Bushing vs Bearing - Which Do You Choose?

Finding the right barbell for you can be a trying task. There are so many things that go into choosing the right one for you and your needs, like:

How aggressive do you want your knurling to be? Do you want center knurling? Do you want 15kg or 20kg Barbell? And the most importantly: what's your price point?

One of the most popular questions we get is: "What is the difference between bushing and bearing?"

You may notice the obvious difference: bearing bars tend to be a bit more pricey than bushing bars, but there are a few key differences that you'll want to keep in mind when shopping for your next barbell.

Bearing barbells are typically used for faster lifts, such as the lifts performed in Olympic lifting. The faster movements to chest or overhead, make a bearing bar ideal for these types of lifts like clean & jerk or snatches.

Our 20 kg Wonder Bar comes in a Bearing version, as well as our Olympic Weightlifting Bar, and our Hybrid Bar.

Our Hybrid Bar is an excellent choice if you like to switch between fast and slow lifts because the bearings we chose will play nice with your slow lifts.

Our bearing barbells have high precision needle bearing cartridges, made of steel, and dozens of bearings inside shaped like needles for a wicked-fast spin. You’ll be thankful for the spin during your heavy Olympic lifts, plus it’s nice to have while you WOD.

Typically, you’ll find that a needle bearing bar contains one cartridge near the collar and one at the other end of the sleeve on the same side, but some higher-end bearing barbells will actually have four cartridges in each sleeve to help the spin rotate very quickly.

No matter how many cartridges it has, a bearing bar will spin much faster than a bushing bar.

Bushing barbells are typically used for heavy or slower lifts, such as powerlifting movements like squat, bench, and deadlift.

Our Wonder Bar also comes in a Bushing version, as well as our Power Bar that is great for powerlifting because it also has a bit more of an aggressive knurl to give you a good grip during your heavier lifts (it has center knurling as well). Another bushing bar we have is our American-Made Bomba Bar - it's a good mid-range bar between our Wonder and Power Bars.

Our Hybrid Bar is an excellent choice if you like to switch between fast and slow lifts because as we mentioned earlier, the bearings play nice on those slower lifts.

Some people use bearing bars for slower lifts or bushing bars for fast lifts, because the barbells aren't married to one type of lifting over another. They both provide great spin. One complaint we've heard about using a bearing bar over a bushing for slower lifts is that it can feel "uneven" or "off-balanced" when performing movements like bench press.

If you’ve ever done a bench with a needle bearing bar, you’ll have experienced the weight wobbling in your hands, even though you’re typically strong and stable, because the barbell is allowing the weight to move so much.

Our bushing barbells use self lubricating bronze bushings. They're designed to last in your gym. This means that the steel of the shaft is impacting the softer metal of the brass, and the brass is oil-impregnated. That helps the bushings spin around the bar. Typically, in a bushing bar, you’ve got one bushing near the collar and another at the other end of the sleeve on the same side, so a total of two bushings per end of the barbell.

This bushing technology has been used for decades on end in aerospace, so it’s really tried-and-true proven technology.

So, which barbell should you get? It truly depends on your goals and the type of lifting you prefer to be using your new barbell for. If you'll be strictly Olympic lifting, a bearing barbell is the way to go. If you're going to be doing primarily slower lifts, like bench press, deadlift, and squats, the bearing barbell might be the way to go. No matter which barbell you choose, either type, bushing or bearing, can be used for whatever kind of lifting you feel like doing.

We've got barbell options for everyone. If you're a beginner and might need some help finding the right one for you, let us know! That's what we're here for. Choosing the right bar for you, your needs, and your workouts will make your workouts that much more enjoyable because your bar will work with you instead of making anything more difficult (and that's what we're all about!)

Have questions? Let us know below, send us an email at team@fringesport.com, or send us a message via our chat feature. As always, lift heavy, lift happy.

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