This guide examines the best barbell collars currently on the market, so you don’t have to. However, before we delve in further, let’s have a quick rundown of what they are and the different types.
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What are Barbell Collars?
Barbell collars are crucial to safe and effective weightlifting. Barbell collars are small cylindrical clamps that you attach to barbells or dumbbells to secure weight discs.
Essentially, the collars prevent weights from falling off the barbell, which may also be called barbell sleeves.
Barbell collars are also known to help distribute the weight on a barbell by holding the weights in the same place on either side of the barbell sleeve.
These collars are attached to the outer side of the disks on the barbell, and sometimes they are placed on the inside of the bumper plate.
By holding the weights in place, barbell collars can help weightlifters retain their balance, use good posture, and minimize weightlifting-related injuries.
How Do You Use Barbell Collars?
There are several different kinds of collars that you could use while weightlifting.
The most popular ones are the spring clip (clamp) collars and snap-lock collars. Both are used to hold weight plates in place, but they look slightly different and are placed on the barbell differently.
Spring-type Clip Collars
Spring-type clip collars are the more popular kind of barbell collars. One type of spring collar has two larger handles that squeeze to open and close a circle attached at the end of the handles.
These are easy to spot in most gyms because they look like clamps. These can be slightly more difficult to put on the barbell, and you may need two hands to slide it on and off.
The snap-lock collars look different from the spring-type because they do not have handles. Instead, they look like a small ring with a tab that locks on the top by a snap. These collars can be placed with one hand.
The type of barbell collar you use depends on your strength, the lifting you will be doing, and the design of the barbell that you are using.
How to Put on Barbell Collars
How you put on a barbell collar depends on the kind of collar you have. It is best to research the collar you buy and learn how to correctly put it on your barbell.
Spring-type Clamp Collars
Spring-type clamp collars slide onto the barbell. The two handles of the collar are angled in one direction. As you put the collar on the barbell, angle the handles away from the weights (or bumper plates).
This will make it easier to remove later. The circle of the clamp should be squared to the bumper plate.
The snap-lock collars are perhaps the easiest to put on your barbell. You slide on the ring and push down the lock mechanism on the top. When you are done, unsnap the mechanism and slide the ring off the barbell.
Pressure collars work similar to the snap-lock collars, but instead of a tab to push, the pressure collars require you to tighten two wing nuts on a metal rod manually.
This kind of collar is more difficult to place on the barbell, but it is also perhaps the most secure of the barbell collars.
Spin-lock collars are two-layered collars that work on threaded barbells. To attach these collars, you must unscrew two metal layers from each other and then slide them on the barbell. Then the two layers must be tightened together. The two layers essentially spin together to lock into place.
These are great collars, but they require larger amounts of strength to tighten securely. At the very least, collars are placed.
The Best Barbell Collars for CrossFit
When to Use Barbell Collars?
Barbells can be used any time you lift or use a weighted barbell. Barbell collars make lifting weights safer for you and those around you.
Many athletes use a barbell collar in CrossFit when doing squats, deadlifts, rows, and overhead presses.
How and when you use a barbell collar is also up to your preferences. Some individuals in CrossFit do not like barbell collars, but others will not lift any weights without them.
It is up to you to figure out if they work for you and your workout.
Tips for Buying a Barbell Collar
When looking for a barbell collar, you want to consider what kind of exercise you are doing, how much, and at what weight.
Generally, you want your barbell collar to match its function and use. Therefore, think about the material you want, the design you can work with, and the amount of weight you want it to hold (capacity).
If you are a casual weightlifter, you could look into the barbell collars made of hardened nylon and hardened plastics.
These are great for lighter weight loads, and they are durable enough to withstand repeated usage. Therefore, the nylon and plastic collars would work for you: these barbell collars are relatively inexpensive and will last a long time for the little amount of money put into them.
For those lifting higher amounts of weight (300+ pounds), a metal barbell collar would be a better option. The aluminum options may cost slightly more than the ABS plastics or nylons, but they will last longer when paired with the larger amount of weight being lifted.
More importantly, the metal barbell collars will do a better job of holding larger and heavier plates in place. This is essential to lifting weights safely, and this is what your barbell collar should be doing—keeping the weight plates in their place on either side of the barbell.
You should also think about the kind of barbell collar that will work with you and your training. The clamps function differently than the snap-lock barbell collars.
Generally, the clamps (like CAP Barbell’s 2-Inch Spring Collars) require more strength to open and place on the barbell.
If you are a casual lifter, placing this collar on the barbell sleeve may be difficult. In this instance, a snap-lock would be an easy option because it does not require as much strength to place it on the barbell sleeve.
You may also consider the speed at which you are changing your weights. For those who want to change their weights often and quickly, a spring collar would not be a good option.
Spring collars take more time to remove from the barbell. This kind of collar would slow down your workout, inevitably frustrating you and possibly leading to unsafe practices.
For those looking to change between weights quickly, a snap-lock barbell collar is the better option. It slides on and off the barbell sleeve in seconds, and it secures your weights into place instantly.
Choosing the Best Barbell Collar
To get the best barbell collars for the best value, compare your needs to the functions of the barbell collars on the market.
CAP’s barbell spring collars offer durability and dynamic usage for those looking at an overall best quality barbell collar.
They are reasonably priced, and while it may take slightly longer to put them on your barbell, their quality and durability are worth the few extra seconds.
However, for those looking for a quick snap-lock mechanism, the many collars listed above are great options to consider.
Always remember to choose a collar that matches your workout regime and needs. In doing so, you will maximize your training while remaining safe in the gym.
*Last updated April 2021