Dumbbells are perhaps the most versatile and essential fitness tools out there. Walk into any gym and you’re bound to see at least a few pairs (if not dozens) racked and ready to go. The best dumbbells support countless different exercises, from adding intensity to cardio routines to serious weightlifting.
Yes, dumbbells are key if your main fitness goal is to build muscles, but the list of health benefits doesn’t stop there: Strength training helps develop stronger bones, burn calories and reduce body fat.
You can utilize dumbbells for pretty much any workout routine, including lower- and full-body lifts like squats and deadlifts, and core workouts to strengthen your abs. You can even reap some aerobic fitness benefits from running with a light pair of dumbbells.
In short, dumbbells are a versatile piece of exercise equipment and a must-have item for home gyms. Below, we’ll share our top picks for the best dumbbells from fitness companies like CAP Barbell, Bowflex and NordicTrack, as well as some cheap dumbbells from Amazon Basics.
How to Shop for the Best Dumbbells
Dumbbells can come in a variety of different forms. For this post, we’re separating the best dumbbells into three distinct categories:
- Fixed weight dumbbells: These are the dumbbells you’ve seen stored on long racks at the gym. These dumbbells typically come in sets, and individual weights cannot be adjusted. With a handful of exceptions, the best dumbbells feature a cast iron core, chrome handle and hexagonal heads. Lighter dumbbells designed for cardio and aerobic exercises are usually coated in neoprene.
- Traditional adjustable dumbbells: A favorite of home gym aficionados, adjustable dumbbells let you save space in lieu of storing dozens of weights in the house. Most options employ a metal bar, a set of cast-iron plates and a barbell collar. By adding or removing plates, you can adjust the weight to your liking.
- All-in-one Adjustable Dumbbells: Companies like Bowflex now make sophisticated dumbbell systems that can be adjusted by turning a dial or using a magnetic pin. Because this is a popular and growing category, we’ve included a lot of options below, but check out our full report on the best adjustable dumbbells for more choices.
The best dumbbells start out at around $50 for a pair of 30-pound weights, while the higher-end, gym-quality options can cost $200 or more for a 30-pound pair. There are also premium options such as the Bowflex SelectTech line, which starts at about $350.
Many retailers sell dumbbells individually — not as a pair — which means you’ll need to purchase two in order to get a good workout. To help you out, we’ve noted this on each of the following options.
Best Fixed Dumbbells
If you don’t want to deal with adjustable dumbbells, we totally get it. In the heat of a workout, the last thing you want to do is mess around with pins and knobs while you’re sweating up a storm. And though they may be more convenient in many ways, moving parts are always more likely to break than solid objects.
That’s why we’ve included some of the best fixed dumbbells below, beginning with a commercial-gym quality dumbbell set from CAP Barbell, the fitness company that makes some of the best dumbbells in the world.
1. CAP Barbell Dumbbell Set
We weren’t exaggerating when we said CAP Barbell was known for its fixed dumbbells, and the brand’s products are a common site in both commercial and home gyms around the world. This set of dumbbells, which includes pairs of 5, 10, 15, 20 and 25-pound weights, is literally the set you’ll see in a decent gym, complete with the matching rack.
These dumbbells are gym staples because they’re just all-around great weights. Each dumbbell has a knurled handle with rubber-coated weights shaped like hexagons. The rubber helps save the weight and your floor if you drop the weights and the hexagon shape helps prevent the dumbbell from rolling away. The rack itself stacks the dumbbells vertically, so it’ll go great in an extra room, basement or garage without taking up too much space.
2. CAP Barbell Rubber-Coated Hex Dumbbells (Pair)
A huge name in the fitness industry, CAP’s been making and distributing gym-quality weights for more than 25 years, so it’s no surprise to see them top this list. These dumbbells feature a contoured chrome handle with medium depth knurling for a comfortable and stable grip, while the dumbbell heads’ hexagonal shape keeps the weights from rolling away when you set them down between sets. CAP offers a wide range of weight choices, starting out at 3 pounds and climbing all the way to 50 pounds.
3. Amazon Basics Neoprene Coated Dumbbell Hand Weight Set
In the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, the best dumbbell weight sets like this were impossible to find. Even 12 months later, the popular Amazon Basics dumbbell set is frequently out of stock. Easily the best-reviewed set of dumbbells for sale in 2021, this set has a 4.8-star rating after more than 40,000 reviews. These lighter weights aren’t designed for bulking up like heavier CAP Barbell weights, but they’re a great addition to a variety of exercises. This set comes with a storage rack that holds pairs of 5, 10 and 15-pound weights.
4. Portzon Neoprene Dumbbell Hand Weights (Pair)
BEST FOR BEGINNERS
If you plan on keeping your workouts pretty light, consider these neoprene dumbbells from Portzon, which range from only 1 to 8 pounds. Don’t let the bright colors fool you — the dumbbells’ cast iron core is legit, while the non-slip material coating protects against calluses and blisters that chrome-handled-dumbbells might not forgive. Of course, the lighter weight also means a smaller dumbbell, which makes these easy to store or travel with.
5. Amazon Basics Dumbbell (Single)
Amazon’s dumbbells take all the features you’d expect — cast iron core, hexagonal rubber heads, textured chrome handles — and offers them at a great price. At about $1.40 per pound, this is one of the most affordable options on the market, and with 4.8 stars based on almost 15,000 Amazon ratings, it’s clear these dumbbells don’t lack in quality, either.
6. Rogue Urethane Dumbbells (Pair)
BEST FOR BODYBUILDERS
If you’ve ever been to a gym, you know Rogue. One of the leading manufacturers of weights, racks and other gym accessories, Rogue knows quality, and its dumbbells are no exception. This pair features solid steel heads — unlike the cheaper rubber heads found on many other options — with a shock-absorbent urethane molding. The real perk here is Rogue’s weight choices, from 5 pounds all the way up to a whopping 150 pounds. Serious weightlifters, these are for you.
7. Sporzon! Colored Neoprene Coated Dumbbell Set
BEST FOR CARDIO
If you need a basic pair of light dumbbells for cardio, then this is a great option available via Amazon Prime. Better yet, it comes with its own convenient storage rack and costs under $100. The neoprene-coated dumbbells come with sets of 3, 5 and 8 pound weights.
8. Hampton Fitness Chrome Beauty-Grip Dumbbells (Pair)
Sometimes you need a pair of dumbbells that matches your kitchen appliances. These dumbbells from Hampton Fitness will do just that. The nickel-plated chrome finish gives way to a urethane inlay on the handle for a strong grip. Hampton also sells these in complete sets, just in case you want 10 different pairs of shiny chrome dumbbells, neatly racked, staring back at you.
9. Sunlite Sports Foam Dumbbells (Pair)
BEST FOR THE POOL
We know. This probably isn’t what comes to mind when you think of dumbbells or strength. But water aerobics offer a long list of health benefits, from low-impact cardiovascular training to burning calories and, yes, even gaining muscle. Sunlite Sports’ foam dumbbells float and don’t absorb much water, making them an ideal choice for long workouts in the pool.
Traditional Adjustable Dumbbells
1. Yes4All Adjustable Dumbbells (Pair)
If the adjustable dumbbell route appeals to you, but you’re still craving the primitive experience of throwing different weights around, we’ve got you. Yes4All’s pair of adjustable dumbbells lets users add cast iron plates to the ends of its diamond-curled chrome handles and secure them with star-lock collars. The piece-by-piece process makes storage a cinch — just take of the plates and stack them out of site when your workout’s done.
2. CAP Barbell Adjustable Dumbbells
Yup, CAP Barbell does it all, including traditional adjustable dumbbells. This pair of CAP Barbell dumbbell comes with two 4-pound diamond-knurled handles with a textured grip, rust-resistant cast-iron plates and four star-lock collars. The set pictured below is adjustable up to 25 pounds; however, these popular dumbbell sets are available in a variety of weights all the way up to 100 pounds, which makes it easy to pick the set that’s just right for your home gym. CAP Barbells is the company behind some of the best dumbbells in the world, and you’ll find the brand’s weights in countless gyms. This set is perfect for your home gym and is designed to last for many, many years.
3. TELK Adjustable Dumbbells
TELK makes nearly identical adjustable dumbbells to Yes4All and CAP Barbell. For this set of two dumbbells, you can expect cast iron plates, knurled chrome handles and star-lock collars. Adding up to a total of 65 pounds, you get eight 5-pound plates, four 2.5-pound plates and four 1.25-pound plates. Similar to the previous two options, you can always load up one dumbbell with all the weight for heavy-duty lifting. This set also includes a chrome barbell rod, so if you want to do some light powerlifting, you can connect the pieces together and get your squat on.
LOW IN STOCK!
4. Amazon Basics Adjustable Barbell Dumbells – 38 Pounds
If you’re looking for a more affordable dumbbells set, then check out this 38-pound option from Amazon Basics. Like the CAP Barbell weights from your gym, the Amazon Basics set comes with two 3-pound barbells, a variety of plates and 0.5-pound collars so you can easily adjust the weight as needed. The textured grips provide a secure and comfortable hold as you lift, and the plates and bar will resist rusting. These weights also come with a carrying case if you like to workout on the go.
5. Nice C Adjustable Dumbbells
Nice C dumbbells look significantly different than every other option on this list, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t great weights. At the end of the day, as long as you have a mix of plates, a decent handle and locking mechanisms, you’ll be able to get a good lift going. Depending on how much weight you need, you can pick up a Nice C Adjustable Dumbbell set with either 22, 33 or 44 pounds of total weight, although you’ll have to do a mental conversion from the metric system.
Each set comes with slip-resistant neoprene handles, a barbell rod to connect with the dumbbell handles for powerlifting and four collars to secure the weights. Unfortunately, the dumbbell handles aren’t long enough to overload them with the plates, so you’ll only be able to put about half of the total weight on each dumbbell. But that’s not the end of the world for an affordable weight set that’ll allow you to exercise today and down the road when you can’t get to a gym.
All-In-One Adjustable Dumbbells
1. Bowflex SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells
If you only make one purchase, make it these Bowflex SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells. We recently named these the Best Overall Adjustable Dumbbells of 2021, and this weight system earned the top spot for a reason. Each dumbbell in the pair adjusts from 5 to 52.5 pounds, with 2.5 increments up to the first 25 pounds. The dial adjustment system is super easy to use — just turn the dial until it clicks to adjust the weight. These weights will also save a ton of space because you’re basically getting 15 pairs of weights in one.
2. NordicTrack Select-A-Weight Adjustable Dumbbells
NordicTrack is one of the better-known exercise equipment manufacturers, and the brand’s adjustable dumbbells are right up there with those of Bowflex and PowerBlock. In fact, NordicTrack’s 55-pound adjustable dumbbells really resemble Bowflex’s SelectTech dumbbells, so you know NordicTrack is on to something. The NordicTrack Select-A-Weight Adjustable Dumbbells combine a pin system with a handle rotation system
to help you select weights in 2.5- and 5-pound increments from 10 to 55 pounds. All you have to do is adjust the pins on each side of the dumbbell to change the weights. If you want an extra 2.5 or 5 pounds, just turn the handles on the dumbbells and then you’re ready to lift.
We also like the easy integration with the NordicTrack app, which is a great value-added service if you like online fitness classes. When you buy NordicTrack adjustable dumbbells, you’ll also get a 1-year membership to the iFit Family program at no extra cost.
3. Bowflex SelectTech 1090 Adjustable Dumbbell (Single)
BEST SINGLE DUMBBELL
If you’re into the Bowflex SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells, meet their heavier cousin, the Bowflex SelectTech 1090 Adjustable Dumbbell. The two SelectTech dumbbells are more or less identical with the same features, like dial-adjustable weight and a solid knurled handle. The key difference between the 552s and the 1090s is the amount of weight. This dumbbell can turn from 10 pounds all the way up to 90 pounds, with 5-pound increments. If you can live with fewer increments of weight or need heavier weights, we’d highly recommend the 1090s over the 552s. The only real downside with the 1090s is that it’s only for sale as a single dumbbell rather than a pair.
4. PowerBlock USA Elite Series Adjustable Dumbbell
PowerBlock is another great brand for adjustable weights. The PowerBlock USA Elite Series Adjustable Dumbbells range from 5 to 50 pounds and are color-coded for ease of use. If that’s not enough, PowerBlock also offers expansion kits that let you go up to 70 or 90 pounds. For serious weightlifters, that’s a real advantage over the SelectTech line from Bowflex. Yeah, we know they look a little funny and aren’t exactly what you would expect from a traditional dumbbell. However, we like that these dumbbells use magnetic pins to adjust the weight, very similar to a traditional weight-lifting machine at your gym. And because the handle is in the center, these weights are really well-balanced, meaning you can have cleaner pushes more easily.
5. PowerBlock Sport 24 Adjustable Dumbbells (2020 model)
We’ve covered some heavy PowerBlocks, but PowerBlock makes a lighter model too. If you are looking for something lighter for a different range of exercises, you can always go for the PowerBlock Sport 24 Adjustable Dumbbells. Each dumbbell can range from 3 to 24 pounds in 3-pound increments. The same selector pins make changing the weight as simple as possible, and you’ll never lose your grip with the contoured comfort handles.
6. NordicTrack SpeedWeight Adjustable Dumbbells
BEST LIGHT DUMBBELLS
NordicTrack also sells a great SpeedWeight Adjustable Dumbbell set that ranges from 2.5 to 12.5 pounds in 2.5 increments. These are a bit more basic than the Select-A-Weight Dumbbells, but they still use a quick-and-easy pin system to adjust the weight. Buy this set and the previous set and you’ll have enough weight to work with for all but the most weight-intensive lifts.
7. Flybird Adjustable Dumbbells
Flybird isn’t as well-known as Bowflex or PowerBlock for adjustable dumbbells, but that doesn’t mean the Flybird Adjustable Dumbbell won’t get the job done. This single dumbbell can adjust from 5 pounds to 25 pounds with just one turn of the anti-slip grip. The weights have a helpful arrow and numbers to let you know exactly how much weight you’re getting without having to lift and double-check, and an eight-lock structure guarantees the plates won’t be falling off in the middle of your lift. If you don’t need as much weight, then these are some of the best adjustable dumbbells for sale on Amazon right now, with a 4.7-star rating after more than 1,200 reviews.
8. Ativafit Adjustable Dumbbell
MOST LIKE BOWFLEX
The Ativafit Adjustable Dumbbell is one great adjustable dumbbell you may not have seen before. The weights easily adjust with numbered dials on the side — if you’re looking for Bowflex SelectTech dupes, you’ve found it — so changing weights is as easy as turning the dial until it clicks and then lifting. One big differentiator from the Bowflex dumbbells is the grip. Ativafit’s dumbbell has a soft-grip handle that gives you some comfort while still allowing for a strong grip. Another big difference is the weight range. This model ranges from 11 to 71.5 pounds, so you’re getting almost 20 extra pounds to work out with. The downside, when compared to Bowflex, is you only get one dumbbell here.
But given the state of the dumbbell market, you might just find buying two Ativafit Adjustable Dumbbells makes more sense for your wallet, especially if you factor in the higher amounts of weight.
9. Ativafit 12.5-Pound Adjustable Dumbbells
Like many adjustable dumbbell producers, Ativafit also makes a lightweight adjustable dumbbell. These lightweight dumbbells go up to 12.5 pounds each and rely on a pin system instead of dials to adjust the weights. They also feature the same textured soft grip as their heavier cousin above. In contrast to some other low-weight adjustable dumbbells, they’re compact enough to be used for speed training. Pick up this set with the heavier Ativafit dumbbell and you’ll be totally covered for whatever exercises you need to do.