Best dumbbells: 6 best free weights for effective home workouts

The best dumbbells will dramatically increase the intensity of your home workouts – stay in shape without leaving the house

best dumbbells
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The best dumbbells are well worth the investment if you're building a home gym – be that in your garage, spare bedroom or even on your balcony – and are in need of the best home gym equipment to get you sweating. Or, if you've have recently discovered your love for home workouts and want to up the ante, we're here to talk you through the process of choosing a set that works for you. 

Below, you'll find everything from beginners dumbbells to one-weight dumbbells, options that are easy to use and if you're sharing them with a friend or family member, adjustable dumbbells, and much more. Check them out...

  • Head over to our home gym page for advice on designing your own home gym,

The best dumbbells 2020

Best dumbbells: BodyPower Ergo Chrome Dumbbells

1. BodyPower Ergo Chrome Dumbbells

Best dumbbells: enhance home workouts with these sleek dumbbells

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 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.

  • Shop the BodyPower Ergo Chrome Dumbbells

Best dumbbells: Opti Dumbbell Tree Set

2. Opti Dumbbell Tree Set

Best budget dumbbells: coming in at under £20, these are the best dumbbells if you're on a budget

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 dumbbell set ranges from 1.1kg to 4.5kg, making them 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.

  • Shop the Opti Dumbbell Tree Set

Best dumbbells: Viavito Dumbell Set

3. Viavito Dumbell Set

Best dumbbells set for beginners: these colourful dumbbells are affordable and ideal for beginners

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 dumbbells offer an advantage if you get warm while working out to your favourite exercise DVD –  they offer more grip than just plain metal. The set also comes with a tree for tidy storage and can be easily wiped clean ready for next use.

  • Shop the Viavito Dumbell Set

Best dumbbells: Bodymax Deluxe 40kg Hammertone Dumbbell Kit

4. Bodymax Deluxe 40kg Hammertone Dumbbell Kit

Best dumbbells for one weight workouts: these comfortable dumbbells feature a rubber handle

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 makes 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 promises that these dumbbells are extremely durable, although there are 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.

  • Shop the Bodymax Deluxe 40kg Hammertone Dumbbell Kit

Best dumbbells: Bowflex 2-24 KG SelectTech Dumbbells (Pair)

(Image credit: Bowflex)

5. Bowflex 2-24 KG SelectTech Dumbbells (Pair)

Best dumbbells you can buy: benefit from the equivalent of 15 sets of dumbbells, in just one pair

Best for: Weight training
Weight: 2-24kg
Material: Metal
Type: Adjustable
Reasons to buy
+Automatically switch up resistance with turn of the dial +Space efficient +Weight range of 2-24kg 
Reasons to avoid
-Warm-up required-Expensive

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.

Compacted into two small cases, the won’t take much space up in your gym but should certainly make a stand results-wise. 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 2-24kg, you can choose between light or heavyweight exercises so you can get the most out of your fitness regime. Bowflex promises 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 the Bowflex 2-24 KG SelectTech Dumbbells

Best dumbbells: Body Power 12.5Kg Rubber Hex Dumbbells

6. Body Power 12.5Kg Rubber Hex Dumbbells

Best dumbbells for home: a hexagonal design that features great grip and rubber casing

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, these dumbbells 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 the Body Power 12.5Kg Rubber Hex Dumbbells

How to buy the best dumbbells

When it comes to buying the best dumbbells, there are a few factors we'd recommend considering during the shopping process. Here's everything you need to know

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 result

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 every day 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. 

Weight range

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 workouts to find good beginner's exercises with dumbbells.

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