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The REP Rubber Hex Dumbbells are our top pick because of their fully-knurled handles, price, and reputation. Moreover, these dumbbells come with a lifetime warranty for home gym users, backed by one of the top brands in the industry.
- Key Feature: Fully Knurled
- Material: Rubber
- Shape: Hex
- Weight Range: 2.5-125lbs
- Warranty: Lifetime (Home)
- Key Feature: Durability
- Material: Urethane
- Shape: Round
- Weight Range: 5-150lbs
- Warranty: 1 Year
- Key Feature: Quick Change
- Material: Steel
- Shape: Round
- Weight Range: 5-80lbs
- Warranty: 2 Years
Dumbbells are some of the most versatile tools in any gym. Whether you’re looking to build muscle, get strong, or boost your conditioning, they’re a great option.
I don’t consider them a part of the core four for a home gym, which consists of a rack, a barbell, some weight plates, and a weight bench, but dumbbells are what I recommend for most people as their next purchase outside of the essentials.
Dumbbells can be fixed or adjustable, and they can range in price, materials, features, size, adjustment speed, etc., which can be a challenge when narrowing down a list of potential options.
In this article, I’ll take you through the best dumbbells to buy in 2022. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced lifter, this article covers everything you need to know.
Best Dumbbells (Updated December 2022)
Each dumbbell outlined here has been personally tested by the team at Garage Gym Lab or meticulously researched through in-depth spec comparisons, user reviews, and trusted feedback from industry experts.
- Best Dumbbells for Most People – REP Rubber Hex Dumbbells
- Best Adjustable Dumbbells – NÜOBELL Adjustable Dumbbells
- Best Round Dumbbells – Rogue Urethane Dumbbells
- Best Ergonomic Dumbbells – REP Rubber Coated Dumbbells
- Best Premium Dumbbells – American Barbell Series 4 Dumbbells
- Fastest Adjustable Dumbbells – Powerblock Elite Series Dumbbells
- Most Durable Adjustable Dumbbells – Ironmaster Quick-Lock Dumbbells
- Best Loadable Dumbbell Handles – Gungnir Dumblers
- Most Versatile Dumbbells – Kabuki KYÜBELL
- Best Budget Dumbbells – CAP Cast Iron Hex Dumbbells
- Best Dumbbell Rack – Rogue Universal Storage System 2.0
- Best Budget Dumbbell Rack – REP Dumbbell Rack
- Price: Starting at $29.99 w/ Free Shipping (sold in pairs)
- Materials: Rubber heads & steel handles
- Shape: Hex-heads and straight, knurled handles
- Weight Range: 2.5lb-125lb in 5lb increments
- Handle Diameter: 22mm (2.5lb), 28mm (5lb-15lb), 34mm (17.5lb+)
- Available in Sets: Yes
- Warranty: Lifetime in a home gym; 1 year in a commercial gym
When it comes to rubber dumbbells, many are made in the same factory and simply rebranded with different company logos. I’ve owned several of these REP DBs for a couple of years, and they’re the best of this style that I’ve tried. I’m not saying they’re totally unique, but they have one distinguishing quality.
Unlike most rubber hex DBs that have contoured, partially knurled grips, the REP version has straight handles that are knurled from end to end. This gives them a more authentic, barbell-like feel that I prefer. Some users like the contoured grips. If that’s you, I would suggest looking at the REP Ergo Hex Dumbbells.
These DBs have steel heads coated in a thick rubber to provide extra durability to the dumbbell and your floor. They’re friction welded, much like a barbell sleeve, so dropping them is perfectly acceptable. They have a lifetime warranty for home gym use, which should provide additional peace of mind.
I found that the REP Rubber Hexes had a fairly minimal amount of odor – not completely odorless, but less than several other versions I’ve tried. They did, however, come with a heavy layer of oil, which is relatively common. I used a rag to wipe them off and applied silicone spray where needed. After doing this, the smell was virtually non-existent.
The biggest downside to these dumbbells, and rubber hex DBs in general, is that they can be quite long. This is especially true when handling heavier increments. Compared to a more compact dumbbell, rubber hexes will limit some range of motion. I have a full breakdown of the three dumbbell styles that REP offers below.
The REP rubber hex dumbbells ship for free, and when you factor in their straight handles, I think they’re the best option for this style.
Check out our REP Fitness Dumbbell Buying Guide for more.
- Straight knurled handles provide a barbell-like feel
- Many options ranging from 2.5lb to 125lb
- Several sets available, including 5lb-100lb
- Excellent warranty for home gym use
- Hex design prevents rolling
- Rubber hex dumbbells are longer than other styles, which can limit range of motion on some lifts
- They can arrive with an oily surface. A rag and silicone spray removes it easily and helps eliminate any initial odor
- Price: $625 for 50lb/$775 for 80lb (sold in pairs)
- Materials: Steel & hardened plastic
- Shape: Round head with straight, knurled handle
- Weight Range: 5lb-50lb or 5lb-80lb in 5lb increments
- Handle Diameter: 32mm
- Adjustment Mechanism: Handle dial
- Warranty: 2 years
I’ve owned the NÜOBELLS since the beginning of 2020, and after using them extensively, I think they’re the best adjustable dumbbells for most people.
The best thing about the NÜOBELLS is how quickly they can adjust. These adjustable DBs come with cradles that, when engaged, allow the users to adjust the weight. This is done through a clever spinning handle mechanism that takes a couple of seconds to adjust. By spinning either left or right, you increase or decrease the weight selection, which is shown through a little window for easy identification.
The 32mm handle is straight and knurled, which provides a good overall grip. The handle is hollow, allowing a threaded steel core to adjust the weight. In general, the NÜOBELLS look and feel like traditional dumbbells.
The plates consist of machined steel and plastic inserts that join them together with other plates. The plates are round, but they have a flat edge that helps prevent them from rolling. You can purchase the NÜOBELLS as pairs, and they’re available in 50lb or 80lb versions, both of which come with 5lb increments. While I would like to see heavier options, that would increase the total length, which could further reduce range of motion.
The biggest concern of the NÜOBELLS over the long term is the number of plastic components. There is plastic on every plate, on the inner collars, and on the cradles. Over time, this could cause issues. I haven’t experienced any issues yet, but at least one review pointed out a cracked piece of plastic. I’ve heard far more positive things than I have negative, however, and NÜOBELLS come with a two-year warranty.
I’ve had my NÜOBELLS sitting in their cradles on my floor – they take up virtually no footprint, but you can purchase an optional stand.
If speed and traditional look and feel are what you’re after, the NÜOBELLS are an excellent option. The price is in line with some of the higher-end offerings.
- Extremely fast adjustment mechanism
- Takes up a very small footprint
- Available in 50lb or 80lb pairs – both with 5lb increments
- Easy-to-read number call-outs for weight selection
- Satisfying clicking noise
- Traditional dumbbell feel
- Plastic components are a possible concern for long-term durability
- The 2-year warranty is less than some other adjustable dumbbells
- Price: Starting at $45 (sold in pairs)
- Materials: Urethane heads and steel handles
- Shape: Round head with straight, knurled handles
- Weight Range: 5lb-150lb in 5lb increments
- Handle Diameter: 31mm (5lb-45lb) and 34mm (50lb+)
- Available in Sets: Yes
- Warranty: 1 Year
The Rogue Urethane Dumbbells are some of the most durable DBs in the game. They also offer some of the heaviest increments on the market – up to 150lbs. These increments are the main reason I picked them over the REP Fitness version, despite owning a complete REP set since 2019. Price aside, they’re otherwise very similar.
There are a few benefits to picking urethane over standard rubber. The first is that urethane is more durable than rubber. Even with a thinner application vs. rubber hex, they provide excellent resiliency to drops, scrapes, etc. Despite their enhanced durability, however, these from Rogue only carry a 1-year warranty compared to the 5 years on the REP version. I’m confident that a warranty claim is unlikely, even within a 5-year window on the Rogue version, but this is a distinction nonetheless.
Another big benefit of urethane dumbbells is that they’re significantly more compact than traditional rubber hexes. Again, this can make a big difference with range of motion, and it’s one of the biggest reasons I recommend urethane if you have the budget. These also come with straight, fully knurled handles with a chrome plating.
Other benefits of urethane include no odor and a better aesthetic. Something else to consider is that these use round heads vs. hex heads. I prefer round heads because I love the pro-style look, but they’re prone to rolling on the floor and within some storage racks.
Urethane dumbbells come with a premium price, but if durability is important to you, and you like the look and heavier increments, these from Rogue are a great choice.
- Urethane is among the most durable dumbbell materials
- Significantly smaller profile than traditional rubber hex dumbbells
- Available up to 150lbs, including pairs and sets
- White name and weight call-outs are easy to read and provide a nice aesthetic
- Straight knurled handles provide a very traditional feel
- Expensive for the average home gym owner
- Round heads are sometimes harder to store, as they tend to roll
- Shorter warranty compared to some other options
- Price: Starting at $39.99 w/ Free Shipping (sold in pairs)
- Materials: Rubber heads and rubber handles
- Shape: Hex-heads and contoured, textured handles
- Weight Range: 5lb-50lb on pairs and up to 100lb on sets in 5lb increments
- Handle Diameter: 30mm (5lb-20lb) and 34mm (25lb+)
- Available in Sets: Yes
- Warranty: Lifetime in a home gym; 1 year in a commercial gym
The REP Rubber Coated Dumbbells are not your typical rubber hex DBs. These have a rubber, contoured grip with some advantages relative to some other contoured steel handles. They also have a size advantage over traditional rubber hex options.
The most unique thing about these dumbbells is the rubber handle. Where many rubber-style DBs have a chrome-plated and partially knurled handle, these from REP have neither. They’re coated in a textured (not knurled) rubber, which I’ve found more grippy than chrome-plated versions. Even more beneficial is that they’re much more resilient to cold temperatures. If you train in a garage gym where it gets cold in the winter, these will immediately feel comfortable in your hands. No more grabbing a freezing cold handle – they’re basically immune to the cold.
The second big advantage of these dumbbells over some traditional rubber hex DBs is that they’re more compact by up to several inches on heavier increments. Again, this allows for additional range of motion and makes them less unwieldy.
The heads are steel and the handles are friction welded, providing a very durable bond. You can feel confident dropping them, especially with the lifetime warranty. The rubber is very durable and emits less odor than traditional rubber hex DBs. They may arrive with some oil and may also show some dirt on arrival. Again, a rag and silicone spray did the trick perfectly.
Aesthetically, I love these Rubber Coated DBs from REP. They have a contrasting white logo, and while I wish the weight call-outs were also white, they still look very sharp. A downside of these, however, is that you cannot buy increments over 50lbs in pairs. To get up to 100lbs, you’ll need to look at their set options.
- More compact than traditional rubber hex dumbbells
- Rubber grips are resistant to cold temperatures and provide more grip than some chrome-plated handles
- Accurate to within 3% of stated weight
- Little-to-no odor
- Excellent warranty
- Only sold up to 50lbs when buying pairs – must purchase sets to get to 100lbs
- Contoured grips are not everyone’s cup of tea
- Price: Starting at $2,395 (sold in sets)
- Materials: Urethane heads and steel handles
- Shape: Round head with straight, knurled handles
- Weight Range: 5lb-100lb in 5lb increments
- Handle Diameter: 32mm (5lb-35lb) and 35mm (40lb+)
- Available in Pairs: No
- Warranty: 3 Years
If you’re looking for a premium set of dumbbells, the American Barbell Series 4s are a great option. American Barbell is known for being the innovator behind urethane-based dumbbells and plates. Their molding process creates an extremely durable and aesthetic urethane that can withstand a lot of abuse. There’s a reason every Planet Fitness in America uses American Barbell dumbbells. Not to mention American Barbell has been an OEM for some of the biggest brands, including Hammer Strength and others.
I own a full set of American Barbell dumbbells in my studio gym, and they’re very high quality. While mine is the 10-sided urethane dumbbells, they’re the same as the Series 4 except for the head shape and end cap color.
These specific dumbbells have a round head, which provides a pro-style look and feel. The urethane creates a very durable outer layer, and it benefits from having no smell. American Barbell urethane includes a pebble grain surface texture that looks beautiful and feels great in the hands. Most other urethane dumbbells are smooth to the touch.
The handles have diameters of 32mm and 34mm depending on the weight, and they’re fully knurled. American Barbell has a reputation of having excellent, but passive knurling on their bars and dumbbells. These dumbbells are no exception, so if you’re looking for a dumbbell with a more aggressive texture, Rogue or REP are likely better options.
Aesthetically, these are beautiful dumbbells. However, one thing to consider is that they’re only available with red end caps unless you pick the 10-sided option (gray). For some, this may be perfect, but if red clashes with your gym scheme, it may be a deal breaker. If you have a bigger budget and you don’t mind longer lead times, you can create your very own end caps with your own design or logo.
I have been very pleased with my American Barbell dumbbells – they’re well made, and look as professional as any commercial-grade dumbbell. That said, they aren’t cheap. As such, these are a premium option for those with bigger budgets.
- Urethane lasts longer, emits less odor, and looks better than rubber
- Solid steel core creates a very durable construction
- Straight, fully knurled handles
- Beautiful aesthetic
- Custom end caps are available
- While less expensive than other premium dumbbells, these are still expensive for the average home gym owner
- Not available in pairs
- Knurling is more passive than others.
- Price: Starting at $419 (sold in pairs)
- Materials: Steel, rubber, and plastic
- Shape: Square heads with recessed straight rubber handle
- Weight Range: 5lb-50lb in 2.5lb-5lb weight increments with add-ons for 70lb and 90lb
- Handle Diameter: 33mm
- Adjustment Mechanism: Selector pin & dial lock
- Warranty: 5 years
When you think ‘adjustable dumbbell,’ there’s a good chance that Powerblocks are one of the first things that pop into your head. That’s for good reason because they’ve been around for years. These are some of the fastest and most reputable adjustable DBs on the market.
The Powerblocks are very memorable because they have a unique and unorthodox design. The most unique thing about them is their handle system, which sits recessed into the “block.” Almost as if you were putting on a glove, you stick your hand into the Powerblock to grab a 33mm straight rubber-coated handle. There is nothing traditional in how this looks or feels.
What’s most beneficial about the Powerblocks is how quickly they adjust. On the outer edge is a selector pin that can quickly be extracted and inserted into color-coded slots to select the weight in 10lb increments. These colors are referenced on the top of the Powerblocks with their associated weights. On the top, you will also find a dial lock that you can open to add or remove “adder” weights for either 2.5lb or 5lb adjustments. So while the 10lb jumps are very fast, the smaller jumps take a marginally longer time. Still, it’s very easy.
You can buy the Powerblock Elites as a 50lb set, but with two available expansions, you can build 70lb and 90lb sets. To get to 90lb, you must buy the stage 2 expansion set (50lb-70lb).
Although some plastic components are on the Powerblock Elites, these dumbbells are extremely durable and they have years of solid reviews backing them up. I highly recommend them to anyone looking for a fast-changing, proven, and durable adjustable DB.
- Very fast adjustments
- Mostly steel construction makes for a very durable set
- Available in 2.5lb, 5lb, and 10lb adjustments
- Color-coded side rails for easy weight identification
- Powerblock stand is sold separately
- The unorthodox handle may be awkward for some users
- Price: Starting at $869 (sold in pairs)
- Materials: Steel
- Shape: Square head with straight, knurled handle
- Weight Range: 5lb-75lb w/ 2.5lb weight increments and add-ons for 120lb and 165lb
- Handle Diameter: 31.75mm
- Adjustment Mechanism: Plate-loaded with quick-lock
- Warranty: 10 years
Ironmasters were the first adjustable dumbbell that I purchased for my home gym. I absolutely loved them for their durability and feel, but I ultimately elected to buy a full set of fixed dumbbells because of the adjustment speed. I 100% believe these are some of the best adjustables anyone can buy. I think they’re especially great for heavy lifters and powerlifters.
The best thing about the Ironmasters is that they’re virtually bombproof. Every component of these dumbbells is made from steel. You can drop them, slam them, drag them, and do whatever else you want with them without concern of them failing. The 10-year warranty that comes with them is industry-leading as well, so you can be even more confident.
You can buy Ironmasters as a 75lb set, which includes a convenient stand that stores your plates. This stand takes up a very small footprint, making them a great option for the space-conscious lifter. From there, you can buy the 120lb add-on kit and on up to the 165lb kit. The 75lb dumbbells have a great length to them, making them feel like traditional dumbbells. Once you start using the add-ons, the length begins to get somewhat unwieldy, but on things like rows, it’s no concern.
The Ironmaster plates are secured with a “quick-lock” mechanism, which is essentially a threaded screw. It’s removed by twisting counterclockwise and then locked into place by twisting clockwise until you feel a click. It’s a seamless operation that works great, but at the expense of speed.
If you do a lot of drop sets, supersets, etc. the Ironmasters probably aren’t for you. Otherwise, this is a terrific and extremely durable option that will serve many people well for years.
- Extremely heavy-duty
- Straight, knurled handles provide a traditional look and feel
- Available as a 75lb set with add-ons up to 165lbs
- One of, if not the best warranty among adjustable dumbbells.
- All-steel construction
- Adjustment speed isn’t as fast as some competing adjustable dumbbells
- VERY hard to order right now in 2022
- Price: $549/pair
- Materials: Stainless Steel, Electroless Nickel, and Titanium
- Loadable Sleeve Length: 6.25″
- Total Length: 18.42″
- Weight: 12lbs
- Handle Diameter: 28mm
- Warranty: Lifetime
The Dumbler from Gungnir of Norway is the most revolutionary loadable dumbbell ever to hit the market. Gungnir is known for their SlideLock technology, which eliminates the need for external collars. They first introduced these locks on their Allrounder Bar, which is one of the best barbells I have ever used. Read the full Allrounder Bar review.
The SlideLock is a precision-machined titanium piece that slides along the sleeve of the Dumblers and locks into place. Along the sleeve are machined grooves that allow the lock to rest in place. With the added benefit of built-in magnets on the clip, you can rest assured the lock will never budge. Seriously, I’ve done 80lb drop tests with the Dumblers, and they’ve never shown any signs of concern.
The handles on the Dumbler include a moderate knurling consistent with dumbbells. The beauty of these handles, however, is that the handle is stainless steel. Not only does this look great, but it also provides an unmatched feel in the hand. The handle measures 28mm in diameter, consistent with an Olympic weightlifting bar. This is great for snatches and other Oly-style dumbbell movements.
The sleeves measure 6.25″ in length and have a standard Olympic bar diameter of 1.96″, which accommodates Olympic-sized plates. This length is conducive to loading over 80lbs, but keep in mind that because the clips lock into place short of the total length, you may actually need external collars when going heavy. This depends on what type of plates you’re using. These sleeves also rotate, which is different from most fixed dumbbells. It does so with bronze bushings, which create a smooth operation.
A couple of downsides to loadable handles, in general, is that they take longer to load and they’re physically longer, which can limit range of motion.
The Gungnir Dumblers are simply the best loadable handles available. The machining is next-level, the SlideLock works perfectly, they’re very aesthetic, and they perform very well. If you want the absolute best loadable handles, look no further than the Dumblers from Gungnir.
- Revolutionary titanium SlideLock eliminates external collars
- Offers a very traditional, barbell-like feel
- Straight, fully knurled handle
- Not as long as some other loadable dumbbells
- Accepts Olympic plates
- Rotates via bronze bushings
- Despite being shorter than some, loadable handles are still long compared to fixed dumbbells
- It can be challenging to load heavy depending on what plates you’re using
- Price: Starting at $187.98 (sold in singles or pairs)
- Materials: Steel with polyurethane end caps
- Shape: “Guitar pick” heads with three straight, textured handles
- Weight Range: 10lb-50lb in 10lb weight increments
- Handle Diameter: 31.75mm, 44.45mm, or 63.5mm
- Available in sets: Yes, sets are available with pairs or singles
- Warranty: N/A
The Kabuki Kyubells are the brainchild of the collaboration between Kabuki Strength and Havak, who originally created the same-concept Triads. This is a very versatile hand implement with a unique design.
When you look at the Kyubell, you’ll see guitar pick-shaped end plates with three handles attached at the corners. Each of these handles differs in diameter, including 1.25″, 1.75″, and 2.5″. In this way, you can train different grips to increase variety in training, but that’s not what truly separates the Kyubell from other tools (although it is a unique factor).
The Kyubell shines is in its ability to influence force curves by using an open design between those handles. You can position your hand to create three positions: the rack position, the long lever position, and the center mass position. On the ends are polyurethane covers with a diagram showing these various positions.
For example, the center mass position will be most similar to a traditional dumbbell. You achieve this by sticking your hand through the opening and grabbing the back handle. The long lever position is the most demanding, and it’s achieved by grabbing the closest handle. The rack position is achieved by grabbing a handle and letting the Kyubell rotate onto the forearm. In this position, you’ll be under load longer and, according to some users, it will be more comfortable for certain movements (e.g., presses).
A downside to the Kyubells is that they’re not adjustable, and they’re only made available to 50lbs. This max weight, however, can be influenced via the handles to create more challenging scenarios beyond just absolute weight.
Another benefit is that they’re very compact, so you’ll get a great range of motion.
The Kyubells are not for everyone. These are very unique handles that are best suited for advanced lifters.
- Three handles in three different diameters for various grips
- Open design lets users create three different load positions
- All-steel construction is very durable
- Available as singles, pairs, and sets
- More versatile than traditional dumbbells
- Made in the USA
- Only available in 10lb-50lb with 10lb increments
- Not adjustable
- Price: Starting at $5.99 (sold in pairs)
- Materials: Cast iron heads and handles
- Shape: Hex heads and straight, knurled handles
- Weight Range: 1lb-120lb in 1lb-5lb increments
- Handle Diameter: 29mm (1lb-45lb), 30.5mm (50lb-65lb), 31mm (70lb-80lb), and 31.75mm (85lb+)
- Available in Sets: No
- Warranty: 30 days
The CAP Cast Iron Dumbbells are a solid budget offering if saving money is important to you. There’s nothing particularly special about these DBs, but CAP has a respectable reputation for providing some decent value options.
As the name implies, these DBs are made entirely of cast iron and then coated in a baked enamel, which is a CAP staple. As with budget cast iron plates and dumbbells, some splatter may be left behind. It can be fairly uncomfortable if that splatter is on the handle or the heads where they may rest on your legs. Some owners have complained about this issue.
The nice thing about these DBs is that there are a lot of increments available, ranging from 1lb up to 120lb. These increments increase by 1lb, 2lb, 3lb, and 5lb once you get past the 15lb mark. You can purchase them as pairs on Amazon, but no sets are available.
Durability on the CAP dumbbells is good, but not great. There have been some, not a lot, of cases of heads breaking. Considering they’re constructed with only cast iron, you’ll need to consider your floor and the DB overall. I don’t recommend dropping these from anywhere higher than bench height. They do come with a 30-day warranty, but this lags behind the competition.
At the end of the day, these aren’t going to compete with higher-quality brands, but they’re a good pick for budget-seekers, beginners, and recreational lifters.
- Very budget-friendly
- Weights ranging from 1lb up to 120lb
- Hex heads help to prevent rolling
- Straight, knurled handles
- Less durable compared to other dumbbells
- Warranty isn’t as strong as other dumbbells
- Some users have complained of uncomfortable cast splatter
- Price: Starting at $365
- Materials: 2×3 and 3×3 11-gauge steel with steel shelves
- Tiers: 2 or 3
- Shelf options: Dumbbell, kettlebell, and medicine balls
- Footprint: 76.5″ long, 23.75″ deep, 29.25″-48.25″ tall
The Rogue Universal Storage System 2.0 is one of my favorite storage systems. It’s great for dumbbell storage, but also for kettlebell, med ball, and barbell storage.
This system is ‘universal’ because you control what goes where. The first thing to decide is whether you want two tiers or three. From there, you can pick which type of shelf you want and in which position. Whether you want all dumbbells or a combination, you can make it your own.
The unit is 76.5″ long, which is a good length for storage, but which also might be too long for some rooms. It will sit either 29.25″ or 45.25″ off the ground depending on how many tiers you select. It’s made of a combination of 2×3 11-gauge steel and 3×3 11-gauge steel, making it a very heavy-duty system capable of storing a lot of weight. It also comes with a wheel kit that you can install for portability, but you don’t have to if you have a good permanent spot.
Regarding price, you will pay a base price for the number of tiers and then a premium based on what actual shelves you buy. Dumbbell trays are the most expensive, then kettlebells, and then medicine balls. A 3-tier dumbbell system will cost you less than $1,000.
If flexibility is important to you or if you want just one storage unit instead of possibly two or more, the Rogue Universal Storage System is a great choice.
- Adaptable to accommodate dumbbells, kettlebells, and medicine balls
- Includes wheels for easy maneuvering
- Heavy-duty 11-gauge steel construction
- Available in two or three-tier height
- You can add vertical barbell holders to store up to four barbells
- 76.5″ length may be too big for some users
- Price: $209.99 w/ free shipping
- Materials: 2×2 11-gauge steel with steel shelves
- Tiers: 3
- Shelf options: Dumbbells
- Footprint: 48″ long, 24″ deep, 36″ tall
- Colors: Red, Blue, or Black
When I first bought a fixed set of dumbbells, I bought these racks from REP Fitness. They serve their job well, and while they aren’t as versatile as something like the Rogue Universal System, they’re great for the money.
The REP Dumbbell Rack sits 36″ tall, 48″ long, and 24″ deep, so it’s a compact unit. With three tiers, it can hold a set of 5-50lb dumbbells in 5lb increments. Keep in mind this is based on REP’s rubber dumbbells. Most others will fit the same, but if you have any that are larger, they may not fit.
The unit itself is easy to assemble, and it’s plenty strong. One thing I did notice, however, on the bottom shelf where I had heavier pairs loaded (70-100), the shelf would sag a little in the middle. This isn’t a big deal with rubber hex dumbbells, but with round head urethanes, they would want to roll into each other. This made it slightly hard to re-rack, and it also made it more challenging to line the DBs up neatly.
Also, remember that you will need two racks depending on how many dumbbells you own. Even still, at less than $200 shipped, the price is right for a simple and quality dumbbell storage rack.
- Excellent value
- Capable of holding full 5-50lb set with 5lb increments
- Space friendly at only 4 feet long
- Made with 11-gauge steel
- You may need two racks depending on how many dumbbells you have
- Shelves may slightly sag if you have a lot of weight loaded
Dumbbells come in two main styles: fixed or adjustable. Within the adjustable dumbbell market, you have purpose-built setups and loadable dumbbell handles, which are essentially mini barbells. I’ll break all three down below.
Fixed dumbbells are the most traditional dumbbells and what most people are accustomed to using in larger gyms. These dumbbells have fixed heads that are pressed, welded, or otherwise fastened to a handle. Most fixed dumbbells will have a knurled steel handle that’s either straight or contoured. You also may find some fixed dumbbells that offer rubber handles, which are better for cold-weather environments.
Fixed dumbbells are by far the easiest to use among the three. You can quickly move from weight to weight and much more easily perform drop sets, supersets, etc. Fixed dumbbells will typically range from 5lbs-125lbs, often with 5lb increments.
The downside to fixed dumbbells is they take up a lot more space than adjustable dumbbells. They’re also more expensive, depending on how many pairs of fixed dumbbells you purchase.
In my opinion, if space and budget are no issue, fixed dumbbells are the best option.
Adjustable dumbbells have soared in popularity because of a boom in the home gym market. These are great options for home gym owners because they take up far less room and are generally less expensive than a fixed set.
Adjustable dumbbells can range in size, adjustment mechanisms, size, shape, etc. There are generally more tradeoffs with adjustable dumbbells as well. For example, you may have an adjustable dumbbell that can adjust weight very quickly, but at the expense of traditional dumbbell look and feel (e.g., Powerblocks). You may also have an adjustable dumbbell that offers a traditional look and feel, but at the cost of adjustment speed (e.g., Ironmasters). You also may have a dumbbell that offers both, but at the expense of long-term durability (e.g., Bowflex).
There is typically a close correlation between price and quality when it comes to adjustable dumbbells. Consider function, speed, durability, and feel when deciding which is right for you.
The three adjustable dumbbells mentioned in this article are all quality options.
Loadable Dumbbell Handles
Loadable dumbbell handles are the most manual of adjustable dumbbells. These are quite literally mini barbells, so you have to physically load plates onto them and secure them with collars. These often have the same shafts as some of the larger barbells in terms of knurling, diameter, etc. In that sense, they feel very natural in the hand.
Loadable handles are the most economical in terms of price and space, but they have a couple of downsides. The first is that they’re longer than most fixed or adjustable dumbbells. Therefore, range of motion could be impacted on certain movements (e.g., chest press).
The second downside is that you have to own plates, and a lot of them if you want to lift heavy. Change plates or smaller-diameter iron plates are best to avoid further limiting range of motion. If you have a pair of handles, you’ll need twice as many plates and collars. This can add up in dollars, space, and time spent loading the plates onto the handles.
If budget is your most important factor, loadable handles may be your best bet.
With hundreds of dumbbells claiming to be the best, how do you choose the right one? At Garage Gym Lab, we’ve made it our quest to highlight products that are truly worth your money through in-depth reviews, comprehensive equipment spec sheets, and a network of trusted equipment experts.
Here are the key factors we considered when selecting the best dumbbells in 2022:
Fixed or Adjustable
The first thing you have to determine is if you want fixed dumbbells or adjustable dumbbells. This will come down to several things, including budget, space requirements, training style, and just general preferences.
How you train will play a big role in selecting the right dumbbells. For example, if you perform a lot of bodybuilding movements with drop sets and supersets, fixed dumbbells or very fast-changing adjustables (e.g., Powerblocks) will be ideal. If you perform heavy lifts, drop your dumbbells, etc. then fixed dumbbells or very heavy-duty adjustables (e.g., Ironmasters) will be your best bet. If you don’t do any explosive movements and you’re just looking for something to do heavy rows with, for example, loadable handles may appeal to you.
In order of least expensive to most expensive, you have loadable handles, adjustable dumbbells, and fixed dumbbells. There may be cases where adjustable dumbbells could be more expensive than a 5-50lb fixed set, but this is a general rule of thumb. Once you’ve determined which dumbbell style is best for you, you can begin narrowing down the list by price. Remember that some companies, like REP and Titan Fitness, offer free shipping.
Size is a really important factor in two different ways. Firstly, how much space do you have in your gym to allocate to dumbbells? This could ultimately be why you would pick one style over the other. Secondly, what is the footprint of the physical dumbbell(s)? For example, loadable handles are longer than most rubber dumbbells, which are longer than urethane dumbbells. The measurement of the actual dumbbells could mean a meaningful difference in range of motion on some lifts.
When it comes to dumbbells, handles are usually straight or contoured. A straight handle will be more similar to a barbell, whereas a contoured grip is more unique. I prefer straight handles, but some lifters prefer the opposite. Regardless of design, most handles will offer medium knurling or some type of texture to enhance the grip. Most handles will also be steel, but you will find rubber handles on some fixed sets and some adjustables, like the Powerblocks.
Unlike fixed dumbbells, adjustable dumbbells and loadable handles will only have one diameter. Loadable handles will generally be standard barbell thickness, usually 28mm or 28.5mm. Adjustable dumbbells will typically range anywhere from 30mm-38mm, depending on the manufacturer and model. Fixed dumbbells will scale up starting at 28mm-30mm on low-weight increments to ~34mm on heavier increments. Some will be even thicker.
The most common materials on fixed dumbbells are rubber, urethane, and cast iron, although you will find stainless steel from select manufacturers. Rubber is a very durable option and typically among the least expensive. It may have an odor at the beginning, but that will subside. Urethane is the most durable, and it typically has a round head. It usually looks the best due to its customization qualities and has no smell. It’s also among the most expensive.
Cast iron is among the cheapest dumbbell materials. Durability is good overall, but they’re more susceptible to damage and aren’t as accurate on weight. Stainless is far and away the most expensive, but it looks amazing and is very durable.
Some adjustable dumbbells will have a combination of materials, including plastic. Adjustable dumbbells with a lot of plastic will generally not provide the same long-term durability as without plastic.
As with many products, it’s important to consider the warranty of different dumbbells. Adjustable dumbbells with moving parts typically don’t have warranties as long as others. For instance, Nuobells have a two-year warranty, Ironmasters have a 10-year warranty, and REP rubber dumbbells have a lifetime warranty in the home gym.
Should I Buy Dumbbells for My Home Gym?
Dumbbells are extremely versatile and can add a lot of variety to your training. I don't consider them essential in a home gym, but they're the first thing I recommend to most people after they buy the essentials (rack, bar, plates, and bench).
I see a lot of value in dumbbells, especially in home gym training. If they fit your training style and you have the main bases covered, I 100% think you should consider investing in quality dumbbells for your home gym.
Should I Buy Dumbbells or Kettlebells?
Dumbbells and kettlebells are both fantastic tools that offer a lot of versatility. While they're both handheld free weights that can do some things similarly, kettlebells have a different load distribution, which makes them better for certain things. For example, kettlebells are great for explosive Olympic-style movements (e.g., clean and press), whereas dumbbells are great for pure strength/hypertrophy (e.g., heavy chest presses).
In a perfect world, you'd have a combination of both, but I would start with your training style to determine which to buy first.
What are the Best Dumbbell Exercises?
Dumbbell exercises are virtually limitless. You can perform chest presses, shoulder presses, pulls, rows, squats, lunges, curls, triceps kickbacks, and many more. With dumbbells, you can also easily perform super sets and giant sets.
How Heavy Can Dumbbells be?
Most companies produce dumbbells up to 125lbs, although you can find some that make 150lb dumbbells. Some companies will even produce specialized dumbbells reaching up to 350lbs!
In our opinion, the REP Rubber Hex Dumbbells are the best for most people. They’re durable and include fully-knurled handles. With a very attractive price point and a great lifetime warranty, they’re simply the best for the average home gym owner.
Lastly, we recommend the NUOBELLS as the best adjustable dumbbell. They’re competitively priced and offer a great blend of speed and feel.