When we talk about "dumbbells", we usually think of them as equipment to build muscles. However, there are other benefits that we can get from dumbbell exercises such as increasing metabolism, boosting energy levels, reducing stress, and increasing stability. Dumbbells are varied in terms of size, material, and mechanisms, so there's a style of dumbbells to suit any workout.
We researched the different types of dumbbells out there and put together a list of our 10 best. We recommend the Vinyl Coated Dumbbells by SPRI as they are the ideal starting point for beginners. They're easy to clean and the vinyl coating is durable and will protect your floors. And if you're not sure what type of dumbbells is best for you, our buying guide is full of helpful tips and information, with commentary from a personal trainer.
Esther Leonardo is a NASM Certified Personal Trainer and Director of Aquatics. She has worked as a lifeguard and swim instructor since 2009, and in personal and group fitness training since 2012.
Over the years, she has taught and worked in a variety of formats on both land and water. She believes that knowledge in fitness is key to growing stronger, working toward your goals, and preventing injury along the way.
There are two main types of dumbbells: adjustable dumbbells and fixed-weight dumbbells. Both have advantages and disadvantages; however, your decision should be based on your exercise habits as well as other criteria like home space and budget.
These are a single pair of dumbbells, but they can be adjusted to a variety of weights. In general, the weight ranges from five to 50 pounds, but some are available up to 100 pounds.
Adjustable dumbbells usually cost more than fixed-weight dumbbells, though. Second, if one dumbbell becomes broken, it might be difficult to replace. You might end up buying a new set of dumbbells.
On the other hand, adjustable dumbbells suit people who want to work on different muscle groups, which is helpful for strength training. They suit people who have limited space since they take up very little room!
These are the most common type of dumbbells used for fitness. The weight usually ranges from one to 50 pounds, but some are available up to 200 pounds.
The drawback of fixed-weight dumbbells is that they tend to take up more space. If you are a heavy lifter, you may need a variety of weights. This means you might end up with quite the collection of dumbbells and may need to buy a storage rack.
However, fixed-weight dumbbells suit different types of exercise such as aerobic exercises, balance exercises, flexibility exercises, and strength training. You can buy them in sets or individually, so there's more opportunity to decide what specific weights you want in your arsenal.
We considered several factors when researching our list of dumbbells for home. These included:
Check out the Buying Guide section below for more on these helpful tips to keep in mind as you shop for a dumbbell.
Vinyl Coated Dumbbells
Sport Adjustable Dumbbell
Coated Hex Dumbbells
Aquatic Exercise Dumbbells
200-Pound Dumbbell Kit with Rack
Neoprene Coated Dumbbell Hand Weight Set
Adjustable Dumbbell Set
Neoprene Coated Exercise and Fitness Dumbbell
SelectTech 552 Dumbbells
Adjustable Dumbbell Weight Pair
Best for Beginners
Best for Limited Space
Best for Durability and Heavy Workouts
Best for Water Aerobics
Best Choice for a Non-Adjustable Range of Dumbbells
Best Set of Color-Coded Weights
Best for Quickly and Easily Changing Weights
Best for Light Workouts
Best for Wide Range of Adjustable Weights
Best for Adjusting Weights in Small Increments
|Best for||Aerobic exercise, balancing, flexibility exercise||Limited home space||All types of exercise||Water aerobics||Strength exercises, beginner weightlifters||Aerobic, resistance exercise||Strength exercises||Muscle toning, light weightlifting||Strength exercise, limited home space||Aerobic exercise, balancing, flexibility exercise|
|Materials||Metal, vinyl||Solid steel||Rubber, chrome||EVA foam||Iron, rubber||Cast iron||Cast iron, steel||Iron, neoprene||Metal||Metal, neoprene|
|Grip||Non-slip vinyl||Padded rubber||Knurled||Smooth||Textured grip||Neoprene coated||Textured grip||Neoprene||Textured grip||Non-slip neoprene|
|Available weights||1-20 lbs.||Adjustable from 3-24 lbs.||5-115 lbs.||0.66 lbs.||10-30 lbs.||2-5 lbs.||2.5-20 lbs.||3-15 lbs.||5-52.5 lbs.||2.3-4.5 lbs.|
We've done our research and checked reviews to find the best dumbbells for home workouts. Each product suits different types of exercises and offers different benefits. Check out our top ten to find your perfect dumbells!
*Please note that these products were chosen after extensive research by mybest writers. The choices are not necessarily affiliated with or recommended by Esther Leonardo.
|Best for||Aerobic exercise, balancing, flexibility exercise|
|Available weights||1-20 lbs.|
|Best for||Limited home space|
|Available weights||Adjustable from 3-24 lbs.|
|Best for||All types of exercise|
|Available weights||5-115 lbs.|
|Best for||Water aerobics|
|Available weights||0.66 lbs.|
|Best for||Strength exercises, beginner weightlifters|
|Available weights||10-30 lbs.|
20 lbs. set of six
|Best for||Aerobic, resistance exercise|
|Available weights||2-5 lbs.|
|Best for||Strength exercises|
|Materials||Cast iron, steel|
|Available weights||2.5-20 lbs.|
|Best for||Muscle toning, light weightlifting|
|Available weights||3-15 lbs.|
|Best for||Strength exercise, limited home space|
|Available weights||5-52.5 lbs.|
|Best for||Aerobic exercise, balancing, flexibility exercise|
|Available weights||2.3-4.5 lbs.|
There are many things to consider when it comes to picking the best dumbells for your workouts. We've gathered helpful information and questions to think about to help you decide.
Each type of exercise provides different health benefits and variations depending on skill level. The first things to consider are your exercise goals. This will help you select the right type of exercise and equipment!
Aerobic exercise focuses on increasing your heart rate. It's also known as cardio, and includes exercises such as running, swimming, and cycling.
The 2018 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommends 150 minutes per week of moderate aerobic exercise for adults. Since aerobic exercise requires a lot of movement and goes at a faster pace, you only really need one pair of fixed-weight dumbbells.
Choose a light weight that you can move around easily; between one and three pounds is enough for most people. Heavier dumbells may be difficult to hold and can increase your risk of injury.
Having a set of lightweight dumbbells to add to a typical cardio routine can help burn a few extra calories and add some resistance. It can also help with toning. Many people will take weights with them as they walk or hop onto an indoor bike.
Light weights can also be added to other aerobic exercises - a perfect example of this is when you see programs like Zumba Toning.
Pilates and yoga are examples of this type of exercise. In general, they use only your own body weight and don't require dumbbells. However, some people like to add fixed-weight dumbbells to create extra stability and achieve a higher level of physical benefits and conditioning.
Fixed-weight dumbbells are the type typically found in lining racks in gyms. They are weights that have a handle and attached weights that cannot be changed to be heavier or lighter. They can be made of various materials, from metal to neoprene, but are not adjustable.
These types of exercises are best with fixed-weight dumbbells. Because you'll be using a light amount of weight, you probably won't need to switch weights very often, if at all. And if you do need to switch, it's much easier to grab a second pair of dumbbells than to stop in the middle of your flow to make adjustments.
When you're going through a rigorous routine or moving from one exercise to another, adding on weight or adjusting your dumbbell is the last thing you want to think about. It can be easier to have a set weight that you can rely on and simply switch out for another weight to ensure that you can flow through your workout without worry.
Unlike other types of exercise, the main purpose of strength training is to build stronger muscles. In addition to this, it has a myriad of other health benefits, including improving posture, boosting metabolism, increasing bone density, and improving brain health.
In order to build lean muscle, you need to increase the weight, frequency, or number of repetitions in your workout routine over time, a principle called progressive overload. In addition, different muscle groups will probably require different weights depending on your strength.
Adjustable dumbbells are well-suited to moderate weightlifting, as well as people who have limited space since you can have a range of weights all in one pair of dumbbells. However, the limited weight of adjustable dumbbells might not suit powerlifters. For people who lift heavy or have plenty of space, having a range of fixed-weight dumbbells can work just as well!
While dumbbells are generally all made from metal, some are coated in other materials to improve grip and comfort. Some materials are better suited to light weights while others work well for heavy lifters.
You can also find iron dumbbells with rubber-coated ends. These are essentially the same as cast iron dumbbells, but with a little extra cushioning for when you set them down. The downside of these is that rubber sometimes has an unpleasant scent.
Metal dumbbells are better for those looking to do heavier sets. You don't have to worry about dropping them, and they're much more durable.
Vinyl and neoprene can rip and start to chip off compared to metal weights with rubber-coated ends that aren't so easily damaged. The chipping of material doesn't affect the quality of the weight itself much, but it's less aesthetically pleasing, and it can become a problem if the material on the handle starts to go.
Neoprene and vinyl dumbbells are made from a cast iron core with a colorful coating. They generally weigh between one and 15 pounds. The coating muffles noise and improves comfort, making these a good choice for cardio and longer workouts.
However, coated dumbbells aren't as durable as metal dumbbells, since the coating can tear or discolor. And while neoprene has a textured surface that improves grip, vinyl tends to get slippery in sweaty hands.
Vinyl and neoprene-coated dumbbells are colorful and fun to look at, and also are more comfortable to hold compared to a metal dumbbell with a textured grip.
However, the coating is prone to ripping and they can be harder to hold when you have a slippery grip. These also come in much lighter weights and usually don't go much higher than 20 pounds.
If it takes too long or is too complicated to adjust the weight, you may not use adjustable weights often. It's a good idea to pick a product that can switch from one set of weights to another smoothly and quickly.
The older style of adjustable weights requires you to secure plates of various weights at the ends of the dumbbell with a screw. While it can take time to adjust these, some people prefer them for their more classic dumbbell feel.
On the other hand, more modern adjustable dumbells use a pin, dial, or lever to switch between different weight increments. These are typically easy and quick to adjust; all you need to do is select the weight you want and pull it off the dumbbell block.
If you do choose adjustable dumbbells, you'll want to take into consideration how heavy they can be, how easy it is to change the weight, or whether you want to use the added weight for more options.
Adjustable weights with plates that have an end that screws on allow you to use the plates for other exercises, but these tend to take longer to adjust. Newer adjustable weights are quicker and easier to use and can save on space.
There are two important aspects to consider when it comes to grips: knurling and ergonomics. Knurling is a pattern of lines, often crisscrossed, on the surface of the metal to add traction.
A good quality knurling can reduce the risk of injury from the dumbbells slipping out of your hands. It can also help improve your performance! If you feel comfortable and confident while holding your weights, you can focus on your exercise without worry.
Check the ergonimics of your dumbbells too. Look for tapered handles that allow all your fingers to wrap around the. evenly. Non-tapered handles can put pressure on your middle two fingers, which can cause fatigue and injury.
The heavier the weight, the more you will want to focus on grip. It's difficult to think about your workout if you're worried about a weight slipping from your hands.
You tend to grip more when you have a slippery surface, which will overwork the muscles in your fingers, hands, and forearms. The more texture or knurling on it, the easier it is to grip. A tapered weight can also make it easier to grip and easier to increase the weight factor in your workouts.
Depending on your workout style and the type of dumbbells you choose, you may need a lot of space or just a small corner to store your dumbbells. Adjustable dumbbells take up less space than fixed dumbbells. Usually, the dumbbells and weight plates all fit together on a compact base.
Fixed weights can be more difficult to store. As they increase in weight, they also increase in size, so if you're buying multiple pairs you should consider where you'll keep them. Some fixed weight sets come with a storage rack but you can also purchase racks separately.
Alternately, if you plan to keep them on the floor, make sure they have hexagonal or square ends so they don't roll around!
When it comes to any new piece of equipment, space always becomes a factor. Adjustable dumbbells can be easier to store when plates aren't involved. However, if you have the space and want more versatility or even very heavy weights, it can be easier to get fixed-weight dumbbells.
To help store different sizes, you can look into weight trees and racks, or even find a set that comes with a storage system. Make sure they're able to be stored somewhere that can handle a heavy load, and somewhere they won't roll around or get in the way.
When thinking of dumbbells, we most often think of the ones we use in the weight room. However, many people choose to use weights in the pool also as the buoyancy of the water can help support people with injuries or conditions such as arthritis. Water weights can also add an extra edge to your swimming by helping to maximize your cardio workouts
If you are searching for ones to use in water, remember that resistance works opposite what it does on land. You will constantly resist the buoyancy of your dumbbells. To care for these, be sure to rinse with potable water after use since the chlorinated water breaks down and dries out the dumbbells over time.
If you're new to working out with dumbbells, try following a workout video to get familiar with common exercises and proper form. This beginner-friendly workout from Self is led by certified trainer Jason Pak and takes only 15 minutes!
Here are a few common questions some users have about dumbbells at home to help you with your own purchasing decisions.
When choosing weights for the home, you may find yourself choosing between kettlebells and dumbbells and wondering if they can be used interchangeably. The weights share a lot of similarities and can be used for the same exercises, but you won't get the same benefits from using a kettlebell for an exercise designed for dumbbells.
This is because their weight distributions are different. Dumbbells have their weight balanced and evenly spread across the ends of the handle, whereas kettlebells have all of their weight in one place.
The weight distribution of kettlebells puts your shoulders and wrists in their natural position, whereas the distribution on dumbbells puts them in more unnatural positions. This is especially the case with overhead motions.
Typically, dumbbells are more effective for isolation exercises such as bicep curls as they force your bicep to adopt a more effective position with every curl. However, kettlebells are better for full body lifts such as snatches from the floor.
In summary, you can use dumbbells and kettlebells interchangeably, but to get the most out of your exercises you should choose the right style of weight for each exercise.
Both dumbbells and barbells have their own strengths and weaknesses, so the better of the two depends on your personal choice and your weight-lifting goals.
If you want to lift heavy weights and commit to several sets of reps, then barbells are the best choice. As you're using two hands on one weight, the weight is more stable and easier to move. In fact, studies show that you can lift up to 20 percent more when using barbells instead of dumbbells.
However, lifting dumbbells gives you a better range of motion and can work out more muscles than barbells do. As dumbbells are two separate weights instead of one like a barbell, you can not only lift your arms but also change their angles by bringing them closer together or further apart. A larger range of motion not only lets you stretch more but also leaves you less prone to injury.
How dumbbells are made depends on what material they are made from. For dumbbells made from cast iron, the iron is melted at extreme temperatures and then poured into a mold. Once cooled down, it's removed, polished, and any finishing touches are added.
Neoprene dumbbells start their life as cast iron dumbbells but are then dipped into different colors of synthetic rubber to fully cover the iron. Dumbbells that have a steel base are generally cut with lasers and then covered in a powdered coating.
There are a ton of other ways to improve your home workouts. Dumbbells are a great start, and adding other types of equipment can help keep your workouts feeling fresh!
Looking for more options? Check out Amazon's best sellers for more dumbbells that are highly praised by reviewers!
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