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The 8 Best Dumbbells of 2024

We tested dumbbells from Rogue, Bowflex, CAP, Amazon, and more to determine which models are the best for your style of workout
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Best Dumbbells Review
Credit: Hale Milano
By Hale Milano ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Apr 16, 2024

The Best Dumbbells for 2024


Looking for the best dumbbells available for your next workout? To help outfit your home gym and help you reach your fitness goals, we vetted over 60 of the most popular, interesting, and best contenders before buying and testing the top 16 models side-by-side for several weeks of workouts. Through garage gym sessions, living room workouts, and many sore muscles, our team of fitness experts thoroughly assessed exercise versatility, ease of use, weight options, construction quality, and storage considerations of each set of weights. Whether you're starting out and looking for some easy-to-use dumbbells for at-home fitness, or you want a compact set of adjustable hand weights to build strength and stamina, or you're ready to expand to an entire set of dumbbells, we have something for you.

Setting up your home gym doesn't have to be complicated. From the top-rated hangboards for climbers to the best bike trainers for cyclists and favorite weight vests for functional fitness athletes to simple staples like great exercise balls, the best yoga mats, and top-rated foam rollers for recovery, our fitness experts have tested the best exercise equipment to help you reach all of your training goals.

Editor's Note: This review was updated on April 16, 2024, to include new dumbbells in our lineup, measured weights of each, and an additional style of dumbbell.

Top 16 Dumbbells - Test Results

Displaying 6 - 10 of 16
 
Awards Top Pick Award   Top Pick Award  
Price $16.00 List
$15.18 at Amazon
$19.00 List
$20.46 at Amazon
$55 List
$47.99 at Amazon
$18.00 List
$16.06 at Amazon
$30 List
Overall Score
62
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58
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Pros Comfortable neoprene grip, compact size, come in 1-pound increments for small sizes (up to 10 pounds)Color-coded, grippy handle texture, large weight labelGreat overall weight rangeBudget-friendly, available for purchase as single dumbbellsEasy to use, inexpensive price per pound
Cons Small handle length, few options at higher weightsExpensive price per pound, grip size is not ideal for large handsExpensive price per pound, aggressive knurlingSharp knurling, limited available weight range, shorter than average handleSmall handle diameter, poor weight marking readability
Bottom Line These beginner-friendly dumbbells are color-coded and easy to use for any of your exercise needs, all in a compact footprintThese dumbbells are a good option for small hand weights with a user-friendly designA great option for a standard dumbbell with a straight handle and aggressive knurlingThe option to purchase only a single dumbbell helps make these weights stand out as a good pick for those tight on space or budgetThese standard dumbbells are another budget option that will do just fine for most workouts, but don't have a wide variety of available weight ranges
Rating Categories Amazon Basics Neoprene CAP Barbell Neopren... REP Rubber Hex Amazon Basics Rubbe... Signature Fitness S...
Exercise Versatility (30%)
5.5
5.0
7.0
7.0
7.0
Ease of Use (30%) Sort Icon
6.5
6.0
5.5
5.4
5.4
Weight Options (20%)
6.5
6.0
9.2
6.0
6.0
Construction Quality (10%)
6.3
6.4
8.0
5.0
4.0
Storage (10%)
6.6
7.0
6.0
6.0
5.0
Specs Amazon Basics Neoprene CAP Barbell Neopren... REP Rubber Hex Amazon Basics Rubbe... Signature Fitness S...
Size Tested 5 lb 4 lb 10 lb 10 lb 10 lb
Average Measured Weight 4.93 lb 3.96 lb 9.98 lb 9.98 lb 10.03 lb
Percentage Difference Between Stated and Measured -1.51% -0.94% -0.19% -0.19% 0.25%
Average Price per Pound $1.70 $2.75 $2.90 $1.40 $1.50
Weight Range 1 - 20 lb 1 - 15 lb 2.5 - 125 lb 10 - 45 lb 5 - 50 lb
Weight Increments 1 lb up to 10 lb
2-5 lb above 10 lb
1 lb up to 10 lb
3 lb above 10 lb
2.5 lb up to 30 lb
5 lb above 30 lb
5 lb 5 lb
Drop-Safe Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Handle Shape Ergonomic Straight Straight Ergonomic Ergonomic
Knurling / Grip Neoprene Neoprene Full Knurl Half Knurl Half Knurl
Head Shape Hex Hex Hex Hex Hex
Adjustable No No No No No
Dimensions 7" x 6" x 3" 7" x 5" x 2.5" 10.5" x 8" x 4" 10.5" x 8" x 4" 11" x 9" x 4"
Type of Dumbbell Beginner Beginner Standard Standard Standard


Best Overall Dumbbell


Rogue Rubber Hex Dumbbells


88
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Exercise Versatility 9.0
  • Ease of Use 9.0
  • Weight Options 9.2
  • Construction Quality 10.0
  • Storage 5.8
REASONS TO BUY
Handle length fits large hands
High-quality knurling
Large overall weight range
REASONS TO AVOID
Somewhat expensive
SPECIFICATIONS
Average Measured Weight  9.88 lb
Size Tested  10, 35, 50 lb
Percentage Difference Between Stated and Measured  -1.26%
Average Price per Pound  $2.00
Weight Range  2.5 - 125 lb
Topping the charts in our free weight lineup is the Rogue Rubber Hex Dumbbells. While the design of standard free weights can appear very similar, there are a few factors that helped the Rogue Rubber Hex earn the top spot. We love that the handle on this weight is long enough to fit large hands comfortably without making the weight overly long or bulky. We are also big fans of the knurling on the handle; it is an ideal compromise between providing grip without becoming painful over the course of many reps. Lastly, our team tested the 10-pound variant of the Rogue Rubber Hex, but Rogue provides a full range of options from 2.5 pounds up to 125 pounds, more than any others we tested and sure to meet any of your fitness needs.

There are not many drawbacks to the Rogue Rubber Hex option other than a slightly higher price per pound than other standard dumbbell models. For one or two pairs of weights, this is a minor difference, but if you're looking to acquire an entire set of free weights, this is something to consider. The Rogue Rubber Hex weights are a fantastic addition to your home gym, especially if your workouts require a bombproof design and a large available weight range. If you're interested in a standard dumbbell, the REP Rubber Coated Hex has a complete rubberized coating and is a game changer for garage workouts in the cold winter months. Any of the standard dumbbells in our lineup can make a great addition to your home gym, though, like the Signature Fitness Sporzon Rubber Encased Hex, a budget-friendly option.

No matter what size dumbbells you need, the Rogue weights are tough enough to survive your most strenuous workouts and have all the right features and details to make your sweat session more enjoyable.
Credit: Hale Milano

Best Dumbbells for Garage Gyms


REP Rubber Coated Hex


85
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Exercise Versatility 8.0
  • Ease of Use 10.0
  • Weight Options 8.5
  • Construction Quality 9.0
  • Storage 5.0
REASONS TO BUY
Rubber coated handle is ideal for cold temperatures and rust prevention
Rubber knurling provides a secure grip even when sweaty
Large available weight range
REASONS TO AVOID
Expensive price per pound
SPECIFICATIONS
Average Measured Weight  9.93 lb
Size Tested  10 lb
Percentage Difference Between Stated and Measured  -0.75%
Average Price per Pound  $2.75
Weight Range  5 - 100 lb
The REP Rubber Coated Hex is a standard dumbbell like any other in our lineup, but with one feature that really helps it stand out for garage-gym enthusiasts. The entirety of these REP weights are coated in a grippy rubber. This helps protect your skin from cold steel in the dead of winter, provides extra grip when sweaty, and even helps prevent rusting. Even outside of the rubber coating, these weights are great all around; they are available in five-pound increments of up to 100 pounds and are well-constructed for all your fitness needs.

There aren't many downsides to this dumbbell. They are among some of the more expensive options in our lineup, but we think they're well worth that price. Some people may find that the rubberized knurling is not as aggressive as metal, so if you prefer an aggressive texture, you might prefer some of the other standard dumbbells we tested. The Rogue Rubber Hex, CAP Hex Set, and Signature Fitness Sporzon are all options to consider in that scenario. If you've ever walked out into your gym and had to grip cold dumbbells, we think you'll really appreciate the benefit of the REP Rubber Coated Hex set.

The REP dumbbells are compact and comfortable thanks to their rubber coating; perfect for both winter and summer garage gym workouts.
Credit: Hale Milano

Best Bang for your Buck


CAP Coated Hex Set with Rack


84
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Exercise Versatility 8.0
  • Ease of Use 8.0
  • Weight Options 9.3
  • Construction Quality 9.0
  • Storage 8.0
REASONS TO BUY
Stand included
Large overall weight range available
Excellent price per pound
REASONS TO AVOID
Narrow rack impacts removing weights
SPECIFICATIONS
Average Measured Weight  10.25 lb
Size Tested  set: 5, 10, 15, 20, 25 lb
Percentage Difference Between Stated and Measured  2.47%
Average Price per Pound  $1.27
Weight Range  5 - 25 lb in the set
Total available is 3 - 120 lb
Outfitting a home gym can be expensive, and to help you purchase quality equipment on a budget, the CAP Coated Hex Set provides an impressive number of weights — and a rack — for a bargain price. The CAP Hex Set price-per-pound is at the lower end of any hand weight we tested, but the quality remains high. The set we tested, ranging from five to 25 pounds, is in line with all our standard dumbbells, and you can find matching models of up to 125 pounds each. One of our favorite features of the CAP Hex Set is that the weight is marked in large bold letters on each end of the head, which supports easy reading from either direction.

One downside to the CAP Hex Set with Rack is the rack itself. Although it is quite sturdy and compactly stores the weights, its arms are narrow and have a tendency to pinch fingers as the weights are replaced. The narrow design means it's a tight squeeze for your whole hand to remove or replace the dumbbells. Pinching or stubbing fingers is common, especially when fatigued. Despite that, we wholeheartedly recommend this set for any size home gym, and the option to expand weight sizes is a huge positive. Other budget options include the Amazon Basics Hex and Signature Fitness Rubber Hex, both of which have single dumbbell purchase options available.

The CAP set makes storing and accessing five pairs of dumbbells a breeze and provides a great range of weights for your workouts.
Credit: Hale Milano

Best Single Dumbbell


Amazon Basics Rubber Encased Hex


60
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Exercise Versatility 7.0
  • Ease of Use 5.4
  • Weight Options 6.0
  • Construction Quality 5.0
  • Storage 6.0
REASONS TO BUY
Able to purchase individually
Good price per pound
REASONS TO AVOID
Limited overall weight range
Short handle length
Aggressive knurling
SPECIFICATIONS
Average Measured Weight  9.98 lb
Size Tested  10 lb
Percentage Difference Between Stated and Measured  -0.19%
Average Price per Pound  $1.40
Weight Range  10 - 45 lb
Whereas most hand weights are purchased in pairs, sometimes only one is needed for a great workout. The Amazon Basics Hex dumbbell is an affordable option for purchasing a single weight at a time. This cost-conscious option features everything you'd expect in a standard free weight.

Although we loved the quality and price of the Amazon Basics Hex option, we are disappointed by the overall available weight range, which caps at 50 pounds. The handles are the shortest of any standard dumbbell we tested but still fit most hands comfortably. The knurling is quite aggressive, so depending on your preferences, this could be a draw, or it could be a drawback. Overall, we were quite pleased with the construction and quality of these and would recommend them to anyone looking for a bargain or single free-weight option. A different option to consider is the Signature Fitness Sporzon, which is available in single dumbbells, pairs, and sets. Another similar option to consider is the BalanceFrom Rubber Encased Hex.

We loved that the Amazon Hex dumbbells are sold as single weights, making them a good choice for those on a budget or with space limitations.
Credit: Hale Milano

Best Adjustable Dumbbell


Core Home Fitness Adjustable Set


78
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Exercise Versatility 6.0
  • Ease of Use 8.5
  • Weight Options 9.4
  • Construction Quality 7.0
  • Storage 9.0
REASONS TO BUY
Space-saving design
Able to adjust the weight with one hand
Solid construction
REASONS TO AVOID
Some plastic pieces
Expensive
SPECIFICATIONS
Average Measured Weight  10.09 lb
Size Tested  adjustable 5 - 50 lb
Percentage Difference Between Stated and Measured  0.87%
Average Price per Pound  $0.69
Weight Range  5 - 50 lb
The Core Home Fitness Adjustable Set takes the spotlight when it comes to adjustable-style dumbbells. While this style of weight may not be familiar to everyone, they are ideal for home workouts because you have the ability to use a wide variety of weight options without needing to purchase multiple sets. A single set of the Core Adjustable dumbbells is equivalent to 10 separate free-weight pairs. The design of these is very user-friendly. To select the weight, you simply twist the handle left or right. As the new weight is displayed in a small window on either side of the handle, additional plates are mechanically fixed to the end of the weight to correspond with your selection. We really liked that the overall size is tied to the weight; a lower weight selection means fewer plates are added, and the unit's overall length is shorter. The grip on these weights is adequate; a small rubber section in the middle helps provide security, even for sweaty hands.

We were very happy with this adjustable set, but there are a few drawbacks to consider. First, the Core Adjustable Set dumbbells have a very high upfront cost. Unlike individual pairs of weights, where you can build out your set over time and distribute the costs, the adjustable set is a one-time purchase with some serious sticker shock. Second, the adjustable style takes some getting used to and is not ideal for all styles of workouts; you'll want to avoid dropping these on the ground, and they're not ideal for dynamic movements like the clean and jerk. If you want smaller increments to your adjustable dumbbells, the Bowflex SelectTech 552 allows you to adjust in 2.5-pound steps, though we like the adjustment process much less than that of the Core Adjustable Set. Although we were concerned about some of the plastic components on the Core Adjustable Set, we feel as though the overall design and construction are quite durable and had no issues during testing. Overall, our testing team enjoyed using this adjustable set and would recommend it to anyone who wants to minimize the footprint of their gym and acquire a large amount of weight at a great price per pound. If you're looking for adjustable weights but want something more durable, plate-style loadable dumbbells are an option to consider. Especially for those who already have a home gym, the Titan Fitness Loadable Olympic Handles are a great option. These burly dumbbells are like mini barbells, fit all Olympic weight plates, and can each be loaded up to 400 pounds. The price can add up if you don't already have the weight plates, but if you do, they're a budget-friendly way to add dumbbells to your gym equipment.

We calculated the price per pound for adjustable weights as though each available weight selection was its own set. This balances out the fact that to achieve a similar weight range in standard dumbbells, you'd need to purchase each set individually.

Core dumbbells are easy to place and remove from their rack and can be adjusted in a matter of seconds.
Credit: Hale Milano

Best Beginner Dumbbells


Amazon Basics Neoprene


62
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Exercise Versatility 5.5
  • Ease of Use 6.5
  • Weight Options 6.5
  • Construction Quality 6.3
  • Storage 6.6
REASONS TO BUY
Grippy neoprene
One-pound adjustable increments
Compact size
REASONS TO AVOID
Grip length is not ideal for large hands
SPECIFICATIONS
Average Measured Weight  4.93 lb
Size Tested  5 lb
Percentage Difference Between Stated and Measured  -1.51%
Average Price per Pound  $1.70
Weight Range  1 - 20 lb
Tight on space or looking for a large variety of increments under 20 pounds? We highly recommend the Amazon Basics Neoprene hand weights for this situation. These user-friendly hand weights are much smaller than standard dumbbells and are entirely coated in grippy, brightly colored neoprene. The color coding helps easily identify which weight you're looking to grab. But don't worry about memorizing the colors; each weight is clearly labeled in large bold numerals on the side for easy identification. The Amazon Neoprene sets are available in one-pound increments up to ten pounds and have 12, 15, and 20-pound pairs available.

Since the overall size of these weights is smaller than others, they also have a smaller handle size — both in diameter and in length. While it isn't uncomfortable to use, it may not be ideal for those with wider hands or during two-handed exercises. As with all of the neoprene-coated models, there is a seam that runs the length of the Amazon Neoprene handle. It doesn't impact the usability, but we wish it wasn't there. Ultimately, we recommend these to anyone who wants a larger variety of low-weight options or prefers the smaller size and grippy feel of neoprene. If you prefer a thicker handle, the J/Fit Set may be what you're after.

Amazon's Neoprene hand weights are comfortable to hold, easy to use, and come in small increments, making them perfect for an introduction to strength training.
Credit: Hale Milano

Best Beginner Set


J/Fit Set with Rack


56
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Exercise Versatility 6.0
  • Ease of Use 5.3
  • Weight Options 4.0
  • Construction Quality 6.5
  • Storage 7.5
REASONS TO BUY
Stand included
Variety of weight range sets
REASONS TO AVOID
Large diameter grips
Large footprint for a three-dumbbell set
SPECIFICATIONS
Average Measured Weight  9.79 lb
Size Tested  set: 5, 8, 10 lb
Percentage Difference Between Stated and Measured  -2.11%
Average Price per Pound  $2.37
Weight Range  2 - 15 lb
If you're in the market for a hand weight set focused on weight ranges under 15 pounds, we highly recommend the J/Fit Set. This three-dumbbell set is a great way to get a variety of weight ranges and a storage method in one go. On top of that, although we tested the 5/8/10 pound set, there are other weight ranges available that are sure to meet your needs. The grippy texture provided a very secure fit, and we were pleased that the handles were adequately long enough to fit our tester's hands comfortably.

The handle diameter of the J/Fit Set increases dramatically with the weights. While the five-pound pair has an average handle diameter, the 10-pound is abnormally large. While this didn't prevent us from performing any exercises, it may be a downside for someone with smaller hands. We also noted that the head of the dumbbell on the five-pound variant doesn't provide enough clearance if you want to use them as push-up bars. Again, while this isn't a deal breaker, it can make an impact. Lastly, although we appreciated that this set came with a stand, it seemed to take up a lot of space for storing only three small pairs of weights. Nevertheless, we feel the J/Fit Set is a great option to acquire a variety of beginner-friendly hand weights, and we're confident they'll help take your workout to the next level.

Various weight options and an accompanying storage stand make the J/Fit Set an excellent choice for anyone looking to get started with weights without committing to a huge and heavy rack.
Credit: Hale Milano

Best Plate Weight Style Dumbbell


Titan Fitness Loadable Olympic Handles


70
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Exercise Versatility 5.0
  • Ease of Use 7.0
  • Weight Options 9.0
  • Construction Quality 9.5
  • Storage 6.0
REASONS TO BUY
Compatible with all Olympic weight plates
High maximum weight range
Barbell-style construction allows for rotating sleeves
REASONS TO AVOID
Need to buy weight plates separately
Large length can limit range of motion
SPECIFICATIONS
Average Measured Weight  2.59 lb
Size Tested  adjustable 12 - 50 lb
Percentage Difference Between Stated and Measured  3.54%
Average Price per Pound  $3.75
Weight Range  12 - 400 lb
The Titan Fitness Loadable Olympic Handles are a different style of dumbbell. They're adjustable, but the weight changes are achieved by adding or removing separate plates to the dumbbells, versus an integrated adjustability like some other models in our lineup. This offers a lot more customization than other styles but also requires additional weight plates, whether purchased as a package or separately. The Titan Loadable handles are high-quality handles that can support up to 400 pounds each, and while that weight might be overkill for most people, it is a testament to their construction quality. They also fit Olympic plates, so if you have a home gym with a barbell, your existing weights will fit on these loadable handles.

The largest drawback to the Titan Fitness Loadable handles is that you need to buy weight plates separately. To keep weights balanced, you'll need to have four of each plate and four locking collars or spring clips to secure the weights. If you don't already have these, those prices can add up quickly. The other downside is that these dumbbells are larger than every other model in our lineup. This is necessary if you want to load up the weight for heavy lunges or deadlifts, but can be overkill if you're doing 25-pound bicep curls or get in your way if you're doing bench press or overhead press. Unlike other dumbbells, which are grab and go, or at most twist, grab and go, these also require you to load weights onto them. Still, there is a lot to like about these specialized dumbbells that make them well-suited to a very specific audience. We think that these dumbbells make a compelling option for the right person. For a more straight-forward option in an adjustable, you might consider the Core Home Fitness Adjustable Set, though the upfront cost is quite substantially more.

Loadable handles are a easy way to add dumbbells to your home gym equipment if you already have plenty of weight plates on hand.
Credit: Hale Milano

Compare Products

select up to 5 products to compare
Score Product Price
88
Rogue Rubber Hex Dumbbells
Best Overall Dumbbell
$40
Editors' Choice Award
85
REP Rubber Coated Hex
Best Dumbbells for Garage Gyms
$55
Editors' Choice Award
84
CAP Coated Hex Set with Rack
Best Bang for your Buck
$190
Best Buy Award
78
Core Home Fitness Adjustable Set
Best Adjustable Dumbbell
$400
Top Pick Award
70
Titan Fitness Loadable Olympic Handles
Best Plate Weight Style Dumbbell
$100
Top Pick Award
70
REP Rubber Hex
$55
62
Amazon Basics Neoprene
Best Beginner Dumbbells
$16
Top Pick Award
60
Amazon Basics Rubber Encased Hex
Best Single Dumbbell
$18
Top Pick Award
59
Bowflex SelectTech 552 Set
$429
58
CAP Barbell Neoprene Coated Hex
$19
58
Signature Fitness Sporzon Rubber Encased Hex
$30
58
BalanceFrom Rubber Encased Hex
$57
56
J/Fit Set with Rack
Best Beginner Set
$50
Top Pick Award
56
SPRI Deluxe Vinyl-Coated
$23
45
Yes4All Adjustable with Weight Plates
$47
26
Nice C Adjustable 5-in-1
$70

dumbbells - we put each dumbbell in this review through over 20 unique...
We put each dumbbell in this review through over 20 unique side-by-side exercise tests to determine which are best to help you meet your fitness goals.
Credit: Hale Milano

How We Test Dumbbells


We start our review and testing process with comprehensive research into the market of products that we plan to test. We researched and digitally compared dozens of products and testing methodologies before purchasing the 16 dumbbells in this review for side-by-side testing. Each of our tests examines different aspects and usage for each dumbbell in order to determine which are best suited to meet your needs. We spent hours doing curls, presses, rows, and clean and jerks to test their versatility. We evaluated handle size, comfort, and grip for different-sized hands and a diversity of movements. We dropped them on the floor and checked for moving parts and breakable components. We considered what weight options are available in each to better scale to your ideal workout.

To help you find your perfect dumbbell, we segmented our testing and scoring into five mutually exclusive performance metrics:
  • Exercise Versatility (30% of overall score weighting)
  • Ease of Use (30% weighting)
  • Weight Options (20% weighting)
  • Construction Quality (10% weighting)
  • Storage (10% weighting)

Why Trust GearLab


GearLab Review Editor and Tester, Hale Milano, is a seasoned fitness expert. As a former US Army Ranger, veteran, and intense recreational athlete, Hale is no stranger to the gym and various fitness equipment. He and his wife are avid at-home exercise enthusiasts, making Hale well up to the task of evaluating and testing a variety of dumbbells. He also leads our weight vest review.

A neoprene option, like the Amazon Basics Neoprene, usually has a...
A neoprene option, like the Amazon Basics Neoprene, usually has a softer, pleasant texture.
A set that comes with a rack, like the CAP Coated Hex Set, can help...
A set that comes with a rack, like the CAP Coated Hex Set, can help save room in your home gym.
While these sets may all look very similar, don't be fooled. We've...
While these sets may all look very similar, don't be fooled. We've delved into every detail to find the nuances in each of these models.
Small details make a big difference; our tests ensure that you'll be able to focus on your workout instead of worrying about your equipment.

Analysis and Test Results


To thoroughly test each set of hand weights, we devised five metrics that covered all aspects of dumbbell design and usage and tested each model side by side.

Below is an in-depth explanation of each rating metric we evaluated each product on and the results for each test.


Value


Rating the value of our dumbbells is not straightforward, as we purchased different types (standard, adjustable, and sets) as well as different weights. The best value for you will depend on the type of hand weight you want, as well as the weight range you'd like to have available.

Standard: These rubber and steel versions are most similar to what you might see in a commercial gym. They are broadly available in large weight ranges and increments from 2.5 to five pounds. Standard dumbbells are quite durable and, generally speaking, can survive drops and falls on the gym floor.

Beginner: These compact free weights focus on the lower end of the weight range, often with one-pound increments and capping out at around 20 pounds. They are often color-coded to their weight and feature grippy rubber or neoprene coatings. Although they're called beginners, they'll give you just as good of a workout as any other hand-weight style.

Adjustable: These space-saving weights feature moving pieces and parts that give you the benefit of multiple dumbbells in a single-unit design. By selecting a different weight, the amount of plates that each grip picks up is increased or decreased to give you an adjustable weight.

Loadable Dumbbell Handles: Unlike other dumbbells that offer a fixed weight or fixed adjustable increments, loadable dumbbells offer almost complete customization for weight options. That flexibility comes at a cost, as the weight plates often need to be purchased separately. Some loadable dumbbells fit common Olympic size weights, which offers flexibility, while others use a smaller “standard” size, and the two aren't cross-compatible. These dumbbells are great for higher weight ranges or for those who already have a home gym with weight plates on hand.

Set: Some weights are available for individual purchase, and others save you some money by bundling them in sets. Important factors to consider are whether a stand is included with the set and if additional weight options are available should you decide to increase your collection.

Generally speaking, adjustable sets, like the Core Home Fitness Adjustable Set and Bowflex SelectTech 552, although expensive, provide a great value for the amount of weight options you get for your purchase; with one adjustable dumbbell purchase being equivalent to buying ten or more standard pairs. Our loadable dumbbells, like the Titan Loadable Handles, can offer good value, but only if you already have the weight plates; otherwise, the price will add up quickly.

dumbbells - a set of weights, like the ones we tested from cap offer great value...
A set of weights, like the ones we tested from CAP offer great value for those who know they want a range of sizes and a storage solution all in one.
Credit: Hale Milano

Smaller coated hand weights, like the Amazon Basics Neoprene, offer great value but lack the total available weight range and durability of other dumbbells. Comparing the price per pound is a common industry benchmark when examining the value of weights. Our testers calculated the price per pound for each weight set we purchased (at the time of purchase) and used that information as input to inform our value ratings. Though specific prices can fluctuate over time and with seasonal sales, examining the price per pound for dumbbell selections is a straightforward way to compare the relative value of different weight sizes.


Our two adjustable dumbbells, the Core Adjustable and SelectTech 552 sets, rang in at under a dollar per pound. This score is based on the assumption that each individual available weight selection is considered its own weight. Sets, like the J/Fit Set and CAP Coated Hex Set, were calculated based on the total number of pounds included in the set. Even though the CAP Hex Set set includes a stand, it is still one of the least expensive price-per-pound options.

Adjustable dumbbells are many sets of weights in one compact package.
Adjustable dumbbells are many sets of weights in one compact package.
An adjustable dumbbell or set of dumbbells provides great value and lets you vary the weight depending on your exercise.

Exercise Versatility


Our exercise versatility metric examined each set's ability to be used across a variety of exercises. We evaluated whether the design prohibited its use or made its use impractical in any scenario.


We used the dumbbells in exercises like bicep curls, bench presses, shoulder presses, overhead triceps extensions, goblet squats, push-ups, clean and jerks, and more. We annotated if the weight was impossible to use, impacted our range of motion, or was impractical for each exercise.

dumbbells - the durability of the rogue makes it quite versatile, we were able...
The durability of the Rogue makes it quite versatile, we were able to use it in dynamic movements and drop it on the ground without any issues.
Credit: Hale Milano

The classic and bombproof design of the Rogue Rubber Hex earned it bragging rights in our versatility category. This pair of weights was outstanding to use during all our exercise tests, including some of the ones that bring on the most abuse, like clean and jerks, where weights often get dropped on the ground. We were able to lift, push, pull, and drop these dumbbells without any impediments. Equally versatile is the REP Rubber Coated; we had no issues using it across any exercises either. A smaller overall weight range and larger weight increments do impact the REP Rubber Coated's suitability across a wider range of exercises.

dumbbells - having a variety of weights keeps workouts fresh; we used each of...
Having a variety of weights keeps workouts fresh; we used each of the CAP weights for a few different exercises and even used the rack for some support.
Credit: Hale Milano

Also scoring highly was the CAP Hex Set. With a very similar design to the Rogue Rubber Hex, only the fact that our knuckles brushed the ground when we used the weights to do supported push-ups (with the five-pound model only) cost it points.

dumbbells - the rep dumbbells offer straight handles, which some may prefer over...
The REP dumbbells offer straight handles, which some may prefer over a curved ergonomic style handle.
Credit: Hale Milano

Although we liked the Rogue Rubber Hex and CAP Hex Set the best in our versatility tests, users who are looking for a standard gym-style dumbbell have many options to choose from, including the Amazon Basics Rubber Hex or the REP Rubber Hex for a straight handled option. The Signature Fitness Sporzon and REP Rubber Coated are equally versatile. All of these options have similar appearances but differ in some of their details, like knurling, handle shape and size, and available weight ranges.

dumbbells - minor differences between grip, knurling, size, and construction...
Minor differences between grip, knurling, size, and construction quality are all that separate the lineup of standard dumbbells that we tested.
Credit: Hale Milano

Considering it is an adjustable dumbbell with moving parts and plastic pieces, we were very impressed with the exercise versatility of the Core Home Fitness Adjustable Set. We had plenty of room to use them for supported push-ups, though they aren't the most stable in this position. We also wouldn't use them for any dynamic exercises, like a clean and jerk, or drop them. However, the Core Adjustable weights are great for all kinds of other exercises, even including ones where we held the dumbbell vertically, like goblet squats.

The Core Adjustable Set are great for Goblet Squats.
The Core Adjustable Set are great for Goblet Squats.
Testing different sets and their squat-ability.
Testing different sets and their squat-ability.
The Core Adjustable dumbbells aren't ideal for dynamic exercises but are great for most others, like goblet squats and bench presses.

The Titan Loadable Handles are relatively versatile, especially for an adjustable dumbbell, but do have downsides given their large size. These dumbbells are 20 inches long, and, depending on the weight that you've loaded, can be much wider than standard or other adjustable dumbbells. This impacts exercises like bench press overhead press, where you're bringing your hands close together. That said, they are built like mini barbells and are drop-proof with the right bumper plates and collars on them.

dumbbells - while your range of motion is slightly impaired given the long...
While your range of motion is slightly impaired given the long handle length, the durable design of the Titan dumbbells means they are great heavy lifts.
Credit: Hale Milano

Ease of Use


Whereas our exercise versatility metric looked at the ability to perform a variety of exercises, our next metric, ease of use, examines how pleasant or well-designed each was to use in a variety of scenarios. Ease of use covered features such as weight identification and marking, the grip and knurling — that's the texture on the handle — and weight selection for adjustable models. We also noted if the overall size or shape of the dumbbell had any impact on its usage (for large and small hands) or whether it rolled on the ground. While generally, most of the hand weights we tested were easy to use, there are minor features that helped some stand out.


The REP Rubber Coated dumbbells are among the easiest and most pleasant to use. While their design is the same as most standard dumbbells in our lineup, we appreciated the full rubber coating over the handle. When temperatures drop, those with garage gyms will appreciate the insulation over cold steel, protecting your fingers from that icy metal. The knurling on the rubber coating is not overly aggressive, but the rubber helped secure our grip as well. The rubber coating is just as good in the heat, too, and provides a comfortable grip when sweaty.

dumbbells - garage gyms face the extremes of both cold winters and humid...
Garage gyms face the extremes of both cold winters and humid summers; the rubber grip on the REP dumbbells was comfortable through it all.
Credit: Hale Milano

The Rogue Rubber Hex dumbbells are another high performer in this metric, mainly thanks to the excellent grip and knurling on our handles. Out of all the models we tested, the Rogue Rubber Hex had the best knurling — rough enough to provide grip but not overly aggressive. It also had the longest handle of any ten-pound dumbbell we tested, ideal for large hands and two-handed exercises.

dumbbells - a closeup of the knurling on the rogue highlights the little...
A closeup of the knurling on the Rogue highlights the little features that make a big difference; like providing a secure grip without risk of rubbing or chaffing.
Credit: Hale Milano

Another standout for ease of use is the Core Home Fitness Adjustable. These fully adjustable dumbbells took under two seconds — and only one hand — to adjust the weight in increments of five pounds from their lowest setting of five pounds to their highest of 50 pounds. Knowing what weight you selected is a breeze with the clear window on either side of the handle, and we felt the handle was an appropriate size. Although there are some pieces of plastic on the handle, the main portion is a grippy rubber texture, and our hands felt secure.

Adjusting the Core dumbbell is quick, easy, and can be done with one hand.
Credit: Hale Milano

If you're looking for lighter options and beginner-friendly hand weights, all of the smaller rubber and neoprene-coated dumbbells were incredibly easy to use. Options like the Amazon Basics Neoprene, CAP Barbell Neoprene Hex, and the J/Fit Set with Rack are very similar in terms of core design features. The SPRI Deluxe Vinyl-Coated dumbbells were nearly as easy to use, although we didn't like the slick vinyl coating as much as the grippy matte neoprene of the other weights. In addition to the weight labeled on the head of the weight, each of these weights is color-coded so that different weights stand out, which makes grabbing the correct weight easy, even when fatigued.

dumbbells - the grippy neoprene, smooth vinyl, and bright colors of these...
The grippy neoprene, smooth vinyl, and bright colors of these dumbbells help easily identify and securely hold them during your workouts.
Credit: Hale Milano

Weight Options


Our next metric, weight options, is an important metric if you want some variety in the available weight ranges that you have in your free weight set. We considered the total available weight range for each model and the increments that each set increases by. Or, for adjustable dumbbells, that increments you are able to select. We also assess how many pairs of weights are required to have in order to achieve that total weight range.

When examining the total weight range, we looked to the manufacturer's information for the available options in the same style. This way, if you want to expand your dumbbell collection over time, you will be able to see how many options there are in the matching set.


Top marks in this metric were awarded to our adjustable dumbbells, the Bowflex SelectTech 552 and the Core Home Fitness Adjustable Set. The former barely edged out a victory thanks to better weight increment options. With the SelectTech 552, you're able to increase the weight in 2.5-pound increments up to 25 pounds and then five-pound increments up to 50 pounds. There is a final 52.5-pound selection available as well. Counting each weight option as its own pair, this is equivalent to 16 pairs of weights in one compact package.

dumbbells - the 15 pound selection for the bowflex has a single middle plate...
The 15 pound selection for the Bowflex has a single middle plate, but the weight ranges from 5 to 52.5 pounds.
Credit: Hale Milano

The Core Adjustable set is adjustable only in five-pound increments, up to its maximum of 50 pounds. While that may not seem like a large difference, counting all the available adjustment options means that you have the equivalent of 10 pairs of weights in one.

We appreciate the clear windows that indicate what weight you have...
We appreciate the clear windows that indicate what weight you have the Core Home Fitness Adjustable set to.
Using round dumbbells as push-up bars isn't ideal. They will easily...
Using round dumbbells as push-up bars isn't ideal. They will easily roll out from under you.
The Core Adjustable set is the equivalent of ten different sets in...
The Core Adjustable set is the equivalent of ten different sets in one.
The Core Adjustable dumbbell easily adjusts to a variety of weights, adding on a plate to either side.

While standard dumbbells can't compete with the adjustable style for the multiple-pairs-in-one factor, they do have a much higher total weight range, which can be desirable for many people. The REP Rubber Hex, Rogue Rubber Hex, and CAP Coated Hex Set models have impressive ranges available. The REP Rubber Hex and Rogue Rubber Hex have 2.5-pound increments for sale, starting at 2.5 pounds up to 30 pounds, and then can be purchased in five-pound increments up to 125 pounds. The CAP Hex Set weights increase at two to three-pound increments up to the 15-pound pair and then increase at five-pound increments.

dumbbells - aside from the handle diameter and overall size, there's no...
Aside from the handle diameter and overall size, there's no difference between the Rogue weight options that range from 2.5 to 125 pounds per dumbbell.
Credit: Hale Milano

The Titan Loadable Handles again scored highly in our weight options metric, but there's a bit of a caveat to their score. Each dumbbell is rated for up to 400 pounds. Given the 6.5-inch sleeve length on each side, it would be pretty challenging to fit 400 pounds on a single dumbbell. When stripped empty, each handle weighs 13 pounds, so there is quite a wide range of weight configurations you could assemble. That said, reaching that range requires you to have Olympic weight plates to make those configurations. And if you want to keep both dumbbells on each side equal, that will require four plates of every weight, plus collars to lock the weights in place.

dumbbells - the titan handles fit any olympic weight plate. we tested them with...
The Titan handles fit any olympic weight plate. We tested them with different-sized steel plates, and bumper plates to see how they felt with each.
Credit: Hale Milano

The smaller hand-weights like the Amazon Basics Neoprene, CAP Neoprene, and SPRI Vinyl ranged from one to 20-pound options, with single-pound increments up to 10 pounds available. While the total weight range isn't as great as others, for those looking at one-pound increments in the lighter weights, all of these offer that option. The J/Fit Set not only comes with three different weight options in whatever set you choose but is also available in multiple weight configurations ranging from 18 to 74 total pounds.

A set of dumbbells is useful for doing different types of exercises.
A set of dumbbells is useful for doing different types of exercises.
The J/Fit Set has three different sizes that you can choose to build...
The J/Fit Set has three different sizes that you can choose to build your custom routine.
The J/Fit Set has lighter and heavier weight ranges, ideal for different types of exercises.

Construction Quality


Dumbbells need to be able to take a beating even in your home gym, and so in addition to the use and abuse they took during testing, we made sure to assess the overall construction quality of each in our next metric.


While we didn't have anything break during testing, we did note where we had concerns about the quality or longevity of certain weights. We also measured each dumbbell with a precision scale and compared that to the stated weight. Most dumbbells were within 1% of their stated weight range, with a few outliers noted. Weight accuracy factored into our construction quality metric score.


Topping our construction quality tests for our standard dumbbells are the Rogue Rubber Hex, CAP Hex Set, REP Rubber Hex, and REP Rubber Coated Hex. These free weights all varied very little in their material, lack of moving pieces, and ability to be dropped on the ground. Only the differences in knurling consistency, handle shape, and the rubber coating on the two REP models separated each.

dumbbells - subtle differences in knurling and handle size make a big difference...
Subtle differences in knurling and handle size make a big difference in how each weight feels.
Credit: Hale Milano

The other high scorer for construction quality is the Titan Loadable Handles set. These beefy dumbbell handles are made to the same specifications as Olympic barbells, sized down to dumbbell length. Each steel dumbbell has a chrome coating and bronze bushings that let the sleeves — where you slide the weight plates on — rotate freely. This increases the comfortability when lifting heavier weights. Interestingly, each Titan Loadable handle is supposed to weigh 12 pounds when empty, and we measured our test set at an even 13 pounds each, a full pound over. The weight plates that we used with the set, also from Titan, were barely over their 2.5-pound measurement, averaging 2.6 pounds each. We only tested one set from Titan and can't be sure if this was an outlier or the normal weight of the handles. Either way, we simply added an extra pound to our weight and continued to crank out reps. Despite this discrepancy, we still found the construction quality of these handles impressive.

dumbbells - shown side by side there is a clear resemblance between the durable...
Shown side by side there is a clear resemblance between the durable Titan Handle (top, silver) and a full-size olympic barbell (bottom, black).
Credit: Hale Milano

Although plastic pieces are typically a death sentence for gym equipment, we were very impressed with the overall construction and durability of the Core Home Fitness Adjustable Set. Regardless of what weight we selected, this dumbbell felt secure, and there was limited rattling of plates during exercises. It even felt sturdy enough to survive some hard landings on a gym floor mat — though we wouldn't recommend making a habit of it.

dumbbells - even though the weight plates on the core adjustable dumbbells were...
Even though the weight plates on the Core adjustable dumbbells were removable, we had no issues using them to hold the weight during different exercises.
Credit: Hale Milano

The J/Fit Set, and similar hand weights like the SPRI Deluxe Vinyl-Coated, CAP Neoprene, and Amazon Basics Neoprene, are also solidly made. They each have a fairly prominent seam running the length of the handle, where their exterior coatings were started and finished. Although noticeable in our hands, the seam doesn't impact our overall use or experience.

These hand weights are comfortable, easy to use, and don't take up...
These hand weights are comfortable, easy to use, and don't take up much space.
Despite a seam running the length of all our coated dumbbells, each of these models is well made and sure to survive for a long time. As a bonus, the coating is easier on your skin than metal knurling.

Storage


The last metric that we tested was the storage and portability factor for each. Even if you have a home gym dedicated to your weights, organizing and storing heavy objects are important. We considered portability as well, in the instance that someone stores the weights in a different area from where they plan to use them.


Our top scores in our storage metric came from two sets of adjustable dumbbells, the Core Home Fitness and the Bowflex SelectTech 552. Each of these, thanks to their adjustable design, takes up a significantly smaller footprint than the comparable amount of individual weights. While both feature a rack to hold the weights, they vary slightly. We like the metal frame of the Core Adjustable Set and the fact that a taller stand can be purchased separately. On the SelectTech 552 rack, we liked the integrated carrying handles that made moving the 52-pound dumbbells a breeze.

dumbbells - the weight stand for the bowflex adjustable dumbbells was easy to...
The weight stand for the Bowflex Adjustable dumbbells was easy to relocate thanks to recessed handles; when moving the 52.5-pound dumbbells, features like this make a difference.
Credit: Hale Milano

Next up on storage scores were the sets that came with a stand, including the CAP Hex Set and J/Fit Set dumbbells. Both of these stands kept the weights stacked neatly and were fairly easy to assemble. These two racks have nearly the same sized footprints, but the CAP Set holds five pairs of weights, while the J/Fit Set only houses three. The stand hooks — where you actually rested the handle — of the CAP Hex Set rack are a bit narrow, causing us to frequently pinch our fingers when replacing the weights. Nevertheless, both of these racks readily fit in a closet or along a wall for convenient storage.

dumbbells - we had to be careful replacing weights in the cap rack to not pinch...
We had to be careful replacing weights in the CAP rack to not pinch our fingers.
Credit: Hale Milano

The Titan Loadable Handles and the Yes4All Adjustable with Weight Plates are much longer than normal dumbbells, clocking in at 20 inches and 14 inches, respectively. They fit on a regular dumbbell rack but protrude much further than regular dumbbells and rest on the handles rather than the heads of the weight. That said, since you can remove all the weight plates from these handles, they can be stored in a relatively compact area if you stand them up.

dumbbells - loadable handles take up a lot more storage space length wise than...
Loadable handles take up a lot more storage space length wise than regular dumbbells. The Yes4All (second set from left) and Titan (third set from left) forced us to move our rack away from the wall. This doesn't even include weight plates.
Credit: Hale Milano

The rubber and neoprene-coated hand weights, like the Amazon Basics Neoprene, are ideal from a portability perspective; you could toss a few pairs into a sturdy bin or carry a pair in each hand to move them from storage to your workout area. They're also shorter than standard dumbbells, so can easily fit in small cubbies.

dumbbells - we liked that dumbbells like the amazon neoprene, cap neoprene, and...
We liked that dumbbells like the Amazon Neoprene, CAP Neoprene, and SPRI Deluxe were easy to toss in a box and move from their storage location to wherever we were exercising.
Credit: Hale Milano

While our standard dumbbells, like the Amazon Basics Hex and REP Rubber Hex, aren't as small or portable as others that we tested, if you're looking to build out a set of free weights or have a weight stand already, the standard size of these dumbbells and flat hex heads means that you can easily store them on most racks or stack them on top of each other.

dumbbells - lots of sweat and sore muscles went into testing dumbbells, but we...
Lots of sweat and sore muscles went into testing dumbbells, but we found out which can stack up to the competition, and which can't.
Credit: Hale Milano

Conclusion


In this physically demanding dumbbell review, we examined all the aspects of design, versatility, and usability for a number of different styles and models of free weights. We analyzed the information from each of our tests to determine which models would meet the needs of different users, whether you're up for a casual workout or a heart-pumping sweat session. There are a lot of different dumbbell options to consider, and depending on your preferences, some are better suited than others. We hope that after reading this review, you have a better understanding of the dumbbells that are best for your needs, your workout, and your wallet.

Hale Milano