Dumbbells are one of the most popular implements to train with for every level fitness enthusiast. Whether you’re a bodybuilder, recreational lifter, powerlifter, true workout beginner or functional fitness athlete, there’s a good chance that dumbbells are used at some point in your program.
Like most pieces of strength equipment, not every dumbbell is created equal and there are options that will suit different settings, needs, and types of athletes best. In this round-up, we dive into the deep and vast world of dumbbells and assess the market’s best bell’s pros, cons, and best uses. We then match all of those attributes with fitness enthusiasts they’d best suit. Consider us dumbbell matchmakers.
Yes4All Adjustable Dumbbells
The Yes4All Adjustable Dumbbells made our top pick for a very specific reason and that’s their total weight for the price. These dumbbells have multiple weight and accessory options and you can even select dumbbell sets that come with a connector to create a barbell out of them. If you’re a home gym fitness enthuasist that wants your weight’s worth in money, then these dumbbells are a good pick.
Yes4All Adjustable Dumbbells Pros
- Multiple weight and accessory options.
- Cost efficient option for the weight provided.
- One year warranty on plates and handles.
Yes4All Adjustable Dumbbells Cons
- Metal may chip if not properly cared for.
- Limited space on each dumbbell handle.
The Yes4All Adjustable Dumbbells provide a ton of variability with weight selection and some sets include a connector to turn your dumbbells into a barbell.
Best for Home Gyms
Bowflex SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells
The Bowflex SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells are an awesome option for those dedicated to working out at home. For starters, these dumbbells have 15 different weight options, so every level fitness enthusiast can benefit with their use. In addition, they’re easy to store and have a clean aesthetic, so if you live in apartments or other tight spots, they don’t look like an eye sore sitting out.
Bowflex SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells Pros
- Dumbbells have the ability to switch between 15 different weight options.
- Space efficient option for smaller home gyms and areas of storage.
- Solid two year warranty on weights and plates.
Bowflex SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells Cons
- Not the most cost efficient option on the market.
- Somewhat limited by their max weight.
The Bowflex SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells are a great option for any home gym due to their ease of storage and 15 weight selection.
Best Value Dumbbells
AmazonBasics Rubber Encased Hex Dumbbell
When it comes to getting quality for your money it’s tough to beat the AmazonBasics Rubber Encased Hex Dumbbell. These dumbbells match the quality of other high-end rubber encased dumbbells, but have a price point that is much more feasible for lifters building out their home gyms. On top of the overall construction quality, Amazon also offers a solid 1-year limited warranty on these dumbbells.
AmazonBasics Rubber Encased Hex Dumbbell Pros
- Overall good quality construction for cost efficiency.
- Dumbbells have a 1-year limited warranty with other warranty options available.
- Good dumbbells for in-home use.
AmazonBasics Rubber Encased Hex Dumbbell Cons
- Costs can add up when buying heavier dumbbells and building a set.
The AmazonBasics Rubber Coated Dumbbells are a great individual dumbbell option for the home gym fitness enthusiast that wants quality and a warranty.
Best Value Set
CAP Barbell 150-lb Hex Dumbbell Weight Set
The CAP Barbell 150-lb Hex Dumbbell Weight Set has three keys going for it. First, with weights going from 5 to 25 lbs it’s a great option for both beginners and advanced fitness enthusiasts. Second, the dumbbells are great in-home and don’t damage floors like metal dumbbells can. Third, the rack makes storage and organization a breeze.
CAP Barbell 150-lb Hex Dumbbell Weight Set Pros
- 5, 10, 15, 20, and 25 lb dumbbell options to match every need.
- Convenient storage rack and dumbbells have quality construction.
- Cost efficient option for a full lower weight dumbbell set.
CAP Barbell 150-lb Hex Dumbbell Weight Set Cons
- Limited by their max weight capacity.
- Not ideal for advanced lifters.
The CAP Barbell Dumbbell set is the perfect option for the value shopper that wants quality and a rack to help them organize their home gym.
Best for Beginners
AmazonBasics Neoprene Dumbbell Pairs and Sets with Stands
If you are true beginner the AmazonBasics Neoprene Dumbbell Pairs and Sets with Stands is the perfect option for you for two reasons. First, the neoprene dumbbells outer construction is softer on the hands, so they won’t give you callouses with first uses. Second, they come in lighter weights and with a stand so they’re easy to move and store.
AmazonBasics Neoprene Dumbbell Pairs and Sets with Stands Pros
- Overall solid construction for a first dumbbell set.
- Option to get a stand for easy storage and organization.
- Cost efficient option for the hesitant beginner.
AmazonBasics Neoprene Dumbbell Pairs and Sets with Stands Cons
- Not ideal for serious fitness enthusiasts.
- Limited by their weight capacity.
The AmazonBasics Neoprene Dumbbells offer a soft rubber coating, which make them a perfect option for true beginners trying out dumbbells.
CAP Barbell Adjustable Dumbbell Set
The CAP Barbell Adjustable Dumbbell Set is the perfect set of dumbbells for the recreational fitness enthusiast that loves to train at home. CAP Barbell’s adjustable dumbbell sets ranges in various weights, so you can select the option that best suits your strength levels and wants. Additionally, you can buy different plates to add even more resistance if you max out your set of choosing.
CAP Barbell Adjustable Dumbbell Set Pros
- Multiple set options that can match every level of strength.
- Good knurling for ensuring a strong grip.
- Cost efficient option for home gym enthusiasts.
CAP Barbell Adjustable Dumbbell Set Cons
- Limited space on dumbbell for very heavy movements.
- Paint may chip if not cared for properly.
The CAP Adjustable Dumbbell Set is the perfect option for the home gym owner that wants to customize their workout weight.
For every dumbbell, we assessed two critical factors that we feel weigh heaviest when it comes to your investment. First, we assess the overall construction of the dumbbell and quality of its materials. Second, we acknowledge who the dumbbell best suits and in what settings the dumbbell is most beneficial.
Yes, dumbbells are simple in design, but that doesn’t mean we should write off their construction. The construction assessments we perform for every dumbbell compare the materials used on the heads of the dumbbells (each end), the shaft connecting the heads, and how the materials work together.
Our Construction Assessments Include:
- Heads of the Dumbbell
- Dumbbell Shaft
- How the Materials Fit Together
To provide some context for the home gym beginner, we’ve provided a couple direct examples below of ways we use our construction assessment on a regular basis.
Construction Example 1: How do the dumbbell’s heads work together with the metal shaft? If the heads are rubber, for example, we look for early wear and tear potential with the rubber coming off of the shaft and lipping. This can indicate that the dumbbell is low quality and could chip relatively quickly.
Construction Example 2: Does the dumbbell have metal that is resistant to chipping? This is especially important when evaluating an all metal dumbbell with plates and clamps.
Another important characteristic we consider with the construction of the dumbbell is warranty. Typically, a warranty indicates better quality. Long story short, understanding the construction of a dumbbell is key for those wanting their investment to go the distance.
Who Can Benefit Most
Outside of construction, we also assess which populations would benefit most with the use of the dumbbell in question. Construction plays a role in this assessment as well, but so does price and overall performance traits of the dumbbell.
Below, we’ve provided four main populations we assess each dumbbell’s best uses for and why we rope specific dumbbells into each category.
Home Gym Users: Dumbbells need to be easy to store, have construction that will not damage their surroundings, and come at a fair price.
Beginners: Dumbbells should accommodate for a beginner’s grip tolerances and come with a fair price.
Advanced Lifters: Dumbbells need to have large ranges of weight, a strong construction, and knurling to support grip.
Value Shoppers: Price is king!
Q: I’m new to training, what type of dumbbell should I look for?
BarBend: A good starting option would be some of the rubber coated dumbbells because they generally last a long time, come in affordable sets, and work great in nearly every home gym setting.
Q: Should I go for metal, rubber, or more something else?
BarBend: At the end of the day, all of these options will provide a solid workout, so we’d base this question on your workout setting. If you’re working out in an apartment, then go for rubber or tech-based adjustable dumbbells, and if you’re in the garage, select whatever type of bell your heart desires.
Dumbbells come in all shapes and sizes (well, kind of), and not every bell is created equally. One of the best ways to approach finding the perfect dumbbells is by combining where you’re working out most with your expertise. Once you’ve come up with these two answers, then you can begin narrowing down your choices to options that suit both of those needs best!