While barbells and squat racks are synonymous with at-home training, a list of home gym essentials would be incomplete without a set of dumbbells amongst the roster. These versatile tools can be great for beginners and veteran athletes alike thanks to their increased range of motion and ability to focus on unilateral movements. The best dumbbells combine that performance with durable constructions, space-saving dimensions, and approachable weight ranges.
You might be thinking that a dumbbell is a dumbbell is a dumbbell, right? Well, despite the common silhouette between units, there are plenty of differences that set a high-quality dumbbell apart from one you’ll likely need to replace in just a few months. To give your buying experience a lift-off, we’ve tested dozens of top dumbbells from reputable brands, consulted with our in-house experts, and combed through customer reviews to land on our favorite dumbbells available today.
The 11 Best Dumbbells on the Market in 2024
- Best Dumbbells Overall: REP Fitness Hex Dumbbells
- Best Dumbbell Set: Bowflex SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells
- Best Adjustable Dumbbells: SMRTFT NÜOBELL Adjustable Dumbbells
- Best Hex Dumbbells: Bells of Steel Rubber Hex Dumbbells
- Best Loadable Dumbbells: Titan Fitness Loadable Dumbbell Pair
- Best Round Dumbbells: REP Urethane Coated Round Dumbbells
- Best Block Dumbbells: PowerBlock Pro 100 EXP Adjustable Dumbbells
- Best Rubber Dumbbells: REP Fitness Rubber Coated Dumbbells
- Best Budget Dumbbells: Living.Fit Hex Dumbbells
- Best Dumbbell Rack: Rogue Fitness Universal Storage System
- Best Dumbbells on Amazon: Amazon Basics Rubber Dumbbells
How We Tested and Chose the Best Dumbbells
The BarBend team is made up of competitive athletes, certified personal trainers, and lifelong fitness enthusiasts. To determine the best dumbbells available today, we got hands-on with 31 different profiles from top brands, using a multi-point methodology to rate each profile on a scale of 1 (lowest) to 5 (highest) to determine our top picks. Below are some of the categories and components we looked at to come up with our findings.
Durability and Construction
Not every dumbbell is built for all exercise disciplines. According to Amanda Capritto, a certified personal trainer, athletes who perform CrossFit workouts or any exercise involving drops should opt for a fixed-style dumbbell. These uniform profiles can better withstand wear and tear than adjustable dumbbells, which are not designed for drops given the abundance of moving parts. While we’ve included some adjustable dumbbells in this round-up, the majority of options align with this fixed design.
Additionally, we considered the material of the dumbbell heads themselves (all of our included picks feature steel handles). Your dumbbell’s head material can influence its durability over time, especially if you’re putting your equipment through drops. We found that rubber or urethane dumbbells were the most durable for such exercises, while other materials like cast steel or neoprene-coated silhouettes were better suited for more standard strength-training protocols.
The last construction-based component we examined for this guide was the dumbbell head shape. This feature doesn’t take away from the performance, per se, but we did find that hex-style dumbbells tended to be more convenient in training. The hexagonal shape won’t roll away as easily when rested beneath a weight bench or setup. Round dumbbells still provide that classic look, though, and can oftentimes be made for heavier weights. Other shapes, like blocked dumbbells, were also considered.
When it comes to dumbbells — or any free weights for that matter — you want to feel comfortable when using the equipment itself. For this round-up, we focused on the handle portion of each tested profile, noting how appealing and ergonomic the grip was across each silhouette. We examined the diameter of each dumbbell, as well as its knurling patch (if available) to determine whether the control and comfort was on-par with our comparable experiences with the best barbells.
We also looked at how convenient the dumbbells were when switching between supersets or movements. This was a component mostly tied to the adjustable options we had in for trials, as swapping weights while training with fixed dumbbells is as simple as re-racking your current pair of weights and grabbing your desired weight set from the rack. We looked for adjustable dumbbells featuring a sleek, simple adjustment mechanism that didn’t deter our progress in-between sets.
Available Weight Range
How many different weights you need across your dumbbell set can vary, especially when it comes to different fitness disciplines. “Bodybuilders, for instance, are likely going to want a wide range of weights in order to do drop sets and frequently isolate muscles,” says Amanda Capritto, a certified personal trainer. “CrossFitters, on the other hand, might only want a pair of 35s or 55s, since those are the usually prescribed weights for CrossFit WODs.”
All of the included dumbbells in this guide feature robust weight ranges with max available weights of at least 50 pounds. Some profiles even go further with heavy options eclipsing 100 and even 150 pounds, making these picks more suitable for stronger individuals. We also held dumbbells available in packaged weight sets in high regard. This purchasing option can be ideal when trying to outfit your home gym with a worthwhile roster of free weights in one fell swoop, rather than building your collection pair by pair.
Value and Pricing
The cost of a full dumbbell set can vary across brands, so to determine how much value was at play with each pick, we compared the prices of each profile’s starting weight pair (typically either 2.5 pounds or 5 pounds).
This proved to be our favored metric for the category, as it can be difficult to compare dumbbells overall since each brand will alter the price of dumbbells depending on weight, and the increments can vary across the lineup. In the end, we looked for dumbbells that offered a nice balance between cost and performance.
Finally, the value of a dumbbell set can also be determined by its storage requirements — if a set is affordable, but you have no room to keep your new toys, is it really worth the investment? This is where adjustable dumbbells really earn their stripes, and while they are more expensive upfront, the space-saving qualities can be excellent for those training in tight quarters.
Best Dumbbells Overall: REP Fitness Hex Dumbbells
The REP Fitness Hex Dumbbells range in weight from 2.5 pounds to 125 pounds. You can buy them in pairs or a full set, and they feature a fully-knurled steel handle for grip.
- Price: Pairs starting at $29.99
- Available Weights: 2.5-125lbs
- Handle Diameter: 28mm (5-15lbs) 34mm (20+lbs)
- Head Material: Ultra-low-odor rubber
- Knurling Coverage: Full
- Shape: Hexagonal
- Their hexagonal shape prevents them from rolling away in-between sets and potentially damaging your gym flooring.
- The full knurling across the handle provides excellent grip and control during presses, flyes, and other weight-training movements.
- In addition to the paired dumbbell sets, REP also offers these weights in five bundles for more convenient purchasing options.
- While convenient for workouts, the hexagonal head shape can take up more space in your storage rack.
- The 34-millimeter handle for weights over 20 pounds is somewhat thick compared to standard 28- and 29-millimeter handles.
- According to our tester, the 5-inch handle length provides more internal room than needed.
These REP Fitness Hex Dumbbells are our best overall pick because of their durable rubber head design, convenient hexagonal shape, and wide range of availability when looking to purchase either paired weights or entire sets.
The first thing you’re likely to notice about these dumbbells is the head shape. We enjoyed this hexagonal design, as it proved to be a blessing when trying to train in a confined space. Jake Herod, BarBend’s main product tester and a certified nutrition coach, said, “Thanks to the hexagonal shape, you’ll find that if you drop them, they’re not going to roll away from you. I also really like the hexagonal design for push-up variations — stabilizing on the flat face is much easier than trying to balance your body over a round dumbbell.”
We rated the construction at 4.75 out of 5 thanks to the friction welding used to connect the heads to the handle. This connection made for a sturdy, trustworthy makeup that, when combined with the ultra-low-odor head, showcased impeccable durability when dropped and tossed post-set.
The REP Hex Dumbbells also feature a straight handle with a full knurling across the profile. This provided ample grip and control during workouts, resulting in a 4.5 out of 5 rating.
We did have to knock this knurled component down slightly, though, given the overall length of the handle. The 5-inch interior does make it easy for athletes with larger hands to grab hold of the weight, but our tester noted that balancing these dumbbells in their hands was a bit of a challenge at times.
Additionally, the 34-millimeter thickness of the handle did make switching to barbell workouts — which often showcase a diameter of 28 or 29 millimeters — more of a noticeable transition.
Finally, we rated the value of these REP dumbbells at 4.5 out of 5 thanks to the availability of both paired and bundled weight sets. The pricing is average when compared to other dumbbells — a 25-pound pair will cost $129.99 — but being able to purchase pairs between 2.5 and 125 pounds definitely gives you some options.
Plus, REP offers five bundles — 5-50 pounds, 5-75 pounds, 5-100 pounds, 55-75 pounds, and 80-100 pounds — so there’s a buying option for practically any budget.
Read our full REP Fitness Hex Dumbbells Review.
Best Dumbbell Set: Bowflex SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells
This pair of dumbbells range from five to 52.5 pounds and adjust at the turn of a dial. With the right amount of weight, ease of use, and sleek design, these dumbbells are just right for any workout enthusiast.
- Price: $429
- Available Weights: 5-52.5lbs
- Handle Diameter: 31.75mm
- Head Material: Steel, thermoplastic rubber
- Knurling Coverage: Partial (nylon)
- Shape: Round
- These adjustable dumbbells encompass 15 weight sets in one silhouette, making them great for athletes with limited space.
- The dial adjustments are quick and smooth, leading to a less-complicated weight-changing process.
- 2.5-pound micro adjustments from 5 to 25 pounds allow you to fine-tune your working weight, unlike others that jump totals in 5-pound increments.
- The max weight of 52.5 pounds may be too light for athletes wanting to work out at higher totals.
- The nylon knurling patch can be prone to spinning in your hands, according to our tester.
- The weight adjustments aren’t sequential, so a lighter setting will allow for the same range of motion as a heavier exercise.
If you want to add dumbbell training to your regular at-home regimen, you’ll likely want a set of dumbbells as opposed to just one or two pairs. Unfortunately, most dumbbell sets can eat up a good chunk of your floor plan … unless you opt for a set of adjustable dumbbells like the Bowflex SelectTech 552s. These impressive profiles can replace 15 sets of dumbbells in one singular profile, making them a no-brainer for athletes wanting a wider range of available weights without the needed space to house such a setup.
We like these adjustable dumbbells from Bowflex because, unlike adjustable profiles from other brands, the toggling mechanism is seamless and intuitive. The two dials at each end of the dumbbell operate quickly and smoothly when searching for your ideal working weight.
Additionally, we appreciated how these dumbbells allow for 2.5-pound micro adjustments at lower weights (5-pound weight increments begin for totals heavier than 25 pounds). For these reasons, we rated the SelectTech 552s at 4.5 for ease of use.
Having used these adjustable dumbbells myself for a few years, I can attest to their value. While the upfront cost is higher than other dumbbells, you need to think of it as more of a bundle than a singular dumbbell. Plus, the space-saving features are useful, essentially shrinking your entire dumbbell rack into two silhouettes (with convenient stands). For these reasons, we rated the value at 4.5 out of 5.
As far as in-workout performance, I wouldn’t recommend using these dumbbells for CrossFit or other high-intensity sessions. Due to the abundance of internal moving parts, these aren’t the most receptive profiles to drops or slams.
Additionally, our tester noticed that the nylon knurling patch at the center of the handle has a tendency to spin, which can lead to compromised grips during heavy, sweat-riddled sessions. As such, we gave the SelectTech 552s a 3.75 out of 5 for durability and construction.
Finally, I’d note that the range of motion can feel awkward during certain movements. I attributed this to Bowflex’s non-sequential adjustments and lengthier design, meaning the silhouette remains the same regardless of your chosen weight. When performing, say, a front raise, you’ll need to account for the longer dumbbell shape, which isn’t the case when training with a lighter dumbbell from another brand.
Read our full Bowflex SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells Review.
Best Adjustable Dumbbells: SMRTFT NÜOBELL Adjustable Dumbbells
This Swedish-designed “smart” dumbbell adjusts from 5 pounds up to 80 pounds — all you have to do is twist the handlebar. Its sleek, modern design will make a great addition to any home gym.
- Price: Starting at $615
- Available Weights: 5-80lbs
- Handle Diameter: 28mm
- Head Material: Steel, plastic
- Knurling Coverage: Full
- Shape: Round
- These adjustable dumbbells are available in sets between 5 and 50 or 5 and 80 pounds — higher than the typical 55-pound max of other units.
- The handle features a full knurling for excellent grip and control.
- The adjustment mechanism keeps each sequential place secure during movement, leading to less shaking or instability.
- The 5- to 80-pound pair costs $745, which may be out of reach for some budgets.
- There are some plastic components, which hinders this dumbbell’s durability and eliminates any chances of survival from drops.
- The included stands can be finicky, especially when trying to slot a dumbbell set to a weight in the middle of the range.
While Bowflex’s SelectTech 552s earn our praise for the best dumbbell set in this guide, we’ll admit that the profile is a little dated when it comes to the best adjustable dumbbells of today’s day and age. For the king of that particular mountain, SMRTFT’s NÜOBELLs reign supreme. I’ve had these adjustable dumbbells for multiple years now, and continuously train with them thanks to their simple turn-style mechanism, impressive aesthetics, and a weight range that includes options from 5 pounds all the way up to 80 pounds.
In testing, we held these SMRTFT dumbbells in high regard thanks to their sturdy, durable construction. The steel, fully-knurled handle fits conveniently in your grip, and we also appreciate that the weight plates are steel as well. There are some plastic elements, so we wouldn’t recommend dropping them, but we still think these are some of the toughest adjustable dumbbells available today, rating them 4 out of 5 for durability and construction.
As far as the weight range, I gave these NÜOBELLs a 4.25 out of 5 for the versatility at play. Each dumbbell can max out at 80 pounds, which is great for heavier exercises like rows or presses.
Additionally, SMRTFT offers these adjustable dumbbells in a 5- to 50-pound profile, which can be great for athletes that don’t necessarily need that added density. The smaller 5- to 50-pound adjustable dumbbell pair is also cheaper than the 5- to 80-pound set.
Coming in at $745 for the 5- to 80-pound set ($615 for the 5- to 50-pound set), these SMRTFT profiles are by no means budget-friendly. Adjustable dumbbell sets typically cost between $400 and $500, with plenty of other options below this watermark. If you’re looking to save some coin (and space) it may be best to opt for an alternative.
Finally, we rated the aesthetics of these adjustable dumbbells at 4.5 out of 5. They’re pleasing to the eye and give off that “old school” look you’d associate with the round dumbbells you might find in your local gym. The stands are also stylish and not overbearing, but I do caution that you take your time when putting the weights back. At some weight options — particularly in the middle range — it can be tricky to line up everything.
Read our full SMRTFT NÜOBELL Adjustable Dumbbells Review.
Best Hex Dumbbells: Bells of Steel Rubber Hex Dumbbells
These hexagonal dumbbells from Bells of Steel can be excellent for home gym enthusiasts thanks to a squared-off shape that eliminates excessive rolling when these weights are dropped or placed on the floor. Additionally, the starting price for a paired set comes in at $34.99, which is lower than the typical $40 to $45 price tag found in other high-quality dumbbells.
- Price: Pairs starting at $34.99
- Available Weights: 5-100lbs
- Handle Diameter: 28mm (5-10lbs) 34mm (15+lbs)
- Head Material: 50% virgin rubber, 50% recycled rubber
- Knurling Coverage: Partial
- Shape: Hexagonal
- The hexagonal head design keep these dumbbells in place after drops or when set up for elevated push-ups.
- Prices for paired dumbbells start at $34.99, which is lower than the average starting cost of $40 and $45.
- The steel handle has an ergonomic shape for in-training comfort, along with a chrome finish to help prevent rust build-up over time.
- They use recycled rubber in the head construction, so there may be some “old tire” odor at unboxing.
- The knurling, while comfortable and grippy, is only featured near the center of the handle.
- The hexagonal shape may take up more space than preferred on a storage rack.
Hex-style dumbbells can be a great pick for home gym enthusiasts. The blocked shape can help these profiles stay in place after a drop, which is useful for keeping your setup compact between sets (or avoiding the need to dodge flying equipment post-set). For our money, the Rubber Hex Dumbbells from Bells of Steel are the cream of the crop in this particular category.
Not only are these weights affordable with pairs starting at roughly $35 — $5 to $10 less than the average starting price — but the ergonomic handle also creates a comfortable setup for movements like presses, carries, and flyes. We rated the knurling at 4 out of 5, though, because the textured pattern is not featured across the entire handle. While not a huge difference, it’s not the same amount of grip potential as we’ve experienced in other, fully-knurled dumbbells.
I’ve previously used these Bells of Steel hex dumbbells and also appreciate the sense of durability across the design. The rubber is strong enough to withstand regular use, and I have experienced no issues with bent handles or cracked heads. Additionally, I appreciate how the brand offers a one-year warranty, although after reading the fine print, I gave these weights a 4 out of 5 for durability. The coverage is voided if these dumbbells are dropped, so you still need to be careful when in the throes (get it?) of a hard-nosed session.
As far as ordering options, we rated the Rubber Hex Dumbbells at 4.5 out of 5 for the value. The dumbbells are available in paired sets starting at 5 pounds, and increase in 5-pound increments up to 100 pounds. Additionally, you can purchase bundled packages in 5- to 50-pound, 55- to 80-pound, and 5- to 80-pound sets. This can be an ideal option for those wanting multiple weights at their disposal from the start, rather than ordering in a new set over and over.
Speaking of orders, our final note stems from the use of recycled rubber within the head. While this does help keep costs low, it can produce an “old tire” smell when they’re initially unboxed. As such, it may be best to air these out before adding them to your garage gym or training space.
Best Loadable Dumbbells: Titan Fitness Loadable Dumbbell Pair
If you already own a plethora of weight plates, these Titan Fitness Loadable Dumbbells can be an excellent choice for your setup. The 6.5-inch loadable sleeves can house multiple plates at once up to 400 pounds, and the full knurling across the 28-millimeter handle provides a sturdy, controllable grip that’s ideal for those heavy presses and pulls.
- Price: $99.99
- Available Weights: Supports up to 400lbs
- Handle Diameter: 28mm
- Head Material: Stainless steel sleeve
- Knurling Coverage: Full
- Shape: Loadable
- The 6.5-inch sleeves support weights up to 400 pounds, which is great for athletes with a slew of weight plates at their disposal.
- A 28-millimeter handle diameter provides a similar in-hand experience to what you’d feel with a traditional barbell.
- They weigh 12 pounds each, making them more portable than other dumbbell styles.
- Unless you have change plates (and collars) already available, using these for dumbbell workouts can begin to drain your budget.
- According to our tester, the knurling may be too toothy for some athletes.
- The sleeve length may be too short for those wanting max working weights, especially if you’re training with thicker plates.
Is your home gym strapped for space with your squat rack, barbells, weight bench, and weight racks already consuming your floor plan? Make the most of what you already have with a set of loadable dumbbells, like these units from Titan Fitness. Rather than having the weights fixed to the silhouette — or a preset stack of adjustable plates on each end — these “mini barbells” utilize change plates and other Olympic weight plates to give you a wide array of working totals up to 400 pounds.
Kate Meier, BarBend editorial member and NASM-Certified Personal Trainer, has a pair of these Titan Fitness Loadable Dumbbells in her personal home gym, and rated their ease of use at 4 out of 5. “You’re at the mercy of your plate size in some exercises, so I wouldn’t recommend loading up large weights for shoulder presses. However, for rows and snatches, these can be a great option — just load up the sleeves and go.”
Additionally, Meier states that the 6.5-inch sleeves are more designed for change plates, meaning thicker 25-pound, 35-pound, and 45-pound plates may take up more room across the sleeve than desired.
I, too, have used these Titan Fitness Loadable Dumbbells, and have had similar experiences in my home dumbbell workouts. I found the handle to be perfect for my grip, and I appreciated how the 28-millimeter diameter is similar to what I’d feel when training with a barbell.
I scored these loadable dumbbells a 4 out of 5 for the handle design, though, mostly due to the fact that the knurling can feel aggressive in certain movements. While I’m okay with a toothier grip, I know that other athletes may prefer a more subtle sense of traction.
Additionally, we rated the value at 5 out of 5. If you think about it, the weight range is impeccable for a dumbbell pair that’s less than $100. Plus, these loadable dumbbells weigh 12 pounds each, which makes them far more portable than other fixed or adjustable weights (assuming you’re traveling to a location with available change plates).
However, there is a major caveat with the value — you need to have the weight plates available to make the most of these dumbbells. If you need to buy plates, you’ll quickly squander whatever savings you hoped to achieve with this profile.
Best Round Dumbbells: REP Urethane Coated Round Dumbbells
REP Fitness made their urethane dumbbells to go the distance and cover a wide range of weights. With a urethane coating over solid steel, these are sure to last a lifetime with proper care. Pick from a variety of full or partial sets to suit your needs.
- Price: Pairs starting at $49.99
- Available Weights: 5-150lbs
- Handle Diameter: 32mm (5-50lbs) 34mm (55+lbs)
- Head Material: CPU urethane
- Knurling Coverage: Full
- Shape: Round
- The rounded head can be great for improved storage across a rack.
- The heads of these REP dumbbells use CPU urethane, which is more durable than rubber.
- REP offers a lifetime warranty with these dumbbells — a rare service package for dumbbells.
- The round design can roll over less-than-level flooring, meaning you could be chasing down your weights after a drop.
- With pairs starting at $49.99, these are more expensive than the typical dumbbell starting price of $40 to $45.
- Those wanting a more contoured, comfortable grip may prefer a more ergonomic handle.
Round dumbbells can be great for athletes wanting a commercial gym aesthetic for their own setup. This style can also be more efficient in storage since the heads are more uniform in size than hex-shaped alternatives. While round dumbbells are aplenty, we think the REP Urethane Coated Round Dumbbells are the best of the bunch due to their ultra-durable makeup, fully-knurled steel handle, and impressive warranty package.
In testing, we rated these dumbbells at 5 out of 5 for durability. The CPU urethane coating used across the head pairs exceptionally well to the steel handle, creating a profile that’s sturdy and ready for loads of wear and tear.
Urethane has a higher load-bearing capacity than virgin or recycled rubber — two common materials used in dumbbells — meaning it’s harder than other compounds yet still retains minimal bounce. Additionally, our tester stated that urethane is more capable of resisting dirt and grime than other rubber materials.
[Related: Rogue Dumbbells vs. REP Dumbbells]
When it comes to the value of these dumbbells, we scored them a 4 out of 5. Yes, the starting price for a paired set of 5-pound plates is $49.99, which is higher than the average $40 or $45 asking price. That said, REP offers these weights in an impressive range of up to 150 pounds, as well as seven available bundled sets.
Also, it’s hard to ignore the impressive warranty package that comes with these dumbbells. REP offers a lifetime warranty from defects in material, functionality, and workmanship for these weights.
Lastly, rounded dumbbells have a tendency to roll, so before you rush to add these to your cart, you may want to check that your home gym floors are level. “Otherwise, you’ll spend as much time chasing these dumbbells down in-between sets as you do using them in a workout,” added our tester. You also can’t balance these weights as easily for elevated push-ups like you would with hex dumbbells, so we had to drop the versatility score down (slightly) to 4.5 out of 5.
Best Block Dumbbells: PowerBlock Pro 100 EXP Adjustable Dumbbells
These iconic adjustable dumbbells from PowerBlock can be great for athletes training in tight quarters, as they can replace up to 30 fixed dumbbells in a singular silhouette. Additionally, thanks to their compact seating across the design, there’s little room or plate wobble once you get these dumbbells in motion for a more secure and durable setup.
- Price: Starting at $489
- Available Weights: 5-100lbs
- Handle Diameter: 38mm
- Head Material: Urethane, steel
- Knurling Coverage: N/A
- Shape: Block
- The block design encloses your hand more, which can be helpful when trying to stabilize your wrist for presses and rows.
- PowerBlock offers three expansion packs to take your initial max weight of 40 pounds up to 60, 80, or 100 pounds, respectively.
- The plates sit closely together and adjustments are sequential, meaning there’s less room for shaking plates or durability issues.
- With the expansion packs, the overall length can begin to feel awkward, especially when performing presses.
- The sliding pin adjustment system is more time-consuming than the dial-style or rotating handle systems we’ve seen.
- The rubber grip can slip and slide if you start to sweat, potentially leading to compromised control during workouts.
The caged design of block-style dumbbells has a few benefits, including an added sense of structure and stability around your wrist. The PowerBlock lineup of adjustable dumbbells has been synonymous with this dumbbell style for years, with the Pro 100 EXP variety serving as our favorites.
We admire how these dumbbells can replace an entire wall’s worth of fixed dumbbells in a single silhouette, made possible through the three available expansion packs. While the base kit offers weights ranging from 5 to 40 pounds (still an impressive range), you can push your limits even further with add-on “stages” that take the upper limit to 60, 80, and even 100 pounds, respectively.
Additionally, we rated the aesthetics at 4.5 out of 5 thanks to the clean blocked nature and easy-to-read totals on each plate. Having personally used these weights in previous training sessions, I appreciate how the weight adjustments are sequential — meaning as weight goes up, the dumbbell grows outward. This is more in line with other dumbbells that grow with weight, creating a nice sense of consistency with the category.
That said, those heavier 80-, 90-, and 100-pound dumbbell setups can make for some awkward positioning, especially in presses. There is a lot of material and mass across the silhouette, which may compromise your range of motion and control.
Still, though, these can be a great option for home gym enthusiasts because of the baked-in durability, which we rated at 5 out of 5. Our tester liked how each plate was constructed of a steel center and urethane exterior coating, providing a resilient makeup that’s sure to last.
“I also liked how the selector pin was constructed from polypropylene, which is a harder, more sturdy plastic,” they added. “I’ve had multiple PowerBlock dumbbells over the years and have yet to have a pin snap on me.” It’s worth noting, though, that the sliding pin adjustment system is more time-consuming than dial-style or rotating handle systems.
The one area we’d love to see improved across this silhouette is the handle. We scored this component at 3 out of 5 due to its rubber composition. This can make the handle somewhat slippery once sweat begins to run, so be sure to towel off before grabbing hold for another heavy set.
Read our full PowerBlock Adjustable Dumbbells Review.
Best Rubber Dumbbells: REP Fitness Rubber Coated Dumbbells
Working out in cold climates and hate the feel of chilly steel in your palm? Consider working out with these REP Fitness Rubber Coated Dumbbells that boast a full rubber coating across the handle for a comfortable feel that won’t freeze your progress in your strength-training regimen.
- Price: Pairs starting at $39.99
- Available Weights: 5-100lbs
- Handle Diameter: 30mm (5-20lbs) 35mm (25+lbs)
- Head Material: Ultra-low-odor rubber
- Knurling Coverage: Partial
- Shape: Hexagonal
- The rubber coating makes for a more comfortable grip, especially in colder climates or chilly training centers.
- The hexagonal head shape can help prevent errant rolling.
- The ultra-low-odor rubber helps eliminate any unwanted smells at unboxing.
- While convenient for the cold, the rubber-coated handle limits how tacky the knurling can be when compared to a traditional steel handle.
- The 5- to 100-pound weight range is smaller than other REP dumbbell options, which typically max out at 125 or 150 pounds.
- These dumbbells feature a thicker handle design, which may feel awkward for some.
Sure, it’s not uncommon to find rubber dumbbells when searching for these foundational pieces of fitness equipment. However, these rubber-coated options from REP Fitness earn their spot in this guide because the entire dumbbell is coated with the black, durable compound instead of just the heads. This helps create a unique look while also serving a blessing for cold-weather athletes. The rubber handle doesn’t chill like you’d experience with steel handles, so there’s no need to “warm up” the weights before training.
Like other fixed REP dumbbells, these rubber-coated profiles utilize friction welding in the interior to connect the head to the handle. We’ve seen how durable and trustworthy this connection can be with other, less-rubbery silhouettes from the brand, and had no issues with ranking these weights at 4.5 out of 5 for construction.
Now, with an all-rubber dumbbell, you’d expect some stench when unboxing them. Thankfully, our tester experienced no such odor thanks to the ultra-low-odor rubber used across the build. Other dumbbells using recycled rubber can easily fog out a cramped training area with smells resembling the stink you’d find at your local tire shop.
As far as the handle, this is one area where these dumbbells start to fall off (or out). For one, the diameter is thicker than other dumbbells at 30 millimeters for 5- to 20-pound weights and 35 millimeters for weights over 25 pounds. While not a huge difference from your typical 28- or 29-millimeter barbell, it is enough to potentially compromise your control.
Additionally, we rated the handle at 3.75 out of 5 because of the rubber coating and its influence on the knurling. REP does etch a partial knurl patch at the center, but it doesn’t grab your skin as aggressively as other steel options. This could lead to less traction during pulls (and more dropped reps).
Lastly, we knocked the value down slightly to 3.5 because there simply aren’t as many available weights as other dumbbell sets from the brand. You can still get plenty of work done within the 5- to 100-pound range, but when the Hex Dumbbells and Urethane Coated Round Dumbbells top out at 125 and 150 pounds, respectively, it’s hard to view them as equals.
Best Budget Dumbbells: Living.Fit Hex Dumbbells
These hex dumbbells from Living.Fit have comfortable and slip-resistant handles, and the hexagonal heads prevent them from rolling away when you take a break between sets.
- Price: Pairs starting at $44.99
- Available Weights: 5-100lbs
- Handle Diameter: 33.02mm
- Head Material: Premium rubber
- Knurling Coverage: Partial
- Shape: Hexagonal
- On top of paired weight sets, Living.Fit offers six bundled packages of varying weight ranges to help you save some money.
- A hexagonal head shape can help alleviate rolling weights during storage and also bolster your elevated push-up stance.
- Multiple customers have called out the brand’s high-quality customer service.
- Athletes needing weights heavier than 100 pounds will want to look elsewhere.
- According to our tester, the chrome finish of the handle requires more upkeep to preserve that shiny, rust-free aesthetic.
- Living.Fit uses oil as part of its pre-shipment protection process, which means your dumbbells could arrive with a slight film across the silhouette.
Having a full set of dumbbells can get costly in a hurry. Thankfully, budget-friendly dumbbells exist, such as these Living.Fit Hex Dumbbells. While not the absolute cheapest weights on the market (or in this round-up, for that matter) we still feel they’re the best budget pick for the wide range of purchasing options you have at your disposal. Not only does Living.Fit offer these dumbbells in pairs across the 5- to 100-pound range in 5-pound increments, but the array of bundled weight sets can also help keep costs low.
Outside of my adjustable dumbbells, these are the sole fixed dumbbells in my personal home gym, so I feel like I have a good foundation to speak on the value of these weights. I rated the units at 4 out of 5 for value because of the bundles offering a pick for every athlete.
The dumbbell sets offer kits with weight ranges covering 5 to 50 pounds, 5 to 75 pounds, 5 to 100 pounds, 55 to 75 pounds, and 80 to 100 pounds. Plus, Living.Fit offers lifetime warranty coverage for their dumbbells, so there’s some reassurance if anything goes awry.
This service package is also nice since shipping could lead to some wear and tear before your first set. I scored this category at 3.75 out of 5 because the boxes can routinely arrive at your doorstep with some scuffs and scars, indicating some rough handling during transport. Plus, there’s a present oil coating across the weights at unboxing that will need cleaning before your first workout.
Thankfully, Living.Fit’s customer service is top-notch, so resolving any issues takes minimal time. “I had a major issue with shipping and delivery of the product. I had someone with customer service help me and keep me informed every step of the way while the issue was being resolved,” adds one positive customer review.
In terms of performance, these dumbbells work as any other high-quality rubber hex weight. There’s no rolling after a drop, and the handle is comfortable enough for extended use.
However, Jake Herod, BarBend’s main product tester and a certified nutrition coach, did say that the chrome finish does require a little extra upkeep to help preserve the coating. You’ll need to regularly clean this component to alleviate any dust or rust build-up. For these reasons, we scored the handle at 3.5 out of 5.
Read our full Living.Fit Dumbbells Review.
Best Dumbbell Rack: Rogue Fitness Universal Storage System
Whether you need a clean space to store a set of dumbbells or have miscellaneous gym equipment you need to organize, this storage system from Rogue can handle it with 11 gauge steel and heavy duty wheels.
- Price: Starting at $365
- Material: 11-gauge steel
- Shelves: 2-3
- Shelving Patterns: Medicine balls, kettlebells, dumbbells
- Product Dimensions: 76.5” L x 23.75” W x 29.25”-45.25” H
- This modular storage rack can be customized to house dumbbells, kettlebells, or medicine balls with equipment-matching laser-cut shelving.
- A wheeled base makes maneuvering this rack around your home gym more convenient.
- The rack is compatible with other Rogue storage accessories that simply bolt on for a compact setup.
- This storage rack isn’t necessary for athletes with adjustable or loadable dumbbells.
- Customers have said that there is some lateral movement and sway to the shelves.
- The wheels are fairly small and may not roll easily over flooring, especially when loaded down with all of your gear.
Having a dumbbell set for your home gym is one thing, but unless you’re opting for an adjustable pair of weights, you’ll also need to think about how you’ll store your new strength-training equipment. The Rogue Universal Storage System is one of our favorites thanks to a modular design that can be customized to fit not just dumbbells, but kettlebells and medicine balls, too.
The frame of this storage rack is composed of sturdy, 11-gauge steel, and the 70-inch shelves are laser cut to match the common dimensions of your intended gear. Additionally, we rated the customizations at 4 out of 5 thanks to Rogue’s offering of a two-tier or three-tier setup. This can be great for athletes that have a bevy of dumbbells that need a new home, or those that want to house all of their gear in one complete area.
This Universal Storage System is also compatible with Rogue’s bolt-on storage accessories, so you can even house your barbells across this unit with just a few turns of a wrench.
While we admired the durability of each component across this storage rack, we do want to note that the two-post style can lead to some lateral movement and swaying, which we attribute to the lack of a center support beam.
We rated the stability at 3.5 out of 5 for such reasons, and other customers have also commented on this potential issue. “The three-tier system does have some lateral movement to it,” says one customer. “I suspect the three tiers when coupled with the wheels raises the center of gravity enough to introduce a slight wobble.”
Additionally, we appreciated how Rogue included wheels along the base, giving this storage rack a unique sense of portability. This can be a great perk for athletes training in smaller home gyms, but we do recommend unloading some weights before getting this unit into motion. The wheels are somewhat small and can become weighed down easily, so unless you want to integrate a sled push into your training routine, we suggest removing some weight before transport.
Best Dumbbells on Amazon: Amazon Basics Rubber Dumbbells
These Amazon Basics Rubber Dumbbells can be a convenient solution for athletes that want a useful set of dumbbells without the headache of sky-high shipping costs. Through your Prime account, you can take advantage of free shipping on these weights ranging from 10 to 50 pounds with a contoured, partially-knurled handle for effective at-home training.
- Price: Individuals starting at $17.34
- Available Weights: 10-50lbs
- Handle Diameter: 34.29mm
- Head Material: Rubber
- Knurling Coverage: Partial
- Shape: Hexagonal
- The Amazon availability opens the door for free Prime shipping, which can help you save some coin.
- The hex head can help eliminate any rolling when dropped or placed on the ground.
- An ergonomic handle design helps create a comfortable grip position that contours to your hand.
- The weight range is limited at 10 to 50 pounds — other dumbbell sets typically offer between 5 and 100 pounds.
- Dumbbells are sold individually, meaning you’ll need to add two units to your cart for a full-fledged pair.
- According to customers, the knurling is very passive and can slip easily from sweaty hands.
Let’s face it — ordering dumbbells, especially at heavier weights, can be a drag. Like ordering the best bumper plates, you need to pay close attention to your shipping costs, which can sometimes end up as costly as the dumbbells themselves. These Amazon Basics Rubber Dumbbells, however, eliminate that potential headache thanks to the site’s convenient Prime shipping service. You can order weights ranging from 10 to 50 pounds without fearing those sky-high transport fees.
Additionally, we rated the shipping process at 4.5 out of 5, because, like your typical Amazon delivery, these dumbbells can arrive quickly to your doorstep. This can be great for budding athletes that have that initial spark of motivation for training and want to get started with workouts as soon as possible.
Now, we do recommend paying close attention to the orders, as the dumbbells are sold individually rather than in paired sets. Plus, the weight range is somewhat small when compared to the typical 5- to 100-pound ranges found with other dumbbells.
Don’t get us wrong, you can still create a worthwhile setup with this range, especially if you’re just starting out in strength training, but we scored the weight range at 3.5 out of 5 because it is capped lower than others, making it less ideal for stronger or more advanced athletes.
Performance-wise, these Amazon Basics dumbbells feature a rubber hex head that can be great for keeping setups compact during training. You don’t need to worry about your weights rolling away in-between sets. The ergonomic handle also features a partial knurling strewn across the profile, which can help create a comfortable setup for your presses, pulls, and other movements.
While we appreciated the inclusion of a knurling pattern, some customers have stated that the passive texture can be somewhat underwhelming. “Even after just a little bit of sweat, I had trouble gripping these dumbbells,” says one customer. For these reasons, we rated the handle design at 4 out of 5.
Should these be your final dumbbells to round out your perfect home gym? Probably not — there are other options on the market with better handles and wider weight ranges. However, if you’re in need of a quick solution to your limited fitness equipment roster, you know that these are just a few clicks away (without any added shipping costs through Prime).
Other Dumbbells We Tested
Naturally, the dumbbells included in this guide aren’t the only weights available in the category. Below are some other silhouettes that just missed the cut, but can still be worthwhile considerations for your personal training space.
Nike has recently entered the fitness equipment category with a range of bumper plates, barbells, and (of course) dumbbells. We admire the hexagonal shape of these weights that help keep everything in-place after drops, and the 5- to 100-pound weight range is on par with other dumbbell sets. Jake Herod, BarBend’s main product tester and a certified nutrition coach, does note, though, that these weights are only available in paired sets — no bundled packages are listed at this time.
Snode Adjustable Dumbbells
Thanks to their (mostly) metal construction, these adjustable dumbbells are some of the most durable profiles we’ve tested. The design is similar to the SMRTFT NÜOBELLs, too, meaning the weight changes are sequential and there’s a fully-knurled center at the handle. However, we’d prefer a smaller weight increment between the plates — the Snode Adjustable Dumbbells feature 10-pound increments rather than 5-pounds.
Read our full Snode Adjustable Dumbbell Review.
Ativafit 66-Pound Adjustable Dumbbells
If you’re looking for a budget-friendly set of adjustable dumbbells, these Ativafit profiles can be a great pick. We like the inclusion of a safety button and quick-dial locking mechanism, which helps ensure the plates don’t jostle during exercises. However, making any adjustments requires two hands, which is a little more involved than other turn-style systems found in adjustable dumbbells from brands like SMRTFT or Snode.
Read our full Ativafit Adjustable Dumbbells Review.
NordicTrack Select-A-Weight Dumbbells
At just under $400, these NordicTrack dumbbells can also be a wallet-friendly solution for at-home dumbbell training. We like the unique pinion-style adjustment system that allows you to jump between 2.5- and 5-pound weight changes for a 15-in-1 silhouette across the 10- to 55-pound weight range. Unfortunately, though, there is a lot of plastic across this design, making these less durable than other dumbbells utilizing a metal-based structure.
Read our full NordicTrack Select-A-Weight Dumbbells Review.
Rogue Hex Dumbbells
When it comes to these rubber hex dumbbells from Rogue, they are a heavy competitor to REP’s rubber hex offering. The heavy-duty rubber can be great for saving your floors, and the ergonomic handle fits comfortably in your grip with an added touch of partial knurling. These plates aren’t available in bundled sets, though, so you’ll have to settle for multiple paired weights as you build out your kit, which can get expensive in the long run.
Read our full Rogue Hex Dumbbell Review.
Benefits of Dumbbells
According to Amanda Capritto, a certified personal trainer, “Dumbbells offer a great introduction to weight training, especially for the apprehensive, and it is often better for people to learn foundational movement patterns with dumbbells versus other tools.” With this in mind, it’s easy to see why dumbbells are common pieces in both commercial and home gym layouts. In addition to their beginner-friendly aesthetic, here are some other benefits that come with these handheld training staples.
When it comes to supporting a wide range of strength exercises, it’s tough to beat the versatility of a good pair of dumbbells. You can perform just about any exercise — from bicep curls to deadlifts, lunges, flyes, and more — with these weights, allowing you to curate a workout plan with just a handful of dumbbells. Additionally, the smaller profiles of dumbbells make setting up for training easier. For example, you can perform a press or squat anywhere you have the room, whereas a barbell-oriented workout would also require a high-quality rack.
Unilateral exercises refer to movements performed using only one leg or arm. These can be done to bring up a lagging body part; for example, if one biceps is larger than the other, a bodybuilder may perform curls with the smaller one to help it catch up to the other one. Unilateral exercises are also commonly used in rehabilitation from injury to target a specific limb. Dumbbells are excellent for this purpose since they can be used easily to place the load on only one limb.
Safety and Range of Motion
Dumbbells may be safer to use (especially when you’re by yourself) than a barbell. If you are unable to lift a bar off of your chest in a bench press, you may have to perform some uncomfortable shimmying or dump the weights to one side. Performing a dumbbell bench press and failing is still not ideal, but it may carry less risk since you can simply drop the weights to the side with nothing pinning your chest down.
In addition, dumbbells can also be a solution for those looking to improve their range of motion. Since the weights aren’t connected by a long, singular rod, you can maneuver the dumbbells in a more fluid path during training. This can help keep your setups more comfortable and efficient, especially if you’re dealing with a nagging injury that needs to be trained around accordingly.
Common Dumbbell Materials
There are a variety of materials you’re going to see across the different types of dumbbells. Below are some of the most common components used across builds, along with some pros and cons to be mindful of when making your purchasing decision.
This is generally the most common covering for dumbbells. Virgin rubber is cheap. Recycled rubber is even cheaper, but can smell odd. It is a decently durable material and will survive an average trainee’s workout, so long as they don’t chuck the dumbbells on the floor every time they finish a set (and even then, they might still be fine). Relatively soft, rubber will help cushion a dumbbell’s fall and can prevent some of the excess damage to your floor if you drop them regularly.
This is the premium option for covering dumbbells. Hard-wearing and great for customization, it is very resistant to damage. The obvious downside, however, is the price. Urethane dumbbells are going to be significantly more expensive than their rubber counterparts, but if you’re on the hunt for a good-looking, premium dumbbell, then urethane is probably what you’re after.
Alongside iron, steel is a very common base material. It is more expensive than iron, but will not oxidize quite so easily, or almost at all depending on the type of steel used. It can, however, be more brittle due to the added carbon.
This means that if you weaken the dumbbell over time, it may snap. We make this sound like a simple task, but trust us, you’ll have to put in quite a bit of time and effort to have this happen.
Cheaper than steel, this will commonly be used in lower-cost dumbbells, with a lot of the hex models being prime examples. It’s great so long as it remains covered by rubber, urethane, or chrome plating. Once exposed, it is easily oxidized and will rust, which isn’t the end of the world in the short run, but long term can result in structural weakness.
Plastic is rarely used with fixed dumbbells, though it is almost always used to manufacture the adjustment mechanisms for adjustable dumbbells. It is almost impossible to create a lightweight mechanism out of anything else, but the trade-off is the fragility of the plastic. This is why you have to be careful not to drop or smash a pair of adjustable dumbbells. The weights themselves will survive, but the mechanisms can be easily damaged.
How to Choose the Best Dumbbells
Dumbbells are pieces you’ll absolutely want to have in your training toolkit at some point. Here are the major factors you’ll want to think about before you buy a pair or a set of dumbbells.
One of the major decisions you’ll need to make when purchasing dumbbells is which style you want for your home gym. If you’re tight on space or want a more budget-friendly way to gather multiple working weights in one fell swoop, adjustable or loadable dumbbells can be a great solution. These units can be ideal for athletes wanting a single profile for training but given the moving parts at play across the adjustment systems, are not as durable as other options.
For athletes wanting a more sturdy, traditional piece of equipment, fixed dumbbells should be your target of choice. These weights often come with rubber or urethane heads that can better resist the occasional drop or tumble. Be mindful, though, that a full set will take up more space, so you’ll need to account for storage needs before buying a range of dumbbells to suit your training style.
The durability of your dumbbells can also influence how you choose to work out. According to Amanda Capritto, a certified personal trainer, “If you plan to use your dumbbells for activities like CrossFit, your best option is to get fixed dumbbells, specifically rubber hex dumbbells. Dropping any dumbbells comes with the risk of eventually (or, in some cases, immediately) breaking them, but rubber hex bells are most likely to survive such activities.”
When looking for durable weights to support your high-intensity training, it’s best to focus on rubber or urethane dumbbells as opposed to steel or cast iron dumbbells. These compounds can be more resilient against drops and also help preserve your flooring. Urethane can be the hardest of the two materials, but be mindful that the extra sturdiness can often come with a higher price tag.
If you’re less enthused about high-intensity CrossFit workouts or don’t plan to drop your dumbbells a ton during training, you can likely get away with any dumbbell you find appealing, including adjustable profiles. In general, though, we still recommend looking for a dumbbell with a steel handle, preferably with some added chrome or other coating. This component can be helpful in ensuring your dumbbells last throughout your fitness journey, and the exterior coating can be great for preventing rust build-up over extended use.
While our personal testing garage has ample space for weights, we recognize your personal gym may not be as spacious. Before you buy a huge set of dumbbells, consider how much space you can dedicate to your new weights. If you only have a small corner of the room available, a smaller set or adjustable dumbbell is probably ideal.
As with any gym equipment you add to your setup, your dumbbells should match your intended training goals and interests. This, essentially, comes down to what you want to use your dumbbells for. If you want to throw your weights around and need a durable set of dumbbells for CrossFit movements, we recommend opting for a fixed set of rubber or urethane weights. If you’re more focused on general strength training exercises like rows, curls, and presses, you can get by with pretty much any dumbbell variety.
Additionally, Capritto states that you should also think about which weights you’d like to utilize in training. “Bodybuilders, for instance, are likely going to want a wide range of weights in order to do drop sets and frequently isolate muscles,” she notes, while other athletes may be able to supplement their training with only a few pairs of weights.
The price of dumbbells can vary greatly from brand to brand, but on average, we’ve found that most fixed dumbbells feature starting prices between $40 and $45 for their lightest available weights. The costs begin to increase directly with the weight, so be sure to choose a total you’re likely to use often if you’re focused on keeping costs low.
Adjustable dumbbells are also an option, and while the initial costs are typically higher than fixed dumbbells — often between $400 and $700 per pair — they make up for the price hike with added versatility and storage conveniences. After all, you’re essentially gaining multiple dumbbells in one silhouette.
Lastly, some brands offer bundled weight sets that can help keep costs lower than, say, ordering individual pairs of dumbbells one at a time. In the end, be sure to think through your budget (and available space) and opt for a dumbbell profile that won’t stretch your wallet too thin. Remember, too, that you can always purchase additional weights down the road.
Dumbbells are ubiquitous in gyms thanks to their high versatility and approachable price points. The best dumbbells can be excellent for your home setup, especially if you’re looking to add unilateral movements to your regimen (or simply don’t have the available room for a squat rack and barbell).
When thinking through which dumbbells to get for your gym, first think about your available space and how many dumbbells you’ll actually need to support your routine. Additionally, pay attention to the materials used, especially if you tend to drop your weights in training or want to preserve your home gym flooring as much as possible. Use this round-up as a roadmap to success and get equipped with these timeless pieces of training equipment.
Are adjustable dumbbells better or fixed dumbbells better?
This all comes down to your goals. Adjustable dumbbells have great versatility, but are more fragile and cannot be dropped. Fixed dumbbells are durable but take up much more space with all the different pairs of weights. Think about your own training and choose accordingly.
What are the best dumbbells?
Dumbbells may seem quite similar at first glance, but there are many differences in the handles, materials, and coatings. For our money, the REP Fitness Hex Dumbbells hold the top spot thanks to their ultra-low-odor rubber head construction, impressive weight range, and straight-handled design that’s similar to what you’d feel in barbell training.
What range of weights should I get in dumbbells?
The weight range you need in your dumbbell setup is dependent on your strength and intended training discipline. For example, CrossFit athletes may only need a few working weights that are typically called for in a given WOD, while bodybuilders may need more available options to support supersets, heavy one-rep maxes, and other workout styles.
Is unilateral training easier with dumbbells? What is it and why should I do it?
Unilateral training simply means training with one side. An example would be doing a single-arm dumbbell row. This kind of movement is great for equalizing your strength across your frame, especially if your coordination and size differ between body parts. Naturally, this type of training is easier with a dumbbell than, say, a barbell, because of the smaller profile of the weighted tool that can be more conveniently controlled across a single arm.