Want to buy the best set of dumbbells for your home gym without spending a lot of time picking all the separate parts? Here are the best complete dumbbell sets you can buy with a single click.
The most important dumbbell set criteria are the weight range and the quality of the dumbbells and rack. Make sure the rack is a size and shape the fits in your home gym. For most people a 5-50 lbs. weight range is sufficient. A set up to 70 lbs. is necessary if you’re training heavy.
Keep reading to find out what to look for in a dumbbell set and what the best options for you are.
Set or separate?
If you clicked on this post, you’re likely looking for a set of dumbbells. However, it’s worth going over what the pros and cons of sets and separate dumbbells are.
A set of dumbbells most often comes with a range of weights and a rack to fit them in.
Separate dumbbells are just that. You buy separate pairs (sometimes they’re even sold as singles). You get a single pair of dumbbells in a single weight. No other dumbbells and no rack.
That means a set of dumbbells is much easier and you just have to order a single item. The rack that comes with it will fit all the dumbbells well and you have a neat looking setup.
If you buy separate pairs, you can order only the pairs you need. You’ll have to find a rack that fits your dumbbells. This means your gym won’t look as tidy as it could but you could save a bit of money. Of course you could always order the missing pairs later on but it can always happen that the manufacturer changed the design a little or that style is not available anymore and you have to get a different looking one. That’s not a big issue but it doesn’t look as good.
In separates there are more choices. There are just fewer sets available than separate dumbbells. On the other hand, dumbbells are dumbbells, there aren’t that many differences between the different models.
There are a few different types of dumbbells;
- Bare cast iron/ rubberized
- Round/ hex shaped
If you have the choice, rubberized hex shaped dumbbells are the most practical for a home gym. Rubberized means the dumbbells and whatever they hit when you drop them is a bit better protected. Rubberized dumbbells also more comfortable to use.
The shape doesn’t matter too much. Hex shaped dumbbells just don’t roll away like round ones do. So if you have the choice, hex shaped is a slightly better choice.
The next thing to decide is the weight range of dumbbells you’re going to need. Everyone starts from a different strength level, has different strength goals and does different exercises.
All that means is that different people need different sets of dumbbells. No need to buy heavy dumbbells you’re never going to use.
However, even if you’re quite strong and use higher weights, you still need the lower weights. When you’re isolating the smaller muscles in your shoulders for example, you probably can’t use 20 lbs. dumbbells. So if you use heavier dumbbells for other exercises, that doesn’t mean you don’t have to get the lower weights.
In practical terms, what does that mean?
If you’re used to working out in a commercial gym, you already know what kind of dumbbell weights you’re going to need. If you’re planning to get stronger in the future, a little higher weight range than you need now is good. Although you could always get a few extra heavy pairs later on so you can save money now.
Now if you’re new to working out and/or working out with dumbbells, it can be a lot more difficult to judge what you need. But there are some guidelines.
There are five things to keep in mind;
- What’s your training level?
- What are your strength goals?
- What’s your workout style?
- Men and women have different upper body strength levels.
- Do you have a barbell with weights in your gym or are dumbbells the only weights.
If you’re already trained and just want to transition to a home gym, you likely know exactly what the heaviest dumbbell you need is. If you’re just starting out, it can be difficult to judge.
A good website to check out is strengthlevel.com. On that site you can select different exercises and see how much other people are lifting at the same age and weight. That can give you a good idea of what kind of weights you should buy.
In a home gym where you also have a barbell and weights, you’ll do most of the heavy lifts with those. That means you don’t need the really heavy dumbbells. Up to 50 lbs. is likely enough for accessory exercises for the majority of people. Up to 70 is nice to have if/when you want to get a lot stronger.
If you don’t have a barbell with weights in your setup and you want to build a decent amount of muscle as a man, having dumbbells that go up to 70 lbs. is advisable. For most women 50 lbs. will be enough to do the same.
Everything above assumes you are going to lift weights to build muscle. That means in some sort of body or strength building program. If you have a different workout style that’s more focused towards endurance or just slight muscle toning, a set that goes up to 25 lbs. is likely enough.
For aerobics and similar styles the heaviest dumbbell only has to weigh 10 or 12 pounds.
What to look for in a dumbbell set?
Just to make things clearer, let’s quickly outline what you should look for when buying a set of dumbbells;
- Weight range: The most important thing for buying a set of dumbbells is getting the weight range right. More about that above. The necessary weight range is going to be different for everyone.
- Type: For most people, rubberized dumbbells are the right choice. Rubberized will protect your dumbbells, floor and ears. Round or hex shaped doesn’t matter much. Hex shaped dumbbells don’t roll away but that’s about it.
- Rack: When buying a set, you often get a rack that fits all the included dumbbells. You want that rack and it should be sturdy and of decent quality.
- Quality: Something that’s a little harder to assess is the quality. Sets of dumbbells are expensive and you want something that is going to last for a long time for the amount of money you spend on it.
Best heavy dumbbell sets
Now we’ve got an idea of what we’re talking about, let’s take a look at the best dumbbell sets. First let’s take a look at the heavier sets. That means sets that go up to at least 50 lbs. That should be enough for most people that don’t want to go very heavy. If you don’t have a barbell with weights, you need a bit more
At the same time you also want the lighter weights in the same set. The minimum weight for everyone should be about 5 lbs. That’s light enough for even the smallest muscles. That means we’re looking for sets that range from 5 to 50 lbs. at least. There are a few sets with more weight as well.
Let’s see what the best options are. I’ve listed a few options below. There are a few brands that have the same dumbbells in different ranges. So you can see the brand and style below but keep in mind that in some cases there are different weight ranges. I’ll mention if that is the case.
If you’re shopping for a 5 to 50 lbs. set the XMark is a great one to go for. Sturdy rubberized dumbbells and a good rack for a reasonable price. The dumbbells are hex shaped so they don’t roll away which is always a nice feature to have.
XMark is a good brand that’s based in the USA so that means better customer service than some foreign brands.
The set consists of 10 pairs of dumbbells; 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35, 40, 45 and 50 lbs. So that covers the weights most people need.
#2 Cap Barbell
Next up are the CAP sets. There are quite a few different interesting sets they sell;
- 5-50 lbs. Rubberized, Hex shaped with 3 tier rack.
- 5-50 lbs. Rubberized, 12 sided, 2 tier rack, commercial quality
- 5-70 lbs. Rubberized, Hex, 3 tier rack
The first set is very similar to the XMark set. Same weight, same shape, similar rack and quality. They also cost about the same so just get the one which is available/cheaper at that time. This set also has a rack with 3 tiers which means you don’t need a lot of floorspace.
The second set is interesting because they are higher quality dumbbells and a higher quality rack. The rack only has two tiers which means it has to be wider to fit all the dumbbells. So it takes up more space. The extra quality comes at a cost. This set is significantly more expensive than the first one.
The third set is similar to the first set but with a few pairs added on. That also means they come with a slightly larger rack. The foot print of this rack is still smaller than the second set though. This is the best set if you want 55, 60, 65 and 70 lbs. dumbbells on top of the standard 5 to 50 lbs. but don’t want to get a new rack. This is a much neater solution than adding on extra pairs later on.
So you have a few choices here. Do you go for higher quality or higher weights? It’s up to you.
|CAP Barbell||Rubber Coated Dumbbell Set with Storage Rack||5 to 50 lbs.||Hex shaped, rubberized, 3 tier rack||Buy on Amazon|
|CAP Barbell||Rubber Coated Dumbbell Set with Storage Rack||5 to 50 lbs.||12-sided, rubberized, 2 tier rack, commercial quality||Buy on Amazon|
|CAP Barbell||Rubber Coated Dumbbell Set with Storage Rack||5 to 70 lbs.||Hex shaped, rubberized, 3 tier rack|
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|Buy on Amazon|
#3 WF Athletic
Another option for a slightly lower price is the WF athletic set.
- 5-50 lbs. Rubberized, Hex, 3 tier rack
- 5-100 lbs. Rubberized, Hex, No rack included
The first WF Athletic set is very similar to the XMark and CAP sets. The dumbbells are very similar (likely from the same factory). The racks have similar designs but slightly different. The XMark rack is a built slightly better. On the other hand, with this set you get a rubber mat included.
The second option is interesting. It’s a complete set of dumbbells from 5 to 100 lbs. However, that set doesn’t include a rack so you’ll have to find your own.
All the sets above have been rubberized so far. This Ader set is a bit different. The dumbbells have the same hex shape but are bare cast iron.
The set has dumbbells from 5 to 50 lbs. like all the other brands have and a sturdy rack. Whether the bare iron or rubber outside is better for you is up to you. There are some benefits to having rubber on the outside like protecting the floor, the dumbbells and also your ears by damping the noise.
The lack of rubber means you save a bit of money but the difference isn’t all that big. A set of dumbbells is expensive so in my opinion paying the bit extra for rubber on the outside.
But if you want to feel the iron, this is your set.
Best Medium weight dumbbell sets
Now let’s look at the lighter sets. These are dumbbell sets that go up to about 20 or 25 lbs. These are usually in the same style as the heavier dumbbells. Rubberized or bare cast iron. All these sets come with a rack.
These dumbbell sets are significantly cheaper than the heavy ones. That’s mainly because there are just way fewer pounds
#1 Epic Fitness
A set of 5 dumbbells ranging from 5 to 25 lbs. with space efficient A-frame rack. The dumbbells are Hex shaped and rubberized just like most of the heavier sets. The rack can be an A-frame because there are fewer pairs than with the heavier sets. That means this set is much easier to place somewhere than a heavier set.
Epic Fitness is a USA based brand so the customer service is going to be much better than some other foreign companies.
This is the smaller version of the cap sets listed in the heavy section. It just stops at a lighter weight. Like the set above there are 5 pairs of dumbbells from 5 to 25 lbs. This set doesn’t come with an A-frame rack but a 2 tier flat rack.
The dumbbells themselves are very similar; Hex shaped and rubberized.
Both sets are high quality and come with high quality racks. The CAP rack takes up a bit more space but the dumbbells are accessible a little easier than on an A-frame rack. So it comes down to floor space vs. ease of use. The choice is yours.
There is one big BUT with the rack though. The smallest two dumbbells don’t fit on there together with the other ones. It seems strange to include a rack that doesn’t exactly fit all the dumbbells in the set. So while the quality of the parts is good, the fit isn’t great. You can easily stack the lighter dumbbells on top of the other ones but it’s something that shouldn’t be necessary.
Best Light weight dumbbell sets
Finally we get to the light sets. These are sets that go up to about 10 or 12.5 lbs. Often, these dumbbells are completely rubberized or covered in neoprene. The type of dumbbell you see in aerobics classes. Good for doing aerobics and similar forms of exercise. Not that great for weightlifting.
#1 Fitness Alley
The set you want in this category. Color coded dumbbells in 2, 4, 6, 8 and 10 lbs. Neoprene coated and comes with a super sturdy A-frame rack. It doesn’t take up much space s so it’s easy to fit in any space. The quality is great and this set will last you for a long time. This set is not cheap but exactly what you’re looking for.
This set is a bit smaller. There are only three pairs of dumbbells; 5, 8 and 12 lbs. For most people that’s actually a big enough range for aerobics and similar exercises. You also save quite a bit of money over the first set.
It’s super small and you can put this rack with dumbbells almost anywhere.
Mix and match
As you can see above, most sets don’t actually go up too high. 50 or 55 lbs. is pretty commonly the highest you’ll find in a set. Now what if you want to go up to, let’s say, 70 lbs.?
In that case you can either go for separate dumbbells but you can also buy a complete set and just get the extra pairs you need that are heavier. The downside of that is that a set with rack will go together so there’s no extra space on the rack for more dumbbells.
So you’ll have to get an extra rack or just leave them on the floor. That’s not optimal and kind of defeats the purpose of buying a complete set in the first place.
However, many people will need a while before they really need the heavier weights, especially if you also have a barbell and weight plates in your gym.
There is one exception that can solve the problem of separate heavier dumbbells and that is the CAP barbell dumbbell racks.
Above you can already see the 5 to 50 lbs. set they sell. However, they also sell an extension set that ranges from 55 to 100 lbs. So the two sets match up perfectly. They look the same so it will look really neat and tidy as well. The downside is the price and the amount of space it takes up.
Above I’ve only recommended so called ‘fixed’ dumbbells. That means the weight on that set of dumbbells can’t change. Adjustable dumbbells look like a single pair but you can change the weights on the handles.
They are worth a look because they save a lot of space and money. You get a set that is adjustable from 5 to 50 lbs. and it’s much cheaper than the full set of fixed dumbbells.
The downside is that they are a little less durable and switching weights is a bit more complicated but both those downsides can be largely mitigated by buying the right adjustable dumbbells.
Here are the best adjustable dumbbell sets;
Copied many times, never improved: Bowflex adjustable dumbbells. There are a few different models with different weight ranges but they are all roughly the same.
They look like normal dumbbells with a dial on the end. When you return it to the base station and turn the dial, the mechanism in the dumbbell actually picks up the amount of weight you selected. Super easy to use and feels like you’re using a normal dumbbell.
The only downside to these dumbbells is that you shouldn’t drop them. Lower them in a controlled manner. Since the selection mechanism is made out of plastic, it’s possible to damage it although not common.
If you want to treat your adjustable dumbbells roughly, one of the next sets is a better option.
PowerBlock are the original adjustable dumbbells. And they are a great choice as well. I personally prefer the Bowflex ones because they look and feel more like a traditional dumbbell. The Bowflex are also a touch easier to change weights on in my opinion.
However, the powerBlock ones have the benefit of being a bit more durable and modular. Many of their models have the option to add more weight to the same set of dumbbells later on. That’s a great option to have.
So if you want your dumbbells to look like dumbbells,
Finally, we’ve got a cheap option. The last two sets of adjustable dumbbells are adjustable with a selection mechanism. This set has simple screw collars with something that looks like a big nut on the end. You can unscrew the nut and change the weight plates on the end of the bar.
This means this set is much cheaper to make and therefore to buy. They can also take a lot of abuse without any problems. On the other hand, it takes much longer to change the weight of your dumbbell.
|Bowflex||ST 552 (Pair)||5-52.5 lbs.||2.5 lbs. increments up to 25 lbs. 5 lbs. increments after.||Buy on Amazon|
|Bowflex||ST 1090 (Single)||10-90 lbs.||5 lbs. increments||Buy on Amazon|
|PowerBlock||EXP Stage 1 (Pair)||5-50 lbs.||5, 7.5, 10,15, 17.5, 20 25, 27.5, 30, 35, 37.5, 40, 45, 47.5 and 50 lbs.||Buy on Amazon|
|Yes4All||Adjustable Dumbbells||5-52.5 or 100 lbs.||2.5 lbs. increments||Buy on Amazon|