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Looking to start training with a set of dumbbells?
If you were to buy just one piece of home gym equipment, then starting with a quality set of dumbbells would be an excellent starting point.
And in this article, we’ll go over what the best dumbbell set for home gym might be for you, and what you need to watch out for when choosing one.
Don’t Want to Wait? Here’s Our Favorite
|POWERBLOCK||Prime||Learn More at Amazon|
|Bowflex||Prime||Learn More at Amazon|
|Unipack||Prime||Learn More at Amazon|
|Fitness Republic||Prime||Learn More at Amazon|
We believe that the PowerBlock dumbbells just win out over the competitors from what we’ve tested, and for various reasons.
They’re virtually indestructible and highly adjustable, especially when it comes to the weights you can use. It’s a bit more accurate than most other dumbbell sets, allowing you to adjust the weight precisely to your training level.
And if you’re just starting out or you’re an intermediate weight lifter, then the 50 pounds set will do nicely for you. Check them out and read our full review below.
PowerBlock Dumbbells – Best Home Fitness Dumbbell Set Overall
Despite their outlandish look, the PowerBlock dumbbells represent the best mixture of build quality, versatility, adjustability, and ease of use. The biggest advantage these have over most other dumbbell sets is their compactness as they’re new, which makes it easy for you to do your workout without being uncomfortable even with bigger weights.
The Powerblock may look like some form of a spaceship, but it is a great set of dumbbells and has a weight range of 5-50 pounds per hand. The increments: 2.5 (adder weight), 5, 7.5, 10,15, 17.5, 20 25, 27.5, 30, 35, 37.5, 40, 45, 47.5, 50 pounds per hand.
Although, there are sets that do go all the way up to 90 pounds and there are add-ons if you want to start with the 50 pounds and get heavier over time. So if you’re a beginner or intermediate, we suggest you start with the 50 pounds set and then get the new add-ons once you’ve progressed enough.
If you’re wondering how to use the PowerBlock dumbbells, it’s simple. Here’s how to use them:
The design of these is odd at first, but while they may not look like traditional dumbbells, other adjustable sets can make exercise movements uncomfortable due to the size of the dumbbell. The Powerblock is compact, though.
The sturdy grip and clever design mean that these things can be used for a range of exercise activities, from chest pressing to squatting, whereas the compact dimensions are equal to around two shoe boxes. The PowerBlock dumbbell set is among the best dumbbells for good reasons.
- Made in the US
- 10-year warranty
- Compact and saves space
- Easy to use once you get used to it
- You can get sets of up to 90 pounds if you want (with add-ons, too)
- The locking system might feel weird at the start
Bowflex SelectTech – Best PowerBlock Alternative Dumbbell Set
If you’re just not on board with the design of the PowerBlock dumbbells, then you can go with the Bowflex SuperTech dumbbell set. This is perhaps the best dumbbell set with the classic design that you would normally connect with dumbbells. They’re a bit more expensive, but they’re worth every penny for your workout, in our opinion. Here’s why.
My first home-gym dumbbells were those ones with the screw cap, where you’ve got to stop and change all the weights by hand. I don’t think anything has irrationally frustrated me more.
However, this Bowflex dumbbell set is insanely good. Each goes up to 52.5 pounds too, which is ideal for a range of exercises. All you need to do is spin the dial to the correct weight and the dumbbell does the rest.
These two dumbbells will replace the entire rack full of weights. Compared to PowerBlock’s set, the Bowflex SelectTech dumbbell set is a bit more traditional in terms of look and feel, although there is no color code, which means you’ll have to be careful about storing these weights a bit more.
The biggest advantage of these dumbbells is that they’re extremely easy to use. You just turn the dial to your selected weight and boom, you can start working out. No more changing the weights and adding other weights to the dumbbell. It’s really a piece of cake.
If you prefer a more traditional style with your dumbbells, then we suggest you go with the Bowflex set instead of the PowerBlock one. These are arguably among the best you can get in this category.
- Easy to use with the adjustable dial
- Different weights to choose from
- Up to 52.5 lbs of weight
- A full rack of weights condensed down to two dumbbells – easy to store
- Plastic stands included
- The price is higher than with most other dumbbell sets
Dumbbell Set – Best Retro Set for Home Fitness
If it wasn’t for the spinlock function, the Unipack Spinlock dumbbell set would easily win out as the best dumbbell set on this list. Nothing beats a good set of iron cast weights, as they present the best option to get bulky, and they have that classic, retro look that many home gym owners love.
Remember those god awful spin adjusted weights I was talking about earlier? Well, if the ones I had were more like this I would have liked them. A good old pair of cast iron weights cannot be beaten and the fact that they can be located under the beds of fathers all over the world is a testament to that.
With the 200 pounds max weight, these dumbbells represent the best option if you want to get bulky with this piece of equipment only. They’re ideal if you don’t want to spend a fortune on building an entire weight rack, and you’re looking for something compact that’s also easy to store.
The obvious downside is the spinlock which will take some time for you to change the weights. And if you get clamps, changing the weights will be infinitely more hassle-free.
Another great thing about this set of weights is that because they’re so heavy, they’ll allow you to perform a wide variety of movements which you wouldn’t normally do with dumbbells. This includes compound movements such as chest bench presses, rows, leg movements, and other “big” movements.
- An entire rack-worth of weights in just one set of dumbbells at a smaller cost
- You can use these with up to 100lbs of weight
- Solid and durable
- Comfortable to use
- Retro look
- The infamous spinlock mechanism
- The paint will start to flake off after some time (don’t leave them outside or they’ll start to rust!)
Body-Solid Heavy Duty Dumbbell Set – Best Full Dumbbell Set
Do you have the budget to get the entire dumbbell set? Then it’s arguably the best way to build home gyms, and the Body-Solid dumbbell set is arguably among the best in that department. For a decent price, you’ll get an entire rack of weights that will span from 5-70 pounds, which is not at all bad for a home workout space.
If you’ve got the space and the budget, you should definitely look to get a full rack of dumbbells. The dumbbell weights with this rack will start with 5 lbs and they will span up to 70 lbs. Those are admirable weights and they are excellent for almost any training level – from beginner to even advanced.
The 70lbs top weight isn’t enough for serious weight trainers to do everything. However, the 70lbs max will be more than enough for what you should do with these. Or, at the very least, you’ll be able to make do. As for the compound movements, it will probably not be enough.
This is a solid weight set for a great value. The hand grips are extremely comfortable and the sellers are more than responsive. There’s also another advantage that comes with a rack, which is that they’re easier to use as you don’t need to switch up the weights on the dumbbells constantly.
The obvious downsides are that they take a lot of space, and they’re quite expensive. But if you’ve got the budget, then you should certainly explore this idea.
- Weights that span from 5 lbs to 70 lbs
- Storage rack makes it easy to use the dumbbells
- Comfortable and durable
- Decent price when compared to other similar racks
- You might not need small weights at all
- Requires a lot of space
- Not enough weights if you want to use dumbbells for compound lifts
Fitness Republic Dumbbell Rack Combo – Best Micro-Weights
Beginners will appreciate the Fitness Republic Dumbbell Rack, which is the best entry-level dumbbell set. The quality of these weights is of the highest order, and you don’t have to lift weights of 100 pounds to get started. All you need is a high-quality dumbbell set like this one to get you started with your fitness goals.
Sometimes you don’t need to go all the way up to 70 or 100 pounds, this neat rack of lighter weights are perfect for a range of smaller muscle exercises and some rehabilitation work.
They’re also great for beginners. Unlike a lot of dumbbells, these are extremely comfortable to use and not intrusive to your natural movements. We highly recommend these for beginners and those who don’t need very heavy sets to start with.
The weights in this set will vary from 8l pounds to 14 pounds, which is good enough, to begin with. But perhaps the more notable great thing in this set is the steel rack, which will hold up to 120 pounds of weight. This means you’ll be able to use it again for several months after you’ve progressed beyond the 14 pounds weight (if ever).
They’re comfortable to use and hold, and it should not take you longer than 20 minutes to assemble the rack. Overall, it’s a great starting point for beginners and those who need lighter weights.
- Easy to assemble
- Doesn’t take up that much space
- High-quality weights
- The rubber lining might come off easily from the rack
Dumbbell Set Buying Guide
Dumbbells are a versatile piece of equipment; while they won’t get you jacked overnight, they’re certainly useful, especially if you buy a quality set. They might even help you with some heavier movements provided you have enough weight to make it challenging.
Here’s what you need to watch out for when shopping for the best dumbbells for your needs.
The most common shapes that you’ll find are round and hexagon. The latter might be a bit more expensive, but these are more useful as they won’t roll away from you if you put them on the ground.
Round dumbbells also tend to be a bit bulkier, so if you can afford the budget, go for the hexagonal ones instead of round ones.
One shape you’ll find is the block shape (like we’ve seen with the PowerBlock dumbbells). This shape is possibly even better than hexagonal as it will provide you with a bit more stability and compactness when doing your exercises.
Additionally, weight is especially important when using a dumbbell that can never be changed or modified.
When you go with one weight size, it’s extremely hard to make progression. You either go too heavy and your form is off and you’ll risk injury. Or, you go too light and you’ll stop progressing quickly. So, make sure you know your needs when you’re buying.
It’s best to buy a set that offers you the adjustability to change the weight easily. The Bowflex dumbbell set does a great job of this (although it is a bit more expensive).
The option of material should also be taken into account. Matte black metal weight discs can look tough and cool, but can also make a lot of noise and cause mayhem for wooden floors.
Iron dumbbells tend to be considered “retro” or old-school, but they’ll get the job done. One issue that might have is the grip – especially the older iron weights have no knurling on the grip, which can be uncomfortable or even slippery. Neoprene is used for lighter weights mostly – but neoprene is virtually indestructible.
The plus of having iron weights is that they’re a bit cheaper, and they will provide you with that old-school experience that’s hard to forget.
Size is an important fact to consider for home gym owners. Some might not have the luxury of having the entire garage for their workout space, which is why buying compact weights is a must. The great thing here is that there are many compact sets on the market.
But if you can, it’s always better to get a rack and separate dumbbells. This is great on many levels – it’s easy to use, easy to store, and allows for more weight. It takes a lot more workout space though and it’s more expensive.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Dumbbell Weight Should I Use?
The type of exercise is a huge determinant of what dumbbell weight you should pick. Dumbbell resistance exercises typically call for weights that fall into one of three groups: light, medium, or heavy.
Exercises that involve light weights typically involve smaller, weaker muscle groups. Exercises that involve medium weights are compound exercises that fall within some sort of middle ground. Finally, exercises that recruit your largest muscle groups require the heaviest weights in order for them to be effective. Examples of these include sumo squats, where the movements are less explosive and more controlled, which is great if you’re a long-distance runner.
Once you have considered the type of exercise and its associated muscle groups, it is time to conduct a fitness experiment. This part comes down to you listening to your body during the fitness regime.
To start off, pick a dumbbell weight for the exercise you have chosen. This only needs to be a rough gauge of the amount you can lift in your fitness routine and does not need to be exact. When in doubt, it is best to pick a lighter weight. Perform eight repetitions of the selected weight, then wait three minutes.
Then, increase the weight and aim to perform five to eight repetitions of this weight. Wait another three minutes, increase the weight, and perform as many repetitions as you can. For the final set, increase the weight again and perform a single repetition. This is known as your “one rep maximum”, which is the highest amount of weight you can lift in a single rep.
Adjust the weight in such a way that you can perform 8-12 exercises comfortably according to your one-rep maximum.
How to Use Dumbbells for Chest?
The chest is an area that we normally connect to other types of workout such as compound movements like the bench press. But dumbbells can be incredibly helpful for the chest, as they bring versatility and adjustability with them.
The best dumbbell chest exercises come in a variety of forms. One of the most popular fitness exercises is the bench press. A variation of bench press can also get you desirable results. The close-grip bench press is very similar to its original counterpart.
Another great way to use your dumbbells for the chest is with an incline press. It is very similar to bench press, except this time, the starting position is in a seated position. You can also utilize your dumbbells with chest flyes. Lie flat on a bench with a dumbbell in each hand.
What Dumbbell Weight Should I Start With?
Using lower weight at the start of your fitness routine can help you to get used to the dumbbell, its shape, and also to learn the proper form and technique of each exercise before going into heavier weights. Start with what feels comfortable for you at first and focus on the form and keep it checked, and then progress from there. There is no shame in starting with low weights!
Can You Do Kettlebell Exercises with Dumbbells?
Yes, almost every exercise you can do with a kettlebell can be achieved with a dumbbell. While it may not give you 100% of the benefit that a kettlebell will have, re-using your dumbbells for basic kettlebell exercises is a cheap alternative for achieving your fitness goals.
Besides the obvious visual differences, the only main difference will come from the distribution of weight. A kettlebell is designed to have an unbalanced and eleven distribution of weight. The handle part of the kettlebell is directly above the weighted ball of the kettlebell.
This makes certain movements more challenging but is perfect for continuous and dynamic movements like swings.
Are Adjustable Dumbbells Better? Why Buy Them?
Adjustable dumbbells are great if you don’t have much space and you want to progress without buying additional weights. They’re also a bit cheaper than buying the whole rack of weights. These are the aspects where adjustable dumbbells win over classic weight racks.
On the downside, adjustable weights are limited in terms of weight. Eventually, you’ll progress enough so you’ll have to buy additional weights, which is where the rack is a bit better. For higher weights, the rack wins out.
Can You Drop Adjustable Dumbbells?
It’s best not to drop your adjustable dumbbells because they’re not as compact as durable as single ones. It might be tempting to do that with some exercises, but dropping the adjustable dumbbells from higher altitudes can result in weight plates cracking and breaking. If you like dropping them after heavy exercises, it’s better to go with single, compact products.
Why Are Dumbbells So Expensive
The biggest cost is the materials, where durable materials tend to cost more, and we know that adjustable dumbbells are a bit more fragile so they need to be extra durable. Another potential factor is that some sets are made abroad, which increases the cost due to import taxes.
Can I Build Muscle with Just Dumbbells?
Of course you can!
You can do a wide variety of exercises with dumbbells for all body parts. While you might not be able to do big, compound movements such as deadlifts, you can still pack on quite a lot of muscle with the right training plan and nutrition.
Owning an adjustable dumbbell set for your home gym is one of the best ways to start building muscle and creating a great environment to get strong. With dumbbells, you’ll be able to perform many different exercises, so you can’t go wrong with buying a high-quality dumbbell set.
From our reviews, we’ve determined that the best dumbbells are the PowerBlock dumbbell set, which combines build quality, compactness, versatility, and ease of use. If you prefer a more traditional-looking dumbbell set, then we recommend the Bowflex SelectTech set.
These are unavailable at the moment on Amazon, should we do these or add another set?