I’ve had a lot of questions about buying dumbbells lately. Seems like an easy question to answer but it’s surprisingly difficult and requires a little bit of planning to make sure you get the best set for you.
First and foremost we should consider what kind of home gym set up you are planning to build or add to.
- I don’t want a home gym, I just want some dumbbells so I can do some exercises since I can’t go to the gym.
- I want a few pieces of home gym equipment so I can continue to workout hard at home.
- I have a home gym and want to expand it.
There are also a few styles of dumbbells that are out there.
- Self-contained adjustable dumbbell systems.
- Loadable dumbbell handles and plates.
- Single weight dumbbells.
As you can imagine you also have lots of choices and variety within these categories. Let’s explore your choices a little more.
Price is the third big factor. You can almost always find used dumbbells at yard sales, craigslist, and going out of business sales. The price will often be pennies on the pound for used dumbbells. New dumbbells often start at around a dollar per pound and goes up from there depending on the material and the features. Purchasing online also incurs a shipping cost which can be substantial as it is based on weight. So your best bet is to look locally for used and new dumbbells and for free shipping deals that most vendors offer on occasion.
Let’s say your an occasional exerciser and now you find yourself unable to go to the gym. You want a pair of dumbbells because you feel you are starting to soften up while in quarantine. If you’re in this situation you probably want lighter dumbbells and will probably want some choices in terms of loading. The self-contained adjustable dumbbells like the Powerblocks and the Bowflex SelecTech are expensive but good choices. The benefits are that they allow you to choose your weight from 5lbs to 50lbs in 5lb increments. You lift the dumbbell out of its stand and it is loaded to the weight you selected but the rest of the weights are contained in the stand. The benefits are that they load and unload very easily and all the weights are not strewn around your floor. For home users with limited space that don’t want tons of gear littering their house, these are a great choice. The downside is that they are expensive. I’ve seen a lot of people use these and they seem very sturdy but I would not trust them with a lot of high intensity workouts where they might be dropped on the ground. But for home use, these are an excellent choice.
If you are an avid exerciser and want to get a good high intensity workout at home but are limited on space and/or budget, the best thing is to get a pair or two of single weight dumbbells. Men can get a lot of fitness with bells that range anywhere from 25 to 55lbs and women can often do well with a couple pairs in the 15 to 40lb range. Rubber hex dumbbells are great because they are extremely durable and won’t scuff of your floors, but uncoated hex dumbbells are good too and so are round dumbbells.
Finally if you have home gym you probably do not mind acquiring some more gear and also have other gear so you will want something to fill the gaps. If you have a barbell and weight plates, getting a good pair of loadable dumbbell handles and some strong clips is a great way to expand the variety of exercises you can do without needing to clear out more space for a full set of dumbbells.
Any way you slice it, you can’t go wrong from getting some good quality dumbbells and working out. So best of luck to you.