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.
- 1 In A Hurry? Here’s Our Best Picks
- 2 Why You Should Trust Us
- 3 Who Is This Guide For?
- 4 How We Picked the Best Products
- 5 How We Graded Each Product
- 6 The Products
- 7 What to Consider When Buying a Dumbbell Set
- 8 Frequently Asked Questions
In A Hurry? Here’s Our Best Picks
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.
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.
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.
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.
|Materials||steel with rubber-coated plates|
|Weight Range||2.5 – 125 lbs|
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.
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.
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.
|Materials||cast iron with rubber casings|
|Weight Range||5 – 100 lbs|
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.
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.
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.
|Materials||solid steel with black urethane plates|
|Weight Range||5 – 150 lbs|
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.
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.
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.
|Materials||cast iron with cold-rolled steel handles|
|Weight Range||5 – 120 lbs|
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.
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 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.
|Materials||steel with rubber-coated plates|
|Weight Range||2.5 – 125 lbs|
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.
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.
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.
|Materials||solid steel, nylon and rubber lining|
|Weight Range||10 – 90 lbs|
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.
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 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.
While it’s essential to invest in quality equipment, it’s also important to consider your budget. Dumbbell exercise sets come in various price ranges, so determine your budget beforehand and look for sets that offer the best value for your money. Consider the long-term investment and quality rather than opting for cheaper options that may compromise on durability or safety.
User Reviews and Recommendations
Before making a final decision, read user reviews and seek recommendations from trusted sources or fitness communities. Real-life experiences and opinions can provide valuable insights into the performance, durability, and overall satisfaction of a particular dumbbell set. Look for reviews that align with your fitness goals and requirements to make an informed choice.
All in all, it’s worth noting that purchasing dumbbell exercise sets is an investment in your fitness journey, and paying attention to the key factors we talked about will help you make a well-informed decision. Remember to consider the weight range, build quality, storage options, safety features, versatility, budget, and user reviews. By selecting the right dumbbell set, you’ll have a reliable and versatile fitness tool that will support your strength training goals and fitness intentions for years to come. Happy lifting!
Frequently Asked Questions
Can 5kg dumbbells build muscle?
Yes, 5kg dumbbells can help in building muscle, especially for beginners or individuals with lower strength levels. While the weight may be relatively light for some, it can still be effective in stimulating muscle growth, particularly when performing high-repetition exercises or focusing on muscular endurance.
However, as you progress and become stronger, you may need to increase the weight to continue challenging your muscles and promote further muscle development. They are also a good option for advanced fitness aficionados when they want to do lighter workouts.
Why did dumbbells get so expensive?
There could be several reasons why dumbbells have become more expensive:
Supply and demand: The demand for fitness equipment, including dumbbells, significantly increased during the COVID-19 pandemic as people shifted to home workouts. This surge in demand outpaced the existing supply, leading to price increases.
Manufacturing costs: Dumbbells are typically made from materials such as iron or steel, which have their own production costs. Fluctuations in raw material prices, transportation costs, and other factors can influence the overall cost of manufacturing dumbbells.
Market dynamics: The price of dumbbells can also be influenced by market forces, such as competition among manufacturers, brand reputation, and pricing strategies. Higher-end brands or specialized dumbbells may command higher prices due to their quality, features, or branding.
How many sets of dumbbells should I do?
The number of sets you should do with dumbbells depends on your fitness intentions, experience level, and the specific workout routine you’re following. Here are some general guidelines for different skill levels.
Beginners: If you’re new to weightlifting, it’s recommended to start with 1-2 sets per exercise. This allows your body to adapt to the new stimulus and minimize the risk of overexertion or injury.
Intermediate to Advanced: As you progress and gain experience, you can increase the number of sets to 3-4 or more, depending on your specific training program. This higher volume helps to further challenge your muscles and promote muscle growth.
Individualized Approach: It’s important to listen to your body and adjust the number of sets based on your recovery ability, fatigue levels, and overall training program. Overtraining can hinder progress, so find a balance that allows for proper recovery and consistent progress.Remember, the number of sets is just one aspect of an effective workout routine. Pay attention to other factors such as exercise selection, intensity, rest between exercises, and proper form to maximize your results and minimize the risk of injuries. Consulting with a fitness professional or personal trainer can provide tailored guidance based on your individual needs and goals.