NOTHING builds strength better than a pair of dumbbells, but as with any popular fitness equipment, a lot of the options sit at either incredible but expensive or cheap but terribly made.
It’s all too easy to fall foul of the latter, so we’re here to help you find the cheap dumbbells worth buying.
First things first, avoid ones that weld two different metals – like chrome handles with a cast iron bar.
That’s because they’re more likely to come apart – something you definitely want to avoid when raising weights!
There are three types of dumbbell available: fixed, studio (where it’s fully coated, handle and all), and adjustable.
Weightlifting fanatics will swear by the traditional bar with mechanically attached heads to build up plates. But for most fitness buffs, the all-in-one weights will more than suffice.
The best fixed ones are made of rubber, urethane, cast iron and chrome, but cheaper alternatives like neoprene and vinyl will work fine (as long as they’re made well) for those who want to incorporate dumbbells into routines not restricted to weightlifting.
Here are some of the best cheap dumbbells you can pick up right now.
1. Cheap hex dumbbells
• Everlast Hex Weights, £2.99 for 1kg weights at Sports Direct – buy here
So-called because of their six-sided shape, you don’t have to worry about hex dumbbells rolling away when you place them down.
Cased in durable rubber, the Everlast Hex offers a more natural movement on your shoulder and elbow, allowing you the freedom to easily turn and rotate.
Its shape and grip also means hands don’t need to stay fixed in place between moves, something your wrists and joints will thank you for.
Sold as singles, but available in sets.
2. Cheap neoprene dumbbells
• Proiron Neoprene, £10.99 (pair 1kg weights) at Amazon – buy here
Free of phthalate and lead or any other harmful material, the Proiron is built with cast iron and coated all over with neoprene – which is soft to the touch, easy to clean, free from any synthetic smell, and famed for not fading or cracking.
The textured surface makes this studio dumbbell comfortable to grip and, very importantly, doesn’t slip out of the hand when things get sweaty.
One flat side means it won’t roll away on a level floor.
These come boxed as a pair.
3. Cheap vinyl dumbbells
• Body Power Tri Grip, £23.99 (16kg set) at Amazon – buy here
Vinyl dumbbells vary in quality, but the Body Power discs avoid feeling hollow thanks to their compacted cement filling – with the coating remaining scratch and impact-resistant, even after repeated use.
A lot of inferior models have spinlock handles that come loose easily, but the plates on the tubular dumbbell handles stay secure throughout the most rigorous of sessions.
The vinyl surface absorbs excess noise, making it perfect for sessions where you don’t want to bother a housemate with the clunk of metal.
4. Cheap chrome dumbbells
• BodyRip Chrome Ergo Dumbells Weights, £12.95 for a pair of 1kg weights at Amazon – buy here
Chrome dumbbells tend to be fairly expensive, while chrome plated ones can be gimmicky.
But the shiny polished feel of the BodyRip immediately lets you know its both sturdy and secure.
The ergonomic textured grip handle is particularly handy for exercises across the board from crossfit to pilates.
5. Cheap adjustable dumbbells
• Viavito Black Cast Iron, £39.99 for 20kg set at Sweatband – buy here
The cold grip of the chrome bars the Viavito immediately sets you up for a solid training session where you can push yourself.
And you can do so secure in the knowledge the cast iron plates will stay tightly bolted thanks to the precision machined, smooth spinning, spinlock collars.
With flake resistant and durable plates that can be easily adjusted, these dumbbells feel the closest to ones you’d expect to find in a gym.
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