How many kg weight plates do I need?

Determining how many kg weight plates you need for your home gym setup can seem daunting at first. However, with some simple calculations based on the types of exercises you want to do and the amount of weight you need, you can figure out exactly what to buy. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through the step-by-step process to find the ideal weight plates for your needs.

Quick Answers

Here are some quick answers to common questions about kg weight plates:

  • Most standard Olympic barbells hold around 20 kg of plates per side, so aim for at least 40+ kg total of smaller plates for a full squat/deadlift setup.
  • Bumper plates (with rubber coating) absorb force better for Olympic lifts – get a mix of lighter and heavier bumper plates.
  • Iron plates are cheaper and work for most exercises besides Olympic lifts. Shoot for 2 x 20kg, 2 x 15kg, 4 x 10kg, and 4 x 5kg plates.
  • Get a mix of heavier and lighter plates for easier incremental loading.
  • Plan for future growth – get more plates than you think you need when starting out.

Determining Your Goals

The first step is to identify your goals and the types of strength training or weightlifting exercises you want to do. This determines the weight increments and types of plates you’ll need.

Here are some common goals and exercises to consider:

  • Powerlifting: Squats, bench press, deadlifts. You’ll need lots of 45 lb (20kg) plates and smaller plates like 5-25 lbs (2.5-10kg) for incremental loading.
  • Bodybuilding: Squats, rows, presses. Aim for a range of 5-25 lb (2-10kg) plates for progressive overload.
  • Olympic weightlifting: Snatches, clean & jerk. Bumper plates are a must, along with technique practice with lighter bars/plates.
  • General strength: A little bit of everything. Get an assortment of standard iron and rubber coated plates from 5-45 lbs (2.5-20kg).

Knowing whether you want to specialize or practice a variety of lifts will guide your plate purchasing. Most beginners are best off getting a general assortment.

Types of Plates

The material and coating of plates can make a big difference depending on your training style:

  • Bumper plates: Made of rubber or urethane coated iron. More expensive but essential for Olympic lifts to absorb force when dropping weights.
  • Iron/steel plates: Uncoated cast iron or steel. More affordable but noisier and not suitable for dropping.
  • Urethane coated plates: Iron plates with a urethane coating to protect floors and reduce noise. A budget-friendly alternative to bumpers.

For most beginners, a mix of urethane and standard iron plates offers flexibility at a reasonable price. You can always add specialty bumper plates later as you advance.

Plate Sizing and Increments

Choosing the right platelet sizes and increments is crucial for progressive overload and strength gains. Here are some general guidelines on sizing:

  • 2 x 20kg plates – Ideal for major compound lifts like squats, deadlifts, etc.
  • 2 x 15kg plates – For incremental loading on compound lifts after 20kg plates.
  • 4-6 x 10kg plates – The workhorse smaller plates for increments of 5kg.
  • 4-6 x 5kg plates – For smaller 2.5kg increments on isolation moves.
  • 4-6 x 2.5kg plates – For 1.25kg increments on smaller muscle groups.
  • 2 x 1.25kg plates – For microloading and progression on lifts like overhead press.

This allows you to progress in small increments across a range of lifts. You can start lighter when beginning a new movement or muscle group, and go heavier on the big compound lifts.

Plate Storage

Storing all the weight plates you need can take up a lot of floor space. Here are some storage options to consider:

  • Plate tree: Free standing unit with arms to vertically store plates. Great for quick access.
  • Plate rack: Holds plates horizontally on a rack. More compact storage than a plate tree.
  • Pegboard: Use pegs and plate holders to hang plates vertically on a wall mounted pegboard.
  • Storage pins: Add plate storage pins inside a power rack to store plates right on the rack uprights.

Look for storage solutions that keep plates off the floor for safety and organization. A combination like a plate tree and wall mounted storage offers flexibility and saves space.

Example Plate Packages

Putting it all together, here are some example kg plate packages to get started:

Package Plates
Starter 2 x 20kg
2 x 15kg
2 x 10kg
2 x 5kg
2 x 2.5kg
2 x 1.25kg
Intermediate 3 x 20kg
2 x 15kg
4 x 10kg
4 x 5kg
4 x 2.5kg
2 x 1.25kg
Advanced 4 x 20kg
3 x 15kg
6 x 10kg
6 x 5kg
6 x 2.5kg
4 x 1.25kg

This gives you an idea of how to scale up the number and size of plates as you get stronger and need more weight. You can always buy more individual plates later as needed.

Buying Used Plates

One way to save money as a beginner is looking for used plate sets for sale. Here are some tips when buying used:

  • Inspect plates carefully for cracks, chips, or damage.
  • Test spin the plates – they should spin smoothly without wobbling.
  • Watch for rust on iron plates.
  • Make sure rubber bumpers are still resilient, not cracked or separating from the iron.
  • Buy name brand plates from reputable companies when possible.
  • Factor in some savings for potentially needing to replace a few down the road.

Buying used can get you more plates for your budget. Just be selective in assessing condition and brands. It’s still worth investing in quality plates that will last.

The Best Value Weight Plate Sets

When looking to buy new plates, these are some of the best value sets for beginners on a budget:

  • CAP Barbell Standard Plate Set – Iron plates from 5-45 lbs for $150
  • Fitness Gear Pro Plate Set – 300 lb Olympic set with (2) 45s, (2) 35s, (4) 10s for $199
  • Titan Fitness Olympic Plate Set – 255 lb training set for $169
  • Rogue Echo Bumper Plates – 190 lb set with (2) 25, (2) 15, (2) 10, (2) 5 for $350

Buying a full matched plate set from a trusted brand avoids the hassle of piecing together random plates. It also gives you room to grow as you get stronger.


When equipping your home gym, getting the right assortment of kg weight plates is crucial. Follow these steps:

  1. Determine your training goals and ideal lifts.
  2. Select the right mix of plate types and sizes for incremental loading.
  3. Organize storage so plates are easily accessible.
  4. Buy a matched plate set from a quality brand to get started.

With an understanding of the key plate options and some simple calculations, you can put together a compact, budget-friendly set of plates for all your strength training needs. Proper planning from the start will save you hassle down the road. So take the time to think through your ideal plate package before equipping your home gym.

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