The Best Dumbbells for Home
Free weights are the ideal bit of home kit. We tried and tested every weight widely available in the UK. These are the ones worth buying
How We Tested These Dumbbells
To test these dumbbells, writer Max Anderton did a six-move (biceps curl, overhead press, hammer curl, renegade row, high pull and front raise), no-bench home workout – not just with the products below, but every type he could get his (callused) hands on.
Quick Adjustable Dumbbells
For widely varying resistance with no need for a full rack
Pictured: Bodymax Selectabells (left), PowerBlock Sport 5.0 (right)
Swiftly switch weights up to a respectable 25kg at the click of a dial with Bodymax Selectabells (£160, buy on powerhouse-fitness.co.uk).
Colour-coding makes selecting loads – up to 22.5kg in 2.25kg increments – easy with the PowerBlock Sport 5.0 (£305, buy on gymcompany.co.uk).
Pictured: Bowflex SelectTech (left), Ironmaster Quick-Lock (right)
A satisfying click rewards every weight change on the Bowflex SelectTech (£346, buy on amazon.co.uk). Choose from 2 to 24kg.
The Ironmaster Quick-Lock (£547, buy on valleyfitness.co.uk) feels more like a regular dumbbell. It’s slower to change than the others but goes up to a whopping 34kg.
Floor-Friendly Rubber Dumbbells
For pumping iron without clanking metal
Pictured: Bodymax Deluxe (left), Body Power Rubber Hex (right)
You can change weights on the Bodymax Deluxe (£32, buy on powerhouse-fitness.co.uk) up to 15kg per dumbbell, while a rubber coating protects floors.
Our favourite for renegade rows.The flat sides and gripping rubber of the Body Power Rubber Hex (£43, buy on fitness-superstore.co.uk) reduce the chance of slips.
RECOMMENDED HOME WORKOUT: Small Dumbbells Countdown Circuit
Pictured: Jordan Classic (left), Alex (right)
The Jordan Classic (£98, buy on jordanfitness.com) lets you do abs roll-outs on a wood floor without sounding like a 1940s fighter jet taking off.
The 20kg Alex (£165, buy on servicesport.co.uk) is pricy, but its high-grade polyurethane coating means you won’t damage the floor if you drop it.
RECOMMENDED HOME WORKOUT: Small Dumbbells, Big Shoulders
Shiny Chromeset Dumbbells
For weights so sleek you’ll keep them on display
Pictured: Pro Fitness (left), Body Power Chrome Ergo (right)
Changing the six weight discs is slower than with the adjustables, but this 20kg Pro Fitness (£55, buy on argos.co.uk) set is cheaper – and works for abs roll-outs.
The 15kg Body Power Chrome Ergo (£91, buy on fitness-superstore.co.uk) has a contoured handle that fits snugly in the hand and makes grip strength less of a factor.
Pictured: Marcy (left), York (right)
This one-piece 10kg dumbbell from Marcy (£66, buy from dumbbellsonline.net) won’t loosen over time. And before you scoff at its lightness, try high-rep sets of flyes with it.
We love the chunky wing collars on the York 15kg (£57, buy on yorkfitness.com), while the rubber-covered grips make long sessions less callous-inducing.
Classic Cast Iron Dumbbells
For weights so durable they’ll outlive you
Pictured: Confidence Fitness Pros (left), TurnerMAX (right)
Confidence Fitness Pros (£25, buy on tesco.com) are the bedroom workout classic. This 20kg set is perfectly fine for a full-body workout.
A carry case makes the 30kg TurnerMAX (£55, buy on amazon.co.uk) easy to transport. Just don’t indulge any weird sniper-rifle fantasies as you slot the pieces into place.
Pictured: Hex (left), Gold’s Gym (right)
We like to use a 45lb (20.4kg) one of these old-school Hex dumbbells (£40 each, buy on sears.com) for unilateral exercises like one-arm rows.
This classic 25kg weight from Gold’s Gym (£44 each, available in Sweatband stores only) is great for strongman moves, and the fat handle will build a killer grip.
RECOMMENDED: The Ultimate Dumbbell Workout for Bigger Arms
Dumbbell Buyer’s Guide
A decent set needn’t break the bank – or your floorboards. Here’s what to look for.
Shape: Hexagonal dumbbells are the smart choice. They won’t roll away when you perform moves like the renegade row, or roll under your feet when you’re off-guard.
Features: As with any contraption, the fewer parts it has, the less likely it is to go wrong. Be careful with adjustable sets that can crack if used frequently.
Weight: Less is undeniably more here – both in mass and price. Too heavy and you’ll miss out on a range of worthy exercises, but with a lighter set you can always do more reps. A 12kg set will do the trick.
Material: Rubber-coated ends might not be as eye-catching as shiny metal plates but they’ll buffer any impact with your floor (or feet). Ridged or “knurled” chrome handles offer firm grip and easy cleaning.
RECOMMENDED: Build a Solid Core Using Just One Dumbbell
Three Types of Dumbbells Explained
Fixed weight: Made in the classic dumbbell shape and usually from cast iron, so you don’t have to worry about loose parts of fiddling about swapping plates.
Adjustable (standard): You slide plates on and secure them with clips or collars, which means you can use different weights without having to buy a full rack.
Adjustable (selectorised): These dumbbells have plates that can be changed simply by turning a dial or moving a selector when resting in the dumbbell stand.
RECOMMENDED: Dumbbell shoulder workout