Different Types of Dumbbells for Your Home Gym

Are you looking for a way to build muscle and improve your fitness, but unsure what piece of equipment you need? Read on to find out more about the different types of dumbbells available.

Dumbbell Sitting on a Bench

​When building a home gym most people picture the equipment that they want but often forget about the finer details that could make or break their home training dream.

Gyms usually stick to one or two styles for equipment but working out at home isn’t always as straightforward.

You need to think about storage, space, cost, and a whole host of other factors before buying your equipment.

Even with smaller pieces of equipment such as dumbbells.

They may not be as big as a power cage or spin bike but they can be just as important and in this article, we are going to look at the different types of dumbbells that are available to you.

​​How ​Important is Picking the Right Type of Dumbbells?

You may be wondering if it really matters, after all, you’ve seen a set online and they should be fine right? Wrong!

Getting the right piece of equipment is vital to a successful workout and until you’ve tried to work out with the wrong type of kit, you will never truly understand.

However, with the information in this article, you can avoid that mistake and ensure you’re better informed when buying dumbbells by knowing what options are available to you.

It does matter what type of equipment you get, so let’s look at what you need to know.

​The Main Options

There are different types of dumbbells although many are simply reinventions of other designs that have a different covering, shape, or color, or fabric.

The different exteriors will provide more options but if you strip that away, dumbbells fall into three different categories.

  • ​Fixed Weight Dumbbells
  • ​Adjustable Dumbbells
  • ​All-in-One

​Fixed Weight Dumbbells

Commonly found in gyms, fixed weight dumbbells are a set weight and can often reach as high as 110lbs or more, although not all gyms stock the heavier versions as they get limited use.

Perfect as a way to exercise, build muscle, or improve overall strength and conditioning, fixed weight dumbbells are easy to use and easy to store as they simply slot into position.

Due to their design, fixed weight dumbbells are comfortable to hold which means you can move through multiple exercises quickly, without having to change equipment which can also make any workout faster when completing circuits or complexes.

Fixed dumbbells are probably the most common type and are widely considered the easiest to use.  

However, fixed weight dumbbells can be expensive when buying for home use as you will need to purchase multiple sets to meet your needs.

Some dumbbells will be too heavy and some too light, which means you’ll need to buy a wider range of weights.

​Other Things to Think About:

Fixed weight dumbbells typically come in a range of different designs, from Hex dumbbells to standard design and you can even get different materials such as neoprene covered or cast iron dumbbells. The main thing to think about here is your home workout environment and where you will be using the weight.

If you’re working out in an upstairs bedroom, perhaps picking a pair of cast iron dumbbells may not be the best choice or if you’re working out in a rough garage gym, opting for a rubber coating may not be wise either. Whatever you decide just ensure you’ve put some thought into it before making your purchase.

​Adjustable Dumbbells

Commonly used for home workouts and popular amongst beginners, adjustable dumbbells contain a bar in the middle and come with weights that you can place on either end to make your desired amount.
Adjustable dumbbells are versatile and can be changed to meet your needs, making them a great option for working out at home.

Unlike with fixed weights, you won’t need to buy multiple sets of dumbbells as you can make the weight lighter or heavier as you see fit, however, it is worth noting that it can be expensive to continue to buy more weight plates for the end of the bar and that storage may also be a problem, especially as you get stronger and require more weight plates.

Putting plates on and off as you switch between weights can also take a  lot of time, slowing the workout pace down and making it harder to move through different exercises.

​​​Other Things to Think About:

The main thing with adjustable dumbbells is ensuring you remain consistent with your choice. You can get different options, in standard or Olympic format, and there are also different types such as spinlock or slide on. The reason for this is simple, adjustable dumbbells aren’t universal, and by mixing your equipment or not thinking through what you want and where you will get it from, you could soon find yourself spending more and more money to build up your set.
A common mistake is picking a set of adjustable dumbbells that can only hold a small amount of weight, meaning you need to replace the entire set as you get stronger. Another mistake is building a home gym, including a squat rack, then realizing that your Olympic weights don’t fit onto your standard dumbbells. Much like fixed weights, you can also get adjustable dumbbells in different materials, and the same principles still apply when considering where you will use the equipment.

​Fixed, Adjustable Dumbbells, Sometimes Known as All-in-One Dumbbells

Some people feel that All-in-one dumbbells offer the best of both worlds, a fixed weight that can also be adjusted. They are often bigger than most dumbbells, and heavier, plus they’re usually quite bulky too, but don’t let that put you off.

All-in-one dumbbells have a small clip that allows you to adjust the weight/resistance as you see fit, moving through a range of weights without having to change equipment or add more plates.

For this reason, they are easy to use and allow for quick transitions between exercises, whilst also being safe. However, some people can struggle when using lighter settings, due to their overall weight, and it can also be challenging when first using these dumbbells as they are much bulkier than most.

​Other Things to Think About:

All-in-one dumbbells can be expensive to buy so the biggest thing to think about is the available weight range that you will be using. Some dumbbells stop at 60lbs, others might go to 90lbs and some go even higher. What you must remember is that as you get stronger, you’ll need heavier weights, so where possible, try to pick a weight that you can continue to get use out of for many more years to come.


Dumbbells are one of the best pieces of equipment you can buy for workouts at home and a good set will allow you to do just about everything. However, the biggest problem people face is picking the right type. Too many people buy the first thing they see, only to regret that decision years later when they have to entirely replace their set because they need to go heavier, or worse, after damaging their floor after dropping the weights.

By thinking through the type of weights that you require, fixed, adjustable or all-in-one, you can then start to think about other factors, such as material, design, comfort, and size, but the important thing is to think ahead, and factor in where you want to be, not just where you are now.

Once you’ve done that you can begin to build your dream home workout station and fill it with the type of equipment that is right for you.

There is no right answer when it comes to picking your equipment, it’s a case of what is the best option for you. Just be sure to put some thought into it to ensure you’re buying the right thing for you.

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