The 4 Best Deadlift Bar Compared (And our #1 Choice)

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As a collegiate athlete who has trained in several small to world-class CrossFit gyms, I want to share my thoughts on different Deadlift Bars I have used along the way of my CrossFit journey.

In this article, you’ll learn:

  • What is a Deadlift Bar
  • Differences Between Deadlift and Standard Bars
  • What to look for in a deadlift bar
  • Which is the Best Deadlift Bar

What is a Deadlift Bar

A deadlift bar is a specialty barbell designed for deadline higher amounts of weight. These barbells are longer in overall length and thinner in diameter than standard barbells allowing you as a lifter to improve the grip and increase the whip when you’re pulling the bar up.

This increase in flexibility means that athletes and lifters are able to pull from a higher point before the weight is off the ground, increasing the amount of weight a person can lift. As there is bend in the bar, this means you are pulling for less distance. This increases the chances of you beating your current max effort pull.

Differences Between Deadlift and Standard Barbells

The main difference is that standard barbells are the smaller diameters. This allows lifters to grip much better and hold heavier weights without resorting to using straps, chalk or mixed grip.

As you lift more weight for your deadlift, the more the barbell will bend and more whip you’ll have. With the additional 90 inches in length compared to a standard barbell that is around 86 inches in length, the more whip you will get.

This allows you to lift more weight with less effort and that is why it feels easier to deadlift when using a deadlift bar.

With the aggressive knurling and the thinner diameter of 27-28mm compared to the standard Olympic barbell diameter of 29mm, the bar is designed in a way to maximize the amount of weight you can lift up for a deadlift. In comparison to a standard barbell where it is balanced for all kinds of lifts including squats and bench press.

What to look for in a deadlift bar

Aggressive Knurling

Every barbell has some kind of knurling as it increases friction making the barbell easier to hold and less likely for it to slip from your hands.

But there are differences in the type of knurling depending on the purpose of the barbell.

Knurling Width

Barbells designed for CrossFit usually have little or no knurling in the middle. This is because it makes the barbell comfortable to catch on Olympic lifts. 

On the other end, if the barbells are completely knurled, this is perfect for powerlifting such as deadlift. It allows you to mix up where you put your hands without losing your grip. Perfect for close grip deadlifts and sumo deadlifts.

Knurling Depth

Deadlift Barbells have the deepest knurling which allows you to have better grip. This is crucial as grip strength is usually the biggest weakness of many elite crossfitters. The downside of having aggressive knurling is that it creates more irritation on the skin and may damage your clothes.

Finish

The finish is an important aspect of how long your barbell will last. Keep in mind that the finish may be different from the finish of the sleeves.

Because of the mechanical damage that may happen from dropping the bar and plate friction and also the potential chemical damage caused by the moisture and sweat, you will want to have your bar rust-resistant.

However, the finish you choose will also affect the overall grip.

Here are the kinds of finish available:

Bare Steel – When you’re using bare steel, the knurling feels like glue as there is no coating interference. However, they are more prone to rust. If you train or live in a humid environment, you’ll need to oil it regularly to limit the oxidation from the bar.

Black Zinc / Bright Zinc – The black zinc shaft and right zinc sleeves offer a better corrosion resistance. You won’t get the natural feel of bare steel because of the zinc coating, but you’ll still get a similar grip feeling.

You won’t need to do as much maintenance as the bare steel, however we recommend brushing your bars with oil monthly .

Cerakote – Cerakote is one the newer versions of the Ohio Power Bar. It’s gained in popularity because of aesthetic qualities and resistance to oxidation. Cerakote can be customized with patterns, colors, and logos making it ideal for schools, sports teams, businesses, and gyms.

Stainless Steel / Chrome – Stainless Steel provides a maximum amount of rust resistance however you do feel less of the knurl. It feels more slipperier however you won’t have to worry about oiling and maintaining it as often.

Rotation, Bushings, Bearings 

Deadlift barbells have rotating bushings/bearings and sleeves which reduces the overall amount of torque and relieves it’s joints. The barbell also flexes when under heavy tension which creates the ‘whip’.

These bushing and bearings between the outer (rotating) and inner (static) sleeve of the barbell. Without them the rotation would create too much friction, preventing smooth rotation, wearing the barbell down.

Bushings are much simpler as they are just bronze rings and brass, that sit between outer and inner sleeve, smoothing out the rotation.

For bearings, there are three different types including needle, thrust, ball. Usually barbells with needle bearings combined with bushings for the best deadlift lifting experience.

Bushing barbells are better for slower types of lifts such as deadlifts. Bearings are better for explosive lifts such as power cleans and snatches as it has more spins. 

Yield vs. Tensile vs. Test Strength

Yield Strength, Tensile Strength, and Test Strength all play the part of how durable the barbells will be. 

  • Yield Strength is the “deformation” weight or the maximal amount of weight the bar can handle before it permanently bends.
  • Tensile Strength is the maximum amount of weight that the bar can hold without it breaking
  • Test Strength is the maximum amount of weight that the manufacturer has tested on it

The higher the durability, the less damage it will take on normal crossfit lifting.

Load Capacity

Barbell load capacity is figured out by the length of the ‘sleeve’ which you stack plates. The longer the weight sleeve is the more plates it can hold.

However, different types of weight plates also determine how much you can load on the bar. Powerlifting weights are thin but allow you to stack them easily. 

Whip Of The Bar 

The ability of the bar to flex under tension, absorbing, and returning energy is an important feature of the bar. This is crucial for many lifts as lifters use this spring up and pull up the weight. 

Barbell material and the diameter are the most important factors that determine the amount of whip a bar has.

Which is the Best Deadlift Bar?

#1- The Rogue Ohio Bar

In 2015, Rogue Fitness created and released the Ohio Power Bar. It was the next generation of the older Rogue Power Bar, the only self-branded powerlifting bar by Rogue. At this time, Rogue only sold Rogue Power and Westside that had very similar specifications.

These power bars were underwhelming because it was only available in black zinc and the tensile strength was below average. With other competitors on the market and an expensive price tag, The Old Rogue Power Bar was not as popular as it is with the Ohio Power Bar Today.

Now it has expanded with the bar having over a 50,000 PSI tensile strength increase (205,000 PSI) with several finishes, multiple weights, at a lower starting price.

These power bars have become a staple in all fitness and home gyms.

Their Ohio Power Bar has a classic barbell design with a black zinc finish. This improves the overall durability and reduces the amount of chipping and rusting that most cheaper brands face.

The 29MM diameter steel shaft has a tensile strength of 205,000 PSI, meaning it can withstand loads of over 1500 lbs. With zero whip or flex and superior rigidity, this is the best bar to use if you’re looking to squat or bench press.

The aggressive knurling is present in all the Ohio Power Bars. Its deep, coarse pattern provides the reliable grip that you need when you are lifting heavy weights, without being abrasive or sharp. 

If you’re looking to increase your personal records for your squats and benching, the Rogue Ohio bar is definitely made for you.

Pros

  • Lifetime warranty against any bending
  • Same day shipping
  • Aggressive knurling that ensures your grip doesn’t slip when you lift heavy weights
  • 16.25” loadable sleeve length meaning you have more room to put more bumper plates 

Cons

  • The sleeves are made with grooves which creates a zipping noise when you are loading and unloading the plates. This could be an issue.

The Standard Ohio Power Bar specifications are:

Length: 86.5 ” (219 cm)
Weight: 20 kg (45 lbs)
Diameter: 29 mm
Weight Load Capacity: 1500 lbs
Tensile Strength: 205,000 psi
Shaft Material: Varies from bare steel, zinc, e-coat, cerakote, and stainless

#2-Texas Deadlift Bar

The Texas Power Bar was first created and manufactured by Buddy Capps over 40 years ago. Back in the 1960s, the Olympic Bars had hardly on the grip as the knurling was so light and slick. The sleeves held on the bar had a threaded end cap and an inside collar held in place together with a set screw.

The goal was to create a barbel that would have better knurling for improved grip and sleeves that wouldn’t slide into the center. This would reduce the maintenance meaning the bar would be more durable.

That’s how the Texas Power Bar was created.

Each shaft is knurled to create the best grip in the industry. The black zinc and chrome plating finishes prevent the bar from rusting. With over 180 K Tensile Strength, the barbell will hold up heavy weights with ease, so you never have to worry about a bar falling apart mid lift.

This bar has continued to set and break state, national, international, and world powerlifting records, so you know these power bars are among the best in the market.

It is designed to handle heavy loads with minimal whip. All the powerlifting federations approve this Texas Power Bar for competition standards.

The knurling quality of the barbel is detailed, sharp, and consistent and utilizes a pyramid style. 

This style is perfect for many advanced lifters as it gives the feeling of precision and grip needed, so it stays in your hands during a heavy pull. 

However, it may also create and rip off existing calluses.

Measuring at a shorter 28.5mm diameter in comparison to other standard power bars, the thin feel gives a sense that you have more control over the bar that is perfect for deadlifts.

With the Chrome and Black Zinc Coating finish that protects the bar from rust and a 10 Year Warranty, you’ll never need another barbell ever again.

The Standard Texas Power Bar specifications are:

Length – 84” (213 cm)
Weight: 20 kg (45 lbs)
Diameter: 28.55 mm
Weight Load Capacity: 1500 lbs
Tensile Strength: 186,000 psi
Shaft Material: Sprung Tempered Steel with a Zinc Plated Finish

Pros

  • The 186 K PSI Tensile Strength reduces the bar whip that occurs when you’re lifting heavier weights.
  • Approved by All Powerlifting Federations and Competitions
  • The bar that has broken many powerlifting records
  • The bushings in the collars allow for a smoother spin
  • Versatile for all types of Barbell Exercises
  • Dependable and Durable – Will Last For Decades.

Cons

  • Newer power barbells now have a higher tensile strength.
  • Shorter bar diameter and sleeve length than standard power barbells

#3-Okie Deadlift Bar

The Okie Deadlift Bar is made specifically for lifting heavy weights off the floor, the deadlift. There are few other bars in the world that are as versatile as the Okie Deadlift Bar.

As this bar is made specifically made to deadlift, there are features that are optimized so you lift more. As the majority of barbells are produced at 28.5mm, the Okie Deadlift Bar is made at 27mm. 

The most important feature of the Okie Deadlift bar is the knurl on the grip. It has a shark toothing grip that will rip callouses and shred your shins. However, you can remedy this by using chalk.

The Okie Deadlift Barbell does not have a bearing or bushing system. It’s a simple sleeve wrapping around the shaft. The shaft does spin but not smoothly. This is because the deadlift bar is designed to limit any movement or rotation apart from the whip or bend when you move the weight up.

As the Okie Deadlift Bar is being one of the classics for deadlift in the powerlifting and CrossFit community, this is barbell is raw, bare steel, with no coating, providing you an old school lifting experience.

The standard specifications of an Okie Deadlift Bar are:

  • Finish: Bare steel
  • Weight: 20 kg (44 lb)
  • Diameter: 27 mm (1 1/16″)
  • Tensile strength: Not listed
  • Knurling feel: Very aggressive
  • Center knurl: No
  • Shaft coating: Bare steel
  • Sleeve coating: Bare steel
  • Bar length: 2.29 m (90.16″)
  • Loadable Sleeve length: 40.8 cm (16 1/16″)
  • Bushing/Bearing: Not listed

Pros

  • 27 MM Shaft Diameter
  • Used by the elites of elites deadlifter
  • The bar that has broken many powerlifting records
  • Dependable and Durable – Will Last For Decades
  • Raw steel shaft and sleeves
  • Deep Aggressive Knurl so it doesn’t slip from your hands

Cons

  • Lower 155,000 PSI Tensile Strength than other deadlift barbells
  • No bushing or bearing system just a metal-on-metal sleeve

#4- StrongArm Deadlift Bar

StrongArm Sport is a Canadian superstore for bars, racks, weights, belts, benches, singlets, and everything else you need for CrossFit and Powerlifting.

The StrongArm Deadlift Bar is more flexible than a regular bar. Deadlifting on a standard barbell means pulling from a “dead” start, meaning from zero to 100% of the weight immediately.

With a more flexible bar, the center of the bar will rise a few more inches before the weight starts to lift, allowing the plates that are on the inside to lift first than the outer edge. This results in a smoother more progressive acceleration of the weight, allowing you to lift more actual weight.

Most have seen improvements of 40 to 50 lbs using this bar in comparison to a standard power bar.

The StrongArm Deadlift Bar is also thinner than a regular barbell. Most power bars are 29 to 30mm in diameter, however, the StrongArm Deadlift Bar is 27mm. This thinness contributes to the flexibility and allows you to hook your hands and finger around the bar more.

The knurling comes in two varieties. One option is the small sharp tipped fine point knurl and the other option is large points with flat tips. This allows the knurl to be outside of your legs, perfect for your hand position, and not the grinding on your thighs on the way up.

The standard specifications of a StrongArm Deadlift Bar are:

  • Finish options: Bare steel, hardened chrome plate
  • Weight: 20 kg (44 lbs)
  • Diameter: 27 mm (1 1/16″)
  • Tensile strength: Not listed
  • Knurling: Course with sharp points
  • Center knurl: No
  • Shaft coating: Bare steel
  • Sleeve coating: Chromium alloy steel
  • Bar length: 90.9”
  • Loadable Sleeve Length: 15.5”
  • Bushing/Bearing: Not listed

Pros

  • Bare steel finish – The most cost effective finish available because it provides the raw texture and the outstanding grip.
  • Knurling – The aggressive knurling allows you to have better grip of the bar allowing you to lift heavier weights without worring about it slipping
  • Groover Sleeves – Keeps the plates on the bar better in comparison to normal barbells. As you are dropping the barbell or moving it quickly, weights may shift and this may prevent you from lifting the weight up.
  • No center knurl

Cons

  • Lower Tensile Strength than other deadlift barbells

Conclusion

When choosing a Deadlift Bar, there are many factors to consider. The knurling, the length, the tensile strength, the sleeves and more.

However, taking all of this into consideration, out of all the Deadlift Bars, we recommend the Rogue Ohio Power Bar

Their Rogue Ohio Power Bar has a classic barbell design with a black zinc finish. This improves the overall durability and reduces the amount of chipping and rusting that most cheaper brands face.

The 29MM diameter steel shaft has a tensile strength of 205,000 PSI, meaning it can withstand loads of over 1500 lbs. With zero whip or flex and superior rigidity, this is the best bar to use if you’re looking to squat or bench press.

The aggressive knurling is present in all the Ohio Power Bars. Its deep, coarse pattern provides the reliable grip that you need when you are lifting heavy weights, without being abrasive or sharp. 

If you’re looking to increase your personal records for your squats and benching, the Rogue Ohio bar is definitely made for you.

About Julien

Hey! Thanks for being here. I’ve been active pretty much my whole life and I discovered Crossfit about 5 years ago. I want to help you improve your Crossfit performances by giving tips on specific movements, workouts and equipment. You have a question? Get in touch!

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