Deadlift Bar vs Squat Bar – Pros & Cons Of Each

Quick heads-up: if you use my links to buy something, I may earn a commission (at no extra cost to you, of course). It's one way to support the work I do here. For the full scoop, check out this page.

Barbells are one of the most essential pieces of equipment for strength training. They come in various shapes and sizes, and each has a specific purpose.

Deadlift bars and squat bars are two of the most commonly used barbells in powerlifting competitions and strength training.

In this article, we will compare the deadlift bar and the squat bar, highlighting their similarities and differences, and provide recommendations on which is best for specific exercises.

Deadlift Bar Pros & Cons

The deadlift bar is a type of barbell that is longer and thinner than standard barbells. This allows you to get a better grip while also allowing for a higher starting position due to the increased flex of the deadlift barbell.


  • More Whip – The thinner shaft of deadlift bars is much whippier so you can break the plates off of the floor and have a slightly higher starting position for better leverage.
  • Better Grip – The aggressive knurling and thinner diameter of a deadlift bar provide a better grip, reducing the chances of your deadlift slipping out of your hands.
  • No Center Knurl – There’s no center knurl which prevents the aggressive knurling from dragging up your legs.


  • Shorter Sleeves – The shorter sleeves of a deadlift bar are great for increasing whip, but they also are harder to load with heavy weights. If you don’t have thinner powerlifting plates this is a moot point but for most, you could run out of space on the bar.
  • Only Useful For Deadlifting – While more whip is beneficial for the Deadlift, for squats and bench presses, you don’t want the bar whipping around on your back or over your face.
  • More Expensive Than A Power Bar – Not only are power bars more versatile, but they’re also much cheaper as well. A budget power bar can be cheaper than $200, but a budget deadlift bar is around $275.

Squat Bar Pros & Cons

The squat bar is a specialized barbell used for squat variations. The squat bar is shorter than the deadlift barbell, with a thicker and stiffer steel shaft that provides more stability and less whip.


  • More Stability – A squat bar provides more stability, making it easier to maintain proper form during exercises like back squats and front squats.
  • Center Knurling – Squat bars also have a center knurling that gives you extra grip on your upper back while squatting.
  • Long Sleeves Allow For Heavier Loading – A squat bar has longer loadable sleeves which allows them to be loaded with heavy weights. Plus, even fully maxed out the thicker shaft will not flex much at all.


Which Barbell is Best for You?

Deadlift bars and squat bars are more specialized equipment that are built for very specific purposes and exercises.

If you can only invest in one for your powerlifting and weight training, which one should you go with?

Assuming you are just trying to get stronger overall through lifting, and aren’t too interested in competing in competitive powerlifting, I would just go for a high quality power bar as it’s much more versatile and will get the job done.

If you are a competitive lifter and need to get one specialty bar, I would recommend a deadlift bar as it provides way more benefits for deadlift training than a squat bar.

Plus, most of you should already have access to a power bar which is plenty stiff compared to other barbells anyways.

How Can I Identify a Deadlift Bar?

When it comes to deadlifting, knowing how to identify a deadlift bar is essential. Look for a bar that is longer and has a thinner diameter, typically measuring around 27mm. It should also have a more aggressive knurling pattern for better grip. Moreover, the bar’s ends should rotate smoothly, allowing it to spin freely while Deadlifting. By understanding these characteristics, you can easily determine if you’re using a Deadlift bar or not.


Now I turn it over to you!

Did this guide help you determine the major differences and similarities between squat bars and deadlift bars?

If you have any questions, let me know in the comment section below, right now!

Until next time,


Leave a Comment