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Best Dumbbells and Weights

Best Overall
Bowflex SelectTech Adjustable Weights

Best for Building Muscle
ATIVAFIT Adjustable Dumbbell for Workout Strength Training

Best for Weight Loss
AmazonBasics Neoprene Dumbbell Hand Weights

Written by James Cooper
Last Updated
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Complete workouts can be planned using the best dumbbells. Supporting compound and isolation exercises, dumbbells can be used for various fitness objectives. They are integral to muscle building routines as they are for weight loss if used in the right workout. The best weights and dumbbells offer an endless list of exercises to perform both in commercial gyms and at home.

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Sit Up Benches
Kettlebells
Adjustable Dumbbells

  • 1

    Bowflex SelectTech Adjustable Weights

The adjustable dumbbells are available in two versions. A popular 52.5lbs version and an 84lbs version are available from Bowflex. The main advantage of these dumbbells is their adjustable weight design. Practically, they combine 15 pairs of dumbbells offering one of the best Amazon releases for home users.

Adjustments are made in 2.5lbs increments up to 25lbs on the 52.5lbs version. Unlike most other adjustable dumbbells, Bowflex uses a simple quick-lock dial system to have the weights ready for action. Those seeking better fitness can simply train multiple muscle groups with different weights using the same dumbbell set.

Comfort and user-friendliness are at a high standard at Bowflex. The brand is recognized among Amazon’s best. Small details such as the rubberized anti-slip grip make the weights very easy to use even to those new to the world of free weights. Then there’s the Bowflex app.

The adjustable dumbbell set comes with an app that acts as a journal where users can note their workouts. But it also acts as a workout planner. Bowflex has included a few standard workouts which can be performed at home with these weights. All users can see their weekly workout plan in the app as they don’t need to spend time researching the most efficient exercises.

PROS

Made to save space

Shipped with a weights’ stand

Backed by a 2-year warranty

CONS

The plates are a bit wobbly

  • 2

    ATIVAFIT Adjustable Dumbbell for Workout Strength Training

These lighter AtivaFit dumbbells are better suited for the general user than their heavier alternatives. They are made with the same adjustable plates system. When all the plates are loaded, they weigh a 27.5lbs each. Without any weights, they weigh just 5.5lbs. This range is not the highest. But it is sufficient for what most people need.

According to major muscle groups, these weights can be used on a range of exercises. On the lower body part, legs can be activated properly with the weights. Wide squats and stationary lunges activate the major muscles. Calf raises can also be performed while holding the dumbbells. Back exercises can include alternating rows. Chest exercises can include flat flyes. Folding a dumbbell when performing twisting crunches activates the abs better as well.

Many other exercises can be performed at home. 4 sets of weights are replaced by this practical design which means the space at home is not occupied by large fitness equipment. There’s plenty of space to feel comfortable to perform other exercises such as push-ups as well.

Among their benefits, water-resistance is also worth mentioning. Sweat can be an enemy of free weights set. It can cause corrosion in time. But this is not a real problem for the AtivaFit weights. They are properly protected. As long as they’re not dropped, the protective finishing is going to keep the iron away from corrosion.

Since the weights are also lighter, they also include a comfortable grip. A rubberized surface has been added to the dumbbells and it provides the steadiness needed in any exercise. At the same time, it prevents hand slippage during certain exercises. Ultimately, it is a comfort and a safety feature. The locking mechanism is intuitive as well. It comes with a rotating elegant dial to keep the weights in place.

PROS

Quick change adjustment with push-pull design

Easy use and storage

Multiple weight range for core and strength fitness

CONS

A bit noisy when used

  • 3

    Telk Omnie Dumbbells

The cast iron dumbbells of 8lbs are a solid option for anyone looking to train at home or the gym. Women who want to tone their physique or those who simply want to add a bit of weight to cardiovascular workouts can consider these.

The compact dumbbells are available in multiple colors. But a considerable advantage is given by the neoprene coating. With durable coating, the weights are protected from sweat and moisture. They can also be dropped from a small distance without damaging hardwood floors. This recommends the set for gyms and especially for home use.

Made to improve strength, they are mainly usable in balancing the muscle to fat ratio of the body. Fans of circuit training are going to find these interesting. Other types of benefits include lowering stress levels as these low weight dumbbells are easy and fun to use.

Recovery is also a large area of use for such dumbbells. Anyone coming from an injury or those who need to improve body mobility can consider these themselves. For example, small weight dumbbells are used in shoulder mobility exercises.

PROS

Used for muscle toning

Made with neoprene coating

Oblong design against rolling

CONS

Mainly useful in high repetition exercises

  • 4

    AmazonBasics Neoprene Dumbbell Hand Weights

Made with a hexagonal shape, the hand weights are designed not to roll on the floor. Users concentrated on performing circuit training exercises are finding them very appealing as a result. High-intensity strength training requires a lot of movement and fining the dumbbells in the same place when the circuit is complete is crucial.

Made with a weight of just 5lbs, these dumbbells can be used for cardiovascular workouts as well. Used at home, they can power high-intensity training as they can be used to active upper body muscles while performing squats in more low repetition alternatives.

Designed with neoprene coating, these dumbbells are also very easy to clean. Keeping them free from bacteria is essential. But since they’re entirely covered in neoprene, they can even be washed under the tap.

Also available in smaller 1lbs versions, these dumbbells come color-coded. Anyone looking to improve overall versatility with the dumbbells is going to have the freedom to use multiple weight quickly based on color-coding.

Total weight variations include dumbbells from 1 to 20lbs to suit all fitness levels. Used in commercial spaces such as the gym, they also come with the benefit of being very durable. Easy to clean, they can be recommended for all those seeking a bit more workout variation.

In fitness classes, these dumbbells are very popular. Used for group training, they can power multiple exercises with and add a bit of resistance to them. For example, they can be used for ab workouts as they can be used for arms exercises in fitness classes.

PROS

Weights from 1 to 20lbs

Backed by a 1-year warranty

Made with printed weight numbers on caps

CONS

Not best for building muscle

  • 5

    SPRI Dumbbells

The vinyl-coated dumbbells are among the most interesting for all types of skills. From 1 to 20lbs, these dumbbells are made for both the home users and gym trainees. The color-coding system works for quick weights identification. The pink weights are the lightest, red weights come with 6lbs while grey weights come with 15 lbs.

Made with a vinyl coating, the dumbbells are easy to clean. Those who love intense workouts are among the first to be interested in proper cleanliness. In commercial gyms, these are also quick to clean and staff that has to go through hundreds of dumbbells are going to find them easy to work with.

But the biggest advantage of these dumbbells is their full-body workout efficiency. Lower in weight, they are easier to handle for many exercises which involve multiple muscle groups as opposed to exercises on fitness machines.

PROS

Available in 12 colors

Used in full-body workouts

Designed with professional vinyl

CONS

Vinyl smell

  • 6

    Zeryu Sports Aquatic Exercise Dumbbells

Made for water use, the exercise dumbbells are fun and safe. Used in recovery exercises, they offer sufficient reasons to use with the entire family. With EVA foam construction, thy float which makes them a bit easier to use while in water.

The floating dumbbells .66lbs and they’re very easy to use. When used in water, the dumbbells are also harder to move which may increase exercise intensity even further. A few of these dumbbells are also used in water aerobics.

Used for upper body mobility, these dumbbells might also be considered for the elderly who need to stay active. As some of the best in their class for comfort and safety, they can be used by those of all ages due to the soft foam construction.

PROS

Available in various colors

Used for water aerobics

Suitable for ages 14+

CONS

Not safe as a flotation device

  • 7

    AmazonBasics Vinyl Dumbbell Weight Pair Set of 2

The set of 2 dumbbells comes in a weight of just 4lbs. Heavier options are also available up to 20lbs. With the main benefit of versatility, the set is mainly made for those who want durable dumbbells that are easy to clean.

Made with a vinyl exterior, these dumbbells also benefit from a non-slip grip. The vinyl is perfect for demanding workouts with sweaty hands. With a good anti-slip response, the dumbbells may also be used for exercises such as push-ups.

Eye-catching colors have been used on the dumbbells. They represent a valuable option for those who also want their fitness equipment to look good. However, color-coding is what ultimately determines their fit in a wider scheme of fitness training gear.

PROS

Steel construction

Made with a colorful exterior

Suitable for aerobics

CONS

Hard to grip on the heavier weights

  • 8

    CAP Barbell Neoprene Coated Dumbbell Weight

Enjoy the benefits of dumbbell exercises with the CAP Barbell Neoprene Coated Dumbbell Weight. These neoprene dumbbells are versatile as it has the ability to target specific muscle group which makes it perfect for training individual muscle groups or even major muscle groups including arms, chest, back, abs, legs, and more. The pair could also be used for getting a full-body workout like HIIT and functional training.

The CAP neoprene dumbbells come in assorted colors and made with an iron core made from ASTM A48 Grade 20 grey iron. The pair comes in an anti-roll hexagonal shape that prevents it from rolling away when they are set down to perform floor exercises. Its neoprene coating makes these dumbbells comfortable to grip and also offers a layer of protection from calluses and friction. It also protects other fitness equipment from getting damaged at the same time.

Find a way to enjoy your fitness journey with a pair of CAP neoprene dumbbells!

PROS

Made with durable neoprene

Supports fitness conditioning

Hex dumbbell design

CONS

A bit pricey

  • 9

    Bowflex SelectTech Adjustable Weights

Fitness has never been exciting and easy with just a turn of a dial. The Bowflex adjustable weights have the SelectTech technology that allows you to adjust your preferred weight with just a simple turn. Switch from 8 to 40 lbs rapidly, and from one exercise to another just by turning a dial. This means you can perform a wide range of full-body exercises without too many intervals.

These Bowflex adjustable weights can replace 6 kettlebells which make it space-efficient. You can also gradually increase your strength by adjusting in small increments with the weight selection dial; weights include 8, 12, 20, 25, 35, and 40 lbs. Your purchase will come with access to 24 trainer-led videos that include foundational kettlebell techniques for beginners and athletes.

PROS

Durable molding around metal plates

Easy adjust with just a turn of a dial

Has access to 24 trainer-led videos

CONS

The size makes certain exercises more difficult to perform

  • 10

    P.volve 2 lb. Hand Weights

Get that toned and strong arms, core muscles, and glutes even at home with the P.volve 2lb hand weights. These hand weights are best for your arm exercises, core training, and butt lifting, even a full-body workout. Even though it is considered lightweight, it could still be used for that ultimate body transformation; you can condition your arms, back, and abs even with just a few minutes of strength training and low impact exercises.

The P.volve hand weights are also portable, and because it is lightweight, you can carry it whenever you travel or go to the gym around your area. It also has a non-slip grip for indoor and outdoor use. It also comes with a bag that makes it easy to store and bring.

P.volve has been featured on countless magazines and blogs, and boats of the weights’ abilities to create confidence while strengthening the body. Though P.volve appears to be a piece of simple workout equipment, it is still one of the best approaches to start an active and fit lifestyle. These are also perfect for those who are much older and still want to get fit and healthy.

PROS

Very easy and comfortable to hold

Could be used by those who are older

Could be easily stored and carried anywhere

CONS

Pretty basic dumbbells

How to choose the best dumbbells

The best dumbbells are made from the best materials. But today, not many users can assess the durability and dumbbells before purchasing them. Over the years, manufacturers have started offering warranties for dumbbells. This is where every purchase should start. Typical warranty policies cover any manufacturer defects for up to 2 years. Here is another variable to consider when purchasing dumbbells.

  • Weight

The weight of the dumbbells impacts the types of workouts which they can power. Small weights can be used for muscle toning, weight loss, or circuit training. Heavyweights can be used to build muscle and to add a bit more resistance to any type of training.

Dumbbells might seem new, but they go way back. Around 2,000 years ago, Greeks invented haltere. These were the first dumbbells and they used 2 rocks connected by a piece of wood. Traditional dumbbells now look very similar. While dumbbells are not made out of rocks anymore, their design is similar but modernized.

The weight of the dumbbells has remained the same ever since, however. While many believe dumbbells can only be used to enhance fitness levels, they can also be used in recovery exercises. The biomechanics of normal movements are much easier to perform when they can be mastered with the extra dumbbells’ weight.

  • Materials

The materials of most dumbbells are normally heavy and durable. Steel is used for the bulk of the weight. Other metal alternatives may also be considered by some brands. But the right materials are never perfect for everybody.

Neoprene is used to covert some dumbbells, together with nylon and vinyl. All of these materials come with the benefit of protecting the dumbbells from rust. But they can also act as a protective layer for the dumbbells that can easily be dropped and damage floors.

But even the best materials may struggle to offer proper comfort for a solid grip. A good pair of weightlifting gloves might be handy even with small weights. Those who train frequently might consider fitness gloves to protect their palms as well.

Another advantage vinyl might have on over unprotected weights is that it’s very easy to clean. Anyone who looks into weights knows that cleaning them becomes an issue. Training at home is not like training at the gym where dedicated staff members clean the weights and bodybuilders are mandated to have them cleaned.

Materials are also important to prevent slipping. An annoying issue with all-metal grips is that the weights can slip. Those relying on the dumbbells for exercises such as push-ups need an anti-slip design. In this case, rubber-covered grips prove to be the best. Another important aspect of the anti-slip grip is the ergonomic design.

Flat bar grips and bars with thinner edges feel different in the hands. As a result, it might be a smart idea to combine various types of dumbbells for various exercises. Those into a circuit or cardiovascular training normally don’t need to worry about the grip as much as they normally train with low weight dumbbells.

  • Storage

Storing dumbbells is easy at the gym. Things are, however, very different at home. Storing racks are few and far in-between at a good rate. As a result, most dumbbells made for home use should not be made with round weights as they can roll on the floor without a good rack.

Some of the dumbbells above are made with a hexagonal design which helps this particular issue. Rolling dumbbells represent a safety issue. They cannot be left around a room as they can roll and present a tripping hazard.

Storing dumbbells should always be made in dedicated racks or away from foot traffic. Storing the weights in a dedicated area helps. But the hexagonal weights can also be stored on top of each other and this might also resolve the storage issue.

  • Grip

One of the most overlooked dumbbells’ characteristic is the grip. Small weights can prove difficult to grip while very large dumbbells may come with an oversized grip which can be uncomfortable.

Only the best dumbbells come with a comfortable grip. As seen from the Bowflex design above, the grip may also come without a full rubberized surface but they can offer anti-slip materials in key areas. Other dumbbells such as those covered in vinyl are made with a more versatile grip that prevents slipping and which may also be ergonomic.

Types of dumbbell workouts

Not all dumbbells are made the same. There are a few workouts which they are most suitable for. Adjustable dumbbells can be used for lifting weights workouts with reduced fitness gear options at home. Small dumbbells can be used by women while large dumbbells can be used by men looking to increase muscle size.

  • Adjustable dumbbell workouts

These workouts benefit from various weights on the same set of dumbbells. Such a workout can include focusing on smaller muscles such as the triceps as well as on large muscles such as the legs.

A type of lower body exercise often performed at home with these dumbbells is the walking lunge. Gradually increasing the weights overtime for extra strength is a good method of ensuring progress with the exercise. Anyone needing to perform high-intensity training is not going to be served properly by the best adjustable dumbbells which shouldn’t be dropped to maintain their integrity.

Adjustable dumbbells can also be used as a replacement for certain gym equipment. For example, they can be used to replace a rowing machine. Bent rows can be performed with these dumbbells. Similar exercises such as chest exercises can also be performed with the weights. These exercises can be based on barbells at the gym. But at home, they can be performed with varying weights based on adjustable dumbbells.

  • Workouts with small dumbbells

Workouts for women have many dedicated dumbbells. While women can use the same weights as men, they’re often fans of cardiovascular training or intense circuit workouts. In this situation, small weights of up to 10-15lbs can be practical.

Women can use these dumbbells to create their at-home workouts. Full-body workouts are the easiest to perform with small weights. The benefit of this type of workout is that it works for all major muscle groups in the same training interval which leads to better weight loss and a healthier muscle to body fat balance.

Small weights can also be used for recovery purposes. Anyone too tired to work with high weights can use low weights to stay active and maintain flexibility. Those recovering from injuries also need to take their efforts seriously and stick to low weights until reaching full recovery.

  • Workouts with large dumbbells

Large dumbbells are normally associated with bodybuilding. They can be used to build muscle but at some point, everybody can use them depending on the target muscle group. For example, goblet squats in which target quads can be performed with heavy dumbbells even by those who don’t rely on large dumbbells otherwise.

Large dumbbells should not be a priority when making a purchase. Since large dumbbells also come with increased injury risk, every user should focus just on the smaller weight for proper movement biomechanics. Each movement can be performed either strictly or with incorrect technique. It’s a lot easier to perform incorrect movements with heavy dumbbells. At the same time, incorrect movements are easier to correct with small weights.

Frequently Asked Questions


What is the difference between free weights and dumbbells?

Dumbbells are considered free weights. They are different from fitness machines or kettlebells as lifters have the freedom to incorporate them into various exercises with several variations. Dumbbells and barbells are considered free weights and they can be used for entire workouts.

What weight of dumbbells should I use?

Women can start with small dumbbells between 1lbs and 8lbs. Men can start with heavier dumbbells up to 15lbs. As strength increases, both men and women can choose the heavyweights of up to 20lbs or increase the number of repetitions.

Can you build muscle with dumbbells?

Dumbbells are excellent for building muscle. They support progressive overload both by increasing weight and by increasing the number of repetitions. Furthermore, dumbbells can be used on all major muscle groups.

Can you get big arms with just dumbbells?

Dumbbells are used to get bigger arms. Since the triceps is the largest muscle, triceps extensions with dumbbells are some of the best exercises to perform for mass. Biceps curls are also very popular with dumbbells. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s arm workout also included variations such as incline dumbbell curls or skull crushers.