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April 12, 2021 9 min read

Creating a workout space somewhere in the house has become more common. Aside from COVID-19 keeping gyms closed, home gyms have grown in popularity due to the convenience of being able to workout from home.

With access to so many workout videos and information on the internet, it’s easier than ever to create your own workout routine at home with very little equipment. 

With that being said, if you are considering a home gym, one piece of equipment you will definitely need to invest in is some dumbbells (especially if your workout plan includes strength training). But how much is that going to cost you? Let’s find out together.

Why You Should Invest In Dumbbells

You may be wondering why we suggest dumbbells as the piece of equipment you should invest in. Well, think about this, if you will. Have you ever been to the gym and the equipment everyone seems to always be fighting over is the dumbbells? That is because of their versatility and effectiveness. 

Dumbbells can be used for a wide range of exercises (which we will discuss in more detail later) and have been shown to be extremely effective when it comes to strength training  and building muscles. They can also be used for aerobic or cardio-based workouts!

Additionally, integrating dumbbells into your workouts is great for establishing balance and stability for the body. Since they are a piece of equipment you will be using regularly for your workouts, you will want to take the time to be sure you purchase the dumbbells that are right for you and your budget.

Why Are Dumbbells So Expensive?

When you begin your search for dumbbells you may be caught off-guard by how expensive they can be. Unlike some other products, the high cost of the dumbbells can be justified. Here are some reasons they can put a dent in your wallet:

Weight: This is probably the most obvious reason for the price to be high, The more weight you require, the heavier the dumbbells you need are going to be. That is a lot of weight to be moved around.

Durable material: For the most part, dumbbells are made with durable materials such as cast iron which make them last longer. However, these long-lasting materials are not cheap to get; therefore, also driving up the cost.

Transportation/Storage: Seeing as how the dumbbells will be heavy, this makes them hard to move. They also take up a lot of space which makes it difficult for transportation between the factory to a distribution center or store and then to your home. Plus, once they are in your home, you will want to avoid putting them somewhere that will require you to move them more than you need to.

What To Look For When Purchasing Dumbbells

Now that we know some of the cost factors, what else would we need to know about dumbbells before making the purchase? Hm, let’s discuss.

adjustable dumbbells

Fixed vs Adjustable Dubbells

Unless you have room for multiple dumbbells of various weights in your home gym, you will most likely be on the hunt for adjustable dumbbells. Fixed dumbbells are essentially exactly as they sound.

The weight in which you purchase the dumbbell is the weight it will remain for the entirety of its existence. Meanwhile, adjustable dumbbells grow with you as you get stronger because they give you the ability to change the weight by removing or adding plates to it.

Seeing as how one of the main goals of fitness is usually to get stronger, you will want to invest in something that gives you more flexibility, like the adjustable dumbbell.

Otherwise, it is very likely you will find yourself needing to purchase a heavier set of dumbbells in the near future, so long as you stick to your fitness plan.

There is technically a third kind of dumbbell known as the selectorized dumbbells which is essentially a fancy version of an adjustable dumbbell. The difference being instead of manually remove and replace the plates, you can adjust the weight by simply lifting a handle or turning a dial; depending on the style. Typically, these are recommended if you are extremely committed to your strength and resistance training as they can be quite pricey.

Round vs Hexagonal Dumbbells

Dumbbells generally come in two shapes. They will either be round or hexagonal on the ends. The only real difference here being the hex dumbbells are much less likely to roll if not set on the ground properly.

Essentially, the shape is more about your personal preference. If you are worried that you may drop the dumbbells frequently then you may want to look for hex dumbbells for safety reasons.

Cast-Iron vs Rubber-Coated Dubbells

Everyone has seen dumbbells made of cast iron. They are still very common because of their durability and the fact that many weight lifters appreciate the look and feel of cast iron. If you invest in a set of cast iron dumbbells you have them forever. Plus, cast iron is typically the most affordable. Cast iron dumbbells will have their weight engraved on the sides so you can easily find the right weight.

If cast iron isn’t your thing, another option is to consider a set of rubber-coated dumbbells weights. It is important to note that weights under 10 pounds may be made of neoprene which is a synthetic rubber meaning they are also usually the cheapest. Though you will save some money, it is unlikely the neoprene will last forever.

Meanwhile, any rubber-coated dumbbell weight above 10 pounds will not include the synthetic meaning it will be more durable and last longer. The rubber-coating will protect the floor and your pretty little toes if you drop them or do not set them down gently. Bodybuilders like these because they provide a tight grip for your hands.

A third, less common, very expensive material that you may come across while completing your search is called urethane. The urethane dumbbells will look nicer longer, but other than that, not really worth double the price of rubber-coated or iron-casted dumbbell sets.

Buying Factors To Consider

Just like any other purchase, there are some things you should consider when doing research for the best dumbbells for you. The most important consideration would most likely be if you have enough space?

As mentioned above, cast-iron weights will always be the same size no matter how long you use them. Meaning if you use different weights for different exercises you need to have the space to store them properly.

The correct way to store your dumbbells is off the floor using a weight rack. If you are limited on space, you may not have room for an entire weight rack.To save yourself the hassle of having to rearrange the way you set up the gym just so you can fit a weight stand, you can invest in plate-loaded adjustable dumbbells.

Instead of requiring multiple sets of dumbbells to have a variety of weights available, you will only have to find somewhere to store your adjustable dumbbell set because it can do everything any fixed dumbbell can do. 

Additionally, an adjustable dumbbell is a smart choice if you move a lot. For example, if you travel a lot but prefer to workout outside of the hotel gym, the adjustable dumbbells will be much easier to bring along with you.

On the other hand, you may not be able to keep them in the same room all the time forcing you to have to move your weights all the time. No one wants to have to move their 100-pound dumbbells every day.

Lastly, think about other equipment you may need. There are some dumbbell exercise moves that may require you to lay down on a bench, or some bodybuilders will switch out dumbbells for a barbell as they get stronger or for mixing things up every now and then.

You Can’t Go Wrong With Pre-owned

First and foremost, please do not do a search on Amazon for dumbbells and purchase the first ones you see. There are better ways to save yourself some money. 

The cheapest way to purchase a solid set of dumbbells is to try finding them used. The sad truth is many people will get pumped up about getting back in shape and invest in a nice set of dumbbells.

Then about 2-3 months they lose their motivation and the dumbbells will sit in the home gym collecting dust until it’s time to move out or do some serious spring cleaning. Instead of moving them to your new home or finding somewhere to store them, many people will choose to sell them instead.

Craigslist or eBay are still great places to find amazing deals on used workout equipment, especially dumbbells. We have seen them sell for 70-95% off their retail price, which is usually $1.50-$2.00 per pound of weight.

Since dumbbells are made to last, you can save yourself some serious moolah by finding them pre-owned. We just recommend giving the dumbbells are good anti-bacterial cleaning before using them. 

When you are buying used dumbbells for use in your home gym, keep the following in mind:

Wear and tear: If you are buying rubber-coated dumbbells, take the opportunity to look them over for any peeling or cracking before taking them back home with you.

Can’t be too picky: You may not be able to find a set that matches or a specific brand if you are sticking with used equipment.

Missing pieces: If you are purchasing a full set of cast-iron dumbbells, make sure none of the pieces are missing from the set unless you are already aware some may be missing. Also double-check that the pieces match up. For example, make sure the 10 pounder weights are both there. You should do this for any weight sets that are to be included.

Be clear about what is included: Since you will most likely be starting your search online, the listings will typically have pictures associated with them. Confirm that you will receive everything shown in the picture before making an offer to the seller. You do not want to pay for something you are not getting.

Exercises To Use Your New Dumbells

Dumbbells aren’t going to do you any good if you don’t know how to use them. To get some ideas, here are some great strength-building exercises you can do once you get your new dumbbell set home:

lateral raise

Lateral Raises

To execute a lateral raise, simply stand with feet shoulder-width apart and a dumbbell in each hand. Hold your arms straight down so the dumbbells rest by your thighs. Next, bend your elbows and lift the weights out to the side (as if you had wings). Extend the arms all the way out until they are parallel to the floor and lower them back down to the starting position. That completes one rep. If you are having trouble keeping your back straight while lifting the dumbbells, try using a lower weight next time.

Goblet Squat

Another exercise that is simple to execute is the goblet squat. Start by holding a dumbbell in your hand vertically and hold it by the end closest to your face with your fingers resting on top. Continue to hold the dumbbell as described as you lower into a deep squat. Push into your feet and return to the standing position to complete the rep and continue to squat until you meet your set count.

Bicep Curls

A bicep curl is one of the most basic dumbbell exercises there is. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and hold a dumbbell in each hand with your palms facing up. Begin to lift and curl the dumbbell into your chest. Once your elbows are fully bent, change direction and lower the weights back to by your sides. That is one repetition.

Bent-Over Row

In a way, this is the opposite of a bicep curl. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart with a dumbbell in each hand except this time your palms will be facing down. Now, bend at the hips and lean forward with the dumbells as if you are going to place them on the floor. Bend as far as your body will allow and then continue to lift the weights up and down. Every time you pull the weights in towards you equals one rep. Once you have completed the determined amount of reps, you may return to standing.

dumbbell bench press

Dumbbell Bench Press

If you also have a workout bench, you can complete another basic dumbbell exercise, the dumbbell bench press. Lay with your back flat on the bench and a dumbbell in each hand. Start with your elbows bent so that you are holding the weights by your ears. Squeeze your code and lift the dumbbells up and over your head so that your arms are straight. The inner sides of the dumbbells may touch here. Once your arms are completely straight, return back to the starting position with the weights by your ears and elbows bent. That completes one rep. 

For even more great dumbbell workouts, take a moment to watch the video of the best dumbbell workouts for a home gym at the end.

It’s A Wrap On Dumbbells

If you stuck with us to the end, then you already know what the average price per pound is. For those who skipped to the bottom (yes, we see you), you can expect to pay approximately $1.50-2.00 per pound of weight when buying new. This means if you are looking to buy a 20-pound dumbbell set, you can expect the cost to be around $30-$40.

However, if you choose to buy pre-owned, you can expect to pay less than $1.00 per pound of weight. For most workout equipment, your cheapest option will always be buying used.

For those short on space, always on the move, or prefer to have one piece of equipment for multiple uses you will definitely want to invest in an adjustable pair of dumbbells. For those who like to keep things simple and have a large home gym space, you can never go wrong by sticking with a classic like cast-iron dumbbells.

Regardless of what you choose or how you choose to get them, your dumbbells should last you a long time. Don’t forget to check out the best at-home dumbbell workouts to get started with your new weights right away!