Types of Dumbbells

Dumbbells are an integral part of any fitness routine whether you work out at home or at a gym.

In fact, you can use dumbbells exclusively to cover all of your strength training needs. There are a number of different types of dumbbells that are designed for different purposes and results.

When choosing dumbbells in the gym, consider the type of workout that you do or the results you want. If you are purchasing dumbbells for your home gym, you still want to be mindful your type of workout, but you also want to consider ease of use and durability.


Adjustable dumbbells are the least expensive but most flexible dumbbells you can use. They consist of short bars, weight disks, and clips to hold the weights in place.

For example, the Bowflex dumbbells, shown to the right are adjustable using a dial.

You can increase the amount of weight you use from 5 to 50 pounds on a single bar. Adjustable weights are a good choice if you want to build muscle mass.

These are also the most portable weights. The main drawback of adjustable weight is that every time you want to increase or decrease your weight, you need to unclip and add or remove weights. This is not a major inconvenience, but it does add time to your workout.

Fixed Weight

Fixed weights are considered to be the best type of dumbbell that you can use. They are solid cast iron dumbbells that have specific amount of weight.

These dumbbells are the easiest to use and are good for muscle toning. They are also the most costly and take up the most space.

If you choose these weights to use at home, you need to make an investment. As you get stronger, you need to increase the weight. This means that you need to purchase more dumbbells, which can be expensive.

Just know that the investment is well worth it if you are a serious body builder because they are the most durable and deliver the best results.

Plastic Coated

Plastic coated dumbbells are just as the name suggests. They are a plastic shell filled with a fixed amount of sand or concrete.

These dumbbells are best suited for lightweight training exercises and muscle toning. Plastic coated dumbbells are easy to use because plastic is easier to grip than metal. They are relatively inexpensive, but not as durable as their metal counterpart.


Aerobic dumbbells are small, lightweight, and plastic coated. Their weight range is between 5 to 10 pounds. You use these weights to grip while doing an aerobic exercise or cardio strength training workout.

Similar to plastic coated dumbbells, they are filled with sand and are good for lightweight and aerobic workouts. They are designed for keeping a solid grip while working through aerobic moves which helps you tone your muscles during a cardio workout.

Selectorized Dumbbells

Selectorized dumbbells are a relatively new design of dumbbell. They consist of a handle that drops into weight plates.

With a single handle, you can use individual weights or a pair of weights. You can also connect several plates to create a single weight. Selectorized dumbbells have the flexibility of adjustable weights and the durability of fixed weights.

If you’re purchasing dumbbells for use at home, Selectorized weights are a good investment because they are durable and take up less space than fixed weights.

You can get a good full-body strength workout with dumbbells. If space and cost are an issue with setting up a home gym, dumbbells are a good investment. They enable you to work all of your muscle groups for muscle building, toning, and endurance—but they are more portable than barbells or a weight machine.

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