“Hearst Magazines and Yahoo may earn commission or revenue on some items through these links.”
If you don’t have plans to rejoin a gym or you just want easy access to top strength training equipment at home, a new set of dumbbells is the smart choice. Dumbbells come in all shapes, sizes, and materials. Plus, some have pretty fancy tech built-in to boost all those resistance training benefits (more on that in a sec).
The best dumbbell sets will allow you to strength-train toward your goals. Period. “Dumbbells can be used for a variety of workouts, whether you’re looking for a HIIT-type of workout with lighter weight combined with short bouts of intense cardio moves, a muscle strength power workout using heavier weight with lower reps, or a workout focusing on muscle endurance with lighter weight and more repetitions,” says Melissa Hendrix Wogahn, CSCS, a certified strength and conditioning specialist and exercise physiologist.
Meet the experts: Melissa Hendrix Wogahn, CSCS, a certified strength and conditioning specialist and exercise physiologist. Hayden Steele, CPT, is a strength coach and creator of the Shock fitness app.
To help you get a head start on your dumbbell workout shopping quest, it’s important to look for a set of quality dumbbells, and it’s okay to start low, says Hayden Steele, CPT. “Typically, dumbbells are priced according to the pounds or kilograms per dumbbell, so a set of five-pound weights will be cheaper than 10-pound weights, so only purchase the dumbbells that fit within your strength profile or align with your fitness goals.” When you get stronger (because you will, trust!) you can always add more, he says.
Jump right to shopping with a sneak peek at top-rated dumbbells.
How To Shop For Dumbbells, According To Trainers
Weight: If this is your first foray into dumbbells, it’s best to choose a weight that you can lift for 8 to 12 reps, says Hendrix Wogahn. “Keep in mind, though, that each exercise may require a different weight, so this is why investing in a set can be helpful,” she explains. When you can perform two to three sets of eight to 12 reps, it’s time to level-up. “Try five pounds and see how that feels,” she adds. When you do, be sure to decrease the reps and sets, then build back up to two to three sets of eight to twelve reps.
Comfort: Your muscles may be burning, but your hands don’t have to. Take into consideration how the dumbbells feel in your hand, adds Hendrix Wogahn. Find a comfortable material (neoprene dumbbells tend to offer a bit more traction so you don’t need to squeeze while lifting) and notice the size of the grip because a set of dumbbells shouldn’t feel too large or too small for the comfort of your hands, she explains.
Storage: Quality dumbbells don’t have to take up your entire home gym, either, so when it comes to storing your weights, it’s all personal preference. Most sets come with their own rack for storage, but if your space is limited, your best bet are adjustable dumbbells, per Steele. The most important thing, though, is to store them out of the way of foot traffic, notes Hendrix Wogahn.
With those features in mind, here are the 11 best dumbbell sets based on trainer recommendations and reviews that will definitely catch your eye. Get ready to hit your strength goals right at home.
Reviewers say these are easy to hold on to, have great weight distribution, and are perfect for barre workouts. Plus, they are kind of the cutest weights you could ever have lying around the house. And these are light enough and small enough to toss in your suitcase if you’re into a lil sweat sesh during your vacay!
Rave review: “These little bars are the best thing to happen to the fitness industry!! They are sleek and easy to clean. The little bag they come in make them so portable!”
These dumbbells only look like standard-issue hex weights stacked in every weight room. They perform above the rest thanks to a few key details. For starters, the heads (black hex portions) are slightly smaller than competitors and make them easier to use with a variety of non-traditional movements. Plus, the metal grips are comfortable even for smaller hands and heavy weights.
Editor review: “I love the Rogue Hex dumbbells for a couple of reasons. The grip, which is firm, is easy to hold and comfortable in a smaller hand, should the weight start to get heavy. The heads of the DB are also smaller than most you find in conventional gyms and therefore are easier on your wrists and are easier to maneuver if you are doing a workout with them as opposed to just bodybuilding.”—Tina Martinez, Hearst Food Group Food Producer
YBell Neo Series
YBells are a fave of WH’s fitness editor, Jennifer Nied. Because of the YBell’s unique shape, it can be used as a kettlebell, dumbbell, medicine ball, and pushup stand. It also comes in a wide range of weights that are perfect for anyone looking to find ways to incorporate equipment into their workouts. They’re a great option for HIIT workouts, yoga, strength training, and more.
Editor review: “The YBells help me optimize my workouts and my home gym space. I can do so many different moves and types of training with just one piece of equipment. Plus, the material is comfortable to grip no matter how I use them.”—Nied
Rave review: “YBells are so versatile they’ve replaced my kettlebells and a rack of dumbbells. I can easily switch up my workouts by changing my grip, which is also super comfortable.”
Coated Dumbbell Set
These dumbbells are exactly what you need if you’re just getting started on your home gym. The weights range from five to 12 pounds, the neoprene material makes them great for both indoor and outdoor workouts, and they come with a rack that can be easily moved or stored around the house.
Rave Review: “It was nearly impossible to find an affordable set of dumbbells. I recently moved into a new home and was at the beginning of creating a small home gym, so I needed a starter set of dumbbells. These were delivered quickly and the bells are great quality. It comes with a cute little rack, which is great if you’re like me and can’t stand mess. I use them daily and then tuck them all back in to their corner for the following day! Would highly recommend!”
Deluxe Rubber-Coated Hand Weights
These dumbbells are available in a bunch of sizes, so you can lift heavy (or light), depending on your fitness goals. Buy them as singles from three to 25 pounds or in a pair from 30 to 50 pounds. Whichever you purchase, you’ll love how durable and secure the chrome-contoured handles feel. And you’ll still get the rubber coating on the ends to protect your home gym floors (a.k.a. your living room floors) from getting scratched.
Rave review: “I love the fact that even with smaller hands, I can grip these weights easily. I also love that the weights are covered in a coating that won’t dent my wood floors. I’ve bought weights where they are fully coated, but then the ‘handle’ is too big for my hands to grasp. I recommend these weights.”—Amazon
When you add water to your workouts, you’ll want these by your side. (Just try one of these swim workouts featuring aqua weights.) Made of foam, they offer extra buoyancy in the water, so you can burn out your biceps, triceps, back, and shoulders.
Editor review: “I discovered these in a water aerobics class while on vacation and was instantly hooked. They offer a surprisingly hefty resistance and always a good, low impact workout.”—Nied
Rave review: “I use for both deep and shallow water aerobics and find them a great addition for resistance training.”
Adjustable Single Dumbbell
FLYBIRD’s adjustable dumbbells will give you plenty of strength training options. You can easily swap your weights from five to 25 pounds. Users also love how durable they feel and how quiet they are when adjusting or lifting them on and off the ground.
Rave review: “The dumbbells are great! Adjusting the weight is super easy. They’re quite large overall if you’re petite, but that’s what you work with if you choose adjustable dumbbells. They feel sturdy so far and the weights don’t jiggle and clink. Worth the money if the weight range is what you would normally work with!”
iSelect Adjustable Dumbbells
The best thing about this dumbbell set is that you adjust the weights digitally. With the touch of a button or a voice command using Alexa, you can increase or drop the weights in five-pound increments.
Rave review: “This is one of my best purchases in a long time. It saves space while I get the benefits of several dumbbell weight ranges in one dumbbell system. I haven’t used the iFIT app because I just wanted the weights. It’s sturdy and simple. I only wish the weight went up to 100.”
These cast-iron dumbbells start at 40 pounds and go all the way up to a whopping 200 pounds (great for heavy lifters!). If you’re used to lifting with weight plates, you’ll love this set. You can also purchase a connector with your dumbbells that can easily turn them into barbells for even more variety.
Rave Review: “I bought these while on quarantine to try and keep up with the moves I learned in CrossFit. These dumbbells are perfect. I love that the weights are adjustable and fit under my coffee table. The handle is a little rough, but works out if you are one of those people that sweat a lot. It will keep it from slipping out of your grip. Money well spent.”
SelectTech 552 Dumbbells
This one is a classic fan favorite (and Steele’s expert pick) and quickly fluctuates between being in and out of stock. There’s a reason these fly off the shelves. They can go from five to 52.5 pounds in a matter of seconds with a simple dial turn. Plus, it’s compatible with the Bowflex SelectTech training app where you can track your weight, reps, and sets while watching workout videos and coaching sessions. Not to mention, it won a WH fitness award in 2023.
Trainer review: These adjustable free weights are genius, says Kelly Bryant, CPT. The handles are comfy too.
Rave review: “LOVE LOVE LOVE these dumbbells!!! Oh My!! I waited for a year, and then Amazon had a coupon and that was it! I live in a small trailer, so they’re perfect for small areas. Super smooth, comfortable grip, can’t say enough good. I am a 61-year-old female, been lifting for +40 years, and these are one of the best investments I have made.”
EXP Adjustable Dumbbells
Save space and add cool factor to your home gym with this efficient, adjustable dumbbell set that will last you years and years. Sold in pairs, they adjust from 5 to 50 pounds quickly. If that’s not enough to lift, you can add an expansion kit to increase the weight up to a whopping 90 pounds. There’s also a stand to keep everything organized and ready for your next sweat sesh.
Editor review: “They go up to 50 lbs but you can also add expansion packs to make them heavier. They look like they came out of TRON, which I personally love.”—Amanda Lucci, WH Deputy Editor Content Strategy
Why should I add dumbbells to my home gym?
“Dumbbells are by far the most versatile equipment you can keep in your gym,” says personal trainer Macy Pruett, CPT, owner of fitness workout app, Fittest Core. Because you can switch out weights easily and the design allows for more mobility than say a barbell, dumbbells allow you to tackle a variety of exercises.
You can use dumbbells to hone in on many specific muscles and muscle groups. Plus, if you don’t have oodles of extra room in your house, you don’t have to buy the whole rack. You can just get a pair or two that align with your own fitness goals. (Or invest in a set of adjustable dumbbells.)
What are the benefits of dumbbells?
You can basically access all the benefits of strength training with dumbbells, whether you’re all about lifting heavy or going for lighter weight training perks. When used properly, some benefits of dumbbells include a boost in muscle strength and size, better joint and bone health, weight management, improved cardio function, elevated mood, and more.
Dumbbells offer additional benefits, too. “The weight distribution of dumbbells allows for easier handling as the weight is evenly distributed across the hand (unlike a kettlebell, for example, where the weight distribution is dependent on where the body of the kettlebell is resting),” says Colette Nguyen, CPT, an ACE-certified personal trainer and trainer at Soho Strength Lab. “Since a dumbbell is easier to hold and the weight distribution is balanced, you can hold onto a dumbbell more securely.”
What are the best materials for dumbbells?
Colored and coated dumbbells look and feel nice, but be aware that coating can wear off with use. “For example, the dumbbells with the colored coating on them do eventually chip/break off,” says Pruett.
Metal alloy or brass weights, specifically with a rubber coating, are her picks for longevity. “These are very durable and handle being dropped very well,” says Pruett.
How Our Team Chose The Best Dumbbell Sets
Women’s Health editors, including our fitness editor Jennifer Nied, deputy editor Amanda Lucci, and more, have tested the bestselling, most popular, and top-rated dumbbells at home and at local gyms. Our team also consulted multiple certified personal trainers, and then evaluated thousands of customer reviews and ratings to narrow down the best 11 sets for a wide range of skill levels, workout preferences, and budgets.
You Might Also Like
- This Skin-Perfecting Tint Lasts Through Kettlebell Workouts and Always Gets Me Compliments When I Wear It
- Try a 7-Day Glutes Workout Challenge for Butt-Building Exercises
- This Guy Took Up Pickleball and Kettlebells And Dropped 70 Pounds
- This 4-move single kettlebell workout strengthens all your muscles in under 20 minutes
- How to get into the swing of kettlebell training