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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 the best weight plates to start, I’m not sure my garage gym would ever feel complete without a rack full of hex-head dumbbells.

To find the best dumbbells, our team has researched more than 100 pairs and sets. We then got our hands on dozens of traditional dumbbells, the best adjustable dumbbells, and loadable dumbbells, testing for factors such as:

  • Durability: Can they withstand use after use in a garage gym?
  • Functionality: Do they feel good in the hand? Do they get the job done?
  • Value: Are they reasonably priced?

Truth be told, 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 2024

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 Rubber Coated Hex Dumbbells

GGR Score: 4.8 starstarstarstarstar
Community Score: 4.3 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Made from premium low-odor rubber,
  • Rubber coated hex dumbbell design is quiet and easy on your floors
  • Chrome-plated handle is straight and fully knurled

Pros & Cons


  • Built to last
  • Sold in pairs, and many weight options available
  • Hex design prevents weights from rolling around
  • Fully knurled handle


  • Have a strong rubber smell when first taken out of the box, but that should go away
  • Straight handle isn’t for everyone

Bottom Line

The REP Fitness Rubber Hex Dumbbells feel like the free weights most people have used at one point in their life, making them great for beginners and those of advanced fitness levels

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 Fitness 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, earning a near-perfect 4.75 out of 5 on our rating metric for their build.

An image of REP Fitness dumbbells in a gym

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.

rep fitness dumbbells

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, like Rogue dumbbells. REP also offers a lifetime warranty on these dumbbells for residential use.

RELATED: Rogue Dumbbells vs REP Dumbbells

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 shouldn’t damage your flooring.

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

Weight range 2.5-125 lbs
Handle materialKnurled chrome
Head materialRubber
StorageNot included
WarrantyLifetime warranty for home use, 1-year warranty for commercial use

Best Hex Dumbbells: Iron Bull Rubber Hex Dumbbells

Good for: People looking for durable fixed dumbbells that won’t roll around in your home gym

Best Hex Dumbbells

Iron Bull Rubber Hex Dumbbells

Product Highlights

  • Rubber hex dumbbells
  • Made with scent-free rubber
  • Fully knurled handle
  • Ranges from 5 to 100 lbs
  • Sold in pairs or sets

Pros & Cons


  • Affordable price per pound
  • Broad weight range
  • Scent-free rubber
  • Fully knurled handle


  • No customer reviews yet
  • Straight handle isn’t for everyone

Bottom Line

Iron Bull Rubber Hex Dumbbells have a classic hexagonal shape to prevent rolling around in your home gym. With a broad range from 5 pounds to 100 pounds, these dumbbells have a straight, fully knurled handle and rubber coating to help protect your home gym flooring—and the dumbbells—from any accidental drops.

We haven’t had a chance to test out the Iron Bull Strength Rubber Hex Dumbbells, but we’re big fans of the affordable, budget-friendly home gym equipment that Iron Bull has made. These rubber hex dumbbells have the classic hexagonal shape, which will prevent your dumbbells from rolling around a slanted gym floor.

These hex dumbbells are also designed with a straight, fully knurled handle, which contrasts with some dumbbells having a tapered, ergonomic handle. Whether you prefer a knurled or ergonomic handle for dumbbells is entirely on preference, but we’re fans of knurled goodness at GGR. The grippy knurling goes end to end on the handle, ensuring a strong grip even during high-repetition sets.

RELATED: What Is Barbell Knurling?

Plus, depending on the pair or set you purchase, you can get these fixed dumbbells for as low as about $1.70 per pound, with free shipping on orders over $150. This is a great choice if you’re looking to purchase an entire set of hex dumbbells, since their weights range from 5 to 100 pounds.

Iron Bull Hex Dumbbells are coated with a natural rubber that they claim is scent-free. Since we haven’t had our hands on these yet, we can’t verify the claim, but that’s a nice perk, especially since so many rubber dumbbells and bumper plates can have a smell to them right out of the box. The rubber-coated heads will help protect your gym floors if you drop them, although I’d never recommend dropping any dumbbell intentionally.

Weight range5-100 lbs
Handle materialChrome-plated knurled handle
Head materialNatural rubber
StorageNot included
WarrantyNot disclosed

Best Dumbbell Set: Major Fitness Rubber Hex Dumbbells

Good for: Those who want an entire set of adjustable dumbbells at a reasonable price

Best Dumbbell Sets

Major Fitness Rubber Hex Dumbbells

GGR Score: 4.4 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Hex rubber dumbbells
  • Sold in sets or pairs
  • Ergonomic handle
  • Hex shape prevents rolling
  • 1-year warranty
  • 10-70 lb weight range

Pros & Cons


  • Free shipping
  • 35-day money back guarantee
  • Rubber coating protects floors
  • Sold in large sets or pairs


  • Short warranty period
  • Limited weight range (10-70 lbs)

Bottom Line

Major Fitness Rubber Hex Dumbbells offer a pretty traditional dumbbell with a rubber coating to project the weight and your floors. Two things that may not suit all lifters: an ergonomic handle design and a limited weight range from 10 to 70 pounds.

Some people still like the idea of having an entire dumbbell set in their home gym or training facility. If you fall into that category, you might want to check out the Major Fitness Rubber Hex Dumbbell sets. The brand offers two main dumbbell sets totaling either 1,040 pounds (pairs starting at 10 pounds going up to 70 pounds) or 440 pounds (dumbbell pairs from 10 to 45 pounds). You can also buy dumbbells in pairs from Major Fitness. 

These hex dumbbells are covered in rubber to protect both your floors and the weight. You’ll get free shipping on all orders from Major Fitness and a one-year warranty on the dumbbells from the date of purchase.  

woman using living fit dumbbell

Major Fitness dumbbells are similar to rubber hex dumbbells we’ve tested in terms of grip, shape, and quality. I think what sets them apart is the ergonomic handle to better accommodate the shape of your hand. Most dumbbells, fixed or adjustable, have a uniform handle that might be hard for some people to grip. Using a Major Fitness dumbbell feels more like slipping your hand into a pair of gloves made just for you.

Although I don’t think it’s a dealbreaker, I should also mention that knurling is just OK. The ergonomic handles don’t have knurling from edge-to-edge like the REP Fitness hex dumbbells.

Weight range 10-70 lbs
Handle materialCenter knurling on metal chrome
Head materialRubber
StorageNot included
Warranty1 year

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: 4.3 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


  • 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


  • 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.

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. I bought a pair of the 15-inch handles during a Black Friday sale a few years ago. I’d recommend buying the 20-inch pair, however, because I can only get a few of my change plates on these with the barbell collars I have (if I used spring collars, I could probably get a third plate on here).

RELATED: Black Friday Dumbbell Deals

Titan Loadable dumbbells

When it comes to loadable dumbbells, there’s no shortage of these on the market, but I think the Titan ones are the best value (I give them a 5 out of 5 in that category). For under $100 with free shipping (and often cheaper during sales periods), 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.

Hand around a Titan Loadable Dumbbell

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 400 pounds, yet the handles themselves only weigh 12.1 pounds each (if you get the 20-inch pair). 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.

After a few years, there is some slight corrosion on these. I keep them in my garage gym, which is not climate-controlled, and which is in the very hot South. Overall, I give the construction a 4.5 out of 5, because they have lasted so long and are still in great shape.

Read our Titan Loadable Olympic Dumbbell Handles review for more.

Weight range 20″ dumbbell begins at 12 lbs, weight capacity of 400 lbs
ShapeDependent on the weight plate’s shape
Handle materialKnurled steel
Compatible withOlympic-sized plates
StorageNot included
Warranty1 year

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 starstarstarstarstar
Community Score: 4.5 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

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

Pros & Cons


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


  • 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. The Titan urethane bumper plates in my garage gym are in perfect condition two years in, and they are used and dropped every day, over and over.

Urethane 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.

Weight range5-150 lbs
Handle materialKnurled steel
Head materialCPU urethane
StorageNot included
WarrantyLifetime warranty for home use, 1-year warranty for commercial use

Best Adjustable Dumbbells: Snode AD80 Adjustable Dumbbells

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

Best Adjustable Dumbbells

Snode AD80 Adjustable Dumbbells

GGR Score: 4.25 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Weight ranges from 10 to 80 lbs
  • 10-lb weight increments
  • 36mm handle diameter
  • Cast iron dumbbell cradle
  • Feels like a pro-style dumbbell

Pros & Cons


  • Cast iron cradles
  • Drop-proof design from up to 32”
  • Solid cast iron dumbbell plates with dovetail design
  • Flat dumbbell heads
  • Knurled handle


  • Expensive
  • Longer dumbbell
  • Only jumps in 10-lb increments

Bottom Line

The Snode AD80 Adjustable Dumbbells are a durable pair of adjustable dumbbells that cover a broad range of dumbbell weights. If only having 10-pound increments is alright with you, these are a solid choice of dumbbell, strong enough to withstand drops from up to 32 inches.

The Snode AD80 adjustable dumbbells are our pick for the best adjustable dumbbells. Coop Mitchell, GGR’s founder, has used these multiple times, and admits, “I’m more impressed with these than I thought I would be.”

We love the insanely easy quick-change design, giving it a 4.5 out of 5—one of the highest scores of any adjustable dumbbell we have tested. Also, it’s great that these have a 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.

One of our favorite features about the Snode Dumbbells is the knurled handle (just like the REP ones above). The knurling really helps with grip, though Snode’s is a bit more on the passive side while still providing good grip. Also, the pancake-like stack of plates is super aesthetically pleasing and allows them to lie flat on your thighs during moves like shoulder presses.

Snode Ad80 Goblet Squat

These are also the only adjustable dumbbells that are protected against drops. The plates are made entirely of cast iron and offer the same level of protection at 10 pounds as they do at 80. There is some plastic, but it’s in the adjustment gears. So while they’re fine if dropped once in a blue moon we wouldn’t recommend making a habit out of it.

The one annoying thing about these dumbbells is that they jump in 10-pound increments, rather than 5 pounds like our prior best adjustable dumbbell pick, the SMRTFT NÜOBELL. They’re also a bit pricier, though the superior construction and warranty against falls (up to 32 inches) push these past NÜOBELL in our humble opinion.

Read more in our Snode adjustable dumbbell review.

Weight range10-80 lbs
Handle materialKnurled steel handle
Head materialCast iron plates
StorageIron cradles included, optional dumbbell stand
Warranty2 years

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


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


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

Bottom Line

PowerBlock Elite dumbbells go up to 70 pounds (90 pounds with the extension kit), can be changed in 2.5- or 5-pound increments, and replace 16 pairs of dumbbells. These adjustable dumbbells are also priced under $500. PowerBlocks are ideal for anyone seeking a durable adjustable dumbbell for at-home workouts.

PowerBlocks have been one of GGR founder Coop Mitchell’s favorites since he built his first garage gym nearly a decade ago, largely because the PowerBlock Elite Series offers the best price-to-performance ratio of any adjustable dumbbell he has tested. He says he considers 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.

We 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.

The Powerblock Elite dumbbells are priced competitively at $419 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.

Coop standing in his garage gym with PowerBlock Dumbbells

“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,” Coop says. For being made in the U.S., the value is unbeatable.

As much as we like the PowerBlocks, we 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 our full PowerBlock Dumbbells review for all of the details on these dumbbells.

Weight range 5-90 lbs
Handle materialCaged handle
Head materialWelded steel
StorageOptional home rack stand
Warranty5-year residential warranty

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


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


  • 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 2 to 3 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.

Weight range5-120 lbs
Handle materialCast iron
Head materialCast iron
StorageNot included
Warranty30-day manufacturer warranty

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

Product Highlights

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

Pros & Cons


  • 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


  • 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 one of the best Olympic barbells.

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. “I’m usually a fan of stainless steel, but for the price you’re paying for these dumbbells, the rubberized heads make sense,” says Coop Mitchell, GGR’s founder and the person on our team who has used these dumbbells the most.

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. Eleiko claims they tested these by dropping them thousands of times from just 4 inches high to 16.5 feet. 

Coop curling dumbbells

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.

For more, check out our Eleiko Evo Dumbbell review.

Weight range 12.5-150 lbs
ShapeRound, multi-sided head
Handle materialKnurled stainless steel
Head materialPolyurethane head to mimic rubber
StorageNot included
Warranty5 years

Best Dumbbells for Beginners: NordicTrack Select-A-Weight Dumbbells

Good for: Beginners wanting dumbbells that can challenge them as they gain muscle

Best for Beginners

NordicTrack 55-Pound Select-A-Weight Dumbbell Set

GGR Score: 4.1 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • 15 weight options in 2.5-lb or 5-lb increments
  • 10-pound knurled handlebar 
  • Included storage tray
  • Includes a 30-day trial to iFIT
  • Compact piece of equipment with a smooth weight selection design

Pros & Cons


  • Space-saving
  • 15 weights in one piece of equipment
  • Includes storage tray
  • Moderate knurling


  • Great value, but an investment
  • May feel awkward when fully loaded

Bottom Line

NordicTrack’s 55-pound Select-a-Weight adjustable dumbbells are versatile and space-saving, offering users 15 different weight options in one.

If you’re looking for the right pair of dumbbells to begin your journey into strength training, the NordicTrack Select-A-Weight Dumbbells are the perfect pair for you. These high value adjustable dumbbells take the place of 15 pairs of dumbbells, ranging from 10 to 55 pounds.

That’s enough weight for a variety of exercises—from lighter warm-up movements to heavier presses and lunges. Plus, it’ll leave you with room to grow as you build strength. You get all these sets of weights for less than $400, a price that led GGR founder Coop Mitchell to rate the value a perfect 5 out of 5.

These aren’t the most durable adjustable dumbbells, earning them a 3.5 out of 5 for construction and durability. Each head of the dumbbell has two pin selectors, and some inner workings to connect the weights to the handle. However, as long as you don’t drop these dumbbells, they should last for quite a bit.

The handle has decent knurling, although it’s a bit on the passive side. Still, for the low price, it’s a nice addition to have. Plus, these dumbbells have a flat head, which will give them a more traditional dumbbell feel. “The pro style design keeps these with that flat head and traditional feel, no matter the weight you’ve adjusted to,” Coop adds. 

NordicTrack 55lb Adjustable Dumbbells

Although we should note: It’s still a somewhat longer dumbbell at full capacity—16.5 inches long at 55 pounds—so it might feel a bit awkward at those maximal weights. Read our NordicTrack Dumbbell review for more information on these budget-friendly dumbbells.

Weight range10-55 lbs
Handle materialKnurled metal
Head materialCast iron plates with plastic and rubber
StoragePlastic weight trays included
WarrantyNot disclosed

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 Rubber Hex Dumbbell Set with Rack

GGR Score: 3.8 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Rubber coated hex dumbbell set
  • Dumbbell pairs from 5 to 25 lbs
  • Comes with alloy steel frame
  • Durable design
  • Ergonomic handles

Pros & Cons


  • Affordable dumbbell set
  • Space-saving frame
  • Rubber hex-shaped dumbbell heads


  • Ships in seperate boxes
  • Small weight range
  • Frame may need to be tightened over time

Bottom Line

The CAP Barbell dumbbell set from 5 to 25 pounds is an ideal beginner weight set. The price point is also a steal for anyone new to strength training or setting up a home gym for the first time.  The limited weight range may not suffice for experienced home gym owners or folks looking to increase strength with progressive overload principles.

These are some of the best dumbbells for those who are just starting to build their home gym, or are at a beginner fitness level. As you can read about in our CAP Barbell 150 Pound Dumbbell Set review, 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

Weight range 5-25 lbs
Handle materialAlloy steel
Head materialCast iron
StorageDumbbell rack included
Warranty30-day manufacturer warranty

Other Dumbbells We Researched and Tested

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. Read our Rogue DB-15 loadable dumbbell review for our full thoughts.

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.

woman lifting dumbbells

How We Picked and Tested the Best Dumbbells

Our team of certified personal trainers, elite-level athletes, competitive weightlifters, and hard-core gym goers has researched more than 100 dumbbells. We have personally tested roughly 50 types of dumbbells. Using our in-depth fitness equipment testing methodology, we put dozens of dumbbells to work, using them for our own workouts.

We evaluate and rate dumbbells on criteria that include several factors.


Do dumbbells pass the drop test? When we drop them, do they break? Aside from that, how would they withstand the elements of a garage gym?


We like to see brands stand behind their products. So we look at if dumbbells come with at least a one-year warranty against defects. Bonus points to dumbbells that come with a lifetime warranty.


Are the dumbbells competitively priced? For iron cast dumbbells, you typically expect to see around $2 per pound, higher for dumbbells that are rubber hex.

Workout Performance

How do the dumbbells feel as we exercise? Do they get the job done? Can they rest comfortably on our legs between bench sets?


We assign a rating to dumbbells based on the materials used. For example, we love to see a knurled, steel handle for great grip. We don’t love to see a lot of plastic, because that can lead to durability issues.


The more options a home gym owner has, the better. We look for dumbbells that offer a range of weights to accommodate beginner and experienced lifters. We especially love to see small jumps of 2.5 to 5 pounds between sets.

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 exercises.

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

Adjustable Dumbbells Vs Regular Dumbbells

With all this talk about dumbbells, it can be difficult to know which type of dumbbell is best for your home gym space—particularly adjustable dumbbells or traditional dumbbells. Each has their pros and cons, so let’s break down the different factors between the two.

RELATED: Adjustable Dumbbells Vs Fixed Dumbbells

Adjustable Dumbbells

An adjustable dumbbell is unique to a traditional dumbbell in that the weight can be adjusted incrementally to be lighter or heavier. How the weight is adjusted varies by brand, from a quick selectorized system, to loading weight plates onto loadable dumbbells. Since these dumbbells can replace several weights, they’re great for saving space in your home gym, and often prove a bit less expensive, too.

Adjustable Dumbbell Pros

  • Saves space
  • Can be budget-friendly
  • Easier to transport
  • Many offer easy weight changes

Adjustable Dumbbell Cons

  • Less durable than fixed dumbbells
  • Some dumbbells might rattle while in use
  • Lower max weight than traditional dumbbells
  • Often have a different shape than typical dumbbells

Regular Dumbbells

Most people have interacted with regular or fixed dumbbells before; they’re the dumbbells that line the wall across multiple racks at most commercial gyms. Shapes can vary, but traditional dumbbells typically have hex- or round-shaped ends (heads) on a handle.

Although we don’t recommend dropping dumbbells in general, fixed dumbbells will be more durable than most adjustable options. A full set of dumbbells will also take up more space than adjustable dumbbells, so this is an ideal choice for gym owners who have the space for a dumbbell rack and weights.

Regular Dumbbell Pros

  • More durable weights
  • No adjustment times needed
  • Higher maximum weights than adjustable dumbbells
  • Good for supersets or working out with others

Regular Dumbbell Cons

  • Often pricier than adjustable dumbbells
  • Takes up more space
  • Budget options may not have protective rubber coating
  • Can’t easily travel with

How to Choose the Best Dumbbells for Your Garage Gym

If you’re looking for a good dumbbell, there are a few things to consider.

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 Exercises


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.


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 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

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.

rep dumbbell


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 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 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.


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.

Man performing one-arm dumbbell rows on the REP Fitness Blackwing

Additional Dumbbell Features

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


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.


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.

Best Dumbbell Exercises

Looking for some of the best dumbbell exercises to get the most out of your dumbbells? Here are some of the top dumbbell exercises to help get you a full-body workout, plus a sample workout you can try out yourself.

Dumbbell Front Squat

As a weightlifter, I love to squat; every strength training program should have some form of squatting or leg work. Front squats with dumbbells help build your quads and hamstrings while also engaging your core by balancing the dumbbells in a front rack position.

How to do it:

  1. Stand with your feet just slightly wider than shoulder width with your feet turned out slightly. 
  2. With a dumbbell in each hand, rest one head of the dumbbell on each shoulder. Raise and point your elbows out in front of you.
  3. Shift your hips into a squat like you’re aiming to sit back in a chair, keeping your back straight and core braced during the descent. 
  4. Keeping your weight balanced in your heels, squeeze the glute muscles to drive back up to a standing position.
  5. Repeat for reps.
front squats

Dumbbell Romanian Deadlift

Romanian deadlifts (RDLs) are a fantastic tool for isolating the lower back muscles and posterior chain—glutes and hamstrings—without the discomfort of hip thrusts, according to a 2019 comparative study1. Using dumbbells for RDLs gets the hamstrings like nothing else, plus you can do single-leg RDLs for unilateral exercise training.

How to do it:

  1. Start in a standing position with your feet hip-width apart and holding a dumbbell in each hand.
  2. Keeping the back straight, shift the hips back with a slight bend in the knee as you lower yourself into a hip hinge position. Stop when you feel a stretch in the hamstrings.
  3. With the arms staying straight towards the floor, squeeze the glutes to hinge back to a standing position.
  4. Repeat for desired reps.
dumbbell rdl

Floor Press

A floor press is very much like a bench press, except you’re lying on the floor instead of on top of a weight bench. This chest exercise will limit your range of motion compared to a bench press, but the motion will isolate a nasty sticking point in presses for a lot of lifters.

How to do it:

  1. Start by lying on your back on the floor with a dumbbell in each hand.
  2. Position the dumbbells up over your chest with your elbows resting on the floor, at about 45 degrees.
  3. Push the dumbbells up while maintaining them at chest level, and squeeze the pecs until the dumbbells are fully extended.
  4. Slowly return to your starting position, and repeat for your desired sets and reps.
Gif of dumbbell floor chest press

Dumbbell Bent-Over Row

Bent-over rows attack the upper back muscles, particularly the lats and erector spinae. Using dumbbells helps each arm move independently of the other, which will help strengthen smaller stabilizer muscles as well. To further address bilateral deficits2, you can go for one-arm dumbbell rows, too.

How to do it:

  1. Start by standing, holding one dumbbell in each hand by your side.
  2. Bring yourself into a hinge position by bending at the waist to between 45 and 60 degrees, keeping the core tight, back flat, hips back, and knees slightly bent.
  3. While maintaining your hinge position, bring the dumbbells up toward the top of your abs, squeezing the shoulder blades back. 
  4. Lower the arms and then repeat.
dumbell bent over row gif

Dumbbell Overhead Press

Dumbbell presses are a great tool to train your shoulders—your deltoids in particular. Using dumbbells challenges you to maintain balance while pressing, and if you want to isolate the shoulders more, you can do these seated.

How to do it:

  1. Begin by standing with a hip-width stance, or sit on the edge of a bench, box, or chair.
  2. Hold a dumbbell in each hand at shoulder level, palms facing forward. 
  3. With your arms out to the side, slowly push up overhead until the arms are fully extended.
  4. Bring the weights back down to the shoulders and repeat.
seated dumbbell shoulder press

Hammer Curl

This dumbbell curl variation keeps your hand in a neutral position, and they work on the muscles in the upper arm3—specifically the long and short head of the biceps brachii—as well as your forearm and grip. The neutral grip might help those with chronic wrist pain by placing less stress on the rotation of the arm.

How to do it:

  1. While standing, hold a dumbbell in each hand by your side with your palms facing your body.
  2. Bending at the elbows, bring your hands up towards your shoulders. Aim for touching the dumbbell head to your shoulder. 
  3. Return the arms to the starting position and then repeat. You may also alternate arms if you wish to.
A gif of a dumbbell hammer curl

Standing Tricep Extension

This exercise isolates the triceps muscle in your upper arm, but the overhead position can stretch the lats a bit. So if you’re struggling with thoracic or lat mobility, use this exercise to build your arms and get a nice stretch in, too.

How to do it:

  1. Start by standing, with your feet underneath you at about hip- or shoulder-width apart. 
  2. Bring the dumbbells up over your shoulders, with the elbows high and palms facing your side.
  3. Maintaining the upright angle of the upper arm, extend your arms straight overhead, squeezing through the triceps at the end of the movement.
  4. Bend the arms to return the dumbbells back towards your shoulders.
  5. Repeat for reps.
Dumbbell overhead tricep extension

Try This Sample Dumbbell Workout

Whether it’s a dumbbell workout for weight loss or muscle gain, you can try out these exercises for your own full-body dumbbell workout. For more hypertrophy, add a few more reps; for building strengths, try decreasing the repetitions and increasing the dumbbell weight.

Dumbbell Front Squat45-8
Dumbbell Bent-Over Row45-8
Seated Overhead Press36-10
Hammer Curls36-10
Standing Tricep Extension36-10

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.

Are metal or rubber dumbbells better?

Rubber dumbbells have a couple advantages over metal dumbbells, especially if you tend to drop your dumbbells. The rubber coating on dumbbells can help protect your flooring and your dumbbell itself if you accidentally drop them. However, rubber dumbbells can be more expensive than cast-iron dumbbells, so your budget may appreciate the lower cost.

How much should you pay for dumbbells?

It’s best to think about how much you’re paying for fixed dumbbells by the price per pound. In new condition, most cast-iron dumbbells cost around $2 per pound, with rubber-coated dumbbells costing a bit more than that. 

Adjustable dumbbells might seem expensive at first glance, but they’re replacing entire sets of dumbbells, which typically will calculate as major savings of both money and gym space.

What dumbbells should I start with?

If you’re just beginning with strength training, the dumbbells best suited for you will be on the lighter side. You can start with fixed dumbbells going from 2.5 pounds to 15 or 20 pounds, although a better idea is to start with a budget-friendly pair of adjustable dumbbells, which will allow you to add weight as you build strength and muscle. I’d suggest the NordicTrack dumbbells, which max out at 55 pounds—plenty of weight for beginners to grow into—and are competitively priced.


  1. Delgado, J., Drinkwater, E. J., Banyard, H. G., Haff, G. G., & Nosaka, K. (2019). Comparison Between Back Squat, Romanian Deadlift, and Barbell Hip Thrust for Leg and Hip Muscle Activities During Hip Extension. Journal of strength and conditioning research, 33(10), 2595–2601. https://doi.org/10.1519/JSC.0000000000003290
  2. Škarabot, J., Cronin, N., Strojnik, V., & Avela, J. (2016). Bilateral deficit in maximal force production. European journal of applied physiology, 116(11-12), 2057–2084. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00421-016-3458-z
  3. Tiwana MS, Charlick M, Varacallo M. Anatomy, Shoulder and Upper Limb, Biceps Muscle. [Updated 2022 Aug 30]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2022 Jan-.

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