The best dumbbells are, quite simply, the best home weights for most people, as they allow for a wide variety of exercises without taking up too much space. There are many options, including cast iron dumbbells, hex dumbbells, adjustable dumbbells, spinlock dumbbells... and so on. It can feel daunting to decide which dumbbell is right for you, so we created this dumbbell guide to help you make the most educated choice possible.
Dumbbells are versatile workout tools that enable you to perform almost any workout, from light arm-toning to intense muscle-building, in the comfort of your home (or home gym). Knowing this, it shouldn't be surprising that the best dumbbells are in high demand. If you find a cheap dumbbell deal, we recommend not hesitating for too long with that purchase in case the interest spikes again (remember COVID?).
Bowflex may generally produce the best adjustable dumbbells, and if you're after one of those bad boys, we recommend having a look at the best Bowflex deals. Don't rule out Powerblock, NordicTrack, and JaxJox if you like these kinds of dumbbells, as all those brands make worthy challengers. Anyone building their own home gym should also check out our best kettlebells, best weights bench, best barbell and best weight plates guides.
Best dumbbells to buy right now
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We wish we have enough space (and money) to buy a complete set of Eleiko Plate Dumbbells. These premium home weights are a delight to look at and use, although they will be most appreciated by bodybuilders and weightlifters. The sloped, oversized plate design might seem odd initially, but using the weights for the first time will change the minds of even the harshest critics.
Considering the hefty price and the premium nature of the Eleiko Plate Dumbbell, it's hard to recommend them to anyone apart from gym owners, hardcore lifters and premium home gym equipment aficionados. If you're either of those, you should start saving now, so you can have a complete collection of Eleiko's finest rotating dumbbells sooner. We love them, and you will, too, should you decide to invest in them.
Read our full Eleiko Plate Dumbbell review.
The BLK BOX Adjustable Dumbbell boasts one of the most impressive weight-changing mechanisms we’ve ever used on an adjustable dumbbell, purely because it’s just so darn easy to use. All you have to do is twist the handle forwards or backward to cycle through the increments and select your weight. It’s very satisfying to use and great for timed workouts where you need to change weights quickly.
Featuring steel weight plates and a chrome-plated knurled handle, this adjustable dumbbell is very well made but, at the same time - dispute its hefty price tag - doesn’t quite have the polished finish as other dumbbells we’ve used, such as the JaxJox DumbbellConnect.
Read our full BLK BOX Adjustable Dumbbell review.
The Core Fitness Adjustable Dumbbell and Stand set is an unbelievably convenient piece of home gym equipment, according to our review, linked below. It's easy to use, has a great weight range and looks pretty much like a traditional dumbbell but takes up less space than the 10 dumbbells it replaces.
The asking price looks steeper than if you just bought a hex dumbbell on its own, but investing in the Core dumbbells, it's waaaaaaay cheaper than getting multiple pairs of dumbbells, not to mention they are also more convenient to use than their non-adjustable counterparts. We recommend the Core Fitness Dumbbell and Stand to people who take muscle building at home seriously and would like to have home gym equipment that enables them to progress steadily in the coming months/years.
Read our full Core Home Fitness Adjustable Dumbbells and Stand review.
These beasts from Bowflex pack 2-24 or 4-41kg in each dumbbell, depending on the model you go for, with weight selection as easy as spinning a dial. When paired with a simple weights bench, they offer an effective alternative to a gym floor yet don't require an entire rack to the house.
The spinning dial is easy to navigate, and the included plastic stand makes it simpler to guide the weights back into place when you're finished, although, with certain configurations, you do have to be quite careful.
Overall, a great solution for those who like to push on with intensive 'drop set' workouts or those who are tight on space. In fact, our only real reservation is the price, which will make you sweat before you even try to lift them.
Read our full Bowflex SelectTech 1090i dumbbell review
(Have you ever wondered how Bowflex's top dumbbell fares against other premium dumbbells? Here's a comparison for you: Bowflex Selecttech vs Men's Health Dumbbell. The more you know!)
Domyos is Decathlon's own brand – you can buy its products at Decathlon in the UK and Walmart in the US – but unlike other own-brand products, Domyos dumbbells are high quality and priced affordably. Plus, given the unique triangular shape, they are great for push-ups, renegade rows and other bodyweight exercises such as L-sits.
The only issue with Domyos Hex dumbbells is that everybody knows they are good, so they are in short supply since the early days of 2020 when the original lockdown was imposed on people. You can sign up for stock alerts, but if you get an email, we recommend moving fast, and maybe you will be able to beat the bots at the checkout.
Taking everything into consideration, including the price, the versatility, the weight spread, the construction – all of it – we recommend the MuscleSquad 32.5kg Adjustable Dumbbell for home use, especially for those who like to go heavy in their workouts. One minor issue is that you will probably need two of them to perform exercises effectively, and admittedly, it’ll cost you.
That said, it’s still cheaper than getting two big Bowflex dumbbells, but not cheap in the sense that you will have to pay £££ for a pair of dumbbells. If you’re happy to pay the price, though, you can rest assured that these dumbbells will allow you to pack on muscle at home without taking over your living room floor.
Read our full MuscleSquad 32.5kg Adjustable Dumbbell review
The Mirafit rubber dumbbells are sexy, and they know it. The solid cast weight is connected with a 32mm knurled solid steel grip, and the rubber coating protects the flooring and reduces noise. The weights are clearly marked on the ends for easier identification. There really isn't much to say about these dumbbells: you get what you pay for, in a good way. The only possible downside is that they might roll around a bit on hard floors, but that's it, really. Get these if they are in stock; they will serve you well.
Although not as enjoyable to use or as versatile as traditional dumbbells, there’s no escaping just how useful a set of adjustable dumbbells is for most folk looking to get fitter, build muscle or burn fat from home. With its unique stacking system, the units feel well-balanced even when fully loaded. The recessed grips allow plenty of range of motion for various exercises.
We liked the fact that these dumbbells take up very little room, making them really easy to store, and offer a very affordable way of achieving a decent weight spread without needing an entire rack or tower full of individual dumbbells. They are around half the price of purchasing a set of 1-10kg pairs with a stand or rack and require a fraction of the space.
Read our full Powerblock Sport 2.4 review
The Boxbell 3-in-1 Adjustable Dumbbell is a decent home weight and one that has many functions. It can replace several home weights and is super portable; it's also compact, making it easier to store and use for workouts. The weight spread is pretty good, and 20 kg as a max weight is more than enough for home gyms.
The 3-in-1 function has its caveats. The Boxbell 3-in-1 works great as an adjustable dumbbell, but it's not quite ergonomic enough to replace kettlebells. It can be used for kettlebell moves the same way you can use a decent-sized dumbbell for snatches. The same goes for using them as parallettes: you can use hex dumbbells or cheap wooden parallettes instead.
That said, the Boxbell 3-in-1 is a unique home weight and one that I would recommend to people who are really pressed for space, such as people living in shared accommodations. The footprint of the weights is tiny, and once you get used to the ins and outs of the Boxbell 3-in-1, you can use them for a variety of home workouts.
Read our full Boxbell 3-in-1 Adjustable Dumbell review
Not everyone has the space at home (or the spare cash) for a full dumbbell set, and you may have already noticed that your local gym probably uses a dedicated rack to hold theirs. That’s because all that weight adds up quickly.
NordicTrack’s Select-A-Weight Dumbbell Set clocks in at 110 pounds in total and is undeniably bulky. However, if you were to purchase pairs of dedicated dumbbells for each weight increment that these dumbbells offer, that would easily add up to 700+ pounds and 30 individual dumbbells. Suddenly, the NordicTrack Select-A-Weight Dumbbell Set doesn't seem so bulky.
Pound for pound, the NordicTrack Select-A-Weight 55 Lb. Dumbbell Set is a sound investment for anyone looking to augment their home gym setup. Thanks to that one year of iFit classes, they’re also a great choice for anyone who could use some pointers on how to incorporate dumbbell exercises into their fitness journey. By the time your membership expires, you’ll practically be a pro yourself.
Read our full NordicTrack Select-A-Weight Dumbbell Set
Before you buy, make sure you check out our NordicTrack discount codes.
How we test the best dumbbells
The best dumbbells are not only good for advanced gun sculpting. 💪 They can also provide a full-body workout, get you fit, boost metabolism and build muscle. Therefore, the dumbbells in this guide are thoroughly examined by our experts using a variety of workouts. We only recommend weights that are safe to use at home and can effectively help you achieve your home fitness goals.
In fact, dumbbells are tested in a home environment to ensure they perform well in the surroundings they are supposed to be used. We look at performance details as well as how convenient it is to use and store the dumbbells.
How to buy the best dumbbells for you
Invest in a top array of weights, and you'll be surprised at what you can achieve with some help from a few online workout plans and a dollop of dedication. As with many things in life, the humble dumbbell comes in a confusing array of shapes, sizes, weights and mechanisms, so choosing the right one for you is important.
Typically, a dumbbell will either be rounded or hexagonal, the latter being the smart choice as it doesn't roll away when you put it down. It's also perfect if you fancy using a dumbbell for press-up variations. Secondly, the weight is particularly important, especially if you opt for a fixed dumbbell system, which can't be adjusted or added to.
This singular weight will make progression tricky, as it could be too heavy for certain exercises or too light to effectively build muscle or add enough resistance to raise the heart rate. Finally, the choice of material should also be a consideration. Matte black metal weight discs might look masculine and cool, but they can also wreak havoc with wooden floors and make a racket. Rubber-coated weights tend to make less noise and mess but might leave skid marks on the floor.
Can you build muscle with dumbbells only?
You can do so much more than just curls with the best dumbbells. Most people will probably associate dumbbells with bicep curls, but these weights can train so much more than just the front of your upper arm. Biceps are overrated, hear us out!
Triceps are the new biceps and you can use dumbbells to strengthen these muscles doing overhead extensions, triceps kickbacks or lying triceps extensions. Tone your shoulders doing shoulder presses, lateral raises or upright rows. You can even train your legs with dumbbells: squats can be performed with dumbbells as well as lunges and deadlifts.
Get a weight bench for your home gym and you can further extend your repertoire: bigger your chest muscles (or 'pecs') with the dumbbell bench press, dumbbell flyes or straight-arm dumbbell pullovers. Not to mention the back exercises like one arm rows or reverse flyers. The possibilities are truly endless.
Modular dumbbells are perfect for home gyms due to their compact size and versatility. If you choose to buy one, the Bowflex Selecttech range is one of the best options out there: simply dial in the required weight and the dumbbell cleverly grasps the correct plate/s.
Have you ever wondered which one is best for home workouts: dumbbell vs kettlebell? Or maybe dumbbell vs barbell? We compared them already. If you want to stand firmly on the ground when working out, you need a pair of the best workout shoes too.
What is the best brand for dumbbells?
There are many excellent dumbbell brands, or, more like, there are plenty of top home gym equipment manufacturers. Bowflex, NordicTrack and JaxJox dominate the adjustable dumbbell scene, while Eleiko and Rogue Fitness are great examples of premium hex dumbbell manufacturers.
Which dumbbells are best for beginners?
Beginner lifters are in a tricky situation, as they need lighter weights at the beginning but will progress quickly once they start working out. Getting a pair of hex or cast iron dumbbells will only help you progress so far, so if you're thinkinh about working out for more than just a couple of months, we recommend getting a cheap adjustable dumbbell instead. Spinlock dumbbells are straightforward, can be stored easily and allow for some weight adjustment – the perfect combination for beginner lifters.