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General Purpose Barbell Guide

gen purpose barbell guide

The General Purpose Barbell is the barbell for anybody at anytime.

If you're going to buy one bar, this is probably the bar you should buy.

You can deadlift, squat, clean, jerk, snatch, curl (yes, you should curl barbells), press, and throw if you want to.

For the majority of people looking for a barbell, a general purpose barbell will suit them best.

There's a large market for people looking for a general purpose barbell and there's all different price ranges and features.

A few attributes that I think are best for a general purpose barbell are:

  • Price
  • Durability
  • Low Maintenance
  • Medium Knurl
  • Low Whip
  • Strong Steel

Let's Dig In..

General Purpose Barbell Guide



Rogue Chan Bar

Chan Bar

Where to Purchase: Rogue Fitness

In my opinion, the best general purpose bar available is the Rogue Chan Bar, named after Matt Chan, a multi-CrossFit Games Athlete and overall awesome dude.


  • Machined and Assembled in Columbus, OH, USA
  • Lifetime Guarantee Against Bending*
  • Diameter: 28.5mm
  • Dual Knurl Marks for O-Lifts and Power Lifts
  • “Passive” Center Knurl
  • Outer Knurling slightly more aggressive for easier hold during high rep barbell work
  • Available in Murdered Out (Black Zinc with Black Zinc Sleeves)

There's many reasons why I think the Chan bar is the best General Purpose Barbell.

1. Finish Options

Many barbells don't come in hard chrome unless they're a specialty bar like an Eleiko Weightlifting bar. With the Chan bar, you have that option and more.

What I've found with hard chrome bars is that the finish is extremely durable. For me, I don't like spending a lot of time oiling the bar and brushing the knurling. Chrome will resist oxidizing better than any finish I've seen, and it always looks good. Whether chalky or not.

2. Passive Center Knurl.

If all you're doing is high rep barbell work, than a center knurl isn't necessarily something you want. But if you're doing anything behind your neck, you want the extra confidence of a center knurl gripping your shirt.

You want the center knurl to be passive as well, which the Chan bar has.

3. Price

A general barbell needs to have a good price. This is less important in the BEST OF THE BEST category, but the Chan Bar as of this writing is a little bit below $400.

4. Warranty

Rogue Fitness has the best customer service in the industry and this bar comes with a Lifetime Warranty. You can't beat that.

5. Diameter

28.5 mm diameter is good for nearly all applications.

6. Dual Knurl Marks for Powerlifting or Olympic Weightlifting

7. Slightly More Aggressive Outer Knurl

Great for maximum lifts, but not too much for high rep work.

Where to Purchase: Rogue Fitness


American Barbell Training Bar

Ab training bar


A Made in the USA barbell in a chrome finish with free shipping and a lifetime warranty. This is the bar bargain hunters dream of!

Where to Purchase: American Barbell


  • Application: Olympic Weightlifting, Weightlifting, Competition
  • Bushing System
  • Center knurl: No
  • Shaft: Hard Chrome Coating
  • Sleeve: Precision Ground Steel with a Hard Chrome Coating
  • IWF Specification
  • Made in USA
  • Warranty: Limited Lifetime*

Reasons why the American Barbell Training Bar is the BEST VALUE barbell in the General Purpose Category:

1. Finish

American Barbell is using a chrome finish with this bar, which I think is awesome. It not only looks good, but it is very durable as well.

2. Price

< $300 is a decent price for this bar. But, when you see that it comes with Free Shipping like is plastered all over their website, it becomes a pretty good deal.

3. Made in the USA

I love USA made products.

4. Lifetime Warranty

LIFETIME WARRANTY. Nothing makes me happier than this combination of words.

5. Whip

Has a great whip, but not too much. Perfect for general lifting.

6. Tensile Strength

190k tensile strength steel is a steal at this price.

Where to Purchase: American Barbell


Rogue Bar 2.0


The Rogue Bar 2.0 is an absolute workhorse for the price. There's a reason they are the top fitness equipment supplier for people who actually use their equipment.

Where to Purchase: Rogue Fitness


  • Manufactured in Columbus, OH
  • Diameter: 28.5MM
  • Weight: 20KG
  • Dual Knurl Marks for Oly and Power lifts
  • No Center Knurl
  • 190,000 PSI Tensile Strength Steel
  • Composite Bushings for Reliable Spin
  • Machined Grooves with Replaceable Bands
  • Finishes: Black Zinc Shaft, Bright Zinc Sleeves

Things I like:

1. Price

As of this writing the Rogue Bar 2.0 is right around $250. For a barbell like this, that's a steal!

2. Warranty

Rogue has one of the best Lifetime Warranties going. There's other bars that I would say are a little bit cheaper and have the same specs and performance, but can't hold a candle to the warranty Rogue offers.

Bill Henniger has built his company by putting the customer first. It's what has allowed Rogue to be in the top spot as far as equipment manufacturers.

3. Tensile Strength

The Rogue 2.0 uses 190k steel that is great for for olympic weightlifting, powerlifting, bodybuilding, CrossFit, and everything in between. This is a great tensile strength for general purpose lifting and is actually a bar I once owned and only got rid of because I upgraded or sidegraded to the Rogue Ohio Bar which is essentially the same bar, just Made in America, which I personally find to be of importance.

4. Dual Knurl Marks

Both Oly and Powerlifting Knurl marks

5. Whip

Has some whip, but is not overly whippy. Great for just about everything.

6. Durable

Utilizes Bright Zinc Sleeves and a Black Zinc Shaft. This is a durable finish and I especially like the Bright Zinc sleeves as they won't show abuse as bad as a Black Zinc sleeve will

Things I don't like:

1. Finish

They only give you one option and I'm not a huge fan of black zinc as it shows wear quickly.

Where to Purchase: Rogue Fitness

Fringe Sport Bomba V2


Fringe Sport makes some of the best value equipment on the market. The Bomba V2 is no exception They price them really well and you can usually get Free Shipping if you look hard enough.

Where to Purchase: Fringe Sport


  • Full year satisfaction guarantee, with Free Returns
  • 100% made in the USA
  • Black on black on black finish (black zinc)
  • 28.5mm shaft diameter
  • High impact bronze bushing
  • 1200 pound weight capacity
  • 160,000 PSI
  • Great knurl depth- neither cheese grater nor too soft
  • IWF and IPF knurl hash marks

What I Like:

1. Great Price

At around $240 including shipping, it can't be beat.

2. Knurl

Has a good knurl for all purpose workouts. As they say, “neither cheese grater nor too soft.”

3. Bronze Bushings

I really like the use of Bronze Bushings. They last forever, have a decent spin, and look great.

4. Made in the USA

For some this is important, for others they could care less.

5. Dual Knurling Marks

Both IWF and IPF.

6. Warranty

Free returns is a big bonus

What I Dislike.

1. Tensile Strength

The Bomba V2 is listed as having 160k tensile strength. Although this is more than the majority of people will need, I really like to see at least 175k.

2. Warranty

I know I said I like the warranty, which I do for the free returns, but not for it's length. A one year warranty shows me they may not stand behind their product as much as someone with a 5 year warranty.

Where to Purchase: Fringe Sport

Again Faster Team Barbell 2.0

af team barbell

Wow! Again Faster really stepped their game up with this bar.

Where to Purchase: Again Faster


  • 209,000 PSI Ultimate Tensile Strength
  • 6 needle bearing and 4 ball bearing design
  • Meets IWF and IPF specifications for knurl mark spacing
  • Mild to moderate dual knurl marks provide a secure grip and save your hands from high-rep lifting
  • Finish Options: Bright Zinc, Bright Zinc Collar with Black Zinc shaft, All Black Zinc

What I Like:

1. Tensile Strength

209k is a strong piece of steel. Makes me wonder how they're able to sell it for so cheap with such a high tensile strength steel.

2. Bearings

Uses both needle bearing and ball bearings. This provides for a great spin compared to bushings.

3. Knurling Marks

Both IWF and IPF knurl marks

4. Available Finishes

Many zinc finish options

5. Price

One of the best priced all around bars out there. This bad boy was very close to winning the best value bar.

What I dislike:

1. Only Zinc Finishes Available

I would really like to see this available in a chrome finish.

2. Bearings

Bearings in this cheap of a bar scare me. It also scares me that there's a combination of ball and needle bearings. I don't have any evidence as to why I don't like this because I simply haven't seen it before. But having both the ball and needle bearings in this cheap of a bar seem like a potential problem for a locked sleeve. Just my observation.


Again Faster only offers a 1-year warranty on this bar. They do have a 100% Satisfaction Guarantee but in my opinion that's a cop-out so they can easily deny replacing their broken equipment.

Where to Purchase: Again Faster

Vulcan v3.0 Elite Training Barbell


Vulcan 3.0

Great looking barbell. Super high tensile strength steel and a lifetime warranty make this a special bar.

Where to Purchase: Vulcan Strength


  • Chrome Molybdenum steel – (often referred to in the industry as Chrome Moly)
  • Satin Zinc Plated Shaft
  • Chrome Grooved Sleeves
  • IWF Specification Knurling
  • Marks, Shallow Center Knurling
  • Multiple Lubricated Bushing
  • Lifetime Warranty. Warrantied from bending or Sleeves departing during normal use
  • Confirmed Tensile Strength by metallurgical lab analysis : 221,021.8836 psi

What I Like:

1. Tensile Strength

221,21.8836 tensile strength steel. Need I say more?

2. Chrome Moly Steel

This steel is typically used for a wide variety of applications such as to build race car frames, oil rigs, nuclear power plant structure. Crazy strong and durable.

3. Center Knurling

I like a light center knurling for an all around bar. It's great to have for a heavy squat.

4. Lifetime Warranty

I've never dealt or heard of Vulcan's customer service so their Lifetime Warranty may be for only very specific things. But I still like the confidence of knowing it's there.

Things I Dislike

1. Sharp Knurling

This knurling is great for a strictly weightlifting bar, but in my opinion is a little too sharp for an all around bar.

2. Finish

I like a zinc finish bar, but I like when there's multiple options and they only give you one. Zinc.

3. Price

This bad boy is pretty expensive. More expensive than I think it should be. It runs a little less than $400, which for the amount of bar you get, seems a little high.

Where to Purchase: Vulcan Strength

Eleiko Sport Training Bar

sport training bar

It's an Eleiko. Therefore you know it's going to be good. It just seems way overpriced.

Where to Purchase: Eleiko Shop


  • 8 Precision Bearings
  • 215,000 PSI Swedish Steel
  • Built to Last a Lifetime
  • Fully Quality Tested
  • 10 Years Warranty

What I Like:

1. It's an Eleiko

Eleiko makes the best barbells in the world. Period.

2. Tensile Strength

210k. Very high, and very strong.

3. Finish

Chrome finish. The best finish there is in my opinion.

4. Needle Bearings.

Has a high spin, a little too high for an all around bar, but not way too much.

What I Dislike:

1. Knurling

Although they filed the knurling down a bit with this bar, it's still a little too sharp.

2. Price

Overpriced in my opinion. Great bar, but too much for an all arounder.

Where to Purchase: Eleiko Shop

CAP Barbell Olympic Bar

cap barbell


Probably the best bar you can buy for under $150.

Where to Purchase: Amazon


  • Accommodates 2-Inch Olympic plates
  • 1000-Pound weight capacity
  • Black oxide finish with polished steel sleeves
  • Medium-depth diamond knurl

What I Like:

1. Price

Sitting a little under $150 with free shipping from Amazon is crazy. Granted the bar isn't the best, but it's not meant to be. It's for the person who doesn't want to spend a ton of money, doesn't plan on using

Where to Purchase: Amazon

Get Rx'd Stealth Bar

stealth bar


Quality features with a good price from a company who's been around for a little while.

Where to Purchase: Get Rx'd


  • Bronze Bushings
  • Lifetime Warranty
  • Hard Chrome or Black ZincCoating
  • 216K PSI Tensile Strength
  • Gold band on Men's collars for easy identification

What I like:

1. Price

At under $300, this bar is a great price.

2. Finish

Has a hard chrome finish option which is my personal favorite.

3. Knurling Marks

Multiple Knurl marks

4. Tensile Strength

Super high tensile strength. Possibly unnecessarily high.

What I dislike:

1. Unknown Manufacturing Location

This most likely means it was made in China like many other bars out there and is simply a copy of other bars on the market.

2. No Center Knurl

This is a preference, but for me, I really like a passive center knurl.

Where to Purchase: Get Rx'd

Train On,


About Coop

Hello fellow fitness fanatics and equipment fueled fiends. I'm Coop and when not training I can be found mostly operating other entrepreneurial ventures including my gym Intentional Fitness & Performance, spending time with my Wife and family, and worshipping my risen Savior. You can find more about me here.

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