Without a doubt, the best dumbbells are the best home weights. Think about it: not only you can work out your whole body with just a pair of dumbbells, but they also take up less space than any other type of workout equipment (maybe apart from resistance bands).
Compact they might be, the best dumbbells are not only good for advanced gun sculpting, but they can also provide a full-body workout, get you fit, boost metabolism and build muscle all at once. The most popular dumbbell brands, such as Bowflex, Powerblock, NordicTrack and JaxJox, struggle to keep up with the sky-high demand for their products, hence why it's so hard to get hold of cheap home weights, even in 2021.
A good set of dumbbells is at the centre of any muscle-building, fat-shredding, sweat-inducing workout and can be used for numerous different exercises to achieve any number of fitness goals, from basic weight loss to fat-shredding High-Intensity Interval Training – or HIIT for short – and they can also get you big arms (obviously).
If you find a good dumbbell deal today, we recommend not waiting around for too long and buying them quickly, as the best Bowflex deals are still in short supply. Things have improved a lot in terms of cheap dumbbell availability compared to mid-2020, and should there be a good dumbbell deal knocking about somewhere, our price widgets below will pull all the best prices based on your location. You're welcome.
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How do we test the best dumbbells?
We test dumbbells by performing the most essential of all dumbbell exercises: the dumbbell biceps curl. 💪
Jokes aside, dumbbells on this guide are thoroughly examined by our in house and external experts to make sure we only recommend home weights that are safe to use and can effectively help you achieve your home workout goals.
Dumbbells are tested in a home environment to ensure they perform well in the surroundings they are supposed to be used in. We look at performance details as well as how convenient it is to use and store the dumbbells.
Best dumbbells, in order of preference
Halting a workout to unscrew unwieldy metal spin collars and replacing weight plates can break the flow, while those who are really looking to bulk up will need plenty of weight options to choose from, which means a surplus of storage space.
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 house.
Compared to Powerblock, the rival modular weight system (see below), the Bowflex weights look and feel far more like classic dumbbells. However, a lack of colour coding does mean you have to pay a little more attention when piling on the kilograms, and it's best to avoid launching them across the room.
That said, 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.
(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 non-branded 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 – I would 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 £400 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. Ready to take on Chris Hemsworth in an arm-circumference competition?
The Mirafit rubber dumbbells are sexy and they know it. The solid cast weight are connected with 32mm knurled solid steel grip and the rubber coating protects 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.
The Core Fitness Adjustable Dumbbell and Stand set is an amazing piece of home gym equipment. It's easy to use, has a great weight range and looks pretty much like a traditional dumbbell but takes up way less space than the 10 dumbbells it replaces.
Actually, two of these dumbbells replace 20 dumbbells which might explain why I was so happy to use them: my home is overrun by home gym equipment as it is. Any home weights that can save me some space without compromising the quality of my workouts are welcome.
As always, the asking price looks steeper than if you just bought a hex dumbbell on its own, but it's waaaaaaay cheaper than getting 10 pairs of dumbbells, not to mention the Core Fitness Dumbbells are also more convenient to use than their traditional counterparts.
I would 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. If you need a pair of dumbbells for your HIIT workouts, these weights might be a bit of an overkill.
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.
The Powerblock Sport 2.4 takes up very little room, making them really easy to store, and offers 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.
Adjusting or swapping the weight stack can be fiddly but gets quicker and more fuss-free as you get more attuned to their mechanism. I’d not recommend dropping them, mind.
Those looking to hit PBs and really bulk up might want to look towards other PowerBlock products, like the Pro Series or USA Elite Series, as these feature a knurled steel handle and various expansion kits that take them up to 40 kg. Be warned that the price starts heading upwards rapidly once you get more serious about your Powerblock options.
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 are 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.
Tired of having to do more than just pressing a button to choose the right weights for your workout? Have a look at the JaxJox DumbbellConnect, the 'first-ever smart dumbbell set'. You can increase or drop weight in 6-pound increments from 8 to 50 pounds at the push of a button. Neat, huh?
The DumbbellConnect can be linked to the full Jaxjox InteractiveStudio, an all-in-one smart home gym featuring "AI-performance tracking" and live training sessions. Better still, for the price, you get not one but two dumbbells, so you can start sculpting both arms straight away, simultaneously.
For those who appreciate a bit of gamification in their workout, the Jaxjox DumbbellConnect uses a machine-learning algorithm to calculate a 'FitnessIQ score', and the system can also keep track of your overall progress.
One might argue that plain cast iron dumbbells are plenty good enough to build muscle, but you shouldn't listen to haters: a 21-century workout requires modern tools, and the Jaxjox DumbellConnect is as modern as it gets.
Thankfully, the fitness buffs over at Men's Health have noticed the benefits of a modular weights system and have fashioned their own that nicely undercuts the competition on price but retains the benefits.
You might think £120 for a single dumbbell is expensive, but this Men's Health beauty packs 2.5kg-25kg weights in handy 2.5kg increments, making it one of the most compact and versatile systems money can buy. It's a lot more affordable than the Bowflex system, most importantly.
The overall build quality is great, with thick plastic used for all of the grippy bits, while the spinning weight selection collar is easy to use and neatly clicks into place for added safety and peace of mind.
Alas, there are some downsides to these systems, including the inability to drop them on the floor if gunning for a one-rep max (you'll break the weight selection mechanism if you do that too often), as well as the slightly unbalanced feeling thanks to the wide weight plate area.
But these are factors that are easy to adapt to and seem a small price to pay for such a versatile workout package, which will help gun-shapers and fat-shredders easily progress to the next level thanks to the easy incremental weight system.
These must surely be the most-used weights in the UK, and are a staple of Argos and Amazon's websites. And little wonder.
You just can't beat a good old pair of cast iron weights, and a testament to this is the fact they can be found under the beds of dads and granddads up and down the country. Just don't go looking for them, there's probably stuff under there you really don't want to see.
Get your own and they will last a lifetime and for all of their noisy, palm-chafing downsides (get weight-lifting gloves or pay the price), there is a kind of nostalgic loveliness to the spin collar set-up. Even though at least one weight will nearly always comes loose mid-workout, it's never so much so that you feel endangered. The overtly rough grip and stupidly masculine cast iron finish have a lot of charm and even more longevity.
For less than £40 you get a not-particularly-heavy 10kg per arm maximum that is built to outlast civilisation as we know it. Honestly, a cast iron weight set is a modern day fossil… but a fossil that can keep you fit.
This affordable weight set might not boast the same neat finish as the more premium products here but the innovative grip handle shape means the weight plates can be used for a number of exercises on or off the provided bar.
You can either load up the 18-inch, non-slip metal bar for typical dumbbell curls, overhead pressing and weighted squats, or remove the weight plate to assist with ab crunches or weighted squat twists.
They also boast a floor-friendly plastic covering, which has also been designed to last.
As well as the 30kg set, there are various other maximum weight options from TNP in the same range.
Where the bulky units from Bowflex and PowerBlock promise ultra-rapid weight changes, they don't take too kindly to being thrown across the home gym when you've just repped out a superset, and it can be a little fiddly to go from low to high weight settings.
The Quick-Lock system from IronMaster, on the other hand, is basically indestructible but offers a similar kind of compact weight spread that's perfect for those lacking space.
A unique locking nut system allows the thin and tapered plates to be loaded on and secured with a couple of twists, rather than awkwardly spinning a collar for ages, only for it to then come loose. The entire system stacks in a storage unit that measures 53cm wide, 38cm deep and 61cm tall, while the dumbbells measure 36.5cm when fully loaded.
IronMaster's kits can be a bit pricey, but the price does include a stand too. With the full set, you not only can pump each dumbbell up to a substantial 34kg, but you can also then add a 74kg add-on kit if you're a monster. That actually represents great value when you consider the cost of a similar rack set-up.
Where to buy dumbbells right now?
Your best bet is to check big retailers and sign up for stock alerts so you will be alerted when dumbbells are back in stock. Be patient, even if you find a pair of decent dumbbells, delivery can take up to a few weeks.
Should you fail to find reasonably priced new home weights, you can always have a look around on eBay US, eBay UK and eBay AU to see if there are any used weights knocking about. Alternatively, there is always Facebook Marketplace and/or Craigslist/Gumtree.
- Shop dumbbells at Mirafit
- Shop dumbbells at Sweatband
- Shop dumbbells at Wolverson Fitness
- Shop dumbbells at Amazon
- Shop dumbbells at Best Buy
- Shop dumbbells at Dick's Sporting Goods
- Shop dumbbells at Walmart
- Shop dumbbells at Amazon
How to buy the best dumbbells
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, generally, less mess. Although as with a tyre on a road, if you drag a weight across a hard floor, you can end up with skid marks. Nobody wants skid marks.
We've got options that are good for everyone from beginners to slightly more challenging sets for when the guns begin to show.
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.