Complete Buyer’s Guide to the Best Dumbbells for Strength Training

dumbbells exercise

A popular way to physically transform your body is to add weights into your daily exercise routine. With the current global pandemic outbreak and gyms being closed, many fitness fanatics are creating their own at-home gyms. A piece of equipment that anyone who trains at home can’t go without is a set of dumbbells.

They are easy to carry around, keep in your gym bag, or store neatly away in your home. Even though it might seem like an easy piece of fitness equipment that’s quick to purchase, there are a few things you have to consider when shopping around.

To help you out, we’ve put together a complete guide to buying dumbbells for strength training.

Different Types

You might have seen many different sizes, shapes, and colors at the gym. So, before you get a pair for your own private use, you should understand the different types available. There are basically two main types; fixed and adjustable.


These models don’t need any adjustments, what you see is what you get and you won’t be able to make any changes. The length, size, and color are all fixed and there’s no way you can adjust or modify it to fit different exercises.

A fixed dumbbell comes as one piece of material that are all blended together. They are usually made out of one specific material or a combination of different materials.

Fixed dumbbells are usually found in weights ranging from 0.5kg – 8kg per unit. They are extremely durable and can take a lot of wear and tear before they break. Popular amongst home trainers, because of their comfortable and ergonomically design.


Perfect for those who are serious about weight training at home. Without having to buy a series of different weighted fixed dumbbells, the innovation of the adjustable dumbbell has brought the option of having multiple options by only owning one pair.

What’s great about these models is that the length of the bars and weight of the units can be adjusted. Users can add or omit different sized circular weights on either side for a more customizable training session.

When adjustable dumbbells were tested with numerous at-home and gym owners, it was found that they are a much better value for money than purchasing many different sized fixed dumbbells.

The only downside to adjustable units is that they will take a lot of time to assemble and prepare for different routines. If you are looking to adjust the weight regularly, then look out for selectorized strength equipment.


Depending on your needs and the frequency of use, you should consider one of the following materials:


Metal dumbbells are very common and can be found in almost any training facility. The rod (also known as the handle or bar) is typically made from a solid piece of silver metal. This rod will usually have a kind of grip design to ensure it doesn’t slip out of your grasp.

Discs, found on either side of the rod, will be made from a heavy black metal ranging in different weights. Dumbbells with this design are usually adjustable and come with an extra gear to fasten the discs into place. Discs can range between 1kg-20kg. With adjustable units, you can stack up discs as much as the rod allows.

Depending on your own preference, you can choose between discs that are either hexagonal or round in shape. Even though round discs look more appealing, they are more prone to roll away when put on the floor. Compared to hexagonal ones that are sturdier.


The dumbbell is cast out of a heavy and durable iron. Iron is shaped in the shape of a dumbbell with a rod and two heavier pieces on either side. To give the unit some color and grip, it is coated in vinyl. Vinyl coats are typically found in a variety of vibrant colors to distinguish different sizes from one another.

The coating is soft to the touch and are typically used in lighter weights ranging from 0.5-6kg per piece. It can be difficult to hold on to these units, as the vinyl is slippery when you start sweating.


Just like the vinyl-coated dumbbell, the rubber dumbbell features the same design with an exception of having a rubber coat. The rubber coating is placed over heavy discs and rods to not only make the unit more appealing, but to also protect the metal from rust.

Rubber coatings might smell strong in the beginning, but they provide a strong and durable cover that won’t allow damage to the floor when dropped.

Try to avoid dumbbells with cheap paint jobs. Paint will start peeling off resulting in an uncomfortable workout.

Training Routines

In the same way as you won’t just buy the first pair of trainers you see; you need to know exactly what you want to use the dumbbells for. Consult with a trainer to find out which kind of dumbbell is right for you. Over exerting your muscles by curling more kilograms than you should can be more damaging to your body. Your body weight, strength, and frame should be taken into consideration before you start lifting those weights.

Check out these excellent dumbbell exercises you can try out at your next strength training session:


This is extremely important. The rod that you are holding on to when lifting should have some sort of grip. Metal rods will typically have a grip design into the rod to improve grip, especially when training with heavier units. Most weight lifters will wear protective gloves to protect their hands against blisters.

Grip is important to ensure that the heavy weight doesn’t slip out of your hand and fall on the floor – either damaging it or causing an injury.

As long as you keep the above-mentioned factors in mind when you go shopping for dumbbells, you’ll be able to purchase a high quality pair for your next training sessions.