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10 best dumbbell sets for your home gym

Seeking a new dumbbell set for your home gym? From adjustable sets to classic fixed styles and multipurpose sets that include everything from barbells to kettlebells, we’ve got you covered. Here’s the best dumbbell sets for 2022.

By Tammy Jacks | Last updated Apr 13, 2022

Woman exercising with dumbbells

We know you’ll agree that the one thing you need to complete or add to your home gym equipment set-up is a trusty pair of dumbbells, right? Tracing back to their humble beginnings in the 17th century, standard dumbbells have certainly come a long way in recent years with smart new designs and features like dials and blocks for a quick weight adjustment, or multifunctional uses such as a barbell, kettlebell and dumbbell set in one, to offer the ultimate “burn” and results you’re looking for.

Benefits of dumbbells

Whether you choose fixed or adjustable dumbbells (more on that later), these nifty workout tools are so versatile that Mumsnetters on the Weights Room forum can’t help but rave about their many benefits, some of which include:

  •       They’re inexpensive compared to other home gym machines  
  •       They’re relatively compact, easy to use and store
  •       They enable you to use a greater range of motion with each move
  •       They’re ideal for upper, lower and full-body workouts
  •       They activate several larger and smaller muscle groups
  •       They’re great for building strength, toning and weight loss or weight maintenance when combined with a healthy diet and lifestyle.  

How we chose the best dumbbell sets

When it comes to choosing the right pair of dumbbells for your training goals, we know there’s nothing more important than real recommendations from those who have personally tried and tested the ones you’re considering. 

Recommendations from real parents

We always ask our trusted Mumsnet users, of which there are more than 7 million each month. That's a lot of honest, impartial advice! For that reason we had an in-depth look on the Mumsnet forum for recommendations for the best quality dumbbells out there, taking special note of things like price, type, materials used and overall weight range. We also looked at extra features like dumbbell sets with carry cases and weight stands or trees – which add value to the overall purchase. 

Expert guidance

We always ensure our information represents the latest recommendations from experts so you can rely on it, and we research each product thoroughly to ensure it follows the latest expert advice and stands-up to scrutiny. With this in mind, we narrowed down our list and cross-checked each dumbbell set with more in-depth reviews online from fitness and wellness experts to bring you the top dumbbell picks for a variety of workouts.

Consumer feedback

Before choosing any product, we scour the internet to check-out real reviews from customers who have bought the products themselves, and provided both positive and negative feedback.

Celebrated best products

Finally, we cross-referenced all of the above information to find the best dumbbell set that had won the most awards and recommendations across the board. We think there's something here for everyone at various price points.

Here are the best dumbbell sets for 2022.  

What is the best dumbbell set? 

 

1. Best overall dumbbell set: Mirafit Orange Soft Touch Mini Hex Dumbbells

Mirafit dumbbell set

Price: £28 (prices from £10 for 1kg) | Buy now from Amazon

 “These are good, reasonably priced dumbbells - I've been very pleased with mine.” Recommended by SerafinaPekkala

With mostly five-star reviews across the board, there’s no doubt that the Mirafit Soft Touch Mini Hex Dumbells are a firm favourite amongst those who enjoy home workouts. They’re really easy and comfortable to hold thanks to the soft-touch rubber coating. Plus they’re ideal for Pilates sessions, light toning workouts and aerobics-style classes as the hex design ensures they won’t roll away mid-workout. They’re also versatile and can be used for more complex moves such as a push-up to renegade row, where you perform a push-up whilst leaning on the dumbbells.

The sleek design ensures that they have plenty of space for grip and we like that they’re available in a range of sizes from 1-10kg. This makes the Mirafit range ideal for beginners or intermediate weightlifters who want to keep a few sets at home.  

Pros

  •   Soft-touch material
  •   Sweat-proof rubber
  •   Easy to lift and move
  •   Wide range of sizes available
  •   Built to last
  •   Chip-proof
  •   Rubber coating offers good floor protection

Cons

  •   May feel a bit awkward resting on the thighs for various moves
  •   Not suitable for heavier weightlifting
  •   Those with smaller hands may struggle to get a full grip with the larger dumbbells (8-10kg)

Key specs

  •     Weight range: 1kg to 10kg
  •     Material: Soft touch rubber

2. Best budget dumbbell set: York Neoprene Hex Dumbbells

York dumbbell set

Price: From £8 for 1kg pair | Buy now from Amazon

If you’re looking to add a set or two of dumbbells to your home gym set-up without breaking the bank, the York Neoprene Hex Dumbbells are a good choice. The heavy-duty neoprene that coats these dumbbells is durable and great at reducing damage to flooring. Plus, the hex shape stops them from rolling on uneven surfaces.

We like the ergonomic feel of these handles as the dumbbells are easy to grip for a range of upper and lower body exercises. Although the York range is slightly more limiting in terms of size choice (the heaviest weight is 8kg), we still like the overall design and price point of these dumbbells. Plus, factor in the high-quality neoprene finish, which also dampens noise, and you’ve found yourself some great dumbbells that won’t be too loud or clanky when you put them down between sets.

Pros

  •   Durable
  •   Easy-to-clean
  •   Ergonomic handles
  •   Compact design – easy to store in a cupboard or under
  •   Versatile 

Cons

  •   Only available in black
  •   Not ideal for bigger hands due to slightly smaller handle
  •   This range only goes up to 8kg

Key specs

  •       Weight range: 0.5kg to 8kg
  •       Material: Matt neoprene

3. Best dumbbell set for beginners: PANMAX Adjustable Dumbbells Weight Pair

Panmax dumbbells

Price: £40 | Buy now from Amazon 

“I've got a variety of weights starting at 2kg, 3kg, 4kg and then 5kg.” Suggested by Follygirl

If you’re just beginning your weight training journey and aren’t sure how heavy you should go at first, the PANMAX Adjustable Dumbbells are ideal. You’re essentially getting five weight options in one single dumbbell, so you can start light and build your way up.

This metal dumbbell set with a durable rubber finish is made with convenient built-in solid iron blocks, which weigh 180g each for the 16 smaller blocks (eight on each side) and 0.5kg for the two larger blocks (one on each side). To adjust the weight, simply unscrew the lid, remove a weight and re-screw.

We like that this dumbbell set offers a firm grip thanks to the non-slip neoprene handles, so no chance of accidentally dropping them. Plus, the material is easy to clean and odour-free, unlike some other rubber models. Another bonus is that these dumbbells work well for those going through rehab for arm or shoulder injuries, as you can adjust the weight on one side only.

Pros

  •   Good-quality dumbbells
  •   Available in pink or blue
  •   Made with slip-resistant rubber
  •   Anti-drop screw design
  •   Comfortable, ergonomic grip with neoprene finish  

Cons

  •   Loose iron blocks could get lost
  •   Removing weights could waste time
  •   Small handle not ideal for those with bigger hands 

Key specs

  •       Weight range: 1kg to 5kg
  •       Material: Metal with rubber coating

4. Best rubber hex dumbbell set: DKN Unisex’s Rubber Hex Dumbbell

DKN dumbbell set

Price: £28 | Buy now from Amazon  

These chrome-finished, eight-sided hex dumbbells offer even more stability during a workout than a traditional six-sided hex dumbbell set. This extra support is great, especially when doing floor work like chest presses or push-ups whilst leaning on the dumbbells. Plus they’re made with hill-style knurling – a specific type of crosshatch pattern - that increases friction between your hands and the handle, thus improving grip.  

The cast-iron heads are coated in a hard, solid rubber to reduce noise and the handle is made from a good-quality solid steel that’s easy to clean. We like the fact that these dumbbells will stay put wherever you place them and they’re good value for money given the chrome finish.     

Pros

  •   Good-quality (built to last)
  •   Great value for money (for 4kg)
  •   Won’t roll away
  •   Easy to use and grip
  •   Rubber head reduces friction and noise

Cons

  •   Slight rubber odour
  •   Dumbbell head is a little bulky

Key specs

  • Weight range: 2kg to 10kg
  • Material: Steel, chrome and rubber

5. Best compact dumbbell set: Northdeer Dumbbell Ultracompact Adjustable 15kg Steel Chrome Dumbbell Weights

Northdeer dumbbells

Price: £119 | Buy now from Amazon 

Yes they’re pricey, but these dumbbells are not only sleek and stylish, they’re also adjustable so you’re getting a wider variety of weights in a single dumbbell. They’re also super compact (not much bigger than your average smartphone), which makes them ideal for smaller workout spaces.

The patented design by Northdeer ensures an easy, comfortable grip thanks to the extra foam padding on the handle. The weights are quick and simple to switch as they’re made with steel weight plates (weighing 0.75g each) that can be easily removed or added. Simply unscrew the weight plate you wish to remove and carry on with your workout. You’ll also find thin rubber bands between each steel plate to protect your flooring, which we think is a nice added touch. Available from 2.5kg to 25kg sets, there are many weight variations to choose from.

Pros

  •   Ultra-sleek and compact
  •   Stylish design
  •   Extra rubber bands to protect flooring
  •   Weights are easy to screw together  
  •   Easy to store
  •   Wide weight range to suit all fitness levels 

Cons

  •   Pricey as the 15kg and 25kg weights are sold as singles
  •   Round shape means they may roll

Key specs

  • Weight range: 2.5kg to 25kg
  • Material: Steel  

6. Best adjustable dumbbell set: INCENTIVUS 2 in 1 Dumbbell and Barbell Weights Set with Carry Case

Incentivus dumbbell set

Price: £58 | Buy now from Amazon 

“Adjustable dumbbells are good. I got a set off Amazon that goes up to about 12kg each side or up to 19kg if you are just using one and converts to a bar that will take you up to around 30kg.” Recommended by Spodge

Can’t decide whether to purchase a barbell or dumbbells? Well, with this set you can have both! The INCENTIVUS 2 in 1 Dumbbell and Barbell Weights Set comes with 4 x 0.5kg plates, 4 x 1.25kg plates, 4 x 2.5kg plates, four collars and one extender bar or connector bar to transform the dumbbells into a barbell, making it ideal for exercises like chest press, squats and overhead shoulder presses. The total weight of this set goes up to 20kg, which gives you plenty to work with.

We like the sturdy steel plates with a high gloss, chrome finish and extra rubber padding around the handles for a comfortable grip. A great bonus with this set is that it comes in a nifty heavy duty travel case for easy transporting and storage. The only downside is that it may take a little more time to remove and add weights onto the bars, as it has a traditional spinlock system where you have to twist the collars on and off. However, this set is simple to use and a good investment if you’re looking for something the whole family can use.  

Pros

  •   Good value for money
  •   Easy to interchange between barbell and dumbbells
  •   Rubber grips for extra comfort
  •   Wide weight range
  •   Suitable for all fitness levels
  •   Compact travel case stores easily under a bed or in a cupboard

Cons

  •   Spin lock system is time consuming when changing weights
  •   Set doesn’t come with instructions
  •   Some say the travel case cracks easily  

Key specs

  • Weight range: 1kg to 20kg
  • Material: Steel with chrome finish

7. Best heavy dumbbell set: SPORT24 6-in-1 28kg adjustable Dumbbells Set

Sport24 dumbbell set

Price: £80 | Buy now from Amazon 

“Weightlifting is just so much easier than doing loads of cardio. It's been a revelation taking up lifting heavy in my late middle age. My body just loves it!” Endorsed by ItalianHat

Weighing in at under £100, this adjustable set from Sport24 offers the most value for money when looking at heavy duty dumbbells. Plus, it has a great multifunctional design, so you can quickly convert from dumbbells (with round discs) to a barbell or kettlebell in minutes. The set also comes with comfortable push-up handles (the same handles you’d use for the kettlebell) making it a truly clever, space-saving piece of exercise equipment for your home gym set-up.

Made from iron and covered in ABS, a special type of odourless plastic, this set is durable, built to last and won’t damage your floors. We also like that the barbell has a special locking nut design and the dumbbells themselves are reinforced with double nuts, so no need to worry about the discs becoming loose mid-way through your workout. 

Pros

  •   Multifunctional use (6 in 1 dumbbell and barbell set)
  •   Wide weight range
  •   Cost-effective
  •   Easy to clean  

Cons

  •   Can be bulky if all plates are loaded
  •   Changing weights is a little fiddly and time-consuming

Key specs

  • Weight range: Iron and ABS plastic coating
  • Material: 1kg to 28kg

8. Best lightweight dumbbells: DTX Fitness 6kg Dumbbell Hand Weight Set With Carry Case

DTX dumbbell set

Price: £18 | Buy now from Amazon 

If you’re looking for a light set of dumbbells to help you tone and sculpt your muscles during a Pilates workout or for rehab purposes, the DTX Fitness Dumbbell Hand Weight Set won’t disappoint. The high-quality vinyl coating on these cast iron dumbbells makes for easy handling and gripping and we like that they’re colour coded according to the weight. The six-sided hex shape ensures the dumbbells won’t roll away and of course the ABS carry case is another great feature for easy storage.

This set includes two 0.5kg yellow weights, two purple 1kg weights and two 1.5kg turquoise weights, which makes a total of 6kg for the complete set. As these are very light, this set is only suitable for beginners or those looking to do light toning and resistance exercises whilst on a stationary bike or rebounder (mini trampoline).

Pros

  •   Good value for money
  •   Pretty colours and carry case
  •   Easy to use 

Cons

  •   Limited weight range
  •   Only suitable as a starter kit

Key specs

  • Weight range: 0.5kg to 1.5kg
  • Material: Cast iron and vinyl

 

9. Best dumbbell set with rack: Opti Dumbbell Tree Set

Opti tree dumbbell set

Price: £30 | Buy now from Argos 

“I got a tier set from Argos” Tried and tested by Superram

The Opti Dumbbell Tree Set offers a great way to store more than one set of dumbbells neatly and conveniently. While not classified as a large rack, the tree is solid and sturdy enough to comfortably hold three pairs of dumbbells weighing 1.1kg, 2.3kg and 4.5kg respectively. In essence, the weight range in this set is ideal for beginner to intermediate strength training sessions.

Although they’re nothing fancy to look at, the dumbbells in this set will help you get the job done. They’re fixed circular weights made from vinyl with wide handles, suitable for larger hands and the vinyl acts as a good shock absorber should you accidentally drop them. Keep in mind that their round shape isn’t ideal for some floor exercises like weighted burpees or push-ups.

Pros

  •   Sturdy
  •   Good value for money with the stand
  •   Stand is easy to assemble
  •   Made with shock-absorbing good quality vinyl

Cons

  •   Can roll on uneven floors
  •   Not available in smaller weight increments
  •   Round shape can be limiting for some exercises

Key specs

  • Weight range: 1.1kg to 4.5kg
  • Material: Vinyl

10. Best value dumbbell set: Opti Vinyl Dumbbell Set

Opti vinyl dumbbells

Price: £40 | Buy now from Argos 

“These are really versatile. You can use the weight plates on their own, then when you need it heavier, build up to using the dumbbell with one or two plates on. Also, handy to load up one of the dumbbells with lots of weight and use like a Kettlebell for squats" Reviewed by Flippyflops2021

One of the more classic dumbbell styles, the Opti Vinyl Dumbbell set is great value for money considering you essentially get eight 1.25kg plates and four 2.5kg plates, giving you a total of 22kg (20kg on each dumbbell plus the handle weight) for a really solid workout should you use all the plates in the set.

These dumbbells are made with spinlock collars to make it simple to add or remove weights and the textured rubber handle ensures a stable grip when lifting. This style of dumbbell is ideal for a wide range of lower body exercises including lunges, squats and upper body moves such as tricep extensions, bicep curls and shoulder presses.

Pros

  •   Versatile
  •   Easy to add and remove weights

Cons

  •   A bit bulky
  •   Some say the grip is too rough and thin 

Key specs

  • Weight range: 1.25kg to 20kg
  • Material: Vinyl

What are the different types of dumbbells?

There are two main types of dumbbells, namely fixed dumbbells and adjustable dumbbells. Within these categories, you’ll find a variety of different styles, shapes and sizes made from various materials like cast iron or steel, then finished with a coating such as neoprene, rubber, urethane or chrome. 

Fixed dumbbells: These come in various sizes and shapes including hexagon or hex dumbbells (like the York Neoprene Hex Dumbbells), round, globe dumbbell sets (which resemble round balls on either side of the handle), square or 12-sided and they all have a set weight that can’t be changed. Most fixed dumbbells are made from cast iron, metal or steel then finished with chrome, rubber or neoprene. If the dumbbell is particularly smooth and shiny, it may be finished with urethane, a premium finish that ensures the dumbbell is shock resistant with a higher tear strength. Dumbbells like these are more expensive than traditional metal or cast-iron ones.

Fixed dumbbells are super convenient as you simply pick up the weight you need and get straight into your workout without having to stop mid-way to change the weight. However, they can be costly as you need to build your collection over time. Fixed weight dumbbells are great for beginners as they range from 0.5kg up to around 35kg per weight.

Adjustable dumbbells: These are by far the most versatile type of dumbbell you’ll find as they provide you with access to 10+ weights that range from 2kg to 25kg per dumbbell. Although they come with a heftier price tag, they’re a worthwhile investment in the long run if you consider how many weight variations you’re getting with a single dumbbell versus having to buy separate pairs. 

There are two main types of adjustable dumbbells which include plate loaded dumbbells and selectorised dumbbells. 

Plate loaded dumbbells are made with a single bar or handle that can be loaded with interchangeable round plates on either side which are normally around 1-2kg each and locked in place, either using a metal or plastic spin lock or a collar-type mechanism. 

Selectorised dumbbells are a lot more compact, taking up around the same amount of space as a shoebox. They allow for the weight to be easily changed in their stand (which fits neatly around the dumbbell) with a mechanism such as a dial or a pin. As you lift the handle off the stand, the selected plates will be attached to the handle, leaving the rest behind.

How do I choose the best dumbbell set?

There are a few factors to consider before you choose the ideal dumbbells for your needs:

Your fitness goals 

Are you looking to incorporate dumbbells into a HIIT-style class to tone muscle and increase endurance? In that case, a lighter pair of dumbbells with a solid grip will do. Or, are you keen to lift heavier weights in a slow, controlled way to build muscle? Adjustable dumbbells or a heavier fixed set will work for this type of lifting. Of course, having the option to choose various weights is a good idea to allow for more flexibility in your training.  

Workout space 

If you live in a smaller house or apartment, then adjustable dumbbells will save you space in the long-term, especially when you consider the wide range of weight they can cover. Adjustable dumbbells are also handy if you enjoy working out in different rooms or on the patio – as you simply need to carry one weight to your workout area as opposed to many.

Shape and grip 

Dumbbells are available in many different shapes such as hex, round, globe and square and have different levels of grip depending on their material and coating. If you’re looking for a dumbbell with a solid grip, rubber or neoprene are good choices as they’re less slippery than the textured grips you’ll find on heavier dumbbells. Nowadays manufacturers tend to mix materials on dumbbells, offering better grip options like the Northdeer Steel Dumbbells which have a light foam grip on the handle. 

Material and coatings 

While cast iron, metal and steel dumbbells are certainly high-quality and durable, you may prefer a set with a softer rubber or neoprene finish as these are sweatproof, easier to grip and less damaging on floors. Plus, these types of dumbbells can add a pop of colour to an otherwise boring home gym set-up. Urethane is another premium material that offers a superior quality to rubber. Yes, they’re pricey, but dumbbells made from urethane are harder to the touch and more resilient than rubber. 

Budget 

If you’re on a tight budget, metal or cast-iron dumbbells are often cheaper than steel, rubber or chrome dumbbells. Plus, the good news is that cast-iron dumbbells are solid and chip-proof and can withstand a good few knocks and drops.

Weight range 

Dumbbells can range from as little as 0.5kg per dumbbell to a whopping 80kg per dumbbell – used by bodybuilders and powerlifters. The weight also varies depending on the type of dumbbell you choose. For instance, bars used for adjustable dumbbells can weigh as much as 1-2kg on their own.

As a general rule of thumb, experts from fitness app Aaptiv suggest first figuring out the optimal number of repetitions and sets you’d like to perform as this will affect strength, muscle growth and endurance in different ways. Low reps (from 6-8 movements) with heavier weights (5+kg) will increase strength whereas a higher number of reps with lighter weights (from 1kg – 5kg) will help to tone muscles and build endurance.

Which dumbbell size is best?

This largely depends on what you’d like to get out of your workouts, as well as your overall strength and fitness level. If you’re just starting out and looking to tone, lengthen and strengthen your muscles then lighter dumbbells (between 0.5 and 5kg) that can be used for higher repetition moves are best. Smaller dumbbells are also great for Pilates toning workouts or home workouts on a mini trampoline as experts recommend no more than 2kg per hand on these machines.

However, if your goal is to drop more body fat and build muscle (to gain size), this requires lifting heavier weights (5kg+) for less reps at a slower pace.

If budget allows, it’s best to keep a variety of dumbbells (light, medium and heavy) in your home gym to mix things up and challenge your muscles in every workout. For instance, you may need lighter dumbbells for exercises such as lateral raises or tricep extensions and heavier weights for lower body moves such as squats, lunges and deadlifts.

What is the best dumbbell set?

After carefully assessing and scrutinising many dumbbell sets out there, we believe the Mirafit Orange Soft Touch Mini Hex Dumbbells are the best overall dumbbells for daily use, especially for beginners and intermediate weightlifters. Not only are they great value for money at under £30 for a set of 5kg, they’re also a pleasure to lift and hold thanks to the unique soft touch rubber finish and slightly wider handle.

The six-sided hex design ensures they won’t roll away and we like the fact that they’re versatile enough to use for static exercises such as bicep curls and tricep extensions, as well as HIIT style classes and functional movements where you’re moving and lifting at the same time.

While we agree that adjustable dumbbells offer a wider variety of weight per set, this fixed style is convenient (no changing weights mid-workout), easy to manoeuvre and won’t damage floors.

Which dumbbell set is best for beginners?

The PANMAX Adjustable Dumbbells are a good choice for beginners because you can instantly adjust the weights to suit your fitness and endurance level – with many weight options to choose from in a single dumbbell. Also, they’re good value for money considering that they’re fully adjustable and made with high-quality metal and rubber components.

Compared to other adjustable dumbbells with more cumbersome spinlock collars, a standout feature of this set is the simple built-in solid iron blocks that can be easily removed by simply unscrewing the lid and replacing it with your desired weight. The sleek, compact design and slip-resistant rubber handle also gets a thumbs up for being user-friendly, especially if you’re just getting used to lifting weights.  

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