When it comes to building a home gym, there aren’t a lot of things you need to get to make it worth the investment. Because that’s what it is, an investment!
The ability to walk into your garage and train whenever you want can’t be overstated, the freedom is incredible. As you guys know, I’ve been training in a home gym for the majority of my training career.
The single most important set of equipment you need for a proper home gym, other than a barbell, are the plates!
And weight plates are expensive! Most places price them at between 1.5-2 dollars per pound. This means a set of 45 lb plates (90 lbs) will run you between $135-$180 plus shipping and handling. (Which isn’t any cheaper obviously!)
That’s why I wanted to write an article detailing the best ways to get a hold of enough weight for your gym.
If you’re a beginner/intermediate, 300-500 lbs should be enough for a very long time!
Let’s see what we can find for the best quality plates that won’t break the bank!
Table Of Contents
Before We Start…
I want to go over what types of plates you should be buying in the first place. There are tons of options out there but they aren’t all created equal!
A lot of times you’ll see “plates” that are really just plastic containers with sand in them.
You want strong, iron plates! These will almost never break unless you’re dropping them like Bumper Plates.
Make sure when you’re buying them to get the 2″ Olympic plates rather than the standard 1″ plates. Not only are Olympic plates and barbells safer, but their quality will also last a lifetime!
If you’re interested in how much certain barbells weigh, check out this guide here!
Now that you have an idea of the types of plates you should be buying, let’s find the best places we can actually purchase them at!
Weight Sets On eBay
Back when I was first doing research on where to buy weights online, Amazon was the best place I found with awesome weight sets at a low price. As of writing this, these sets are now overpriced and not worth it in my mind whatsoever.
Another, better alternative is buying them on eBay! You still need to be careful with the shipping of course but right here I found a set for 300 with a barbell included. This is usually the best deal you’re going to get when it comes to getting sets of weights all at once.
As great as this deal is, buying them locally is going to be the cheapest route possible as I’m going to show you now!
Craigslist was the next place I checked in the past to get awesome deals on weight sets. The first plates I bought came with a standard barbell that wasn’t the best condition. But I didn’t care!
I bought a full set of plates: 2-45 lbs, 2-35 lbs, 2-25 lbs, 2-10 lbs, 2-5lbs, and 2-2.5 lbs for $100 bucks. This is why Craigslist is my #1 recommendation for buying weight plates on a budget!
There are only three potential negatives to using Craigslist:
- You have to meet a stranger at their home. Most of these listings you’ll find on Craigslist are local pickup only. They aren’t going to be sending what they’re selling to you, obviously. Because of this, you have to meet a stranger in an unknown location. This is obviously shady for most people. Not only can they steal from you, but the possibility of your life being in danger is also present. Make sure to always bring at least one person with you when traveling to a stranger’s house. Odds are nothing bad will happen but don’t be a statistic!
- You won’t always find what you’re looking for. I’ve searched Craigslist many times looking for new equipment, but most of the time I don’t find what I’m looking for, unfortunately. This is going to come down to your location and how lucky you are. If you check every day and live in a big city, chances are you’ll find some cheap stuff!
- You might have to travel for great deals. A lot of times I’ve had to expand my search radius on Craigslist to find the best deals possible. And listings like this show me exactly why traveling for them is such a great idea! This weight and bench set is a little distance away from me, but it’s 405 lbs for only $350! This is less than a dollar per lb, and you get some extras with it as well.
If you have the patience, and you’re lucky, you can get great deals on some barely used equipment! (Most of the people selling workout equipment barely used it from what I’ve found.)
Like I said before though, be safe and good luck!
Just like with Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace is another great place to find plates for cheap!
The big benefit is that more people use Facebook than Craigslist by a large margin! On top of that, there’s an extra layer of security since you need a Facebook account to use it.
This means you’ll be able to see the face of the person who is selling it and things aren’t quite as anonymous as on Craigslist.
I have no firsthand knowledge of Facebook Marketplace beyond that but as you can see below, there are some amazing deals to be found!
This guy is selling Olympic plates for 60 cents per lb. This is incredibly cheap, and you’re unlikely to find a better deal anywhere else!
Just like Craigslist, you have to get lucky to find great deals. But when you find them, jump on them before somebody else does!
Rogue Fitness Plates
I recently went over the best Rogue Fitness Plates in my guide which you can check out here.
Rogue has some pretty solid deals on plates, and they aren’t marking them up a ton as other companies might. On top of that, they offer free shipping on a lot of their weight plates which is obviously a huge money saver.
- Rogue Color LB Training 2.0 Plates
- Rogue Olympic Plates
- Rogue LB Competition Plates
- Rogue Color Echo Bumper Plates
Updated with new artwork and a gloss-matte-gloss finish, Rogue Color LB Training 2.0 Plates are an IWF standard 450MM in diameter, with a narrow width that allows for more weight to be loaded on the bar. A 50.40MM collar opening and steel disc insert keep the plates firmly in place even during intense, high-rep training.
Nothing replicates the sound of old school steel plates being lifted in a gym. Rogue Black Olympic Plates are simple, classic, and tough enough for daily abuse. Sold in pairs, these time-tested cast iron weightlifting plates range from 1.25LB up to 100LB, with custom orders available to equip your affiliate or home gym as you see fit.
Rogue LB Competition Plates are designed for Olympic weightlifting. These plates feature a chrome-plated steel disc insert with a minimal bounce so you spend much less time chasing the bar around. With a gloss-matte-gloss textured finish and raised lettering, these plates look as good as they perform. Plus, the raised flanges prevent direct contact with the center discs to reduce scuffing. The color-coding also allows for easy weight identification. With a +/- 15 grams tolerance, Rogue LB Competition Plates are some of the most accurate in the industry.
Rogue's Echo Bumper Plates are made to the IWF standard diameter of 450mm and are within 1% of their target weight. The plates feature quality virgin rubber and stainless steel inserts, which give them a dead bounce and durability that is unmatched in the market. You can purchase full sets or individual pairs of Echo Bumper Plates from 10lb to 55lb weights.
Rogue has a ton of different plates, but the best ones in each price range are shown below for your convenience.
Rep Fitness Plates
I’ve used a couple of Reps plates and I’m a huge fan. Especially for the price!
Their cheapest plates are only around $1.20 per lb, which is absolutely insane! And yes, you do have to pay for shipping, but the price of their plates is definitely worth it.
Some of the cheapest options from Rep Fitness are below, so you can check them out!
- REP Black Bumper Plates
Our REP black bumper plates are extremely durable and attractive, designed to be perfect for cross training/HIIT workouts and Olympic weightlifting. Bumper plates are excellent for training the Olympic lifts, which end with the bar overhead or at shoulder height. This allows the lifter to drop the bar after completing a lift, or if a lift is missed, you can drop the weights without harming the bar, surrounding equipment, or flooring.
Titan Fitness Plates
I went over Titan Fitness equipment in my guide here.
Titan has an interesting pricing structure as the heavier the plates are, the less they cost per lb. As an example, their 45 lb plates are $1.44 per lb while a set of 2.5 lb plates are around $6 per lb.
Honestly, I’m not a huge fan of their pricing on the lower-priced stuff but anything less than $2 per lb is definitely worth it!
The other biggest benefit of buying from Titan Fitness is the fact that they have free shipping which is really nice.
You can check out the best options from Titan Fitness below!
As you can see, no matter what your budget is you should be able to buy cheap sets of plates without overspending on your budget.
The most important pieces of equipment for a home gym are barbells and plates, make sure you don’t skimp on the quality. Don’t buy the weights with sand in them, iron, or bumper plates. Those are your options!
Standard, durable, iron plates are what you want. If you can’t afford them yet, save up and keep looking for deals in the meantime. When the right deal shows itself, you’ll be ready to strike when the irons hot.
Until next time,