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Bumper Plate Buying Guide

Bumper Plate Buying Guide

If you’re thinking of starting a home gym, or upgrading equipment for a commercial space, the question shouldn’t be “do I need bumper plates?” but rather, “what bumper plates should I get?” and this guide is here to answer that very question.

Bumper Plates, or just ‘bumpers’, are weight plates designed for 50mm (Olympic) barbells which you will find at almost all gyms, and are comprised of an iron or steel core and thick rubber protective coating.

It is important to get the right bumper plate for you, as doing so saves you from premature wear-and-tear, prevents your prized barbells from bending due to uneven landing, protects your flooring from damages, and ensures a quiet and safe drop.

If you are reading this and are unsure what a bumper plate is, or you would like to learn more, check out our ‘Bumper Plates Explained’ blog post!

Different types of Bumpers

The reason that there's a wide range of bumper plates is simple - different levels of athletes need different equipment. An Olympic level athlete who is pushing for a new record will need the highest grade and accuracy with their plates, as opposed to a fitness coach purchasing bumpers for a class of varying skill and strength.

The major difference between many of the Bumper Plates on the market is the composition of their rubber coating. Many cheaper and lower quality bumpers are manufactured using crumb rubber, a recycled rubber that detracts from the durability of the bumper. Crumb rubber is also known to be bulkier and provide significant bounce - not ideal in most cases.

Higher quality bumper plates will most often be manufactured with High Density Virgin Rubber, a highly durable and dense rubber that makes the bumpers slimmer and provides a 'dead-blow' (minimal bounce) effect when dropped. The slim profile of these bumpers allows for greater versatility when stacking the barbell, and the 'dead-blow' effect prevents damage to gym flooring and the barbell, and ensures the safety of the lifter.

At SMAI we recommend using bumpers made of High Density Virgin Rubber as, after 35 years in business, we have found these to be the safest, most durable, and all round best quality material for bumper plates.


At SMAI we've spent years perfecting our Bumper Plate's to provide the best equipment to athletes across all levels of training. Our Bumpers are manufactured using High Density Virgin Rubber that has been vulcanized to further increase the plates strength and durability. To ensure they will last under commercial use, each plate variant has been drop tested 5,000 times from a height of 2 meters.

Also, to remain consistent, our HD and Competition plates are sized and color coded to fit the specifications provided by the International Weightlifting Federation.

Standard - Training Bumper plates

These are the tried-and-true weight plates for both home gyms and commercial spaces. Usually seen in a matte or glossy black finish, the popularity of these plates stems from their likeliness to competition plates in size and weight, but without the cost.

As the go-to bumper for most people, high quality standard plates must be durable, versatile, and safe, as they will be commonly used by beginner lifters and in commercial spaces. When purchasing standard plates, experienced lifters will often look for plates with a lower bounce and low weight variance.

Even for a standard/training plate, SMAI HD bumpers sport high quality competitive level specs which is why they can be seen in gyms all over Australia.


  • Insert: Stainless Steel
  • Vulcanized high density Virgin Rubber
  • Variance of +/- 1% of claimed weight
  • Shore A Durometer: 88 rating (Minimal bounce)
  • Collar Opening: 50.6mm
  • Odourless

competition bumper plates

Given the name, these bumpers are premium plates used by competitive and elite level weightlifters both in training and in competition. Competition plates must be designed and coloured to IWF standards, and have a very low weight variation for competitive accuracy and integrity.

If you're a competitive lifter, looking to compete, or relish in training like the professionals, then upgrading to competition plates is a must.

Compared to standard and training plates, SMAI competition plates have more precise weight accuracy (+/- only 10 grams), and a tighter collar to ensure a snug fit and no lateral movement while lifting.


  • Insert: IWF Steel Disc, nickel plated
  • Shore A tested Durometer rating of 88
  • Protective rubber flanges
  • Diameter: 450mm
  • Collar opening: 50.4mm (+/- 0.1mm)
  • Colour: IWF Standard Colour
  • Weight Tolerance: +/- 10 grams

5kg Bumper plates

Similar to a fractional or a technique plate (see below), SMAI 5kg Bumper Plates can be used to incrementally add weight or practice technique when lifting. Even though they weigh much less than the previous bumpers, they are still a full-sized bumper plate in diameter.

Most people will claim that it’s hard to find a high quality 5kg bumper plate that does not break within the first year. SMAI have spent years finding the right formula between quality and price, to ensure we have the best 5kg plate on offer.


  • Insert: Manufactured steel
  • Material: High Quality Rubber
  • Tolerance – 1% claimed weight
  • Collar Opening: 50.5mm +/- 0.2mm
  • Diameter: 45cm

Technique plates - 2.5kg

Technique bumper plates are designed to help perfect your form and positioning while lifting. They are perfect for beginner cross training classes, younger athletes, older lifters who may have mobility issues, and experienced lifters practicing technique. These plates are highly durable as they are likely to take a beating.


  • Made from super durable high-grade polyurethane
  • Diameter: 450mm
  • Collar opening: 50.4mm

Pro technique plates

Pro Technique plates are designed to best replicate the feel of regular bumpers in terms of size (diameter and width) and positioning, but without the added weight. These plates are perfect for those wishing to master their form. They are designed specifically for technique training and being dropped repeatedly from overhead.


  • Diameter: 450mm
  • Collar Opening: 50.4mm
  • Plate Thickness: 80mm

Available in 2.5kg and 5kg.

Fractional plates

Fractional plates allow lifters to increase weights by smaller increments, also known as micro-loading. They are perfect for smaller, controlled movements such as arms or shoulders, or to add on a few extra kilos to your next deadlift PB.


  • Made from: Machined Steel
  • Weight Tolerance +/- 10 grams

Available in 1.25kg and 2.5kg

What's next?

If you are still unsure what bumpers will suit you, check out our 'Bumper Plates Explained' blog post, or contact us and we will be more than happy advise you on the best Bumper Plates to suit your needs!

Buying from SMAI

Recently celebrating 35-years in business, SMAI is an Australian owned company with a quality-first approach. We strive to provide the best customer experience and always listen to all feedback so we may continually improve.

Our normal dispatch time is 1-2 business days with estimated delivery between 1-6 business days to major cities in Australia.

We also offer VIP pricing for wholesale customers, see Trade Pass for more information.

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