The Best Dumbbells For Home Workouts, Tested By Fitness Newbies and Pros

the best dumbbells of 2024 for home workouts, tested by us
The Best Dumbbells To Workout With At HomeTalene Appleton


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If you don't have a gym membership or just want the convenience of strength training at home whenever motivation strikes, investing in a new set of dumbbells is a smart move. The best dumbbells come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and materials, and some even feature advanced technology to enhance your resistance training (more on that later). But here’s the thing: all the best dumbbells share a few key traits—they’re super durable, easy to grip, and versatile enough for all kinds of workouts.

The best dumbbell sets will allow you to strength-train toward your goals. Period. “Dumbbells can be used for a variety of workouts," says Melissa Hendrix Wogahn, CSCS, a certified strength and conditioning specialist and exercise physiologist. "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, dumbbells work well."

To kickstart your search for the perfect dumbbells, focus on quality and don't be afraid to start with lighter weights, advises Hayden Steele, CPT, a strength coach and creator of the Shock fitness app. When you get stronger (because you will, trust!) you can always add more, he says.

Best Dumbbells

What to consider

Type

Standard or adjustable? It all comes down to your space, budget, and fitness goals. For most, adjustable dumbbells are the way to go. They save space, offer scalability by allowing you to adjust the weight for every exercise, and are often more affordable than a full set of fixed-weight dumbbells. However, if you're new to strength training and usually stick to the same weights at the gym, investing in adjustable dumbbells might not be necessary. For beginners, a couple of fixed-weight dumbbells that match what you use at the gym can be more than enough and a budget-friendly choice.

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, advises 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.

Material

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. Different materials offer various benefits: neoprene dumbbells provide extra traction and are comfortable to hold, while rubber-coated dumbbells are durable and protect floors from damage. Metal dumbbells, particularly those with knurled handles, can enhance grip, although the knurling may feel rough on your hands initially. Knurled handles can be particularly beneficial for maintaining a secure grip during sweaty or intense workouts, even if they cause some discomfort at first (your hands will get used to it faster than you think). It's also a good idea to pay attention to the size of the grip—dumbbells should fit comfortably in your hands without feeling too large or too small. (The average diameter of a dumbbell handle typically ranges from 1 inch to 1.5 inches.)

Storage

Quality dumbbells don't have to take up your entire home gym. When considering storage, focus on the dimensions and storage features of the dumbbells. Many sets come with their own racks, making organization easy. If your space is limited, adjustable dumbbells are a great option due to their compact design. Wherever you choose to stash them, the key is to ensure your weights are stored safely and out of the way of foot traffic, advises Wogahn.

Price

If you're new to strength training, we recommend starting out small with a single pair of standard dumbbells in a weight you're comfortable with. "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," says Steele.

Adjustable dumbbells are our top recommendation for most people because they offer versatility and more affordability if you plan to strength train long-term, making them perfect for a wide range of users. However, if you have the extra space and money to invest, a dedicated set of rubber or iron hex dumbbells could be a fantastic addition to your home gym, providing a more traditional and durable option for your workouts in the long run.

How we tested and selected

Women’s Health editors, including our fitness editor Talene Appleton, NASM, executive health and fitness director Jacqueline Andriakos, NASM, deputy editor Amanda Lucci, and more, have tested the bestselling, most popular, and top-rated dumbbells at home, gyms, and fitness studios. Our team also consulted multiple certified personal trainers for their expert insights and experiences.

Each dumbbell was rigorously tested across various categories, including design, durability, functionality, and effectiveness. We put them through their paces with three types of exercises a minimum of 10 sets and 100 reps: explosive moves like swings and cleans, multi-joint strength exercises like bench presses and Romanian deadlifts, and accessory motions like biceps curls and lateral raises. (Minus the Bala Bars, which we tested for accessory exercises and mat Pilates only.) To test durability, we dropped each dumbbell from a standard bench and monitored for signs of rust over three months.

Below, you’ll find our 2024 list of the eight best dumbbells for a wide range of skill levels, workout preferences, and budgets.

Deluxe Rubber-Coated Hand Weights

Our team tested a bunch of dumbbells, and these came out on top because of their reliable durability, comfortable grip, and reasonable price.

Who it’s best for

These dumbbells are about as simple in style as it gets, which is exactly what some people are looking for—a weight that doesn't get in the way of the movements and allows users to focus on their form. If you're looking for a no-frills at-home pair of dumbbells of up to 25-pounds each that will last for years without requiring a hefty upfront investment, these are absolutely the best option.

Why we love it

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.

"I absolutely adore the SPRI dumbbells," says WH news and features editor, Currie Engel. "Its smooth handles and unobtrusive hexagon-shaped weights on each end make it easy to perform any number of moves, whether it's rows, hammer curls, or Arnold presses. I love that the shape allows me to use it for floor exercises like planks without hurting my wrists because they don't roll around when I put them on the ground."

Potential drawbacks

These dumbbells are available in pairs ranging from three to 25 pounds, with the heaviest option, at 40-pounds, sold individually.

This variety in weight caters to a broad range of fitness levels for most home workouts, however it may be limiting for advanced individuals who require more resistance. The individual sale of the 40-pound dumbbell also means that users need to purchase two separately if they want a matching pair, increasing the cost of a complete pair. For that reason, we recommend these 'bells for beginner to intermediate fitness levels only.

Read more: Best Cross-Training Shoes

<p><a href="https://www.amazon.com/dp/B008DSKIVC?tag=syn-yahoo-20&ascsubtag=%5Bartid%7C2140.g.29367992%5Bsrc%7Cyahoo-us" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shop Now;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link ">Shop Now</a></p><p>Deluxe Rubber-Coated Hand Weights</p><p>amazon.com</p><p>$43.45</p><span class="copyright">Talene Appleton</span>

Coated Dumbbell Set

Who it’s best for

These dumbbells are exactly what you need if you're just getting started on your home gym and want a few different weight options at your fingertips. This is one of the most affordable dumbbell sets we've tested, with the option of three or five pairs of dumbbells of 12 pounds per dumbbell or less.

Why we love it

The weights range from three to 12 pounds depending on which set you opt for, with the cheapest option containing three pairs: one light, medium, and heavy pair of weights, suitable for beginners.

"The neoprene material makes these great for indoor workouts on non-gym flooring, as you won't need to worry as much about scratching or dinging your floors," says Appleton. "Plus, they come with a compact vertical rack that is lightweight and takes up virtually no more floor space than a single pair of dumbbells."

Potential drawbacks

The issue with standard (static weight, non-adjustable) dumbbells is that you can't change the weight to dial-in your perfect level of resistance for each exercise. A set of multiple pairs of dumbbells helps address this problem by offering more than one weight option for home use. However, this sets lack customization, as users must choose from only three set options with relatively limited weight ranges. For this reason, we find this set most suitable for beginners and accessory movements.

<p><a href="https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08LJTWXTC?tag=syn-yahoo-20&ascsubtag=%5Bartid%7C2140.g.29367992%5Bsrc%7Cyahoo-us" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shop Now;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link ">Shop Now</a></p><p>Coated Dumbbell Set</p><p>amazon.com</p><p>$99.99</p><span class="copyright">Amazon</span>

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Coated Dumbbell Set

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$99.99

Amazon

Adjustable Dumbbell 25 LBS (2 pieces)

Who it’s best for

FLYBIRD's adjustable dumbbells give you plenty of strength training options if the weight range (five to 25 pounds) is one you normally work within. A single pair of these replaces five pairs of standard dumbbells, saving you space and money, and allowing for more versatility in your home strength training sessions.

Why we love it

Adjusting between weights is effortless and takes just a second; a simple twist of the handle lets you choose from 5 lbs., 10 lbs., 15 lbs., 20 lbs., or 25 lbs. Your hands will also appreciate the bar's coating of durable, non-toxic thermoplastic elastomer materials, which offers a comfortable yet firm grip that feels more stable and less abrasive in your hands than traditional metal.

"I'm 5' 5", and these are the least-clunky, most dumbbell-like adjustable dumbbells I've used," says Appleton. "They may feel quite large overall if you're more petite, but that's often what you get if you choose adjustable dumbbells. Given how natural they feel, these are a perfect entry into the world of adjustables."

Potential drawbacks

One thing to note is that the individual plates on either side of the 'bells can make some noise during use. While this isn't a major issue and has never indicated lack of durability in our experience testing, it might be a consideration if you plan to use them in a noise-sensitive environment.

Read more: Best Adjustable Dumbbells

<p><a href="https://shop.womenshealthmag.com/flybird-adjustable-dumbbells-25-lbs-2-pieces-2023-version-1701899346421-80/p" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shop Now;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link ">Shop Now</a></p><p>Adjustable Dumbbell 25 LBS (2 pieces)</p><p>womenshealthmag.com</p><p>$209.88</p><span class="copyright">Talene Appleton</span>

Bala Bars

Who it’s best for

If you do mostly bodyweight workouts at home but are ready to elevate your routine with just a touch of added resistance—three pounds, to be precise—the Bala bars might be just what you need. Because they're small and easy to hold onto, they're especially perfect for those who do a lot of mat Pilates, barre workouts, or lightweight, sculpting arms series at home.

Why we love it

We love that these stylish weights are light and small enough to toss in your suitcase if you're into a lil sweat sesh during your vacay, but won't have access to a gym. You can reach for them to add a little extra resistance to a bodyweight mat workout or for a little extra burn when power walking.

"These little bars are sleek, the smooth silicone is easy to clean, and the oblong shape feels great in my hands," says Appleton. "The cutie little carrying case they come in make it so portable for on-the-go use and easy to stash away in a drawer or cabinet when not in use."

Potential drawbacks

These little pill-shaped weights only come in 3-pounds, which is not heavy enough for some fitness levels and workout styles. Though these non-adjustable, lightweight bars offer less versatility than some other options on this list, they're ideal for workouts such as mat Pilates and barre.

Read more: Best Pilates Reformers

<p><a href="https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09RTL8PRD?tag=syn-yahoo-20&ascsubtag=%5Bartid%7C2140.g.29367992%5Bsrc%7Cyahoo-us" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shop Now;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link ">Shop Now</a></p><p>Bala Bars</p><p>amazon.com</p><p>$58.99</p><span class="copyright">Talene Appleton</span>

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Bala Bars

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$58.99

Talene Appleton

EXP Adjustable Dumbbells

Who it’s best for

PowerBlock adjustable dumbbells are perfect for those who love moves like dead stop rows, Romanian deadlifts, and heavy presses. The adjustable design makes them a great choice for anyone looking for a versatile yet space-saving option to lift at home. A wide range of fitness levels will appreciate the adjustable weight range from 5 to 50 pounds per 'bell, while more experienced lifters can add an expansion kit to increase the weight up to a whopping 90 pounds.

Why we love it

The PowerBlock Pro 50 Adjustable Dumbbells feature a pin-and-lock adjustment mechanism that's easy to use and avoids the jamming issues common with other adjustable systems. The unique design includes plate-like weights that resemble weighted frames rather than traditional circular structures. This square shape ensures the dumbbells stay put when laid down, preventing them from rolling away or needing a rack. Plus, they arrive fully assembled, making them hassle-free to unpack and start using right away. There's also a stand to keep everything organized and ready for your next sweat sesh.

"They go up to 50 pounds but you can also add expansion packs to make them heavier," says Lucci. "They look like they came out of TRON, which I personally love."

Potential drawbacks

While the PowerBlock adjustable dumbbells are one of the most durable adjustable dumbbells we've used, with an adjustment mechanism that is super reliable and easy to use, the way these blocky weights feel can take some getting used to. These dumbbells don't offer the same weight distribution as traditional ones, meaning they won't feel the same during certain exercises, and may not be ideal for beginners. Plus, because of the shape of these weights, we don't recommend them if your training routine includes a wide range of accessory movements.

<p><a href="https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07BDRWPXD?tag=syn-yahoo-20&ascsubtag=%5Bartid%7C2140.g.29367992%5Bsrc%7Cyahoo-us" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shop Now;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link ">Shop Now</a></p><p>EXP Adjustable Dumbbells</p><p>amazon.com</p><p>$395.00</p>

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EXP Adjustable Dumbbells

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$395.00

YBell Neo Series

Who it’s best for

Whether you're into lifting, smashing out HIIT cardio drills, or mastering yoga poses, the YBell Neo is a great choice for anyone who values versatility in their home workout equipment. With a range of weights available, YBells are *chef's kiss* for anyone looking to diversify their exercise routine (HIIT workouts, yoga, strength training—you name it) with a single piece of equipment.

Why we love it

YBells are a fave of WH executive health and fitness director Jacqueline Andriakos, NASM, as well as former fitness editor Jennifer Nied. Stackable and adaptable, it transforms effortlessly from kettlebell to dumbbell to push-up stand, giving you more workout possibilities than traditional dumbbells. With a simple change of grip, you can switch up your equipment to match your fitness routine, ensuring a seamless workout experience every time.

"The YBells help me optimize my workouts and my home gym space," Nied previously wrote. "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."

Potential drawbacks

While this design offers top-notch versatility, the unique shape and multi-functionality might take some getting used to for those accustomed to traditional dumbbells. The range of exercises they enable is epic, but this could also be overwhelming for beginners who are new to strength training or working with weights. Additionally, their design does not provide the same familiar feel as standard dumbbells or kettlebells, which is worth considering if you tend to prefer conventional fitness equipment.

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Swirl 7 lb, White Marble

Who it’s best for

If you're looking for a lightweight option that can be integrated in your routine to up the ante on bodyweight moves and also doubles as a gorgeous interior accent, the Swirl weight by Obshay is second to none.

Let's set the scene: you've recently moved into a studio apartment with barely enough storage space to fit your laundry bin. You've curated every little detail to fit your aesthetic and configured the layout to allow for just enough space to roll out your mat for at-home bodyweight workouts. You've been consistent and are feeling strong in your current regimen—so strong, in fact, that you decide it's time to add some weights to your routine. But wait: where will you store them? No way you're messing up your thoughtfully designed space with a set of bulky, obstrusive dumbbells sitting on your bookshelf. That's where these weights come in to save the day (and your chances of an Arch Digest house tour).

Why we love it

Not only do they look amazing sitting around the home and fit in seamlessly with other interior decor, but they feel great in your hands when exercising, too. "The silicone coating is smooth and feels very similar to the Bala Bars," says Appleton.

According to Appleton, the weight distribution feels somewhere between a dumbbell and a kettlebell, almost like a YBell. "This weight works well for most upper body movements like overhead presses, rows, and curls, but I particularly love using it for bilateral moves... think front raises, steering wheels, halos–that kind of stuff."

Potential drawbacks

One small difference is that, unlike the YBell, the Swirl weight is not designed to hold human weight in a push-position. Other than that, the fact that this weight only comes in two weights (4- and 7-pounds), is a limiting factor for some fitness levels and exercise preferences.

<p><a href="https://go.redirectingat.com?id=74968X1596630&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.obshay.com%2Fcollections%2Fall%2Fproducts%2Fswirl-7-lbs-white-marble&sref=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.womenshealthmag.com%2Ffitness%2Fg29367992%2Fbest-dumbbells%2F" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shop Now;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link ">Shop Now</a></p><p>Swirl 7 lb, White Marble</p><p>obshay.com</p><p>$95.00</p><span class="copyright">Talene Appleton</span>

SelectTech 552 Dumbbells

Who it’s best for

This one is a classic fan favorite, Steele's expert pick, and are perfect for those looking for a heavy adjustable option that's easy to use and doesn't break the bank.

Why we love it

These adjustables can go from five to 52.5 pounds in a matter of seconds with a simple dial turn on either end of each 'bell. Compared to the other two adjustable options on this list, they're a bit bulkier than the Flybirds, but less bulky and more dumbbell-like than the PowerBlocks. They offer double the weight that the Flybird dumbbells do, which allows for more versatility in terms of exercises and fitness levels. Not to mention, it won a WH fitness award in 2023.

We love that the weight distribution of these Bowflex adjustable dumbbells is similar to traditional dumbbells, offering a familiar feel during workouts. "The dial system is easy to use and has jammed only once in two years of using them at home weekly," says Appleton. "These work best for moves like chest-supported rows, overhead presses, deadlifts, and squats."

"These adjustable free weights are genius," Kelly Bryant, CPT, a certified personal trainer and registered yoga teacher who is a coach on training app Future, previously told WH. "The handles are comfy too."

Potential drawbacks

The first pain-point of these 'bells is that adjusting the weight requires docking and adjusting both sides of each dumbbell, which means four dial adjustments per weight change. This process can be time-consuming during workouts with tight transition times.

Our testers also felt these dumbbells offer less durability than the PowerBlocks due to plastic-cased weight plates. The plastic casing, although protective, is less resistant to damage from dropping compared to the PowerBlocks' design featured on this list (although we never recommend dropping adjustable dumbbells).

<p><a href="https://go.redirectingat.com?id=74968X1596630&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.bowflex.com%2Fselecttech%2F552%2F100131.html&sref=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.womenshealthmag.com%2Ffitness%2Fg29367992%2Fbest-dumbbells%2F" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shop Now;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link ">Shop Now</a></p><p>SelectTech 552 Dumbbells</p><p>Bowflex</p><p>$429.00</p>

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."

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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.)

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Should I get standard or adjustable dumbbells?

Whether you should get a pair of adjustable dumbbells, a complete set of standard dumbbells, or just one or two standard dumbbells in a weight that works for most exercises you plan to do depends on your available space, budget, and training goals.

In most cases, adjustable dumbbells are the best option. They take up far less space, allow for more scalability by letting you adjust the weight to your needs for every exercise, and are often cheaper than an equivalent set of standard, fixed-weight alternatives.

However, if you're new to strength training and typically use the same one or two weights of dumbbells at the gym, you might not need to invest in adjustable ones. For beginners, a couple of fixed-weight dumbbells that match your usual gym weights could be more than sufficient and cost-effective.

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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.

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Meet the experts

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