Let's be honest, an elaborate home gym is just great. But for most people, unrealistic. Luckily, a great pair of dumbbells (or several) may be all you need for effective, at-home training. They're versatile, and best of all, don't take up a ton of space.
Take your home workouts to the next level with the best dumbbells of 2023.
Video of the Day
The Best Dumbbells
- Best Adjustable Dumbbells: PowerBlock Pro EXP (From $509, PowerBlock.com)
- Best Individual Dumbbell Set: Rogue Fitness ($990 to $2,749, RogueFitness.com)
- Best Budget Dumbbells: CAP Barbell Adjustable Dumbbell Set ($60.56, Walmart.com)
- Best for Beginners: Gaiam Neoprene Hand Weights ($7.98 to $33.98 per dumbbell, Gaiam.com)
- Best Splurge: Sorinex Armor Series Dumbbells ($145.20 to $1,416.91 per pair, Sorinex.com)
How We Chose
We polled certified personal trainers and physical therapists to find out what features they look for in a good set of dumbbells. With their suggestions in mind, we rounded up several options that scored top marks in the following areas:
1. Best Adjustable Dumbbells: PowerBlock Pro EXP
- Save space
- Easy to adjust
- Wide weight range (5 to 90 pounds)
- Requires accessories to go heavier than 50 pounds
These adjustable weights can replace 28 pairs of dumbbells — talk about saving space. "I like these because they're compact, wildly customizable and easily scalable," Matt Scarfo, CPT, a personal trainer and contributor at Lift Vault, tells LIVESTRONG.com.
You can with the stage 1 PowerBlock Pro set, which adjusts from 5 to 50 pounds per dumbbell in 2.5-pound increments. Once you're ready to go heavier than 50 pounds, you can add the stage 2 kit for $199 to reach up to 70 pounds per dumbbell. And for more advanced lifters, a stage 3 kit (for an additional $199) enables you to achieve 90 pounds per weight.
Buy it: PowerBlock.com; Price: From $509
2. Best Individual Dumbbell Set: Rogue Fitness
- Wide weight range (5 to 50 pounds)
- Doesn't roll on flat surfaces
- Takes up space
If you prefer to work with multiple sets of dumbbells, you can't go wrong with a set from Rogue Fitness. "They're pricey, but they're some of the best-quality dumbbells I've ever had my hands on," Kris Ceniza, PT, a physical therapist and manager for Knee Force, tells LIVESTRONG.com.
This weight set has easy-grip, chrome-plated handles and feature heavy-duty, rubber-encased heads to minimize noise. They're also hexagonal-shaped, which makes it easier to incorporate them into floor exercises like renegade rows.
You can get a standard set with dumbbell pairs that range between 5 and 50 pounds per weight, broken down into 5-pound increments. Rogue also offers heavier dumbbell sets (up to 125 pounds per dumbbell).
Buy it: RogueFitness.com; Price: $990 to $2,749
3. Best Budget Dumbbells: CAP Barbell Adjustable Dumbbell Set
- Only reaches 20 pounds per dumbbell
- Rolls on flat surfaces
"[This] is my go-to recommendation for a budget dumbbell," personal trainer Stephanie Thomas, CPT, tells LIVESTRONG.com. "It's actually what I started with!"
These CAP Barbell dumbbells are made of cast iron and come with several weight plates (four 6-pound plates and four 2.5-pound plates), so you can create different weight combinations. Each dumbbell reaches a max of 20 pounds, and you can easily secure the plates with the spin-lock collars.
Buy it: Walmart.com; Price: $60.56
4. Best for Beginners: Gaiam Neoprene Hand Weights
- Comfortable grip
- Won’t roll on flat surfaces
- Doesn't come in pairs
- Small weight range (3 to 15 pounds per dumbbell)
These Gaiam hand weights offer an easy introduction to weights. They're available in 3-, 5-, 8, 10-, 12- and 15-pound options, making them ideal for high-rep exercises or as an addition to your dumbbell yoga workout.
The weights are made of durable cast iron and covered in a neoprene shell for a comfortable grip. The heads also have flat sides, so they won't roll when placed on the floor.
Note that the weights are sold individually, so if you need a pair, be sure to purchase two.
Buy it: Gaiam.com; Price: $7.98 to $33.98 per dumbbell
5. Best Splurge: Sorinex Armor Series Dumbbells
- Wide weight range (5 to 150 pounds per dumbbell)
- May roll on flat surfaces
If money is no object, Zack Phillips, CSCS, a strength coach at the University of Texas at Austin, recommends the Sorinex Armor Series dumbbells. "These dumbbells are very impact resistant and were designed to be used in training facilities by hundreds of athletes every day," he tells LIVESTRONG.com.
The handles are welded to the steel heads to create a solid, one-piece dumbbell, "so the weight can't come unfastened or break off like most other dumbbells would in a harsh environment," Phillips says.
Plus, you can score these weights in a variety of sizes, from 5 pounds to 150 pounds per dumbbell.
Buy it: Sorinex.com; Price: $145.20 to $1,416.91 per pair
4 Things to Consider When Buying Dumbbells
1. The Material It's Made Of
Typically, all dumbbells are made of metal, such as cast iron or steel. However, some are coated with rubber.
Scarfo recommends finding a dumbbell set that mixes rubber-coated heads with metal handles, as these tend to be more durable than all-metal or all-rubber varieties.
"The metal handle provides a stable grip, while the rubber heads prevent damage to floors, benches or other pieces of furniture the dumbbell might come in contact with during your workout," he says.
2. Your Budget
For someone on a tight budget, rubber-coated or cast iron dumbbells are usually less pricey and give you what you need for a great workout.
But if you have money to splurge, go for a set of top-quality hexagonal dumbbells with metal handles and rubber-coated heads.
And if you're somewhere in between, get some adjustable dumbbells like PowerBlocks, Ceniza says.
3. The Amount of Space You Have
If you don't have a ton of room to work with, consider investing in an adjustable pair. Many, including the PowerBlocks, can replace multiple pairs of dumbbells, saving you precious storage space.
If space isn't an issue, a set of dumbbells that covers a range of weights can be nice. "While adjustables save space, sets of dumbbells are great for quick changes between workouts and overall durability," Scarfo says.
4. Your Training Goals
How heavy are you lifting? Are you after pure strength, or are you more interested in bodybuilding? Do you need to transition quickly from one weight to another, or are you sticking to the same weight for most of the workout? How you answer questions like these will dictate the best dumbbells for your home.
The heavier the dumbbell, the more expensive the cost. So, if you're working toward a strength goal, you may want to get adjustable dumbbells that allow room for growth, Ceniza says. This way, you don't have to shell out cash for a new pair of dumbbells every time you bust a training plateau.
If, on the other hand, you don't plan on lifting more than 50 pounds, you should be fine with a set of dumbbells of varying weights.