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If you’re looking to gain strength, compete professionally, or just want the safest weights, then you need to consider bumper plates. These are like traditional iron barbell plates, but better in every way. These plates have a metal core that’s surrounded by rubber. These are the same weights used during Olympic weightlifting and competitive weightlifting, so they have quite a reputation.
Are all bumper plates the same? Absolutely not. We’re going to compare four of the top brands, FringeSport vs Rogue vs HulkFit vs Day 1, to see which is the best for your gym.
We consider price, bounce, sound, durability, and much more when looking at these plates. Read on to find the best bumper plate for your lifting needs.
FringeSport Black Bumper Plates
Fringe Sports bumper plates are among the best as they are made from a steel core with highly stable rubber surrounding the metal. They even encourage you to drop the 10lb, 15lb or higher plates at will. Not only do they score high Shore A Durometer Ratings (meaning they give a dead bounce), but the metal is so stable that it won’t crumble from dropping.
Along with a soft bounce and highly durable material, the virgin rubber is low profile. That’s especially true with FringeSport Milspec bumper plates, they have the thinnest rubber around. This means it’s very thin and you can load more onto your bar for bigger lifts. Universal matching diameter makes it easy to load the bar as needed.
Not only do they score high satisfaction ratings from users, but they also come in a variety of styles (pounds and kilograms, along with many packages) to ensure you get exactly what you want.
Rogue Black Training Bumper Plates
Rogue stands as one of the most versatile bumper plate manufacturers around. They may a wide variety of plates in KG and lbs, full color and black, and they confirm to IWF standards. Unlike most other black bumper plates that are completely black, these are color-coded so that you can easily identify each plate.
No one really wants to read the plate to see how much it weighs, that takes too long. Instead, find the right color and put it on the bar. Plus, unlike full-color plates, these are less prone to scuffing and are priced a little better. Whether you want to train for Olympic weightlifting, CrossFit, or just getting huge on your own, these are the plates for you.
Many people compare FringeSport vs Rogue and we see why. When it comes to Rogue vs FringeSport, these plates have a better design, are equally durable, and are very recognized for their stability. It’s not an easy choice to make, but we can say that Rogue plates are built to last.
HulkFit Color Coded Olympic Plate
HulkFit bumper plates are some of the best and most affordable on the market. These plates have solid, stainless-steel inserts along with a high-density rubber that is color coded to match the weight (such as red for 45lbs, or purple for 55lbs). This makes it very easy to tell each plate apart.
Each plate has the standard 2” diameter needed for competitive lifting. Not only that, but every plate has both lbs and kg stamped on them, so you can find the exact plate that you need. Feel free to stack the bar and lift as much as you can.
While these plates are durable, there is one important distinction when it comes to FringeSport vs HulkFit. HulkFit warns that their 10lb-plates may bend if dropped alone on the barbell. While it’s rare that you’ll only be used 10lb plates, this is still important to keep in mind.
That aside, these are highly durable plates with low bounce and distinct colors. If you want a full-color bumper plate, then HulkFit is exactly what you need.
Day 1 Olympic Bumper Plate
Day 1 bumper plates aren’t quite as well known as the others, but they are one of the most popular bumper plates on Amazon. Not only that, but they are quite affordable and highly durable, making this an attractive option for those who want low-bounce weight plates for competitive lifting.
Every plate starts with a stainless-steel core that is wrapped with solid, low-bounce rubber. This protects both you and your floors. Each plate has a durable steel ring that’s bonded to the rubber. This was made to fit all standard bars and racks. Plus, the plates are ergonomic as they are easy on the hands, making them good for solo exercises (like weighted crunches).
You can buy these as either one plate or two. The singles are sold as 10, 15, 25, 35, or 45 pounds. If you purchase a pair, then you can get 10, 15, 25, or 35 pounds. This makes it easier to get exactly what you need for your training regimen.
If you want durable, black bumper plates, then these are the ones to get.
Which Bumper Plate is the Best?
We’re going to directly compare each brand so that you see their pros and cons in a head-to-head battle.
FringeSport Bumper Plates
- FringeSport vs Rogue: thinner rubber, more durable, best ratings
- FringeSport vs HulkFit: thinner rubber, significantly more durable, more weights, better for pros
- FringeSport vs Day 1: thinner rubber, more durable, less bounce
Rogue Bumper Plates
- Rogue vs FringeSport: color coded, best for competitions, very large selection
- Rogue vs HulkFit: less scuffing, more durable, larger selection
- Rogue vs Day 1: color coded, more durable, competitive price
HulkFit Bumper Plates
- HulkFit vs FringeSport: color coded, more affordable, good durability (aside from 10lb plates)
- HulkFit vs Rogue: full color, more affordable
- HulkFit vs Day 1: color coded, more brand recognition
Day 1 Bumper Plates
- Day 1 vs FringeSport: more affordable, good durability, good selection
- Day 1 vs Rogue: more affordable, less change of scuffing, comes in pairs
- Day 1 vs HulkFit: comes in pairs, more affordable, more selection
Bumper Plates vs Iron Plates: Which is Better?
Iron plates are the older of the two, and definitely the traditional weight plates that you think of. At the same time, you never really see them at competitions and there’s a reason for that. The only true advantage you get is price. In terms of function, bumper plates are significantly better.
First of all, they are much quieter when picking them up and especially when putting them down. The rubber coating hardly makes a sound, but iron reverberates through the whole room. They’re also safer for you, your room, and your equipment. You can’t drop iron plates from any height. Even from hip height or lower, they can damage your floor.
Bumper plates aren’t safe to drop on your foot, but they hurt less than if an iron plate did the same thing. They also have a much softer impact, which keeps your bars healthy along with your floor.
Lastly, bumper plates are more versatile. Overhead press, clean and jerk, snatch, there’s a good chance you’ll drop these when lifting at competitive weights. As we discussed, you can’t do that with iron plates. Even if have mats, your bars will suffer. Bumpers though have no problem being dropped.
When it comes to iron plates vs bumper plates, bumper plates come out on top in every way except price. But you know what they say: you get what you pay for.
Where to Use Bumper Plates
We’ve brought up many times that these plates are used for Olympic and competitive lifting, so obviously they’re used in professional environments. Should you also use them in your home gym? We definitely think so.
The discussion does become more nuanced here since some people will be more willing to put price above function with home gyms, and we get it. Those iron plates do seem very attractive. However, you should consider safety and versatile.
Yes, bumpers cost more. But, you can do more with them without blasting out your eardrums. Plus, accidentally dropping the bar even once with iron plates can cause all sorts of problems (broken floor, broken bar, broken foot, etc). Doing the same with bumpers should cause less or no damage.
Standard Bumper Plates vs Competition Bumper Plates
We haven’t talked about this yet, but there are two grades of bumpers. What’s the difference between competition bumper plates vs standard bumper plates? A lot of small details that add up to a big difference.
Standard bumper plates are usually black (but might come in colors), wider, have a steel insert instead of a steel hub bonded to the rubber, and don’t allow you to put as much weight on the bar (largely due to their size). These are good for home gyms and usually cost a bit less, but don’t expect to see them at official competitions.
Competitive bumper plates are thinner, often colored or color-coded, have a steel hub in the center for more durability, and usually have a lower bounce (though not always, be sure to check the Shore A Durometer Rating).
Both are great, and if you’re lifting at home or the gym, then either is great. Standard might be better due to the lower price, but competition allows you to lift more due to the steel hub and thinner design.