Dumbbells are pretty much the gold standard when it comes to working out. They are one of the oldest forms of exercise equipment and probably why they’re one of the first things to come to mind when we think of working out. Dumbbells are also one of the most versatile pieces of equipment that an exerciser has. Being able to use one or both dumbbells in every range of motion makes the number of exercises nearly limitless. From three pound neoprene options to 90 pound hexes, there’s a dumbbell to fit any home, gym, or individual. To better understand which dumbbells will best fit your style, please see our buyer’s guide provided below.
Cando Vinyl Coated Dumbbell 20 Piece Set with Rack
Tone Fitness 20-Pound Hourglass Shaped Dumbbell Set with Rack
Sunny Health & Fitness 2, 3, 5 lb Neoprene Dumbbell Set
j/fit Dumbbell Set with Stand
Fitness Republic Neoprene Dumbbells 10 lbs Set (Neoprene Weights)
YORK Rubber Hex Dumbbells
Cap Barbell Rubber Coated Hex Dumbbell with Contoured Chrome Handle
York Pro Style Dumbbells
CAP Barbell 150 lb. Chromed Dumbbell Set
TROY 12 Sided Rubber Encased Dumbbell
The Cando Vinyl set is easily the best out there because it’s not very often sets come as full as this one with weight pairs ranging from one to ten pounds. The vinyl coating is tight around the weight with durability to protect from slides, stretches, or tears. This same coating also helps to protect the user and the user’s surrounding from damage. Each dumbbell is color coded and dual marked in pounds and kilograms for easy selection during a workout. The accompanying rack saves space while keeping your dumbbells well organized and out of the way. They may not be the least expensive set, but you’re going to get a lot for your money.
The Tone Hourglass set is a traditional dumbbell set with a twist. What makes them special is their unique hourglass shape giving them a more attractive look while providing a more comfortable grip. The Tone Fitness weight set comes with 2, 3, and 5 pound dumbbells which are color coded and clearly marked. The included rack has a small footprint so you can leave it out in the open or hide away in a closet without sacrificing space. The dumbbells feature a protective neoprene coating around the weights, to keep you, your surroundings, and the dumbbell safe from damage.
The Sunny Health and Fitness Dumbbell set is a real stand out because of their weights and presentation. Weights come in the standard 2, 3, and 5 pound increments with a neoprene coating which helps with grip. The water resistant neoprene is water resistant repelling sweat and foul weather if you choose to keep the set outside. The dumbbells come with a briefcase-like case storage case allowing for convenient portability and storage.
j/Fit keeps a relatively low profile in the fitness industry and prides themselves on budget equipment.. Like others dumbbell sets, it is color coded and has the weights bolded printed on each side for easy reference during your workout. However, j/Fit offers a 3, 5, and 8 pound set which is slightly more versatile than the more common 2, 3, and 5 pound assortment. The weights are coated with neoprene, a highly durable material resistant to damage and weather ensuring long lasting service. The included weight rack has a small footprint making storage convenient.
There is just a special something about Fitness Republic dumbbells. This dumbbell set ranges from 3 to 12 pounds which opens up a lot of exercise options. All weights are color coded with bright fun colors to add a little flair to your workout and boldly marked so you know exactly which dumbbell you’re reaching for. As with other weight sets like it, Fitness Republic coated the dumbbells in a waterproof neoprene covering which protects the weights and user at the same time. Fitness republic dumbbells are reasonably priced and make a great addition to any fitness routine.
YORK Rubber Hex Dumbbells
York dumbbells are found in pretty much every gym in America. The rubber hex dumbbells are by far the most popular of all of York’s offerings. The rubber coating on either end makes these dumbbells safer for individuals and their surroundings, keeps them clean and reduces noise during workouts. The hexagonal shape on the ends serves to keep the dumbbells from moving anywhere where they are not being used. The handles are contoured for a more comfortable grip and the knurling aids in grip without digging into your hands
Cap is one of the leading brands in the free weight fitness industry because of their quality parts and construction. The rubber hex by Cap is the traditional dumbbell you’re likely to see in the gym or a home fitness setting. These dumbbells feature a rubber coating at the ends for personal safety and noise reduction. The hex shape keeps the dumbbells exactly where you want them so they don’t roll away or shift when not in use. The handles on these dumbbells are curved for a comfortable grip with just the right amount of knurling.
York Pro Style Dumbbells
The York Pro Style Dumbbells may not look like a traditional free weight but the performance and quality is all there. These compact dumbbells have a shortened handle to keep your hands from moving around a lot while lifting. The dumbbell bar is still knurled and there is a soft rubber inside to protect your hand. A rubber covering on either end helps keeps you and your surroundings safe, dampens workout noise, and keeps the dumbbells clean. One drawback with these dumbbells is their round ends give them a tendency to roll away when you set them down. Otherwise, they’re a solid addition to your free weight collection.
The Cap chromed dumbbells are for the discriminating weight lifter. These dumbbells are just as beautiful as they are effective in a workout thanks to the anti-chip chrome finish. The chrome finish keeps your dumbbells looking nicer longer and prevents the need for replacement due to chipping, rust, or damage. The contoured handles allow for a comfortable grip reducing fatigue and the perfect amount of knurling which prevents slipping. Their round heads give them a symmetrical look, but present a slight drawback because they tend to roll away when you set them down.
Troy Barbell hits hard at the competition with their 12-sided dumbbell, a highly durable, solid piece of workout equipment meant to last for ages. The rubber coating on each head keeps your workout safe around other people and gym equipment while keeping your workout nice and quiet. The straight handle is easy to grip and knurled from end to end to prevent slipping. Troy’s unique 12 sided dumbbell head not only looks cool, it also by keeps these dumbbells in place no matter where you set them down.
Dumbbell Buyer's Guide
Though dumbbells are fairly simple, there are a surprising amount of physical features to be aware of.
Dumbbells usually either come with hexagon shaped heads or round heads. Round heads are sometimes favored in gyms because they’re considered Olympic dumbbells, but in most cases you’ll find hex dumbbells. Hex dumbbells are much nicer because they won’t roll away from you when they’re set down in between sets.
There are many materials used to make dumbbells but the weights themselves are usually made of iron; however, they can be also be made from steel in some instances. The only problem with iron dumbbells is they can rust over time due to sweat or humid gym atmospheres.
Many popular brands of hex dumbbells come with a rubber coating around the ends of the dumbbells. Rubber ends promote personal safety as well as the safety of your surroundings.
Neoprene and vinyl are often used on smaller dumbbell sets ranging between 1-10 pounds. They offer a softer feel with a decent grip but the material often smells bad and will eventually rip and peel off your weights at some point.
Most dumbbells use a single pour mold which eliminates any seams or burrs, but it is prudent to check your dumbbells just to make sure. Any seams or burrs can catch on your skin resulting in calluses and/or cuts on your hands.
Are Dumbbells Right for You?
It is hard to argue that dumbbells are not right for you given their versatility, but there are a few things to consider.
If you’re thinking about going the traditional dumbbell route you are going to need some space. Even if you skip a few weights you are looking at a couple feet of space taken up. If you occupy a small living space a dumbbell is likely to take up valuable space.
If you’re exercising for rehabilitation purposes or experience other special needs which may cause loss control of your weights, free weights may not be for you. Certain physical conditions could cause weights to drop or slip from your grasp, resulting in serious injury and/or damage to personal property.
In most cases dumbbells are a slam dunk for personal workout routines because of their versatility. A few exceptions may be if you’re doing a mostly cardio-based workout; in that case you may want to invest in a weighted vest or ankle/wrist weights instead of dumbbells. If you’re into more functional training, a kettlebell may be better suited to your needs.