Best Barbell Clamp Collars

Updated September 2019
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
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How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

24 Models Considered
7 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
372 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.

Buying guide for best barbell clamp collars

Last Updated September 2019

Strength training isn't just for building massive muscles. As you age, it preserves bone density, keeps you strong, and helps reduce the risk of osteoporosis. If you use a barbell, you will need some way to keep the weight plates from sliding off. Barbell clamp collars slip over each end of the barbell to do exactly that.

It is important to pay attention to the size of the barbell clamp collar because most of them only fit one size bar. The best models are easy to use, won't scratch your barbell, and hold a significant amount of weight. Additionally, you will likely want a barbell clamp collar that adds a negligible amount of weight.

If you'd like to learn more about barbell clamp collars, keep reading. If you already have a good idea of what you want, consider one of the highly rated options we have spotlighted with this article.

Barbell clamp collars lend greater stability and balance to your weights. One of the side benefits of barbell clamp collars is that they help you achieve better form.

Key considerations

For a barbell clamp collar to function properly, it needs to fit securely. Though there are some exceptions, most clamps are specifically designed to fit one size barbell. The most important consideration is making sure the clamp you are purchasing is the right size for your bar: one inch for a standard barbell, two inches for an Olympic barbell.

Locking mechanism

The locking mechanism is how the barbell clamp collar attaches to the barbell. There are various types of locking mechanisms available.

  • Spring: Spring-style barbell clamp collars are typically made of coiled stainless steel. You squeeze the ends to open them slightly, then slide them on and let go. The concept is simple, though individuals who lack grip strength may struggle with this type of locking mechanism.

  • Quick release: These barbell clamp collars are the most prevalent and have the greatest variety. Simply slide the collar over the bar, and when it gets to where you need it to be, squeeze down until it clicks. To remove, pop up the quick-release lever and slide the collar off. Two problems that some inferior models have are popping open and slipping. If you get a quality collar, however, the operation should be effortless.

  • Screw down: With a barbell clamp collar that features a screw, you'll have to tighten and loosen that screw every time you want to change plates. These screws are made of metal and can be more expensive than other types of locking mechanisms. They also can leave marks on your bar.

  • Compression: Compression collars can be highly effective, but they also take up a bit of space on your bar. They slide over the bar, and you twist them to make them clamp (as you would with a telescoping pole for vacuuming a swimming pool). To release the clamp collar, just twist it in the opposite direction.

  • Velcro: Basically, the design is a Velcro strap that wraps around your barbell. This type of barbell clamp collars are highly portable and adaptable, but they are relatively rare.
FOR YOUR SAFETY

One disadvantage of using a spring clamp is that, because of the spiral design, it doesn't line up completely flush with your plates. As a result, spring clamps will always have some wobble.

Features

After you've picked the right size barbell clamp collars, and decided which type of locking mechanism you prefer, there are only a few more variables to consider.

Ease of use

Since you will be using them often, the best barbell clamp collar for you will be one that’s easiest for you to use. The collar clamp should slide on and off the bar easily, and it should lock and unlock securely without much effort. If it doesn’t, you may start to dislike changing plates, and you could be tempted to use an inappropriate weight.

Comfortable grip

This is mostly for the spring collars, but it’s good advice for any model: if your barbell clamp collar hurts your hands when attaching it, your hands may subsequently not be in the best shape for lifting. Always choose a model that features a comfortable grip.

Non-slip

Beware barbell clamp collars that pop open or slip, thereby allowing the weights to wobble. One bad drop could turn into a catastrophe. Never settle for a product that only kind of does what it's supposed to do.

Materials

Barbell clamp collars can be manufactured of many materials, including nylon, rubber, aluminum, and stainless steel. Since there are decent products across the board, the type of material used is more a matter of preference. If you like a lightweight set of durable ABS plastic barbell collars and they hold the weight plates without slipping or popping open, that's what you should get. If you feel more confident with aluminum clamp collars, they will cost you a little more, but you'll have the clamps you want.

Color

If hue is important to you, many barbell clamp collars come in a wide range of bright colors.

Travel bag

Some companies offer travel bags with their barbell clamp collars, so the collars are easy to transport and won't get lost.

Warranty

Look for a set of barbell clamp collars with an impressive warranty. The length of a warranty tells you how much faith the company puts in its products.

EXPERT TIP

It can be difficult (if not impossible) to judge a barbell clamp collar’s size from pictures alone, so always be sure to check the actual measurements.


Staff  | BestReviews
EXPERT TIP

Barbell clamp collars made of ABS plastic come in a variety of bright colors, making them easier to see. As a result, colorful clamp collars are less likely to be damaged by stepping on them or crushing them with weights.


Staff  | BestReviews

Barbell clamp collar prices

If you're looking for the most affordable way to clamp your barbell, you can find a spring clip for as little as $5. The better models will be closer to $10, however. An average barbell clamp collar with a quick release will cost between $8 and $15. This will be the price point where most lifters find their collars. In the $15 to $25 range, you can get some extra-sturdy aluminum clamps that won't come loose when you drop the bar. You do need to be cautious in this price range, however, because some models may not have features that warrant doubling the price.

Tips

Of all the different types of barbell clamp collars, the toughest one to operate is the spring clamp. For many other barbell collars, all it takes is sliding the collar on and squeezing it until you hear a click. The spring clamp collar, however, can be a bit trickier. Here are a few tips for using this sometimes troublesome piece of equipment.

  • Put it on the right way. The handles of a spring clamp collar are angled. When you place these on the barbell, the angle needs to be facing away from the center so you can get the collars up against the plates.

  • Use two hands. Spring clamp collars can be difficult to work if you have a weak grip. If this is your situation, use two hands to squeeze.

  • Use your dominant hand. If you only require one hand to squeeze, make it your dominant hand so you are in full control of the process.

  • Squeeze first. Before lining up the spring clamp collar, squeeze it so it is open and ready for a quick, slip-on motion.

  • Line it up. If you square up the spring clamp collar first, you can quickly slide it straight down the bar to the plate.

  • Make it flush: Be sure the spring clamp collar is flush against the weight plate to prevent the plates from wobbling.

  • Squeeze and slide: To release the spring clamp collar, first squeeze, then slide the collar off as smoothly as possible.

Other products we considered

Beyond our favorites, there is a seemingly endless variety of good barbell clamp collars. We like the highly rated CAP Barbell Olympic 2-Inch Spring Clip Collars, which are available for any budget. If you've got the grip strength, these clamps are a good option. We also like the RitFit 2-Inch Olympic Barbell Collars. These hardened nylon collars with rubber grip plates are so easy to install, you can attach them with one hand. For a little more money, Synergee's Black Aluminum Barbell Collars are another good option. These clamp collars fit a two-inch Olympic bar and have remarkable holding power.

If you lift weights without a barbell clamping collar, the weights may slide off the bar and do damage to you, your floor, or the weight plates.

FAQ

Q. Why are barbell clamp collars important?

A. When you are lifting weights using a barbell, you will need to frequently swap out plates to adjust the weight for different exercises. A barbell clamp collar holds your weight plates securely in place, providing balance while you are lifting. Barbell clamp collars also disengage quickly so you can change the weight plates as needed.

Q. How much do barbell clamp collars weigh?

A. For the most part, the weight of barbell clamp collars is negligible, meaning it won't add an appreciable amount to the overall weight you’re lifting. Most clamp collars weigh only about half a pound. But if you prefer a set of barbell clamp collars with some heft to them, you can purchase sets that are 2.5 pounds per collar.

Q. My barbell clamp collars do not fit my barbell. How is that possible?

A. When it comes to barbells, there are two different sizes. A standard barbell is one inch in diameter. An Olympic barbell, on the other hand, features sleeves that are two inches in diameter (which rotate to reduce the torque on your wrists). If you purchase a standard barbell clamp collar but you have an Olympic bar, it will not fit — and vice versa.

The team that worked on this review
  • Allen
    Allen
    Writer
  • Devangana
    Devangana
    Web Producer
  • Eliza
    Eliza
    Production Manager
  • Enid
    Enid
    Editor
  • Kristin
    Kristin
    Writer
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer

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