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How do I choose the right Bumper Plate Set?

By Richard McKay March 21, 2023

If you've ever stepped foot in a gym, you've probably seen bumper plates. They're those big, thick weight plates used for Olympic lifting. Bumper plates are essential for anyone wanting to do this type of lifting, but there are a few things to consider before purchasing your own set.

This article will cover everything you need to know about choosing the right bumper plate set for your training. So if you're getting ready to buy some new bumper plates, this is a great place to start.

What is a Bumper Plate Set?

A bumper plate is weightlifting equipment made from dense rubber with an encased steel ring. Unlike cast iron or steel plates, bumper plates are meant to be dropped without damaging the floor or your weights. The high density rubber material absorbs shock preventing damage or injury.  Bumper plates have become increasingly popular in recent years as they make it easier and safer to lift heavier weights while protecting the gym floor and other equipment.

Home gym owners also benefit from bumper plates since they are designed to reduce noise during weightlifting sessions. Bumper plates come in various weights, from 2.5kg up to 25kg or more. They are available in both black and coloured design varieties, with the latter being typically used for competition purposes.  Bumper plate sets are more cost effective than buying a single plate and you will get much more use out of a variety of weights than a single unit.


Most home gym owners will choose a combination of weights depending on their needs. For instance, if you are starting out with weightlifting, you may go for two 5 kg plates and two 10 kg plates. You could combine heavier plates up to 25kg each if you are more advanced. Bumper plates can also be stacked onto a barbell to increase the total weight.

Benefits of Using a Bumper Plate 

If you're an avid gym-goer or a fitness enthusiast, you know the importance of owning quality equipment and accessories to help you reach your goals. Here's why you should use bumper plate sets:

1. Bounce of bumper plates

A bumper plate is designed to be dropped from overhead when lifting. This feature helps reduce the risk of damage to floors and equipment while allowing you to perform heavy lifts safely.

The plates also have a unique bounce that can help generate more power when lifting, potentially helping you lift heavier weights with more control and precision. It's perfect for Olympic lifts, powerlifting exercises, and more. The bounce of bumper plates also makes them ideal for dynamic movements like jump squats or box jumps.

2. Colourful options

Colourful bumper plates can be great for those looking to add a personal touch to their home gym. Not only are they aesthetically pleasing, but having the option to choose from various colours can help identify different weights. Some bumper plate sets have colour-coded rings around the edge, making it easier to differentiate between the different increments.

A colourful selection of bumper plates can also motivate you when working out. You may have an extra drive to increase the weight as you move up in colour. Whether you're a competitive lifter or want to build strength and muscle, adding some colour to your workout can be an effective way to liven up routine lifts.

3. Size uniformity

Bumper plate sets are designed to be uniform in size, which is important if you plan to store them on a rack or shelf. Due to their uniformity, they take up less space than individual plates and are easier to manage and organise. This allows you to have more room for other pieces of equipment and makes your home gym look neat and tidy. This has two distinct benefits:

  • You'll easily identify which weight you need when it comes time to lift

  • You won't have to worry about fumbling with a bunch of plates when setting up your lifts and switching plates

  • They will be consistent with the barbell size you use (bumpers tend to have a 2 inch diameter)

Having a uniform bumper plate set will make your workouts smoother and more efficient, so you can focus on getting the most out of each session.

4. Durability

One of the main benefits of bumper plate sets is that they are extremely durable. The rubber construction makes them resistant to extreme temperatures, tearing, and cracking. This means you won't need to replace them as often as you would with traditional plates. Bumper plates can also withstand multiple drops without sustaining damage, making them a great investment if you plan to lift heavy.


5. Price

Bumper plate sets can be more expensive than traditional iron or steel bumpers, but they are a must-have for any home gym. The investment is worth it, as bumper plates will last longer and help make your workouts safer. The original price of your plates may vary depending on the brand, weight, and material. Consider purchasing plates on the higher end of your budget, as this will help ensure you get the best quality for your money. Additionally, buying in sets can help save money over time.


As you can see, bumper plate sets are an excellent choice for those serious about their fitness journey. Not only do they offer a wide range of benefits, but they can also improve your overall performance and help you reach your goals faster.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Bumper Plate Set

When choosing the right bumper plate for your workouts, there are a few important factors to consider. Here are some things you should keep in mind when selecting a bumper plate:

  • Weight range - If you’re starting out, look for a starter set with multiple plates of different weights so you can easily adjust the load on each lift. As you become more experienced, you can purchase additional plates to increase the weight range of your workouts. A bumper plate's featured weight should never exceed your equipment's maximum weight capacity.

  • Noise Level - You’ll want to consider the noise level of any bumper plate you’re considering. Some plates are designed to create less noise, while others may be louder. Remember that if you’re using them in a shared space, such as a home gym, it’s best to choose plates that absorb sound rather than amplify it.

  • Quality of materials - Look for bumper plate sets made of high-quality rubber or urethane that won’t chip or damage the flooring when dropped. Also, make sure to choose durable plates so they don’t become warped or cracked over time with heavy use. 

  • Accuracy of weight - Check the accuracy of each plate to make sure you’re lifting the load you think you are. The weight packages should also be labelled and identified, so you don’t have to guess which plates are which when setting up your workout station.

  • Compatibility - Make sure your bumper plates are compatible with your equipment, especially if it’s an Olympic barbell. Most standard Olympic plates fit into any barbell, but others may require specific measurements. You need to note the inside diameter of the plate before ordering. Olympic barbells have a 2 inch diameter so check that your bumper plates also have this.  

  • Cost - Consider how much you’re willing to spend on your bumper plates. Cheaper plates may be tempting, but you may have to replace them more often if they don’t hold up well with heavy use. Quality plates can last years, so investing in a good set is worth it.

When choosing the right bumper plate set for your workouts, there are a few important factors to consider. From the weight range and noise level to the quality of materials and accuracy of weights, you want to ensure you’re getting the best for your money. Also, be sure that any plates you get are compatible with your equipment and within your budget. Doing this research ahead of time will help ensure that you select the right bumper plates for your needs.

Different Types of Bumper Plate Sets

There are a few different types you can choose from regarding bumper plates. Here is an overview of the different options:

Steel bumper plates

Steel bumper plates are the most common type and are typically the least expensive. They’re also durable, making them a great option for gym owners who want to invest in heavy-duty equipment that won’t need to be replaced often. Steel plates are great for weightlifting and powerlifting, but they are not recommended for Olympic lifting due to their lack of bounce.  One of the drawbacks with steel plates is noise.  

They can be loud and disruptive in places such as Garage gyms where sound can travel and disturb others.  Steel plates may also become damaged easier and not last as long as alternative options.

Urethane bumper plates

Urethane bumper plates are a bit more expensive than steel plates but are worth the price. They have a much thick coating, which gives them better cushioning when you drop your weights. They also don’t bounce as much as steel plates, which can be an issue if you don’t have enough space in your home gym setting. Urethane plates are also more durable and can handle multiple drops without showing signs of wear and tear.  They can vary greatly in price by design, size and weight.

Rubber bumper plates

Rubber bumper plates are usually the most expensive type of bumper plate. They are made from a combination of rubber and steel, which makes them incredibly durable and able to withstand a lot of weight. Rubber bumper plates are typically used in Powerlifting competitions and Crossfit gyms because they provide the best grip for athletes performing heavy lifts.


Choosing the right bumper plate set can make a big difference in your workout. You want to ensure you get the best value for your money and the right plates for your goals. Consider your budget, environment, and goals when selecting which type of bumper plate best suits your needs. So, whether you’re looking for a new set of plates for your home gym or need to upgrade the equipment in your commercial facility, make sure you choose wisely for optimal safety and performance.

You may also be interested in reading:

8 Ways to use a Hex Bar in your Workouts

How to choose the perfect Barbell Shelf: 9 Quick Tips

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