A Guide to Weight Plates

When you are looking to buy weight plates for the first time or upgrade an old set, whether it is for a commercial gym or for your home gym, there are a lot of choices out there. It can be overwhelming and at Flex, we know it is important to pick the equipment that is right for you. That is why we have put together this guide to walk you through the buying process. We outline the different sizes of weight plates and which types of plates will be best for you depending on the type of lifting workout you intend to do.

Size of Weight Plates

The first thing to know is that there are different sizes of disc you can use with your weights and this will need to factor into your purchasing decision. The three main types of disc are listed below:


Standard discs tended to be the traditional choice for home gyms but with the quality of home gyms improving we are seeing this start to change. Standard international discs have a 30mm  diameter hole to suit 28 standard barbells. Always check your existing plates, if buying more standard plates to ensure they match. As such, will be unable to fit an Olympic bar which is becoming more and more common.


Studio discs, also known as Pump Set Weight Plates, are designed for group exercise and are common in things like body classes. These plates are not designed to be heavy but are instead small in size with rubber handles and come in bright colours. These discs are easy to spot and to store and have to be used on specific studio weight bars as they only have a 30mm centre hole.


Olympic discs are 50 to 51cm in diameter and are standardised across the whole fitness industry; they fit all commercial barbells and most plate-loaded gym equipment. Olympic plates work best to add versatility and stability to your workout. To learn more about the wide range of weight plates and the benefits they have to offer, we have outlined each type below:

  • Fractional Plates: Fractional plates, also known as incremental or change plates, come in a variety of weights including 0.5kg, 1kg, 1.5kg, 2kg, 2.5kg, and 5kg. The fractional plates have no metal insert in the centre circle which means they can be added to the bar without removing the collar as the grip of the inner circle sticks to the bar. In turn, this keeps the other plates in place. There are also micro-fractional plates that go up in 0.25kg increments that tend to be used when you are trying to beat your personal best.
  • Weight Lifting Plates: These plates generally come in iron, steel or another form of chromed metal. They tend to be thin plates as this allows you to add as much weight as you want and also keeps the weight closer to your centre of gravity. Steel plates are particularly useful for bench presses, deadlifts, and squats.
  • Rubber-Coated Weight Plates: Rubber weight plates feature an extra layer of rubber coating to increase the lifespan of the plate as well as help with safety while also preventing rust. The rubber coating helps to protect both the floor and the weight plate to a degree and also ensures the plate sees less wear. This can include urethane-coated plates as these tend to be the same dimensions and shapes as the rubber plates but are more durable and, unlike rubber plates, will not mark your floor or other equipment. They also do not tend to have that overly strong rubber smell.
  • Bumper Weight Plates: Demand for bumper weight plates has grown in recent years due to the growing popularity of CrossFit and Olympic lifting. A bumper plate is a solid rubber disc that can be used for performing Olympic lifts safely. The purpose of these plates is to create a safe environment as they can be dropped from a height during exercises like snatches and cleans without the risk of damaging your equipment. These bumpers plates are great for training and weightlifting.
    • Training Bumper: These training plates can vary slightly in depth and when made by top manufacturers, have almost the exact dimensions of competition weightlifting plates. The three types that you will find commonly are black bumpers, crumb bumpers and colour bumpers. More affordable options may differ from competition plates and will stand up to Olympic lifting requirements of all CrossFit and commercial gyms. These usually come in black or are colour coded by weight.
    • Competition Bumper: Competition bumper plates are separated from all other kinds of bumper plates by their calibration. The plate needs to be accurate to +0.1% and -0.05%. For a 25kg plate, this means that there is only a 25g margin of error. This means that competition plates are extremely consistent and the weight you are lifting will be exactly what you think it is going to be.

In conclusion

If you are serious about lifting weights, you will take your time and do your own research. All sets of weights come with their own sets of benefits. 

Now that you got a general idea of what will be the best weight plate for you, shop our range of Weight Plates here.



What are the different types of weight plates?

There are a few different types of weight plates, each with their own benefits. The most common type is the Olympic weight plate, which has a 2-inch hole in the middle to fit onto Olympic bars. These plates are typically made of cast iron or steel and have a smooth, black finish. Another type of weight plate is the bumper plate. These are designed to be dropped without damaging the floor or equipment, making them ideal for Olympic weightlifting and CrossFit workouts.

Bumper plates are available in a variety of weights, colours, and sizes. The last type of weight plate is the steel plate. These are the thickest and most durable plates, making them ideal for powerlifting. Steel plates usually have a textured or knurled surface to prevent slipping during your lift.

Is it OK to drop bumper plates on concrete?

Yes, it is perfectly fine to drop bumper plates on concrete as long as they are dropped in the proper manner. Bumper plates are designed to be dropped and can withstand the impact of being dropped on a hard surface. However, it is important to make sure that the bumper plate is properly secured before dropping it. Additionally, you should always check the condition of the bumper plate before using it.

Are bumper plates or iron plates better?

Bumper plates are made of rubber and are designed to be dropped without damaging the floor or the plate. Iron plates are made of, well, iron, and are not as bouncy as bumper plates. So, which one should you use? The answer depends on your goals and your budget.

Is it OK to bench with bumper plates?

If you're new to lifting, you might be wondering if it's okay to bench press with bumper plates. The answer is yes! Bumper plates are a great option for those who are looking to increase their weightlifting capacity. They're also perfect for beginners because they're easier to handle than traditional weight plates. So, if you're looking to add some extra weight to your bench press, bumper plates are the way to go.

How long do weight plates last?

Weight plates are made from a variety of materials, including metal, plastic, and rubber. They can last anywhere from a few months to a few years, depending on how often they're used and how well they're cared for.