Pros: Hand grips, true rubber casing, funnel holes, fair price
Cons: Playschool color scheme
I bought this set for $219.99 (on sale from $335.99) to go with the ProForm XP300 Weight Bench at Sears. I have used these for about 3 weeks now, 3 times a week.
It may not be obvious, but the weights included are 2 - 45lb (red), 4 25lb (blue), 4 10 lb. (yellow), 4 5lb. (green) and 2 2 ? lb (black) for a total of 255 lbs. I assume the Olympic bar weights the standard 45 lbs but I have not verified. The print on each weight is raised. The two collars/ clips I received are better than those on the picture; they have a wider grip area and no plastic sheath/handle. This may have been an anomaly.
The weights are packaged in pairs and sets for the smaller weights. The bar is also individually wrapped in cardboard & plastic.
The rubber coating is good quality and provides excellent grip and a soft hard-rubber feel. The coating rounds the edges of the plates and gives you grip when your hands are wet. Its equal to most of the gyms Ive been to. The funnel holes and handles make it easy to pick up and load plates with one hand. This alone makes my workout go smoother and faster. Ive also used the handles during a workout (sit-ups / crunches and triceps extensions). Although I think the playschool color scheme is a con, it does help to quickly add up weights in your stack. I havent used the bar since the ProForm XP300 has one included, but it looks solid.
Marcy Cast Iron Plates
On my old cast iron set, the edges eventually chipped / rusted and I would occasionally cut/pinch my fingers between the plates.
Weider 300 lb. Weight Set, Olympic O Ring,
Sears item #00615739000, Mfr. model #CS2HOR300
The mid-priced Weider set with the o-ring bumpers is different. I tried it out at the store is it doesnt have the same rubber feel. The bumpers at my store were hard vinyl (think plastic and not rubber) and they fit loosely on the plates. Using the hand grips with these was more uncomfortable since the vinyl didnt ease into the handle; it was not rounded at the corners. I thought they would just be a trimmed down version of the more expensive ones, but they are in fact a different product. I think the extra $30 (sale prices) is very much worth the true rubber casing.
If you will be keeping your weights for awhile or if you will be lifting a lot, spring some extra money for this upgraded set. Less expensive sets are not as easy to handle and they may rust over time. I strongly believe that if I can make my workout smoother, it may be easier to stick to. I dont have any experience with more expensive weight sets but I think this is a good deal for the money when you buy it on sale.