Buyer's Guides Dumbbells

Best Dumbbells For Your Home Gym Setup (Fresh for 2021)

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Dumbbells are some of the most versatile pieces of exercise equipment out there. They can be used on their own for curling and other lifts or used to add more resistance to almost any bodyweight exercise. Since they can be used for almost anything, they are extremely popular. The best dumbbells are the ones that suit your needs perfectly.

Because of the many different types of fitness enthusiasts in the world, there are also multiple different kinds of dumbbells. Some are designed for versatility while others meet an awfully specific need. Like almost any other kind of equipment, there are also multiple price levels with dumbbells.

Because of the vast number of variations between styles, needs, and prices, it is necessary to compare them side by side in an easy to see and understand format. So, let us take a close look at the best dumbbells you can buy and compare them side by side!

Best Overall- Bowflex SelectTech 552 Version 2 Two Adjustable Medium Dumbbells (300 each)

Our Rating: (5/5)

The Bowflex 552 is an extremely versatile set that is adjustable all the way from 5 to 52.5 pounds, which is a very wide range comparatively speaking. They adjust in increments of 25 pounds and have won the best home fitness product award from Men’s Health magazine in 2019. They are extremely popular with over 13,000 reviews at the time of this writing.

This set has a unique system for choosing your weight using a dial, which makes it easy to select your preference. Part of the appeal of this set is that it integrates with the Bowflex app which allows you to follow trainer workouts, build custom workouts and even journal your progress.

It comes with some handy placeholders or cases (hard to say what you call them) that allow you to safely set the dumbbells down and they rest perfectly in the case. When you are using only a few of the weights, the remaining weights can sit nicely in the case without cluttering up the floor, which is nice.

Pros

  • Well designed
  • Easy to use and store
  • Versatile from 5 pounds to 52 pounds
  • Won the Men’s Health best home gym product award

Cons

  • Can be expensive compared to other options

Conclusion

The Bowflex SelectTech 552 adjustable dumbbells set is the best out there at this time, but it is not going to work for every budget. It has multiple weights included and very useable little cases that help hold unused weights. The app it comes with has been called ‘extremely helpful’ by some customers and it could prove useful to you if you choose to try it out. The set is extremely well made, user friendly, and easy to store but all that awesomeness is going to cost you! If you want the best and are willing to pay for it, this is your set!

 

Best Value- Day 1 Fitness Rubber Hex Dumbbell

Our Rating: (4.5/5)

The Day 1 Fitness Rubber Hex Dumbbell is a great value for the money. This dumbbell can be used in any fitness or training routine. It is a single weight with hexagonal-shaped weights which prevent rolling, which can be dangerous with heavy weights. The weights are encased in rubber which makes them heavy-duty and able to withstand much more wear and tear than other weights that do not use rubber encasements.

The handles are a nice shape that will fit your hand better than straight cylinders. They have a natural widened section in the middle and are also textured to provide a much better grip, especially if you are sweating from an intense workout.

These types of weights are so easy to travel with because they are small and will not roll around in your backseat or trunk if you need to take them to a friend’s house or the park. It is easy to use them wherever you want whenever you need to work out. This is not the case with big bulky dumbbells.

The design of these is smart and makes it easy to feel safe when using them. The rubber weight section makes it less likely to dent floors or crack wood flooring, and the welded metal handles are very well made and will last for many years.

Pros

  • Safe
  • Easy to use / versatile
  • Convenient to travel with
  • Very well made will last a long time
  • Not expensive

Cons

  • Ordering can be confusing due to bundle options
  • Not offered in a big set

Conclusion

The Day 1 Fitness Rubber Hex Dumbbell gets my vote for the best value for the money. It is extremely well made and designed very well to withstand abuse and to be safe for the user. You are not going to get a large number of weights per order, but what you get will last a long time and can be used in any routine without worry.

 

Best 65 Pound Dumbbells- CAP Coated Dumbbell Weight, Single, Various Sizes

Our Rating: (4.5/5)

The CAP Coated Dumbbell is a great option for your 65-pound dumbbell option. This dumbbell is a hex-style weight like many you may be familiar with. The weighted section of the dumbbell is made of class 20 gray iron which has a special coating that helps them to last longer and makes them easy to wipe down and clean.

The handles are ergonomic and will fit your hands perfectly during a workout. They are made of cold-rolled steel with a chrome coating, and they have some cut in texture to provide a better grip than smooth handles would provide.

You can choose from a very wide variety of weights when you order this option. They have dumbbells all the way from 3 pounds to 120. Of course, the 65-pound option is the one I am focused on here because it is a quite common weight for intermediate to advanced fitness enthusiasts.

The build quality is good and should last a long time, but there have been some complaints from customers who had some issues getting their products delivered with the box being beaten up. I suppose this is a common occurrence when buying anything very heavy, however.

Like any free weights, this one is versatile and easy to travel with but running around with a 65-pound weight is never very fun!

Pros

  • Well made
  • Good price
  • Many weight options to choose from
  • No frills, simple product

Cons

  • Some customers had issues with shipping
  • Not the greatest customer service

Conclusion

The CAP 65 pound coated hex dumbbell is great for what it is and has a fair price. If you need an affordable 65-pound dumbbell for your workout and do not want to spend a ton of money, this may be a good match for you. There may be an ugly beat-up box that comes with the shipment and you are not going to get world-class customer service, but you will get a well-made dumbbell that won’t cost you a lot.

 

Best Neoprene Coated Pair- Amazon Basics Neoprene Coated Dumbbell Hand Weight Set

Our Rating: (4.5/5)

With Amazon’s ‘Basics’ brand you are not expecting top-of-the-line boutique quality products. However, in this case, it is hard to find a better option out there at this price range.

The Amazon Basics Neoprene Coated Dumbbell Set is by far the best in its class and price range. The dumbbells themselves are obviously neoprene coated and hex-shaped, with the coating covering the entire unit, not just the weight parts.

They come in 11 different varieties, including:

  • 10 pounds set of 2
  • 12 pounds set of 2
  • 15 pounds set of 2

And 8 more options, some of which include a stand. This is just smart marketing but are we really surprised? It is Amazon after all.

These weights are small and easy to use. You can incorporate them into any workout or exercise you want to with no issues at all. They all come in a set of 2 which is really a nice touch since so many of these come with a single weight, making you wonder where the other one is.

The weight of each one is printed on the dumbbells and they are also color-coded for easy identification. For example, the 10 pounds are blue, the 20 pounds are green, etc…

Pros

  • Soft and safer than non-padded weights
  • Affordable
  • Comes with 2 weights in every order
  • Lots of ordering options
  • Almost 40,000 5 star reviews

Cons

  • No options above 60 pounds

Conclusion

Amazon Basics Neoprene Dumbbells are exactly what you are looking for if you want softer safer dumbbells for your workouts. They are well made, color-coded by weight, and available in many options as well as coming in pairs. I try not to be overly positive in reviews, but Amazon hit a home run with this product by listening to what customers wanted and then delivering it at an affordable price.

 

Best Neoprene Coated Set- Amazon Basics Neoprene Coated Dumbbell Hand Weight Set of 6

Our Rating: (4.5/5)

Amazon Basics does it again with the neoprene dumbbell set. Much like the pairs mentioned above, this is Amazon’s own product and has all the same construction and design as the paired option reviewed above.

The difference here is that this is an entire set that comes with the following:

  • 2 pounds
  • 3 pounds
  • 5 pounds
  • Stand

This set is 6 cast iron dumbbells with a neoprene coating and hexagon-shaped weight sections. It is not a heavy set, meant for light workouts and toning, not heavy lifting. It is a great option if you need something easy to store and will provide a solid workout at a good price.

This set is perfect for resistance training and will provide all you need in an easy-to-understand and simple package. It is not going to cost you very much either.

The weight stand that comes with it does require assembly, but it is extremely simple and will not take more than a couple of minutes to complete with one person.

Pros

  • Convenient
  • Easy to store
  • Easy to use
  • Comes with stand
  • Ideal for resistance training

Cons

  • No heavy weights in the set
  • Only for light workouts

Conclusion

This is the set to get if you are doing toning and resistance training in a small space. The weights are padded and safe and will not roll all over, and they come with a stand. Each one is color-coded making it easy to grab the next heaviest one as your workout continues. They are not expensive and have almost 40 thousand positive reviews.

 

Best Fixed- Sporzon! Rubber Encased Hex Dumbbell in Pairs or Singles

Our Rating: (4.5/5)

The Sporzon! Rubber Hex Dumbbells are nothing too unique that you have not seen or used before. The thing that makes them noteworthy is that they are well made and a great value for the money, as well as available in pairs or singles in a variety of weights.

This model has hexagonal weights to prevent rolling like many other models. The weight sections are encased in rubber which helps avoid scratching wood floors and are a little softer in the case of dropping on something. The weight is marked on each dumbbell so you can see how heavy each one is, however, I would have preferred the weight to be painted white so you could easily see it.

The handles are solid metal ergonomically shaped with textured steel to help improve grip during a workout. The design is nothing groundbreaking, but it is done very well and high-quality materials were used. The combination of the easy-grip handles and the softer hex-shaped weight section makes these dumbbells a good choice for just about any fitness enthusiast.

Pros

  • Weights encased in rubber
  • Solid build / well made
  • Great value for the money
  • Available in pairs or singles in a wide variety of weights

Cons

  • Hard to read the weight on each dumbbell if you have less than great eyesight

Conclusion

The Sporzon! Rubber Encased Hex Dumbbell is a good choice if you are looking for a hex-style fixed dumbbell with rubber-coated weights. The high-quality materials and smart design make this an attractive choice for anyone on a budget that still wants some dumbbells that are going to last a long time. I just wish they could have marked the weight with white paint or something so it was easier to see which one is which from a glance.

 

Best Full Dumbbell Set- CAP Barbell 150-Pound Dumbbell Set with Rack, Multiple Options

Our Rating: (4.5/5)

The CAP 150-Pound Set w/ Rack covers all the bases for anyone looking for a nice dumbbell set they can set up in their home gym.  The set includes a pair of 5, 10, 20, and 25-pound dumbbells and a 2 tier rack.

The dumbbells themselves are rubber coated and made of the same class 20 gray iron as the 65-pound pair I chose for the best 65-pound option. These are high-quality dumbbells with solid metal handles that are ergonomically shaped to fit your hands easily. The handles are also textured to provide more gription.

The inclusion of the rack with this set was a brilliant idea by the manufacturer. This allows for easy storage; the rack allows for 40 full inches of dumbbell storage across 2 tiers and will fit your initial 4 pairs of dumbbells easily while leaving plenty of space for future additions.

Because this is so much stuff, you should expect your order to come in multiple shipments and boxes. This is not very convenient, but it is understandable when you consider how hard it would be for delivery drivers to deal with a huge heavy box.

Pros

  • Exactly what you need for a starter dumbbell set
  • High-quality dumbbells and stand
  • Wide variety of weights
  • Rubber coated dumbbell heads

Cons

  • Arrives in multiple shipments

Conclusion

This set fills a great need in the home fitness enthusiast market. There are so many options you have to buy piece by piece that it can be frustrating and time-consuming to get a whole set online. This comes with 4 pairs of weights and a good 2 tier stand as well, which is all you need to get started. The stand has lots of room for more dumbbells as you get more weights. Sure, the price is not super cheap but if you look at what you get you will realize it is an exceptionally good value for the money!

 

Best for Beginners- Nice C Adjustable Dumbbell Weight Pair, 5-in-1 Weight Options, Non-Slip Neoprene Hand, All-Purpose, Home, Gym, Office

Our Rating: (4.5/5)

The Nice C Adjustable Weight Dumbbells are the best for beginners due to the ease of use and very safe build design.

The ends of the dumbbells can be removed, and you can place a different weight inside, making it necessary to only need one set of dumbbells and only purchase multiple weights to insert. The set comes with 5 different weight options from 2.2 pounds all the way up to 11 pounds (per dumbbell). The design is quite smart and simple to use.

The dumbbells have 3 layers of non-slip coating which also aid to make them softer if dropped. There are 4 different color options:

  • Gray pink
  • Black purple
  • Pink
  • Blue

The Nice C Dumbbells are clearly aimed at the female market, but these are perfect for any person of any gender who is doing light lifting or bodyweight exercises that just wants a little extra resistance. The product has over 3 thousand positive reviews and is not expensive for what you get!

Pros

  • Adjustable weight
  • Easy to use
  • Soft and non-slip
  • Available in 4 colors

Cons

  • Only goes up to 11 pounds

Conclusion

This is a solid adjustable dumbbell that is made for strength training and resistance training/workouts. It has a patented unique way to switch out the weights while not needed more than one pair of dumbbells, which is pretty cool. It will not cost you any more than a normal set without all the extra features and it has thousands of happy customers. What is no to like?

 

Types of Dumbbells to Know About

Adjustable

Adjustable dumbbells are some of the most popular because they have convenience built-in, allowing you to change the weight without changing to a new dumbbell. Some models will come with multiple weight plates already attached and you can remove more plates for less weight. Some of these will only come with one weight, for example, a 5-pound plate, where you need to purchase more plates to upgrade. This type of dumbbell is versatile and convenient but can get expensive as you upgrade.

Fixed

This is any dumbbell that is not adjustable, the weight you see is the weight you get. Fixed dumbbells have some advantage over adjustable ones, the most obvious being they are less expensive.

Many of the fixed types are considered safer to use because there is no chance of the weight slipping or falling off and landing on your toes or even worse, your face.

Hexagonal

Hex dumbbells are not technically their own type, they fall under the ‘fixed’ type, but since they are so popular, I thought I should include them. Many people search for this type instead of calling them fixed they just say, ‘hex type’.

The hexagonal type is extremely popular since they are not circular and will roll on the floor or anywhere else. Some hex dumbbells will be pure iron with no special coating while others are coated, which we will get to next.

Rubber Coated

Rubber-coated dumbbells are usually fixed-weight dumbbells. They are encased in a rubber coating that makes them less dangerous when dropped, and less likely to move around or scratch flooring. They are asked for by name many times because they are considered safer than normal iron fixed weight dumbbells. Nothing too fancy about them, just a thick rubber coating that keeps them a bit safer.

Neoprene Coated

Neoprene is a different material than rubber, it feels more like a hard foam. It is a popular material for covering dumbbells because it offers some padding much like rubber, but a little more padding. Lots of workout aficionados reach for neoprene-coated dumbbells because they are very comfortable to hold in your hand and will not slip away.

The only real issue with neoprene coated weights is that over time the foam will get a little porous and becomes extremely hard to clean, and eventually brittle.

 

How to Buy the Best Dumbbells

Determine Your Needs

As you can see dumbbells will vary in price depending on what you need. There are also many types to choose from. To make the best buying decision the first step is to determine what you actually need based on your current workout goals.

Do you intend to use the dumbbells to get ripped arms and shoulders or are you looking to use them as part of a more balanced workout including some bodyweight exercises? If you intend to get big, ripped biceps and arms you will probably want to consider a heavier pair or a full set.

However, if you are just looking for some extra resistance in your current workout and to get some more tone in your upper body, it would be a good idea to consider lighter adjustable dumbbells or neoprene coated sets.

Based on what you need you can narrow your choices down from many to just a few similar options.

Determine Your Budget

Now that you know what your needs are you can start to narrow it down further based on how much money you must spend on this. Most of these dumbbells can be had for 30-100 bucks in general, with some of the full sets being much more expensive, understandably.

Luckily buying dumbbells is not a major investment like a treadmill or rowing machine. You can get any of the dumbbells on this list without worrying too much about the cost. Of course, some can be fairly expensive, but there is no need to go that high when you can get the same results for not much of an investment.

Investigate Quality and Customer Service

Once you know what you need and how much you must spend, it is time to consider quality, value for the money, and of course customer service. Most of the things we buy in life are fine and will not require any customer service.

However, it is always a concern when you buy something new. Just in case something goes wrong you want to know the company will take care of you.  Do some basic research before you purchase and look at other customer reviews and see what they say about customer service.

Quality and value for the money are probably the most important things to consider when making any purchase. The reason it comes up so often is that there are lots of cheap dumbbells out there, but they may break easily, and the money you thought you saved is suddenly gone.

One valuable bit of advice I can give when you are about to buy dumbbells is to go the extra mile and splurge a bit extra for the well built high-quality option. Weights can get beat up and abused quite a lot, and cheaply made products will break easily due to the normal wear and tear.

Dumbbell FAQ’s

Q- Can I Use Dumbbells Every Single Day?

In short, yes you can. You just want to be careful not to push your muscles too hard for too long. Make sure you are varying the muscle groups you are working on and take plenty of breaks. It is always best to take a day off now and then, but if you do it correctly, you can use them every day.

Q- Do Dumbbells Build Muscle?

If you use them for that purpose, they will build muscle. Weights are just basically resistance tools that make your muscles work harder. When your muscles are working hard consistently over time, they will add mass to make them more effective at the task. Dumbbells are excellent tools for building muscles. Not everyone that uses them is focused on building muscle, but they are very good at the job!

Q- Do dumbbells help you lose weight?

It depends on how you use them. If you are using them as part of a fat-burning routine, then they will help you lose some weight by burning calories and fat. However, you can also use them to gain muscle mass and add more weight to your body, as many professional fighters do.

Q- Are 20 Pound Dumbbells Enough?

Yes. You can reach almost any common fitness goal with a pair of 20-pound dumbbells if you are doing the correct exercises in the right way. Dumbbells are just tools; it is how you use them that will determine if they are right for your specific goals. If you are trying to get massive biceps you may want to go for a heavier weight, because after a few workouts with 20-pound dumbbells your arms will barely notice them. They are perfect for all-over body workouts and general toning and exercises.

Q- Can Dumbbells build Abs?

If you learn the dumbbell crunch exercise, then yes. Dumbbells can be added to almost any exercise that involves the upper body to help facilitate muscle growth. In the dumbbell crunch, you are holding a dumbbell and adding more weight to your upper body which makes your muscles work much harder, resulting in adding mass.

Q- How Heavy Should My Dumbbells Be?

It really depends on your fitness goals. If you are trying to get a ripped upper body you may want to opt for a heavier set with multiple weights. For most people, a good adjustable set will do the trick. This way you have all the options you need in case you want to try to bulk up at some point.

With an adjustable set, you do not need to make any kind of commitment to how you will use them. This kind of set allows you to change your mind later and will let you use them for almost any purpose you can think of.

The only downside to getting a good adjustable set is that they will usually cost significantly more money upfront. Over time, however, you will find an adjustable set of dumbbells will be well worth the investment as it will stop you from needing to purchase multiple weight variations to keep up with your exercise goals.