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After over a decade of home gym evolutions I bought a 100kg set of bumper plates to add to my garage. What took me so long, right?!
Well today I’m going to outline which bumper plate set I went for and – crucially – why I think it was the best 100kg bumper plates set available in the UK.
At a glance…
- I think this is the best value 100kg bumper plate set in the UK
- 3 things to consider before you purchase are:
- 1) How much weight do you need? Probably 100kg – 150kg
- 2) How thick are the plates and how much can you fit on your barbell?
- 3) How much should you spend – probably £400 – 500
My recommended 100kg bumper plates set
Ultimately I picked up a 100kg set of the Bulldog Gear Hybrid Bumper Plates 2.0. There were a number of reasons for this:
- Handling & grips – I find basic bumpers a bit cumbersome to handle in a relatively tight home gym environment. The Bulldog Hybrid 2.0’s have a chamfered lip with a knurled texture to make picking them up and moving them around easier
- Warranty – 1 year warranty if used on a proper surface (they recommend 18mm matting). Personally I think they should offer a longer warranty, but on balance I thought any issues would likely make themselves known within 12 months of regular use.
- Longevity of brand – buying additional matching weight plates in future is easier if plates are branded
- Availability – Possibly a 2020/21 problem, but the plates were regularly being restocked over the months I spent researching / procrastinating
Construction of the Hybrid’s is otherwise similar to other good quality entry level plates and they are made predominantly from virgin rubber with a stainless steel insert for mounting on the barbell.
Pricing was competitive at around £410 for 100kg set from Bulldog. Competitors were generally MORE expensive like-for-like, for example BLK BOX HD bumpers retail at £444 at time of writing.
Cheaper plates are available BUT they are not a direct competitor to the Hybrid 2.0’s and would instead compete with the Bulldog Training Plates or Hybrid 1.0 range. These entry level products don’t have the unique grip styling found on my Hybrid 2.0’s and, in my opinion, don’t look as good.
Guide to choosing your perfect bumper plate set
Despite having around 500kg of iron plates already the bumpers have been an AWESOME addition to my home gym and I’m using them regularly for all the reasons I’ve outlined previously when comparing bumper plates to steel equivalents.
Before you pull the trigger, here are 3 checks for you to consider when you’re hunting down a set of your own:
Check 1: What weight of bumper plates do you need?
a 100kg set of plates is made up of the following:
- 2x 5kg plates
- 2x 10kg plates
- 2x 15kg plates
- 2x 20kg plates
Going for a 150kg set adds a pair of 25kg plates to the above.
If you want 25kg plates you would be better suited to a 150kg set over the 100kg set, however given I personally have a decent stock of iron plates I am happy with the 100kg set which can be augmented with steel if needed.
120kg (so 100kg of bumpers plus the 20kg barbell) is plenty for my Olympic and CrossFit lifting I’m using these for so I am glad I saved my money by going for the 100kg set.
A ‘gym hack’ you can use is to slot iron plates on with your bumpers (shock horror!) – for example a couple of 10kg steel plates on either side of your barbell would take your total load to 160kg (being 100kg bumper set + 4x 10kg of iron plates + 2kg barbell) while still giving you almost all of the benefits of using bumpers over all-steel weights.
Check 2: How thick is a 20kg bumper plate?
The thicker a bumper plate is the more impressive your lift looks – now that’s a fact… But on a serious note – the thicker a plate is then the less you can physically fit on a barbell.
This is not an issue for most of us – but very strong lifters looking to hit low rep, high intensity training loads will want to go for the thinnest bumper plates available.
Thicker plates also push the weight further out on the barbell increasing whip when lifting. Some people like this, others don’t.
For reference my 20kg bumper plates are 72mm thick, the 15kg plates 61mm and the 10kg coming in at 46mm. If you choose to add 25kg plates these are a bit thicker at 80mm.
On a typical barbell sleeve (I measured one of mine at 42cm) with a typical barbell collar (around 5cm) you have 370mm of loadable space. You can choose how you use that space with your mix of bumpers and steel plates, but in terms a maximum barbell weight with bumper plates loaded up I can do around 250kg with my Hybrid 2.0 bumpers.
To show the variation in weight possible due to differing plate thicknesses consider that if you buy Bulldog’s (so the same brand) competition spec plates you can go up to around 290kg, whereas the ballistic bumpers are lower at 210kg.
So the Bulldog Hybrid’s are the ‘Goldilocks’ of the range!
Check 3: How much should bumper plates cost?
Prices for bumpers vary massively. A 140kg set of competition bumpers can cost around £1000 (or easily more if going for a top tier brand such as Eleiko), with the more common bumper plate sets coming in around £350 – £450 for a 100kg set depending on your chosen spec.
Saving money by buying poor quality or unbranded weight plates can be a false economy for a few of reasons:
- The metal sleeve to rubber seal is a weak spot in ALL bumpers. Ever wondered why competition plates have larger steel inserts? This is why. Cheaper plates can suffer from their insert breaking away basically writing the plate off.
- Buying additional plates to bulk out your collection months or years down the line is FAR easier with brands that we know will be around for a long time. This means styles, weights and colours are likely to be available allowing you to build up your collection over time.
- Most reputable brands will offer a warranty
For context I paid £410 for 100kg of Hybrid 2.0 bumper plates which I felt was a fair price for a nicely designed plate. It undercut the other main competitor I was considering by around £30, but it was a little more expensive than the cheapest available. I thought buying from an established brand with a warranty plus the unique handle & knurling design was worth the slight premium over basic bumper plates.
Hopefully the above summarised what I would (and indeed did) look for when buying a 100kg bumper plate set. The big three things to look out for when buying are how much weight you realistically need, how thick the product line of bumpers are and – importantly – how they are priced.
A 100kg weight set is a great place to start and if buying from an established supplier you have the option of adding more matching plates months or years down the line as you get stronger or your budget allows.