The Difference Between Cast Iron and Vinyl Weights?

The main difference between cast iron and vinyl weights is the cast iron weights are more dense than vinyl. Vinyl weights can easily take 2 – 3 times the space that a cast iron plate would take.

Vinyl weights are made from concrete covered in plastic and cast iron are weights made from iron and are sometimes covered in rubber.

The reason why I’m not a fan of vinyl weights is because they easily take lots of space on the bar. If you’re trying to bench press 100kg, there may not be enough space on the bar if you’re using vinyl plates.

Vinyl plates are very thick compared to cast iron plates. This is a nuisance when you’re bicep curling. If you’re bicep curling dumbbells, vinyl weight can easily get in the way and they’ll start hitting your leg when you go past 10kg.

That’s not a lot of weight on the bar but it will still cause that disturbance.

The good thing however about vinyl weights is the weight your lifting is still the same. 60kg on the bar with cast iron plates vs vinyl is the same thing. 

And the most common reason why people go with vinyl weights when working out from home is the cost. Vinyl weights are much cheaper. However, if you have extra cash, I’d highly recommend going with the cast iron.

It’ll save you a lot of headache because when you start lifting heavy, you won’t be capped by how much space the bar has remaining to fit more plates on.

Also, cast iron just looks better.

If you’re a beginner lifter that doesn’t want to spend a lot, vinyl is for you. However, if you’re a serious lifter, then you want to go with cast iron.

Can you mix vinyl and cast iron weights?

Yes, you can mix vinyl and cast iron weights as long as there are an equal number of cast iron and vinyl weights on each side of the bar. For example, there shouldn’t be 10kg of cast iron weights on one side and 10kg of vinyl weights on the other side of the bar.

Instead, there should be a 1x 5kg vinyl weight along with 1x 5kg cast iron weight on both sides of the bar. So that would be 10kg on each side of the bar making 20kg total.

There has to be an equal number of the type of weight/plate because the weights slightly vary with the cast iron being slightly heavier.

Vinyl weights pros and cons

Pros

Cheap

It’s still the same amount of weight when compared to expensive options

Cons

Weight is not as dense

Takes up more space on the bar

Takes up more storage space

Cast iron weights pros and cons

Pros

Takes less space on the bar

Takes less storage space

Looks good

Cons

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Expensive

Should I use cast iron or vinyl weights?

If you’re a complete beginner to lifting, vinyl weights will cost significantly less and still allow you to progress. If you’re been seriously lifting for 1+ years, cast iron weight will be a better option as you’ll be able to load more weight onto the bar.

F.A.Q

Do cast iron plates weigh more? 

Yes, cast iron plates weigh slightly more than vinyl weights due to it being made from steel instead of concrete, making it more dense. 

Do cast iron weight plates rust?

Yes, cast iron weights do rust. However, you can greatly prevent the rusting process by keeping the plates dry. So make sure your plates aren’t in the yard where it can get wet and moist. Apply coating such as black oxide, chrome, or zinc to prevent rusting.

Why are cast iron weights so expensive?

Cast iron weights are expensive due to being made from steel. Steel costs more than concrete which is what vinyl weighs are made from. It’s also expensive to ship as steel is very dense, so shipping it around the world and countries into stores uses more petrol due to lorries carrying more weight.