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Best Dumbbells for Home Gyms

The Best Dumbbells for Home Gyms 2018

Do you really need dumbbells for your home gym? Definitely. These are one of the most essential items which you can purchase in your home gym. One of the main reasons is the number of exercises you can do with them. There aren’t too many other pieces of equipment which allow you to do so many different exercises. These can also be a great addition to your setup if you already have a home gym.

No matter what level you’re at, you’re going to find a ton of use out of dumbbells in your home gym. If you are able to get some adjustable ones, you’re going to have even more flexibility in terms of which workouts you can do. 

Our Top Dumbbells for
Home Gyms

Info


Best Premium Adjustable Dumbbells

  • Weight from 5 to 52.5 lbs
  • Adjusts in 2.5 lb increments
  • Size: 15.8 x 7.9 x 9.1 inches
  • Material: Plastic, steel

Rating



#1 Rated in Premium Adjustable Dumbbells


Product

Yes4All
Adjustable Dumbbells

Info


Best Budget Dumbbell Set

  • Come in sets of 40, 50, 52.5, 60, 100, and 200 lbs

  • 1 inch or 1.15 inch bar

  • Cast iron plates, chrome handle

Rating


#1 Rated in Budget Dumbbell Set


Info


Best Premium Dumbbell Set

  • Total 40 lbs 

  • Four 5 lb plates, Four 2.5 lb plates

  • Cast iron plates, semi-gloss finish

  • Comes with plastic storage case

Rating


#1 Rated in Premium Dumbbell Set


Product

CAP Barbell
Coated Hex Dumbbell

Info


Best Heavy Duty Fixed Dumbbell

  • Comes in 12 different weights from 8 lbs to 50 lbs
  • Cast iron with coating, chrome handle
  • Hexagon shape
  • 12 x 9 x 7 inches

Rating


#1 Rated in Heavy Duty Fixed Dumbbell


Product

AmazonBasics
Neoprene Dumbbells

Info


Best Coated Dumbbell Set

  • Can be bought as a set or in pairs
  • Different weight levels available, 1 to 20 lbs
  • Neoprene coating
  • Limited one-year warranty

Rating


#1 Rated in Coated Dumbbell Set


Product

SPRI
Deluxe Vinyl Dumbbells

Info


Best Coated Dumbbell Pairs

  • 14 different weights available
  • 7.9 x 6.9 x 3.7 inches
  • Material: vinyl

Rating


#1 Rated in Coated Dumbbell Pairs

Picking Dumbbells for Your Home Gym

Two of the main things that you’ll want to consider are size and durability. These are really the two main factors which can have the biggest influence on how well your bar works in your apartment. 

Also, these factors will play a part in how much the pull up bar affects the area of the house which you put it in.

Adjustable or Adjustable Set Dumbbells

Adjustable or Adjustable Set Dumbbells?

One of the main things to think about when you’re looking at getting some dumbbells is whether or not to get adjustable or non-adjustable ones. 

The terms can be a bit confusing because there are two kinds of adjustable dumbbells. The kind that most people think of are the ones which come with a bunch of different plates, a bar, and two clips. You can put two 10-lb plates on the bar, then you get a 20-lb dumbbell. Let’s call them an adjustable set.

The other kind of adjustable dumbbell that is a bit newer on the market is a pretty innovative piece of equipment. For these dumbbells, they rest in a holder with around 10 plates stacked together. By adjusting the dial on either end of the dumbbell, you select which plates you want to engage.

Here are some of the more popular adjustable dumbbells right now. This guy bought them all!

 The main benefit of having adjustable dumbbells is that you can use them for a lot of different exercises. When you’re working on biceps, you won’t want to use a ton of weight. But when you’re doing a chest workout you’ll need twice as much weight. Having adjustable dumbbells solves that problem.
 

Also, with adjustable dumbbells you will be able to use them for a long time because your workouts won’t outgrow them. You may start off with some light weights, but gain a good amount of strength pretty quickly. Then you’re going to need way more weight. Or you might switch from a cutting routine to more of a bulking routine. In that case you will also need a lot more weight.

Adjustable Dumbbell Set

The other main advantage of adjustable dumbbells is that you’re going to save a lot of space. If you want to have enough weights to cover your range of exercises, they would take up a ton of space if you bought them individually. Not so with adjustable dumbbells. Even with an adjustable set, you’re going to need a lot more plates to get the weight that you need. That’s going to take up a lot more space.

Another great advantage of adjustable dumbbells is that they’re going to save you some time. If you like to change your weights between sets, as many of us do, then it takes time to change the weights on a pair of adjustable set dumbbells. But with adjustable dumbbells if only takes a few seconds to switch the weights.

Most of the time adjustable dumbbells will probably end up being cheaper than buying each individual dumbbell. They do seem like a lot of money to spend on them at first, but if you compare them to buying all the individual dumbbells you would need to get a good workout, you will probably find that it’s worth it.

However, that could be a disadvantage of adjustable dumbbells. They’ll probably cost a bunch more. So if you know that you only need a few weights and are not likely to need different weights in the future, you could save money by going with the individual dumbbells.

Also, adjustable dumbbells could be a little more temperamental than regular dumbbells. You need to be careful when you’re putting them back in their holder and when you’re putting them on the ground after you finished your set. You definitely don’t want to drop them hard on the ground. There are little gears and mechanisms in them that will get messed up if you do that.

Dumbbell Durability

Dumbbell Durability

Just like with barbells, durability is one of the most important factors that you need to think about when you're buying your dumbbells. You're hoping to be able to use these things in your home gym for a long time, so they need to be built to last.

If you have adjustable set dumbbells, the main area of durability that you need to think about is the clip. If you’re packing on serious weight, the star twist clamp on the end may have trouble holding up between sets. Between sets, you’ll definitely want to always check to make sure that the clamp is tight.

Another common issues is to have scrapes and dents on the dumbell plates. Some dumbbell plates are made from a more high quality material and are less likely to scrape or dent. If you’re more worried about getting as much as weight as possible for as little money as possible, this won’t be as much of an issue for you.

Something you want to be careful with for fixed dumbbells is that the weights are very well welded to the bar. The last thing you want is for the weld to break and for the weight to fall off of the bar. If you’re going for fixed dumbbells, make sure you buy a pair of dumbbells which are solidly welded together.
 

With adjustable dumbbells you want to be a little more careful because they’re a bit more complex. There’s a little more that can go wrong with them. Never drop these things after you’re finished your set. And always make sure that you put them back in their holder carefully.

If you’re looking at material, you want to make sure that the dumbell you are getting is made from a high quality material. Some metals are treated with chemicals that can smell pretty bad. You’re going to be handling these things quite a bit so it’s worth considering this

Fixed or Adjustable Dumbbells

Fixed or Adjustable Dumbbells?

Another popular kind of dumbbell is fixed dumbbells. These are the ones which are one solid piece and the weight can’t be changed on them. Most gyms which have this kind of dumbbell. 

The main benefit of these is that they are usually durable. If you go with a reliable product, you probably won’t have to worry about the weight coming loose or falling off. But make sure you look into which fixed dumbbells are the most durable. This is especially important if you’re lifting serious weight on 100-lb plus dumbbells.

Another advantage of these kinds of dumbbells is that you can use them during your cardio workouts. These are ideal for an aerobic class or using while you’re doing some cardio because they are usually more solidly built.

The main disadvantages are most of the same as adjustable set dumbbells. They take up more space because you need to buy way more individual dumbbells. Also, it’s probably one of the most expensive options to get the weight that you need.

Also, another problem that some people have found with fixed dumbbells is that their weights are not always 100% accurate. You might want to put the dumbbells on the scale to check that they are actually the same weight. It is possible that there could be a 0.2 - 0.5 lb difference between two fixed dumbbells which are both labelled as 5 lbs.

Hex or Circular Dumbbells

Hex or Circular Dumbbells?

For a lot of dumbbells the weight part of the dumbbell is hexagonal, meaning it has six sides. This can come in handy if you are worried about the dumbbell rolling around the floor after you put it down. That’s the main benefit of hexagonal, or hex, dumbbells. 

There is not really any particular benefit to having circular dumbbells. They are probably the more traditional dumbbell in terms of their appearance.

If you are looking by an adjustable set of dumbbells, most of them will be circular. For fixed dumbbells, it is easier to find both kinds of shapes.

Dumbbell Material

Best Dumbbell Material

The main two types of material used for dumbbells is either neoprene and vinyl or cast iron. Neoprene and vinyl are usually used on fixed dumbbells with lower weights. These are the ones that are great for cardio workouts. 

You may notice a slight rubber smell when using neoprene or vinyl dumbbells because neoprene is a kind of synthetic rubber. Some people may have skin irritations when coming in contact with neoprene but it’s not something that is widely reported.

Neoprene dumbbells tend to be much smoother so you probably will not develop calluses on your hands after using them. In contrast, the metal bars that usually come with cast iron dumbbells are often rough and people usually develop calluses fairly quickly.

You can do a ton of exercises and get an awesome workout with neoprene dumbbells. Here's a great example:

 Another benefit of neoprene or vinyl dumbbells is that many people find them more grippy. This can be especially true if your hands are a bit sweaty. With metal bars, you may be more likely to have a bit more of a slippery grip if you’re not using gloves.

Cast iron dumbbells are nice because they are durable. These things are meant to last a lifetime and built to put up with a bit more.

Although some cast iron plates could scratch and dent, they are generally pretty tough.

It is not uncommon to have a little bit of a metallic smell from the dumbbells at first. Also, they might be a little bit greasy when you first get them. You can just wipe them off and you should be good to go.

Quick Review of the 7 Best Dumbbells for Home Gyms

Best Adjustable Dumbbells

Bowflex SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells

  • Price
  • Quality
  • Material

These adjustable dumbbells are probably one of your best bets if you’re looking for this kind of adjustable dumbbell. The main thing is that you are going to save a ton of space. You don’t need to buy a whole set of 15 pairs of dumbbells, which you would need to do if you wanted to cover each weight from 5 to 50 lbs in 2.5 lb increments.

You are probably going to save some money by getting these dumbbells rather than buying 15 pairs of different dumbbells to cover all the weights you need. Buying single dumbbells can get expensive pretty quickly.

These are also going to save you some time because it’s really quick to switch between weights. All you need to do is put the weight back in the holder and turn the dial. It takes less than a minute.

However, if you have a set of adjustable dumbbells, every time you want to change weights you need to unscrew both collars, take off the weights you don’t need, then put on the weights that you do want. That can add up if you’re changing weights between every set.

One thing that a lot of people have pointed out is that these dumbbells are pretty long. This is especially true if you’re using them for some of the lower weights like 5 or 10 lbs. At first you might feel a little bit awkward exercising with such a long dumbbell, but you’ll probably get used to it pretty quickly. 

Because these are a bit more complex piece of equipment, you’re definitely not going to want to be throwing them around your home gym. Take care of these babies! When you’re finished your set, put them carefully onto the floor. When you want to change weights, put them gently back into the holder.

The quickest way to ruin these is to drop them too hard onto the floor or into their holders. Also, you want to make sure that they are fully and properly placed in the holders before changing the dials.

However, once you get the hang of putting them into their holders, it’s pretty easy; even if you're lifting some heavy weights.

One of the disadvantages of these dumbbells is that they only go up to 52.5 lbs each. That might not be a big deal if you know that you’ll probably max out at around 50 lbs for most of your exercises.

However, if you’re planning on upping your weight on different exercises, you might want to go with a pair of dumbbells which have a bit more weight. Bowflex also has the Bowflex SelectTech 1090. These bad boys go up to 90 lbs each, which is probably enough for most people in their home gym. Any more weight than that and you might want to look into a barbell instead.

Pros

Cons

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    Saves a ton of space

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    Probably cheaper than buying individual fixed dumbbells
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    Saves time when changing weights
  •   Need to be careful when handling them
  • Long bars can take some adjusting to at first
  • Only go up to 52.5 lbs

Yes4All Adjustable Dumbbells

  • Price
  • Quality
  • Material

Yess4All Adjustable Dumbbells are a pretty popular set of adjustable dumbbells. They’re not adjustable in the same sense as the Bowflex SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells. For these, you’re going to get two bars and a bunch of plates. Then you can put on whatever plates you need to get the right weight.

There are six different sets of weights that you can get, right up to 200 lbs total. So that means 100 lbs per arm which is awesome for heavy lifters.

However, it’s important to note that even for the 200 lbs package, the heaviest plate you’re getting is 10 lbs. So to get a 100 lb dumbbell you’ll need to put on eight 10 lbs plates, plus four 5 lb plates. That’s a lot of plates to be held on by the spin-lock star collar.

And that’s one of the main disadvantages of this set. If you’re packing on a ton of plates, you’re going to want to make super-sure that your collars are on there tight. And you’re going to want to do that after every set.

For any kind of spin-lock collar, they’re probably going to become a little bit loose between sets. The last thing you want is for the collar to become loose in the middle of a set when you’re lifting 100 lbs per arm.

The nice thing about this adjustable dumbbell set is that you can put lots of different combinations of plates on to get a good variety of weights. You’re probably going to save some money compared with buying all the individual fixed dumbbells you would need.

The 40 lb set includes some 3 lb plates and the 52.5 lb set includes some 1.25 lb plates. Those are great if you need some light dumbbells.

Because there’s five different sets of weights, make sure that you look at exactly which plates are included. You might want to do a bit of math to make sure that you can get the combinations that you need for your exercises.

The other thing you’ll want to research a bit is to see which size of bar is included. Some of the sets include a one-inch bar and some of them include a 1.15-inch bar.

It’s important to note that it might be a bit harder to get extra plates for a 1.15-inch bar. A lot of plates sold for dumbbells in box stores are sized for one-inch bars.

As with a lot of cast iron plates, it’s possible that you might get some scratches and dents on the paint on the barbell. This generally isn’t that much of a concern except for being less aesthetically pleasing. Nonetheless, it’s important to be aware of it so you don’t get surprised after it’s shipped to you.

The one thing this set of adjustable dumbbells might not save you so much of is time. If you like to change weights in between sets, it’s going to take some time to loosen the collar and adjust the plates.

Pros

Cons

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    Saves space compared with fixed dumbbells

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    Lots of different possible weight combinations
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    Five different weight sets so you can find the amount of weight that you need
  •   Should make double-sure that collars are tightened after every set
  • Cast iron plates can be dented or paint chipped
  • Takes time to adjust plates

CAP Barbell RSWB-40TP 40 lb. Dumbbell Set

  • Price
  • Quality
  • Material

These are pretty similar to the other adjustable sets of dumbbells. You’re getting eight plates, two bars, and some collars. 

It’s great to have eight plates to that you can adjust them to whichever total weight that you need on your dumbbells. These are going to save you some space compared with buying each individual fixed dumbbell you need.

As with any adjustable set of dumbbells, you going to want to make absolutely sure that the collar is tightened after each set. The collars can tend to become a little loose after each set.

Since the plates are cast iron, it’s possible that you might see a little bit of scratching and denting on the plates. This usually isn’t that much of a serious issue for most people.

The bar for these dumbbells is one-inch, so it’s fairly easy to buy some extra plates for it. Most dumbbell plates that you’ll find online or in box stores will fit these bars.

One of the nice things about this set is that it comes with a carrying case. This is great to have if you need to transport the weights in any way. It’s a plastic carrying case, but it’s sturdy enough for the dumbbell set.

One thing you may want to be aware of is that there have been some complaints of a bit of a strong smell when you first get the dumbbells. It’s likely to go away after you use them for a while, or you’ll get used to the smell by then.

Also, the handles are fairly rough so that you can get a good grip on them. This is important to keep in mind because if you don’t want calluses on your hands, you’re going to need to get some gloves.

Pros

Cons

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      Save lots of space
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      Can do a good variety of weight combinations
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      Standard one-inch bar
    •   Need to check collars after each set
    •   Takes time to change weights between sets
    •   Cast iron plates may be more likely to be scratched or dented

    Best Fixed Dumbbells

    CAP Barbell Coated Hex Dumbbell

    • Price
    • Quality
    • Material

    These dumbbells are a solid choice when it comes to fixed dumbbells. Fixed means that you can’t change the weight. If you buy a 10-lb fixed dumbbell, that’s the weight it’s going to be forever.

    And the nice thing about these is that the weight is generally pretty accurate. You probably don’t need to worry about getting a 9.8 lb dumbbell instead of a 10 lb one.

    The weight is labelled right on the dumbbell which is nice if you’re adding it to your collection. It also looks great in your home gym this way.

    These dumbbells are pretty solidly built and you don’t generally hear complaints about the welds on the dumbbells being of inferior quality. The weights seem to be welded onto the bar pretty well. Because of that they can probably withstand a bit more wear and tear than other dumbbells.

    The bar is nice because it is textured so you should be able to keep a good grip on it. However, if your hands are a bit more sensitive then you might find the handle a little bit harsh to grip. The best solution for that is to get a good pair of workout gloves.

    One of the big advantages of these dumbbells is that they are hexagonal-shaped (hex). Because of that they aren’t going to roll around the floor when you put them down. This ia a huge benefit for many people.

    Generally there doesn’t seem to be too much of a smell with these dumbbells. Some people have reported having a bit of a rubber odor for a while, but most people haven’t had any big issues in this area.

    One thing to be careful of is that you are sure of whether you’re buying a single dumbbell or a pair of dumbbells. They sell them in both singles and pairs, so make sure that you are clear on which one you want and that you have chosen that one when buying.

    Unfortunately these dumbbells only go up to 50 lbs so if you’re looking for a heavier weight than that, you’re going to need to find a different model. Make sure that you know how much weight you’ll need for your workouts before you invest in fixed dumbbells.

    Pros

    Cons

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      Durable construction
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      Hexagonal shape means no rolling around
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      Accurate weight
    •   Individual dumbbells will take up more space
    • Grip can be a bit harsh for some people
    • Only go up to 50 lbs


    AmazonBasics Neoprene Dumbbells

    • Price
    • Quality
    • Material

    These fixed dumbbells are a great option for people who are looking to add some dumbbells to their workout routine, especially during cardio or core exercises.

    You can get them at as long as 1-lb which are great for when you need to do light exercises like when you’re training for high reps or training a smaller muscle group. They can also go all the way up to 15 or 20 pounds so there are some heavier weights if you need them.

    A lot of people go with the set of six dumbbells which gives you 20 pounds in total. You get two 2-lb dumbbells, two 3-lb dumbbells, and two 5-lb dumbbells.

    This set is also nice because it comes with a dumbbell stand. Even though the stand is made from plastic, it’s sturdy enough to hold the weights and gives you an organized place to keep them.

    One of the main benefits of these weights is that they are coated in neoprene which is a kind of synthetic rubber. That means that you shouldn’t have any problems gripping the handle. This will probably be way less slippery than a chrome handle, even if your hands are a bit sweaty.

    There generally isn’t much of a small if at all with these dumbbells so the neoprene is probably of a good quality.

    It’s also nice that the amount of weight is printed on the dumbbells so you’ll never get confused about the amount of weight. This is especially important if you have quite a few pairs of these dumbbells.

    The dumbbells look great and come in a bunch of different colours so if you do buy a set of them you’ll have a great looking set of dumbbells for your home gym.

    Another good thing is that they are hexagonal, or hex, shaped so you don’t need to worry about them rolling on the floor after you put them down.

    One of the things you need to watch out for is that the dumbbells are the same weight as each other. You can weigh the two dumbbells to make sure that there isn’t a 0.2 or 0.3-lb difference between the dumbbells which have the same weight written on them.

    Pros

    Cons

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      Lots of weight amounts for lighter weights
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      Easy to grip the neoprene coating
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      Can buy as a pair or set
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      Set comes with a stand
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      Hex shape prevents rolling
    •   Need to make sure the weights are the same amount
    • Take up a bit more space than adjustable dumbbells
    • Only go up to 20 lbs

    SPRI Deluxe Vinyl Dumbbells

    • Price
    • Quality
    • Material

    These fixed dumbbells are also a good choice for when you’re doing some cardio or aerobic workouts. They’re light enough that you can do some high reps with them. Even just having a bit of weight can make a big difference in your cardio workout.

    These dumbbells are generally sold in a set of two. They aren’t sold in a set of more than two. The nice thing is that there are lots of different weights available, from 1 to 20-lbs.

    Vinyl is used to coat the dumbbells which helps to make sure that there isn’t any slipping when gripping the dumbbell. It also means that the grip is nice and smooth. You won’t have to worry about developing calluses when using these weights, unlike some chrome handles.

    They also come in a variety of different colours, based on how much weight they are. So they look great as part of a home gym when you have a few pairs.

    As with other similar fixed dumbbells, you’ll want to make sure that the weights of the dumbbells in a pair have exactly the same weight. There have been some reports of the dumbbells being slightly in different in weight, around 0.2 or 0.3-lbs sometimes.

    Another thing to keep in mind with these dumbbells is that the handle is fairly thick, so if you have smaller hands you may have some issues with comfortably gripping them.

    Also, you want to keep an eye on the weld between the weight and the bar. These are welded on and over time can show a bit of wear and tear. You want to make sure that there is no wobble or any danger of them falling off.

    Pros

    Cons

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      Smooth grip means no calluses
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    Lots of different weights available
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      Aesthetically pleasing colors
    •   Take up a bit more space
    • Bar portion of the dumbbell is fairly thick, harder for small hands to grip
    •   Should keep an eye on the weld between the weight and the bar


    Conclusion

    That should give you a much better idea of what to look for when you’re thinking about adding some dumbbells to your home gym. Whatever pair you get, they’re going to be a huge benefit for you. Having dumbbells means you can do way more exercises than just using your bodyweight. Whichever pair you decide on, make sure you grab some workout gloves to protect your hands while using the dumbbells.

    If space is more of a factor for you, you’ll probably want to look into getting a pair of adjustable dumbbells because they are basically 10 to 15 different pairs of dumbbells in one.

    If you want to save a bit of time between sets, then you can go for adjustable dumbbells like the Bowflex ones or a pair of fixed dumbbells.

    For smaller and lighter dumbbells, it’s probably better to go with one of the coated fixed dumbbells. They have a great range of weights available for those.

    Whichever ones you choose, make sure that you use them often and do your best on each workout!

     

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