Silver bars are the primary vehicle used when investing in silver bullion. Silver bars come in many different weights and are produced by many different companies. The difference between bars and coins is largely found in their premiums over spot. With most bars, save for rarer editions that are collected, the price over spot is going to be relatively minimal per ounce.
Coins, however, can carry added premiums per ounce that range from a few dollars all the way up to hundreds and even thousands of dollars. With silver bars, as well as rounds, your money is going almost exclusively to the pure metal content vs. the collectible value that you will find in other silver items like coins. This is the primary reason why silver bars are most popular among investors.
Silver bars come in many different sizes, with most ranging from 1 oz to 100 oz. The 1 oz bars will carry the highest premium over spot per individual ounce, while 100 oz bars tend to have the lowest mark up over spot per ounce. The difference in pricing for 1 oz and 100 oz bars will be dwindled as you increase the quantity of a 1 oz bar order. In the end, the main function in silver pricing is the number of ounces ordered and not so much the type of silver bought.
One ounce bars are most frequently found in the portfolios of entry level buyers. With that said, even the biggest owners of silver bullion in the world will own some amount of 1 oz bars. They are very easy to sell, buy, and trade, are widely available, and are very affordable. Many people will start off with 1 oz varieties of silver bars to get a feel for what real silver is like. One ounce bars are not going to break the bank and are an ideal way to start investing in silver.
Five ounce bars are the next step up from 1 oz bars (with the odd 2 oz, 3 oz, etc. bars also floating around), but they are not nearly as in demand as the 10 oz types. Ten ounce bars are so heavily sought after because they serve as an ideal middle ground between smaller investments (1 oz and 5 oz) and very sizable investments (kilo and 100 oz bars). These bars will also normally carry a somewhat low premium over spot price. If you have the funds available to order 10 oz of silver and would like to get the most silver content for your dollar, 10 oz bars would be more logical than 1 oz bars. If you intend to sell off a fraction of your 10 oz, however, smaller bars would then make more sense.
Mints from all over the world create and distribute silver bars. Perhaps the most well-known minter of silver bars is Engelhard. They are recognized as one of the most reputable and popular brands in the entire bullion industry. The surprising thing about the demand for Engelhard is found in the fact that they have not been in business for over 20 years. The demand for these brand bars is so strong that some of them carry values that rival those of coins. Like coins, some silver owners collect bars, as well, especially the rarer editions that are no longer in production.
Aside from Engelhard, there are also many other companies who are known for their silver and gold bars. These mints include, but are most definitely not limited to:
Aside from the above mentioned brands, there are also countless others, though these tend to be the most popular. Many bars that you will run across are going to be stamped with unique images or logos. The only thing that you really need to look for is the weight and purity of the bar. So long as it is .999 and notes the weight, all silver bars are going to be equal in value based on their silver content.