Are you shopping for a set of dumbbells for your home or garage gym but need help deciding which ones fit best within your budget or will hold up to the training environment they will be placed in? There is a reason that dumbbells have been around so long and continue to be one of the most sought after fitness tools on the planet. Because they work! Whether you’re just looking to tone your muscles to feel better and stay in shape or you have dreams of becoming the next Mr. Olympia, dumbbells are one of the most perfect upper body exercise tool ever invented. Combined with the right dumbbell exercise program, the sky is the limit as to what can be achieved.
IRON COMPANY® has supplied consumer, commercial and military customers with many types of dumbbells since 1997, so we’re pretty well versed in the materials used during manufacturing, the manufacturing process itself and what all that means to provide you with the product that is going to perform best in your facility without falling apart. Let’s explore the differences so that you can make the best decision possible. And remember, we’re always available for a consultation call should you have additional questions that might not be answered on this page.
BEST DUMBBELLS FOR HOME USE
One of the most common obstacles when buying a dumbbell set for your home is space. Most people don’t have the space required in their home or garage gym for a full set of dumbbells. If this is your dilemma, consider a compact or space saving dumbbell option. Not only do they offer a complete set of dumbbells with just one core pair, they are often a lot cheaper than a full run. One of the most recognizable brands of space saving dumbbells is the PowerBlock. PowerBlock engineers had to have envisioned a selectorized weight stack with handles when they came up with their design. The PowerBlock dumbbell is a very compact and user friendly home gym dumbbell. Just don’t drop or throw them during your workout as doing so can damage the weight cage or selector pin. Another good choice is the TwistLock Adjustable Dumbbells by StairMaster. What’s nice about these is they offer weight changes between 5-50 lbs. with a simple twist of the dial on the inside shoulder of the dumbbell handle. The ergonomic grip is nice too which a lot of people prefer over a straight handle as it is more naturally formed to your hand. The outside head of the Twistlock Dumbbell is flat and won’t dig into your legs making them more user friendly especially when resting them on the quads before a set of chest presses.
Another common obstacle a lot of home gym enthusiasts share is budget. Lets face it, a set of dumbbells of any style or brand can get pretty pricy especially if you’re a heavy lifter. Hex dumbbells are on the low end of the spectrum and to quote John Candy in Planes, Trains and Automobiles, “They ain’t much to look at but they’ll get you to where you want to go!”. We recommend using economy Hex Dumbbell brands such as CAP Barbell, Apollo Athletics and Kamway strictly for home use or very well supervised area. If abused, and by that we mean throwing or dropping, the heads have been known to separate from the handle. Many of these cheaper hex dumbbell handles are simply glued inside the head of the dumbbells. This by no means is the best design but in order for the manufacturer to keep the customers pricing low, this is how they do it. So if you’re going to be purchasing a hex dumbbell set that will be used in an area where people are unsupervised, such as a gym or club, we recommend a higher quality hex dumbbell such as York Pro-Hex Dumbbells that feature a steel ergonomic handle with ends that are “fish tailed” or pinned and makes it impossible for them to separate from the cast iron heads.
Rubber Hex Dumbbells make the Home Use Dumbbell category because like the cast iron hex dumbbell, they too can have similarities in their handle design that qualify them for either home or commercial use. The added benefit you get from rubber hex dumbbells over the iron hex relates to aesthetics and performance. The first benefit is you get the nicer, ergonomically shaped chrome handles that look and feel better. The ergonomic handles are usually thicker in the middle (up to 34mm) compared to the straight chrome handles, which does a better job of distributing the weight of the dumbbell throughout a wider surface area of the hand. This is most noticeable when performing heavy chest presses. The rubberized heads will help protect your floors and other equipment from nicks and scrapes. Not only that, there’s no paint to chip off to cause rust.
For home use, we recommend rubber hex brands by CAP Barbell, Kamparts and Apollo Athletics. These brands offer an ergo shaped chrome handle with bands of knurling. The head and handle are attached using a super strong epoxy that under normal use will last for years without any issue. If you’ll be placing your dumbbells in a commercial location, we recommend only purchasing brands that are constructed to handle such a task. IRON COMPANY rubber hex dumbbells permanently attach the heads and handles together via a thick steel pin. TKO Tri-Grip rubber hex dumbbells are constructed using their own Patented Secure Dumbbell System, or “SDS”, which permanently affixes both head and handle together as one. Their triangular shaped handle may look a little questionable at first but they really do feel great in your hands. York Barbell rubber hex dumbbells use a torque-threaded approach to permanently affix their heads to their handles.
There are many other brands and types of dumbbell that can be used in a home gym. Rather than listing them all, we wanted to give you an overview and some helpful information on some of the choices we feel make most sense for home use from both a cost and performance standpoint. Hopefully this information will be helpful in your next dumbbell purchase. For a complete selection of dumbbells for home gyms please visit us here or call 888-758-7527 for more information.
About the Author
J.P. Brice founded IRON COMPANY in 1996 and is currently President and CEO. He began weightlifting in 1984 at the age of 14 and by the age of 25 turned his passion for fitness into one of the
webs first and leading fitness equipment suppliers. He holds numerous Patents and Trademarks on various fitness equipment products and is the lead designer of IRON COMPANY branded free weights and strength training equipment. Today he works extensively with the US Military in providing the equipment necessary for combat readiness.