Last updated: 16/10/2022

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Whether for slimmer arms or thicker triceps, dumbbells are suitable for any kind of arm exercise and, when combined with other exercises, can also strengthen parts such as the back muscles, leg muscles and abdominal muscles. A dumbbell can be found in almost every household these days.

If you don’t have one yet, you should read this guide before buying one. We look at important criteria such as material, weight, appearance and also the handle. The handle also plays an important role. We also look at types, price ranges and target groups. Everything you need for your decision!


  • In principle, dumbbells can be used in any combination: For walking, gymnastics, fitness training, weight training or bodybuilding. Of course, the weight classes and exercises vary depending on your own strength and requirements.
  • A very important criterion for dumbbells is the grip. This is crucial for the correct execution of your exercises with the dumbbells. If the handle does not fit properly, your exercises cannot be performed correctly and, in the worst case, the heavier dumbbells can cause injuries if they fall on you.
  • In contrast to a weight station, a dumbbell workout allows you to focus on different exercises, which can be varied to achieve the desired results more quickly.

The Best Dumbbells: Our Picks

Buying and rating criteria for dumbbells

A dumbbell should sit well in the hand. This includes criteria such as material and grip. But there are also special dumbbells for different types. Not to be forgotten is the appearance, which gives an indirect incentive to train.

In the following, we will now go into more detail about the criteria.


In principle, the discs of the dumbbells are made of cast iron. But if you are wondering why your dumbbells are made of rubber or chrome, you should take a look at what is underneath.

Most of the time, these types of dumbbells are only coated with rubber and are actually made of cast iron on the inside. However, there are also full chrome or full rubber plates. In this table you will find the respective advantages of the dumbbells:

Type of material Advantages
Cast iron Very cheap to buy. They have the typical dumbbell look.
Full chrome Noble, shiny design. Often more durable.
Solid rubber In contrast to the two other variants, very quiet. Greater safety for body and surroundings due to the rubber. Also very durable.

So if you’re on a budget, go for the conventional cast iron ones. If you are looking for a more stylish look, you should go for the full chrome dumbbells. However, we most likely recommend the solid rubber, as it offers the greatest safety for you and your floor. For professionals we recommend the solid chrome material.


Appearance plays an important role alongside weight. If the shape is unusual, this can contribute to how heavy your dumbbell will be in the end. Besides the well-known round dumbbells, there are also square dumbbells. These usually have a hexagonal shape and are called hex dumbbells.

Although the weight cannot be changed at will like normal dumbbells, they have a secure footing on the floor and cannot roll away.

These dumbbells are often used for flexible exercises that require training first with and then without dumbbells, as they are not allowed to roll away. This kind of training can be particularly hard.


Last but not least comes the most important point: the handle. It should be non-slip and fit the size of your hands. It is essential for the correct execution of your exercise, especially with larger dumbbells.

Therefore, if you have larger hands, make sure that you also use handle bars with a larger diameter. And for the best grip: protect your hands.

Many dumbbells do not offer extra protection for the handle. But it is important to have a good grip. The so-called pads let your hands train better and longer than without them.

In addition, the protection absorbs your sweat, which is why the bar could slip even less. Another tip: If your hands are still too big for the grip, larger pads help to compensate for the size of the bar.

Guide: Frequently asked questions about dumbbells answered in detail

If you don’t know whether dumbbells are right for you, this guide is the perfect place to find out. You’ll know straight away whether you want dumbbells and if so, which ones suit you best!

Who is a dumbbell suitable for?

For all those who want to increase their arm muscles and generally have a little more oomph in their existing exercises. So you can use not only the typical big dumbbells, but also very small ones that are simply meant to promote your movement.

In addition, with smaller dumbbells (so-called dumbbells) you can use more flexible exercises to train precise parts of your body and reduce their fat reserves.

What types of dumbbells are there?

A distinction must be made between one-handed dumbbells and two-handed dumbbells. As a rule, women tend to use one-handed dumbbells because they train other parts of the body rather than the muscle mass of the arms.

Men, on the other hand, who usually want to build up muscle mass, use two-handed dumbbells. These usually have more weight than the one-handed dumbbells.

One-handed grip:

  • Dumbbells
  • Dumbbells
  • System dumbbells

Two-handed dumbbells:

  • Barbells
  • Curl dumbbells
  • Triceps dumbbells
  • Vibration dumbbells

As a rule, however, it can be said that two-handed dumbbells are used for increased muscle building. Here it is especially important to seek advice from a coach. Incorrect use of these dumbbells can have a very negative effect on your back!

What does a dumbbell cost?

A dumbbell varies greatly in price. Especially since you have to differentiate between the above-mentioned categories of one-handed dumbbells and two-handed dumbbells. Differences in quality are also reflected in the price.

Price range Available products
Low-priced 20 – 49,99 €) One-handed dumbbells, which can usually be rather light in weight.
Medium-priced 50 – 89,99 €) One-handed dumbbells and two-handed dumbbells, higher weight, adjustable weight, good quality.
High-priced 90 – 600 €) Dumbbells at gym level. Highly professional, very good material, mostly with extras such as adjustable weight and combinable dumbbells. Also electronic dumbbells.

What is the optimal weight for a dumbbell?

This varies depending on the dumbbell. With dumbbells, the initial weight should be 2 – 4 kilograms. With barbells, the beginner usually starts with 10 – 20 kilograms. The average use for dumbbells is about 20 kg, advanced users use 2x 30 kg for their exercises.

The sets of repetitions are also crucial and important for the selection of your weight. If you notice that you can do more repetitions per set, your weight is too low and should be increased.

Professional athletes use very heavy dumbbells. (Image source: Pavel Jurča / Pixabay)

It’s best to test yourself carefully and see how much weight your dumbbells should weigh. If your weight is not enough, simply add another weight to your dumbbells.


No matter what occasion you get a dumbbell for, it can help you keep fit. Since you should always keep fit, a dumbbell is just the thing for you. However, if you already have a gym subscription and want to build muscle in other parts of your body, we don’t recommend dumbbells. In this case, stick to the large dumbbells in the gym and use the equipment there.

But dumbbells can also be very useful for people who do home workouts and complement their existing exercises. For example, for jogging or walking, dumbbells can add more momentum to your existing sport. Especially with regard to the prices, an investment in this area makes a lot of sense.

(Cover photo: Kuzmik / 123rf)