Anyone building out their first home gym, or anyone just simply looking for a new barbell, is most likely going to want one that is as versatile as possible to handle all of their workouts. One of the most popular bars out there is the Rogue Ohio Bar, but there’s another one that you might want to take a serious look at — the Force USA Gunner Barbell. Multi-purpose barbells aren’t the “best” at any one thing, but they do offer the ability to hop from doing Olympic lifts one minute, to powerlifts the next.
The Ohio and the Gunner fall under the category of multi-purpose barbells since they both have a moderate knurling, and sleeves that spin, making it possible to hit a power clean. The good news though is that they don’t spin out of control, so you can still load up the bar for a heavy bench press. Even though they’re similar in nature, these two barbells are still built a little differently. Both of these companies used different materials to craft their respective barbells, the pricing on each varies, and the overall strength of these two bars is not equal. Keep reading to find out more about each of these barbells, and determine which one is the best fit for you.
Rogue Ohio Bar vs. Force USA Gunner Bar Video Review
Our Reviews Writer, Jake, tested these barbells out, and in this video review, he gives us a full rundown on both. Follow along for his synopsis on these bars’ prices, tensile strengths, features, and more.
Rogue Ohio Bar Highlights
The Rogue Ohio Bar has a great reputation, and in our time with ours, we have not been disappointed. The moderate, yet grippy knurling makes it possible to perform a wide array of workouts. While this barbell is available in five different options (stainless steel, black zinc, black oxide, e-coat, and custom), the remainder of this article will be focused around the stainless steel version that we have in our garage. The stainless steel is the superior option in our opinion since it will resist corrosion at the highest rate, but it also features a higher tensile strength rating than the other options.
If your equipment is in a humid garage, you might opt for the stainless steel, while the black zinc, black oxide, e-coat, and custom bar options may be better suited for anyone with a home gym in a climate controlled environment. The custom option can either come with a cerakote finish (and you can choose the color of your liking), or you can choose stainless steel, among a few other customizations.
Because of the non-abrasive knurling, the Ohio is great for clean & jerks, but since it also provides an ideal amount of grippiness, it won’t slip out of your hands during a heavy deadlift, either. In our opinion, stainless steel barbells tend to provide a better grip than a bar that is coated. The Ohio does not feature a center knurling, nor do you have the option to add one. This may make it more ideal for Olympic and CrossFit style lifts since you’ll experience little to no irritation on your skin. But you’re also missing out on some extra traction to either keep the bar on your chest during your cleans, or your back during squats.
The usage of bronze bushings in the loading sleeves are what makes this a versatile barbell that can handle your Olympic and powerlifting needs. This is because bronze bushings provide a smooth spin, but not at the same rate as bearings do on an Olympic bar. Plus, the grooves in the sleeves will reduce the slide you’ll experience with your weight plates — but we still recommend using a weight collar for your safety. The tensile strength is a solid 200,000 PSI with the stainless steel version, and a respectable 190,000 PSI for the other versions. Tensile strength is essentially how strong a barbell is, so the higher the rating, the stronger the bar.
The Rogue Ohio Bar is 28mm in diameter, has a sleeve length of 16.4 inches, and features two knurling marks for optimal hand placement. It's made of stainless steel, and comes with a lifetime warranty.
- The Ohio Bar is available in five different finishes, including stainless steel. Stainless steel is the superior finish in terms of resisting corrosion.
- This barbell comes equipped with bronze bushings in the loading sleeves, a moderate knurling, and no center knurling — all of which make this a highly versatile barbell.
- The stainless steel version that we have features a tensile strength of 200,000 PSI, while the other options have a rating of 190,000 PSI. Both ratings are a solid choice for the majority of weight lifters.
Force USA Gunner Barbell Highlights
Since the Gunner is also a multi-purpose barbell, it too can handle power lifts and Olympic lifts, thanks to its moderate knurling (which is great for beginners), sleeves that spin, and a grooved pattern on the sleeves. However, there are some glaring differences. First is the coating. It’s worth mentioning that the Gunner is only available in one finish, which is black zinc, but you do have the choice of coating your loading sleeves in either regular or black zinc. While a zinc coated bar will provide you with some decent protection from corrosion, it’s not on the same level as stainless steel — so you’ll need to clean it from time to time.
The tensile strength of this barbell also features a much higher rating of 235,000 PSI. While this may not matter to some people, anyone of elite strength may appreciate that extra strength — not only can it take more punishment, but it also leads to a higher weight capacity. The Ohio has a weight limit of 1,260 pounds, while the Gunner maxes out at 1,500 pounds. You may think this would make the Gunner more expensive, but it’s actually cheaper than the Ohio. The black zinc sleeves cost $50 more than the regular zinc, but regardless of which one you choose, you won’t be spending more than $350.
The lack of a center knurling and sleeves that spin are going to add to the versatility of this bar, but instead of bronze bushings, Force USA uses stainless steel paired with five needle bearings in each sleeve. This leads to a spin that is a little smoother, but also a little faster than that of the Ohio — which might make it better suited for your Olympic lifts. The loading sleeves of the Gunner also feature a grooved pattern that is cut deeper than any other barbell that we have used, so you’ll likely experience less sliding of your bumper plates if the bar slams into the ground.
This barbell is available in 20kgs, and is made of 235,000 PSI steel. You can choose between either black zinc or bright zinc sleeves, and either way, this barbell is equipped with smooth stainless steel bearings that offer a great spin.
- The Gunner has an elite tensile strength rating of 235,000 PSI, and a weight capacity of 1,500 pounds.
- Since the grooves on the loading sleeves are cut deeper than a lot of other barbells, you may experience less sliding of your plates while lifting.
- Stainless steel bushings and five needle bearings in both sleeves provide a very smooth spin.
What Are the Big Differences Between the Rogue Ohio Bar and the Force USA Gunner Barbell?
While both of these all-around barbells are similar in fashion, we found some glaring differences during our time with each. Let’s take a closer look at what those differences are — from the coating of each, the price, and how strong these barbells are.
Stainless Steel vs. Black Zinc
You can tell these two barbells feature different coatings just by looking at them, which could play a role in which bar you choose. Once again the Ohio has five different versions for you to select from, while the Gunner only comes in a black zinc finish with the choice of black or regular zinc sleeves.
The Ohio Bar that we have in our gym is stainless steel. While we have the chrome sleeves, you do have the option of swapping out the chrome for stainless steel. That extra protection is going to cost you more money though (around $95). Though we think that may be worth it in some instances — for example, those in a humid environment won’t have to clean their bar as often if it’s fully stainless steel.
The Gunner only comes in a black zinc finish on the shaft with the choice of either black or regular zinc loading sleeves. We love the look of a black zinc barbell, but in terms of resistance from corrosion, it doesn’t really compare to a stainless steel bar. So it may be more ideal for anyone who has their gym in a climate controlled environment, since you may not have to worry about cleaning it as frequently. Because of the zinc coating, the knurling may also not be as “grippy” as the Ohio, but it still provides a solid grip.
There’s a Price Difference
The price difference between these two barbells was honestly a bit surprising. Despite the Gunner having the higher tensile strength of the two, the Ohio Bar is the more expensive one. It might make sense that the stainless steel option is more expensive since you’re getting the best protection from corrosion imaginable — but not so much with the other Ohio Bar options.
Rogue Ohio Bar
The version of the Ohio Bar that we have is stainless steel with chrome loading sleeves. This version is listed right around $370, but if you wanted the fully stainless steel build, you’d be looking at spending around $500 once you add on shipping. That may seem like a high number, but once you factor in the overall quality and the versatility of this bar, it may be worth it — especially when you realize there are a few other bars out there that are more expensive.
If you’re interested in the other versions of the Ohio Bar, you’ll find the black zinc and e-coat bars listed around $305, the black oxide bar around $320, and the custom bar around $350. In our opinion, since the prices of these other versions aren’t that much cheaper than the stainless steel, it may be worth spending a little more money for that extra strength and protection. If you want to finance your purchase, you can do so through either PayLater from PayPal or Affirm. This is going to split your purchase up into monthly payments of around $130.
Force USA Gunner Barbell
We understand that money plays a large role in deciding on gym equipment, and if you’re on a tighter budget, the Gunner might be the best fit for you. Regardless of which coating you want for your loading sleeves, you won’t be spending more than $350 on your purchase. In all honesty, this is a bargain considering the weight capacity and tensile strength rating. Usually barbells this strong are around the same price as the Ohio Bar, so this is a bit rare.
Force USA also allows you to finance your purchase through Affirm, which allows you to pay around $21 per month for the regular zinc sleeves, or $25 per month for the black sleeves. It’s worth noting that even though the black zinc is more expensive, you likely won’t experience more corrosion resistance than the regular zinc.
If you are working out in an environment that is a bit humid, you’ll have to clean this bar a couple times a month, but since you’re potentially saving $150, it might be worth it. Plus, that can free up some cash to add more gear like a power rack, or maybe even a new weight bench to your home gym.
One of the most important features of a barbell is the tensile strength rating. We try to preach on that a lot, and since both of these barbells feature a solid rating, you can’t really go wrong with either one. That being said, anyone who is of elite strength and really tossing some heavy weight around the gym will want to consider the Gunner since it has the highest tensile strength available.
The 200,000 PSI rating of the stainless steel Ohio and 190,000 PSI rating of the coated options are both solid for most recreational athletes. However, since the Gunner has a rating that is 35,000 PSI higher than the stainless steel Ohio, and is cheaper, we really think you’re going to struggle to find a better deal for a bar this strong.
The loading sleeves of a barbell are also pretty important in our eyes, and help distinguish the ability of a bar. While both of these barbells operate similarly, the bells and whistles of each are pretty different. The Ohio bar only uses bronze bushings to provide spin (which is pretty common in barbells like these) while the Gunner pairs stainless steel bushings with five needle bearings in each sleeve.
To summarize what that means, needle bearings are going to make the spin of a loading sleeve smoother and faster — especially the more you have. So, we found the sleeves on the Gunner to be more ideal during our Olympic lifts, but also solid for our power lifts.
The knurling of a barbell is also a crucial characteristic since it will determine the grip you’re able to get while lifting. While both of these are pretty moderate overall (which is great for high-rep workouts), they don’t feel identical.
When working out with both of these barbells, we found that the Ohio bar felt better in our hands and provided the more ideal grip. This is likely because the one we have is stainless steel, which tends to be the case in most stainless steel barbells. That being said, the Gunner still gave us a really solid grip, is less slippery than some other black zinc barbells we’ve reviewed, and if we were to compare it to the black zinc Ohio, they may not actually be any different.
Anyone who is interested in lifting some super heavy weight will want to pay attention to the weight rating of both of these barbells. The Ohio is able to withstand up to 1,260 pounds (which is a solid number), but the Gunner takes the cake here with a max weight of 1,500 pounds. This gap is pretty significant, and will likely be even larger if you were to compare the Gunner to the only black zinc version of the Ohio.
Which Barbell is the Better Option?
When deciding on any gym equipment, there are a few factors to weigh to determine which is the “best”, and that is going to vary from person to person. You’ll want to think about your specific needs, but we recommend factoring in the price, the materials used, and the overall strength of the bar.
Let’s start with money. In terms of finding a budget-friendly barbell, the Force USA Gunner Barbell is going to be the one for you. You won’t spend more than $350 on it, which is definitely the better deal of the two, but you aren’t sacrificing utility since it’s actually stronger than the Ohio. The only downside is that it’s not stainless steel, so you will want to clean it more frequently to keep it in good shape. However, that should only take around 20 minutes total.
If tensile strength and overall weight capacity is your deciding factor, we also suggest going with the Gunner. It has a rating that is 35,000 PSI higher than the stainless steel Ohio, and the overall weight capacity is nearly 250 pounds higher, as well. Now, in terms of grip, we have to give the Ohio the nod since it gave us the best grip, and we never felt it was compromised throughout our workouts. The Gunner has a decent grip, but some people might need to invest in some lifting chalk, or maybe even gloves to achieve the same grip you would get on the Ohio. Another popular accessory is lifting straps, since they provide a little extra grip, as well as padding around your wrists.
When it really comes down to it, both of these barbells are about as versatile as they come, and either one could really help you go a long way in your fitness journey. They can both be used for a variety of workouts (from the clean & jerk to a deadlift), and handle each lift with ease. Since these two barbells are pretty different, you’ll be better off focusing on the pros and cons of each to find the best fit — including which one best matches your current goals, where you plan on heading during your fitness journey, and of course, your budget.
Is a Stainless Steel Barbell That Superior to a Zinc Barbell?
Yes, absolutely. In terms of fighting off rust and corrosion over time, stainless steel will be your best bet. That being said, zinc is better than chrome and bare steel, but the only other coating that can hang with stainless steel is cerakote (which is a close second).
Since gym equipment is an investment, you’re going to want a product that is built to last for decades. If you’re in a humid garage, stainless steel is going to be your best friend, but if you’re in a climate controlled room of your house, then odds are you’ll be just fine with a zinc coated barbell.
Can the Ohio Do Anything the Force USA Gunner Can’t?
Even though the knurling on the Ohio might be a bit better than what is featured on the Gunner, we don’t feel as if the Ohio is able to do “more.” We actually think these two are pretty neck and neck. But since the Gunner has sleeves that rotate at a higher rate, and is the stronger of the two, you might actually be better off using it (rather than the Ohio) for your Olympic lifts, such as the snatch.
When it comes to adding any new gear to your home gym, it can be a bit stressful — especially when you have to choose between two great options, like the Ohio and the Gunner. If you have a tight budget, or you want the strongest barbell you can find, the Gunner is going to be your best option since it’s both cheaper and stronger. However, if you have a pretty large budget, or protection from corrosion is what you’re most interested in, the stainless steel Ohio might be the one to grab since you won’t have to care for it as much (even though you should absolutely clean it from time to time).
In all honesty, you can’t really go wrong with either one of these barbells since they are as versatile as a Swiss army knife, and can stand alone as the only bar you need. Nearly everyone can use these bars since the knurling isn’t too abrasive on the hands of a beginner, and the tensile strength of each can suffice for more advanced level athletes pumping some serious iron.
For us personally, we are going to have to go with the Gunner in this situation — though it was an extremely difficult choice. The stainless steel Ohio is perfect for our garage, but it’s more expensive, and we don’t mind taking the time to clean the Gunner every once in a while. The grip might not be superior to the Ohio, but we think the design of the loading sleeves is. We really enjoy the faster spin rate since it can reduce the amount of torque on our wrists and elbows during a power clean, while the deeper cut grooves can keep our bumper plates in place more efficiently. That being said, the Ohio is still such a great barbell, and if you can have them both in your garage, we say have at it.
Is there anything I can’t do with the Ohio or Gunner Barbell?
We personally think you can do just about any barbell workout imaginable with either one of these bars since they are extremely versatile. The only issue some people may find is the lack of a center knurling, or maybe that the knurling isn’t cut deep enough for some power lifts.
We don’t find much of an issue without a center knurling on a barbell, but we do realize that some athletes find it difficult to hold the bar in place during a back squat, as well as on their chest during a power clean. If you’re worried about the knurling not being cut deep enough for your power lifts, then you might need to just go get a power bar instead of a jack-of-all-trades one.
Why is the Ohio the more expensive option despite the Gunner having a higher tensile strength rating?
Considering the tensile strength of these two, you’d think that the Gunner would be more expensive. We really think this boils down to the fact that Ohio is made from stainless steel. If you compare the black zinc Ohio to the Gunner, it’s actually a little bit cheaper. Stainless steel will potentially last you longer since it can resist corrosion at a higher rate, which likely leads to that higher price tag.
What makes the Ohio and the Gunner both “multi-purpose” barbells?
Some newcomers might not realize it at first, but the construction of a barbell varies all across the market. Multi-purpose bars like these take the best elements of power bars and Olympic bars to create a bar that can handle both of those styles lifts.
The diameter of these barbells resemble an Olympic bar, and since there are bushings instead of only bearings (though the Gunner uses both), you get the right amount of spin for an Olympic lift — but not too much to where you can’t do your powerlifts. Pair those traits with a knurling that isn’t too abrasive, and you have yourself a solid multi-purpose barbell.