Harbinger Lifting Belt Review: Pros, Cons, Is It Worth It?

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two of the best Harbinger lifting belts reviews

Since 1988, Harbinger has been serving the fitness community with various high-quality gear. I’m pretty sure you’ve bumped into one of its weightlifting gloves, dip belts, lifting straps, and knee wraps

Today, I’ll discuss two of the best Harbinger lifting belts. The first one is a 4-inch nylon model that tightens with velcro, which should be ideal for general strength training and light weightlifting. If you want something sturdier, you’ll love the 6-inch leather alternative, which tightens with a double-prong buckle. Both models will be great for lifters who don’t want to invest too much money.

Before discussing the actual details, let’s take a quick birds-eye look at the pros and cons of each model.

Harbinger 4-Inch Nylon Belt

Pros

  • Highly affordable
  • Extra-wide velcro
  • Sturdy steel buckle

Cons

  • Non-anatomical design
  • Not approved for competitive powerlifting

Recommended For

  • Beginner and intermediate lifters who are purchasing a belt for the first time
  • Competitive bodybuilders
  • Competitive Olympic weightlifters
  • Crossfitters
  • General gym goers

Harbinger 6-Inch Padded Leather Belt 

Pros

  • Reasonably priced
  • Padded with a foam cushion
  • Short break-in time
  • Fashionable design

Cons

  • Questionable durability
  • Might be too wide for some people
  • Not approved for competitions

Recommended For

  • Intermediate to advanced lifters who have a couple years of strength training experience
  • Those looking to increase maximal strength on the compound movements (squat, bench, deadlift)
  • Lifters with bigger torsos (not ideal for females or smaller torso sizes)

Things To Consider Before Buying A Lifting Belt

Before buying a lifting belt, you need to ask yourself about the nature of your workouts: Are you interested in powerlifting or weightlifting?

Powerlifting belts are typically made of leather, which is the only material that can support heavy weights without wearing. Such a hefty construction needs a steel buckle (either a prong or a lever) to secure it.

Although some weightlifting belts feature a leather construction, most of them are made of nylon, which is way more comfortable than the former. Ideally, these belts should taper around your hips and ribs, so as not to interfere with the dynamic Olympic weightlifting workouts. But non-anatomic models would work better for athletes with a short torso.

Harbinger 4-Inch Nylon Belt Review 

harbinger 4-inch nylon belt review

The Harbinger belt is made of two parts: a 4” nylon core and a 3” webbing strap. These parts are held together with multiple rows of single stitches. On one of the belt’s ends, you’ll find a robust steel buckle with a roller. Although this buckle isn’t reinforced with separate stitches, it still holds up for a long time.

Harbinger releases only one version of this belt, which sports an all-black finish, except for the red Harbinger logo.

Performance

As you might already know, most weightlifting belts feature an anatomic design that starts wide at the back and gradually shrinks toward the front. This isn’t the case here. Both the nylon core and strap maintain a consistent width from side to side. Is this bad? Well, not necessarily.

The whole purpose of the anatomic design is to provide the heftiest support without restricting your movement. But if you have a short torso, wearing 6-inch anatomic belts will sure do more harm than good.

With only 4 inches, you can place this belt higher or lower on your abdomen in order to reach the most effective position.

Stability

As I said earlier, the Harbinger 4-inch belt tightens with a 3-inch strap. To put things into perspective, most belts cap the strap between 1.5 and 2 inches. Of course, having a broader area of velcro is the best way to reinforce such puny material.

Comfort

Most brands reinforce their lifting belts with extra layers of memory foam or EVA in order to enhance the comfort factor. Unfortunately, Harbinger missed that by a mile! This belt features a full nylon construction, which doesn’t conform to your body that much.

If you like to lift shirtless, you may want to consider another belt because nylon will be too scratchy.

Sizing

To measure yourself for this belt, wrap a cloth tape measure around your body at the level of your belly button, and write down the measurement. While doing so, it’s important to keep your muscles completely relaxed.

Now pick your ideal size from the following table:

SizeMeasurements
Small24–29 inches
Medium29–33 inches
Large33–37 inches
X-Large37–42 inches

The majority of the customer reviews confirm that this belt is true to size. Even if you hook the velcro strap on the tightest setting, there won’t be any slack hanging freely.

Approval For Competitions

Sadly, you can’t use this belt for competitions organized by the IPF, USAPL, USPA, and any related federation.

Why? These federations specify certain rules for all of the used gear to guarantee fair competition. For lifting belts, the first and most important rule states that the construction material should be leather, vinyl, or any similar non-compressible material. Clearly, nylon doesn’t fit inside this category.

So, Who Should Use The Harbinger 4-Inch Nylon Belt?

Because it’s made from nylon, this belt should only be used for general strength training, Olympic weightlifting, and crossfitters. 

For powerlifters and people looking to improve max strength should get a sturdier model, preferably one that’s made of leather. Luckily, this is exactly what the next model offers. 

Harbinger 6-Inch Padded Leather Belt Review

harbinger 6-inch padded leather belt review

Harbinger constructs this belt from a thick layer of genuine leather that measures 6 inches at the back and 3 inches at the front. It secures with a double-prong steel buckle that features a roller for easier tightening.

Exteriorly, this belt sports a matte leather finish that looks extremely premium. The Harbinger logo is embossed at the back, which enhances the look even more. Internally, there’s a soft split-leather lining that feels like silky fleece.

Performance

Unfortunately, Harbinger doesn’t specify the exact thickness of the used leather, so I couldn’t expect how much support it’ll provide.

After I tried it, I think it’s about 7mm thick. It felt as secure as most 10mm belts, but I didn’t experience the chafing and digging that usually come with most new leather belts.

Although using the double-prong buckle was relatively easy, I still prefer the unparalleled convenience of levers, even though they’re usually more expensive.

Bracing

Although the 6-inch back provided solid support, I wish harbinger had tapered it into four inches instead of only three. Why? Well, contrary to common belief, lifting belts aren’t supposed to “directly” support your back. In fact, if you don’t know how to effectively breathe into the belt, it’ll be almost useless!

The lifting belt is supposed to provide a rigid surface on which you can tighten your core. When these muscles contract, they compress the contents of your abdomen, which increases the intra-abdominal pressure. That pressure forces your spine into a neutral position, allowing you to safely lift heavier weights.

Needless to say, covering your abdomen with 4-inch leather will trigger more solid bracing, which should be extremely useful for bodybuilders and powerlifters who need to lift heavier weights.

Then again, weightlifters may appreciate the 3-inch front since it won’t dig into their ribs while performing something like the squat clean.

Comfort

Not only does this belt break in faster than usual, but it also has a foam cushion incorporated into the back. This compressible pad allows the belt to hug your back more efficiently, promoting stability and injury prevention.

That said, athletes who have a short torso may not appreciate the 6-inch back. If you think this will be a problem, you should opt for the 4-inch version.

Durability

The first time I saw this belt, I was immediately skeptical about the quality — it’s almost three times cheaper than the Inzer Forever belt, which is one of the best options on the market.

Sadly, I discovered that you do get what you pay for! The leather core started to break after a month of use, and the inner lining began to fray even earlier. But to be honest, I think I went too heavy on this belt. I used it for back-to-back sets of squats, deadlifts, bench presses, plus Olympic snatches and cleans.

When I went to check what other lifters thought about it, I found lots of discordant reviews. Some people said it broke too early, yet others used it for months with no problems. This inconsistency most likely traces back to poor quality assurance. Then again, it can also suggest that the belt isn’t designed to support extreme loads.

Sizing

Harbinger offers this belt in the following sizes:

SizeMeasurements
Small23–29 inches
Medium29–33 inches
Large33–37 inches
X-Large37–42 inches
XX-Large42–48 inches

Remember: Wrap the tape measure at the level of your belly button, and don’t suck in your stomach or brace your core.

Approval For Competitions

Even though this belt is made of leather, you can’t use it for professional competitions for three reasons.

First, the maximum width allowed by the IPF is 4 inches. Second, the added foam cushion is strictly prohibited because it might grant an unfair advantage. Third, Harbinger isn’t an accredited manufacturer, despite being fairly famous.

So, Who Should Use The Harbinger 6-Inch Leather Belt?

The leather construction makes this belt suitable for powerlifters and bodybuilders who need to lift heavier weights for longer reps.

But because of the potential durability issues, I wouldn’t recommend it for serious lifters, especially those who want to compete.

What Do The Lifters Say About The Harbinger Lifting Belts?

Aside from the questionable durability, reviews came out quite positive about both the nylon and leather belts.

  • One lifter praised the spot-on sizing of the leather belt, explaining that it’s the only option that works for a 23-inch waist.
  • Another customer confirmed that the leather belt isn’t the most durable option, but it’s still good enough for the money.
  • The last customer used the velcro belt for 5 years in powerlifting and weightlifting workouts without experiencing any problems.

Alternatives You Can Buy Instead Of The Harbinger Lifting Belts

alternatives you can buy instead of the harbinger lifting belts

Fortunately, you can find dozens of high-quality lifting belts on the market. Here are my top picks:

1.   Schiek Sports Model 2004: Best Nylon Belt 

At first glance, the Schiek 2004 nylon belt will seem too expensive for its features — you can find quality leather belts at the same price!

But the truth is, this belt isn’t like any nylon product. The thing I like the most about it is its unique tapering design. The wide back tapers around the hips and ribs, but it widens back over the abdomen to allow for efficient bracing.

Additionally, it tightens with two layers of velcro, and it hugs your body with a cone-shaped design.

How It Compares to the Harbinger Lifting Belts

  • More expensive
  • Longer durability
  • Features an anatomic design
  • Equipped with two layers of velcro

2.   Inzer Forever Lever Belt

Inzer has really outdone itself by releasing this unparalleled belt. It features a highly rigid leather construction that can provide tons of support for avid powerlifters.

I’ve been using the Inzer Forever lever belt for over 13 years now, and I still can’t find anything better or more durable! And because Inzer is an accredited manufacturer, you can use this belt for any professional competition.

How It Compares to the Harbinger Lifting Belts

  • Made of genuine leather
  • More expensive
  • Covered with a lifetime warranty
  • Available with a prong buckle
  • Available in two thicknesses: 10 and 13 mm

3.   Lifting Large Economy Belt

Even though the Lifting Large Economy belt is way more affordable than the Inzer Forever, it still manages to provide strikingly similar performance — its leather construction feels solid, it’s available in different thicknesses, and it’s approved for competitions. But of course, it’s not as durable.

How It Compares to the  Harbinger Lifting Belts

  • Made of leather
  • Approved for competition
  • Longer durability
  • Available with a prong buckle
  • Available in two thicknesses: 10 and 13 mm

If you want more options, check out my full guide detailing the 10 best lifting belts.

The Final Word

The best thing about the Harbinger lifting belts is their budget-friendly price. The 4-inch nylon belt is best suited for general strength training and light lifting, while the 6-inch leather model caters to powerlifters and bodybuilders who lift heavier weights.

If you want a belt that can hold out against extreme, consistent use, the Inzer Forever should be your best bet.