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Dumbbells can be useful for home workouts. They are relatively small, inexpensive, and suitable for a wide variety of exercises that people can perform in their own homes.
Quick look links
- Best adjustable, compact dumbbell set: Bowflex SelectTech 1090 Dumbbells
- Best dumbbell with an extendable bar: Skonyon Adjustable Dumbbells
- Best fixed rubber dumbbell set: Weider Rubber Hex Dumbbell Weight Set
- Best with a combined weight of up to 500 pounds: Rogue Dumbbells
- Best lighter set of hand weights: Amazon Basics Neoprene Dumbbell Hand Weights
Dumbbells come in a variety of types, shapes, weights, and materials to help meet individual needs. They may help people save money from gym fees and help them achieve fitness goals, such as losing weight or building muscle.
- boosting resting metabolic rate, or burning calories
- protecting against injury
- strengthening the bones, muscles, and connective tissue
Using dumbbells also has other benefits. According to the American Council on Exercise (ACE), the benefits of using dumbbells includes the following:
- They activate a number of different muscles and stimulate muscle growth.
- They can help improve both muscle force and flexibility.
- They can promote coordination and stability for muscles and joints.
- They are suitable for a number of exercises.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) note that strength training can provide numerous health benefits. In addition to strengthening the muscles, strength training can help prevent chronic conditions, such as diabetes and heart disease.
Dumbbells come in a variety of sizes, shapes, weights, and materials. A person can choose to buy individual dumbbells, a set, or adjustable weight dumbbells.
It may be worth considering the following factors when choosing dumbbells:
- storage space requirements
- individual fitness goals and levels
A person’s needs and preferences can help determine which type of dumbbell is most suitable for them.
There are five main types of dumbbell: adjustable, fixed, round, hex, and studio.
Adjustable dumbbells allow a person to change the amount of weight they are lifting. There are two primary types of adjustable dumbbell: bar and plates, and modern adjustable.
Bar and plates are separate bars and weight plates that allow a person to add or reduce weight by changing the weight plates.
The modern adjustable type allows a person to adjust the weight by clicking and locking more or less weight onto the bar, without having to manually add or remove weight plates.
These types may be suitable for people who are short on storage space but want to use a variety of different weights during their training.
Fixed dumbbells provide a consistent weight. A person can buy them individually, in pairs, or as part of a larger set. Fixed weights come in an array of materials and shapes.
Sets of fixed weights typically require a lot of room to store, unlike adjustable varieties. Consequently, people who do not have much space may want to consider a different option.
Round dumbbells are often rubberized, which helps to prevent damage to the floor. There are also more handle options to choose from, such as straight or contoured.
However, it is important to note that they can roll, which may be a safety hazard. A person can store them on a rack, though this may take up space. Round dumbbells can be costly compared to other types of dumbbells.
Hex dumbbells have hexagonal-shaped heads so they will not roll. Therefore, they may be more suitable for certain floor exercises.
Generally, they also cost less than other types of dumbbells.
However, it may be more difficult to find rubberized hex dumbbells and different handle types. They usually come with contoured handles.
Studio weights are often lighter weights with a coating such as textured neoprene or rubber. This coating protects the weights and helps add slip resistance.
Although a person can use these weights for strength training, the lighter weight range and superior grip make them well suited for cardio exercises.
Also, they are often more affordable, and they may be useful for people new to using dumbbells.
Many dumbbells are available on the market. Below, we list some options suitable for people to use at home.
Please note that the writer of this article has not tried any of these products. All information presented here is purely research-based.
Best adjustable, compact dumbbell set
This adjustable set of dumbbells is 10–90 pounds (lb) in 5-lb increments and has premium grips. The manufacturers suggest that these adjustable weights can replace up to 17 sets of dumbbells.
For this adjustable system, they state the user should turn the dial to change the weight. As a modern adjustable dumbbell set, this could be a suitable option for those with little storage space.
The dimensions are 17.5 x 9.5 x 10 inches (in) each.
The dumbbells come with free access to the Bowflex SelectTech mobile device app, which includes full-body workout programs and exercises. The app is compatible with Android and iOS.
At the time of publication, the manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) is $799.
Best dumbbell with an extendable bar
This set of adjustable dumbbells features the traditional format of a dumbbell bar and weight plates.
The weight plates contain iron sand and use screw collars to connect to the bar and stay secure. People can manually add the weight plates to increase resistance.
The manufacturers state that the bar includes a comfortable nonslip handle and that people can easily store the weight plates.
At the time of publication, the MSRP is $139.
|Number of weight plates||Weight plate size||Weight plate dimensions (diameter x thickness)|
|4||5.5 lb||8.1 x 1.6 in|
|4||4.4 lb||7.5 x 1.5 in|
|4||3.3 lb||7 x 1.3 in|
|4||2.8 lb||6.7 x 1.2 in|
Best fixed rubber dumbbell set
This fixed rubber dumbbell set includes 10 weights and a storage rack.
The dumbbells come in weights of 10–30 lb in 5-lb increments, totaling 200 lb. Thanks to this selection, people can perform a great variety of exercises at different levels of resistance.
The weights have ergonomic rubber-coated handles and come in the following quantities:
- two 10-lb rubber hexagonal dumbbells
- two 15-lb rubber hexagonal dumbbells
- two 20-lb rubber hexagonal dumbbells
- two 25-lb rubber hexagonal dumbbells
- two 30-lb rubber hexagonal dumbbells
The accompanying weight rack has a space-saving two-tier, angled design that the company claims is highly durable. The company lists the dimensions as 28.74 x 20.86 x 28.34 in.
At the time of publication, the MSRP of Weider Rubber Hex Dumbbell Weight Set is $349.
Best with a combined weight of up to 500 pounds
This fixed dumbbell offering from Rogue Fitness may be suitable for those wanting certain weights or a smaller selection of dumbbells.
People can choose and purchase individual dumbbells or pairs of dumbbells in weights ranging from 2.5–125 lb. Product dimensions vary depending on the weight.
The manufacturers suggest their dumbbells deliver on quality, performance, and longevity. They also point out that the design of their dumbbells minimizes noise, limits wear and tear, and features a firm and comfortable grip.
At the time of publication, Rogue Dumbbells have an MSRP of $20 for a pair of 2.5-lb weights through to $455 for a pair of weights weighing 125 lb.
Best lighter set of hand weights
This color-coordinated dumbbell set may be a suitable option for those wanting a lighter set of weights.
This particular set of neoprene-coated, cast-iron dumbbells is available in 3-, 5-, and 8-lb pairs. There are also different sets available if people wish to have a lighter or heavier set. The package dimensions for this set are 11.46 x 11.18 x 6.26 in.
The set also includes a small tree rack, which a person may find useful for storage.
At the time of publishing, Amazon Basics Neoprene Dumbbell Hand Weights are available to purchase for around $49.99.
|Bowflex SelectTech 1090 Dumbbells||Skonyon Adjustable Dumbbells||Weider Rubber Hex Dumbbell Weight Set||Rogue Dumbbells||Amazon Basics Neoprene Dumbbell Hand Weights|
|Weight range||10–90 lb||5.5–66 lb||10–200 lb||2.5–125 lb||3–16 lb|
|Storage included||small stand||no||yes||no||yes|
|Material||not listed||cement, engineer plastic, electroplated iron||rubber coating||rubber encasement, chrome plating||neoprene coating, cast iron|
|Fitness app-compatible||Bowflex SelectTech app||no||no||no||no|
Individuals can use dumbbells for a range of exercises, including resistance and cardio routines.
Dumbbells are some of the most versatile weights because people can use them to work their core, upper body, and lower body.
Initially, a person should use light weights and learn the proper form for the exercise they choose to do. They should maintain strong form and use the correct technique to prevent injury.
Once comfortable, a person can increase the weight to make the exercise more challenging. However, they should stop if they feel that the weight is out of control or too heavy.
There are numerous exercises a person can perform using dumbbells. The ACE suggests several exercises, including:
Some alternatives to dumbbells that people can also use at home include:
- Medicine balls: These are weighted balls that people can use for strength training.
- Kettlebells: These are ball weights with a handle that people can use for resistance exercises similar to those with dumbbells.
- Resistance bands: These strong elastic bands are often cheaper and take up less room than dumbbells.
- Exercise machines: Although exercise machines are larger and usually more expensive than dumbbells, people can use them to do exercises targeting different body parts.
- Pullup bars: This piece of equipment allows a person to do pullups on a door frame or other sturdy structure.
- Body weight: A person can perform a number of exercises such as pushups and chair dips using just their body weight.
Common household objects: People can use common household objects, such as bottled water, soup cans, or bags of rice, in place of dumbbells.
Dumbbells may provide an easy and versatile at-home resistance training option. A person should pick a set of weights that best fits their goals, space, and budget.
A person should always maintain good form when engaging in exercise. Also, they may wish to consider purchasing a few different weights for when they need to increase or decrease weight to help meet their goals.