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8 Best Dumbbells to Boost Your Strength and Endurance During Home Workouts

Find the perfect pair or set to upgrade your favorite exercises.

best dumbbells to buy online

Exercising at home has certainly become the new normal. Whether you’re a newbie to exercise or a seasoned athlete, you’ve likely found yourself in need of a few workout essentials—and one of the most versatile pieces you can buy is a pair of dumbbells.

With the ability to enhance almost any workout, a (relatively) low price point, and an easy-to-use design, dumbbells are a must-have for any home gym, as they can help you take your workout to the next level. “Dumbbells require increased muscle activation so your body has to work harder to achieve the goals you want it to achieve,” says Dilan Gomih, a fitness instructor and senior director of digital strategy and talent at Barry’s.

Not sure how to add them to your workout? Dumbbells are used primarily to build strength and endurance, says Sareena Rama, a certified personal trainer and group fitness instructor in Orange County, CA.

There are limitless ways to make hand weights work for you; depending on your body position and the way you hold your dumbbells, they can target nearly every muscle in your body, Rama explains. During a squat, for example, holding weights by your sides targets your entire lower body; holding weights to your chest shifts the focus to your quads (the muscles at the front of your thighs).

Another benefit of dumbbells is that they’re safe to use on your own. Unlike the barbells you might see at the gym, dumbbells don’t require spotters, Gomih says. Plus, if you pay close attention, you’ll be able to detect muscle imbalances on each side of your body, helping you even out your workout.

How to choose the best dumbbells for your workout

✔️ Choose the right weight for your goals. “For strength training, you’ll want to use heavier weights since you’ll be doing fewer reps,” Rama explains. “For endurance (anything that has higher reps), go for weights below five pounds.”

You can also spring for adjustable dumbbells, which allow you to add or take away weight like a barbell. They’re a great option if you’re planning to ramp up your training but don’t have space for an entire rack of weights.

✔️ Pay attention to material. Dumbbells come in a few materials: rubber, metal, vinyl, and neoprene. “In general, I’d say rubber weights add an extra layer of protection, both for the weight itself and for your floor,” Gomih says. Plus, they’ll be a little quieter if you happen to drop them. If you have sweaty hands, Rama recommends mixed-material weights with textured handles.

✔️Consider the shape. Hexagonal dumbbells are both the most common and the most convenient because they won’t roll away during workouts. “If you’re on a hardwood floor or outside on concrete, that would be the best option for you,” Rama says. Their flat edges also provide a stable surface for floor exercises like push-ups, Gomih notes, making them the best option for home workouts and classes.

Circular dumbbells might be cheaper than hexagonal ones, but Rama only recommends using them if you’re working out on carpet, where they won’t roll away. Other dumbbells are shaped like bars, which makes them easy to use for activities like yoga or power walking.

Now that you know exactly what to look for in a set of dumbbells, it’s time to shop. Check out the top-rated options below to upgrade your home workouts.

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Best Beginner Dumbbells
SPRI Vinyl Dumbbells

These vinyl-coated dumbbells are ideal for anyone looking for an affordable pair of weights. Whether you’re trying Pilates or getting started with spin class, these hexagonal dumbbells are easy to hold and are strong enough for intense exercise. Plus, they come in a variety of sizes and colors. 

Best Advanced Dumbbells
CAP Barbell Coated Hex Dumbbells

Gomih and Rama recommend rubber-and-metal dumbbells for their powerful grip and floor-friendly design. This pair is one of the highest-rated options at Walmart, where buyers especially love their balance of performance and affordability. “This is by far the best deal I found,” one shopper explains. “They are everything you’d expect and look just like the pictures.”

Best Beginner Dumbbell Set
Sporzon Neoprene Dumbbell Set

This neoprene option is guaranteed to keep you moving throughout your fitness journey. Available in two weight options (2, 3, and 5 pounds or 3, 5, and 8 pounds), the set is inviting and comes with its own rack. “I have never owned dumbbells before and didn’t really know what to look for,” one Amazon reviewer writes. “I love these dumbbells and stand!”

Best Advanced Dumbbell Set
CAP Barbell 150-Pound Dumbbell Set

With five sets of weights ranging from 5 to 25 pounds each, this dumbbell set (and its space-saving rack) are worth the investment. Rama uses a CAP barbell set exactly like this one, and she estimates that her set is at least 30 years old and still works with zero issues. She loves that the heavier weights at the bottom act as motivation if they’re too heavy for you when you start working out.

Best Adjustable Dumbbells
Bowflex SelectTech 552 Dumbbells

These sturdy dumbbells let you select the weight you want with a turn of the dial. You can choose from 5 to 52.5 pounds—in other words, this one set can replace 15 sets of dumbbells! No wonder they have rave reviews: “These dumbbells are the perfect addition to my home gym,” one buyer says. “They are easy to use, versatile, and well-designed.”

Best for High-Intensity Workouts
Barry’s Rubber Dumbbell Set

Gomih is a fan of these weights, which were designed to be used during HIIT classes at Barry’s. You’ll love using them at home—the white numbers make it easy to find the weights you’re looking for without having to search through your entire collection. And the handles offer a no-slip grip. 

Best for Low-Intensity Workouts
Bala Bars

Designed specifically for walkers, yogis, and Pilates practitioners, these bars (from cult-favorite ankle weight brand Bala) boast an easy grip and even weight distribution throughout, meaning they’re easier to control during long sets of movements.

Best Metal Dumbbells
Papababe Cast Iron Dumbbells

Finally, for those who value durability above all else, these cast iron dumbbells will outlast years of tough workouts. “They aren't ‘pretty,’ but they are well-made,” one Amazon reviewer says. “I wish I would have ordered them earlier.”

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