We may earn a commission if you make a purchase through one of our links. The LA Times newsroom or editorial staff was not involved in the creation of this content. Learn more

The Best Dumbbell For Your At Home Gym

Dumbbells are pretty much the gold standard when it comes to working out. They are one of the oldest forms of exercise equipment and probably why they’re one of the first things to come to mind when we think of working out. Dumbbells are also one of the most versatile pieces of equipment that an exerciser has. Being able to use one or both dumbbells in every range of motion makes the number of exercises nearly limitless. From three pound neoprene options to 90 pound hexes, there’s a dumbbell to fit any home, gym, or individual. To better understand which dumbbells will best fit your style, please see our buyer’s guide provided below. Checkout our top picks for best dumbbells in 2021.

Comparing the Best Dumbbells for 2021

Fitness Republic Neoprene Dumbbells 10 lbs Set (Neoprene Weights) - Best Dumbbells Overall

There is just a special something about Fitness Republic dumbbells. This dumbbell set ranges from 3 to 12 pounds which opens up a lot of exercise options. All weights are color coded with bright fun colors to add a little flair to your workout and boldly marked so you know exactly which dumbbell you’re reaching for. As with other weight sets like it, Fitness Republic coated the dumbbells in a waterproof neoprene covering which protects the weights and user at the same time.  Fitness republic dumbbells are reasonably priced and make a great addition to any fitness routine.

best YORK Rubber Hex Dumbbells

YORK Rubber Hex Dumbbells - Runner Up

York dumbbells are found in pretty much every gym in America. The rubber hex dumbbells are by far the most popular of all of York’s offerings. The rubber coating on either end makes these dumbbells safer for individuals and their surroundings, keeps them clean and reduces noise during workouts. The hexagonal shape on the ends serves to keep the dumbbells from moving anywhere where they are not being used. The handles are contoured for a more comfortable grip and the knurling aids in grip without digging into your hands

Cap Barbell Rubber Coated Hex Dumbbell with Contoured Chrome Handle - Most Quiet

Cap is one of the leading brands in the free weight fitness industry because of their quality parts and construction. The rubber hex by Cap is the traditional dumbbell you’re likely to see in the gym or a home fitness setting. These dumbbells feature a rubber coating at the ends for personal safety and noise reduction. The hex shape keeps the dumbbells exactly where you want them so they don’t roll away or shift when not in use. The handles on these dumbbells are curved for a comfortable grip with just the right amount of knurling.

best York Pro Style Dumbbells

York Pro Style Dumbbells - Consider

The York Pro Style Dumbbells may not look like a traditional free weight but the performance and quality is all there. These compact dumbbells have a shortened handle to keep your hands from moving around a lot while lifting. The dumbbell bar is still knurled and there is a soft rubber inside to protect your hand. A rubber covering on either end helps keeps you and your surroundings safe, dampens workout noise, and keeps the dumbbells clean. One drawback with these dumbbells is their round ends give them a tendency to roll away when you set them down. Otherwise, they’re a solid addition to your free weight collection.

Buyer's Guide

Physical Features

Though dumbbells are fairly simple, there are a surprising amount of physical features to be aware of.

Shape

Dumbbells usually either come with hexagon shaped heads or round heads. Round heads are sometimes favored in gyms because they’re considered Olympic dumbbells, but in most cases you’ll find hex dumbbells. Hex dumbbells are much nicer because they won’t roll away from you when they’re set down in between sets.

Materials

There are many materials used to make dumbbells but the weights themselves are usually made of iron; however, they can be also be made from steel in some instances. The only problem with iron dumbbells is they can rust over time due to sweat or humid gym atmospheres.

Many popular brands of hex dumbbells come with a rubber coating around the ends of the dumbbells. Rubber ends promote personal safety as well as the safety of your surroundings.
Neoprene and vinyl are often used on smaller dumbbell sets ranging between 1-10 pounds. They offer a softer feel with a decent grip but the material often smells bad and will eventually rip and peel off your weights at some point.

Mold

Most dumbbells use a single pour mold which eliminates any seams or burrs, but it is prudent to check your dumbbells just to make sure. Any seams or burrs can catch on your skin resulting in calluses and/or cuts on your hands.

Are Dumbbells Right for You?

It is hard to argue that dumbbells are not right for you given their versatility, but there are a few things to consider.

Space

If you’re thinking about going the traditional dumbbell route you are going to need some space. Even if you skip a few weights you are looking at a couple feet of space taken up. If you occupy a small living space a dumbbell is likely to take up valuable space.

Safe Use

If you’re exercising for rehabilitation purposes or experience other special needs which may cause loss control of your weights, free weights may not be for you. Certain physical conditions could cause weights to drop or slip from your grasp, resulting in serious injury and/or damage to personal property.

Workout Style

In most cases dumbbells are a slam dunk for personal workout routines because of their versatility. A few exceptions may be if you’re doing a mostly cardio-based workout; in that case you may want to invest in a weighted vest or ankle/wrist weights instead of dumbbells. If you’re into more functional training, a kettlebell may be better suited to your needs.

bestcovery team.jpg
Our research team searches out the best of everything so that you can confidently pick the perfect products and services for your needs.
Related Content
Go to top