Whether you’re new to exercising or want to enhance your existing workout, dumbbells are a practical investment. Also known as free weights, dumbbells are simple, versatile, and generally inexpensive. They’re just as useful for beginners as they are for experienced weight lifters. If you’re working with a limited space, the best dumbbells are going to be the more compact ones. Many are adjustable so that you don’t have to purchase several different weights. If you have a larger gym, however, a robust dumbbell stand can be a worthwhile investment.
You can opt for an individual dumbbell or a basic set. Another option is adjustable dumbbells, which provide several different weights in one convenient place. If you’re considering a kit you’ll want to keep in mind factors such as the material, the mechanism that holds the weights in place, such as a clip, and the overall weight capacity. Regardless of your fitness level you will benefit most from having both lighter and heavier sets of dumbbells to use during a workout. The heavier weights help build muscle mass while the lighter weights support tendons and joints. The right dumbbell set ensures a rewarding upper and lower body workout. If you’re familiar with particular brands, you can even shop by the best dumbbells by certain brands.
1. SPRI Deluxe Vinyl Dumbbells (Set of 2)
These dumbbells are geared towards beginners with a 1 to 20 pound weight range and a durable vinyl-coated surface. It’s easy to spot and select the best dumbbells for your workout as they are color-coded for efficient weight identification. You can use the dumbbells for aerobics as well as walking or step training. Don’t worry about scuffing the floor when you put the dumbbells down as they feature a comfortable non-slip vinyl coating. Whether you’re using them alone or as an addition to another workout, you’ll appreciate how simple it is to customize the resistance and weight when using these dumbbells.
- 1 to 20 pound weight range
- Vinyl surface
- Ideal for beginners
- A bit thick for smaller hands
- Strong initial odor
- Vinyl surface can get slippery
2. CAP Barbell Cast Iron Hex Dumbbell
You can choose anywhere from 5 to 120 pounds, giving most users a broad workout range. This single dumbbell features an ultra durable cast iron finish, ensuring that it will hold up well over time even when used heavily. One advantage of the hexagon-shaped dumbbell is that it’s designed to prevent rolling when placed on the floor. This kind of dumbbell also promotes effortless storage. You can count on this dumbbell to exercise all the major muscle groups in the body such as the legs, arms, back, chest, and core.
Price: $34.24 (14 percent off MSRP)
- Durable cast iron finish
- Hexagon shape prevents rolling
- Works all major muscle groups
- Paint can chip and fall off
- Handles are rough
- Strong initial odor
3. Bowflex SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells (Pair)
Get serious about your workouts with these adjustable dumbbells. Each dumbbell adjusts from 5 to 52.2 pounds to give you a full range for your workouts. The dumbbell weight is adjustable in 2.5-pound increments for the first 25 pounds. A unique and handy dial system allows you to combine 15 sets of weights into a single convenient set. Another bonus is that you won’t have to clutter your workout space with a rack full of dumbbells. Setting the correct weight is easy as you just need to use the convenient selection dials to adjust the weights. A durable molding surrounding the metal plates ensures a smoother and quieter workout with your dumbbells.
- Adjusts from 5 to 52.5 pounds
- Convenient dial system
- Can get jammed, especially on higher weights
- A bit bulky
4. AmazonBasics Cast Iron Hex Dumbbell
You can find this cast iron dumbbell in weights ranging from 10 to 60 pounds, making it a practical investment for beginners and more advanced users. The dumbbell features a hexagon shape to keep it from rolling when you place it on the floor. You can use it to strengthen the arms, legs, chest, core and back. Its cast iron construction makes this dumbbell a solid choice if you’re concerned about durability and longevity. This dumbbell is sold individually.
- Hexagon shape prevents rolling
- Available in 10 to 60 pounds
- Durable cast iron construction
- Some wish the finish was more robust
- Thin handle
- A bit pricey
5. PowerBlock Elite Dumbbells
This convenient dumbbell set lets you customize each workout for the most desirable results. Instead of heading to the weight rack each time you need a different size or weight you can quickly and easily switch from one dumbbell set to the next. These are also some of the best dumbbells for home use if you have limited workout space, and need a more efficient storage solution. You’ll pay a bit more upfront for these dumbbells, but the higher cost is worth it. For example, this dumbbell set comes with a durable stand for convenient storage. Another highlight is that they are quite durable and have a comfortable grip. The square dumbbells don’t roll around on the floor.
Price: $129.99 (18 percent off MSRP)
- Includes stand
- Square dumbbells won’t roll on the floor
- Comfortable grip
- Can be tough to quickly switch smaller weight increments
6. CAP Barbell Neoprene Coated Dumbbell
If you’re looking for the best dumbbells for beginners, in terms of affordability, durability and versatility, consider these CAP dumbbells. The dumbbells are outfitted with neoprene coating for enhanced durability. They also offer your hands ample protection. These dumbbells are optimal for sculpting your arms, shoulders, and back.
If you’re tired of chasing dumbbells across the floor as they roll away when you set them down you’ll really enjoy the hexagonal shape of these dumbbells. Their handy shape also enables you to stack the dumbbells with ease. A wide range of colors and weight lets you customize each workout. These dumbbells are sold individually and span from 1 to 15 pounds.
Price: $3.00 – $49.30
- Durable neoprene coating
- Hexagonal shape
- Neoprene coating may wear off or crack over time
- Strong initial smell
- A bit small for larger hands
7. Bayou Fitness Adjustable Dumbbell
Choose between the available 25 and 50 pound dumbbells to best suit your fitness level. This adjustable dumbbell stands out for its durable steel construction, not to mention its compact size. Instead of purchasing multiple dumbbells, all you need is one adjustable weight. A storage tray is included for your convenience. The beginner-friendly 25-pound pair lets you lift between five and 25 pounds. The 50-pound pair is more suitable for experienced users, as you can lift anywhere from 10 to 50 pounds.
- Available in two weights
- Heavy duty steel construction
- Comes with a storage tray
- Weights can only be altered in 10-lb. increments to keep weight balanced
- A few note weights may slide a bit when lifting
- Weight adjustment mechanism isn’t very easy
8. CAP Barbell Rubber Hex Dumbbell Set (150-Pound)
Enjoy a gym-like experience in the comfort of your own home with this CAP dumbbell set. The sturdy cast iron weights are sure to hold up well over time, leaving your fitness routine uninterrupted. The set includes weights from five to 25 pounds, with a total of 150 pounds. Choosing which weights to use is simple thanks to convenient raised numbers on the sides. You can use these weights for toning and sculpting your back, arms, and shoulders, and for various lower and upper body exercises. Ergonomic handles ensure optimal grip for safety and consistency. Enjoy stress-free and convenient storage with the included rack.
Price: $196.00 (5 percent off MSRP)
- Durable cast iron construction
- Raised weight numbers
- Contoured handles ensure optimal grip
- Initial rubber odor
- Some find it tough to fit the weights properly onto the rack
- Several note the weights have an oily residue
9. Rep Fitness Rubber Hex Dumbbell Set
Take your home gym to the next level with the Rep Fitness Rubber Hex Dumbbell Set. If you’re looking for the best dumbbells to get started, then continue building fitness, you’ll appreciate how the weights in this set range from five to 75-pound pairs. Each dumbbell is coated in rubber for a softer and more comfortable lifting experience. As an added bonus, the sets come with a three-tier rack and rubber mats to keep your floors protected. Ergonomic handles allow you to knock out one set after the next without hand fatigue or soreness. These dumbbells are made with a low-odor rubber material.
- Low-odor rubber
- Each set comes with a three-tier stand
- Ergonomic handles reduce fatigue
- Stands needs to be assembled
- Some complain of a faint initial odor
10. Bowflex SelectTech 1090 Adjustable Dumbbell
The BowFlex SelectTech 1090 dumbbells have a lot to offer, starting with a weight adjustment from 10 to 90 pounds in 5-pound increments. There are some noticeable differences among these dumbbells and the Bowflex SelectTech 552 dumbbells. For starters, this set replaces up to 34 dumbbells while the 552 set replaces up to 30 dumbbells. The 1090 also features a wider weight range with adjustable weights up to 90 pounds. If you’re just starting out or you want to replace your existing dumbbells, the Bowflex SelectTech 552 are the best dumbbells for your money.
The 552 set adjusts in 2.5-pound increments up to the first 25 pounds. This set’s wider weight range makes it possible to do everything from heavier exercises, such as lunges and shrugs, to lighter exercises including raises and curls. Not sure where to begin? The included Bowflex SelectTech workout DVD features over 30 exercises and 80 different variations.
Price: $249.59 (37 percent off MSRP)
- Weight adjustment from 10 to 90 pounds
- Generous weight range for heavier and lighter lifting
- Includes a workout DVD
- Uncomfortable handle grip
- Plastic component that holds the weights in place may crack
- A bit fragile for dropping on the floor