Short On Time?
The REP Fitness Safety Squat Bar was our top pick because of the tremendous value it provides. It provides premium features while only being slightly more expensive than budget options.
The safety squat bar has quickly become one of the most popular specialty barbells on the market for home gym owners. This should not come as much of a surprise given the several benefits: strength gains, injury prevention, ease of use, comfort, and much more.
While the SSB is commonly associated with lower body training. the truth is that it is one of the most versatile barbells you can buy for any gym or training style.
However, if you are purchasing a safety squat bar for the first time, it can be easy to get lost in the weeds of camber angle, padding type, etc.
In this guide, we will take you through our picks for the best safety squat bars for 2023 and break down why this bar is so useful. Whether you are a powerlifter looking for a new edge in your training or an average home gym owner, this guide will give you everything you need to purchase your SSB.
Best Safety Squat Bars 2023
Every single bar on this list has been tested hands-on by the team of personal trainers and athletes at FitDominium. Aside from testing, the team also compared specs, customer reviews, and pricing.
- Best Safety Squat Bars 2023
- REP Safety Squat Bar: Best Safety Squat Bar For Most People
- Titan Safety Squat Bar Olympic Bar: Best Value Safety Squat Bar
- Marrs Bar: Best Premium Safety Squat Bar
- Bells Of Steel SS3: Most Versatile Safety Squat Bar
- Rogue SB-1: Best Heavy-Duty Safety Squat Bar
- Synergee Olympic Safety Squat Bar: Best Safety Squat Bar For Smaller Lifters
- Safety Squat Bar Benefits
- How We Ranked These Safety Squat Bars
- Final Verdict
REP Safety Squat Bar: Best Safety Squat Bar For Most People
When I first used the REP Safety Squat Bar I could instantly tell that REP took their time designing and testing the bar. Out of all the safety squat bars that I have used, the REP SSB felt the most balanced and stable by far.
The precise balance of this bar can largely be attributed to its 22-degree camber angle (roughly industry standard) and a sleeve drop of 5.5 inches. When compared to other bars, this is actually a deeper drop than what it is typically used. I suspect this is why this REP bar feels so much better during squats.
The yoke on this bar is what I would call a good balance of what is currently available. The foam felt quite dense and comfortable on my back when I used it. In terms of the vinyl, I would say that it is definitely better than others you get at this price point but not as good as some of the more premium options.
Aside from the great balance and feel, where this bar really shines is the handles. Unlike other bars which often use cheap, unremovable plastic handles, REP went all out and used knurled handles. The handles feel great in your hands and were surprisingly functional during squats. The handles are also removable meaning that you can do front squats and JM presses more easily as well. REP has also hinted at releasing other handles options in the future as well.
The REP bar uses a black powder coat that looks very nice initially. However, I suspect that over time the powder coat will chip and shows signs of use over time. However, the sleeves are great since they used a hard-chrome finish. The sleeves are also Olympic sized meaning that you can use regular plates and collars. This would seem like a given but you would be surprised by how many companies expect you to pay extra for special collars.
Overall, this bar offers lots of quality and features for only slightly more than our budget pick. For most people, the REP Safety Squat Bar is the bar that would best suit their needs.
Titan Safety Squat Bar Olympic Bar: Best Value Safety Squat Bar
For many years now, the Titan Safety Squat Bar has been one of the most popular safety squat bars in the home gym community, and with good reason. In typical Titan fashion, they took many design cues from the popular, premium leaders in the segment and delivered a very similar product for a fraction of the cost.
I have used the Titan SSB since it first came out in my home gym and have to say that there are lots to like. While squatting, the bar feels very balanced and emulates the feeling you would expect to get with a premium bar.
The padding and yoke are very comfortable on your upper back and neck. It is definitely more dense and firm than other bars which is something that I personally like. The vinyl is textured and fits very nicely over the padding itself. I have had this bar for years and the vinyl and padding still look fairly new.
The handles are contoured with individual finger slots. The grooves in the handles are actually quite pronounced which made it very easy to position your hands and hold on firmly to the bar. The handles are also removable which means that you can perform exercises like JM presses with this bar.
The sleeves on this bar are chromes plated and Olympic sized. You can definitely tell that this is not the highest-quality chrome but it is good enough to get the job. Since the sleeves are Olympic, you can of course use your regular collars and weight plates.
You can often find this bar for well under $300 including shipping. Sure there are other bars that are better, but none of them provide a better value for the price. At the end of the day, the Titan SBB is a tried and tested product in the gym community and will serve you just fine for a great price.
Marrs Bar: Best Premium Safety Squat Bar
- Very well balanced
- Emulates the feeling of low-bar squats
- Can use regular plates and collars
- Very comfortable and secure padding/yoke design
- Expensive for a specialty bar
- Not as versatile as other SSBs
Out of all the safety squat bars on this list, the Marrs Bar is by far and away the most unique bar. It is technically an SSB but feels completely different when you actually use it.
You see, a traditional safety squat bar design will have the bar sit higher on your back than a regular barbell. This forced the lifter to want to lean forward which results in a squat that is more upper back and quad focused.
Meanwhile, the Marrs Barr has the bar sit very low on your back. Similar to a low bar back squat. Meaning that you will be working more of your hips and glutes. Therefore, the Marrs bar combines the sensation of a low bar squat with the comfort and injury prevention of an SSB. It really is a unique product.
To enable the bar to sit so low on your back, the yoke on the Marrs Bar runs all way from your mid back down to your chest. The result is a “backpack” yoke and padding that completely locks you in. The balance on this bar is seriously remarkable. During our testing, we jumped and moved in all sorts of ways but the bar stay completely stable on our backs.
The bar itself is finished in zinc while the sleeves are finished in black oxide. This bar is quite durable and corrosion-resistant but you can expect to see some wear and tear over time. The sleeves are also Olympic sized meaning that you can use your regular plates and collars.
The verdict on the Marrs Bar is that it is definitely a niche product. It is one of the more expensive bars on the list but it provides some unique benefits and is made of premium materials in the USA. If you think you are going to take full advantage of its features, the Marrs Bar can be a great addition to any home gym.
Bells Of Steel SS3: Most Versatile Safety Squat Bar
The Bells Of Steel S3 provides lots of additional versatility in the SSB world for a great price.
In terms of design and feel, I would say that it feels most similar to the Titan SSB with perhaps a slightly worse balance. Nothing too bad, but I just noticed that the bar was a bit harder to keep on during hands-off movements.
Now what really sets the Bells Of Steel S3 apart is the handle options. Unlike other companies, which make you additional attachments separately, Bells of Steel includes all three options out of the box. The three options are regular handles, long handles, and chain handles.
What I found most surprising is that the different handles actually changed the feel of the lift quite a bit. The short handles felt quite similar to a regular SSB but the chain handles were a whole different story. By introducing some tension, it made it much harder to cheat on squats with the chains.
The coating on both the shaft and sleeves is zinc. Something to keep in mind though is that the loadable sleeve length is rather short at 14.2 inches when compared to other bars. Just something to keep in mind if you are very strong or use bumper plates. One cool thing though is that the bar is 20kg just like a standard barbell which makes the gym math very easy.
When it comes to the Bells of Steel S3, I think that the amount of versatility for the price is amazing. As it stands, the Bells Of Steel SSB is already well priced for an SSB but these handles really put it over the edge to make it a great deal.
Rogue SB-1: Best Heavy-Duty Safety Squat Bar
In typical Rogue fashion, they took a typical safety squat bar and delivered a beefy, rugged version with the Rogue SB-1.
This bar, in terms of look and feel, is what you would expect from a typical SBB. It feels well-balanced, and the yoke is fairly comfortable on your neck and traps. What I will say is that the padding is not as thick as on other bars. That is evident by just looking. If you want really plushy padding, this bar is definitely not for you.
Where this bar really shines, though, is in the build quality and materials. The bar has a cerakote finish, which is highly corrosion-resistant. Meanwhile, the bar itself is one fully welded piece. This means that the bar is stronger than those from another competitor that needs to be screwed together.
The handles were on the longer side, meaning just about anybody you get in this bar and use it with comfort. Meanwhile, the sleeves were a real bummer. For one thing, they are not Olympic-sized, meaning you need special collars. They will also chip over time depending on the finish used by Rogue.
As a whole, if you are just looking for a quality built American bar that will get the job done, the SB-1 is for you. I do not think that the bar itself provides the best value, but if you are a person that values the Rogue and everything that comes with that (warranty, customer service, build quality), the price may be worth it for you.
Synergee Olympic Safety Squat Bar: Best Safety Squat Bar For Smaller Lifters
The Synergee Olympic Safety Squat Bar is the most comfortable bar for novices or smaller lifters on this list.
You see, the thing with safety squat bars is that they were originally used in the powerlifting community. This is evident even today in the design of most companies’ very heavy-duty, large bars, which are overkill for most normal lifters.
The Synergee SSB, on the other hand, does a great job of creating an ergonomic design that is more suitable for the average person. It is quite a bit narrower between the handles, leading to a more stable, snug feeling for people who are on the smaller side.
During use, I found the bar to feel well-balanced and comfortable. A major bonus was that the handles on this bar are knurled. They actually have quite nice diamond knurling as well.
You can get this bar in chrome or black phosphate. We got the chrome option and thought that the bar looked great out of the box. The sleeves are also Olympic-sized, meaning you do not have to get special collars.
One point of concern, though, is that the loadable sleeve length is only 11.25 inches. This is quite a bit shorter than other bars on this list, something to keep in mind if you are a stronger person or use bumper plates.
Honestly, based on the build quality and design, we think this is a great bar for people that are just starting out or getting an SSB for a commercial gym. We just wish Synergee would price the bar more competitively so it made more sense for more people to purchase it.
Safety Squat Bar Benefits
The safety squat bar is one of the best tools you could buy for your home gym. The unique design and feel make it perfect for strength gains, injury prevention and exercise variation.
Among all specialty bars, I think that the SSB should be high on your list in terms of priority. The SSB just provides so much versatility, I cannot really think of other pieces of equipment that transformed my training as much as the safety squat bar did.
In the world of home gyms, versatility is the name of the game. Home gym owners are constantly on the lookout for products that can accomplish multiple things so that they can save both time and money.
I think that a safety squat bar fits that bill quite nicely. Most people only associate the bar with lower body training, but the truth is that you can use the bar for a number of other exercises, such as the good morning and JM presses.
Depending on which bar you buy, you can really kick up the versatility factor. As a basic guideline, bars that have removable handles will always be more versatile. With the handles off, you can do more exercises or attach different handles.
It Is Safer
As the name would suggest, the bar was designed to allow you to squat safely. Squats with a regular, traditional barbell are great exercises, but there is no denying that they put lots of stress on your shoulders, elbows, wrists, and lower back.
The SSB really addresses lots of these common problems directly. The yoke and padding really make the bar feel better across your upper back and shoulders. Meanwhile, the front handles eliminated the need to bend your wrists back or rotate your shoulders.
The design of the bar also means that you will be more upright for the duration of the squat. This really removes lots of stress from the lower back.
If you have not been able to perform traditional squats due to injuries or mobility issues, the SSB may be the key to getting you back in the gym squatting with weight on your back.
Quad And Upper Back Growth
Thanks to the camber of the SSB, your body will be naturally inclined to be more upright and lean forward. This slight change in posture puts more of the weight loaded directly onto your quads.
Meanwhile, since the bar is pushing you forward, your upper back has to constantly fight to keep you balanced. This will lead to some crazy growth over time in your upper back/trap area.
What is also great about the SSB is that it makes a good morning more comfortable and easier to do. So while the SSB squat may target more if your quads and upper back more, you can do all of the good mornings you like to get similar levels of growth in your lower back and glutes.
How We Ranked These Safety Squat Bars
With so many bars on the market, it can be easy to get lost in the weeds when comparing so many bars. This is why the team at FitDominium, set clear criteria from the beginning to determine how we would judge every safety squat bar that we tried.
After thorough testing, here are the criteria that we used when picking the best safety squat bars for 2023:
If you look at the best safety squat bars on the market, like the ones from REP and Titan, the industry standard is about a 22-degree camber angle. We think that this is the best angle to provide a good level of balance and challenge during a squat.
The height that the sleeve drops also plays a big role in the overall balance of the bar. If you are too aggressive, the bar may feel unstable. Too shallow, and the bar may not feel like how you would want an SSB to feel. The industry standard in this category is somewhere between 5″and 6″.
Performance is essentially how the bar felt during our workouts with it. Really, we are judging how balanced, and stimulating the bar felt during different exercises. The bars that perform the best will feel great for squats, good mornings, JM presses, etc.
Yoke and Padding
The yoke and padding can have a drastic impact on the look and feel of a safety squat bar. The yoke itself is the structure that sits on your upper back in shoulders. It is made of padding that is wrapped up in vinyl.
What really will set one bar apart from another here is the comfort and quality of their yoke. I think that Titan and REP have the most comfortable yokes on the market. They strike a great balance between comfort and firmness.
Since the yoke is subject to wear and tear, we are also judging the quality of the vinyl and padding in terms of durability. Poorly made yokes will easily tear and fray after prolonged use.
In terms of handles, they can vary a lot in terms of design and length. The Titan and REP bar, for example, both have short and straight handles, Other bars may have long handles that allow you to extend your arms more. This comes down to personal preference.
Another aspect here is whether or not the handles are removable, Removable handles add an extra level of versatility since you can do more exercises without handles, like JM presses. The bars that really shine here are the Bells Of Steels S3 since the bar comes with a number of interchangeable handles right out of the box.
One of the most annoying things about safety bars is that some require special collars since the sleeves are not Olympic-sized. Bars that have regular Olympic-sized sleeves get better ratings here since it is just more practical.
Another thing to consider regarding sleeves is the loadable sleeve length. The more weight you can fit on, the longer the sleeve. Generally, anywhere from 15″ to 16″ of loadable sleeve length is pretty good.
The finish of the bar contributes directly to its overall durability. Finishes like cerakote and chrome are much more corrosion-resistant and less likely to show imperfections over time.
Since there is no set protocol for safety squat bars, the weight of these bars can vary a lot in terms of weight. The majority will be between 55 and 70 pounds. A heavier or lighter bar is not necessarily better, but it is something to consider based on your goals.
Price and Value
When we are picking and comparing safety squat bars, the question that is always present is how much value is the bar providing for the price? Safety squat bars have traditionally been one of the more expensive bars on the market, but nowadays you can get the REP SSB or Titan SSB for a really affordable price.
After judging dozens of safety squat bars on all the criteria we laid out, we came to the conclusion that the REP Fitness Safety Squat Bar is the best safety squat bar for most people while the Titan Safety Squat Bar is the best budget safety squat bar on the market.