Home Adjustable Dumbbells 8 Best Dumbbells of 2022

8 Best Dumbbells of 2022

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best dumbells

Staff, Courtesy of Bowflex

Dumbbells, often known as free weights, are the unsung heroes of the strength-training world. What they lack in heavyweight, gym-bro flash, as compared to barbells or weight plates, they more than make up for in versatility, portability, ability to do targeted strength work, and more.

With dumbbells, you can not only isolate specific muscle groups through basic moves like bicep curls or shoulder presses, but you can also do full-body HIIT workouts and add more resistance to functional workouts like jumping jacks and walking lunges.

But the best thing about dumbbells is simply their compact size—which makes it easy to create a variety of movement patterns, like pushing, pulling, and swinging, says Katie Hake, a trainer and registered dietician in Indianapolis. “Dumbbells allow for greater range of motion while improving coordination and muscular imbalances,” Hake says. “They are also easy to store, which makes them a great addition to a home gym, or even just a home ‘corner’.”

Before you start amassing a collection of dumbbells, there are a few things to consider about these strength-building tools.

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What to Consider When Shopping for Dumbbells

First, a little history: Dumbbells were among the first dedicated fitness tools, dating all the way back to ancient Greece. They took their current name from more recent usage in the 1700s, when church bells were used as strength-training weights once the clappers, or ringing parts inside the bell, had been removed. Today’s dumbbells come in two basic varieties—fixed and adjustable. Fixed dumbbells will likely feel more secure and stable but provide only a single weight for each dumbbell. Adjustable dumbbells are usually bulkier and sometimes a little more rickety-feeling but provide a wide range of weights on one bar so you can build up to lifting more.

Dumbbells also come in several different materials, including rubber- and neoprene-coated models, and those made from unpadded cast iron, chrome, or steel. The former two types will likely be more slip-proof once your hands start to sweat, and less likely to damage your flooring. But there’s no real disadvantage to solid metal dumbbells if they have textured grips and you rest them on a workout mat.

As for weight choice, Hake recommends beginners first consider their budget and what they hope to accomplish. “Pick an appropriate weight that is challenging yet will allow you to perform your intended exercises with proper form and technique,” she says. “Five to eight pounds is a great starting point.” You might not want to buy an entire set right off the bat. “If workouts will be sporadic, a single pair or even a single heavy dumbbell will do,” she says. “If you are aiming to really build strength and want more options, it may be worth investing in a set.”

She says she personally started with a set of dumbbells in a range from 5 to 25 pounds, which sit on a dedicated rack. “I also have many clients and friends who love the Bowflex adjustable weights,” Hake says. Of course, there are dozens of other options to suit every type of lifter. Read on for more about these and other recommendations below.

How We Selected

As a longtime marathon runner and cyclist determined to not succumb to noodly cyclist arm syndrome, I’ve been collecting free weights for home as well as using them at the gym for more than two decades. To determine which dumbbells to include on this list, I took into consideration my own personal experience using some, as well as input from my network of fitness-minded friends. I also consulted trainer and registered dietician Katie Hake for her recommendations, as well as hundreds of online reviews. The weights here were chosen based on their winning combination of high quality, value, and—perhaps most important—current availability. Here are the best dumbbells you can buy today to start building strength at home.

Excellent Weight Range

Bowflex Select 552 Dumbbells

Bowflex
bowflex.com

$399.00

Key Specs

  • Weights: 15
  • Weight Settings: 5–25 (2.5-lb. increments), 30–50 (5-lb. increments), 52.5 lb.
  • Extras: One-year JRNY membership, which includes trainer-led videos

This pair of adjustable dumbbells packs a wide range of weight settings—from 5 to 52.5 pounds—into a compact plastic stand that you can stow anywhere. For how many individual dumbbells it replaces, it’s priced competitively, with 15 weight settings for less than $400. The settings are quick and easy to change: You just turn a dial to make your weight selection and listen for the audible click. The weight settings are designed to help you progress—at lower weights, they’re spaced 2.5 pounds apart; after 25 pounds, they rise by five. The only drawback to this budget weight set is that it tops out at 52.5 pounds, which is heavier than most, but might be too low for those who want to lift heavy.

  • Easy to adjust
  • Good price for the range
  • Easy to stow
  • Heavier lifters might need a higher range
  • Somewhat bulky during use

Good for Beginners Looking to Build

PowerBlock Sport Series

PowerBlock
amazon.com

$302.84

Key Specs

  • Weights: 8
  • Weight Settings: 3–24 lb. (3-lb. increments)
  • Extras: 10-year warranty

This adjustable weight set doesn’t provide the range of the Bowflex set, but it’s a great option if you’re new to lifting or just looking for a lower range. The set consists of eight weight settings from 3 to 24 pounds, so you can start light and build up in small, 3-pound increments. Each weight has a rubberized handle that’s comfortable to grip; the settings are quick and easy to adjust via a magnetized pin that slides securely into place. The weights are easy to store and take up a small amount of space, as compared to individual weights.

  • Easy to adjust
  • Easy to store
  • Starts at a low weight
  • Tops out at 24 pounds
  • Somewhat bulky during use

High Quality and Less Bulky

Core Home Fitness Adjustable Dumbbell Set

Core Home Fitness
corehomefitness.com

$349.99

Key Specs

  • Weights: 10
  • Weight Settings: 5–50 lb. (5-lb. increments)
  • Extras: Two-year parts warranty

Core Fitness’s line of adjustable dumbbells represents a step up in ease of use and quality compared to the Bowflex and PowerBlock sets. The weights come in two small aluminum cradles that can be stored anywhere; the dumbbells themselves are comfortable to hold and less bulky when fully weighted than other adjustable sets. Each dumbbell can be adjusted from 5 to 50 pounds quickly and easily by twisting its handle. Our only complaint is that the weight settings are spaced in five-pound increments—this makes it a tad harder to make gains at lower weight settings than with the three-pound PowerBlock span or 2.5-pound Bowflex range.

  • Faster to change weight setting
  • More streamlined than other adjustable weights
  • Weight settings rise in five-pound increments
  • Weights top out at 50 pounds

All-in-One Gym

MX Select MX55 Dumbbell System

MX Select
amazon.com

$649.99

Key Specs

  • Weights: 10
  • Weight Settings: 10–55 lb. (5-lb. increments)
  • Extras: 3-month warranty, stand

This 10-weight adjustable set starts and tops out at a higher weight than similar models, so it’s best for experienced lifters or those working out in a heavier range. That higher weight also helps explain why it’s pricier than similar models that stop well below the MX55’s 55-pound maximum. A streamlined steel-plate design helps the weights feel and look less like adjustable dumbbells and more like traditional ones. The weights sit in an included storage base, where they can be adjusted quickly and easily by turning a dial. Our only complaint is with the comparatively short warranty, which expires after just 90 days.

  • Goes up to 55 pounds
  • Comes with a stand
  • Starts at 10 pounds
  • Short warranty
  • Pricey

Easy-to-Grip Traditional Style

Amazon Basics Rubber Hex Dumbbells

Amazon Basics
amazon.com

$16.99

Key Specs

  • Weights: One per order, nine available
  • Weight Settings: 10–50 lb. (5-lb. increments)
  • Extras: None

If you’d prefer to build up your weight collection over time as opposed to buying an adjustable or group weight range all at once, these rubber hex dumbbells are a high-quality, high-value place to start. Traditional in appearance, each weight is made of cast iron and rubber with a textured chrome grip that feels secure in your hand, even when sweaty. You can buy the weights in 5-pound increments starting at 10 pounds and topping out at 50. Just note that the weights are sold individually and don’t come as a pair—they’re best for focusing on individual arm workouts unless you buy two of each.

  • Inexpensive
  • Comfortable to grip
  • Weights start at 10 and top out at 50
  • Weights sold individually

Best for Absolute Beginners

Amazon Basics Neoprene Coated Dumbbell

Amazon Basics
amazon.com

$8.99

Key Specs

  • Weights: Sold as individual pairs, nine available
  • Weight Settings: 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 10, 12, 20, and 32
  • Extras: Some weights sold with stand

For light lifters just getting started, these colorful hex dumbbells are a solid intro to strength training. Available in pairs at weights down to 1, 2, and 3 pounds, they help even beginners progress to higher weights over time—with more weights available up to 32 pounds. The neoprene coating is easy to grip, while the color-coded system and large numbers on the end of each dumbbell make it easy to remember which weights you’re working with. For those who have the space to store a range of weights, these have a nice aesthetic for a home gym.

  • Comfortable to grip
  • Colorful
  • Very low weights
  • Some reported quality control issues
  • Some weight increments missing

High Value

Flybird Adjustable Dumbbell

Flybird
amazon.com

$109.99

Key Specs

  • Weights: 5
  • Weight Settings: 5–25 lb. (5-lb. increments)
  • Extras: 1-year warranty

Provided you’re not looking for rapid progression, this adjustable dumbbell offers significant strength-training bang for your buck, with a 5- to 25-pound range for just over $100. Heavier lifters can choose the $200 model, which starts at 11 pounds and tops out at 55. The weight setting is easy to adjust—you just plant the dumbbell in the storage tray and turn the dial to your preferred weight. Once you lift it out, the weights stay securely locked into place while you lift. Overall, the dumbbell feels compact and high-quality; its only drawback is that the weight range is limited and rises in five-pound increments, as opposed to the Bowflex and PowerBlock’s two to three. Also note that only one weight is included, so if you want to work both sides together, you’ll need to buy two.

  • Very inexpensive
  • Easy to adjust

Trainer’s Choice

CAP Barbell Dumbbell Set With Rack

CAP Barbell
walmart.com

$399.99

Key Specs

  • Weights: 5 weight sets
  • Weight Settings: 5–25 lb. (5-lb. increments)
  • Extras: A-frame rack

This sturdy set of dumbbells includes five pairs of weights, from 5 to 25 pounds, all with rubber-coated, hexagonal heads on textured steel bars. Each set comes on a sturdy, A-frame steel rack to store them, but you can opt for a horizontal rack if you prefer. The rack is also easy to assemble, and comes in multiple color options. Overall, they’re a great value for the quality—the only potential drawback is that the range tops out at 25 pounds, so if you want to lift heavier, you’ll need an additional set of dumbbells.

  • Comes with sturdy steel storage rack
  • Heavier lifters will want more weights

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