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Most new dumbbells cost between $1.40 and $3 per pound. However, the cost of dumbbells can depend on numerous factors, including fixed vs. adjustable, materials, weight range, brand, and more. Read on for the full breakdown.
Let me guess, you want to add dumbbells to your gym, but you want to know how much they cost.
Been there, done that.
As someone who owns dozens of fixed and adjustable dumbbells from numerous companies, I’ve priced them out more times than I care to admit.
In this article, I’ll take you through the key factors that determine how much dumbbells cost, why some are more expensive than others, and which are right for you.
I’ll also share six practical tips on how to save money and get the best bang for your buck when buying dumbbells.
How Much Do Dumbbells Cost?
When pricing weight, and specifically dumbbells, it’s a best practice to look at the price per pound. This allows you to easily compare between brands and is helpful when buying used dumbbells. Most new dumbbells cost between $1.40 and $3 per pound, while used dumbbells cost, on average, between 50-70% of retail.
Factors that influence the cost of dumbbells include type, materials, weight range, weight capacity, brand, and more. You also have to factor in shipping and storage, which add to the overall cost.
Thankfully, there are ways to save money on dumbbells, including buying sets and a few other strategies I’ll detail below.
Types of Dumbbells
When it comes to dumbbells, you have two types: fixed, which are durable and great for larger gyms, and adjustable, which are compact and ideal for home gyms. Let’s look at each.
Fixed dumbbells are the most classic style and what most of us have used in commercial gyms. These dumbbells have pre-defined weights with permanent heads on each end of a short bar. They’re typically made with cast iron and are often coated with rubber, urethane, or neoprene.
The biggest benefit of fixed dumbbells is how convenient they are. They’re an ideal solution for bodybuilders or anyone who rotates through exercises quickly. Super sets and drop sets are especially good with fixed-weight dumbbells.
However, the downside is they take up a lot of space and are typically quite expensive, making them a less common choice for home gym owners.
You’ll commonly find fixed dumbbells ranging in weight from 5-120 lbs, although you may find some that start lower and end higher.
Adjustable dumbbells became popular in the 1990s and have become the go-to option for homeowners for their space savings and lower cost.
Unlike fixed dumbbells, you can change the weight of adjustable dumbbells on the fly. The most common adjustment mechanisms include dials and pins, but plate-loaded options are also popular and affordable.
The biggest downside is that adjustable dumbbells take more time to set up. While some adjustment styles are lightning-fast, others can take longer, making them less efficient for certain training types.
With many adjustable dumbbells ranging from 5-90 lbs in 5 lb increments, you can effectively replace dozens of pairs of fixed dumbbells. I overwhelmingly recommend adjustable dumbbells for most home gym owners unless you have a lot of space and a bigger budget.
Further reading: Adjustable vs. Fixed Dumbbells
Factors Affecting the Cost of Dumbbells
In addition to the type you’re looking for, there are several other factors that determine how much dumbbells cost. The following section breaks down the most important factors and what they mean for your wallet.
The material used in dumbbell construction is a key cost factor. The most common materials are cast iron, rubber, urethane, and sometimes neoprene. Let’s have a closer look at each.
Rubber-coated dumbbells have fixed steel heads coated in… you guessed it, rubber. These are very common because they’re durable and can protect your flooring. They also typically have hex heads to prevent rolling, which is great in a garage gym with sloped floors.
Rubber-coated dumbbells are some of the most affordable ones you can buy, which is a big reason they’re the most popular in home gyms (by a lot). Prices generally start around $1.50/lb.
Cast Iron has that old-school-cool look and feel. They’re the most affordable among full-size fixed dumbbells, with prices starting around $1.40/lb. While cast iron is durable, it can cause floor damage, so make sure you have the right type of flooring, ideally rubber. They’re also prone to rusting in certain environments, so maintenance may be required if you want to keep them looking nice.
Urethane is the most premium dumbbell material. These come at a higher price, generally starting around $1.80/lb. Urethane dumbbells have several benefits, including a smaller profile, excellent durability, no smell, and a better aesthetic. They’re very common in commercial gyms due to their performance and quality, but they’re also great for home gym owners who want to buy once and never worry.
As you might expect, costs increase as the weight range goes up. A larger set of fixed-weight dumbbells covering a wider weight range will cost more than a small set. Similarly, adjustable dumbbells with higher weight capacities will cost more than those with smaller ranges.
As it relates to adjustable dumbbells, the change mechanism plays a role in how much the dumbbells cost. Now, there are other factors (materials, capacity, etc.), but generally speaking, faster systems with more mechanical parts cost more than others.
For instance, a plate-loaded dumbbell handle is very inexpensive compared to an 80 lb NÜOBELLs with an integrated handle dial.
Brand and Origin
Let’s face it – brand influences prices to consumers. A LOT of dumbbells, especially rubber hex, are made in the same factories overseas and white-labeled for retail in the US. While you should look closely at the specs to rule out any legitimate reasons for higher prices, sometimes it simply comes down to who’s selling them.
In the case of patented dumbbells sold through authorized dealers (e.g., PowerBlocks), prices are protected to prevent unfair practices. In other words, a high-end brand can’t charge more just because it can. Similarly, a dealer can’t undercut others to steal market share.
While there aren’t nearly as many US-made dumbbells as international ones, know that you’ll pay more for them. To some, US-made is worth the premium, but for others, going international is worth the savings.
If you’re buying a set of fixed dumbbells, you need to factor storage into your budget. Gym storage can range from dumbbell-specific to multi-purpose. If you have a lot of fitness gear, including plates, medicine balls, etc., I recommend a versatile storage option like the Rogue Universal Storage System. However, they are more expensive.
For those who are just looking for a quality dumbbell rack, I recommend the REP Dumbbell Rack. It’s compact, heavy-duty, and affordable.
Although adjustable dumbbells don’t require storage stands, they’re practical for organization and easier to access. Many of the top adjustable brands offer stands, which are less expensive than fixed dumbbell storage units.
Lastly, shipping costs can really add up. Many companies these days offer free shipping, but that usually means the normal shipping costs are factored into the retail price of the dumbbells. When you’re shopping for dumbbells online, I recommend proceeding to checkout at multiple retailers to see the true all-in cost before buying.
Tips to Save Money on Dumbbells
While dumbbells can get pricey based on numerous factors, there are a few ways to maximize your investment and save money. Here are a few of my top tips.
Buy Used Dumbbells
Buying used gym equipment is a fantastic way to save money and build a budget home gym. A quick search on Facebook Marketplace (my favorite place for used gear) can yield many results for fixed and adjustable dumbbells.
While some brands retain their value better than others, you can expect to pay between 50 and 70% of retail, depending on age, condition, etc.
When buying used dumbbells, I highly recommend trying them first. Fixed dumbbells are generally more durable than adjustable, but you should still ask to assess them in person. This is especially true for adjustable dumbbells since they have moving parts. Always try before you buy, making sure to adjust at every weight increment.
Only Buy What You Need
Knowing your training style and fitness goals will tell you how much weight you’ll need. If you’re committed to strength and plan to lift heavy, then focusing on higher weight ranges is important. However, if you’re a casual lifter or just someone trying to stay fit and active, you likely don’t need the heavier, more expensive dumbbells.
Sure, it’s great to have the option of going heavy, but if the big boys are just going to collect dust, you’re wasting money. Only buy what you need.
Buy in Person
Buying in person can be a way to save on shipping. This includes buying used dumbbells in your region as well as retail from stores like Dick’s Sporting Goods, Play it Again Sports, and any fitness superstores in your area. Another benefit of buying in person is that your gear is less likely to arrive damaged.
Maintain Your Dumbbells
Even though dumbbells are built to last years, maintaining them is a good way to extend their life and save you money in the long term.
The easiest way to maintain your dumbbells is to use them responsibly and as intended. My biggest tip: DON’T DROP YOUR DUMBBELLS.
For ongoing maintenance, check for any chips, cracks, or faulty adjustable mechanics. For cast iron dumbbells, applying a thin layer of 3-in-1 Oil can help limit rusting. For rubber, you can apply a Silicone Spray from time to time to clean and lubricate. I like Liquid Wrench.
Buy a Dumbbell Set
It’s almost always more economical to buy a dumbbell set than ordering à la carte. Many retailers have pre-built sets that offer savings and sometimes free shipping. Of course, you should only do this if you need a full set, but the savings can be meaningful. For example, buying the 5-50 lb REP Dumbbell set will save over $200 compared to buying them individually.
The most common sets include 5-50, 5-75, 5-100, 55-100, and 105-125, although some retailers offer others.
Wait until Holiday Sales
Throughout the year, companies put home gym equipment on sale. Black Friday is by far the best time to buy equipment, but others include July 4th, Memorial Day, Presidents Day, and more. If you’re buying around those times, keep your eyes peeled for deals on dumbbells – the savings can be substantial.
The Importance of Warranties
In the event your dumbbells ever break, having a good warranty can mean saving hundreds or even thousands of dollars. Not all warranties are the same, and neither are the companies that service them. I recommend buying only from reputable companies and authorized retailers. Here are a few things to consider with dumbbell warranties:
- Warranties can range from ~90 days to a lifetime. Longer warranties typically indicate better quality and durability, but they usually cost more.
- Warranties are typically not transferable, so the warranty won’t apply if you’re buying used dumbbells.
- Warranties don’t cover normal wear and tear, abuse, misuse, or dropping.
- Warranties may require registration. For some, simply providing proof of purchase for a claim is enough, but others require a formal registration on their website. Always check first – the last thing you want is to have a legitimate claim denied because you forgot to register.
Our Top Fixed Dumbbell Recommendation
The REP Rubber Hex Dumbbells are affordable, high-quality dumbbells with straight and fully-knurled handles.
- Materials: Rubber heads & steel handles
- Shape: Hex-heads and straight, knurled handles
- Weight Range: 2.5-125 lbs in 5 lb increments
- Handle Diameter: 22mm (2.5 lbs), 28mm (5-15 lbs), 34mm (17.5 lbs+)
- Available in Sets: Yes
- Warranty: Lifetime in a home gym; 1 year in a commercial gym
I recommend the REP Rubber Hex Dumbbells for most home gyms. The biggest benefit of these dumbbells is that they have a straight, fully knurled handle. Many rubber hex dumbbells have partially knurled and/or contoured handles. Barbell lovers will especially love this feature.
The steel heads are friction welded, like a barbell, and are covered in heavy-duty rubber. While I still don’t recommend dropping dumbbells, you can safely do so with these.
The REP dumbbells start around $2/lb, which is consistent with higher-end rubber hex dumbbells. However, these ship for free in the US and come with a lifetime warranty for home use, which is rare.
Our Top Adjustable Dumbbell Recommendation
The NÜOBELL is a high-end adjustable dumbbell with a fast handle adjustment and several color options. You can purchase in 50 or 80-lb versions with an optional stand for storage.
- Materials: Steel & hardened plastic
- Shape: Round head with straight, knurled handle
- Weight Range: 5-50 lbs or 5-80 lbs in 5 lb increments
- Handle Diameter: 32mm
- Adjustment Mechanism: Handle dial
- Warranty: 2 years (options for 3 and 5)
I recommend the NÜOBELLs for most home gym owners looking for a quality adjustable dumbbell. The biggest benefit of these is that they’re ultra-fast while maintaining a traditional look and feel.
The NÜOBELLs adjust with a dial system in the handle. It takes about 5 seconds to adjust, and the weight call-out window is helpful for quick identification. For safety, you can only adjust them when they’re in their cradle. The straight handle is fully knurled and has a great texture for all dumbbell movements.
Another nice benefit of the NÜOBELLs is that they have cast iron weight plates, which isn’t common in this class. There is some plastic on the dovetail connectors, which you should be mindful of, but they’re durable overall. However, you should never drop these.
Available in 50 and 80-lb variants with 5-lb increments, these are suitable for most home gym owners across the training spectrum. These dumbbells cost between $600-$800, depending on the size, which is consistent with similar-quality adjustable options. They ship for free, with a 2-year warranty and options to extend to 3 and 5 years.
Read More: Full NÜOBELL Adjustable Dumbbell Review
Knowing how much dumbbells cost is an important step toward picking the right ones for you. From ultra-budget to ultra-premium, there’s something out there for every budget.
In general, weight capacity/range and materials are the two biggest factors that influence the cost of dumbbells. Assess your training style and fitness goals, and ask yourself what the most important factors are for you and your gym.
Focus on reputable companies and use the tips above to save some money and maximize your investment.
FAQs about the Cost of Dumbbells
Are Fixed or Adjustable Dumbells More Expensive?
Fixed dumbbells are more expensive than adjustable dumbbells because you're buying more aggregate weight and sometimes better construction. In addition to the dumbbells, you also need a storage rack, adding to the overall cost.
Are More Expensive Dumbbells Always Better?
Not necessarily. While price can often indicate quality, it's not always the case. Expensive dumbbells usually have better materials, construction, and long-term durability. However, you should assess your training style, space, and budget to determine which is right for you.
Is a Warranty Worth the Additional Costs When Buying Dumbbells?
A good warranty can add value by protecting your investment over time. If your dumbbells break or become damaged due to manufacturing faults, a warranty can cover the cost of repair or replacement, saving you money in the long run. Therefore, it could be worth considering a slightly higher upfront cost for dumbbells with a robust warranty.