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Dumbbell Purchasing Guide : Where And Which Weights To Buy?

Dumbbell Purchasing Guide : Where And Which Weights To Buy?

DUMBBELL PURCHASING GUIDE : WHERE AND WHICH WEIGHTS TO BUY? If you could only choose one piece of weightlifting equipment to buy for the rest of your life, what would it be? Hands down, buying dumbbells would be your best bet.

Dumbbells are incredibly versatile, lending themselves to all exercises, workouts, and fitness goals. Dumbbells focus on unilateral training, which means your stronger side isn’t able to pick up the slack for your weaker side.

Elite-quality dumbbells are also durable, ensuring they’ll last for years to come with proper care.

If you’re in the market for a dumbbell set, you might be confused by the different price points you see. Let’s review the average price for dumbbells along with where you can buy them.


Since dumbbells range in weight, the best way to calculate cost is by the pound (or kilogram).

Normally, dumbbells should cost between $1.50 and $3 per pound depending on the material used, brand, etc. However, there are a multitude of factors that can contribute to the price of dumbbells.


If you recently experienced sticker shock of a new dumbbell set with rack, for example, you’re not alone. What many people don’t realize is the complexity of the manufacturing, production, and shipping processes of dumbbells.

When you see how much a brand charges for dumbbells, it’s important to remember that there are a number of things to consider including cost of labor and materials. Here are the most common variables that influence the price.

Overall Quality

Not all dumbbells are created equal.

While the competitive nature of the fitness market seems to be driving out low-quality dumbbell options such as plastic and sand-filled, you can still come across them on third-party websites.

While these types of dumbbells might be cheaper, they are also at a higher risk of breaking. What might seem cost-effective at first is going to hurt your wallet in the long run when you end up buying multiple pairs of the same dumbbells.

Overall quality is heavily dependent on the material that is used to create the dumbbell. Fitness experts swear by steel and iron dumbbells.


Continuing with the point above, when you want to buy dumbbells, look for either steel or iron. While these materials tend to be more costly, they are also the best materials to use due to their high levels of durability and longevity.

Stainless Steel: Having a characteristic shine, steel dumbbells are tough as nails. Available for purchase as one solid (fixed) dumbbell or as an adjustable dumbbell (more on that below), you can expect steel dumbbells or steel weight plates to go the distance during your workouts.

Powder-Coated Steel: If you can find a powder-coated steel dumbbell, you know you’re getting weightlifting equipment that can easily last for 20 years with basic care and maintenance. Powder coating is the gold-standard of protection. It’s so effective that it’s applied to heavy machinery. When it comes to dumbbells, powder coating ensures that your dumbbells are resistant to scratches, abrasions, and chips.

Iron: Like steel dumbbells, you can find iron dumbbells as one solid piece or in an adjustable form. Iron was the popular choice for gyms when bodybuilding was becoming popular. While iron is durable, it’s not the best choice for humid environments or outside gyms because it tends to oxidize and rust. Ever see an old pair of iron dumbbells with green and brown all over them? That’s what we’re talking about. Oxidation and rust are also the main reason why modern gyms have switched over to steel and powder-coated steel dumbbells.


American steel can be incredibly expensive so it’s no wonder why many brands will have their dumbbells made abroad and shipped back into the United States. While the quality of the dumbbells is the same, the cost of shipping is going to quickly increase the overall price.

Between just the steel or iron material and international shipping costs, you can see how the price of dumbbells is going to be high. But these are just two factors that influence price.


From sneakers to televisions, more often than not, you’re paying more for the name if the brand is popular. The same is true for free weights.

Just because a brand says they have the best dumbbells doesn’t necessarily make it so. You can find a stellar dumbbell set and save yourself hundreds of dollars simply by going with a brand that hasn’t been featured in a bodybuilding magazine.

Opportunist Pricing

Everything we discussed above includes a normal set of variables that will influence the price of dumbbells. However, there is one more factor that can greatly shift the cost and that is an unexpected demand for dumbbells during a global shortage.

The price of dumbbells can easily increase due to short sellers taking advantage of a situation where people are desperate for dumbbells. The best example of this happening is during the coronavirus quarantine.

Since people weren’t able to get to their gyms, they built home gyms and dumbbells were at the top of their list. Not surprisingly, online retailers were sold out for months, allowing third-party sellers to dramatically increase the price.


Fixed refers to the solid dumbbells that are one piece. A fixed dumbbell cannot be changed in any way. If you buy a 10-lb dumbbell, that’s what you’ll always have.

Adjustable dumbbells, on the other hand, can be changed. The two most popular forms of adjustable dumbbells include a set of weight plates and a solid steel bar or the turn-and-crank dumbbells.

Dial or turn-and-crank dumbbells will typically have a base with all of the weight plates and simply by turning a dial on the dumbbell handle, you can change the amount of weight you can pick up. BowFlex 1090 dumbbells are an example of this type of dumbbell.

Don’t Let the Price Fool You

Brand new and out of the box, adjustable dumbbells will be a cheaper investment when compared to a typical 5-to-75-pound set of dumbbells. However, if you want fitness equipment that will easily last 20 to 30 years, adjustable dumbbells aren’t going to make the cut.

Buying weight plates and a bar, you run the risk of scratching, chipping, and breaking your dumbbells as you change the plates.

With the turn-and-crank adjustable dumbbells, there is a high rate of malfunctioning due to issues with the dial mechanism found on the base. A simple Google search will bring up hundreds of user reviews citing the failure of the dumbbell dial.

While adjustable dumbbells might be tempting because of the lower upfront cost, they aren’t going to last as long as a pair of fixed dumbbells that are steel or iron.


If you’re serious about a long-term fitness investment, you will want to buy new. The primary reason is that you don’t know how the dumbbells were handled prior to you purchasing them.

If the dumbbells were thrown around on concrete, for example, the life of the dumbbells may be greatly reduced.

You can see this for yourself when you go to your local gym. Look at how the guys treat the dumbbells, especially during heavy lifts. Watch the guys throwing around weights in a gym and you’ll see why you don’t want to buy used.

Buying iron presents the risk that you’ll be buying oxidated or rusted dumbbells.

All-in-all, buying used dumbbells is not worth it. Buying new dumbbells ensures you’re the one who will be caring for the equipment from the start. You don’t have to worry about previous owners mishandling the dumbbells. And if you’re diligent about basic care, you can rest assured that the dumbbells will easily be passed down to your kids.


There are two primary options when considering where to buy dumbbells: online and a physical store. We’ll also cover a new option that’s become popular but for the wrong reasons.

Buy Dumbbells Online

The best and most convenient option is buying a dumbbell set online.

One of the biggest benefits of going with an online retailer is overall selection, variety, and availability. Many online stores can provide you with the dumbbells you need. No need to wait around for a specific weight or type. What’s more, online retailers carry a ton of dumbbell accessories such as gloves and resistance bands.

Next up is the online price. Online retailers don’t have to worry about paying overhead costs, which allows them to sell dumbbells at a lower price point. Online stores also tend to have special offers that will reduce the overall cost of the price even more.

What’s more, many provide you with free shipping if you spend a certain dollar amount, which is usually between $100 and $150.

Physical Retail Location

No longer as popular as they once were, there are few physical retail locations that will carry all of the dumbbells and accessories you’re looking for.

Without the demand, retailers can’t guarantee they’ll carry the dumbbells you want. They’ll have to order them, which can take weeks to arrive. And guess where they order them. From their online store.

What’s more, a physical retail location will have a higher price point because they are paying for overhead.

Facebook Marketplace

This has become popular during COVID-19 and the coronavirus quarantine, overtaking Craig’s List as the go-to source for used stuff. But just like Craig’s List, you have people who are looking to make a buck, not give you a long-term fitness investment.

As mentioned above, you don’t know the real condition of the weights or how they were handled. People will also take advantage of the demand, dramatically increasing the price.


Dumbbells are a worthwhile fitness investment. When you buy new dumbbells, you can rest assured that they will last for at least 20 years with the proper care.

Don’t trust physical stores or local social media sellers to provide you with the quality and selection you want. Go online to buy dumbbells so you can see the product you buy along with reviews celebrating or warning you against low-quality products.

Take a look at our dumbbell sets

From $375.00

Related to this Article

FIX YOUR WEAKNESSES IN WEIGHTLIFTING TO IMPROVE POWERLIFTING You see it every day in gyms: Guys and girls perfecting their form...


WEIGHTLIFTING INJURIES: SPRAINED ANKLE (AND HOW TO PREVENT ONE) A common weightlifting injury among athletes and casual gym goers...


WEIGHTLIFTING PLATEAU? 7 TRAINING METHODS TO SEE BETTER RESULTS Everything was going great. You were gaining size and strength...