Random gym thought while bench-pressing 315 pounds: I wonder what those clamps on the side of the barbell are called….whoa! This is getting heavy!
For those of you who don’t lift in the gym often (even those that do), you must be wondering what in the world is a barbell collar? Is that for your neck? Well, no. Barbell collars are clamps used to tightly hold the plates applied to the barbell; subsequently preventing them from falling off while you are engaging in your lifts (ah! So that’s what those things are called?!)
Top Barbell Collars Comparison Chart
While lifters who lift lighter weights may not see this tool as a necessity, those who lift in the hundreds definitely find barbell collars useful; as they eliminate the weight from falling off the barbell, which disrupts the lift and raises the potential for injury of yourself or those around you. Not only does falling weights become dangerous, but it is also very embarrassing when you are in a gym full of people. Olympic lifters primarily use this tool because it stabilizes the weight, so the lifter can accurately perform their exercise without the hindrance of moving weight. Barbell collars are also very important because unstable weight can take away the effectiveness an exercise has on a lifter.
Lifting Barbell Collar Buying Guide
What to Look For
Now that we figured out what a barbell collar is, the biggest question we need a solution to is: what do we look for in an ideal barbell collar? Let’s start with the basics. For those beginners who are really naïve to barbell lifting: a barbell has two sides; both of which are used to put weight on. When doing most exercises with a barbell you need to put an equal amount of weight on each side so that you are balanced. With this being said, you must receive at least a pair of clamps whenever you purchase barbell collars. In addition, it is best to look for something that is tight and sturdy, something that you will be confident in its abilities to stabilize the heaviest of weights.
Is there a difference between clamp and spring tension? Both items perform the same task; they just do it in a different way. Spring tension barbell collars work more like a hand gripper whereas a clamp is tightened by lever once it is applied to the barbell. In most cases, the spring tension collars seem to last longer compared to the hard plastic-made clamps, but some prefer the latter.
Best Barbell Collars Reviews
The Lockjaw brand clearly has the best quality out of all other barbell collars. Lockjaw’s barbell collars can maintain the heaviest bench presses, squats, and deadlifts! This barbell collar is slightly more expensive compared to the average but based off of its quality, it is definitely worth the extra dollars. The LockJaw Olympic barbell collar comes in less than a handful of colors. You can be different with blue or red, or stay traditional with the black barbell collar. Either way, the LockJaw barbell collar is the best choice to go with if you want a modern barbell collar with excellent quality.
- Easy to use
- Barbell collar stays secure throughout the entire workout
- Three different color options
- Some pairs loosen after frequent use
- Some sellers are selling fake items
The cliché “if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it” might be relevant when analyzing the CAP barbell collars. Being the original barbell collar, these clamps can do everything needed to keep the weight on. The CAP collar has comfortable grip handles will make it that much easier for you to adjust the weights on your barbell appropriately. While this particular barbell collar is one-inch, the CAP brand also offers two-inch clamps for both spring tension and locking clamp. This type of barbell collar is considered to be the “standard” in most gyms nationwide because of its simplicity and effectiveness.
- Easy to use
- Holds onto the barbell tight
- Very expensive
- Some users claim that their collars didn’t stay on
Clout Fitness’ version of a quick-release barbell collar is a low price, high-quality item meant to hold any amount of weight that you apply to your barbell. The Clout Fitness package includes a pair of clamps, a nylon case, and a holding box case. So you not only get the items you are looking for, but also miscellaneous accessories that can be used to transport your barbell collar to and from the gym. The clamps weigh about .25 lbs. each, so they won’t be a burden by weighing down your bags.
The Clout Fitness barbell collar is made mostly with reinforced plastic, so while it isn’t made with the strongest possible material, it will be durable enough to last you and your gym buddies a long time of lifting.
- Clamps come with nylon case and holding box
- Quick-release tightly grasps the barbell
- Won’t last as long as other brands
- Could clamp tighter to the bar
So what if it is an offshore brand?! What you need is a good quality pair of collars without breaking the bank and then hit the gym! The OCEANU pair is made of really tough hardened aluminum with rubberized inside collars so there’s no metal-on-metal (therefore minimizing scratches and lack of grip). There’s no reason they should ever break unless you really try to break them …. which I know you would never do, so we’re good!
Oceane features a spring-powered snap latch for safety, and the collars themselves are meant to fit a 2-inch / 50mm Olympic sized bar. Tests have been done (so I’m told) and the strength of these collars are at least several times stronger (not just “stronger”) than competing models. They are of pro-quality and as far as price, they are about half-way up the price scale. Prices range from just under $10 for the cheapos, to over $40 for the top-of-the-line models. The OCEANEs are somewhere right around the $30 mark. They are suitable for any level of use including professional lifting competitions or training.
They feature a fast-locking device with quick release. It takes less than 5 seconds to install.
- Quick-release system enhances the lifter’s convenience
- Low/average price
- 3 different color options
Lock-Jaw is really the gold standard of barbell collars, so we can’t really pick these apart as far as quality. In fact, Lock-Jaw promises these are 50% stronger than the classic version and it features a new spring loaded latch. Lock-Jaw is so confident in their assertion of being the best, they tell us that this collar is the STRONGEST and most durable barbell clamp on the market – ANYWHERE!
As expected, it’s suitable for all 2″ / 50mm Olympic bars. The lever and spring-loaded snap latch are larger in this version and the body is a uni-body design. The elastomer pads and the resin frame protects the bar and the plates from scratches and other damage. This collar is meant for serious lifting as it delivers exceptional clamping force a step or two above standard “adequate” clamps.
- Very durable
- Easy to put on
- Head-turning design
- Best name in the industry
- WAY stronger than competitors AND older versions of Lock-Jaw collars
- 4.8 out of 5.0-star rating on Amazon
- Slightly pricier than a few other brands (but less than many others)
Here’s our most unusual collar on the list. Its design steps outside of the box and in so doing, it offers us all kinds of advantages (and some say “disadvantages”) over the competition. Firstly, SnapClips work on the same principle as a snap bracelet or watch. You know, those things that kids slap around their wrists for fun? They are made from Kevlar and promise to be the quickest collars on the market.
They are (according to the manufacturer) designed to withstand thousands of uses, drop and abuses for years! They are used in power-lifting gyms worldwide so you know they at least work reasonably well if not amazingly! They fit all 2-inch barbells, standard barbells, Olympic barbells, Trap/Hex bars, safety/yoke bars, cambered bars, swiss bars, the Log, axle bars and more! They are not conformed to a specific shape or size, so their compatibility is miles above any other competitor. The other unique quality these collars have is that they get tighter as the bar/weight gets bigger.
Additionally, once they are in place, the locking mechanism is heavy-duty Velcro as is the pull tab.
- Made with durable Kevlar
- Better price than rigid collars
- Comes in 3 different colors
- More versatile than any other collar on the market – by a LONG SHOT!
- Won’t fit a 1″ bar
An inexpensive pair of clamps that fits squarely into the category of a traditional spring collar. Of course, it’s all spring steel (no plastic or polymers in the spring itself) and this set of 4 are designed for a 1-inch bar (25mm) only. The Lestino brand guarantees satisfaction or your money back! They insist that you contact them “BEFORE COMPLAINING” on Amazon and they’ll make it right within 12 hours. Hmmm…. does that mean there are lots of complaints on Amazon? Well, while the vast majority of users love them, you know that statistically, only people with issues and problems with a product are the ones who complain.
The Lestino collars receive a 3.9 out of 5.0 rating and some users say they just flat out “don’t work” at all. Like any product, you often have to try them in order to see how well they work!
- 100% steel construction (other than polymer handle grips)
- Good price for something that is virtually guaranteed never to break
- Easy one-hand installation
- Made only for 1-inch bars
This pair of clamps from Clout Fitness holds the distinction of being Amazon’s first choice and best seller of all barbell collars. It comes in 4 different colors and receives a 4.7 out of 5.0 rating out of nearly 1500 users. That is MILES ahead of any other collars (as far as positive feedback and sheer numbers of buyers). The clamp fits 2-inch Olympic sized bars and it’s meant to be used in a harsh environment where bars are dropped and otherwise roughly-handled.
They are made of ABS plastic but lest you think they’re cheap plastic, they are made with stainless steel pins and are guaranteed not to crack under the most rigorous weight room protocols – even with very heavy loads being dropped. Even if you turn the bar vertically and have tons of weight pressuring down on the collar, it won’t move, crack or even warp.
They feature a single-lever design and lock latch which is not only strong, but it eliminates unnecessary moving parts which in turn will improve the collar’s longevity.
- Made with strong and light ABS material
- Inexpensive (about half the price of a Lock-Jaw)
- Easy to put on and take off
- Not one size fits all (too tight)
- Reported to slightly slip and the color to be slightly different than advertised (pictured)
This barbell collar is great for beginners. The mad scientists at Iron Lab created a pair of barbell collars that are very sturdy, and easy to use. Iron Lab’s cam clamp securely locks onto the barbell; offering you the confidence and peace of mind knowing the weight on your barbell is unmovable. This collar is made with high-quality nylon that is so strong; it is unable to be destroyed. If the Iron Lab Olympic Barbell Collar isn’t up to your standards, you can simply contact Iron Lab and receive another set or a refund. It is available in black, red, and blue.
- Easy to apply and remove
- Collar is very secure to the bar
- Manufactured with a durable material
- Cheap price
- Some customers claim that other brands were built better
While it’s true that not everyone who bought these from Amazon was thrilled with them, the VAST majority thought they were excellent and worked very well. As far as we were concerned at Sportconsumer, anything that wasn’t plastic was already higher on the food chain, so these YYGift collars did the job perfectly. The aluminum adds to longevity and durability, while the one hand install is a must as far as we were concerned as well! Keep in mind that this set is meant for 2-inch Olympic bars so it’s useless for anything smaller.
If you’re not 100% thrilled, Amazon offers a no-questions, no-hassle return policy, so go crazy! (well, that’s just my way of saying this set of clamps is most definitely worth a look if you need durability and you have the budget).
These collars (like all collars of their design) have a rubberized interior to protect the bar from scratches. The only negative we found was the price. It’s around $40, and while they work well, I might suggest spending that money on a LOCK-JAW PRO 2 for better peace of mind.
- Comes in 2 color options (silver and black)
- Made with high quality, durable aluminum
- Very easy to operate clip (easier than even the Lock-Jaw)
- The levers aren’t as durable as the actual collar
- Some complaints about faulty rubber lining and actual broken collar (which can both be remedied with a return to Amazon ASAP!)
- Price is high
Conclusion & Recommendations
Barbell collars are often an overlooked essential to weightlifting. Using barbell collars is pretty much an absent-minded process, yet they play a crucial role in the security of the weight we use for our lifts. The largest asset you want to gain from using barbell collars is peace of mind. Knowing that you can lift without worrying about the weight falling off relieves a lot of stress. When participating in heavy and technical lifts, such as Olympic lifting, there is already a lot of pressure on the lifter.
The last thing they need to worry about is whether the weight is secured properly. If you want something safe and that has a proven reputation, go for the CAP collar. But if you want something with top quality, a secure fit, and a modern look, the Lockjaw barbell collar will serve you well. Sure, technically you are shopping for a product that will keep the weight on your barbell secure, but more importantly, you are looking for peace of mind, and these ten barbell collars will deliver just that!