The right barbell collars make your workouts safer so that you can focus on crushing your PR’s instead of falling or wobbly weight plates. Read on for the best barbell collars and get to lifting.
Barbell clamps are one of the less talked-about pieces of workout equipment.
These simple-looking devices perform more functions than you might realize.
Protect your barbell. For big compound exercises, like snatches, the clamps keep the plates from wiggling and bouncing on the bar, protecting those expensive Olympic barbells from damage.
Collars keep the plates securely fastened in place. This is job number one. Barbell collars keep plates where they are supposed to be so that you can focus exclusively on form and smashing PRs. Plates don’t need to fall off the barbell to be a safety hazard—plates that slide, even just a few inches, drastically change the balance of the bar, putting you at risk and changing the nature of the exercise itself.
Barbell clamps should be strong yet light. Collars add weight to the bar. Some of them are heavier than others. Most are made of light yet durable aluminum and plastic.
Speed of fastening. Nobody wants to spend half their workout struggling to pull off collars so that they can change the weight on the bar. Fastening speed matters.
Toughness. Barbell collars are designed to secure plates while also taking a beating. Spring collars (the old school version commonly seen in gyms) lose tension after a while.
Reduce noise. Clamps on a barbell loaded with iron plates keeps the plates from slamming into each other. Not a huge deal at the gym, but at home, with kids sleeping down the hall, clamping (and using a set of deadlift pads) can significantly reduce the clangin’ and bangin’.
I’ve broken down the best barbell clamps below.
Included are spring collars (the O.G. clamp, and the one you see most at the gym), along with hard plastic collars, clamps, and more.
No matter what kind of lifting you do, you will find a barbell collar here for your goals and training.
Let’s get into it.
Dark Iron Fitness Muscle Clamps
The Dark Iron Fitness Barbell Collar Clamps are designed to do work in the gym. Made with highly-durable molded polyester, the clamps fit on standard 2” Olympic bars and are a pinch to slide on and off.
When you push the clamp up against the plate and “screw” it into a locked position, give the plates a little wiggle—you will immediately notice how well the clamps keep them tight and secure.
Pick up a pair for your home gym set-up or throw them into your gym duffel bag. The clamps are light, wildly durable, and give you the piece of mind that comes from having the plates on the bar being held steadfast.
Valor Fitness Muscle Clamps for Olympic Barbells
Another barbell collar that functions as a clamp is the Valor Fitness Muscle Clamp. Designed for Olympic barbells (2” diameter), the clamps come in a pair and the rugged construction helps keep your weight plates securely fastened without scratching our damaging the bar.
Easy to slide on and off, throw a set of these clamps in with your water bottle and pre-workout the next time you head to the gym and don’t sweat having to track down a pair of clamps.
Lock-Jaw Pro 2 Barbell Collar
I’ve become a huge fan of this form of barbell collar. They are super easy to put on and off the bar, last forever, and come in a variety of colors to match the aesthetics of your home or garage gym.
The Lock-Jaw 2 is a 50% upgrade in locking strength from its predecessor. Large clamps make locking and unlocking the collar a piece of cake.
Simple, effective, and super-fast to put on the bar, the Lock-Jaw PRO 2 Barbell Collar keeps the plates in place so that you can focus on tacking your PRs in the gym.
Synergee Aluminum Barbell Collars
Synergee is one of my favorite manufacturers of workout equipment. My current Olympic barbell of choice is made by them, and these collars fit perfectly on the bar.
While the collar is made mostly of high-grade, durable aluminum, the inside of the collar—the part that holds flush against the bar—is rubberized to keep the collar secure. The collar fastens with a latch that prevents the plates from moving.
One of the reasons I love Synergee is their customer service—they’ve always been Johnny-on-the-Spot with responding to questions and emails, making these collars a risk-free investment in my home gym.
The Synergee Aluminum Barbell Collars come in a pair and are available in black and silver finish.
Iron Bull Olympic Barbell Clamps
Iron Bull is another company whose gear I absolutely love. I religiously use and recommend their hip thrust pad for doing loaded hip thrusts at the gym.
The Iron Bull collars come in a wide variety of colors (I like that), can be secured and unfastened with one finger (I like that, too), and they fully back their products (I extra like that, too).
Designed for two-inch Olympic barbells, the one-piece lock collar has 100% nylon jaws that clamp down and don’t slide on the bar, keeping your bumper plates locked and loaded while you train.
CAP Barbell Olympic Spring Collars
We can’t have a list of the best barbell collars without a nod to the O.G., the one that started it all, the spring clip collar. CAP Barbell makes an excellent affordable set.
While they aren’t as easy to use as the plastic levered collars, if you have the grip strength, they are the most affordable option, particularly ideal if you don’t have to use them endlessly over the course of a workout (doing super-sets, for example, where you are continually adjusting the weight on the barbell).
Reviewers consistently note that the collars are hard to put on and off (you need to squeeze them all the way until you get to the plates; same thing when taking them off), but if you are okay with that, you can’t beat the security you get on the bar.
The springs last surprisingly long (but the tension will wear after a few years of regular use) and the plastic handle makes it a little easier to open the spring.
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