Regular exercise is important for achieving a healthy lifestyle and physique. While bodyweight exercises are a great first step toward achieving your fitness goals, adding free weights will become inevitable as you progress in your fitness journey.
Weight training can include anything from machines to barbells to ankle or wrist weights. Perhaps the most important weight training tools you can add to your setup are dumbbells. They aren't just great for building strength and adding more volume to your muscles, but they also help in improving stability and endurance. Not to mention, they are a common part of many physical therapy routines.
No matter where you're at in your search, we’re here to help you find the finest dumbells in the market. Our guide will not only help you determine the kind of dumbbells you should pick for your needs but also learn how to use them. Keep reading to find our favorite heavyweight and lightweight dumbells.
If you've got a garage or a basement gym, I would go with good old octagonal rubber, rubber covered, or hexagonal dumbbells. I like those not only for safety, but they feel better than the dumbbells with the fixed round plates on the side. If you're trying to do certain exercises and you want to have mobility with them, they can hit your arm or your wrist, and that's really annoying. It limits their functionality. Unless you're doing pure satchel, straight, slow exercises. So, if you're multi-functional, get rubber covered octagonal dumbbells. If you are in an apartment, you probably want to get a set of adjustable dumbbells that go from 5lbs to 45lbs in every increment. There are more current workings of the good old PowerBlock, which was a game changer. We all have to give the PowerBlock a little bit of credit and pay reverence where it's due! They came up with it first with the flip and pull it out solution; it was brilliant for space saving. But these days there's like a “lock-flip-switch-pull”. It's much easier to adjust, and they're shaped like actual dumbbells.
Available from one pound up through 12 pounds, these weights are a great place to start your workout routine. They are perfect for training different muscle groups or improving stamina and balance.
Designed with safety and protection in mind, these dumbbells have a hexagon shape for easy stacking and to prevent them from rolling on the floor. They feature a core made from ASTM A48 Grade 20 grey iron, then precision dipped in 3mm of neoprene for safety and comfort. The medium-diameter handle provides a secure grip.
These Day 1 dumbbells are quite stable due to their non-slip rubber molding. Built with welded metal handles and thick, hexagonal rubber heads, their design offers protection against injuries, dents in floors, and rolling.
These dumbbells are suitable for most individuals, especially if you plan to work out at home and have limited equipment. Since these dumbbells are small, they do not require much space so you can easily store them anywhere. They can be easily incorporated into any workout routine, so it is a solid option no matter your skill level or experience.
Compact form factor provides a more balanced weight distribution
Padded handles for wrist protection and comfort
Innovative selector pin feature for quick weight adjustment
Can be adjusted from 5 pounds to 50 pounds
The fact that you can adjust the weights on these dumbbells from 5 pounds to 50 pounds with weight increments of 2.5 pounds makes them extremely cost-effective and convenient to use.
Their compact design and weight adjustability feature make them a great addition to home gyms with limited space. Also, changing the weights is amazingly easy with these dumbbells, thanks to the innovative selector pin feature.
These dumbbells are not only functional but also visually appealing in a commercial or home gym. The weight markings on the dumbbell heads and the color-coding system provide quick identification, so you can spend less time looking for the right weight and more time using it.
The exterior is made of neoprene, which ensures a soft grip and prevents the furniture or floor from getting damaged; they also come with a dumbbell holder, which is quite easy to assemble and keeps them organized. With over ten different combinations of weight sets to choose from, these dumbbells will provide ultimate customization for your next workout.
These durable dumbbells are a solid addition to aerobics and step workouts, as well as any standard strength training for added intensity and resistance. They are quite comfortable to lift and have a vinyl coating which makes them easy on the hands as well as the floor due to their impact-absorbing property.
The dumbbells are great for people with smaller hands, and their comfortable, non-slip grip means they also work well for physical therapy. Available from 5 pounds to 20 pounds, these dumbbells are perfect for beginners and have clear weight markings on them for convenience.
These dumbbells can be bought in pairs or individually. They are made to last, thanks to their solid metal handles and durable rubber casing on the heads. The textured handle provides a tight and secure grip, designed to fit comfortably in your hands.
The hexagon-shaped rubber casing is designed to stop them from rolling when not in use, and they are also designed to be stored easily and stacked on top of each other.
Spinlock collars to prevent weights from moving around
Textured handle for better grip
Yaheetech’s dumbbell is an excellent choice for toning and sculpting every muscle in your body. It is made with high-quality materials that can last frequent use, and it is also made with a textured handle for better grip without slipping.
With an adjustable dumbbell like this, you can eliminate the need to buy multiple weights and ultimately save space in your home. Spinlock collars keep your weight safely connected no matter the adjustment. Composed of cement weight plates and an iron bar, this dumbbell is sure to last you a long time.
15 different weight options in one space-saving device
Unique dial system to rapidly switch between weights
Each dumbbell goes up to 50 pounds
This set of dumbbells offers a lot of weight options that are easy to adjust using a unique dial system. With 15 different resistance levels in one space-saving device, you can get the most out of your workout without sacrificing space or time.
The dial system allows you to rapidly switch between different weight options in a matter of seconds. You can work on different muscle groups to get better results without having to purchase multiple sets of different weights. It comes with a two-year warranty on weight plates and parts, providing you with additional peace of mind.
This dumbbell set boasts a sleek and straightforward design that focuses more on durability and function. Weight options go all the way up to 45 pounds, and the contoured chrome handles provide a secure grip while you’re working out.
Unlike other chrome-coated and rubber dumbbells, these dumbbells do not have a strong chemical smell that can throw you off focus when working out. The coating on these weights helps prevent fall damage to both the weights themselves and your floors, so you can focus on your workout.
The hexagon-shaped heads prevent rolling and provide easier storage, and the knurled ergonomic handle prevents slipping and provides a comfortable, secure grip.
Since this dumbbell consists of solid cast iron, it is bound to offer reliable strength and the rubber coating helps protect your floors. It’s a great fit for anyone who loves weight training and wants to build strength without compromising convenience.
Hexagon-shape prevents rolling and facilitates easy storage
Solid, metal chrome finish
Rubber-coated heads won’t damage your floors
These dumbbells are encased in rubber material, which means that they are durable and won’t damage your floors. The hexagon shape also prevents rolling and provides easier storage. With plenty of different weights to choose from, you can be sure to find a pair that matches your needs and skill level.
The solid, metal chrome finish on these dumbbells and contoured handle will fit your hands comfortably by offering a secured grip. The dumbbells come in pairs or singles so you can easily customize your workout experience.
Get some dumbbells that will withstand wear and tear. Made out of durable iron steel, this dumbbell weight is tough enough to last through countless intense workout sessions. These dumbbells are double-dipped in neoprene coating, allowing for better grip, stability, and protection from getting chipped.
Built from high-quality cast iron, they are perfect for both beginner and advanced users. These anti-rolling free weights are easy on the wrists and ideal for use at home, on the go, outdoors, or at the gym, allowing you to take your workout wherever you so desire.
If you are looking to set up a mini-gym at home, dumbbells are one piece of equipment you shouldn’t go without. Alongside barbells, dumbells are classified as free weights that aren't attached to another piece of equipment.
Dumbbells allow for more dynamic motions to isolate specific muscles and are more versatile when used for weight training. And while dumbbells are somewhat limited in their weight ranges compared to barbells, they are safer as they allow a greater range of motion and more natural movements—and if your strength fails you while performing a lift, you can easily drop a dumbbell, unlike a barbell, which is more restrictive and difficult to maneuver.
Dumbbells are also the ideal free weights for beginners who want to build enough strength before advancing to higher weights with barbells, or people who want to build endurance and a well-toned physique.
But while most dumbbells are great, some yield even better results than others. We have given you a selection of the best dumbbells on the market, but if you still haven't decided which one to choose, we are here to help. With this buying guide, we give you a list of things to consider and qualities you should look for in premium dumbbells to ultimately enable you to make an informed choice best suited to your needs.
How Much Do Dumbbells Weigh?
Dumbbells come in different weight categories and ranges, and your choice will depend on the kind of exercises you will be using them for, as well as your experience level. If you are unsure of which weight to go for, a dumbbell set is your best choice as you will have a wider weight range at your disposal as opposed to a single dumbbell.
Light dumbbells are the best choice for beginners. They typically sit anywhere between two and 15 pounds.
While you won’t be building serious muscle mass, light weights are ideal for toning, warm-up exercises, and aerobics.
Medium-weight dumbbells are great for intermediate fitness enthusiasts. Medium-weight dumbbell sets will typically come with weights in the five to 50-pound range.
They are ideal for both men and women who want to create a balance between strength and stamina.
Heavy dumbbells will typically come in weights anywhere between 50 and 100 pounds. They are designed to build muscle mass and strength with fewer reps. These are the dumbbells you will likely find stacked in the racks at your gym.
How Much Do Dumbbells Usually Cost?
When you’re in the market for a dumbbell or dumbbell set, budget usually comes into play. For free weights, the heavier they are, the more they cost. With dumbbells, you will typically pay around $2 to $2.50 per pound of weight.
Inexpensive, light dumbbells
Budget-friendly beginner dumbbell sets are typically lightweight and may cost anywhere between $10 and $30. For this price, you can expect a small array of fixed-weight dumbbells you can use at home.
Mid-range, medium weight dumbbells
If you are willing to spend a little extra for performance, a mid-range and medium-weight dumbbell set will cost between $30 and $100. They may be either fixed or adjustable and are great for progressive strength building.
High-priced, heavy dumbbells
Heavy dumbbell sets are usually adjustable and will sit anywhere between $100 to $300. You may need extra space for these and would have to be careful with the floors getting damaged when they are dropped.
A special type of dumbbell (called selectorized dumbbells) also comes with the heftiest price tag among all the dumbbell types.
What Kind of Dumbbells Should I Get?
You also want to consider the type of dumbbells you want to get. In general, dumbbells come as fixed or adjustable units, with biases towards the weight categories.
Fixed dumbbells come with a fixed weight specification. Light dumbbells are almost always fixed dumbbells. They are ideal for low-intensity exercises.
Fixed dumbbells, however, can pose a challenge in terms of space management and versatility. As you develop your strength, more fixed dumbbells will mean more space needed to store them. Also, a fixed dumbbell that’s good for one exercise type is not always suited for another.
Adjustable dumbbells are the preferred choice for most gym setups, thanks to their versatility. With an adjustable dumbbell, you can vary the weights on a single bar. Adjustable dumbbells also help save space as there are fewer bars needed.
They can be further classified into two types: standard adjustable dumbbells and selectorized adjustable dumbbells.
Standard adjustable dumbbells
Standard adjustable dumbbells are the most common type of adjustable dumbbells. To adjust the dumbbell weight, you manually remove or add weight plates to a central bar. They are great for both home and professional setups.
The number of weight plates you can stack on a standard adjustable dumbbell is limited to the length of the bar on either side of the grip.
Selectorized adjustable dumbbells
Selectorized dumbbells are the most efficient dumbbells on the market. Rather than physically adding or removing the weight plates, you adjust the weight on selectorized dumbbells by turning a dial while the dumbbell is sitting in its stand. This will, in turn, engage or disengage the weight plates to add up to the weight you want.
Selectorized dumbbells are also the most pricey dumbbells by weight on the market.
What Else Should I Consider When Purchasing My Dumbbells?
When searching for the perfect dumbbell set, you want a dumbbell that feels as good as it looks on your hands. Rubber-coated grips are always a great choice for the most comfort while you do your reps and will also prevent slipping.
Heavier dumbbells, however, usually just come with textured or knurled grips, which should be gentle enough to hold without causing discomfort. If you have sensitive hands, consider using gloves with these weights.
The shape of a dumbbell describes the shape of its weight plates. Dumbbells primarily come with circular or hexagonal plates. Hexagonal dumbbells are usually recommended, as they won’t roll away when dropped. You may, however, still opt for a circular dumbbell if you want something more ‘old-school.’
Can I build muscle and strength using dumbbells?
Yes, you absolutely can. Many high-level athletes favor dumbbells over other free weights, thanks to their range of uses. Dumbbells engage more muscle categories than barbells when used properly. To build muscle, you will need to increase the weight of your dumbbells or do more reps.
Are dumbbells better than barbells?
Dumbbells vs. barbells? This is an age-old conflict. However, it has been shown that using heavy dumbbells activates more muscles than using barbells for certain weight training exercises. With dumbbells, your muscles have to work harder to balance the weight as you work out. However, with barbells, the central bar is more balanced and eliminates one dimension of movement: your hands moving away from each other. Therefore, dumbbells may be better than barbells at making your muscles work. Barbells, however, are better than dumbbells for very high-intensity weight lifting exercises like squats and deadlifts.
Adjustable dumbbells or standard dumbbells?
Each is going to serve you better in different ways. At a gym, standard dumbbells are probably going to be the best answer because of their weight variance and ease of use. Meanwhile, adjustable dumbbells are a great option for at-home fitness routines because of their minimalist attributes and ability to quickly switch between weights.
Damon is motivated by trying new things. He's been skydiving, whitewater rafting in Georgia, and hiking on the Appalachian Trail. Professionally, he's bounced around from retail jobs to journalism to eventually managing a gym, picking up valuable skills and lessons along the way. Despite his frequent spontaneous adventures and heavy weight lifting sessions, he keeps returning to Yoga and Pilates to help strengthen his mind, body, and spirit.