Review of the Best Powerlifting Belts in the Market

Choosing the right powerlifting belt can be a tough choice. What's better: lever or prong? Tighter or looser? Thicker or thinner? Leather or swede? Here's everything you need to know.

Pioneer Cut Belt Review
Best Value

  • TIGHTEST Fit in the Market
  • The Name: Price to Performance
  • High Quality & Durability

sbd lever belt review
Best Quality

  • Industry-Leading Quality Belt
  • IPF-Approved & 13MM
  • Easily Adjustable Lever Belt

steel sweat strength powerlifting belt review
Best Budget

  • Best Value-Performance Ratio
  • 10MM & Single-Prong Belt
  • Highly Durable Leather Build

How to Choose Your Next Powerlifting Belt

Best Value

Pioneer Cut Belt

One of the tightest single-prong belts in the market. Available in leather and swede.

best single prong belt for powerlifting

Why We Like Pioneer Cut Belt

In my opinion, the Pioneer Cut belt is the best single powerlifting belt on the market right now.

All things considered: quality, durability, performance, and price point. It goes for about $125 (with the black leather option sitting below $100).

There are both leather and suede options for both with plenty of customization available (if you so desire).

What makes the Pioneer Cut unique is its patented 0.5” between holes configuration.

This allows the user to get the belt as tight as possible — if you so desire. I am a fan of tighter belts, and prong belts are generally easier to adjust…however…

Best Quality

SBD Belt

The absolute best quality belt. The go-to choice for those that desire a premium feel.

powerlifting lever belt sbd

Should You Buy SBD Belt?

The exception to that rule being the renowned SBD Belt.

With a gliding buckle technology, and a very luxurious feel — the SBD Belt offers lifters the adjustability of a prong belt with the ease of use of a lever belt.

It’s the best of both worlds!

However, that feature comes at the highest price point in the market. If you believe that feature is worth paying an extra $100 for — go for it.

With the SBD Belt, you’ll have most likely the best belt in the market when it comes to quality and technology.

However, said quality and technology does not mean more weight on the bar. And because there’s no difference in a $40 belt and $225 belt — I don’t believe that the quality of the product justifies the expense.

Best Budget

Steel Sweat Belt

The Steel Sweat Belt is the best budget choice for those looking for entry-level options.

steel sweat belt for powerlifting

Why We Recommend Steel Sweat Belt

The Steel Sweat Belt was my first belt ever. It’s a $40; 10-mm thick; leather belt that served me faithfully for years.

Don’t let the price tag fool you: I used this belt for thousands of reps with very heavy weights and they supported me all throughout.

It still hasn’t shown any signs of wear & tear after two years of ownership.

It’s a great leather belt for those who want a decent price tag for a good quality product that will serve as an introduction to the world of powerlifting belts.

You can’t go wrong here.

Best Prong Belt

Best Belts

A great-built single prong belt for anyone looking for an alternate premium option.

prime cut single prong belt

Best Prong Belt: The Prime Cut by Best Belts

The Prime Cut by Best Belts has been one of the preferred lifting belts for decades for many.

They’re arguably some of the most well-built & high-quality powerlifting belts you’ll ever come across.

A fine choice for anyone looking for a very high quality product for a great price.

The only caveat here being that Best Belts is not paying for the IPF’s fees anymore, so they’re not in the approved lift for IPF meets.

Best Belts have been helping powerlifters reach their potential for over three decades and have collected many passionate fans in the process.

Many love that they require minimal breaking in before focused use and are offered in both 10mm and 13mm thicknesses. You can also size the belt to ensure that the clasp hole you use most often is in the middle for a secure fit. Others might find it frustrating that they only come in suede and don’t have a lever clasp system.

Best Alternate Lever Belt

Inzer Forever Belt

A great-built lever belt for powerlifters without breaking the bank.

inzer forever belt review

Best Prong Belt: The Prime Cut by Best Belts

For those looking for a cost-effective option, the Inzer Forever powerlifting belt comes in at just 40% the cost of SBD belts. You can choose between 10mm and 13mm thickness options and can select between a range of color and fastening options, including lever, single prong, and double prong.

Despite the price, these belts are considered a stellar investment. They are renowned for their durability and are the first choice for thousands of professional powerlifters and record breakers.

Saying that, some people might object to the combination of suede and nylon stitching. You also have fewer options for adjusting the fit to your specific preferences.

This can be a nuisance for some who find their waistline changing due to growth in muscle (or losses in weight). If you’re not the type of person who changes way in a dramatic fashion constantly, you’d be better off with this belt rather than the SBD.

Really — how often will you go up or down an inch in waist size?

If the answer to that question is “not very often”, then the Inzer Forever Belt is probably going to be your go-to choice for a strong & high-quality lever belt.

Are you ready to maximize your potential as a powerlifter? Then you’ve likely considered purchasing a weightlifting belt. But are these belts just unnecessary accessories marketed towards novices, or are they a tool you shouldn’t join the gym without?

Here, we’ll assess the benefits of powerlifting belts while helping you choose the right model for your situation.

What Are Powerlifting Belts?

Powerlifting belts have a simple premise; they stiffen your back through each lifting movement to increase your intra-abdominal pressure. Likewise, these belts can prevent hyperextension during intense overhead lifts.

The idea is that this improved posture helps you lift more weight each session so that you get stronger over time. Belts for powerlifting can also reduce your risk of injury by restricting your ability to bend and twist sideways and potentially wrench your back.

You don’t need to wear a powerlifting belt for every set, but they offer real benefits during deadlifts and squats, and any activity where you are lifting 85% or more of your one-rep max.

So, who should use a weightlifting belt?

Most novice powerlifters will benefit from using one, starting within their first month of training. Not only does the belt offer better support as it strengthens underutilized muscles, but it serves as a reminder to maintain proper posture and squeeze your abdominals through each lift.

Note that these belts aren’t a substitute for core work—you still need to get in those crunches. Regardless, they offer real benefits to powerlifters who want to perfect their craft and get to the next level of training.

Keep reading to learn the differences between five popular brands of belts used for powerlifting.

Should You Choose A Leather or Suede Belt?

One big decision all powerlifters need to make is whether to commit to a leather or suede belt. This decision comes down both to your price point and your time frame.

You’ll usually save money going with a leather belt, but the material tends to be stiffer and will take longer to break in. This can lead to back irritation and even chaffing, which is the last thing you want to think about when pushing for a personal lifting record.

Suede belts, in contrast, tend to break in faster due to the material’s more supple nature. They also usually come in more customization options, especially regarding color and clasp style. You will usually need to pay more per belt, though. And in the long run, suede powerlifting belts don’t differ much from leather belts from a functionality standpoint.

Some people might find that the clasp holes of their leather belts get slightly stretched out over time compared to suede, but this is a relatively minor problem, and you can always move to the next hole.

Regardless of which powerlifting belt you choose, make sure you treat it right so that it lasts for the long run. Wipe down the material after every workout to remove any lingering sweat, and consider occasional treatments with a leather cleaner to keep it from getting stiff.

With the right care, your weightlifting belt will benefit your powerlifting sessions for years to come.

What Kinds of Belts Are BEST for Squats?

Because Squats don’t require any bending over, and you’re generally more upright — 13-mm belts will work for just about everyone.

For some people with shorter torsos, the thicker belts will restrict their range of motion on the deadlift. This is rarely the case with Squats.

And although the extra 3 millimeters might seem a bit trivial to some, I’ve found that they actually do add a little extra support. Even if purely mental.

Other components of the belt will be more related to personal preference such as tightness, and whether you want a lever or prong belt.

Should I Get A Lever Belt Or A Prong Belt?

Prong belts and lever belts don’t offer much to the lifter in terms of weight on the bar.

Some might say that wearing an ultra tight prong belt might help them get more of the ‘squeeze’. I tend to be in that camp.

Some might find prong belts too fastidious when it comes to taking it off. I’ve also experienced this.

Really, it’s a matter of personal preference. Prong belts can be tightened and adjusted more easily than lever belts.

Lever belts are easier to take on and off. Some people even associate the flicker of the lever as a “finished off a great set” type of deal.

The same way b-ball players have signature “three-pt shot celebrations”.

Ultimately, it doesn’t make much difference in terms of weight lifted.

When Should You Get A Powerlifting Belt?

At any point you desire.

Belts do primarily one thing: they stiffen the back segment and prevent it from moving under heavy loads.

This stability combined with the increased abdominal pressure from the belt, and a properly executed valsalva will generally help lifters add an additional 5-10% to the bar.

And that’s what they’re mainly used for: to add more weight to the bar in pursuit of a bigger total.

They don’t prevent injury or negate the “core” muscles.

You won’t be any stronger if you train with or without a belt. Strength is generally a byproduct of hypertrophy (muscle mass) which is unrelated to training with or without a belt.

Get a belt if you plan on competing and want to go for max weights (or if that’s fun to you) — or don’t if it’s not in your plans to do so.