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How to Choose the Best Dumbbells in 2022

Here’s how to choose the best dumbbell set for your home gym.
Best Dumbbells

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If you’re looking to pick up a new set of dumbbells, you’ve come to the right place. There are countless options on the market, and we’re here to help you choose the best pair for your home gym, personal training studio, commercial gym or anything in between.

There are many options on the market, so whether you’re looking for a few dumbbells for your home workouts or heavy-duty dumbbells for serious athletes, our guide will break down the best choices available.

We’ll tell you what to look for when shopping for dumbbells, and share our top picks for any need and budget. 

Our Picks for the Best Dumbbells:

Best All-in-One Dumbbell Set: Bowflex Selecttech 1090

Bowflex selecttech 1090_product

Key Features:

  • Best for: Home use
  • Price: $799
  • Weights Available: 10-90 pounds per dumbbell
  • Materials: Steel, Nylon, ABS, thermoplastic rubber

If you’re looking for a versatile, all-in-one set of weights, look no further than the BowFlex SelectTech 1090.

This set of adjustable dumbbells moves in five-pound increments, from 10 pounds all the way to 90 pounds. Many dumbbells stop around 50 pounds, so we like that this set goes heavier. You may not need to use the 90 pounds now, but with consistent training, most users find they require heavier and heavier weights over time.

For more information, check out our in-depth Bowflex 1090 Dumbbells review

The selector dial allows users to easily change weights, and a storage tray keeps your weights secured between uses. These aren’t the cheapest dumbbells, but you won’t need to buy anything else after you get these, as this pair of dumbbells will suit any lifter.

Pros: 

  • One set of dumbbells provides a huge range of weights, replacing a full rack set.

Cons

  • This is only one set, so it’s best for a personal home gym. Only one person at a time can use these.

Purchase BowFlex SelectTech 1090


Best Dumbbell Set with Rack: Synergee Hex Dumbbells

Synergee

Key Features:

  • Best for: Personal training studios and small gyms
  • Price: $1,419.95
  • Weights Available: 5-50 pounds per set
  • Materials: Steel and cast iron, encased in rubber

If you’re building a commercial gym, private studio or any other setting where you need heavy-duty dumbbells with a rack, the Synergee Hex Dumbbells are great for keeping your space clean and organized between workouts.

Built from high-quality steel and cast iron with rubber-coated hex ends, this set will last you for decades. Including a dumbbell rack is a nice touch, and you’ll be able to have multiple people using these weights at once.

This would be a great fit for a garage gym, personal training studio or another small gym—perhaps a hotel or office setup, especially if the gym is beginner-friendly.

The only issue is if you need to use dumbbells heavier than 50 pounds, you’ll need to choose a different set, as well as an additional rack. Many advanced lifters will need heavier weights, and this set may be too limiting. You could buy heavier weights later on, but the rack won’t fit them, so they’ll need to sit on the floor.

Pros: 

  • Heavy-duty hex shape with a nice rack to keep your dumbbells organized.

Cons: 

  • The 50 pound dumbbells may not be heavy enough for some lifters.

Purchase Synergee Hex Dumbbells


Best Dumbbell Set for Beginners: TRX Hex Rubber Dumbbells

TRXHexRubberDumbbells2 1300x

Key Features:

  • Best for: Beginners, home gyms
  • Price: $19.95-$191.95
  • Weights Available: 5-50 pounds per pair
  • Materials: Cast iron with rubber-coated hex ends

For those who are just beginning their lifting journey, the TRX Hex Rubber Dumbbells are a solid choice, delivering high-quality dumbbells at an affordable price.

The hex rubber dumbbells often provide more stability, making them perfect for beginners. The hex shape prevents dumbbells from rolling away from you, which can happen with round dumbbells if you’re still learning to stabilize your muscles.

Since they are sold in pairs, not a complete set, you can start small, and only purchase more dumbbells if and when you need them.

Not everyone wants to purchase a set that includes heavier weights they’ll never touch, so these are a great choice for beginners who want to try dumbbell training and see how they like it.

Pros: 

  • The dumbbells are affordable, and you can purchase one pair at a time.

Cons: 

  • If you DO want all the weights, from five to 50 pounds, buying pairs one at a time is often more expensive than buying a complete set.

Purchase TRX Hex Rubber Dumbbells


Best Budget Dumbbell Set: Amazon Basics Rubber Dumbbell

Amazon

Key Features:

  • Best for: Home gyms, beginners, budget-friendly gyms
  • Price: $20-80
  • Weights available: 10-50 pounds
  • Materials: Cast iron with rubber-coated hex ends.

For those looking to save a few bucks, or perhaps purchase only one dumbbell at a time, the Amazon Basics are sold individually at a price that won’t break the bank, and free shipping for Prime members.

The free shipping alone will help you save, as shipping weights can become quite pricey when ordering from a smaller retailer. Some companies charge hundreds per order in shipping fees, especially for larger sets.

It’s important to note that the dumbbells are sold individually, so the prices you see reflect the cost of one dumbbell, not a complete set. You’re getting a well-designed dumbbell with a contoured handle and rubber hex ends that won’t roll away from you.

Pros: 

  • The contoured handle and hex ends make these very user-friendly and comfortable for the price.

Cons: 

  • While affordable, dumbbells are sold individually, not in pairs.

Purchase Amazon Basics Rubber Dumbbells


Best Hex Dumbbells: Rogue Dumbbells

Rogue Rubber hex

Key Features:

  • Best for: Commercial gyms, Crossfit athletes, advanced trainees
  • Price: $20-455
  • Weights available: 2.5–125 pounds
  • Materials: Proprietary chrome-plated handle and rubber hex ends

Rogue continues to make some of the highest-caliber gym gear on the market, and its dumbbells are the best quality option for anyone looking to purchase some hex dumbbells. The hexagonal shape keeps your dumbbells from rolling away during workouts, and the knurled handle provides a secure grip.

Designed for Crossfitters, powerlifters and commercial gyms, these dumbbells are built to last. The handle is designed for an ergonomic grip, while the thick rubber-coated ends minimize floor scuffing and noise from any incidental dropping.

These dumbbells start at 2.5 pounds, and range all the way to 125 pounds for the most advanced trainees. If you’re looking for a set that will last for years of heavy, daily use, Rogue is one of the most durable options on the market.

Pros: 

  • High-quality, with weights that range up to 125 pounds.

Cons: 

  • More expensive than many other dumbbell brands.

Purchase Rogue Hex Dumbbells


Best Rubber Dumbbells: REP Fitness Rubber Coated Dumbbells

Rep-fitness

Key Features:

  • Best for: Home gyms, garage gyms, personal training studios
  • Price: $39-$215
  • Weights available: 5–50 pounds
  • Materials: Rubber-coated cast iron

While many other brands coat the ends of their dumbbells in rubber, REP is one of the few brands that coats the entire dumbbells, handles included.

By coating the handle in a comfortable rubber grip, REP is aiming to avoid rusting and chipping that often occurs with repeated use. If the traditional metal knurling on dumbbells tends to give you calluses or irritate your hands, the rubber coating can provide a smoother grip.

According to REP, the biggest benefit is the fact that you no longer need to “warm up” your dumbbells in cold weather. If you’re working out at home or in your garage, the handles can easily become painfully cold in the winter—the rubber grips eliminate this.

Pros: 

  • Unique, durable rubber-coated handle.

Cons: 

  • For some, the rubber handle may not feel as good as gripping the metal knurling.

Purchase REP Rubber Coated Dumbbells


Best Iron Dumbbells: CAP Barbell Cast Iron Dumbbells

Cap

Key Features:

  • Best for: Home gyms, commercial gyms, personal training studios
  • Price: $15.70 - $147.39
  • Weights available: 5–120 pounds
  • Materials: ASTM A48 Class 20 gray iron with 1018 cold-rolled solid steel handles.

On the other side of the spectrum, CAP Barbell uses NO rubber on its dumbbells. These are finished with a durable enamel coating, but they don’t feature the traditional black rubber ends that are often seen on dumbbells.

This is largely a matter of personal preference, so if you don’t like the look of rubber, the enamel coating is a nice alternative. However, the rubber does help with shock absorption and minimizes damage to any surfaces you drop your dumbbells on.

If you’re careful with your weights, all-metal is fine, but if you ever drop your dumbbells, you’ll probably want to choose a set with rubber ends.

Pros: 

  • All-metal with a durable enamel coating for those who don’t like rubber dumbbells.

Cons: 

  • Without the rubber, these may become damaged faster if you’re regularly dropping them.

Purchase CAP Barbell Cast Iron Dumbbells


Best Loadable Dumbbells: Titan Fitness Loadable Dumbbells

Titan

Key Features:

  • Best for: Commercial gyms, home gyms with plates available
  • Price: $89
  • Weights available: N/A
  • Materials: Steel with chrome finish.

Loadable dumbbells are a unique option that would work well if you already have access to a lot of weight plates. Each handle has a 500-pound weight capacity and a 3.5-inch loadable sleeve on each end.

For reference, a standard 45-pound Olympic lifting plate is 1.3 inches in diameter, so you could load up to two plates per side. This allows you to add any type of load you’d like, and Titan also sells thinner metal plates designed specifically for use with these handles. The additional plates from Titan can range from $19.99—$449.99.

While loadable handles aren’t as convenient as traditional dumbbells, they may be a great option for those who already have a lot of weight plates around and simply need to make dumbbells.

Pros: 

  • The sleeve is the same diameter as a standard Olympic barbell, allowing you to use these with most plates.

Cons: 

  • The handles don’t include any weight plates, and the cost can add up if you have to buy them separately.

Purchase Titan Fitness Loadable Dumbbells


Best Dumbbell Set for Heavy Lifting: Merax Deluxe Adjustable Dumbbell

Merax

Key Features:

  • Best for: Home gyms
  • Price: $599
  • Weights available: 5–80 pounds
  • Materials: ‎Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene

The Merax Adjustable Dumbbell is one of the heavier adjustable dumbbells on the market, especially considering each dumbbell can be loaded with up to 80 pounds by default. Other adjustable brands, like PowerBlock, offer expansion kits to go beyond 50 pounds, but this often requires an extra cost.

The handle is built with a high-traction rubber grip, allowing you to safely hold the weight, without any harsh metal knurling to tear up your palms. A space-saving design means you can store these in the corner of the room, without taking up too much space.

Safety features prevent the dumbbell plates from moving or being adjusted unless they’re firmly seated on their stand, and with weights that reach 80 pounds, these are built for serious trainees. You can choose from 18 weight options that adjust in two to five pound weight increments.

Note that this cost is for a single dumbbell, not a pair, so you’d need to purchase two if you want to have a pair to train with.

Pros:

  • One of the few adjustable dumbbells that can be loaded with up to 80 pounds without an expansion kit.

Cons: 

  • These aren’t the cheapest, and at $599/each, you’re looking at $1,200 for the pair.

Purchase Merax Deluxe Adjustable Dumbbell 


How to Choose the Best Dumbbell Set for Your Home Gym

It may seem like all dumbbells function the same, but this is far from the truth. Here are a few factors you need to consider before purchasing your set of dumbbells.

What to Consider

Materials

When choosing your dumbbell set, one of the most important factors is the material you’ll need.

You can choose metal dumbbells, rubber-coated, urethane or chrome dumbbells. The material you’ll want to pick depends on who will use your dumbbells, and how much wear and tear they’ll be under.

The grip of each set of dumbbells can vary, from smooth to knurled, so be sure to figure out what sort of grip you prefer before buying anything. Some have metal grips while some are coated in rubber, and the difference is mostly personal preference.

Picking up a set for your home gym? You can choose nearly any set that matches your budget and preference.

However, if you’re buying dumbbells for a shared gym, you’ll want to choose something like urethane, which is a heavy-duty, non-marking material and built to withstand the demands of intense daily use. These will cost more, but they’ll last much longer before needing to be replaced.

Weights Available

After choosing the material, think about how much weight you’ll need, on both the high AND low ends. While some dumbbells are built to be adjustable, the longest-lasting ones are usually fixed weight, so it’s best to plan ahead so you only need to buy them once.

If your gym caters to stronger, advanced lifters, you’ll likely want dumbbells that range up to at least 75-100 pounds. Some gym chains don’t provide dumbbells that go above 75 pounds, and stronger users find they quickly max out the dumbbell selection.

If you’re buying dumbbells for yourself, or perhaps a smaller office gym, you may only need to buy dumbbells up to 50 pounds or less.

Finally, consider the lighter end as well. Beginners may need to use 2.5, 3 or 5-pound dumbbells, so make sure you have the smaller increments available.

Shape

When it comes to the shape of dumbbells, typically you’re going to see round or hex dumbbells, both of which have their pros and cons.

Some users prefer round dumbbells, as they don’t have any corners or squared edges to catch on things. However, if you’re doing any exercises with the dumbbells on the ground, like elevated push-ups or renegade rows, you’ll quickly find that round dumbbells roll away from you, and hex dumbbells are much safer.

If you never do exercises that involve the dumbbells lying flat on the ground, the shape doesn’t matter. But if you do like performing those ground-based exercises, you’ll definitely want a hex set to keep the dumbbells from rolling away.

What Exercises Are Dumbbells Good For?

The beauty of dumbbells is that they can be used for nearly any exercise, and train any muscle group.

Unless you’re a competitive powerlifter that’s required to compete with a barbell, you can replace nearly any barbell or machine with dumbbells.

Squats, lunges, deadlifts, chest presses, rows, bicep curls, shoulder presses—these are just a few of the near-endless exercise options you have with a set of dumbbells. If you add a few other pieces of equipment to your gym, such as a weight bench or resistance bands, the list grows even longer. This is especially handy when training in a smaller area, where having a large barbell and weight plates may not be realistic for your space or budget. 

FAQs

  • Why do dumbbells cost so much?

Weights are expensive due to the costs of metal, plus the manufacturing costs. Many dumbbells are welded together for stability and strength, so they can’t be quickly mass-produced.

  • Can you gain muscle with only dumbbells?

Definitely! Any kind of weight training, where you can progressively improve over time, will allow you to build muscle. Dumbbells are a fantastic choice, as you’re able to perform nearly any exercise, and quickly adjust the weight as you progress and get stronger.

  • Which dumbbells are best: rubber or steel?

For most cases, rubber dumbbells will be best. The rubber coating acts as a shock absorber, protecting both your dumbbells and any surfaces if you happen to drop your weights. You certainly don’t need to use a rubber handle, but most commercial gyms across the country use rubber-coated ends on their dumbbells, as they’re long-lasting and built for durability.

  • Do rubber dumbbells last?

Yes! Over time, the rubber may eventually break down, but this would happen with metal as well. With proper care, cleaning and minimal drops, your rubber dumbbells will last for years to come.

  • Are rubber dumbbells toxic?

No, rubber dumbbells are designed to be used in homes, gyms and health centers everywhere. There are no issues with toxicity around rubber dumbbells.

  • Is it worth investing in dumbbells?

If you’re interested in strength training, yes. Dumbbells can be used to train any body part and muscle group, replacing barbells and machines. They’re one of the most versatile pieces of equipment, and with proper care, a set of dumbbells will last for years, if not decades.

  • What are the benefits of having a dumbbell set?

With a set of dumbbells, you’re able to get a full-body workout without needing any extra equipment. Many people find themselves overwhelmed when considering a home gym, but you won’t need to worry about buying anything else unless you really want it. Dumbbells are versatile enough to be all you need for a great workout. 

Prices are accurate and items in stock as of publish time.