Olympic barbells are perhaps the most expensive of the different kinds of barbells. Your other options are standard barbells and powerlifting barbells.
There are lots of reasons why Olympic barbells cost more than others, these are discussed below.
What we're interested in at the moment is how much Olympic barbells actually cost.
Naturally, we can only give you an estimated range. You may be able to find barbells that are more expensive or barbells that are cheaper by looking around online in store or yard or garage sales.
As a very rough guide, Olympic barbells can cost anywhere between $70 to $1500. This is the total range. That means that it considers the low and high outliers.
To narrow that figure down further, the majority of Olympic barbells will cost you in the region of about $150 to $300. This means that the most common cost for Olympic barbells fall within this $150 - $300 range. You can definitely buy barbells that fall outside that median range, but on average you'll spend between $150 and $300.00 on a barbell.
If you're looking to buy barbells for your gym you can often get a bulk discount if you buy a few. However, gym use Olympic barbells tend to be between $200 and $350.00. These barbells are going to be used by lots of different people and thrown all over the place. As such they need to be higher quality and more durable.
Competition level Olympic barbells, that is barbells that are going to be used in the Olympics, Commonwealth Games, Pan American Games, or World Championships, can cost upwards of $1000. These barbells are used in the highest level of competition and need to be the highest quality possible.
If you are new to Olympic lifting, you can probably get away with a bar that costs around about $100. Be wary of bars that cost less than $100 new. This is because the materials are probably lower quality and unable to cope with the demands of lots of weight.
If you buy an Olympic barbell second hand the prices can vary wildly. Some people will drop the price due to the fact that the bar is secondhand, others will try to hike up the price knowing that weightlifting equipment is in demand.
Why Are Olympic Barbells So Expensive?
There are a few reasons why Olympic barbells are so expensive. Mostly, it comes down to the fact that Olympic barbells are high quality and high precision pieces of equipment.
The dimensions for most Olympic barbells have to be precise in terms of the length, weight and diameter. This is because they are used in high level competitions like the Olympics, the Commonwealth Games, The Pan American Games, and the World Championships.
Every competitor has to have an equal chance to win. For this to be the case, the bars need to be as close to identical as possible.
Olympic barbells for men are 7.2 feet long, and they weigh 44 pounds. For women's Olympic barbells are 6.6 feet long and weigh 33 pounds. In terms of diameter, Men’s bars are 1.1 inches, while women's bars are 0.98 inches.
There is almost no room for error in these measurements. This means that the manufacturing process has to be incredibly precise. More precise machinery and materials usually pushes the cost of the final product up.
The other thing that raises the cost of Olympic barbells is the bearings that are found between the shaft and the sleeve. The shaft is the part of the board that you hold the middle part of the bar. The sleeves are the parts on the end of the bar that hold the weights.
In Olympic weightlifting the moves are more dynamic, and they have more explosive energy. This means that the weight plates can build up some centrifugal force on the sleeves. To prevent the weights from throwing the lifter off balance as they spin, the sleeves need to rotate around the shaft.
High quality bearings are used between the shaft and the sleeve to facilitate this rotation. The bearings’ job is to make sure the rotation is smooth and to prevent the bar from spinning in your hand.
Naturally, high-quality bearings raise the price of manufacturing which ultimately raises the price of the Olympic barbells.
Finally, Olympic barbells tend to be heavier and longer than standards bars. They're made from higher grade steel which gives them more tensile strength and more load bearing capabilities.
When it comes to shipping and packaging these barbells, the increased weight and increased size definitely raises the cost of packaging and postage.
What is the Best Barbell for Olympic Lifts?
If you do Olympic lifts, you definitely need an Olympic bar. Olympic bars are designed to cope with the dynamic style of lifting used in Olympic lifting.
When it comes to choosing a barbell, everyone has their own preferences. Some people prefer a specific brand, while others choose their bar based on the tensile and load bearing capabilities.
Our advice for choosing an Olympic barbell is to do plenty of research. We have lots of articles and FAQ's where we give advice and recommendations for lots of different weights, bars, and other equipment. If you have the time and inclination definitely recommend you check out some of those other articles.
That being said there are a few barbell makers who consistently top the list of the best barbells and are frequently used by gyms and athletes around the country.
American Barbells is a massively popular and well-liked company. They make and sell all different kinds of barbells including training bars, gym bars, t-grip bars, and of course Olympic bars.
They're Olympic bars are durable, incredibly well made, but also fairly expensive. The cheapest Olympic bar is a women's training bar that will still set you back over $300.
Another problem brand is Rogue Fitness. Their flagship product, The Ohio Bar is available in Olympic sizes as well as powerlifting and standard sizes.
Rogue’s Ohio bar frequently graces the top ten list for Olympic bars. The bar is robust and approved by the International Weightlifting Federation. It's also beautiful to look at with a black Cerakote finish on the shaft.