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If you want to improve your home gym exponentially, add a dumbbell set. While I generally recommend a barbell and a set of weight plates to start, I’m not sure my garage gym would ever feel complete without a rack full of hex head dumbbells.

You can do so much with dumbbells, no matter if you choose rubber, iron, hex, round, or adjustable ones. Adding a set to your gym will no doubt result in strength and conditioning gains.

In this roundup, I go over all of my picks for the best dumbbells and the best loadable dumbbells so you can make your next favorite home gym purchase with confidence.

Why You Should Trust Us

Truth be told, there are so many identical dumbbells out there. Many of the products you see online from various retailers are produced in the same factories and simply rebranded over and over again. Because we’ve tested so many dumbbells, we know this for a fact. And we’ve sifted through all of the repeats to find the best dumbbells based on unique factors, manufacturing practices, warranties, shipping, and customer service.

The Best Dumbbells for 2023

Best Dumbbells Overall: REP Fitness Rubber Hex Dumbbells

Good for: Home gym owners who want durable, long-lasting rubber hex dumbbells that are comfortable to hold and use.

Best Dumbbells Overall

REP Fitness Rubber Hex Dumbbell Sets

GGR Score: 4.8 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Fully knurled handles for maximum grip
  • Classic hex head
  • Can be bought in pairs or as a set
  • Low-odor

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Classic hex head design
  • Superior edge-to-edge knurling on the handle
  • Sold in sets and pairs
  • Range from 2.5 pounds to 125 pounds
  • Free shipping
  • Low-odor rubber

Cons

  • Uncontoured handle isn’t for everyone
  • No recent customer reviews
  • Dumbbell handle could be more compact

Bottom Line

These are great for home gym owners who want durable, long-lasting rubber hex dumbbells that are comfortable to hold and use.

Rubber hex dumbbells have stood the test of time. There’s a reason you see them in pretty much every commercial gym and CrossFit box you step foot in. REP has some of the best value rubber hex head dumbbells you can get. The price is on par with most other brands—although shipping costs can get expensive—and the construction is premium.

These are my personal favorite rubber hex dumbbells and the main difference between these and the Rogue Rubber Hex Dumbbells is the grip. REP’s dumbbells feature a straight handle that mimics a barbell, along with edge-to-edge knurling. This creates a superior grip and lowers the likelihood that your sweat starts affecting your lifts. For people who use chalk, this means you’ll probably find yourself using less chalk during your lifting sessions.

Other than that, these REP dumbbells come equipped with pretty standard features: steel dumbbell head construction, hex design, rubber coating, and a chrome-plated steel handle. If I could suggest any improvement to these dumbbells, it would be that the handle is shorter or more compact. The heavier weights can feel somewhat unwieldy due to the handle length.

For some, the extra cost is worth the improvements to the grip. For others, it’s not. However, once you factor in the free shipping from REP, these actually aren’t much more expensive than other options out there. REP also offers a lifetime warranty on these dumbbells for residential use.

You can safely drop these from any position and get a minimal bounce, but be prepared for a dumbbell chase if the bell lands the wrong way on your floor. I personally wouldn’t recommend dropping any dumbbells from overhead, but if you plan to, these are a good option.

For more details, read my REP Fitness Rubber Coated Hex Dumbbells review.

Best Adjustable Dumbbells: SMRTFT NÜOBELL

Good for: People who want an easily adjustable dumbbell pair that feels more like a traditional fixed dumbbell

Best Adjustable Dumbbells

NÜOBELL Adjustable Dumbbells

GGR Score: 4.6 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • All-in-one adjustable dumbbell
  • Weight ranges from 5 to 80 lbs d
  • Easy to use
  • Great durability

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Feels like a regular dumbbell in hand
  • Easy quick-change adjustments
  • Knurled handle
  • Comes with a stand

Cons

  • Can be tricky to get in the stand
  • Unsure of structural integrity
  • Pricey

Bottom Line

These are great for people who want an easily adjustable dumbbell pair that feels more like a traditional fixed dumbbell

The SMRTFT NÜOBELL adjustable dumbbells are our pick for the best adjustable dumbbells. Basically, if you can only get one pair of dumbbells, get these. We love the insanely easy quick-change design and the more traditional dumbbell shape. Unlike many other adjustable dumbbells, your hand won’t be surrounded by a cage when using these–you can use them exactly like you’d use a regular ol’ cast iron dumbbell.

Coop being amazed at Nuobell dumbbells

One of our favorite features about the NÜOBELLs is the fully knurled handle (just like the REP ones above). The full-length, somewhat aggressive knurling really helps with grip. Also, the pancake-like stack of plates is super aesthetically pleasing.

Featuring a click-lock handle, these couldn’t be easier to adjust. You simply rotate the handle until you see the weight you want to use, and then pull the dumbbell out of its stand. These adjustable dumbbells are available in 50-pound and 80-pound options, which will more than suffice for the majority of home gym owners.

Read our NÜOBELL Adjustable Dumbbells review for more details on these awesome pairs.

Best Value Dumbbells: Powerblock Elite Series Dumbbells

Good for: Most people seeking a durable adjustable dumbbell option that has a high weight capacity.

Best Value Dumbbells

PowerBlock Elite Series Adjustable Dumbbells

GGR Score: 4.5 starstarstarstarstar
Community Score: 4.6 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Change the weight in 2.5- or 5-lb increments
  • Up to 70 lbs per hand
  • Add extension kits for up to 90 lbs per hand
  • Extremely durable

Made in USA Made in USA

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Can change weight in increments of 2.5 to 5 pounds
  • Weight goes up to 90 pounds with add-ons
  • More durable than most adjustable dumbbells

Cons

  • Rectangular shape might throw some people off
  • Returns subject to 20% restocking fee
  • Not as comfortable as using fixed dumbbells

Bottom Line

Ideal for people seeking a durable adjustable dumbbell option that has a high weight capacity.

Powerblocks have been one of my favorites since I built my first garage gym nearly a decade ago, largely because the Powerblock Elite Series offers the best price-to-performance ratio of any adjustable dumbbell I have tested. I consider these the best value adjustable dumbbells for three main reasons: they utilize a quick-change system, they have a wide weight range, and they’re as durable as many fixed dumbbells we’ve tested, whereas durability is usually the primary issue with other adjustable dumbbells.

I particularly like that you can change the weight in both 2.5- and 5-pound increments, and with added accessories, you can go up to 90 pounds. Without the add-ons, the weight limit is 70 pounds, which is still more than sufficient for a lot of home gym owners.

Best Adjustable Dumbbells: Powerblock Elite Series Dumbbells

The Powerblock Elite dumbbells are priced competitively at $329 for a pair up to 50 pounds. If you want the 70- or 90-pounders, you’re looking at an additional $149 for each dumbbell, for each additional set (up to a price tag of about $630).

RELATED: Powerblock Coupon

These dumbbells work via a magnetic selector pin, which quickly changes the weight for 10-pound jumps. For 2.5- or 5-pound jumps, the adjustment works a little differently and takes a little longer: You pull out the selector pin, pull out the handle and slide in one of the metal cylinders and then reverse the process.

I’ve never had a Powerblock handle separate from the weight stack, and I’ve never experienced any issues with the pin or magnets either—even during movements like dumbbell snatches. For being made in the U.S., the value is unbeatable.

As much as I like the Powerblocks, I realize the rectangular shape can be tough to get used to. This is the biggest issue for most people. And because the handles are caged, there will inevitably be some contact between your hand and the posts on the bell. This can take some getting used to.

If you’re looking for a more traditionally-shaped adjustable dumbbell, our pick would be the NÜOBELL Adjustable Dumbbells, described above.

See my full Powerblock Dumbbells review for all of the details on these dumbbells.

Best Loadable Dumbbells: Titan Fitness Loadable Dumbbell Pair

Good for: Most people who like to lift really heavy weights.

Best Loadable Dumbbells

Titan Loadable Olympic Dumbbell Handles

GGR Score: 4.8 starstarstarstarstar
Community Score: 4.3 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • High-quality steel material
  • Knurling for better grip
  • Target multiple muscle groups
  • Compatible with Olympic plates
  • Sold as a pair
  • 15- and 20-in options

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Excellent universal workout tool
  • Compact design makes easily portable for a great addition to any at home gym
  • Quality material
  • Durable
  • Knurled grip gives better resistance to slipping after sweating
  • Great alternative to preset weighted dumbbells they allow maximum strength training achievement and room for growth

Cons

  • Not everyone likes a hard knurled grip
  • If you do not have Olympic-style plates already, this option could be pricey
  • Heavy lifters may want/need more loadable sleeve length

Bottom Line

The Titan Loadable Olympic Dumbbell Handles are a great addition to any at home gym as a universal tool to target many muscle groups. They are built to last, and their added knurled grip is great for pushing through the end of a workout preventing any slipping. Would not recommend it for a beginner. These dumbbells are built for compound weight and are best for someone with more experience in strength training that may already have Olympic style weights on hand.

Editor’s note: The 20-inch version (which we recommend here) are out of stock at the time of writing. However, the 15-inch pair is available, with the only difference being the loadable sleeve length.

Loadable dumbbells were once the best thing since sliced bread. Now, there are tons of quick-change adjustable dumbbells on the market, but if you still want loadable dumbbells, you can’t go wrong with these from Titan Fitness.

I love these chrome-plated steel dumbbell handles because they’re incredibly versatile. There’s no shortage of these on the market, but I think the Titan ones are the best value. For under $100, you can get two of the loadable handles. For comparison’s sake, the loadable dumbbell handles from Rogue are $175 for a single handle, and Fringe Sport has pairs for $154. So really, Titan’s are a steal, and they’re still good quality.

These loadable dumbbells meet some of the same IWF specifications as Olympic barbells: The sleeves are 50 millimeters in diameter and the shaft is 28 millimeters in diameter, just like a 20-kilogram barbell. In all honesty, I’d say these really are just tiny barbells. And I love that.

You can load these with regular Olympic weight plates, although that might not be the most comfortable or efficient option. I’d like to see some people try doing biceps curls with standard-sized bumper plates on a dumbbell handle! The better option for most exercises is to load them up with change plates or cylindrical plates, which I wish Titan offered. (Rogue does have some dumbbell bumpers though.)

The Titan Fitness loadable dumbbells have a weight capacity of 500 pounds, yet the handles themselves only weigh 12.1 pounds each. That speaks to the quality construction of the handles. These are also fully knurled and have a bushing rotation system, which adds to the barbell element. Free shipping is the cherry on top!

Best Dumbbells on Amazon: CAP Barbell 150-Pound Dumbbell Set

Good for: Anyone looking for the best dumbbells for beginners.

Best Dumbbells on Amazon

CAP Barbell 150-Pound Dumbbell Set

GGR Score: 4.2 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Costs under $400
  • Includes weights from 5 to 25 lbs.
  • Comes with a storage rack

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Under $400
  • Good for beginners
  • Variety of weights
  • Made with cast iron and steel

Cons

  • Short warranty
  • May take up too much space
  • Weight only goes up to 25 pounds

Bottom Line

These are a good option for people looking for an affordable option, especially beginners new to lifting weights.

These are the best dumbbells for beginners who are just starting to build their home gym, or are at a beginner fitness level. The dumbbells start at five pounds and only go up to 25 pounds, so I wouldn’t recommend this set for anyone who can throw down the big weights.

But for those who don’t need more than 25 pounds per hand, I think these are a great choice, especially if you love shopping on Amazon. They aren’t next-level dumbbells, but they’ll do the trick. The hex heads are made of solid cast iron and coated with a durable rubber outer layer. The handles are cold-rolled solid steel, although not stainless steel, so they are prone to corrosion.

You can choose from a vertical or horizontal dumbbell rack. Both versions have a powder-coated finish to prevent rusting.

For the amount of weight you get, plus the rack, this isn’t a bad deal at all. However, after reading a lot of reviews on Amazon, I recommend keeping your eye on the product page because it seems the price fluctuates quite often. For example, some people got it on Prime Day for under $200, but at the time of writing, the cost for this set is $380.

Keep in mind that this specific set of dumbbells has shipping limitations: You’ll get your set in three different packages weighing 50 pounds each. If you’re lucky, they’ll all come on the same day.

RELATED: How to Build a Budget Home Gym on Amazon

Best Round Dumbbells: REP Fitness Urethane Coated Round Dumbbells

Good for: People who want ultra-durable dumbbells with fully knurled handles.

Best Round Dumbbells

REP Urethane Coated Round Dumbbells

GGR Score: 4.6 starstarstarstarstar
Community Score: 4.5 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Urethane provides added durability
  • No rubber smell
  • Comes with free shipping

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Urethane makes them more durable than other rubber dumbbells
  • Free shipping
  • Little to no rubber smell

Cons

  • More expensive than standard rubber dumbbells
  • Round head design is prone to rolling on floors
  • Uncontoured handle isn’t for everyone

Bottom Line

These are a highly durable option that don't have a rubber smell. They are more expensive than regular dumbbells, but they should last longer.

I love urethane bumper plates so it’s no surprise that I love urethane dumbbells as well. Urethane is a type of rubber that’s more durable than the rubber compounds on most dumbbells. It has a higher load-bearing capacity and better resistance to grease, oils, and dirt. It’s also harder than most rubbers and generally built to outlast and outperform typical rubber products.

So basically, if you want to drop a pair of these REP Fitness Urethane Coated Round Dumbbells from your rooftop, go for it. Just kidding. They do have a lifetime warranty, but they’re probably not warrantied for 30-foot drops.

I do recommend that before buying these, you check to see if your floors are really level. Otherwise, thanks to the round head design, you’ll spend a lifetime chasing these across your floor in between sets. Or you’ll just have to re-rack them every time.

Underneath the urethane coating is solid steel dumbbell heads. The handle is also solid steel, chrome-plated, and fully knurled for a non-slip grip. Instead of a contoured handle, REP uses a straight handle that’s very barbell-like. I personally love this but recognize that many people prefer a contoured handle.

The current pricing might give you some sticker shock, but remember you’re getting a longer-lasting dumbbell and REP’s free shipping. All things considered, these aren’t that much pricier than standard hex head rubber dumbbells.

Best Budget Dumbbells: CAP Barbell Solid Cast Iron Hex Dumbbells

Good for: People looking for bare-bones dumbbells at a good price.

Best Budget Dumbbells

CAP Cast Iron Hex Dumbbells

GGR Score: 4.6 starstarstarstarstar
Community Score: 4.6 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Hexagon shape to prevent rolling
  • Come in wide range of weight options up to 100 lbs
  • Handle is knurled

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Made of solid cast iron
  • Weight range from one to 120 pounds
  • Hex head prevents rolling
  • Medium knurling on entire handle

Cons

  • Baked enamel coat chips easily, leaving iron exposed
  • Prone to rusting
  • No protective rubber coating
  • On Amazon, only available up to 25 pounds in pairs

Bottom Line

If you just need to move some weight and don't want to pay much, these are a solid option.

If you’re hunting for dumbbells on a budget, check out the CAP Barbell Solid Cast Iron Hex Dumbbells. While I wouldn’t normally recommend CAP over other gym equipment brands, you really can’t beat the value you get in these cast iron dumbbells. The price fluctuates depending on when and where you buy them, but for the most part, these come out to be less expensive than dumbbells from Rogue, REP Fitness, Titan Fitness, and other popular brands.

They have many of the same features as higher-end dumbbells, including a fully knurled handle and a hexagonal head to prevent the dumbbells from rolling around in between sets. The baked enamel finish looks nice when new, but if you leave these dumbbells out in the elements (including the humidity that plagues your garage gym), the coating will eventually crack and chip, leaving iron exposed.

You can get these CAP dumbbells in weight options from a measly one pound all the way up to 120 pounds. They’re available in increments of two to three pounds up to the 15-pound dumbbell, at which point they come in 5-pound increments. However, they only come in pairs up to 25 pounds. If you want to go heavier, you’ll have to buy them as a single dumbbell.

Many people are familiar with CAP Barbell dumbbells even if they think they aren’t: Walk into any Walmart or Academy Sports & Outdoors store and you’ll likely see some in the fitness equipment section. But I think the best place to get these is on Amazon since you can get them shipped right to your door within a few days with free shipping.

While these are decent dumbbells all around, remember that you can’t drop them—especially not from overhead. They don’t have a protective rubber coating of any kind, so you risk damage to your floors and the dumbbells themselves if you drop them.

Best Rotating Dumbbells: Eleiko Evo Dumbbells

Good for: Anyone who wants their dumbbells to have a barbell-like feel.

Best Rotating Dumbbells

Eleiko Evo Dumbbells

GGR Score: 4.1 starstarstarstarstar
Community Score: 1.8 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Rotating design great for high-volume activities
  • Range 12.5 to 150 lbs
  • Available in sets, singles, or pairs

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Rotating handle produces the spin of a barbell in a dumbbell
  • Comes in weight increments from 12.5 pounds to 150 pounds
  • Can buy in sets, pairs, or singles

Cons

  • Very expensive (12.5 pound dumbbells starting above $160)
  • Rotating functionality doesn’t start until 12.5 pound increment
  • Handle diameter is smaller than standard

Bottom Line

If you have the money, then purchasing Eleiko equipment is a wise investment. These dumbbells have a barbell-like feel thanks to a rotating handle.

Eleiko Evo Dumbbells are easily one of the best dumbbell options out there, but because of the pricing and super niche design, I can’t recommend them as my top pick. If everyone could afford a single $300 dumbbell, sure, but alas, that’s not the case.

Don’t get me wrong: If you want an absurdly high-quality set of weights in your home gym, Eleiko Evo Dumbbells are it. But you’ll have to pay up. What you’re paying for is a patented rotating handle design that mimics the spin of an Olympic barbell.

The Evos range from 12.5 to 150 pounds and you can buy them in singles, pairs, or sets. Lifters will love the premium construction, from the fully knurled dumbbell handle to the sloped head shape and multi-sided design. Eleiko does make the Evos in 2.5 to 10 pounds, but the rotating functionality doesn’t start until the 12.5-pound weight increment.

Because they rotate, the Evo dumbbells are naturally more ergonomic than fixed dumbbells. This gives them more versatility, making exercises like dumbbell snatches and power cleans more comfortable. They also feature a smaller diameter of 1.5 inches on the handle compared to other Eleiko dumbbells, which could be a good or bad thing depending on your preferences.

Why Your Home Gym Should Have Dumbbells

Coop performing a dumbbell curl

Dumbbells are very versatile strength training tools. With a range of weights, you can use dumbbells to do the big lifts (like squats, deadlifts, and bench press) as well as classic movements like biceps curls. Dumbbells are also great to have around for unilateral (single-side) exercises like split squats, single-leg Romanian deadlifts, single-arm overhead press, and back workouts.

Basically, anything you can do with a barbell, you can do a modified version with a pair of dumbbells. All that to say, they’re a foundational tool for making gains.

RELATED: Barbells vs Dumbells

How to Choose the Best Dumbbells for Your Garage Gym

Your Home Gym Setup

First and foremost, how much space do you have to house dumbbells? If you’re working with a small home gym, consider getting a set of adjustable dumbbells instead of taking up floor space with a dumbbell rack and fixed dumbbell weights from five to 100 pounds. If you have the space and prefer fixed dumbbells, go for it.

RELATED: Best Dumbbell Workouts

Durability

This ties right in with materials and construction. For the functional fitness type who drops dumbbells, drags them across the floor, and does who knows what else with them, sturdy rubber hex dumbbells are best. They’re the most durable and can make the most use compared to uncoated iron dumbbells and adjustable dumbbells.

Adjustable or Standard

For most home gym owners, we’d recommend a set of adjustable dumbbells because they take up less space and end up costing just as much, if not a little less than an entire rack fo standard dumbbells. Standard dumbbells, however, tend to be more durable and have better features like knurling.

Your Training Goals

The type of exercises you do should influence your decision to buy dumbbells. For those who do mainly bodybuilding-style training or just want dumbbells to do accessory work in addition to powerlifting, regular iron dumbbells or adjustable dumbbells can be a good fit. For those who want to do dumbbell versions of the Olympic lifts, however, rubber hex dumbbells are best.

Ease of Use

Does the dumbbell feel natural in your hand? Can you get a good range of motion with it? Make sure you feel comfortable lifting with the dumbbell you pick no matter what movement you’re doing.

Grip

In addition to the dumbbell head, the dumbbell grip is also an important factor to consider. Some people are surprised to learn that many dumbbells don’t have a knurled handle. This can be a problem if you’re using very heavy dumbbells or if you’re working out in a hot, humid environment. Without knurling, you’ll probably need to chalk up at some point.

RELATED: Best CrossFit Grips

Budget

Budget is a huge factor in every home gym buying decision. In fact, it’s usually the starting point for most people. Looking at your budget, determine if a single set of adjustable dumbbells will best meet your needs, or if you can splurge on a full set of iron or rubber hex dumbbells in different weight increments. At that point, you can start looking at different brands to see which offers the best combination of quality, shipping, customer service, and price for your preferences.

RELATED: Best Budget Home Gym Equipment

rep dumbbell

Dumbbell Materials

Not all dumbbells are made the same. Here are the different types of materials that they can be made with, and the pros and cons of each one.

Rubber

Rubber is incredibly durable, and should protect your dumbbells no matter what you put them through. Some, however, come with a strong rubber smell.

Urethane

Urethane is a type of rubber that’s odorless, and also much more durable than regular rubber. While it’ll protect your dumbbells, it also means an increase in overall price.

Steel

Steel dumbbells typically have no protective coating on them, and unless they’re made with stainless steel (which would be incredibly expensive) they won’t provide much corrosion or rust resistance.

Cast Iron

These are your typical clang and bang dumbbells, and will probably feel much heavier in the hand compared to other materials.

Plastic

We really wouldn’t recommend plastic dumbbells, as they’re not very durable and don’t feel quite as good in use compared to cast iron or steel.

Additional Dumbbell Features

Besides their weight, here are some things to look out for when considering a pair of dumbbells for your home gym.

Knurling

This is the cross-hatch pattern found on dumbbell handles that helps provide grip. There’s passive and aggressive knurling, and which one you want on your dumbbell is going to be up to you. Passive is good for people who workout with high volume sets, and aggressive is good for heavy lifts.

Rotating Handles

Unless you’re paying top dollar for your dumbbell, this is quite rare. That said, some have rotating handles to help complete the spin on a bicep curl or snatch.

Diameter

This is especially important if you have smaller or bigger hands. You’ll want to make sure your hand can fit around the dumbbell handle comfortably, and this will depend on the diameter of the handle.

FAQs About the Best Dumbbells

What are the best dumbbells for home gyms?

For a lot of people, the best dumbbells for a home gym are adjustable dumbbells. These dumbbells offer a lot more bang for your buck even if they seem expensive for a set. You’ll wind up paying a lot more for an entire set of standard dumbbells. However, some home gym owners prefer a full set and don’t care about the price. The decision ultimately comes down to your budget, space, and preferences.

What are the best dumbbells for CrossFit?

Anyone who does CrossFit or similar functional fitness training should invest in a few pairs of rubber hex dumbbells. These will best withstand the high-impact use that happens during CrossFit WODs, such as dropping the dumbbell after a set of dumbbell snatches.

At the very least, female athletes should get a pair of 35-pound rubber hex dumbbells and male athletes should get a pair of 50-pound dumbbells. These are the typically prescribed weights for dumbbells in CrossFit workouts.

Should I get dumbbells or a barbell for my home gym?

If you can get both, get both. Dumbbells and barbells both have their place in a well-rounded home gym setup. While a barbell and weight plates are better suited to heavy deadlifts, squats, bench presses, snatches, and cleans, dumbbells tend to be better for accessory work and unilateral (single-arm or single-leg) work.

If you can only choose one, I’d go with a barbell and plates if you like to lift heavier weights and dumbbells if you prefer high-volume training. Truthfully, though, both are a good form of weight training and either will help you build muscle.

Are dumbbells or kettlebells better?

Just like a barbell isn’t necessarily better than a dumbbell, neither is a kettlebell vs dumbbell. Kettlebells and dumbbells actually have a lot of similar uses, with the primary difference being grip position and weight distribution. Both are valuable tools for home workouts.

RELATED: Best Kettlebells

What exercises can you do with dumbbells?

The possibilities are pretty much endless. With a pair of dumbbells, you can do dumbbell rows, snatches, clean and jerks, squats, lunges, biceps curls, triceps extensions, and more. Dumbbells are also great for incorporating in cardio workouts as a form of conditioning.

What type of dumbbell is the most durable?

Rubber hex dumbbells are the most durable type of dumbbell. The rubber coating allows them to resist damage even when dropped from overhead; it also wards off the scuffing of the metal underneath, so the dumbbells resist rusting. Neoprene coatings are known to peel and flake; powder and paint coats will also peel over time, and bare metal rusts super easily.

The Competition

To be frank, a lot of dumbbells in each category are exactly the same aside from branding. Many of these are made in the same factories in the same places, with the only differences being logos, price, shipping, and warranty. But in case you’re curious, here’s a look at most of the dumbbells worth mentioning.

Rubber Hex Dumbbells

Rogue Fitness Poly Hex Dumbbell: These are an unbranded version of rubber hex dumbbells that Rogue is retailing while supplies last. The difference is the coating: The regular rubber hex dumbbells have a full virgin rubber coating. On the poly hex dumbbells, the coating is a mixture of rubber and vinyl. This makes the coating slightly harder.

REP Rubber Grip Hex Dumbbells: Another great dumbbell option from REP Fitness, these are similar to the REP hex dumbbells in our top pick list. There are two big differentiators, both having to do with the grip: The handle on these dumbbells is rubber-coated and contoured, which makes for a totally different grip feel.

Titan Fitness Rubber Hex Chrome Grip Dumbbells: Another typical rubber hex dumbbell, these pairs from Titan Fitness don’t necessarily stand out, other than the chrome handle, which is a nice touch.

Fringe Sport Rubber Hex Dumbbells: These compare to the Rogue, REP, and Titan rubber hex dumbbells. Nothing overtly special here, other than the free shipping which is always clutch.

Round Dumbbells

Rogue Urethane Dumbbells: These are super similar to the REP urethane dumbbells that we recommend, but they don’t have free shipping.

Titan Fitness Urethane Round Dumbbells: Another standard urethane round dumbbell. Nothing spectacularly great or bad about them.

Loadable Dumbbells

Fringe Sport Loadable Dumbbells: Just like the Titan loadable dumbbell handles, these are compatible with Olympic weight plates. The difference is that the handles have a black zinc finish and they’re much more expensive.

Rogue DB-15 Loadable Dumbbells: I like these just as much as I like the Titan Fitness loadable dumbbell handles, but the pricing on these is crazy at more than $150 for a single empty handle.

Titan Fitness Chrome Loadable Dumbbells: These would look phenomenal in any home gym. They’re fully chrome and shine like the stars. Unlike the Olympic dumbbell handles I recommend, these come as a full set with plates and collars—but they aren’t compatible with Olympic plates.

Titan Fitness Cast Iron Spinlock Dumbbells: I’m not a huge fan of traditional spin-lock style dumbbells since they take a long time to change compared to today’s quick-change and loadable dumbbells. But these spinlock dumbbells from Titan are a great value, as you get 200 pounds of weight for about $250.

CAP Barbell Adjustable Dumbbell Set: I don’t like the baked enamel coating on the plates that come with this set, but other than that, these are a decent value for anyone building a home gym on budget.

REP Fitness Adjustable Dumbbells: There’s nothing special about these spinlock dumbbells. LIke most, the plates are solid cast iron and the handles are straight.

Adjustable Dumbbells

Ironmaster Quick-Lock Adjustable Dumbbell System: I recommend these for people who want heavy weights but also want to retain the feel of a traditional dumbbell. They come standard up to 75 pounds, but with add-ons, they can go up to 165 pounds.

Powerblock Pro Series Adjustable Dumbbells: This is an upgrade from the Powerblock Elite Series Adjustable Dumbbells I recommend for most people. You can’t be afraid of sticker shock if you want these. They clock in at just under $500, but they do account for 2,565 pounds of free weight.

NÜOBELL Adjustable Dumbbells: If you want super quick-change adjustable dumbbells, look no further than the NÜOBELL adjustable dumbbell from SMRTFT. They only go up to 80 pounds, but that’s more than enough for most home gym owners. These are the definition of luxury home gym equipment.

MX Select MX55 Rapid Change Dumbbell System: A great set for beginners, the MX Select MX55s come with a range of five to 55 pounds and they have a super smooth weight change system. These aren’t my favorite and I think they’re pricier than some other options I like better.

Bowflex SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells: If you’re not sure if you’ll like adjustable dumbbells, go with this pair from Bowflex. It’s a great value option that costs less than $350 but still allows you to reach more than 50 pounds for each dumbbell.

HAVAK Adjustable Triad: These are a somewhat underground adjustable dumbbell featuring three different handles at different diameters to increase grip strength. I’m a big fan of these, but they’re honestly somewhat of their own category..

ATIVAFIT Adjustable Dumbbells: You can find a ton of versions of these same dumbbells online because they’re white-labeled by many brands importing from eastern companies. They’re cheap dumbbells that won’t last and I don’t recommend them.

Pepin Adjustable Dumbbells: The Pepin Adjustable Dumbbells are great. The problem is that they can’t be dropped and take a long time to change compared to Ironmasters. That said, we do recommend them, especially to those that want a spin-lock style dumbbell with a great handle.

BaadAss Adjustable Dumbbells: BaadAss Adjustable Dumbbells and Pepin Dumbbells are very similar in style. However, I’m not a fan of the finish or the price.

Further reading

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