time to put on, but can practically impale upon the barbell, keeping it in place (don’t worry, they won’t damage the barbell). You use a simple hex screw to twist and apply pressure onto the barbell after sliding the clamp on, eff
Spring Lock Clamps - A perfect hybrid of standard spring clamps and lockjaw clamps. These use the force and power of wound springs, with the ease of use that lockjaw clamps offer. Because these two technologies are brought together, you can expect to see slightly higher prices, but the lockjaw clamps do help to protect the springs from wear and tear, making these some of the longest-lasting barbell collar varieties you will ever own.
Nylon - These are usually a simple, rugged nylon exterior with velcro on the inside. These are cheap, and that’s one of the only reasons that people use these. There are very few exceptions to the rule, and most professional bodybuilders stay away from nylon collars.
Barbell Collar FAQ
Q: What is a Barbell Collar?
A: Barbell collars are a little piece of added insurance on your Olympic weightlifting benches. When you place the weighted plates on either end of your barbell, you might have hex caps to keep them in place or another system. Barbell collars provide additional stability that most inclusive hex caps just can’t offer.
They’re not necessary if you’re benching under 100 lbs. These work to help retain stabilization when you have much heavier plates on either end, maintaining your safety and balance. Think of them as kickstands, keeping up the weight of a motorcycle to ensure it stays exactly where it’s supposed to. Olympic weightlifters use barbell collars in competitions on a regular basis, and they can be used in a home gym to help provide peace of mind and a safe workout environment.
Q: Which type of Barbell Collars Should I Buy?
A: So long as it does its job effectively, all types are viable options (except for nylon, but we’ll get into that in a moment). You could go with a lockjaw collar for a quicker time putting it on and taking it off, you could get a standard spring collar for its simplicity and low price. Your weight lifting collars should meet the weight requirements that you’re looking for as your first criteria.
Regardless of what type you prefer, the best barbell collars are designed to withstand massive weight and pressure. We personally recommend lockjaw collars for ease of use and extended durability. Spring lock clamps are also an excellent option.
Q: How Much do Barbell Collars Weigh?
A: Bar clamps are designed to be fairly weightless, usually about twelve ounces to a maximum of two pounds (per collar). However, there are also weight collars that are, well, weighted. These are most often used by professional bodybuilders who want to add small amounts of weight to their overall bench, without putting too much stress on the barbell itself. This also allows you to add five or ten pounds in total, so you don’t have to jump between twenty-five-pound plates if you’re not comfortable yet. They work as excellent mediums in between other weightlifting exercises and help push limits when you’re plateauing.
Q: Is Lifting Without Barbell Collars Dangerous?
A: Weightlifting collars are actually designed to provide a greater sense of safety. When you attach weight clamps onto your barbell, you’re stabilizing the plates, reducing your chance of fumbling under immense weight and pressure. This is especially helpful when you’re trying to exceed your previous maximum bench weight.
Q: Do Barbell Collars Mitigate My Workout Results?
A: Weightlifting clamps don’t hinder your performance or how much of a workout you get in, but it can actually promote a much more effective workout. The best barbell clamps are designed to maintain stability, which is required to nail that perfect form. If you don’t have your form, then you don’t have anything at all.
This also helps to prevent injuries. If you don’t have a good form, if you don’t have stabilization, then you’re far more likely to put unnecessary pressure on one side of your body. Even if you don’t incur an immediate injury, putting unnecessary levels of stress (the kind that doesn’t benefit your physical form and only damages your muscle fibers) can lead to long-term damage over a short period of time.
Q: Why Are Nylon Barbell Collars Not a Good Idea?
A: Unless they’re extremely high-end (and usually weighted), nylon barbell collars just don’t grip the way you’d expect for the amount you’re paying. They tend to slide on the barbell unless you find some uncommon ones that come with small interior rubber grips.