Many home gyms now feature top-of-the-line equipment due to ease of access. When looking for a new barbell, The Rogue Ohio Bar and the REP Fitness Sabre Barbell are two solid options that are worthy of adding to your home gym. Because there are so many options available, it can be a bit overwhelming when looking to make your own purchase. When it comes to buying a barbell, you want one that is both durable and versatile. While Rouge Fitness has already established its name in the industry, REP Fitness is climbing the charts like a Drake Top 100 hit.
The Rogue Ohio Bar and the REP Fitness Sabre Barbell are similar in fashion and can allow you to perform the same workouts, but there are some differences in the way each is constructed. Both barbells feature bronze bushings in the loading sleeves that allow them to spin, so you can perform Olympic and CrossFit-style lifts, as well as a traditional bench press or back squat. Both of these barbells also feature a medium-grade knurling that is ideal for high-rep and high-frequency workouts. Now, what about those differences? The main ones are the tensile strength, the knurling patterns, and the price tag for both. But don’t worry, we’re about to dive deep into how these respected companies took a different approach in manufacturing their barbells.
Rogue Ohio Bar Highlights
The Rogue Ohio Bar is able to handle pretty much anything you may throw at it in the weight room. It’s worth noting that we will be discussing the stainless steel version of this bar — the master when it comes to fighting off rust and corrosion — but there are various options to choose from. If you decide to go a different route, you can have your bar coated in black zinc, an e-coat, or black oxide, there’s also a stainless steel option with matte black cerakote sleeves, and a cerakote version with other color options.
If you are a CrossFitter or an Olympic lifter, you and your skin will be ecstatic to learn that this barbell does not feature a center knurling. Since the center knurl is as absent as Ferris Bueller, you don’t need to worry about any irritation from repeated use, but you also may not have as much grip on a back squat as a bar with a center knurl would provide. The grooved sleeves are designed to keep your weight plates in place while lifting, but we still recommend tossing on a pair of weight collars for your own safety. The sleeves also feature bronze bushings that enable them to spin, which is ideal in terms of Olympic and CrossFit lifts. Since the tensile strength of the stainless steel version is rated at 200,000 PSI, (190,000 for the other versions) this is a good choice for virtually every level weightlifter.
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 Rogue Ohio Bar comes in stainless steel, which is the optimal choice for rust and corrosion resistance.
- No center knurl means no irritated skin during lifts where the bar is repeatedly rubbing your skin.
- The stainless steel version has a tensile strength rating of 200,000 PSI (190,000 PSI on the other options), putting this bar in the upper echelon of barbells. This number can range anywhere from 120,000 to 230,000 PSI.
REP Fitness Sabre Barbell Highlights
Similarly, the REP Sabre is also versatile enough to be put through the wringer in the gym. The loading sleeves feature bronze bushings to assist you in power cleans, but they do not have that grooved pattern. They’re smooth like butter, so you will notice that your weight plates will slide down the sleeves more freely than they would on the Ohio Bar. However, a pair of weight collars can help prevent this and lock your weights in place. A tensile strength rating of 150,000 PSI puts this bar on the lower end of the spectrum compared to its competition, but it is still a solid choice for most recreational weightlifters.
This is also a “customizable” barbell due to the fact that you have various options to choose from. The Sabre comes in both men’s and women’s sizes (15 kilograms and 20 kilograms). The 15-kilogram bar does not feature a center knurling and is coated in bright zinc. The 20-kilogram bar has the option of a bright zinc or black zinc finish. If you were to choose the bright zinc then you have the choice to include a center knurl, while the black zinc bar does not have that option. Since this steel bar is coated in zinc, you will not have the same resistance to rust and corrosion as you would with a stainless steel bar. Zinc is still going to offer some protection though, and if you take the proper care, it could still last you a lifetime. For this article, we will be referring to the black zinc version of this barbell since that is what we were able to get our hands on.
The REP Fitness Sabre Barbell is a multi-purpose barbell that comes in two sizes with the option for both center knurling and a black zinc finish. The bronze bushings allow for use during CrossFit and Olympic style lifts, in addition to traditional lifts.
- The optional center knurl is a nice touch for those who want the extra grip it provides.
- The Sabre comes in both men’s and women’s sizes, meaning it can accommodate both smaller and larger users.
- While the tensile strength isn’t as high as some of REP’s competition, you can still load up to 1,000 pounds on this bar.
Rogue Ohio Bar vs. REP Sabre Barbell Video Review
Our Reviews Writer, Jake, puts the Rogue Ohio Bar and the REP Sabre Barbell to the test in his in-depth video review. See how these two popular bars match up from his firsthand experience.
What Are the Big Differences Between the Rogue Ohio Bar and the REP Fitness Sabre Barbell?
While both of these companies offer fairly similar barbells, there are a few distinct differences. From the materials to pricing, each barbell has features that are unique to its brand.
Stainless Steel vs. Black Zinc
The two barbells we were able to get our hands on were forged with different materials. While the Rogue Ohio Bar comes in more than just stainless steel, the REP Fitness Sabre only comes with either a bright zinc or black zinc finish.
The Rogue Ohio Bar we used is crafted from stainless steel. Stainless steel is the best material to fight off rust and corrosion and doesn’t need as much TLC as a bar with a coated material. With the stainless steel bar, the loading sleeves are chrome plated, but you can also choose for them to be stainless steel, making your bar fully stainless steel, which is top-tier in our book.
The REP Sabre bar we got our hands on is coated in black zinc, which provides an all-black aesthetic that looks really nice in a home gym. Zinc offers a good amount of protection against corrosion, but if you live in a humid environment, you may find it to be less resistant to corrosion than stainless steel. This also may affect the grip you have while lifting — in our time with both bars, the stainless steel Rogue Ohio seemed to be a bit more “grippy.”
There’s a Price Difference
The price difference between these two barbells is pretty noticeable. The black zinc and e-coat versions of the Rogue Ohio are priced at $305. This is cheaper than their stainless steel version, but it’s still more expensive than the $260 black zinc Sabre. This could be due to the higher tensile strength that allows you to lift heavier with it.
Rogue Ohio Bar
The stainless steel version of the Rogue Ohio Bar is listed at $370 on the Rogue Fitness website. If you were to opt for the stainless steel sleeves, you’ll also pay an additional $95, and once you factor in shipping, you’re looking at spending around $530 on a barbell. This is one of the most expensive barbells on the market, but you’re paying for the high-quality build, which you are bound to notice as this bar will likely outlast a lot of your other gym equipment.
If you want a cheaper option aside from the $305 black zinc and e-coat bars, the black oxide version is $320, and the custom bar is going to cost you $350. While these barbells are a little cheaper than the stainless steel, it still is a relatively small gap, meaning the best value is probably the stainless steel as it will most likely last you the longest. Luckily Rogue allows you to purchase your barbell through PayLater with PayPal, splitting your purchase into four interest-free payments.
REP Fitness Sabre Barbell
The REP Fitness Sabre is definitely a more cost-efficient option compared to all of the Rogue Ohio options. The 15-kilogram bar (which only comes without the center knurling) is going to cost you about $200, and the 20-kilogram bar with a regular zinc finish, priced at $230, will not see a price difference whether or not you choose to add the center knurling. With the black zinc bar, you also don’t have the option for a center knurl (like the 15-kilogram bar), but you will see the price rise to around $260.
Even with shipping, you are saving a couple of hundred dollars, making the Sabre a better option for those who are on a tight budget but still want a high-quality barbell. Plus, REP Fitness also allows you to split up your payments with PayLater.
One of the most important features that a barbell has is the tensile strength rating — this is another aspect where the Ohio Bar stands out. Tensile strength is essentially how much force a barbell can be put under before it begins to break or fracture.
The stainless steel Ohio Bar is rated at 200,000 PSI (190,000 PSI for the other options), which is pretty close to the max rating of 230,000. On the flip side, the REP Fitness Sabre is on the lower end, as it is rated at 150,000 PSI. Since 120,000 PSI is the lowest a barbell can be, you’re still in good shape if you are a recreational athlete, but someone more experienced may want to opt for the stronger Ohio Bar.
Grooved vs. Smooth Sleeves
While you may not think the sleeves of a barbell could make much of a difference in your workouts, they do in fact play a role. Since the Ohio Bar has a grooved pattern, you will have better luck in terms of keeping your weight plates or bumper plates in their proper place. This is crucial when it comes to those lifts in which the bar is repeatedly slamming into the ground (like a power clean). You will also notice a “zip” when the plates are gliding across the grooves. This may be annoying for some users, but they’re there for a reason.
Since the REP Fitness Sabre does not have any type of pattern, you won’t experience much of a noise when loading and unloading the sleeves. This might be ideal for some users, but we couldn’t help but notice that our plates slid down the sleeves much more freely than with the Ohio Bar. This is not ideal, so you will want to purchase a pair of weight collars to lock your plates into place during use.
Because both of these barbells feature bronze bushings in the sleeves that allow them to spin freely, you are easily able to perform Olympic and CrossFit-style lifts. Bronze bushings are a cost-efficient alternative to barbells that feature bearings, and they will also degrade at a slower rate. In our time with the two though, it was hard to ignore that the sleeves on the Sabre spun more freely, which may make it the better option for those style lifts. While this may only be the case with the two barbells we have specifically, it’s still worth considering when making your decision if you find yourself doing a lot of Olympic lifts.
The Rogue Ohio and REP Sabre both have a knurling that is on the moderate side, but the actual grip on each of these bars is different in nature. The Ohio features a volcano grip, whereas the Sabre has a mountain grip knurling that you can find on numerous barbells across the market. Both of these patterns are exactly as they sound. A volcano pattern is when each point of contact dips is as a volcano would — providing four points of contact for your hands. On the flip side, a mountain pattern is when each point of contact raises up like a mountain would, and your hands only have one point of contact.
In our time working out with both of these barbells, we found the Rogue Ohio to have the superior grip as it felt better in our hands and our grip was not compromised as our palms began to sweat. This could also be due to the fact that there is not an extra layer between our hands and the bar, as there is with the zinc coating on the REP Sabre.
Dimensions and Weight
A cool feature that the REP Fitness Sabre offers is that it comes in both men’s and women’s sizes, which ensures there is an option for everyone. The women’s version of the Sabre is both lighter (15 kilograms) and shorter in length at 79 inches, with a diameter of 25 millimeters and 12.6-inch loading sleeves. The 20-kilogram bars of both brands are going to be around 87 inches in length, with a diameter of 28 millimeters and loading sleeves of just over 16 inches. So if you’re looking for a smaller and lighter barbell, the Sabre is going to be the best fit for you.
Since the Rogue Ohio Bar is rated at a higher tensile strength, it can also be loaded with more weight. This is something that powerlifters will want to consider when deciding between these two barbells. The REP Sabre can hold up to 1,000 pounds — which is plenty for the majority of athletes — while the Rogue Ohio maxes out at 1,200 pounds. This may not affect everyone, but if you are one of those elite-level lifters, this may need to be at the front of your mind.
Which Brand is the Better Option?
Both of these barbells have their pros and cons, so the answer here really boils down to personal preference. The Rogue Ohio Bar is the more expensive option of the two, but it will also accommodate those of elite strength because of the higher tensile strength rating. Since the Ohio bar also comes in a full stainless steel version, it’s also likely to last you the longest, which makes the price tag warranted.
If you are looking for the best deal available, the REP Fitness Sabre Barbell may be your answer. Priced under $300, you’re saving over $200 compared to the Ohio Bar — that money can go toward your weight plates or another piece of equipment, such as a squat rack or a power rack. However, the tensile strength is rated much lower at 150,000 PSI, and the zinc coating on this barbell does not offer the same amount of protection against corrosion as the stainless steel Rogue Ohio can. If you clean your bar periodically it may be fine, but you also may be in the market for a new barbell sooner than you would be with the Ohio Bar.
The beauty of both of these barbells is that they offer the ability to perform a wide variety of exercises. You can easily focus on squatting and bench pressing one moment, then quickly transition into a power clean or snatch because of the inclusion of bronze bushings. Since the sleeves on the Sabre spin more freely though, you may find it easier to perform a power clean than with the Ohio. At the end of the day, it is essential that your budget and your goals are aligned when deciding which barbell to go with, which should help you find the “better” option for you specifically.
Is Tensile Strength Really That Important?
Yes, tensile strength is a very important factor to consider when purchasing a barbell, especially if you are wanting this to be the only barbell you ever need. The goal is to not have a product that is going to give out on you while lifting, so if you are someone with superior strength, then you will want a barbell with the highest tensile strength possible.
Tensile strength ranges from 120,000 to 230,000 PSI — the higher the rating, the stronger the bar. This is what makes the Rogue Ohio stand out the most since the stainless steel version is rated at 200,000 PSI (190,000 PSI for the other versions), even elite-level athletes can find usage out of it. On the other hand, the Sabre is likely the ideal choice for beginner to intermediate-level lifters since the tensile strength is 150,000 PSI.
Is There Anything That One of These Barbells Can Do That the Other One Can’t?
The beauty here with both of these barbells is that they are very versatile. Due to the moderate knurling and the spinning sleeves, these barbells are able to handle anything you throw at them. They can easily be used for any style of lift — the only difference being the amount of weight they can handle. Since the Ohio has a higher tensile strength, it can also be loaded with more weight. You can load up around 1,200 pounds on the Ohio, while the Sabre is maxed out at 1,000 pounds.
While Rogue may already have your attention in terms of high quality workout equipment, REP Fitness has also made a name for itself. Due to the high-quality and versatility, both of these barbells are solid options to consider for your home gym and to expand your workouts. Before committing to any purchase, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons of that product. If you are someone on a tight budget or are just getting into the workout scene, it may be best to go for the less expensive Sabre barbell. You’re still getting a high quality product, but for a cheaper price.
On the other hand, if you’re working with a large budget, you may find that the Rogue Ohio is the barbell for you. This also goes for those who are elite in terms of strength since it can handle more weight and has a higher tensile strength rating. Plus, if you want a barbell that doesn’t need as much care when it comes to rust prevention, the stainless steel option is going to be your best bet. However, the Sabre is going to be better suited for an entry-level weightlifter who wants a budget-friendly barbell to start. At the end of the day, it all depends on where you currently are in your fitness journey, where you see yourself heading, and of course, your budget.
What are the limitations with the Rogue Ohio and the REP Sabre?
With the Ohio, you are able to load up to 1,200 pounds of weight on your barbell and thanks to the 190,000 tensile strength rating, you can really put it under a lot of stress without fear of it breaking on you — this means you aren’t really limited in what you can do. However, with the Sabre, you will find that you cannot load as much weight onto the bar as it caps out at 1,000 pounds. Plus, the tensile strength is much lower, meaning you may be in the market for another barbell sooner than you’d like to be.
Why is there such a price gap between the Rogue Ohio and the REP Sabre?
The difference lies mostly in the materials used and strength of the bars. The Rogue Ohio bar has a higher tensile strength (and weight rating) than the Sabre. And while both are high quality bars, the Sabre also only comes coated in zinc, which means it may be less resistant to corrosion than the stainless steel Ohio bar.
Does the difference in knurling make the Rogue Ohio’s grip better than the REP Sabre’s?
The knurling on both of these barbells is on the moderate side, but the style is different. The Ohio features a volcano style knurling, which may provide a better grip as opposed to the mountain grip on the Sabre. A volcano knurl essentially has four points of contact with your hands as opposed to the one point of contact that you find in a mountain grip.