Want to get stronger but don’t know where to start? Consider picking up a set of dumbbells. Like kettlebells, dumbbells are extremely versatile and can be used for a variety of exercises. If you’re looking to tone up your lower body, grab a pair of free weights and start squatting. Need to lose that last bit of arm jiggle? Dumbbells are great for bicep curls and overhead presses.
There’s a lot of workout equipment on the market and it can be overwhelming seeing all the choices. The ACTIVE Reviews Team is here to help you narrow down the options and make an informed decision on the best dumbbell set for you.
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Best Dumbbell Sets - Our Top Picks
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- Best Rubber Hex Dumbbells: REP Fitness Rubber Hex Dumbbells
- Best Hex Dumbbells: Rogue Fitness Rubber Hex Dumbbells
- Best Cast-Iron Dumbbell Set: Yes4All Adjustable Dumbbells
- Best Budget Dumbbells: CAP Barbell 150-Pound Dumbbell Set with Rack
- Best Quality Dumbbells: Bowflex SelectTech 552 Dumbbells
- Best Loadable Dumbbells: Titan Fitness Loadable Dumbbell Pair
- Best Dumbbells for Beginners: AmazonBasics Neoprene Workout Dumbbell Hand Weights
- Best Affordable Adjustable Dumbbells: SMRTFT NÜOBELL
- Best Adjustable Dumbbells: PowerBlock Elite Series Dumbbells
Best Rubber Hex Dumbbells - REP Fitness Rubber Hex Dumbbells
Hex dumbbells are named for the hexagon shape of the heads and are often encased in rubber. The shape is beneficial because of the added stability it offers when doing floor-centric exercises like dumbbell push-ups and devil presses, and the rubber makes them quieter and gentle (for dumbbells, anyway) on your floors. If you think hex dumbbells will be beneficial for your exercise regimen, check out the durable REP Fitness Rubber Coated Hex Dumbbells.
By using high-quality, low-odor rubber and chrome plating, REP Fitness provides quality to a product that is built to last. The lifetime warranty for home use and free shipping serves to sweeten the pot for these rubber hex dumbbells.
- Key feature: Knurled handles for no-slip grip
- Weight options: 2.5-125 lbs.
- Materials: Low-odor rubber, chrome
Best Hex Dumbbells - Rogue Fitness Rubber Hex Dumbbells
Dumbbells are quintessential pieces of at-home workout equipment. However, cast iron dumbbells can do a number on your floors (or your equipment!) if dropped. Enter rubber hex dumbbells. Encasing the heads in rubber makes dumbbells softer and safer. The Rogue Fitness Rubber Hex Dumbbells are a great option for those worried about the damage of their iron-headed cousins. Furthermore, the handle is knurled, which provides a traditional dumbbell feeling and allows for a solid grip even when your hand is sweaty.
The hexagon shape on these prevents the dumbbells from rolling when they are set down. Whatever your fitness needs are, these dumbbells probably have a weight option to suit you since they are available in 2.5 to 125 pounds. Rogue generally doesn’t offer free shipping on their orders, so this is something to keep in mind when purchasing a heavier set of dumbbells from them.
- Key feature: Knurled handle
- Weight options: 2.5-125 lbs.
- Materials: Rubber, chrome
Best Cast-Iron Dumbbell Set - Yes4All Adjustable Dumbbells
If you’ve previously gone to a gym, you may be familiar with cast-iron dumbbells, much like the Yes4All Adjustable Dumbbells. These dumbbells have cast-iron plates that you can switch on and off to change the weight you’re using. This is very similar to how you'd load a barbell, which the Yes4All dumbbells are actually capable of turning into. A knurled connector piece is included to attach the dumbbells together, which makes for an overall more versatile piece of equipment.
The set includes two 16-inch-by-1.15-inch handles. The weights will vary depending on the weight you order. If you go for the 200-pound set (100 pounds on each side), you will get sixteen 10-pound plates, four 5-pound weights, four 2.5-pound plates, and four collars. These loadable, cast-iron dumbbells are compact and convenient to store. They will also save money and space by replacing several sets of standard dumbbells.
- Key feature: Comes with a connector to allow you to change your weight set into a barbell
- Weight options: 40-200 lbs.
- Materials: Cast iron, chrome
Best Budget Dumbbells - CAP Barbell 150-Pound Dumbbell Set with Rack
If you're looking for a dumbbell set that has various weight options and won’t break the bank, the CAP Barbell 150-Pound Dumbbell Set could be a great fit! For under $400, you’ll get 10 hexagon-shaped dumbbells that come equipped with a solid steel handle that you can feel confident will last. Also, included in your price is either an A-frame or horizontal storage rack. The racks provide more bang for your buck and being able to choose between the A-Frame and the horizontal options is nice in case one would fit better in your space than the other.
The dumbbells come in 5-, 10-, 15-, 20-, and 25-pound weights, which makes this budget-friendly set great for those looking to increase the weight they use as they get stronger. This set is also ideal for someone looking to use dumbbells in HIIT or high-rep strength training.
- Key feature: Comes with a handy storage rack
- Weight options: 5-25 lbs.
- Materials: Steel, iron
Best Quality Dumbbells - Bowflex SelectTech 552 Dumbbells
Plenty of people want to have dumbbell sets in their home, but they may find that they don’t have the space and/or the budget for a variety of different weights. The Bowflex SelectTech 552 Dumbbells solve these problems. They are considerably more affordable than many other adjustable dumbbell options, and the Bowflex SelectTech 552 Dumbbells have a dial system that allows the user to switch between weights in seconds. These dumbbells replace 15 sets of traditional weights to help you save space and cash. What’s not to love about that?
The 552’s are adjustable weights, but they still take on a fairly traditional dumbbell shape that feels good in your hands. Even better? These dumbbells come with a two-year warranty so you can feel confident in the durability of your purchase.
- Key feature: Can be used with the free Bowflex SelectTech App for workout suggestions
- Weight options: 5-52.5 lbs.
- Materials: Steel, polyurethane
Best Loadable Dumbbells - Titan Fitness Loadable Dumbbell Pair
There is something special about the feel and durability of a standard dumbbell for some people. Unfortunately, standard dumbbells take up space in spades, and the price of multiple sets quickly adds up. The Titan Fitness Loadable Dumbbell Pair is here to remedy that problem. Although they each weigh just over 12 pounds, you can load them with up to 500 pounds. This showcases how well-constructed these handles are. These dumbbells fit any Olympic-sized plates, meaning any plate with a 2-inch diameter center. If you have an Olympic barbell, you can easily share plates between these handles and your bar.
Although the $100 price tag may seem a little steep for handles (no plates are included), these still come in more affordable than similar items from competitors. Plus, because these handles are made from steel and have a chrome finish, you can expect them to last for years to come. The handle’s knurling provides a great grip, but we do recommend collars to secure the weights when you’re enthusiastically pumping iron. There is a one-year warranty, and Titan’s free shipping is always a delicious cherry on top.
- Key feature: 500 lb. weight capacity
- Weight options: 12.1-500 lbs.
- Materials: Steel, chrome finish
Best Dumbbells for Beginners - AmazonBasics Neoprene Workout Dumbbell Hand Weights
It can be difficult to get started on something new, but these colorful AmazonBasics Neoprene Dumbbells make it fun for beginners to get comfortable with strength training. You can purchase these dumbbell sets in a variety of light weights ranging from 1-20 pounds. The weights are made with neoprene and are designed to be durable for a variety of exercises.
The clearly labeled weight on the end makes it simple to quickly grab the right resistance for whatever movement you're doing in a full-body workout. Neoprene won't necessarily last as long as rubber or cast iron dumbbells will, but that might not be a concern if you plan to keep getting stronger and eventually get heavier weights. If you choose to get the set that comes with a rack, it comes pre-assembled. Just set it up in your space and you're ready to begin working out.
- Key feature: Color-coded based on weight
- Weight options: 1-20 lbs.
- Materials: Neoprene, iron
Best Affordable Adjustable Dumbbells - SMRTFT NÜOBELL
No one wants to worry about losing momentum during a workout by taking a lot of time changing the weight on adjustable dumbbells. With the lightning-fast SMRTFT NÜOBELL adjustable dumbbells, you can rest assured that you will never run the risk of cooling down because you're fiddling with hard-to-use pins and locking systems that are sometimes associated with adjustable dumbbells. The SMRTFT NÜOBELL is not only fast, but they are also luxurious, and frankly, some of the best adjustable dumbbells that we have tested.
We like that these are shaped and have a knurled handle like a traditional dumbbell, but the superior functional design allows them to easily go from 5 pounds to 80 pounds. This also makes them easy to use if you are doing a partner workout and you are not using the same weight. Portable cradles are included for both dumbbells as well as a two-year manufacturer warranty (extended warranties can be purchased). This product is the best of the best on the adjustable dumbbell scene, but this type of quality does not come with a small price tag.
- Key feature: Fast and convenient to change weights
- Weight options: 5-80 lbs.
- Materials: Steel, plastic
Best Adjustable Dumbbells - Powerblock Elite Series Dumbbells
Gaining muscle should not be dependent on the amount of space that you have available for storing dumbbells. These compact, adjustable dumbbells replace 16 pairs of dumbbells (825 pounds of weight), which also makes the PowerBlock Elite Series a budget-friendly weight training option. The rectangular shape might take some getting used to, but the wide range of weight options (5-50 pounds) that you can quickly switch between makes it all worth it.
You can use the selector pin and choose your weight with the handy color-coded side rails. A padded handle tops this adjustable dumbbell set off for a comfortable, cushioned grip. Want to add additional weight to your PowerBlock Elite Series Dumbbells? Expansion kits are available to increase the maximum weight of each dumbbell to 70 or 90 pounds.
- Key feature: Replaces 16 pairs of dumbbells, 10-year warranty
- Weight options: 5-50 lbs.
- Additional weight options: Expansion kits can increase weight to 70 or 90 lbs.
- Materials: Welded steel
What Should I Consider When Looking for a Dumbbell Set?
Depending on your previous experience with dumbbells, you may already have a favorite type you enjoy working with. Some people like the traditional feeling of cast iron while others prefer the durability of a rubber dumbbell set. Consider that steel and iron offer more durability, but rubber will protect your gym flooring.
Determining what your budget is ahead of time will help narrow your search down and allow you to only look at options that actually make sense for you. Heavy-duty dumbbell sets aren't the cheapest, but if you go for the right pair, they’ll likely last for years to come. Also, look for free shipping to help cut down on your overall cost. You can also opt for adjustable dumbbells, which often save a little money.
For those just beginning their strength training journey, starting off with a light option and working your way up is a good idea so you don't hurt yourself. If you’re used to using dumbbells in a gym setting, you may have a better idea of the weight you like to use for your upper and lower body. You should also consider your overall fitness goals when deciding what weights to choose. You want to pick slightly heavier weights than what feels comfortable and easy to you.
If you're tight on space, you most likely can’t accommodate a massive dumbbell weight rack. Consider checking out an adjustable set of dumbbells that can mimic what multiple sets can do in one compact package. However, some people want to build out an entire home gym and might prefer having a ton of different dumbbells to choose from. The bottom line? Choose the right dumbbell set or sets for your particular space.
Some dumbbell sets have a knurled dumbbell handle similar to a barbell, while others may use rubber or even silicone. Lots of people prefer a knurled handle because it is easy to grip, but everyone has their own preference for fitness equipment. Figure out what works best for you and stick with it.
What is the most useful dumbbell weight?
When investing in dumbbells, identify a light, moderate, and heavy weight. Consider which weight you’d typically need for high-rep sets, and which you’d need for low-rep sets. If you’re on a budget, start with these two pairs. Or, add a moderate weight.
Which dumbbell set is best for beginners?
We recommend the AmazonBasics Neoprene Dumbbells for beginners because they are comfortable to use, affordable, and lighter in weight. You even have the option to choose a set with a rack included.
How much do dumbbells typically cost?
Dumbbells usually cost $1.50-2.00 per pound. For example, if a set of 12-pound dumbbells at $2.00 per pound would cost you $48, or $24 per dumbbell. Price varies depending on material, durability, and weight.