Looking for the perfect pair of dumbbells? Find out more in our dumbbells buying guide. Dumbbells are perhaps the most basic piece of gym equipment. Though humble, they have huge potential to boost your exercise routine and transform your body. With just one pair of dumbbells, you can perform dozens of different movements to target various parts of your body. They are affordable, easy to use and very compact, making them the perfect choice for your home gym. So which dumbbells should you choose? We explain all in our guide to buying dumbbells.


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  1. The Benefits of Dumbbells
  2. Dumbbell Sizes
  3. Dumbbell Materials
  4. Dumbbell Shapes & Grips
  5. Fixed or Adjustable Dumbbells?
  6. Dumbbell Prices

The Benefits of Dumbbells

a person squatting with dumbbells

Dumbbells are one of the best pieces of home gym equipment. Every home gym needs a set of dumbbells, no matter your age, ability or your goals.

One of the biggest benefits of dumbbells is their versatility. Because they follow your body's natural range of motion, you can exercise flexibly, completing a variety of different movements. A few exercises you can complete with dumbbells include bicep curls, tricep extensions, chest presses, lateral raises and upright rows. You can also use them to target the lower body, adding additional weight to exercises like squats and lunges.

Dumbbells tend to be compact and portable (unless they're super heavy!) This means they're ideal for a home gym, as they don't take up much space. It's also easy to move them to the area where you want to exercise, whether in the house, the garden, the park or the gym.

Dumbbells are an accessible piece of home gym equipment and are very beginner-friendly. They can be used to reach a number of different goals, including improving stamina, increasing strength, building muscle, toning and losing fat. If your goal is to lose weight, dumbbells will be a great addition to a HIIT workout routine. If your aim is to grow, dumbbells are a fantastic way to really work your muscles.

Dumbbell Sizes

First up in our dumbbells buying guide: size. You don't actually need really heavy dumbbells to improve your arm strength. In fact, you can get excellent results with a lighter set. It all depends on how you use them.

Generally, light dumbbells are great for compound movements and improving coordination between different parts of your body. However, heavier dumbbells are a better choice for activating one specific muscle or muscle group, such as your biceps.

Generally, you will lift according to your body weight. A good guide is the following: beginners should start with a dumbbell around 10% of their body weight, and advanced lifters should use a dumbbell around 20-25% of their body weight. If you are looking to tone your muscles rather than build them, opt for lower weights and higher reps. This will provide enough resistance to engage your muscles without seriously overloading for increased muscle mass. Alternatively, if you want to build your muscle strength and size, choose heavier dumbbells and fewer sets and reps.

If you are unsure, why not opt for a set of three dumbbells, such as our Davina Vinyl 3-Pair Dumbbell Set or the Marcy Tone Vinyl Dumbbell Set? These products come complete with a stand for keeping your dumbbells neat and tidy. For the more experienced lifter, the Marcy Hex Rubber Dumbbell Set could be a worthwhile investment. This set includes ten pairs of dumbbells from 1kg - 10kg, allowing you to bring even more variety to your workouts.

Dumbbell Materials

Metal Dumbbells

Most dumbbells are made from cast iron or stainless steel. They tend to have a mental handle with black discs on the end. They are crafted with comfort and safety in mind, ensuring a comfortable grip and lessening the likelihood of slippage. That's because the metal won't become slippery when your hands are sweaty. One downside of a metal dumbbell is the damage it can cause if dropped on the floor - so be careful!

Vinyl Dumbbells

Vinyl dumbbells are made from metal with a tough vinyl coating. They are available in a variety of colours, which makes them easily identifiable. This can be easier when changing between exercises, rather than having to look at the embossed weight on the end of metal dumbbells. Another benefit of vinyl dumbbells is the lessened risk of damage when dropped. However, they can become hard to handle when slippy.

Rubber & PU Dumbbells

Rubber and PU dumbbells are coated in protective rubber or polyurethane. This means the weights will last longer, as they're not exposed to moisture. PU dumbbells also have a longer shelf life in terms of aesthetics, as they are resistant to scratches and chips.

Again, these dumbbells don't cause as much damage when dropped. The only real downside of a rubber or PU dumbbell is the cost. But if you are keen to make a real investment, they're an excellent choice.

Dumbbell Shapes & Grips

Another thing to consider is the shape of your dumbbells. As well as the classic rounded dumbbells, you can now purchase hexagonal or square dumbbells. These dumbbells are a fantastic choice, as the facets prevent the weights from rolling away. They're also much better to use in floor-based exercises, as they have increased stability.

Dumbbells offer different types of grips, too. This is one of the most important factors, as it determines how you hold and handle your dumbbell. The width of the handle is also one to consider; if it is too wide, it'll be uncomfortable, and you'll have an increased risk of injury.

Fixed or Adjustable Dumbbells?

Next up in our dumbbells buying guide, fixed or adjustable? Our fixed weights come in pairs between 1kg and 10kg, but they can be as heavy as 100kg. They are the most common type of dumbbell and a sturdy choice. They're easy to grab and get going with your workout. They're also pretty much unbreakable. As well as lifts, you can perform a few other exercises with these dumbbells, such as press-ups or rows. Of course, as the name suggests, these dumbbells have a fixed weight, so eventually, as you get fitter and stronger, you will have to purchase more.

Another option is adjustable dumbbells. These may be the more cost-effective choice, especially if you plan to use your dumbbells every day for a variety of movements. Because a number of plates can be added to one dumbbell, they can also be the most sensible option in terms of space-saving. However, adjustable dumbbells are not as easy to grab and get going as fixed dumbbells and can often be tricky and time-consuming to adjust.

Dumbbell Prices

When shopping for dumbbells, the price is always an important factor. Fortunately, we have a great range of dumbbells for your home gym, starting from just £13.00. This will allow you to grow your dumbbell collection gradually, selecting the right weights for you as your strength and stamina increase. No matter your experience level, goals, or budget, there's the perfect pair of dumbbells for you at Exercise.co.uk.


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Before beginning any exercise or nutrition program, consult your physician, doctor or other professional. This is especially important for individuals over the age of 35 or persons with pre-existing health problems. Exercise.co.uk assumes no responsibility for personal injury or property damage sustained using our advice.

If you experience dizziness, nausea, chest pain, or any other abnormal symptoms, stop the workout at once and consult a physician or doctor immediately.