Best Trap Bars For Value, Elevated Handles, and More

Step confidently into your lifts with one of these highly rated trap bars.

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trap bar, sometimes called a hex bar, is a type of barbell that usually has a hexagon shape with weight sleeves on each side. This type of bar allows the athlete to stand inside of the piece of equipment to perform deadliftsshrugs, and other exercises. Trap bars are beneficial in a few ways. You can use them to practice hip-hinging easier than a straight bar, they typically put less stress on the lower back, and if there are elevated handles that shorten the range of motion, these bars can be beneficial for beginners. 

There are many different types of trap bars available with varying designs. Some common variances are the bar’s weight, weight capacity, width between the handles, and the height of the handles. Many of these differences serve varying purposes, while some are simply personal preferences. Trap bars are useful tools and shouldn’t be shrugged off as a training device. We broke down the best trap bars for multiple uses in this list to make it easier for you to choose the best one for you.

Best Trap Bars

Editor’s note: The content on BarBend is meant to be informative in nature, but it should not be taken as medical advice. The opinions and articles on this site are not intended to diagnose, prevent, and/or treat health problems. It’s always a good idea to talk to your doctor before beginning a new fitness, nutritional, and/or supplement routine. Individual needs for vitamins and minerals will vary.

Best Trap Bar Overall

When selecting the best trap bar, it can be individualized, but there are some things that all the best ones have in common. They have great utility, the handles are ergonomic, they’re easy to use, and they’re made from high-quality materials. The Fore USA Walkthrough Trap Bar hits all those marks and brings some ingenuity, too. That’s why it’s our pick for best trap bar overall.

Force USA Walkthrough Trap Bar

This trap bar from Force USA is part of a new generation of gym equipment that combines functionality, engineering, and utility to make a great lifting tool. There are a ton of reasons to like this bar, from the open design to the rotating handles. Coming in with an assembled weight of 65 pounds and a weight capacity of 661 pounds, this beefy bar has a loadable sleeve length of 12.8 inches.

This bar does require some assembly so you can’t use it right out of the box, but Force USA estimates the assembly time at about 20-minutes before you can start cranking out the pulls. The rotating handles allow you to seamlessly transition from higher to lower height on your deadlifts. The open design is great for practicing frame carries if you train strongman or lunges for the more fitness-inclined folks. 

Force USA included a transition handle on the front of the trap bar, so you can lift it up onto the built-in jacks to load it more easily. The handle also doubles as a place to hold the bar for suitcase carries to train grip and core strength. The engineers made sure to counterbalance the trap bar so it doesn’t feel off balance or tip when lifting either. The Force USA Walkthrough Trap Bar is a fresh take on a staple piece of gym equipment.

Force USA Walkthrough Trap Bar
Force USA Walkthrough Trap Bar
Force USA Walkthrough Trap Bar

You can do a lot more than deadlifts with a trap bar, and this one takes that to a new level with ergonomic, adjustable handles and a built-in bar jack for easy plate loading. It measures 69 inches in length and can support up to 661 pounds.

Who Should Buy Force USA Walkthrough Trap Bar

  • Anyone who wants to get a lot of utility out of their trap bar. Sure you can deadlift with this bar, but you can do lunges, frame carries, suitcase carries, and even rows easily with it, as well.
  • Athletes looking to add a new kind of barbell to their workouts to change up their training.
  • Those who lift with partners will enjoy the ease of changing the load thanks to the built-in jack.

Who Shouldn’t Buy Force USA Walkthrough Trap Bar

  • Anyone who wants a more lightweight bar may want to look at other options since this is 65 pounds before even adding any plates.
  • Athletes who like more aggressive knurling may find the Force USA Walkthrough Trap Bar’s knurling to be too mild.
  • Those who prefer the old-school look may not like this more innovative and modern-looking bar. 

Force USA set their R&D team to work to make a trap bar for the modern lifter and they succeeded. The sheer amount of different exercises you can do with this bar is greater than many other trap bars due to the transition handle and rotating handles. Having a built-in jack also ups the convenience factor a ton. You likely can’t go wrong with this trap bar from Force USA.

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Best Hex Trap Bar with Elevated Handles

Not all pieces of gym equipment are made the same. That holds true for trap bars, as well. Often the handle placement or height can have quite the impact on what muscles are worked more and how the bar functions as a whole. For a trap bar with elevated handles, our pick for the best one is the REP Fitness Trap Bar.

REP Fitness Trap Bar

The REP Fitness Trap Bar may look like your average trap bar, but there’s a lot that sets it apart from the rest. Weighing 55 pounds, it’s heavier than the average barbell (45 pounds), and lighter than some other trap bars. The loadable sleeve length is a generous 16 inches, so you can load it up even if you’re using bumper plates for explosive lifts.

The raised handles provide a pick height of 10.6 inches, or six inches for the lower handles. Having the dual handle design can help with rehabilitation, or for those who aren’t able to get low enough due to flexibility quite yet, allowing you to still get pulling work in without the discomfort or pain that might come with a lower handle height.

The 25mm handle diameter, which features medium knurling that won’t tear your hands to shreds, is smaller than a men’s barbell, so this bar is great for women as well. Standing inside of it, the distance from handle to handle measures 28.3 inches, giving even broader athletes ample room to work, which can be a common problem with many trap bars. The REP trap bar has a weight capacity of 500 pounds, and it comes with a five-year warranty against manufacturer defects.

REP Fitness Trap Bar
REP Fitness Trap Bar
REP Fitness Trap Bar

The REP Fitness Trap Bar features a dual handle design which is a great tool to help people learn or improve their deadlift mechanics and work their way down to the lower handles from the top handles. This bar’s raised handles are also helpful for injury rehab or those who have a limited range of motion.

Who Should Buy REP Fitness Trap Bar

  • Lifters who want access to a trap bar that offers both raised and non-raised handles to offer more versatility in their training.
  • Anyone who is trying to improve their deadlift form or mechanics can more easily learn to hip hinge with the elevated handles on this bar.
  • Athletes who want to improve their range of motion in the deadlift gradually can work their way down to the lower handles from the elevated ones.

Who Shouldn’t Buy REP Fitness Trap Bar

  • Big deadlifters might exceed the static capacity of 500 pounds that REP has for this piece of equipment.
  • Anyone who is looking for an open design trap bar for lunges or other movements may feel confined in this closed design.
  • Athletes who have larger hands may find the smaller diameter of the handles to be uncomfortable.

REP Fitness kept the look of old-school trap bars, but made a more functional design. The longer than average sleeves allow bumper plates to be loaded on for less impact on your floor, and the smaller handle diameter makes this bar great for both men and women. The elevated handles are a good distance taller than the lower handles, measuring 10.6 inches from the group to help with injury rehab, mobility issues, working on deadlift lockouts, and teaching hip hinge mechanics. If you want a trap bar with elevated handles, look no further than the REP Fitness Trap Bar.

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Best Hex Trap Bar

Another name for a trap bar is a hex bar, thanks to their hexagonal shape. There have been many changes in trap bar design thanks to technological advances in engineering, and not all trap bars are hex shaped anymore. If you want to stick to the hex shape though, our pick for the best option is the Rogue TB-2 Trap Bar.

Rogue TB-2 Trap Bar

In a complete overhaul of their original TB-1 Trap Bar design, Rogue introduced the TB-2 Trap Bar. The 60-pound TB-2 features a durable hexagonal-shaped frame welded from one-and-a-half-inch square steel tubing with 16 inches of loadable sleeve length. Something to consider with this bar is that you’ll have to get specialty collars to clamp on because regular-sized collars will be too big for the SCH 80 pipe sleeves. 

As far as the handles are concerned, there is 25 inches of space separating both sets of knurled upper and lower handles. The handles for the TB-2 are considerably thicker in diameter than many other hex bars measuring about 34mm. This can be helpful to work on grip, but may be a detriment for those who have smaller hands or women looking for a trap bar. Rogue uses their signature black powder coat to finish the TB-2, but wear on the sleeves can develop over time from adding and removing metal plates. 

Rogue TB-2 Trap Bar
Rogue TB-2 Trap Bar
Rogue TB-2 Trap Bar

This trap bar features two sets of fully knurled handles for you to workout with. One set of handles are raised, and sit 8.25 inches off the ground, while the other set are level with the frame of the bar to increase your range of motion. 

Who Should Buy Rogue TB-2 Trap Bar

  • Those who want to train grip while also working their deadlift will enjoy the larger handles that work the forearms more here.
  • Athletes who want a trap bar that isn’t as wide as some others will enjoy the 25-inch handle spacing.
  • People who like to keep their equipment for a long time will appreciate the powder coating that makes this bar more resistant to rust than other bare metal hex bars.

Who Shouldn’t Buy Rogue TB-2 Trap Bar

  • Folks who don’t have access to compatible barbell collars, such as Rogue Metal Axle Collars or the OSO Axle Collars.
  • Those who have smaller hands may not like the larger handle diameter of the TB-2.
  • Anyone who wants an open-designed trap bar instead of a hex-shaped trap bar may want to look at other picks on this list.

Rogue went back to the drawing board with their revamped version of a hex bar. The TB-2 is a great choice that will last a long time thanks to its rust-resistant powder coat. The sleeves have a generous loading room with 16 inches of space to accommodate thicker bumper plates. Though the handles have a wider diameter than almost any other trap bar, they can be used to train grip at the same time as pulls

Best Trap Bar for the Money

Trap bars are great pieces of equipment that can elevate your training, but they can get quite pricey — especially those with walkthrough designs. For those who are more budget-conscious, there are some great options out there that are designed well, and won’t break the bank. Our pick for the best trap bar for the money is the REP Fitness Trap Bar.

REP Fitness Trap Bar

REP’s trap bar is a solid 55-pound hexagonal-shaped bar that offers great versatility and value for the cost. Coming in at around $264.99 before taxes and possible shipping charges, REP’s bar has the old-school bare steel look that many lifters like, but with thoughtful improvements. The dual handle design features a lower pair of parallel handles that are six inches from the ground, and a higher pair of handles at 10.6 inches high. Both sets of handles have a 25mm diameter, which is smaller than many other trap bar handles. 

If you’re just starting out learning how to deadlift or hip hinge, the REP Fitness Trap Bar can help you ball on a budget. This bar has a weight rating of 500 pounds to accommodate most people, but really strong lifters may need to get a trap bar with a higher capacity. Overall, we think this is a solid trap bar option, even without mentioning the friendly price tag. 

REP Fitness Trap Bar
REP Fitness Trap Bar
REP Fitness Trap Bar

The REP Fitness Trap Bar features a dual handle design which is a great tool to help people learn or improve their deadlift mechanics and work their way down to the lower handles from the top handles. This bar’s raised handles are also helpful for injury rehab or those who have a limited range of motion.

Who Should Buy REP Fitness Trap Bar

  • Lifters who want the utility of a trap bar without breaking the bank will appreciate the lower price point of around $264.99.
  • Anyone who wants knurled handles. The medium knurling on the steel handles can help you grip the trap bar.
  • People who want an option of both a regular height and elevated handle will appreciate the dual handle design here.

Who Shouldn’t Buy REP Fitness Trap Bar

  • Anyone who wants a painted or coated trap bar to resist rust, specifically in humid environments, may want to look at other options.
  • Athletes who want an open design for their trap bar to accommodate more movement-based exercises.
  • People who want a trap bar that weighs less — generally trap bars with more than one set of handles weigh more.

The chrome-colored steel of this trap bar from REP Fitness harkens back to the old-school days of lifting with basic gym equipment. With 16 inches of loadable sleeve space and a 500 pound weight capacity, the REP Fitness Trap Bar is a great bar for the money. 

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Best Trap Bar for Multiple Grips

Trap bars have come a long way since they first hit the market. There have been changes in sleeve length, design shape, and materials used. One aspect of a trap bar that has arguably seen the most innovation is the grip. There are now trap bars with rotating handles and multiple grip positions. One of the best on the market and our pick for best trap bar for multiple grips is the Force USA Walkthrough Trap Bar.

Force USA Walkthrough Trap Bar

Force USA designed their Walkthrough Trap Bar with an innovative design to be as versatile as possible. The amount of exercises that you can do is only limited to your imagination, with options like frame carries, lunges, jump squats, rows, and more. This trap bar includes what Force USA calls a transition handle, which can be used to lift the trap bar up onto its built-in jacks for easy loading and unloading. Another use for the transition handle is to do suitcase carries that train grip, core, and legs all at once. You’ll have no trouble carrying your suitcase anymore thanks to this trap bar by Force USA. 

Ergonomic, multiple grips are another innovation you’ll find on Force USA’s trap bar. Low and high rotating lifting handles are featured with medium knurling to help you grip the bar. The engineers at Force USA made these handles rotating, just like the sleeves can rotate for a more comfortable hold. 

Force USA Walkthrough Trap Bar
Force USA Walkthrough Trap Bar
Force USA Walkthrough Trap Bar

You can do a lot more than deadlifts with a trap bar, and this one takes that to a new level with ergonomic, adjustable handles and a built-in bar jack for easy plate loading. It measures 69 inches in length and can support up to 661 pounds.

Who Should Buy Force USA Walkthrough Trap Bar

  • Athletes who want to protect their spine. The more centered distribution of weight compared with a straight bar deadlift produces less shear force on the spine.
  • Those who appreciate a medium level of knurling to help them grip a bar will like the knurling on this bar.
  • Folks who are tired of the hassle of loading and unloading plates because a traditional bar jack doesn’t work on trap bars will like the built-in bar jack here.

Who Shouldn’t Buy Force USA Walkthrough Trap Bar

  • Those who like a more aggressive knurl on the handles may not like the more passive cut of the knurling on this trap bar.
  • Lifters who are quite strong deadlifters may need an option with a higher weight capacity. The 660 pound capacity on this bar is fairly high, but still may not be enough for some.
  • Anyone who is looking for a budget trap bar. Though this bar is competitively priced for the versatility of it, the near $400 price tag before taxes and possible shipping charges may be still too steep for some.

The Force USA Walkthrough trap bar is a highly versatile bar that’s a great option for anyone looking to learn proper deadlift technique, or perform a variety of exercises. You can do walking lunges, shrugs, suitcase carries, and even rows thanks to the multiple grips that this bar features.

Best Trap Bar for Knurling

Knurling may be less of a consideration for some on a trap bar than a traditional barbell, but it can still be important. Most trap bars have less aggressively cut knurling, but a more abrasive cut may help improve your grip on the bar. If you’re looking for a trap bar with aggressive knurling that feels solid in your hands but won’t tear your skin apart, look no further than the Rogue TB-2 Trap Bar.

Rogue TB-2 Trap Bar

The TB-2 from Rogue is a redesign of their original TB-1, in which they added a set of elevated handles, as well as reduced the weight of the bar to 60 pounds. The handles, which feature an aggressive but not abrasive knurl on both sets of parallel handles, are spaced 25 inches apart on center. The TB-2 is like the power bar of trap bars thanks to the rigid construction and more deeply cut knurling on the handles that provide a great grip without feeling too sharp. Rogue’s TB-2 is like the power bar of trap bars. If you like to train grip while hitting other muscle groups, the handles which measure about 34mm in diameter, will help you do that. 

This trap bar is unique in many ways thanks to 16 inches of loadable space on the sleeves and larger diameter handles. It also features a smaller diameter for the sleeves, which are smaller than most Olympic sleeves and require special collars to secure the weights, so be sure you have the right collars to hold the plates in place. One aspect of this bar that isn’t as notable as it should be is that it’s rackable, so you can shoulder press or bench press with it if you want to use a neutral grip — and it will still feel similar to a barbell in your hand thanks to the deep cut knurling Rogue included on the handles.

Rogue TB-2 Trap Bar
Rogue TB-2 Trap Bar
Rogue TB-2 Trap Bar

This trap bar features two sets of fully knurled handles for you to workout with. One set of handles are raised, and sit 8.25 inches off the ground, while the other set are level with the frame of the bar to increase your range of motion. 

Who Should Buy Rogue TB-2 Trap Bar

  • Lifters who want a more aggressively cut knurling will like the cut Rogue put on this knurling.
  • Anyone who has shoulder issues may like the rackable nature of this bar allowing you to bench press or shoulder press with a neutral grip.
  • Folks who are rehabbing and want to focus on gradually lowering the pick height for their deadlift can make use of the elevated handles.

Who Shouldn’t Buy Rogue TB-2 Trap Bar

  • People who prefer a smaller trap bar as this one is 88.5 inches long from collar to collar.
  • Lifters who need thinner handles to grip — these handles are 34 millimeters in diameter.
  • Anyone who is on a budget might want to look at other options on this list. The TB-2 is priced decently at $395, but you’ll need to purchase specialty collars too.

Rogue’s TB-2 trap bar is a great option for anyone who wants a beefy bar that feels solid in your hands. The aggressive (for trap bar standards) knurling combined with the bar being rackable make for a unique design that can satisfy most lifters. 

Best Trap Bar with Jack

Deadlift jacks come in a variety of shapes and sizes, but they all have one thing in common — they make loading and unloading the bar much easier. Trap bars with an open design have the advantage of being able to tack a bar jack onto the trap bar, improving the value of the piece of equipment. Force USA has done this masterfully, making their Walkthrough Trap Bar our pick for best trap bar with jack.

Force USA Walkthrough Trap Bar

The Force USA Walkthrough trap bar is quite different from the traditional trap bar. It features an open, counterweighted design that allows you to do a variety of different exercises from walking lunges to the more traditional deadlifts. Perhaps the most unique aspect of this bar, however, is the transition handle and built-in jack. The handle allows you to easily stand the bar up on its side to load or unload it, then lower it back down smoothly when done. 

The jack portion serves multiple purposes as a counterweight and stabilizes the bar when you stand it up to make putting plates on or taking them off much easier. The lift provided by the built-in jack gives enough clearance to slide your plates on with ease. Dual, fully knurled, and rotating handles allow you to get the best grip you can when lifting this bar with a weight capacity of up to 660 pounds.

Force USA Walkthrough Trap Bar
Force USA Walkthrough Trap Bar
Force USA Walkthrough Trap Bar

You can do a lot more than deadlifts with a trap bar, and this one takes that to a new level with ergonomic, adjustable handles and a built-in bar jack for easy plate loading. It measures 69 inches in length and can support up to 661 pounds.

Who Should Buy Force USA Walkthrough Trap Bar

  • Lifters who want a trap bar that you can more easily load and unload will appreciate the built-in jack.
  • Anyone who values versatility. This trap bar has five handles in total giving you tons of options to choose from when working out.
  • Folks who are rehabbing injuries or learning a hit hinge pattern. This trap bar has a higher handle height than some other bars on the market coming in at 10 inches.

Who Shouldn’t Buy Force USA Walkthrough Trap Bar

  • Those who lift with wider bumper plates may find the sleeves to be too short since they’re only 12.8 inches long.
  • Narrower folks or those who have shorter arms may find the 31-inch width between the handles to be a bit far.
  • Athletes who prefer a more abrasive cut to the knurling of their bars may find this bar’s knurl to be too passive.

The built-in jack of the Force USA Walkthrough trap bar may seem like a novelty at first, but its usefulness will quickly become apparent. With a ton of versatility, thanks to the open design and five handles, this trap bar from Force USA brings the total package.

How We Decided Our Picks

Deciding what to look for in a trap bar can be largely based on personal preference. That said, there are some things that make certain bars stand out from others. We look at the weight capacity, the distance between handles, handle placement, knurling, and diameter of the center to inform our picks.

Weight Capacity

There isn’t necessarily a particular threshold any trap bar needs to be deemed better than another when it comes to weight capacity. That will vary from the needs of different athletes. However, there can be a large discrepancy between the amount of weight different hex bars can support — the market ranges from as low as 500 pounds all the way up to 1000 pounds.

If you intend to perform heavier deadlifts, you’ll want a more solid hex bar. Hollow bars will naturally be prone to bending more than solid bars. Bars with notably low weight capacities won’t rank as highly as those with higher capacity since that diminishes the utility of the bar.

Diameter of the Center

A trap bar’s diameter can vary up to five inches with most falling somewhere between 25 and 30 inches. Most trap bars will have a center diameter that allows for most athletes to fit comfortably inside to perform exercises, but there are some outliers, so be mindful of that. For larger athletes, both in terms of weight and height, it’s likely they’ll have a more comfortable lift using a trap bar with a wider diameter. A trap bar that is either cramping-ly narrow or overly wide may not rank as well as one that has a more balanced diameter to allow for a wider array of people to feel comfortable.

Trap Bar Deadlift
Image via Shutterstock/ MDV Edwards

When considering the features of a preferred trap bar, it might be a safe practice to compare the center diameter with other potential options being considered to see which bar has sizing best suited for a given athlete’s stature.

Distance Between Handles

Just like the diameter of the center, a lifter’s preference for the distance between the bar’s handles is largely determined by personal preference. Some athletes prefer to have a narrower distance to accommodate shorter arms or keep their arms closer to their sides while others like a wider distance. We weigh how far apart the handles are in our picks based on what most people will find comfortable. A trap bar with a notably large or small distance between the handles may not rank as highly as one that’s more in line with the average.

Handle Placement and Knurling

The placement and use of knurling on handles is almost entirely subjective to the athlete’s desires, but an important consideration nonetheless. If the athlete is more comfortable with handles perpendicular to the weight sleeves, there are many options on the market with that design.

Woman Trap Bar Deadlifting
Image via Shutterstock/ Yakobchuk Viacheslav

There are also options available for athletes who prefer handles that are angled slightly to offer a more natural grip, although there are fewer options than there are with handles at 90-degree angles. For trap bars with odd hand placement or fewer hand placement options, their ranking in our lists may suffer.

Knurling

Knurling on handles can be helpful for a steadier grip, and for athletes who enjoy having knurled handles, there are options on the market that range from lighter to more aggressive knurling. Likewise, for athletes who prefer knurling absent from the handles, there are trap bars on the market that offer that, but you’ll find most of our picks include knurling — this is because we believe it contributes to the overall usefulness of the bar as a tool.

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What to Consider Before Buying a Trap Bar

Just like buying any piece of equipment for your gym, there are a ton of things to consider before finally clicking that “buy” button. Some important considerations are knurling, if it’s included on the bar, the diameter of the handles, and how much weight the trap bar can hold. Among other things to think about are what the trap bar is made out of and if it’s coated, along with the warranty that comes with it. Those two go hand-in-hand. We dig a little deeper into these tips below. 

Knurling

Knurling is an important part of a bar, even on trap bars that allow the lifter to get a better grip thanks to their shape. The knurling on a barbell is the etched, sandpaper-like texture that covers each side of the barbell, and sometimes the center.

If you have a barbell or trap bar that has knurled and non-knurled sections, grab the bar on each and see how secure or not your grip feels. This is usually enough to drive home the importance of solid knurling. 

Trap Bar Knurling
Image via Shutterstock/Yakobchuk Viacheslav

Since trap bars often serve a different purpose than conventional bars, the knurling on them is usually much less aggressively cut. The standard for a trap bar is a moderate to medium knurl, but some have more abrasive feels to them. Just like regular bars, this is a matter of personal preference, but if you plan on using a trap bar instead of a straight bar, you’ll likely want a more deeply cut and abrasive knurling. For those who plan on using the trap bar to supplement their conventional bar, a more mainstream moderate to medium knurl will likely be fine. 

Bar Diameter (Grip Diameter)

A trap bar’s grip diameter may sometimes be overlooked, but it can be very important. The diameter of a trap bar can be catered to one’s needs based on preference, gender, and strength sport. The most common grip diameter for men’s barbells tends to be around 28mm to 29mm, and for women’s, 25mm. Trap bars are no different and feature a wide range of grip diameters. 

If you are a casual lifter, then you may want to choose the most common diameter, and move up or down from there after you discover what your preferences might be. It’s a good idea to take note of the handle diameter when choosing the right trap bar for you.

Strength

The strength of a trap bar usually refers to the weight capacity of it. When selecting the right trap bar for you, make sure you’re purchasing one with sufficient weight capacity for you to not only lift now, but grow into it, so the bar can last you a long time. If you can already trap bar deadlift 400 pounds, then a 500 pound weight capacity might not be able to stand the test of time against your gains.

Warranty

As with any piece of equipment, a manufacturer should stand behind their product. One way to do that is by providing a warranty. Newly purchased trap bars will almost always come with some sort of warranty, but some are better than others. Second-hand purchases usually mean the warranty is voided, so be cautious of that. 

Trap Bar Shrug
Image via Shutterstock/ Lunamarina

Standard warranties typically cover manufacturers’ defects and design issues for anywhere from a year to several years, however, this can vary. Finally, note that the warranty will also be voided if you are negligent. Leaving your bar out in the rain for example, or on a squat rack loaded up with plates, is a sure-fire way to lose coverage.

Raw Materials and Finish

Bars are almost always going to be made from steel; however, the quality of steel can vary and this is what leads to varying degrees of strength for different trap bars. Other important materials to look for are the bearings or bushings, and the finish if your trap bar has rotating sleeves. 

Generally, for the finishes, stainless steel and cerakote are going to be the most expensive, but also the most resistant to wear and tear. At the opposite end of the spectrum, bare steel, budget chrome, and black oxide are going to be cheaper, but also less resilient.

If after reading through all this, you still need help deciding which bar works best for you, we have a handy guide that goes into greater detail.

Caring for your Trap Bar

To keep your barbell in tip-top condition, you’ll need to do three things semi-regularly:

  • Clean the chalk and any other mess off the bar and the knurling using a brush.
  • Wipe down the bar with a gentle cleanser, and then give it a light coat of oil. Leave this overnight to sink in.
  • Check the sleeve to see if the bearings are in good condition (if applicable). Some bearings will need oil, others won’t. You’ll need to check with your manufacturer whether your bar is the former or the latter. Most trap bars have fixed sleeves that don’t rotate so this may not apply to your trap bar.

How often you have to do these steps will depend on the metal used to make the bar, the climate you live in, and how often you use the bar. Cheaper bars made out of budget chrome or zinc will need checking regularly, every two to four weeks. Stainless steel and other more expensive options will need less frequent checks, usually only every month to three months. More humid climates will need more care to prevent rust, whereas a dry climate will mean bars last longer naturally. Finally, a trap bar that gets heavy usage will need more maintenance than a bar that you have personally in your garage and only use twice a week.

Final Word

Trap bars are a great tool for working on the mechanics of your deadlift and can be an invaluable tool for those who are undergoing rehabilitation for a wide array of injuries. They can also be great for teaching a hip hinge to beginners, or strengthening the lockout of a deadlift if your trap bar has elevated handles. When deadlifting with a trap bar, the weight is situated towards your center of gravity instead of in front like it would be with a conventional barbell, putting less stress on the lower back. If you’re looking to invest in a trap bar, be mindful of the key features that you’re looking for, and use this guide to help you choose the best option for you.

FAQs

Is there a difference between a hex bar and a trap bar?

Hex bars and trap bars are generally the same thing, though sometimes the nomenclature can be misleading. A trap bar generally refers to any bar that the lifter stands within and lifts with the weight at their center of mass. Hex bars and trap bars are often used interchangeably, but a true hex bar will have a hexagonal shape and is usually made in a closed design. 

Should I buy a trap bar or a conventional barbell?

The choice really depends on what sport you’re training for. If your sport involves using a conventional barbell, such as powerlifting or strongman, then you may want to get a conventional barbell and train with a trap bar as supplemental training. If you compete in any other type of sport, then it really comes down to personal preference. Some people prefer trap bar movements for their simplicity, and if you look closely, trap bars can provide a lot of the same utility and benefits as a conventional barbell can.

When should I use a trap bar?

Much like debating between purchasing a trap bar or a conventional bar, the answer depends on what sport you’re training for and your goals. Trap bars are great for jump squats, deadlifts, and even rows. Some people like the neutral grip for rows because it allows them to get a better squeeze in their lats. Many athletes like to use a trap bar for bench press or overhead press since the neutral grip tends to be less stressful on the shoulders and feels a bit more natural. Experimenting with different exercises can be a great way to decide when to substitute the trap bar in for a conventional barbell.