The 6 Best Dumbbell Sets for Strength Training

 Written by 

Julien Raby

 Last updated on 

We may receive a commission from our affiliate links at no additional cost to you. See disclosures page.


There’s no denying the integral role that dumbbells play in a strength and muscle-building fitness routine, with their versatility allowing for a world of exercises that target different areas of the body. They’re quite user-friendly, too – no matter your skill level or fitness goals, you can easily get the hang of them and tailor your fitness routine accordingly.

But there’s more to it than just using any old pair that you come across. It’s about finding something that corresponds to your abilities and goals – both from an exercise perspective, as well as budget-wise. And helping you find the best dumbbell set for your needs is exactly what we’re here to do.

A man picking weights in a dumbbell set
  • Save

In A Hurry? Here’s Our Best Picks

Best Overall
Great Alternative
For Heavy Lifters
  • Materials:
    Solid steel with black urethane plates
  • Weight Range:
    5 - 150 lbs
  • Warranty:
    Lifetime
  • Pros:
Budget Option
Best Adjustable Dumbbells
Best Overall
Materials:
steel with rubber-coated plates
Weight Range:
2.5 - 125 lbs
Warranty:
Lifetime
Pros:
Great Alternative
Materials:
Cast iron with rubber casings
Weight Range:
5 - 100 lbs
Warranty:
Lifetime
Pros:
For Heavy Lifters
Materials:
Solid steel with black urethane plates
Weight Range:
5 - 150 lbs
Warranty:
Lifetime
Pros:
Budget Option
Materials:
Cast iron with cold-rolled steel handles
Weight Range:
5 - 120 lbs
Warranty:
30 days
Pros:
Best Adjustable Dumbbells
Materials:
Steel with rubber-coated plates
Weight Range:
2.5 - 125 lbs
Warranty:
Lifetime
Pros:
Materials:
Solid steel, nylon and rubber lining
Weight Range:
10 - 90 lbs
Warranty:
3 years
Pros:

Why You Should Trust Us

Behind the BoxLife Magazine banner, we have a team of experienced fitness professionals whose extensive knowledge and years of practice in the industry make them well-equipped to provide an informed and comprehensive review of workout equipment. We’ve tried and tested numerous products in various settings, both in professional environments and on our own time.

We’ve all been at the start of our fitness journeys at one point, so we understand the difficulty – as well as the importance – of being mindful of your choices and selecting the right gear. We try to focus on the user experience as much as possible, with a special emphasis on safety, comfort, and value for money.

Who Is This Guide For?

If you want to get your weight training game to a more advanced level without splurging on a whole bunch of separate items, then a dumbbell set is a fantastic middle ground. They’re ideal for home gym enthusiasts of all levels, who want to save some space while making the most out of their investment.

A brand new dumbbell set
  • Save

How We Picked the Best Products

Our investigative efforts were initially based on our own assessments of the products, coupled with the vast pool of user feedback that’s available online. We made it our mission to dig into discussion threads on Reddit and Quora, which are full of no-nonsense opinions and first-hand experiences shared by real people.

We also kept an eye out for the general public’s opinion on each item, as we researched consumer reviews across major retailers like Amazon, Titan, and Rogue Fitness. They all had something interesting to say, be it in the form of criticism or praise. We weighed all this information against our own findings to come up with an unbiased list of the best dumbbell sets on the market.

How We Graded Each Product

To make a universal and fair grading system, we put each product to the test through our list of criteria that are specifically tailored to dumbbells. Oftentimes, manufacturers make bold claims about their products that don’t match up with the reality of the user experience. Keeping this in mind, we looked into:

  • Materials – To the inexperienced eye, all dumbbells look more or less the same. But each one is made from different materials that can affect their performance in terms of grip and durability. Rubber, urethane, steel, cast iron, and plastic are all valid options, with each having its own set of benefits and drawbacks. It mainly depends on the kind of exercise that you want to do.
  • Weight Options – It doesn’t matter if you’re working with a personal trainer or not – having a range of weight plates at your disposal is always a sensible move. We tend to start off with lighter options to get a better feel of the exercise, before gradually adding more weight as we get stronger. Of course, the more weight options available, the greater the diversity of workouts you can do.
  • Dumbbell Shape – This refers to the shape of the head and handle, which can sometimes greatly affect the effectiveness of certain exercises. For instance, a hexagonal shape is great for floor-based exercises because they won’t roll away, while round dumbbells are ideal for exercises that involve swinging motions across the body.
  • Knurling – The exact depth of the knurling will vary depending on the manufacturer, but it’s always a good idea to buy something with enough grip. This is especially important for heavier weights because it helps you keep a firm grip while you’re lifting. Many models feature textured handles that provide an extra layer of comfort and safety.
  • Price Range – Most of us don’t have a whole lot going on in the budget department, which is why we’re forced to be selective when it comes to our purchases. With that in mind, we made sure to include products with a range of price points, so that everyone can find something within their means. We also looked into the value each item brought to the table to see whether it corresponds with the price tag.

The Products

After carefully sorting through the available options, we’ve narrowed down our selection of the best dumbbell set for various uses. We broke everything down into a few categories for easier identification and better clarity.

Best Overall
Rep 5-50 lb Rubber Hex Dumbbell Set with Rack
5.0

The REP Fitness Rubber Hex Dumbbell fits the bill for anyone who wants to get serious with their strength training.

Weight Range: 2.5 - 125 lbs
Materials: steel with rubber-coated plates
Warranty: Lifetime
See latest price

REP Fitness is one of those names in the workout and strength training industry that you seemingly can’t go wrong with. The brand’s commitment to quality and the sheer amount of positive feedback earned over the years are more than enough reasons to trust them. Among the trusted items is their Rubber Hex Dumbbell set, which stands out among the competition for its outstanding performance and user-friendly features.

Pros

  • Durable rubber coating on the head for added protection and better grip
  • Knurled handle for improved comfort during use
  • Their hexagonal shape that prevents rolling
  • Resilient and reinforced steel insert keeps a steady weight

Cons

  • Has a distinct smell for a rubber-coated dumbbell set
  • Doesn’t come with a rack for storage

Key Specs

Materialssteel with rubber-coated plates
Weight Range2.5 – 125 lbs
ShapeHex

Why It’s Great

The rubber coat hex dumbbell set from REP Fitness brings home the bacon in terms of performance and user experience. The ergonomic shape and knurled handle combine to provide a secure grip even after extended sessions, with a textured and slightly grippy rubber coating on the head guaranteeing an extra layer of security.

The handle and the heads use specialized friction welding to stay together for the long run. And since we’re talking about resilience, it’s worth pointing out that the steel insert is also reinforced to keep a steady weight throughout its entire lifespan. The central knurling is not too aggressive, which makes it suitable to use with a variety of exercises.

As far as exercise variety goes, you can choose between 2.5 and 5-pound weight increments, all the way up to 125 pounds. The subtle hexagonal shape prevents the dumbbells from rolling away, with secure threading that prevents the heads from coming off. And even if you happen to drop them onto a hard surface, you can expect minimal bounce and breakage thanks to the rubber coat hex and engineered design.

Who It’s Best For

The REP Fitness Rubber Hex Dumbbell fits the bill for anyone who wants to get serious with their strength training. The weight increments are well-balanced and allow you to be as creative as you want with your workouts. While it’s not the cheapest option on the market, you can trust that this set will go a long way before wearing out.

Great Alternative
Living.Fit Rubber Encased Hex Dumbbell Pair
4.5

The beginner-friendly design and solid weight range of the Living.Fit Dumbbell Set are quite suitable for those who are just getting started with strength training.

Materials: Cast iron with rubber casings
Weight Range: 5 - 100 lbs
Warranty: Lifetime
See latest price

If the REP Fitness option doesn’t quite hit the sweet spot in terms of your needs, then you could always give the Living.Fit Dumbbell Set a try. This set has an incredibly diverse range of weight options and a whole slew of features that are just as user-friendly as they are effective. Each increment feels comfortable and secure, thanks to the ergonomic design and well-balanced weight distribution.

Pros

  • Textured rubber coating for improved grip and comfort
  • Secure threading prevents the head from coming off
  • Comes with a lifetime warranty when used at a home gym
  • Great for beginners and experienced lifters alike

Cons

  • Some sets of weights may be damaged during transport
  • Quite expensive given its range of features

Key Specs

Materialscast iron with rubber casings
Weight Range5 – 100 lbs
ShapeHex

Why It’s Great

The sheer stability and user-friendly features of the Living.Fit Dumbbell Set bring an unprecedented level of performance and convenience to the table. The textured rubber coating on each dumbbell head provides an extra layer of security and comfort when performing all sorts of exercises. Regardless of your preferred weight increments, you can rest assured that the weight will be evenly distributed throughout.

The wider handle inherently encourages a better grip, while the secure threading prevents the head from coming off, even after heavy lifting. The uniform handle size also allows for a more diverse range of exercises, from standard curls and press-ups to more complex movements. Even if it lacks edge-to-edge knurling on the base, it feels surprisingly secure and non-slippery. The texture of the rubber coating is also easy on the hands, no matter how often you use it.

What’s more, this set comes with a lifetime warranty when used in home gyms. This is directly indicative of the confidence the manufacturer has in their product, and it’s something that you don’t get with every dumbbell set. While it does come with a slightly higher price tag than other models of the same caliber, you can rest assured that your investment won’t go to waste in the long run.

Who It’s Best For

The beginner-friendly design and solid weight range of the Living.Fit Dumbbell Set are quite suitable for those who are just getting started with strength training. They have everything you need to get started and offer enough versatility to keep you entertained for quite some time. Even more experienced users could benefit from the wider handle and secure build, which helps to expand exercise range and keep you safe during each session.

For Heavy Lifters
Rogue Urethane Dumbbells
4.5

If you're one of those heavy lifters on the hunt for a premium gym setup, then the Rogue Urethane Dumbbells could give you the exact performance you're looking for.

Materials: Solid steel with black urethane plates
Weight Range: 5 - 150 lbs
Warranty: Lifetime
See latest price

One of the most prolific names in the world of fitness gear, Rogue Fitness is a pillar of strength that has been around for quite some time. The company’s expertise and experience in the market are more than enough reasons to trust them, and the Rogue Urethane Dumbbells are no exception. Their sturdy steel frames and ergonomic handles make them one of the most robust dumbbell sets out there.

Pros

  • Supports heavy weights of up to 150 lbs
  • Consists of shock-absorbing urethane weight plates
  • Variable handle diameter depending on the weight
  • Robust steel frame with reinforced ends

Cons

  • Medium-grade knurling may be uncomfortable during long sets
  • Round shape may be slightly unstable on floors

Key Specs

Materialssolid steel with black urethane plates
Weight Range5 – 150 lbs
ShapeRound

Why It’s Great

The Urethane plating on the Rogue Dumbbells stands out as a major highlight of the set. The coating provides an extra layer of protection for both the user and the dumbbell since it inherently has shock-absorbing properties that deflect some of the impacts when dropped on a hard surface. This, along with its robust steel frame and reinforced ends contribute to an all-around sturdy construction that will stand the test of time.

Moreover, the maximum weight range of this set is just insane, with the options ranging from 5 to 150 lbs. What’s more, each handle comes with a variable diameter that gradually decreases as you add more weight plates, which makes it easier to handle and increase control during heavier sets. And while the grip is not as aggressive as other models, its rounded shape brings better weight calibration despite not being the most stable on hard floors.

Finally, the black matte finish on the heads also adds a bit of aesthetic value to the set. It’s not something unique or groundbreaking, but it certainly helps give them an undeniably elegant look and a sleek profile that’s hard to resist. The weight increments are clearly marked on the side of each handle, too, so you’ll never mix them up. Each one has separate markings for each size and weight, with white labels on the sides and clear labeling on the heads.

Who It’s Best For

If you’re one of those heavy lifters on the hunt for a premium gym setup, then the Rogue Urethane Dumbbells could give you the exact performance you’re looking for. The urethane coating looks and feels sublime, and there’s enough weight to make sure you’re always pushing your limits. Even those who are in favor of more traditional dumbbell exercises won’t be disappointed with this set, as the maximum weight lacks nothing in terms of power and endurance.

Budget Option
CAP Barbell Cast Iron Hex Dumbbells
4.0

If you're on a tight budget but don't want to cut down on quality, then the CAP Barbell Black Cast Iron Hex Dumbbells could be just what you're looking for.

Materials: Cast iron with cold-rolled steel handles
Weight Range: 5 - 120 lbs
Warranty: 30 days
See latest price

If you’re not a fan of rubber-coated sets, then you might want to take a look at the CAP Barbell Black Cast Iron Hex Dumbbells. Despite not having the same degree of shock-absorbing protection as their counterparts, these dumbbells still manage to bring a pretty decent amount of value for a very competitive price. While there’s a fair amount of caution when it comes to budget gym gear, this model manages to stand out from the rest in terms of quality and performance.

Pros

  • Uniform chrome handle with medium knurling
  • Secure hex shape keeps the plates in place during lifts
  • Very affordable price and has a wide range of weights
  • Feels quite stable on the floor despite the lack of rubber

Cons

  • May get damaged more quickly without the durable rubber coating
  • Has a shorter warranty period of 30 days

Key Specs

Materialscast iron with cold-rolled steel handles
Weight Range5 – 120 lbs
ShapeHex

Why It’s Great

The all-metal, enamel coating on the CAP Barbell Black Cast Iron Hex Dumbbells provides a unique look and feel that’s both classy and durable. The fully-knurled handle design further enhances grip security and ensures an even distribution of weight throughout the entire set. Each head also features a standard hex shape that fits snugly against the floor, preventing unnecessary movement and, in turn, offering a more secure feel during training.

While the lack of rubber coating means that this set won’t be as shock-absorbent as its rubber-coated counterparts, the solid construction and heavyweight limit still bring a solid amount of performance and reliability. The handles are cold-rolled with medium knurling that’s neither too coarse nor too slippery, which is more than enough for most users. The grooved handles are easy on the hands, with cleverly-placed ridges that feel comfortable during use.

They also come with a dedicated dumbbell rack right out of the box, with both horizontal and vertical versions available. This allows for a more organized setup and provides easier access when selecting the desired weight range. Despite not having a generous warranty to support its admirable performance, there’s still enough value here to make it a worthy investment. Even if it does get damaged, the price tag is so low that it won’t be too much of a hit in your wallet.

Who It’s Best For

If you’re on a tight budget but don’t want to cut down on quality, then the CAP Barbell Black Cast Iron Hex Dumbbells could be just what you’re looking for. The cast iron construction has enough strength to withstand heavy use, and the medium knurling on the handle gives great grip security without being too sharp or slippery. The hex shape brings additional support and stability, with steel plates that are evenly distributed throughout the design.

Best Adjustable Dumbbells
Titan Fitness Pair 15in Loadable Dumbbells
4.5

If you want to train your upper body with the full range of exercises that dumbbells can offer but don't want the hassle of having to switch between different bars each time, then the Titan Fitness Loadable Dumbbells could be just what you need.

Materials: Steel with rubber-coated plates
Weight Range: 2.5 - 125 lbs
Warranty: Lifetime
See latest price

The adjustment mechanism of the loadable dumbbells from Titan Fitness is easy to use and provides a great way to tailor the set to your specific needs. These 15 and 20-inch bars are made of solid steel and feature a convenient loading pin that makes it easy to switch between different plates. They’re compatible with both Olympic and standard plates, with a stable and secure grip that’s compatible with a variety of exercises.

Pros

  • Convenient spinlock collars for fast loading and unloading
  • Fully adjustable weights give you more control over your training
  • Sturdy bronze bushings for smooth and secure rotation
  • Compact design and clever loading pin with minimal storage requirements

Cons

  • No weight plates included
  • The hard-knurled grip may be too aggressive for some

Key Specs

Materialssteel with rubber-coated plates
Weight Range2.5 – 125 lbs
ShapeHex

Why It’s Great

The ease of adjustment and mobility of the Titan Fitness Loadable Dumbbells holds great appeal for those who like to switch between different plate combinations quickly. The steel construction and spinlock collars help keep the plates firmly in place, with reinforced bronze bushings that add a smooth and secure rotation. The entire set feels quite light and sleek, with both 15 and 20-inch bars available, depending on your preferences.

What’s more, the hard-knurled grip provides a secure hold, although it can be too aggressive for some users. It features texture-dictation for optimal contact points, with the central handle taking the brunt of the strain during lifts. The whole design is also quite compact, so you don’t need to worry too much about storage space or organization. If you’ve got limited funds but still want the adjustable convenience of a dumbbell set, then this is definitely an option to consider.

The sleeves themselves feel incredibly robust and well-made, with minimal wobbling or rattling when the plates are loaded onto them. The straightforward loading pin relies on a simple twist of the wrist, with clearly indented plate slots for easy fitting. If you add the Olympic compatibility into the mix, then you’ve got a complete set that’s as versatile as it is reliable. It doesn’t feel quite as comfortable as a rubber-coated set, but it does bring a handy way to switch between multiple plate combinations with ease.

Who It’s Best For

If you want to train your upper body with the full range of exercises that dumbbells can offer but don’t want the hassle of having to switch between different bars each time, then the Titan Fitness Loadable Dumbbells could be just what you need. The adjustable weights and convenient loading pin make changing plates easy and quick, and the sturdy construction ensures maximum durability. The hard-knurled grip also offers great grip security, while the compact design requires minimal storage space.

Bowflex SelectTech 1090 Adjustable Dumbbell
4.0

If you're looking for a compact and all-in-one dumbbell setup that has a quick-dial adjustment system and adjustable weights from 10 to 90 pounds, then the Bowflex SelectTech 1090 Dumbbells could bring great value to your training.

Materials: Solid steel, nylon and rubber lining
Weight Range: 10 - 90 lbs
Warranty: 3 years
See latest price

If there was ever a mammoth of a dumbbell set, then it would have to be the Bowflex SelectTech 1090 Dumbbells. This complete home gym setup includes two adjustable dumbbells with a range of weights between 10 and 90 pounds, as well as an exercise poster that helps you track your progress. It’s incredibly versatile and has plenty of value for money, with a sturdy construction that should last you a long time.

Pros

  • Adjustable weight range of 10 to 90 pounds in five-pound increments
  • Completely customizable with just a twist of the handle
  • Stable and secure construction delivers reliable performance
  • Integrated stand for easy storage and transport

Cons

  • May be a bit bulky for some users
  • Only one person can use them at a time

Key Specs

Materialssolid steel, nylon and rubber lining
Weight Range10 – 90 lbs
ShapeHex

Why It’s Great

The absolute beast of a product that is the Bowflex SelectTech 1090 Dumbbells is a stand-out option for those who want to have a complete workout experience without having to purchase multiple dumbbells. This immense set includes two adjustable weights from 10 to 90 pounds in five-pound increments, all of which can be slid on and off with just a twist of the handle. The dial is placed conveniently in the center of the dumbbells, making it easy to switch between weights quickly and intuitively.

Additionally, the steel construction is stable and solid, with reinforced plates that ensure superior durability. It has an additional nylon and polymer coating to protect the exterior, while the integrated rubber coating is perhaps the most impressive feature of all. This helps to reduce vibration and noise, as well as helps to protect the floor and furniture from any potential scratching.

The knurling pattern is quite interesting, as it doesn’t feature the usual concentric circles which is common on most dumbbells. Instead, it has a less aggressive but still effective texture that resembles nibbles or bumps. It doesn’t come across as too sharp or uncomfortable to the touch, while still maintaining a fairly secure grip. The general design also features an integrated stand for easy storage and transport, which conveniently takes up minimal space.

Who It’s Best For

If you’re looking for a compact and all-in-one dumbbell setup that has a quick-dial adjustment system and adjustable weights from 10 to 90 pounds, then the Bowflex SelectTech 1090 Dumbbells could bring great value to your training. Not only does it feature a solid and secure construction that should last for years, but its integrated stand and rubber coating also helps to reduce vibration and noise.

What to Consider When Buying a Dumbbell Set

Dumbbells are a versatile and essential piece of equipment for any home gym or fitness enthusiast. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced lifter, investing in a high-quality dumbbell set is crucial. With a plethora of options available in the market, it’s important to know what factors to consider to make an informed decision.

Here are the key aspects you should pay attention to when purchasing a dumbbell set, ensuring you find the perfect fit for your needs.

Weight Range and Increments

One of the most critical factors to consider when buying a dumbbell set is the weight range it offers. Look for sets of weights that provide a wide weight range to accommodate your current strength level and allow for progression as you advance. Ideally, the set should include more advanced and basic weight increments that suit your goals. Commonly, adjustable dumbbells have adjustable plates that can be added or removed, while fixed dumbbells come in different weight variations.

A dumbbell set with high durability
  • Save

Build Quality and Durability

Pay attention to the materials used in the manufacturing process. Opt for sets made from high-quality materials such as cast iron, chrome-plated steel, or rubber-coated plates, as they ensure longevity and prevent rusting or chipping. Additionally, check the handles and make sure they offer a comfortable grip. Look for a handle with a textured grip as it can prevent slippage during intense workouts.

Storage and Space

Consider your storage options and space requirements when choosing a dumbbell set. Adjustable dumbbell sets typically take up less space, as they eliminate the need for multiple individual dumbbells. Look for an adjustable pair that comes with a storage rack or stand to keep your dumbbells organized and easily accessible. If space is limited, compact adjustable dumbbells with a small footprint might be a better choice.

Safety Features

Safety should always be a priority when selecting any fitness equipment, including dumbbells. Look for dumbbell sets that have safety features such as secure locking mechanisms for adjustable dumbbells or hexagonal-shaped heads for fixed dumbbells. These features ensure that the weights remain firmly in place during exercises, reducing the risk of accidents or injuries.

Versatility and Expandability

Consider the versatility of the pairs of dumbbells you’re looking at and their potential for expansion. Adjustable dumbbells allow you to increase or decrease the weight as needed, offering a wide variety of exercises and accommodating different muscle groups. Some sets also offer expansion options, allowing you to purchase additional plates as your strength increases, saving you from the need to buy an entirely new set.

A big dumbbell set with an higher price