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“Dumbbell” may sound like the name of a parody handbell band or a cruel nickname for Twilight’s main character (Bella Swan, LOL). But dumbbells are actually one of the smartest investments you can make for your fitness goals.

Already know you want a pair? Beeline to the “11 best dumbbells” section below.

Otherwise, spend some time eyeballing the benefits of using dumbbells.

They’re versatile AF

You can do almost anything with these bad boys.

Philadelphia-based trainer Mike Watkins, founder of Festive Fitness, which offers QTPOC and LGBT+ inclusive personal training, says: “You can do upper-body workout, lower-body workout, core workout, and more with dumbbells.”

In other words, you can use dumbbells to work every muscle in your body, from tuchus to traps.💪🏽

You can use them (almost) every damn day

Further, because there are so many types of exercises you can do with dumbbells, you can use them every single day without overtraining a certain muscle group. The same cannot be said for fitness equipment like a pull-up bar or jump rope.

Of course, you may not need (or want) to use dumbbells 7 days a week. Build some active recovery into your routine. After all, overtraining is a bitch. (Think: messed up sleep, overuse injury, non-stop muscle soreness, irritability…).

They’ll help you build a dynamite core

Even if you’re not doing weighted crunches or dumbbell side bends (aka a “core workout”), dumbbells will build your core.

Certified strength and conditioning coach Mia Nikolajev, who also competes in powerlifting, explains: “With dumbbells, you’re moving each side independently, so your core has to engage to keep you stable.”

Made up of far more than just your six-pack muscles, “your core includes all the muscles between your shoulder girdle and pelvic girdle,” she says. “Your core protects your spine and lower back, as well as helps you doing any pushing, pulling, twisting, hinging, or rotating movement.”

They can help you build a more symmetrical bod

Yeah, you might have a “photo-friendly” side and “less photo-friendly” side. But did you know most people also have a stronger side and a weaker side? Yeppp.

“With barbell exercises, the strong side can compensate for the weaker side, picking up the slack,” says Nikolajev. With dumbbells, each side is moving independently. The result? The weaker side is forced to #werk.

Long term, “this helps create symmetry and more well-rounded strength throughout the body, which supports longevity and muscle health across the board.” In short, dumbbell work = injury prevention.

They’re usually *not* prohibitively expensive

As fitness equipment goes, dumbbells tend to fall on the more reasonable side of things. A pair will typically cost you $10 to $50, while a barbell will put you out close to $300… and that doesn’t include weight plates.

Don’t worry, Moneybags, we’ve included a few steeper-priced options for you too. *Cue ASAP Rocky’s “Big spender.”*

Folks of all fitness levels can use them

Attention, fitness newbs, pros, and everyone in between: You can all use and enjoy dumbbells. Yes, really! Just be sure to pick the right weight for you (more on this below).

For starters: It should be one you can lift! On both (!) sides.

“Let’s say you can move a 30-pound dumbbell with your strong side but can’t move it at all with your weak side,” says Nikolajev. Don’t get it! A weight you can’t move can’t make you stronger.

“Get the 25-pound dumbbells instead,” she says. “This will help you build up endurance on your weaker side.” Don’t worry: Your strong side won’t get less strong.

Now, whether you need a weight this (relatively) heavy depends on your fitness goals.

As a general rule, if you’re looking to build strength and size, you’ll want to move more weight for fewer reps. But if you’re hoping to build cardiovascular capacity and muscular endurance, the magic formula is less weight but more reps.

With all that housekeeping outta the way, let’s get to why you came here.

Here are some of the best dumbbells to invest in, listed by price, from low to high.

Pricing guide

  • $ = under $20
  • $$ = under $100
  • $$$ = over $200

CanDo Vinyl Coated Iron Dumbbells

Because who doesn’t want a pair of dumbbells that hearkens back to the Richard Simmons and Jane Fonda days??

These ’bells are available in weights ranging from 1 pound to 20 pounds. But instead of going up by 5-pound increments like many dumbbells do, these are available in hard-to-find poundage options like 4, 7, 8, and 9 pounds.

Best part: They’re coated in easy-to-clean vinyl. COVID-19 who?

Price: $ (about $5 and up)

Sold as: Single

Get them via: Walmart.com

Weider Neoprene Dumbbells

These babes are A+ for beginners.

Why? Because in addition to being available in a range of weights (from 1 pound to 10 pounds), they’re coated in colorful-AF neoprene.

Neoprene, fam, is way softer on your hands than metal!

“The neoprene is a welcome relief on the hands for folks who don’t yet have any built-up calluses — as well as those who, for whatever reason, are looking to avoid calluses altogether,” says Watkins.

Price: $ (about $3 and up)

Sold as: Single

Get them via: Walmart.com

Fitness Gear Neoprene Dumbbells

Also coated in neoprene, the Fitness Gear Neoprene Dumbbells are available up to 20 pounds.

Your hands: “Thank you.”

Your muscles: “Thank you.”

Price: $$ (about $50 for the set)

Sold as: Set of 6

Get them via: DicksSportingGoods.com

Rogue Rubber Hex Dumbbells

*CrossFitters everywhere salivate in unison.*

Yes, CrossFit devotees, these are the dumbbells you’re used to using at the box. Yes, you can get your very own set to turn your garage/basement into your very own makeshift box.

Of course, even if you haven’t jumped on the CrossFit train, you can still get a lot of mileage out of this budget-friendly option.

With hex-shaped heads, this pair is especially great for movements like:

Price: $–$$$ (about $7–$300)

Sold as: Pair

Get them via: RogueFitness.com

BalanceFrom Rubber Encased Hex Dumbbells

Another rubber-coated, hex-designed option comes from the lesser-known brand BalanceFrom.

With slightly larger heads than the Rogue set, these may be slightly harder to store in an apartment. But with 4.4 out of 5 stars, these surely won’t disappoint if you have the space for them.

Price: $–$$$ (about $20–$170)

Sold as: Pair

Get them via: Walmart.com

Rogue Urethane Dumbbells

Has someone ever complimented your hand girth? (“My oh my, what big hands you have…”) Then this thick-handled option from Rogue is for you.

“If you can palm a basketball, then thicker-grip dumbbells may allow you to more comfortably hold the weight,” notes Watkins.

FYI: The prices reflect a pair. Don’t double up by accident.

Price: $–$$$ (about $35–$800+)

Sold as: Pair

Get them via: RogueFitness.com

ProForm Adjustable Weights

If you’re newer to resistance training and can’t get into a gym/showroom thanks to that bitch ’Rona, these adjustable dumbbells are for you.

The easy-to-adjust system lets you increase or decrease the weight in 2.5-pound increments from 2.5 to 25 pounds.

Just note: You only get one ’bell per purchase.

Price: $$

Sold as: Single

Get them via: Target.com

12″ Circus Dumbbells

Introducing the Circus Dumbbell — or CDB for short.

This comically large piece of equipment was first used by traveling circus shows. Nowadays, CDBs make regular appearances in Strong(wo)man training and competitions.

They may not be for average Joes and Janes, but for experienced lifters (Jacks, if you will) looking for new ways to train their shoulder press, deadlift, and chest press, they’re a fun addition.

This option weighs in at 67 pounds.

Price: $$$

Sold as: Single

Get them via: Titan Fitness

Bowflex SelectTech 552 Dumbbells

Trainers and exercisers fall into two camps: those who L-O-V-E adjustable dumbbells and those who think they’re overrated.

If you’re living in a tiny home, you’re looking to gradually increase strength, or you *know* you’ll use the range of weights, the pros likely outweigh the cons.

And if they do, at $349.99, this pair is a solid and reasonably priced pick.

Price: $$$

Sold as: Pair

Get them via: Walmart

Yes4All Adjustable Dumbbell

Big lifter, small space? Check out the Yes4All Adjustable Dumbbells, which can be adjusted up to 200 pounds… Wowza.

Don’t worry: With 2.5-, 5-, and 10-pound baby weight plates that can be added to and removed from either end of the ’bells, you can lower them to almost any 2.5-pound increment from 5 pounds up.

No doubt, the nearly $700 price tag seems high. But consider that one pair of 150-pound Rogue Urethane Dumbbells will set you back $875 — and those are *not* adjustable.

Price: $$$

Sold as: Pair

Get them via: Amazon.com

We gave love to dumbbells at varying price points for a reason: It really shouldn’t cost you an arm and a leg to build capital-A Arms and capital-L Legs.

But we’re currently experiencing disturbingly high unemployment rates, so even buying lower-priced dumbbells may not be in the (debit) cards for you right now.

That’s totally OK!!

“You can still create adequate stimulus doing bodyweight exercises for muscle growth,” says Nikolajev. “Your rep count will just have to be higher.”

For example, if you would have cranked out 10 reps of a chest press with dumbbells, you may have to double the reps if you’re doing push-ups.

Another option: “You can also get creative with a textbook, bag of mulch, bucket of driveway salt, or your kid.”

In other words, dumbbells are great. But don’t let your fitness goals convince you to put your wallet where it can’t afford to go. K?