We have already talked through the basic things you need to know about free weights and dumbbells on our introductory page so now it’s time to look at the weights themselves. Below are a selection of start-up sets that would be great for those of you just starting out, but also anyone looking to add dumbbells to their home gym setup. These dumbbells all have plates with them and only one set of handles. If you are looking for vinyl weights, please take a look at our other page for those.
In terms of the weights you would need, this will vary depending on the exercise you are doing. A general rule of thumb is the bigger the muscle you are working, the bigger the weight you will need. For example, when doing bicep exercises you will need a heavier weight than you will when targeting your triceps. Equally, your back exercises are likely to be heavier still. If you are starting out, a dumbbell set that gives you 10kg for ladies and 15kg for men is likely to be more than enough. There is always the option to purchase individual free weights as well so that you can tailor your set as you get more experienced.
Something to remember is that when you see the weight of the dumbbell set, this is the total weight not the weight per dumbbell. So a 20g set will have 2 dumbbells that can hold up to 10kg each.
York Fitness Cast Iron Dumbbell Spinlock Set (Pack of 2) – Black, 20 Kg
York Fitness are a sound choice when it comes to weights and weight accessories. This set has four 2.5kg, four 1.25kg and four 0.5kg plates together with two spinlock bars and 4 plastic spinlock collars. The bars themselves have knurling grip to ensure you have a comfortable, non-slip grip whilst working out. The spinlock system means you can easily take your weights on and off the bar and secure them on with the spinlock collars, which can easily be screwed on and off. A bonus of these weights is that they also come with a guide that will help you get the most out of your dumbbell training. The weights in this set are definitely suited for a beginner, with the weights being quite light. The 3 different plate weights will really allow you to tailor your workout and push yourself to the limit with the small increments. This set is also available in a case which helps when transporting them and means they won’t roll around on uneven surfaces or hard wood floors causing potential damage.
TNP Accessories Dumbbell Weights Set 30KG
These dumbbells are slightly heavier, at 30kg and have eight 2.5kg and four 1.25kg plates. The bar itself has a non-slip grip but the thing to bear in mind is the weights themselves are plastic filled with concrete, not iron. This may not be an issue for you, particularly when it makes these weights less than £30. These weights are heavier than the York set above but do not have the 0.5kg plates. This will make the weight increases larger as you do not have the plate variety but they are still a sound set. If you find that you are in need of the 0.5kg plates you can always purchase them separately here.
Viavito Unisex Dumbbell Set 20kg
This set comes in either chrome or iron and is made up of four 1.25kg, four 2.5kg and four 0.25kg plates so you will have a really good variety of plates to use during your workouts. It also has two chrome plated bars with knurled handles for better grip and chrome plated spinlock collars to ensure your weights stay in place throughout the exercise. Whilst the look for gym equipment is not usually at the top of anyone’s list, the chrome look of these weights does really stand them apart. If you are someone that will be working out in your house and will have your weights on show, this set are definitely prettier than most! Despite their look, as we have already said, they have a great selection of weight plates and their durability and functionality still make them a great option.
Songmic Dumbbell Weight Set 30kg
As with the TNP set above, this set has eight 2.5 kg and four 1.25 kg plates together with two bars and four buckles. The handles are knurled making them anti-slip and are made of solid iron. Another sound set of dumbbells. The only thing to bear in mind with these is that the bar is no a standard size. This is not a problem if you are just going to be using the weights in the set, but if you wanted to add any additional weights or bars to your set, you would need to check their size to ensure they were compatible.
TNP Accessories Dumbbell Weights Set
This set is available in 20kg, 30kg, 40kg and 50kg weights. The 30kg set has two solid chrome bars, four solid spinlock collars, eight 2.5kg and four 1.25kg plates. The 20kg set has the same solid chrome bars and collars but four 2.5kg and four 1.5kg plates. The plates themselves are covered in a durable, floor-friendly plastic covering and are filled with concrete. The design of the plates is such that the have a flat edge to prevent the plates from rolling away. The other great thing about these sets is the price. At less than £18 for the 20kg and set and under £25 for the 30kg set they really are a great option if you are looking to workout on a budget.
Power Block Adjustable Speedblock Dumbbells 20kg
This set of dumbbells is significantly more expensive than the others we have already looked at. But for a reason. Instead of having to slide your plates on and off the bars and secure them with a collar, this set has a selector pin which you push in at the weight you want – similar to machines in the gym. This makes the system much easier and quicker to use and also saves a lot of space compared to having individual plates. The weights come on their own plastic tray so they can be stored easily and each weight is colour coordinated making them really easy to use. The grip itself is rubber so ensures a non-slip grip. The weights themselves are in pounds with the lighest weight available being 3 pounds or 1.4kg and the weights then go up in 1.4kg increments up to a maximum of 11kg. The only down side to these weights is that you are not able to add any additional weights to them, though other sets are available through the same manufacturer that do allow you to add more weight.
Atlas Adjustable Dumbbells 2-24kg per dumbbell
This set is even more expensive still but, again, the reason is clear. This set of dumbbells will go from 2kg all the way up to 24kg per dumbbell allowing for 15 different weight combinations and thereby saving the space of 15 sets of dumbbells! The set itself is made up of a stand, which holds the dumbbells. A simple dial is used to select the weight required and the dumbbell will automatically select which plates are needed. The strong molding around the plates allows for a smooth and quiet workout. With 15 variations available, this set gives you one of the most flexible training options available on the market making the larger price tag seem much more justifiable.
Depending on the variety of exercises you are wanting to do with your weights, you may want to have a look at our page dedicated to adjustable dumbbell weights, which include a bar that can be used for dumbbells but also a barbell. Also worth a look are the pages looking at benches, accessories and supplements.