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Bumper Plate Buying Guide: Everything You Need to Know Before You Buy

July 19, 2023 4 min read

Bumper Plate Buying Guide: Everything You Need to Know Before You Buy

If you're looking to up your weightlifting game, bumper plates are a must-have for your home gym or commercial facility. Not only do they protect your floor and equipment from damage, but they also allow for a safer and more efficient lifting experience. But with so many options on the market, it can be overwhelming to know where to start when it comes to buying bumper plates. That's where this bumper plate buying guide comes in. We'll cover everything you need to know before you make your purchase, including types of bumper plates, important features to consider, and how to choose the right weight for your needs.

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Types of Bumper Plates

There are several types of bumper plates to choose from, each with its own unique features and benefits. The most common types are solid rubber, virgin rubber, and recycled rubber plates. Here's a quick overview of each type:

  • Solid rubber plates: These plates are made entirely of solid rubber and are the most durable option on the market. They can handle the most weight and abuse, making them a popular choice for commercial gyms. However, they are also the most expensive option.
  • Virgin rubber plates: Virgin rubber plates are made from new rubber and offer a good balance of durability and affordability. They are a good choice for home gyms and light commercial use.
  • Recycled rubber plates: As the name suggests, recycled rubber plates are made from recycled rubber materials. They are the most affordable option, but also the least durable. They are best suited for light home use or as a starter set for beginners.
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Important Features to Consider

When shopping for bumper plates, there are a few key features to consider in order to find the best option for your needs:

  • Diameter: Bumper plates are available in different diameters, with 450mm being the standard size. If you have limited space in your gym or plan on using the plates with a barbell, it's important to make sure the diameter of the plates will fit on the bar and in your space.
  • Weight tolerance: Look for bumper plates with a tight weight tolerance, meaning the actual weight of the plate is within a close range of the labeled weight. This ensures accuracy when tracking your progress and helps with consistent lifting form.
  • Insert type: The insert is the center part of the bumper plate that fits onto the barbell. There are two types of inserts to choose from: brass and stainless steel. Brass inserts are more durable and tend to be more expensive, while stainless steel inserts are less expensive but may not last as long.
  • Durability: As mentioned earlier, solid rubber plates are the most durable option, but they also come with a higher price tag. If you're on a budget, virgin rubber or recycled rubber plates can still offer good durability, but they may not hold up as well under heavy use or extreme conditions.

Choosing the Right Weight

When it comes to choosing the right weight for your bumper plates, it's important to consider your strength levels and goals.If you're just starting out with weightlifting, it's a good idea to start with a lower weight and gradually increase as you build strength. A common rule of thumb is to start with a weight that allows you to perform 8-12 reps with good form. As you progress, you can increase the weight to the point where you can only perform 5-8 reps with good form. This will help you progressively overload your muscles and see continuous progress.

In terms of the actual weight of the plates, a good starting point for a home gym is a set of 10-15kg plates for women and 15-20kg plates for men. From there, you can add additional plates in 5kg increments as needed. For example, a common set for a home gym might include:

  • 2x 10kg plates
  • 2x 15kg plates
  • 2x 20kg plates

Keep in mind that bumper plates can be expensive, so it's important to plan out your purchase and only buy what you need. It's better to start with a smaller set and add more plates as needed, rather than trying to buy everything at once and breaking the bank.


Bumper plates are a valuable addition to any weightlifting setup, offering protection for your equipment and floor while also allowing for a safer and more efficient lifting experience. By considering the types of bumper plates available, important features to look for, and the right weight for your needs, you can find the perfect set of bumper plates to help you reach your strength and fitness goals. Don't be afraid to invest in a quality set of bumper plates – they'll pay for themselves in the long run by protecting your equipment and providing a reliable lifting experience for years to come.

With this bumper plate buying guide, you should have all the information you need to make an informed decision on your next purchase. Remember to consider the type of rubber, weight tolerance, insert type, and durability when shopping for bumper plates, and choose the weight that's right for your strength levels and goals. Happy lifting!