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If you want to improve your home gym exponentially, add a set of dumbbells. 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 2021

Best Overall Dumbbells for Home Gyms: Rogue Rubber Hex Dumbbells

4.50
Best Overall Dumbbells for Home Gyms
Rogue Dumbbells
Rogue Dumbbells

Rogue Dumbbells are sold in pairs and available in weights ranging from 2.5LB to 125LB. This standard rubber hex design is a great, budget-priced option that still delivers on quality, performance, and longevity. The heavy-duty, rubber-encased heads minimize noise and limit wear and tear (to both the bells and your flooring), while the chrome-plated handle is ergonomically designed for a firm but comfortable feel in any grip style. All smaller Rogue Dumbbells up to 10LB feature a 25MM diameter handle, while those 12.5LB and up have a larger 35MM diameter handle. Dumbbell training has stood the test of time for good reason. Along with the versatility in weight choices for multiple athletes, a good set of bells can be used to duplicate nearly all types of barbell exercises, while also offering a wider range of single-arm, rehab-specific, and explosive movements in virtually any sized space–something not possible with bars or most weight room machines. Specifications: Weight range: 2.5LB to 125LB Tolerance: +/- 3% Handle Diameter: 25MM up to 10LB, 35MM for 12.5LB and above Heavy-duty Rubber Encased Heads: minimize noise, floor damage, and wear and tear on the dumbbells themselves. Easy-grip, ergonomic Chrome-Plated Handle Proprietary head to handle construction ensures the head does not come loose

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

My Favorite Things:

  • Classic hex head design
  • Durable rubber coating
  • Solid steel construction
  • Low bounce; safe to drop

My Callouts:

  • Pricey, especially once you factor in shipping costs
  • Handles have a smaller diameter on lower weight dumbbells
  • Partial knurling isn’t the best for grip

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. Rogue 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.

The Rogue Rubber Hex Dumbbells have a heavy-duty rubber outer coating with a Shore A durometer rating of 88. That’s a higher rating than some of the best bumper plates, so you know these are durable. They’re designed to withstand high-intensity, high-impact workouts such as CrossFit WODs. (See best CrossFit equipment here.)

Also, Rogue has addressed one of the main concerns about dumbbells with these rubber hex heads: the handle-to-head weld. Cheap dumbbells will come apart where the head meets the handle, and then you’re left with an unstable weight that’s uncomfortable to use. The Rogue Rubber Hex Dumbbells are tightly welded to avoid this problem.

These feature a pretty standard dumbbell handle. It’s chrome-plated steel that tapers toward the dumbbell heads and has a partial knurl. If you’ve ever used rubber hex dumbbells before, you’ve probably used one with this type of handle.

You can safely drop these from any position and get 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.

Best Adjustable Dumbbells: Powerblock Elite Series Dumbbells

4.50
Best Adjustable Dumbbells
PowerBlock Elite Series Adjustable Dumbbells
PowerBlock Elite Series Adjustable Dumbbells

PowerBlock was an innovator in this category and has been making adjustable dumbbells since 1991. This means they have had over 25 years of production and refinement to create the ultimately adjustable dumbbells set, and they truly have. The PowerBlock Elite dumbbells are one of the highest-rated and best-selling sets of all time. This is one of the last adjustable dumbbells sets to still be made in the USA, and PowerBlock uses only premium-quality materials. Thanks to their smart and economical design, the PowerBlocks are extremely tough and can withstand all sorts of regular gym abuse.Has a weight range of 5-50 lbs per hand and increments- 2.5 (adder weight), 5, 7.5, 10,15, 17.5, 20 25, 27.5, 30, 35, 37.5, 40, 45, 47.5, 50 pounds per handIs expandable later to 70 and again to 90 pounds per hand.Made in USA10 year home use warrantyReplaces 16 pairs of dumbbells in the space of 1

$329.00

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

My Favorite Things:

  • 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

My Callouts:

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

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 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.

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).

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.

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

Best Rubber Hex Dumbbells: REP Fitness Rubber Hex Dumbbells

Best Rubber Hex Dumbbells
REP Fitness Rubber Hex Dumbbell Sets
REP Fitness Rubber Hex Dumbbell Sets

REP hex dumbbells feature our innovative, fully knurled handles for maximum grip. Traditional "ergonomic" handles that only have knurl across part of the handle surface, which can make strength training slippery and uncomfortable. Our full knurled chrome handle gives you a secure grip on the dumbbell at any weight, making these one of the best rubber hex dumbbell sets on the market.

$1049.00

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Editor’s Note: These REP Dumbbells may be out of stock until September, per our conversations with the company. If you’re looking for another great option, check out the American Barbell Hex Dumbbells.

Good for: People looking for a little more luxury in their dumbbells.

My Favorite Things:

  • 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

My Callouts:

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

You might be wondering why my top pick is a rubber hex dumbbell yet I have another rubber hex option here. My reasoning: I simply cannot choose. Actually, the real reason is that I think the Rogue Rubber Hex Dumbbells are the best pick for most people, but for those who have a little more cash to sling around, I recommend the REP Fitness Rubber Hex Dumbbells.

These are my personal favorite rubber hex dumbbells and the main difference between these and the Rogue ones 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 lower 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.

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

Editor’s note: You can buy full sets of REP rubber hex dumbbells or you can buy them in pairs. At the time of writing, REP is working on restocking the pairs, and only the full sets are available.

Best Loadable Dumbbells: Titan Fitness Loadable Dumbbell Pair

5.00
Best Loadable Dumbbells
Titan Loadable Olympic Dumbbell Handles
Titan Loadable Olympic Dumbbell Handles

If you’re looking to improve your muscle definition and increase your muscle mass throughout your entire body, then our dumbbell handles are for you! With these dumbbell handles, you’ll be able to get to work toning chest, ab, arm, pectoral, and back muscles. Incorporate them with lunges and squats in your fitness routine to target your hamstrings, quads, and glutes. You can even target your obliques by doing side bends and twists. They truly offer a total body workout. Finally, you can achieve the tight and toned body you’ve been hoping for. Perform bent-over rows, hammer curls, bicep curls, deadlifts, kickbacks, chest flys, skull crushers, and bench presses as you exercise with these dumbbells. These dumbbells will last you a while. This is a heavy-duty steel handle, lasting for years of use with proper care. Don’t let sweat be your enemy! The knurled handle will prevent the weights from slipping out of your hand while exercising. These dumbbell handles have 6.5” loadable sleeves, allowing for many different weight options. The sleeve diameter is 1.9”, perfect for Olympic lifting. They have a black matte finish, allowing them to match the most exercise products in your home or personal gym. Start improving your physique today by ordering these heavy-duty dumbbells by Titan Fitness. They’ll help you build muscle and get ripped! LOADABLE DUMBBELL HANDLES: This pair of dumbbell handles is the perfect addition to your free weights set. Load this handle up with however much weight you can handle and get the muscular arms you've been working hard for. The Titan branded end caps will help keeps your weights in place for a safer, more efficient workout. COMPATIBLE WITH OLYMPIC PLATES: Working to get that Olympic body? Then you need to gear yourself up with the best dumbbell handle in the business. These solid, knurled handles give you the grip you need to have precise control with every single rep. Add this dumbbell handle to enhance your growing set of Olympic training equipment! MADE FROM STRONG STURDY MATERIAL: These dumbbell handles are made to last. Each dumbbell features a high-quality steel construction, making them lightweight and easy to handle without sacrificing strength, toughness, and dependability for years to come. KNURLED HANDLE FOR FIRM GRIP: Don’t let sweaty palms stop you from getting the most out of your workout. The handles of these dumbbells have knurling for a better grip. With these handy grooves, you’ll be able to securely hold your weights as you lift. Strive to break your personal weightlifting records without worrying about sweaty hands thanks to these dumbbells by Titan Fitness. FREE WEIGHTS FOR STRENGTH TRAINING: Dumbbells allow you to target a wide range of muscle groups, giving you a full-body workout. Use these dumbbells to isolate your biceps, triceps, deltoids, glutes, hamstrings, abs, and more! With dumbbells, you can perform curls, rows, deadlifts, flys, kickbacks, and presses. FEATURES: - 6.5" of loadable sleeves allows for many different weight options. - 1.9" sleeve diameter. - Knurled handles for better grip. - Titan Branded endcaps. - Compatible with Olympic plates. - 28mm handle diameter. SPECIFICATIONS: - Weight: 12.1 LB Each | 24.2 LB Total - Overall Length: 20" - Handle Length: 5.75" - Quantity: 2

$69.95

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Good for: Most people who like spin-lock style dumbbells and want a good value for their money.

My Favorite Things:

  • More reminiscent of a barbell than other types of dumbbells
  • Complete knurling on the handle
  • Compatible with any Olympic plates
  • 6.5-inch loadable sleeve length

My Callouts:

  • Titan doesn’t offer specialty plates to go with these handles
  • Expensive for just the handles
  • Weights not included in purchase

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 dumbbells 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

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

WHAT'S INCLUDED – Weight set includes a pair of original cast iron hex dumbbells in 5, 10, 15, 20 and 25-pounds and a 2-tiered storage rack to conveniently store the weights

$380.00

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Good for: Beginners looking for a set of dumbbells with a rack included.

My Favorite Things:

  • Great set for beginners who want to make their first dumbbell purchase
  • Fast delivery on Amazon
  • Comes with dumbbell rack
  • Different color options for the rack

My Callouts:

  • Set only goes up to 25 pounds
  • Ships in multiple boxes; you may get shipments on different days
  • Might come with a strong rubber smell

This is a great set of dumbbells for anyone just starting to build their home gym or 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.

My Favorite Things:

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

My Callouts:

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

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 are 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.

4.60
Best Round Dumbbells
Rep Urethane Coated Round Dumbbells
Rep Urethane Coated Round Dumbbells

Rep Urethane Coated Round Dumbbell PairsSolid steel dumbbells with a very durable urethane coating. Perfect for commercial settings. Features:Available in 5-100lbs in increments of 5 lb.Custom logos and color combinations available (12-16 week lead time, ordered as part of full gym outfitting)3% accuracy on all dumbbellsCPU urethane coating--the most durable urethane availableHandle diameter: 32mm: 5-50 lbs; 34mm: 55+ lbs. 6 inch handle lengthFit on either Rep Dumbbell Rack or Victory Commercial Rack. Rack sold separately.1 Year Warranty

$23.99

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Best Budget Dumbbells: CAP Barbell Solid Cast Iron Hex Dumbbells

4.63
Best Budget Dumbbells
CAP Cast Iron Hex Dumbbells
CAP Cast Iron Hex Dumbbells

CAP's Black Cast Iron Hex Dumbbells can be used for both the upper body and lower body to strengthen all muscle groups. The hexagon shape of these dumbbells are designed to prevent the dumbbells from rolling, as well as provide easier storage. Each dumbbell is made of solid cast iron and stylishly coated with black enamel with silver weight markers.Made of high quality, durable, solid cast ironHexagon shaped dumbbell heads are designed to prevent rolling and provide easier storageExercise all major muscle groups including chest, arms, back, legs and coreSold as a pair

$14.90

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

My Favorite Things:

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

My Callouts:

  • 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

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

Best Rotating Dumbbells
Eleiko Evo Dumbbells
Eleiko Evo Dumbbells

The Evo Dumbbells embody our commitment to quality, craftsmanship and durable design and are made in Halmstad Sweden. The award-winning rotating Evo dumbbells were designed specifically for professional and commercial settings to deliver unrivalled performance in high volume, heavy use environments. Inspired by our roots in lifting, we use Eleiko barbell steel and our knurling techniques for an optimal grip and introduce an innovative handle design that delivers an incredibly smooth rotation with a smaller diameter grip. Attention to detail extends to the dumbbell heads where a multisided head design, sloped head shape, and embossed weight markings combined with our unique handle deliver outstanding performance that will appeal to lifters and facility owners alike. While offered as a full range from 2.5 - 150 lbs / 1-60 kg, the rotating functionality begins at 12.5 lbs / 5 kg respectively. While fixed, the smaller weights feature the same knurling feel and visual design creating a uniform set.

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

My Favorite Things:

  • 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

My Callouts:

  • 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

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 weightlifting barbell and barbell workouts.

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

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: Dumbbells vs. Barbells: Which to Get for Your Home Gym

Rubber Dumbbells vs. Iron Dumbbells

If you’re going to get hex or circle dumbbells, I recommend just spending the extra bit of money and getting the rubber-coated ones. Not only are they more durable, but they’ll retain their aesthetics over time, unlike plain iron ones that will start to scuff and rust sooner. The other benefit to rubber-coated dumbbells is that they can handle drops without damaging your floors or getting damaged themselves. There’s a reason CrossFitters use rubber hex dumbbells, you know.

Standard Dumbbells vs. Adjustable Dumbbells

Once upon a time, the only type of adjustable dumbbells you could get were loadable spinlock dumbbells. If that were still the case, I’d 100% recommend fixed-weight dumbbells instead. But now that there are tons of cool, easy-to-use adjustable dumbbells out there, such as the Bowflex Selecttech and Powerblocks, I say adjustable dumbbells are a better choice for most home gym owners. This is because they take up far less space and are less expensive when you factor in the cost of a full fixed set.

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.

Materials and Construction

It’s a good practice to always look for the most durable materials inhome gym equipment. When it comes to dumbbells, this means looking for cast iron, virgin rubber, and stainless steel, depending on the type of dumbbell you’re after. If you aren’t going for rubber-coated dumbbells, look for ones that have a powder coat or e-coat to promote longevity.

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 take the most use compared to uncoated iron dumbbells and adjustable dumbbells.

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.

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. Withoutknurling, you’ll probably need to chalk up at some point.

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 in 2021

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. 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: The Best Kettlebells for Home Gyms in 2021

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

Rogue Releases Pyrros Dimas Weightlifting Bar Cover Image
Rogue Releases Pyrros Dimas Weightlifting Bar

Rogue Fitness has teamed up with Pyrros Dimas to introduce a stainless steel Olympic Weightlifting barbell. Featuring 195k PSI Tensile Strength Steel, bearings, and a unique knurl, the Rogue Pyrros Bar should be one of the best barbells made in America. Read more

DIY Crossover Symmetry System Replica Cover Image
DIY Crossover Symmetry System Replica

Crossover Symmetry is a program designed to strengthen the shoulder girdle leading to fewer injuries and an increase in lifts. This is how you can make your own DIY version. Read more

Kabuki Kratos Flywheel Review: Horizontal and Vertical Pulling in One Unit (2021) Cover Image
Kabuki Kratos Flywheel Review: Horizontal and Vertical Pulling in One Unit (2021)

If you’re reading this, I assume you’re probably pretty familiar with the brand Kabuki Strength. In the past few years, they’ve put out some of my favorite products including the versatile Trap Bar, Transformer Bar V4, and New Generation Power Bar. Kabuki recently released a flywheel, and I’ve been itching to try it.In this Kabuki Kratos Flywheel review, I’ll walk you through what’s included, unique aspects of this product, and my final thoughts. As always, I’ll give you all the details you need to make a smart buying decision for you.For those of you who aren’t familiar with flywheel training, it can be an effective way to build strength within your body’s connective tissue. It can also increase overall power, muscle hypertrophy, and force.Essentially, it’s useful for eccentric overload training where the muscle is stretched during both the lifting and lowering of your reps. The resistance is inertia driven, which means it is all based on how much force the user puts into the movement with the flywheel. Read more

American Barbell Gold Standard Bar In-Depth Review Cover Image
American Barbell Gold Standard Bar In-Depth Review

The American Barbell Gold Standard Bar is a great option for anyone looking to purchase a versatile barbell. The Gold Standard Bar has a flashy gold finish, yet durable zinc coat, as well as being produced in the United States, and meets IWF standards. This barbell should not go overlooked when looking to purchase a barbell for any home or commercial gym. Read more