The best dumbbell set

Weighlifting

The bright colors of neoprene-wrapped dumbbells make it easy for you to tell their exact weights at a glance.

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Which dumbbell set is best?

One of the best ways of getting into shape is to lift weights. The best place to start to build up while slimming down is with a set of dumbbells. Smaller than full free-weight systems, dumbbells are easier to handle and store in smaller spaces.

If you are new to working out with dumbbells, you might like to ease into it with the Amazon Basics Neoprene-Coated Dumbbell Hand Weight Set. This six-piece set comes with a sturdy vertical storage rack that takes up very little space.

What to know before you buy a dumbbell set

Number of pieces

Larger dumbbell sets have as many as a dozen different weights. Smaller sets have only a few pieces. 

Weight range

Every dumbbell set includes a range of weights. Choose the dumbbell set that has a wide enough range to include all the weights you need for your particular workouts, from the lightest to the heaviest. If you are using your dumbbell set for aerobics, you will want a lighter set than someone who wants to build lots of mass in all their muscle groups.

Increments

The weight increments of every dumbbell set make the difference from one weight to the next. 

Small weight increments have a smoother transition between weights. You can find lighter-weight dumbbell sets with increments as small as 1.5 pounds. This means you will need many individual weights to cover a large weight range.

Large weight increments typically are found in heavier dumbbell sets. A five-pound increment means your transitions will be greater from one to the next, but you will also have a very hefty set of dumbbells.

Adjustability

Adjustable dumbbell sets have a central handle and a series of easily removable plates, so you have the flexibility to add or subtract as much weight as you want. To change weights, you slip the old plates off the handle and slip the new ones on. Locking mechanisms keep the weights securely in place. For even more information, check out the best adjustable dumbbell buying guide from BestReviews.

Fixed-weight dumbbell sets have two weights that are permanently attached to the handle. To change weights, you change dumbbells.

What to look for in a quality dumbbell set

Materials

Cast-iron dumbbell sets are made from dense and heavy iron. Because cast iron is subject to rust and corrosion, most adjustable dumbbell sets are coated with paint or chrome. 

Neoprene dumbbell sets have cast-iron interiors like traditional dumbbells but are covered with a layer of synthetic rubber that provides a soft surface that is easy to grip securely. Neoprene dumbbell sets are often color-coded, which makes the weights easy to organize and tell at a glance what each weight is.

Shape

Round dumbbells are the traditional shape that is seen on their larger cousins, the barbells. When you do exercises where your dumbbells come in contact with your body, round dumbbells won’t dig in uncomfortably the way hexagonal shapes can.

Hexagonal dumbbells stay where you put them without rolling around and are valued for their stability. This is especially important when you transition quickly between exercises and weights.

How much you can expect to spend on a dumbbell set

A set of two uncoated cast iron dumbbells weighing a few pounds each costs less than $10. Sets with three or four pairs of colored neoprene fixed-weight dumbbells cost around $50. From $50-$100, you will find adjustable sets that range up to 100 pounds. Beyond that, the price is determined by the total number of pieces in the dumbbell set and how they are made.

Dumbbell set FAQ

Can I get started with my dumbbell set right away?

A. Yes, if you have done two things already. First, always check with your doctor before beginning any exercise routine to determine reasonable limits for yourself. Second, always stretch before beginning your weight lifting program.

What weights should I start with?

A. To get the most benefit from lifting weights, use weights that are heavy enough for you to feel your muscles working without having to strain yourself. As you progress, you will want to move up one weight increment at a time.

What’s the best dumbbell set to buy?

Top dumbbell set 

Amazon Basics Neoprene-Coated Dumbbell Hand Weight Set

Amazon Basics Neoprene-Coated Dumbbell Hand Weight Set

What you need to know: This six-piece set is great for light workouts at home.

What you’ll love: The 3-, 5- and 8-pound pairs of weights in this dumbbell set are covered with multicolored neoprene that is smooth, easy to grip and won’t damage the floor. The hexagonal shape prevents the dumbbells from rolling away. The foldable steel stand comes pre-assembled. This 32-pound set is also available from Amazon Basics in 20- and 60-pound versions.  

What you should consider: Treated rubber often has a distinct odor and this dumbbell set is no exception, although the smell will dissipate over time.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top dumbbell set for the money

CAP Barbell Adjustable 40-Pound Dumbbell Set

CAP Barbell Adjustable 40-Pound Dumbbell Set

What you need to know: This adjustable dumbbell set has ergonomic grips and threaded collars that secure the plates to the handles.

What you’ll love: The spin-lock collars secure the weights in place. This set is made from solid cast iron with a baked enamel finish that is durable and long-lasting. The gripping surfaces have medium-depth diamond knurling for firm, non-slip handling.

What you should consider: The handles can be rough, so if you choose this dumbbell set, look into getting a pair of weight gloves.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

 

Worth checking out

Epic Fitness 150-Pound Hex Dumbbell Set

Epic Fitness 150-Pound Hex Dumbbell Set

What you need to know: For those who want more than a small, lightweight set, this dumbbell set goes from 5 to 25 pounds in 5-pound weight increments.

What you’ll love: The striking white lettering on this black neoprene dumbbell set says you are serious about lifting weights. Each weight pair has a progressively larger diameter handle for ease of use. This dumbbell set comes with an A-frame dumbbell rack made of heavy-duty steel that is powder-coated to protect against rust and corrosion.

What you should consider: This is a premium set at a premium price and is not for the faint at heart.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

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David Allan Van writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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