Best Cheap Barbell?

When setting up a home gym, most people are looking for ways to save money, or stretch their hard-earned dollars to cover a bit more equipment. While there are lots of areas where you can save a few bucks, you probably shouldn’t cut corners when it comes to your barbell.

Sure, you can buy one of those 300 lb, all-inclusive Olympic barbell sets for as little as $200, but they come with very low quality barbells. While that sort of bar might meet your needs for a little while, you’ll eventually need to upgrade. But upgrade to what?

Well… My goto barbell is a Rogue Ohio Bar. It’s a very nice general purpose bar, appropriate for either powerlifting or Olympic lifts. It cost me close to $300 shipped but, as far as I’m concerned, that was money well spent.

But what if you don’t want to spend that much on your primary bar? Or maybe you want to pick up a decently durable secondary bar without breaking the bank. In that case, I suggest you check out the CAP Barbell OB-86B training bar, aka “The Beast.”

Overview of the CAP OB-86B barbell

I bought the OB-86B as a secondary bar for use in our home gym, and I’ve been very happy with it. It’s a standard 20 kg (44 lb) barbell with a black phosphate coating, excellent (reasonably aggressive) knurling, and snap ring ends. It’s rated for 1200 lbs (whatever that actually means…) and has a tensile strength rating of 130k PSI.

While this PSI rating is a good bit lower than the 200k-ish rating of many of the best bars, the OB-86B is also far cheaper. Sure, if you’re über strong, you may need something better. But this bar will serve the needs of the vast majority of home gym warriors.

In terms of overall feel, the OB-86B is a power bar. It has IPF power knurl marks, which is all I really want/need, and no center knurling. It has minimal whip, and the sleeve rotation isn’t great. But that’s fine, it’s not intended to be an Olympic bar, though many do use it for CrossFit-style workouts.

As far as I’m concerned, you could do a lot worse than the OB-86B. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that I’d be happy to have this as the primary barbell in my home gym. Honestly, I’m just as likely to grab this bar as I am to grab my Ohio Bar, which is saying a lot.

How much does the OB-86B cost?

So how much does this barbell cost? At worst, you can expect to pay around $140 shipped. But if you catch it at the right time, you could snag it for as little as $99 shipped. In fact, that’s what I paid for mine… Though I really wouldn’t have regretted paying the regular price if I hadn’t caught it on sale.

Home Gym Equipment
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