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The Rogue Ohio Power Bar is our Top Pick for the Best Power Bar for 2019.
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The Rogue Ohio Power Bar (OPB) has become somewhat of one of the best powerlifting barbells among the powerlifting community in a very short period of time. With its introduction in 2014, the Rogue Ohio Power Bar has quickly become the best value power bar on the market.
I say value because sure, you could spend three times as much and get a "better" bar, but then again, that's a difficult comparison to judge. Does an Eleiko have a better knurl than the Rogue OPB? Not in my experience (they're also much more inconsistent.) The difference between the Rogue OPB and a more expensive power bar will likely come down to the tensile strength of the steel stock. However, for 99.9% of people, the Ohio Power Bar will be strong enough to take anything you can throw at it.
Now, although the Rogue Ohio Power Bar has become the most popular power bar in the world, there was still a variation that people had been asking ever since its introduction. That variation is the one I'm reviewing today...stainless steel.
As discussed above, stainless steel is in all reality the ultimate steel available for a barbell in terms of knurling feel and oxidation resistance. If you train in a garage gym, then you know all too well the difficulty of having to maintain barbells and keep them from developing surface rust. Outside of Cerakote (in my experience), nothing will defend against oxidation like stainless steel.
Although the stainless steel used for the Ohio Power Bar is excellent, the standout feature of all OPB is the knurling. Out of all the power bars I've used (yes, even the overrated Texas Power Bar) the OPB has my favorite knurl. It's aggressive enough dig into the hand, but it's not going to shred them like the cheese grater known as the Okie Deadlift Bar.
More than any other company, Rogue has invested in the tooling, machinery, and research to develop the best knurling possible. Knurling is a very subjective thing as everyone has different preferences, but there has not been a bar with as much universal acceptance as the Rogue OPB.
The knurling on the OPB features four diamond points where ordinarily there would be only one. The way this is likely achieved is by taking two more passes over the knurl that cuts off the top diamond knurl and therefore increasing the surface area and points of contact. This knurl is also used on the center of the bar for adding extra "stick" of the barbell to your back during squats.
Knurling is a hard thing to judge over the internet and really does require the user to actually hold the bar before deciding if they'll like it. That said, I highly recommend this bar, and that's largely due to the outstanding knurl.
The Ohio Power Bar features a 29mm diameter steel shaft that has become the standard for power bars designed to be used for all of the big three power lifts (squat, bench, and deadlift.) If you're used the using the typical 28.5mm diameter shafts, then this will feel better on both the squat and bench. In my training, I do a lot of overhead press, as it's the manliest exercise (don't @ me) and the 29mm diameter shaft is much more comfortable than any of the 28mm Olympic bars I used to use.
The tensile strength of the OPB is 205,000 PSI and has hardly any flex. Yes, this isn't the highest tensile strength of any power bar available, but there are many people much stronger than you or I that use the OPB on a daily basis without any issues. Thanks to the tensile strength as well as the diameter of the shaft, the OPB is very stiff with little flex.
I loaded up over 650 lbs on the bar and raised it out of the rack to test its flex, and there was much less than I expected. For the squat and bench this is great, but for the deadlift, not so much. Then again, that's why many federations utilize a 27mm slinky deadlift bar.
The sleeves of the Stainless Steel Ohio Power Bar are chrome plated. Personally, I'd like to see a slightly more expensive bar that included stainless steel sleeves in addition to the shaft. Ivanko has been making power bars for years that feature both SS shaft and sleeves, and although it would add to the cost, it would make it an even better bar.
The OPB features the same bronze bushings used on many of Rogue's flagship bars that provide a reliable spin, but not too much to impact the path of the bar during use.
Finally, one of the best features of the OPB and one reason I don't suggest purchasing boneyard bars is that the OPB comes with a lifetime warranty from a company that should be around for our lifetimes.
Obviously, this warranty doesn't extend to using the bar in a negligent manner, but Rogue has some of the best customer service in the industry and works until the customer is satisfied.
All in all, I'm a huge fan of the Rogue Ohio Power Bar and the addition of a stainless steel version makes it that much better. If you're looking for the last bar you need to buy and plan to focus on the squat, bench, and deadlift with the occasional power clean, then we HIGHLY recommend the Rogue Ohio Power Bar. If you want oxidation resistance and the best feeling knurl money can buy, grab the stainless steel version.
The Rogue Ohio Power Bar is one of our favorite bars, but there is an improvement we'd like to see, and that is with the sleeves.
As we previously discussed, the bar currently comes with chrome sleeves that is obviously better than say a black zinc, but we'd really like to see the bar include stainless steel sleeves as an extra expense option.
The last improvement we'd like to see is an increase in the tensile strength of the bar stock that's used. Yes, 205k PSI is enough for most people, but if you're striving to make the world's best power bar, you might as well go all out.
This is a topic that requires an in-depth discussion, and as luck would have it for you, we've compared the Rogue Ohio Power Bar vs The Texas Power Bar in extreme depth here for your enjoyment.
However, to summarize a much more lengthy discussion, both the TPB and OPB are quite literally legendary barbells. The Texas Power Bar by Buddy Capps is the most legendary having been around the longest and having the most powerlifting records set while using it above any other bar of all time. However, on paper, the Rogue Ohio Power Bar is simply a better bar. It has higher tensile strength steel, various finish options, better warranty, and a better price.
The knurling is certainly worth arguing over, however, this is very much a personal preference and I will say despite liking both, I prefer the less sharp (noticed I said less sharp, not less aggressive) knurling of the OPB.
Regardless of your choice, the OPB and TPB are outstanding barbells that will satisfy any user regardless of strength levels.
It's been over 2 years since we originally reviewed and began training with the Rogue Ohio Power Bar. Since then, I've not only used a myriad of other Ohio Power Bars including the Black Zinc, Raw, and Cerakote Versions, but I've also used a lot of other bars designed for powerlifting.
Despite the number of bars my hands have seen, the Rogue Ohio Power Bar is still the best overall power bar for most people. Sure, there are other bars that I may like a bit more, but not when the price is considered. For instance, the Kabuki New Gen Power Bar is an absolute beast of a bar with 250K PSI Tensile Strength Steel and a world-class knurl. However, it's in many instances more than double the cost of the OPB and as with most products, the features don't fully keep up with the price increases. We also recently received an Eleiko IPF Powerlifting Competition Bar NxG 20KG, and although it's a tremendous bar, it's not worth nearly 5x the cost of what Rogue's producing.
Here is how the shaft of the Rogue OPB looks where they make contact with the j-cups (the most worn area of any bar) after two years of solid use:
Here's a close-up of some of the best knurling in the industry:
Here's the end cap, not worn too bad, although I'm not in love with how Rogue applies stickers to their end caps:
Here's the bar being used for squats by Will, the strength training wizard:
The Rogue Ohio Power Bar remains not only one of my favorite power bars, but also one of my favorite bars in general. If I only had to choose 5 barbells to live with the rest of my life (rough life, I know,) this would be one of them. The stainless steel is great if you live in a garage and experience fluctuating humidity that leads to rust corrosion, although I think most could get by just fine with the black zinc or even raw steel version.
There are many other bars out that are competitive since we originally wrote this review such as the outstanding Rep Stainless Steel Power Bar EX that we've reviewed among others. However, the Rogue OPB still reigns supreme in our hearts and minds.
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