The best dumbbells 2019: top weights for home gyms

Rubber to chrome, racks to adjustable, we round up the best dumbbells so you can get the most out of weight training in your home gym

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Fancy kicking gym fees into touch and starting your own weight training exercises at home? Starting with the best dumbbells is a smart idea: they take up minimal space but offer a versatile muscle-bulking, fat-shedding workout that can help you build both strength and fitness. 

So, whether you’re looking for a dumbbells set to take up the last corner in the attic or a space-conscious apparatus for the small back bedroom, we've done all the legwork (get it?) to find the very best dumbbells on the market. And don't forget, alongside dumbbells, you can also choose to invest in an exercise mat or a weights bench to complement your work out – and we can help you find those, too. 

Starting your home gym from scratch? Check out our guide to creating a gym at home and find the rest of the best home gym equipment picks in our buyer's guide. Head over to our home gym hub page where you'll find design ideas and equipment recommendations aplenty. 

What are the best dumbbells?

We rate the Bowflex SelectTech dumbbells tops for their adjustability, versatility and because they'll appeal to a range of fitness levels – so you can buy them as a beginner and still be happily using them when you've progressed to looking like The Rock. See our review below.

How to buy the best dumbbells

Rubber or metal?

Dumbbells come in all shapes and sizes, with fixed rubber dumbbells holding fort as the most popular choice. These often come in a variety of shapes, are resistant to chips and scratches, and are much kinder on floors if you have a habit of dropping them. 

Alternatively, you can purchase chrome or metal dumbbells, which are often much more cost effective, but compromise on the usability experience. 

Adjustable or fixed?

Those looking for a really compact piece of equipment that they can just stow away tidily may want to consider adjustable dumbbells, although these can sometimes be awkward to hold. 

Cost vs results

If you’re unsure on the type of dumbbells you’re after, think about how serious you are about gaining muscle mass. Those looking to work out for a couple of hours everyday may want to look at a hard-wearing rubber set, while those looking to do some gentle toning a couple of times a week may not want to spend as much. 

The weight range is worth considering, too. Most gym quality sets will feature a range between 2.5kg and 30kg, while those looking to enter the world of bodybuilding may need to look for a 50kg to 100kg set. 

Use our guide to home exercise: 30 exercises to get fit fast to find good beginner's exercises with dumbbells.

THE BEST DUMBBELLS you can buy

Bowflex SelectTech Dumbbells

(Image: © Bowflex SelectTech Dumbbells)

1. Bowflex SelectTech Dumbbells

The best dumbbells: Benefit from the equivalent of 17 sets of dumbbells with one pair

Specifications
Best for: Pro lifters
Weight: 4-41kg
Material: Metal
Type: Adjustable
Reasons to buy
+ Automatically switch up resistance with turn of the dial + Tidy away into a compact case 
Reasons to avoid
- Price may only attract pro lifters 

Adjustable dumbbells allow you to workout with a variety of weight levels but take up half the space that a regular set of dumbbells for the same weight range would require. They compact into a stand, and all you need to do is twist the dial to the desired amount of kgs and it’ll release the right number of weights for your workout. With a range of 4-41kg, you can choose between light or heavy weight exercises so you can get the most out of your fitness regime. Bowflex promise that these dumbbells are hard-wearing, with a durable moulding also providing a smooth lift-off for a seamless workout.  In our opinion, these are the very best dumbbells you can buy if you're a pro lifter.

Shop more Bowflex products at Amazon

2. Bodymax Deluxe 40kg Hammertone Dumbbell Kit

The best dumbbells for one weight workouts

Specifications
Best for: Comfortable grip
Weight: 25-40kg
Material: Metal and rubber
Type: Adjustable
Reasons to buy
+ Comfortable grip + Smart black iron finish 
Reasons to avoid
- Weight advertised is the total weight of the pair 

Metal dumbbells handles can take it out on your hands, so these dumbbells feature a rubber handle which make them more comfortable to use over extensive workout periods. With maximum weights ranging from 25kg to 40kg, there’s a variety of sets to choose from, depending on your lifting ability. You can also adjust the weight of each dumbbell simply by unscrewing the bolt for a more varied workout.  Bodymax promise that these dumbbells are extremely durable, although there’s reports that the handle can start to show wear over time. While they don’t come in a case, they can be easily stowed away when not in use. 

Find more Bodymax products at Amazon

3. PowerBlock Sport Adjustable Dumbbells

The best dumbells for a varied workout

Specifications
Best for: A varied workout
Weight: 1.5-11kg
Material: Metal and rubber
Type: Adjustable
Reasons to buy
+ The weight of 8 dumbbells in one compact block + Easily select the right weight using the coloured buttons 
Reasons to avoid
- Handle cavity can be slightly awkward on bigger hands 

These adjustable dumbbells, as with our first pick, give you a variety of weights in one block, rather than you going out and purchasing eight separate dumbbells, which would inevitably take up more room. With a maximum weight of 11kg per dumbbell, these are made for lighter regimes and can be used in conjunction with a zumba routine for an even better workout. For easy selection, simply press the coloured button to release your required weight and place back together once your workout is complete for easy stowing away. Our pick of the best dumbbells if you like doing varied workouts.

Browse more Power Block gym accessories at Amazon

4. Body Power 12.5Kg Rubber Hex Dumbbells

The best dumbbells for resistance workouts

Specifications
Best for: Rubber weights
Weight: 12.5kg
Material: Metal and rubber
Type: Fixed
Reasons to buy
+ Rubber encasing  + Contoured handles 
Reasons to avoid
- Only one weight 

Dropping metal weights on the floor can be noisy – a potential problem for home gyms – however, the substantial rubber casing on these dumbbells makes for a much quieter landing. While they don’t come with a rubber handle, Body Power feature contoured chrome handles for a superior grip. With their hexagonal design, they’re unique from the regular circular dumbbells, making them a more interesting feature for your home gym. With a fixed weight, you may have to purchase a couple to vary your workout routine. 

Shop more Bodypower products at Amazon

5. BodyPower Ergo Chrome Dumbbells

The best dumbbells for ease of use

Specifications
Best for: A chrome option
Weight: 12.5kg
Material: Chrome
Type: Fixed
Reasons to buy
+ Sleek and polished + Ergonomic design 
Reasons to avoid
- May scratch and mark 

If you’re looking to purchase just one or two pairs of dumbbells, sometimes it’s not worth splashing out on more expensive makes and models. Chrome is often a cheaper option when it comes to purchasing dumbbells, but that doesn’t you benefit any less from quality. Ergonomically designed, these BodyPower dumbbells will ensure you benefit from a great workout, thanks to the contoured handle to prevent slip and a shiny, sleek appearance to add a touch of class to your home gym. 

Find more dumbbells at Amazon

6. Viavito Dumbell Set

The best dumbbells set for beginners

Specifications
Best for: Beginners
Weight: 1-3kg
Material: Metal and neoprene
Type: Fixed
Reasons to buy
+ Great for adding resistance to workouts + Stylish colours 
Reasons to avoid
- More for beginners 

Whether you’re doing sit ups, crunches, lunges or the likes, using weights while carrying out your usual exercise routine will help to up the resistance and tone up quicker. With a neoprene exterior these weights are an advantage if you get warm while working out to your favourite exercise DVD, as they offer more grip than just plain metal. The set come with a tree for tidy storage and can be easily wipe clean for use next time. 

Shop more ViaVito products at Amazon

Opti Dumbbell Tree Set

7. Opti Dumbbell Tree Set

The best dumbbells for those on a budget

Specifications
Best for: Budget
Weight: 1.1-4.5kg
Material: Vinyl
Type: Adjustable
Reasons to buy
+Easy to store+Affordable
Reasons to avoid
-Not metal

A great set of dumbbells for those who don't fancy splurging serious cash, this set of three dumbbells range from 1.1kg to 4.5kg, ideal for beginners or those more experienced alike. They come on a dumbbell tree for easy storage; whether you want to display them, pop them under your bed or hide in your wardrobe. A great way to train your whole body by building strength and conditioning at your own pace, the vinyl design makes them soft and easy to hold, in turn equaling a comfy workout.

Browse more dumbbells at Argos

Kitting out the rest of your home gym? Check out more of our buying guides...