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    Registered User Heisman2's Avatar
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    What are the important considerations when choosing weight plates?

    Hey all,

    Got good feedback on my bench thread so now curious about buying plates. I realize most things are out of stock so instead of asking what's best I'm more curious what are the various variables to consider and then I'll be able to pick something that seems reasonable. I'm in no huge rush. Is there a recommended maximum % tolerance to purchase? What else would you consider when purchasing plates?
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  2. #2
    Registered User cwcmac's Avatar
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    Accuracy: If competitive lifter get calibrated. If not, get quality that is within 2%. Crap plates are withing pounds not ounces.
    Diamter: 450MM, cheaper plates often are too small (for 45s) so you're deadlifting from a deficit
    Holes: Crappy plates are burred and rough in the holes and some may not fit on good bars due to issues with tolerance
    Finish: Yes, plates will get beat but you don't want them chipping and getting ruined immediately and you don't want rough seams/burrs, and other imperfections that make them a pain to deal with
    Edges: Some are smooth, some can be rough.
    Rubber/rubber coated, bumpers or metal: Depending on what you are using them for
    Shape: Some like holes for grip, some like deep dish

    Sure there are considerations not listed above. to me, accuracy and hole size are the most important
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  3. #3
    Age 59 MajorTendonitis's Avatar
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    Must look pretty. Srs though , I sold all my steel plates and went with rubber coated Vo3 plates instead . No regrets .
    Easy to pick up with two handles on the larger plates



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    Registered User Einhander12's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by cwcmac View Post
    Accuracy: If competitive lifter get calibrated. If not, get quality that is within 2%. Crap plates are withing pounds not ounces.
    Diamter: 450MM, cheaper plates often are too small (for 45s) so you're deadlifting from a deficit
    Holes: Crappy plates are burred and rough in the holes and some may not fit on good bars due to issues with tolerance
    Finish: Yes, plates will get beat but you don't want them chipping and getting ruined immediately and you don't want rough seams/burrs, and other imperfections that make them a pain to deal with
    Edges: Some are smooth, some can be rough.
    Rubber/rubber coated, bumpers or metal: Depending on what you are using them for
    Shape: Some like holes for grip, some like deep dish

    Sure there are considerations not listed above. to me, accuracy and hole size are the most important
    So if I buy weight plates, they might not fit the Powertec machine I want to get?
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    Registered User Greybird2's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Einhander12 View Post
    So if I buy weight plates, they might not fit the Powertec machine I want to get?
    They will fit. The PT weight horns are slightly smaller than an olympic bar.
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    Registered User Heisman2's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by cwcmac View Post
    Accuracy: If competitive lifter get calibrated. If not, get quality that is within 2%. Crap plates are withing pounds not ounces.
    Diamter: 450MM, cheaper plates often are too small (for 45s) so you're deadlifting from a deficit
    Holes: Crappy plates are burred and rough in the holes and some may not fit on good bars due to issues with tolerance
    Finish: Yes, plates will get beat but you don't want them chipping and getting ruined immediately and you don't want rough seams/burrs, and other imperfections that make them a pain to deal with
    Edges: Some are smooth, some can be rough.
    Rubber/rubber coated, bumpers or metal: Depending on what you are using them for
    Shape: Some like holes for grip, some like deep dish

    Sure there are considerations not listed above. to me, accuracy and hole size are the most important
    Thank you! Instead of burred holes what should I look for? Is there a specific type of finish to look for? Do you have links to any specific plates in mind? I'm not competitive and I don't need bumpers.
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  7. #7
    Registered User Greybird2's Avatar
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    I have a full set of these and they quickly became my favorites. Great handles, rubber coated, Weigh what they say at least on a bathroom scale, and I really like colored plates.
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    Registered User urbanlifter's Avatar
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    Contrary to what has been said here, if they are for a leverage machine then I'd buy the cheapest POS plates possible. If you are buying for a rack setup I'd go super expensive with tight tolerances, but on a plate loaded machine save your money and get some cheap CAP or Fitness Gear plates (mostly responding for Einhander). Also, if the holes are incredibly accurate (like my REP Equalizers) it can be a pain getting them on and off the weight horns of the Powertec and Bodysolid.

    Otherwise I'd buy something like the REP Equalizers or Troy GO plates.
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  9. #9
    Registered User JustTheDad's Avatar
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    I went with Intek plates which I bought used, sandblasted, and painted with a catalyzed engine block paint. They're very nice plates, and since my daughter picked the colors, they match the gym. Given the time, effort, cost of that type of paint, and the fact that now I feel like I have to sandblast and paint the 2 45's and 2 25's I picked up recently, I would never recommend doing what I did. PITA!

    I chose Intek because their 45's are a little different from most others. They're only 16" in diameter which is nice if you mix bumper plates and steel plates on dead-lifts. Your steel plates won't touch the ground. Also, you get an extra 3/4" of depth on your dead-lifts if you only use the steel plates. Course you can also just put down a piece of plywood for that 3/4", so with 20:20 hindsight, I'd wish I'd just bought new Intek or new Rogue plates. Then I could have everything look the same with zero effort.
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  10. #10
    Registered User ncsuLuke's Avatar
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    My considerations were weight tolerance, function, and then look. I ended up going with Rogue 6-Shooters and have been very pleased with my purchase. They have a 1% weight tolerance on the bigger plates, the holes make moving them around very easy (and taking them off my Squatmax is MUCH easier than regular plates), and I love the look. My only regret is not ordering so many more last Black Friday when I got a great deal on them so I could flip some of them now.
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  11. #11
    Registered User urbanlifter's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by ncsuLuke View Post
    My only regret is not ordering so many more last Black Friday when I got a great deal on them so I could flip some of them now.
    Heartbreaking inst it? Had I known the chaos that would occur, I would have bought 10,000lbs of CAP sets on Amazon and retired early. LOL
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  12. #12
    Registered User Einhander12's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Greybird2 View Post
    They will fit. The PT weight horns are slightly smaller than an olympic bar.
    Thanks.
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    Workin' Stabilizers Skidmarx's Avatar
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    For me it's tolerance on the center hole and ease of handling overall. Cheap plates will often have an oversized hole, which means that bar clamps are a must. Try doing deadlifts with cheap plates and the bar will be wobbling side to side...annoying to me.

    That's why I'm a big fan of Ivanko plates.
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    Registered User Heisman2's Avatar
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    Another question for everyone, is there a reason to go for urethane coated vs rubber vs just metal?
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    Surprised nobody answered.

    My take on this is that it's mostly about noise (unless you plan to lift outside and worry about rain/rust). When I had them, urethane coated and rubber coated 45's did tend to move a little less after I put the collars on, but it wasn't better or more stable in any way. Just quieter when I put the barbell down or racked it.

    Cast steel plates will cost less, and will be just as accurate. I prefer having steel plates and some bumper plates, so I sold all my coated plates. I don't know how much weight you are putting on the bar, what your space is like, or what you are using them for, but having bumper plates opens up more options on what you can use the weights for while having urethane coated plates lets you lift while your kids are trying to sleep in the next room.

    Rubber vs Urethane is about durability and smell. There have been a few horror stories about failing coatings, but I doubt that's an issue on any new sets. I'll defer to others to advise you if you go that route.
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    Registered User urbanlifter's Avatar
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    JTD is correct, it's mostly about sound and how the plates feel in hand. I've owned Iron Grip Urethane plates, Body-Solid's rubber coated, and currently have REP's equalizer plates. They were all perfectly fine, but I'll say I prefer the clanking sound that you get with steel plates. That and it's nice knowing that you'll never have to worry about them absorbing smell or the coating melting off / being damaged by an abrasive cleaner. My used set of IG's came out of a local gym or something, didn't notice it until I got them home but they smelled like they had been stored in a garbage can. No matter what I did I couldn't get the smell to come off, ended up selling them.
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    Originally Posted by Heisman2 View Post
    Another question for everyone, is there a reason to go for urethane coated vs rubber vs just metal?
    I prefer cast iron plates (particularly deep dish/flange plates, grip plates are good too) to me they just have that old school look, even when they're beat up and will last forever, plus if you ever decide to re-paint them you have that option.

    Additionally I don't mind the clang of steel during my lifts and they cost less than the other options, with that said if noise is a concern then I could see the value of urethane, or rubber coated plates...but to me this is a non-issue and I don't do olympic lifts, so cast iron is perfect for me...as with everything though, your mileage may vary.
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    Registered User ampire's Avatar
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    I've always liked the Iron Grip bare metal plates, not the urethane, really easy to pick up and load bars, nice size overall, personally I thought deadlifting was okay with them despite the flat edge, I pulled some good numbers with them, , and they look good. That is probably my dream plate if I was building a larger gym than just dumbbells and a rower.
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    Registered User broganoff's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Heisman2 View Post
    Another question for everyone, is there a reason to go for urethane coated vs rubber vs just metal?
    All valid points above, I think it just comes down to personal preference. I like the ease of handling plates with grip openings and the smooth feel of coated plates.

    I just ordered some York urethane plates and there was stock in every size, I'll PM you the link.

    From what I understand there should be no smell issues with urethane, correct? I think that is only for plates coated with recycled and/or low quality rubber?
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    Although off topic from weight plates, I do own the urethane coated Powerblock Pro EXPs and the protective layer is really nice to have on those and the PBs slide in and out of each increment(s) smoothly...in the case of adjustable DBs of that nature I can justify owning them, but like mentioned above for weight plates cast iron's my vote.
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  22. #22
    Registered User ampire's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by broganoff View Post
    All valid points above, I think it just comes down to personal preference. I like the ease of handling plates with grip openings and the smooth feel of coated plates.

    I just ordered some York urethane plates and there was stock in every size, I'll PM you the link.

    From what I understand there should be no smell issues with urethane, correct? I think that is only for plates coated with recycled and/or low quality rubber?
    Urethane is a pretty inert hard plastic material it shouldn't have odor.
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    Originally Posted by ampire View Post
    Urethane is a pretty inert hard plastic material it shouldn't have odor.
    Yes, my urethane Hampton hex dumbbells have no odor. That's one of the reasons I went with them.
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    I may look into some nice coated plates with grips once they seem to be available again.
    Right now I am using Ivanko revolvers and Troy deep dish. The plates seem to fit every bar and equipment horn I have used ( hammer, powertec, bodycraft).
    They only time they don't fit sometimes is on a body solid horn ( the plastic removable type). they seem to be a bit thicker, especially where the alan screw is inserted.
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    I want to thank everyone for the thoughts. After looking around there is very little in stock anywhere; even the link Broganoff provided me now is almost sold out. Intek urethane plates are available at a high price (for 8 45s, 2 25s, 2 10s, 2 5s, and 2 2.5s it would cost ~$1700). I'm in no big rush so can wait for some things to hopefully restock over the next month but if there is no indication that will occur I may just go with the Inteks (if they remain available, lol). Another option would be to buy cheap used stuff until good stuff becomes available. Even the crappy stuff on facebook marketplace and craigslist is going for $2/lb, makes spending $4/lb not seem unreasonable.

    My fear is waiting too long and having another big shutdown if COVID-19 picks up again in colder weather, causing months of more delays. I'd much rather overpay now and not have to worry about it.
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    Originally Posted by Heisman2 View Post
    I want to thank everyone for the thoughts. After looking around there is very little in stock anywhere; even the link Broganoff provided me now is almost sold out. Intek urethane plates are available at a high price (for 8 45s, 2 25s, 2 10s, 2 5s, and 2 2.5s it would cost ~$1700). I'm in no big rush so can wait for some things to hopefully restock over the next month but if there is no indication that will occur I may just go with the Inteks (if they remain available, lol). Another option would be to buy cheap used stuff until good stuff becomes available. Even the crappy stuff on facebook marketplace and craigslist is going for $2/lb, makes spending $4/lb not seem unreasonable.

    My fear is waiting too long and having another big shutdown if COVID-19 picks up again in colder weather, causing months of more delays. I'd much rather overpay now and not have to worry about it.
    That doesn't seem that crazy for those plates. Thats a lot of 45's, and urethane Inteks are a premium choice. They are really nice plates.
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    Originally Posted by Greybird2 View Post
    That doesn't seem that crazy for those plates. Thats a lot of 45's, and urethane Inteks are a premium choice. They are really nice plates.
    Oh, that makes me feel better, about it, lol. If no one else dissents in some way I'll probably order them tomorrow (if they are still available...)
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    I pulled the trigger and ordered the Intek plates. Again, thanks everyone. No idea when I'll get them but it feels great knowing I'll be getting something in the nearish future, lol.
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    Originally Posted by ampire View Post
    Urethane is a pretty inert hard plastic material it shouldn't have odor.
    Find a local gym that has had IG Urethane plates for a few years and go smell them, the odor is real.
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    Originally Posted by urbanlifter View Post
    Find a local gym that has had IG Urethane plates for a few years and go smell them, the odor is real.
    Is that from the Urethane absorbing the funk from people in the gym?
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