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Different Types of Dumbbells

December 16, 2021 10 min read

different types of dumbbells

If you want to invest in dumbbells of your own, you might think that dumbbell shopping seems pretty easy.  But there are hundreds of options on the market, and many different types of dumbbells to choose from.

Don’t fret: we will tell you everything you need to know about all of these different types of dumbbells.

You’ll find out all about fixed weightdumbbells, as well as their pros and cons. We will be covering different types of fixed-weight dumbbells, including rubber, urethane, chrome, cast iron, steel, studio dumbbells, and kettlebells.

You will also get the low-down on adjustable dumbbells, and their pros and cons. We will cover plate-loaded dumbbells, selectorized dumbbells, and spinlock dumbbells.

The final instalment in our comprehensiveguide to buying dumbbells is different dumbbell shapes. We will cover hexagonal, round, 12-sided, and other dumbbell shapes, with a breakdown of their pros and cons.

There are many different types of dumbbells to choose from, and you can use our guide to find the best fit.

Fixed Weight Dumbbells

Fixed weight dumbbells are dumbbells where the weights at the end are completely attached to the middle grip bar. They consist of a handle and two weights that are the handle on either side.

They are in a fixed position. This means that they cannot be adjusted or removed. They are usually sold in pairs, and they are great for beginners and people who are new to lifting weights.

Fixed weight dumbbells are common, and they come in a variety of shapes, weights, and materials. Next, we’ll tell you about different fixed-weight dumbbells. These are rubber, urethane, chrome, cast iron, steel, and studio dumbbells.

Advantages of Fixed Weight Dumbbells

  • Convenience. You can just grab whichever weight you need to perform your exercise because there is no need to adjust the weights.
  • Safety. Fixed weight dumbbells eliminate the risk of weight plates falling off and hurting you.
  • Fixed dumbbells do not have protruding ends out to the sides of the weight like adjustable dumbbells have. This means that they can be set down on your thighs and they won’t get stuck on clothing when doing exercises.
  • Fixed weight dumbbells are more durable, and they can be dropped on the floor after exercises without being damaged. Some adjustable dumbbells might break.
  • If you have different sets of fixed dumbbells, more people can work out and use them simultaneously.  

Who Fixed Weight Dumbbells Are Right for

  • If you plan on building a fixed weight collection it will be far more expensive than building the same weight collection with adjustable dumbbells.
  • Fixed weight dumbbells take up more space than adjustable dumbbells.
  • There is some weight deviance with fixed weight dumbbells. The weight of fixed weight dumbbells is approximately 3% lower or higher than the labelled weight.

Types of Fixed Weight Dumbbells

Fixed Rubber Dumbbells

types of dumbbells

Fixed rubber dumbbells are either completely covered in rubber, or the ends are covered in rubber while the handle grip is made of metal.Hex rubber dumbbells are common in commercial and home gyms.

Rubber dumbbells are durable. The rubber protects the dumbbell from scratches, dents, and chips. They also won’t damage storage racks.

When rubber dumbbells are dropped on the floor, the floor and the dumbbell itself is less likely to scratch or become damaged. Weights are often dropped on the floor, especially when heavy lifting is involved. Because of this, we don’t recommend dropping rubber weights on the floor.

That being said, rubber weights are still one of the best options on the market. They are excellent for both beginners and heavy weightlifters alike.

The rubber coating also protects the metal from rust and makes them last longer.

Both synthetic and natural rubber make these dumbbells waterproof. Dumbbells that are completely covered in rubber may be thebest dumbbells for water aerobics.

Rubber can be produced naturally and synthetically. Dumbbells with recycled rubber are quite common.

Although rubber is waterproof, these dumbbells should be kept indoors and away from direct sunlight and UV rays. Exposure to UV can damage, so we recommend storing these indoors.

Fixed Urethane Dumbbells  

Urethane is similar to rubber, but it’s not quite the same as rubber. Urethane falls somewhere between rubber and plastic. It is impact-resistant, durable, and pliable.

Urethane dumbbells are common at commercial gyms. Usually, round and 12-sided fixed weight dumbbells are made of urethane.

They can withstand impact and abuse without chipping, denting, scratching, or breaking.

They can be dropped on the floor without being damaged. They are also less likely to leave marks on the floor when they are dropped.

Fixed Chrome Dumbbells

Chrome-plated dumbbells are made with a technique where a thin layer of chromium is electroplated onto a metal dumbbell.

Chrome dumbbells are silver, shiny, and they look polished. They are sleek, attractive, and smooth. Chrome dumbbells usually have round or hexagonal bells.

They are usually within a lighter weight range – from 3 to 50 pounds. In this sense, they are similar to studio dumbbells. They are more common in home gyms than in commercial gyms.

Chrome dumbbells are attractive and shiny. Although they are rust-resistant, we still recommend that you store these indoors. This will protect them from weather and UV damage.

Chrome-plated dumbbells usually have a light to medium weight.

Fixed Cast Iron Dumbbells

dumbbell types

Cast iron dumbbells are popular and common among lifters and fitness enthusiasts. The most common cast iron dumbbells are hex dumbbells.

Cast iron dumbbells are typically coated with high-quality powder coating or semi-flat enamel paint. Cast iron dumbbells are durable and can last a lifetime if they are well looked after.

Cast iron dumbbells are versatile. They can be used for almost all exercises, and they come in a variety of designs and weights.

Storing these indoors will help them last longer. We also recommend that you avoid dropping them on the floor, as this can cause damage to the dumbbell and the facility.


Fixed Steel Dumbbells

Fixed steel dumbbells are made of steel, and they are usually not coated with a protective layer. they are the traditional dumbbells, and they have been around for ages.

These dumbbells are tough and durable. They can last a long time if they are cared for properly. One downside is that the weight itself and the floor may become damaged when the weight is dropped.

Steel dumbbells are great, but stainless steel is a superior material. It is more durable and it’s resistant to rust.

Studio Dumbbells

Studio dumbbells are fixed dumbbells. They are entirely coated with neoprene or textured rubber, which makes them easy to grip.

Studio dumbbells are lightweight and commonly used during classes led by instructors and cardio-heavy workouts. Studio dumbbells can be bought as a single set, or in bulk.

These lightweight dumbbells might be the best dumbbells for beginnersThey can also be added to certain exercises to make them more challenging.

Most studio dumbbells have an anti-roll shape and won’t roll away on the floor. This reduces safety concerns during classes with numerous people.

The rubber or neoprene coating on studio dumbbells also protects them from wear and tear. It won’t cause much damage to the floor when dropped.



Kettlebells are versatile and they fall in a category of their own. They are a unique type of dumbbell that can be used to perform exercises that simply aren’t possible with traditional dumbbells.

Kettlebells are shaped like a ball, and they have a single top handle. The shape of a kettlebell allows you to do ballistic exercises and swings safely and effectively.

Kettlebells can be used for kettlebell swings, Turkish get-ups, kettlebell cleans, and presses. Kettlebell windmills, sumo squats, thrusters, and incline flyes.

You can do cardio with kettlebells. You can perform kettlebell exercises with lower weights and more reps which leads to increased fat burning.

Traditional dumbbells rest in the middle of your hand. Kettlebells hang slightly and rest on the back of your arm.

So, kettlebells constantly give you feedback about your arm’s position. This allows you to use heavier weights, and to do challenging moves like the Turkish get-up.

Kettlebells are commonly made from cast iron, or they are filled with sand. The outer layer of the kettlebell may be steel, or it can be coated in rubber or other textured material.

Adjustable Dumbbells

Unlike fixed-weight dumbbells, the weight of adjustable dumbbells can be changed. Adjustable dumbbells have a metal bar handle and two weight plates that are secured into place on either side of the bar with collars. They are like standard barbells.

Weight plates can be added and removed to adjust the weight. This means that you do not need an entirely new set of dumbbells if you need a different weight denomination.

Adjustable dumbbells come in many weights, shapes, and sizes. Some of thebest adjustable dumbbells use innovative designs to make adjusting the weight easier.

Pros of Adjustable Dumbbells

  • They save money. If you want a different weight denomination, you do not need to buy a new set of dumbbells.
  • Adjustable dumbbells save space. They use separate weight plates which means that they take up considerably less space than fixed weight dumbbell sets.
  • Adjustable dumbbells are more convenient for weight trainers and people who lift heavier weights since they can easily kick the weight up a notch.
  • They are easier and cheaper to ship than separate sets of fixed weight dumbbells within the same weight range.

Who Adjustable Dumbbells are Right for

  • Adjustable dumbbells are less durable. They are at risk of breaking when dropped on the floor.
  • Using different sets of dumbbells is more convenient than constantly adjusting weight plates between exercises. Adjustable weights may be a hassle during supersets, drop sets, and circuits.

Types of Adjustable Dumbbells 

how to choose different types of dumbbells

Plate Loaded Dumbbells

Plate loaded dumbbells are adjustable dumbbells. They are basically small barbells that perform like dumbbells. There is a grip handlebar that can be loaded on either side with individual weight plates.

Weight plates come in many different weight denominations. Individual weight plates can be added or removed one plate at a time. Weight plates are secured to the bar with locking mechanisms called collars.

Selectorized Dumbbells

Selectorized dumbbells are also adjustable dumbbells, but they are different from plate-loaded dumbbells.

Changing the weight on selectorized dumbbells are easy and convenient because they use pin and dial mechanisms. Selectorized dumbbells have numerous weights on either side of the handlebar.

Selectorized dumbbells have a special stand onto which you place your dumbbell. You can select the weight that you want. When you remove the weight from the stand you will be left with the selected plates attached to the handlebar.

They are convenient and easy to use. They are the best adjustable dumbbells if you want to switch weights quickly and smoothly.

Spin Lock Dumbbells

Spinlock dumbbells are like plate-loaded dumbbells. But not quite. The weight plates are secured differently. Most plate-loaded dumbbells use clamps and collars to secure weight plates.

Spinlock dumbbells have threaded sleeves at the outer ends of the handlebar. The weight plates are slid onto the bar. The spin lock threads over the bar and is tightened against the weight to keep it in place. The spin lock works like a nut and bolt.  

Dumbbell Shapes

You can find dumbbells in a variety of weights, shapes, materials, and sizes. Some dumbbell shapes are ideal for certain exercises, while they are uncomfortable for others.

Finding the ideal dumbbell shape is important. Here are the pros and cons of the most common dumbbell shapes.

Hex Dumbbells

Hex dumbbells are named after their hexagonal shape. Hex dumbbells are common in home and commercial gyms.

The hexagonal shape affords the dumbbell extra stability and prevents it from rolling on the floor. Usually, hex dumbbells are made of cast iron, which means they are durable and affordable.


  • It is the most common and affordable dumbbell shape
  • Hex dumbbells do not roll away when placed on the floor
  • They are ideal for exercises like dumbbell push-ups and renegade rows where the dumbbell is planted on the floor
  • Hex dumbbells can be stacked on top of each other – there is no need for a dumbbell rack


  • Heavy hex dumbbells may be uncomfortable during press exercises

Round Dumbbells

can you have different types of dumbbells

Round dumbbells have a perfectly circular shape, and they are common in home and commercial gyms. They can roll on the floor.

Round dumbbells usually have a shorter bell and total length when compared to hex dumbbells. This means that the weight of the dumbbell is spread out over a shorter length.


  • Round dumbbells are better for exercises like curls, because of the way the weight is spread out
  • Round dumbbells are comfortable when they are placed on the thighs and shoulder to set up for presses
  • Round dumbbells can roll on the floor – this is convenient when you don’t feel like carrying them.


  • Round dumbbells can roll, which means that they are uncomfortable when used for floor-based exercises like dumbbell renegade rows and push-ups
  • These dumbbells require more space and a dumbbell rack for storage

12-Sided Dumbbells

12-sided dumbbells have 12 sides. This gives 12-sided dumbbells a gradually curved surface and makes them look a lot like round dumbbells.

Similar to round dumbbells, the weight is more compact in length.  


  • Round dumbbells are comfortable when they are placed on the thighs and shoulder to set up for presses.
  • Round dumbbells are better for exercises like curls, because of the way the weight is spread out.
  • 12-sided dumbbells can roll, but they will not roll away when placed on the floor.
  • 12-sided dumbbells are ideal for exercises like dumbbell push-ups and renegade rows where the dumbbell is planted on the floor.


  • These dumbbells are less common, and a bit harder to find.
  • 12-sided dumbbells are generally more expensive than round and hex dumbbells.
  • 12-sided dumbbells require storage space since they can’t be stacked on top of each other.

Square or Speciality Shape Dumbbells

Square and other speciality shaped dumbbells are less common. You can find dumbbells with teardrop shapes. Old school dumbbells with a spherical shape are still around too.


  • These dumbbells don’t roll when placed on the floor.
  • They can be stacked on top of each other – this saves storage space.
  • They are ideal for exercises like dumbbell push-ups and renegade rows where the dumbbell is planted on the floor.
  • These dumbbells are better for exercises like curls because they are compact in length.


  • They may be uncomfortable when they are resting on the shoulders or thighs as you are setting up for pressing exercises.
  • They are harder to find and generally more expensive.


Dumbbells have been on the weightlifting scene for ages, and they can be used by experts and beginners alike.

There are numerous different types of dumbbells on the market, and choosing the right pair for you might seem challenging. This is where our guide to different dumbbells can help.

Now you know everything you need to know about fixed dumbbells, adjustable dumbbells, and different dumbbell shapes.  

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