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If you own a set of bumper plates, then you’re probably already familiar with barbell collars.
The ones that come with weight sets are simple – spring-loaded pieces that resemble hand-strengthening equipment designed to hold weight plates in place on dumbbells and bars.
You don’t give these little things a second thought until you forget them and your weights are hitting the floor.
As with most exercise equipment, not all barbell collars are created equal. Let’s take a look at what you should look for and our reviews of some of the best barbell collars on the market today.
- Clout Fitness Quick Release Locking Barbell Clamps
- Lock-Jaw Hex 50mm/2” Olympic Barbell Collar
- Greententijs Olympic Barbell Clamps
- Iheartsynergee Aluminium Barbell Collars
What Are Olympic Barbell Collars?
As their name suggests, Olympic barbell collars are designed to keep your weights in place on Olympic barbells.
Unlike standard barbells, the bar is actually two inches in diameter, capable of handing more weight safely than a standard bar.
If you’ve purchased an Olympic barbell with a set of plates, chances are you have some classic spring-style colors.
These may be the ones that you’re most familiar with – they’re cheap, you see them everywhere and they can be effective when used properly.
The downside is that they tend to be difficult to use if you don’t have a lot of hand strength, and they tend to lose tension over time.
How to Use Barbell Collars?
Using barbell collars is simple but necessary, especially if you’re lifting a lot of weight.
All you need to do is load your bar, then slip the barbell collar onto the bar to secure the plates in place.
The exact method of tightening will depend on the barbell collars that you choose. Some screw down, others uses pressure clips, springs, or even velcro to secure the plates on the bar while you’re lifting.
Benefits of Barbell Collars
The primary benefit of using barbell collars is that it keeps you from losing your plates while you’re lifting.
Ideally, you want to make sure that you’re keeping your bar balanced to ensure proper form, but anyone who’s ever lifted a bar knows that it doesn’t always work that way.
Without barbell collars, if you lean too far to one side or the other, your plates will slip off the bar, hitting the floor and potentially damaging both the plates and the floor itself.
Ease of use is also a benefit that you might want to consider.
Traditional spring collars are tough to use unless your hands are strong. For those lacking in hand strength, different locking mechanisms are easier to use and more secure.
Considerations Before Buying
While buying barbell collars might seem pretty straightforward, there are a few things that you need to consider before making your final purchase, including:
- Material – Barbell collars can be made of anything from hard plastic to metal and some are more durable than others. If you’re worried about scratching your bar, avoid the metal collars, or those that don’t have a liner to prevent scratches.
- Durability – As with most exercise equipment, not all barbell collars are created equal. Look for collars made from durable materials that have good reviews on the site that you’re purchasing them from. Sometimes experience is the best teacher, and you can use the experiences of other to keep you from making a costly mistake.
- Locking Mechanism – How do the collars lock onto the bar? Look for a collar that will keep your plates secure, but one that is easy for you to use. Many use pressure switches to lock the collars in place, while others use velcro or hex keys to lock the collars down.
- Size – All of the barbell collars that we’re going to review today are designed for olympic bars with a diameter of 2 inches. If you’ve got a standard weight bar with a smaller diameter – standard bars are usually 1 inch thick and hold smaller plates – you’ll need to find some other collar options.
- Weight – This isn’t usually a problem – most barbell collars don’t weigh more than a couple of ounces each, but if you’re concerned about the additional weight, collars made of rubber or plastic tend to weigh less and might be a better option for your needs.
It may also be worth looking into whether or not your seller offers a warranty on their product, in case of failure due to manufacturer defect.
Top Barbell Collars Reviewed
Let’s take a closer look at some of the best olympic barbell collars on the market today and see what sets them apart from other similar products.
Clout Fitness Quick Release Locking Barbell Clamps
These simple ABS plastic barbell collars might not look like much, but they’re some of the most highly reviewed collars on the market.
They use a quick release/quick clamp design that makes it simple to change plates whenp design that makes it simple to change plates during even the most intense workout.
The interior of each collar is designed to grip the bar so they don’t slip, even if you do.
If making sure that all of your workout equipment matches is important to you, these collars come in multiple colors – black, blue, red and green, to name a few.
These collars also come as a pair, and are fairly inexpensive so it’s easy to pick one up for each of your bars rather than switching them between bars during a workout.
They will fit any olympic or speciality bar with a diameter of up to 2 inches.
Lock-Jaw Hex 50mm/2” Olympic Barbell Collar
These lightweight barbell collars are crafted from a proprietary blend of materials and are ideal for anyone who wants to make sure that their plates aren’t going to shake loose but don’t want to add any extra weight to the bar that could throw off their workout.
They are easy to slip on and off the end of the bar, but once they’re locked down they aren’t going to move until you release them, no matter how much weight you’re lifting.
These collars are ideal for use in a variety of applications and workouts, from your home gym to a professional competitive setting.
Plus you’ll never need to worry about losing them because they blend in with the gray floor of your gym.
They come in bright neon colors so they’ll always be easy to spot.
Greententijs Olympic Barbell Clamps
If you like having color options, you can’t go wrong with these barbell collars which come in 12 color options from black and gray to neon green and yellow.
They are designed to fit 2-inch olympic or specialty bars, and are crafted from a combination of ABS plastic and nylon for maximum durability.
They hold your plates securely, but are designed to be locked and unlocked one handed for ease of use
These collars won’t lose tension like the spring-style collars that you might be used to. They’re designed to provide the same secure hold for years to come, and if you’re not satisfied with the product, the seller provides a satisfaction guarantee so you can just return it, no questions asked.
Iheartsynergee Aluminium Barbell Collars
These olympic style barbell collars are the only metal ones on our list which provides superior durability.
The lock is made of ABS plastic and the interior of the collar is lined with rubber to provide the best hold while protecting your bar from scratches.
In spite of being made from metal – in this case, aluminium – these collars are lightweight and won’t add any extra drag to your workout.
Iheartsynergee provides a lifetime guarantee for their barbell collars, so if there are ever any problems with them you can easily return them or get a replacement.
They only come in three colors – red, black and gray – so if color is important to you these might not be the best choice.
If quality and durability are more important than color, iheartsynergee’s barbell collars are one of the best on the market and should be on your list.
Wrapping It Up
Whether you’re lifting 3 pounds or 300 pounds, you don’t want to start your workout without a set of barbell collars securely in place.
A good set of collars will keep you, your spotter and your floor safe from falling plates if something becomes unbalanced.
You’re not stuck with the basic spring-style collars that came with your bar.
A new, high quality set is relatively inexpensive and if you invest in a high quality pair, they will serve you well for years to come.