The start of the New Year sees budding gym bunnies everywhere commit to new fitness goals but after only a few weeks, our resolutions find a way of slipping under us – whether that's due to the expense of a gym membership or the inability to find the time to squeeze in a session.
But this does not need to be the case. You don’t actually need to fork out a heap of cash for a pricey gym membership to keep in shape. By investing in one simple piece of kit, you can improve your strength, stamina, muscle mass and overall health from the comfort of your own home.
While indoor exercise bikes, treadmills or rowers are ideal bits of cardio kit, dumbbells are the at-home workout essential that will help you stick to a workout plan without the need for a state-of-the-art machine.
One of the most versatile bits of tech on the market, personal trainers everywhere will tell you that dumbbells are the key to strengthening and toning – plusyou can use them in areas with limited space.
The must-have piece of equipment can be used for both upper and lower body with a range of exercises like goblet squats, bent over rows, deadlifts, step ups, bicep curls, lunges, and overhead presses to help you achieve your fitness goals.
What’s more, they are compact in size or can be deconstructed so you can tuck them in the corner or in a cupboard when you are done.
Create a slick gym set up at your home with a set of dumbbells.
Shop directly from the following retailers:
Adjustable Dumbbell Sets
Everlast Adjustable Dumbbell
Whether you are a beginner or seasoned weight lifter, this set from Everlast is ideal for all levels. As your training progresses, this handy bit of equipment can be adjusted from 2.5 to 32.5kg with just a twist of the dial. The space-saving dumbbell can be used to work all aspects of the body, helping you to achieve your fitness goals.
Proiron 20kg adjustable dumbbell set
If you’re working up to bigger weights in the gym, these adjustable dumbbells are ideal for prepping your body for more extreme weight training. The cast iron set includes four 0.5kg plates, four 1.25kg plates, four 2.5kg plates and an extended bar, meaning you can convert a simple set of dumbbells into one barbell (a long metal bar to which discs of varying weights are attached at each end).
Sturdy and easy to use, these weights have a knurled handle grip and in our tests we felt completely safe while lifting them above our heads - though it’s good to have a rubber yoga mat handy if you’re using these at home, otherwise they do have a tendency to roll around.
Iron Fitness - Body Technics 2.5-25kg Adjustable Dumbbells - Pair
These heavy-duty adjustable dumbbells take out the stress of having to unscrew metal spin collars mid-workout. Simply spin the dial on the side of the dumbbell and it’ll add on your preferred weight. They work in a really similar way to the one above with 10 different weight settings from 2.5kg, which can be adjusted to preference. An ideal piece of kit for whittling away your dadbod.
Bowflex 4-41Kg SelectTech dumbbell pair
If you’ve got some cash to play with and are looking to invest in a more advanced free weights workstation that won’t dominate your living room, you can’t get much better than this juggernaut set from Bowflex. It’s essentially two single dumbbells with an adjustable weight range that will take you from 4kg to 41kg in a couple of simple (and highly satisfying) clicks. Note that the price here is just for two dumbbells, which can look daunting on paper, but it’s worth remembering that you’re actually getting 17 weights in one practical package. We’re also a big fan of the soft moulding around the metal plates, which means they don’t damage hardwood floors when you put them down between exercises.
Opti 20kg vinyl dumbbell set
If you’re looking for a pair of vinyl weights, these guys are just the ticket. Round in style, Opti’s black metal weights look and perform well but won’t wreak havoc on wood flooring and make a lot of noise (ideal if you’ve got neighbours downstairs). This 18 piece set with 8 1.25kg and 4 2.5kg weight levels from 5 to 20kg, is a cheap and effective way to fire up your biceps and triceps without breaking the bank. Trust us, you’ll be looking like Arnie in no time.
Opti Cast Iron Dumbbell Set
Crafted from cast iron, this dumbbell set is designed to last, while the inclusion of the comfortable rubber handles ensures that you are not doing more harm than good – saving your hands from painful blistering. The equipment can be deconstructed into many pieces, helpful for storage and allowing you to increase the weight as you get stronger and stronger. They are made up of 18 parts and can hold up to 20kg on each of the two dumbells. The bars weigh 1.35kg each.
Beginner and Lightweight Dumbbell Sets
Reebok Softgrip Dumbbellsâ
While these may resemble something out of the Call On Me music video, these helpful weights put the fun into your functional training. Ideal for aerobics, pilates, and walking with weighs they are covered in a comfortable EVA foam and have an adjustable hand strap to personalise them to the correct fit. Available in three weights, 0.5 kg, 1 kg and 2 kg. The brand also offer cast iron varieties.
Opti Neoprene 4kg
This cheap and cheery pair green dumbbells have a total weight of 8kg, and are the perfect medium weight to tone and sculpt your arms, shoulders and back when you perform upper body exercises - we found that they were particularly good for bicep pulses and lateral pulls. Made from a thick neoprene grip that won’t chafe or blister your palms mid-workout, these are comfortable to hold and are easy to throw in a bag for working out on-the-go. The foam-like coating is a godsend for renters in the city, as these are noiseless on solid floors, and they’re compact enough to easily store away in a drawer.
PROIRON Neoprene Dumbbell Home Exercise
Create your own mini gym in the comfort of your home with the addition of this dumbbell tower that holds three sets of varying weights. With options for each type of workout, the versatile workout essential comes in fun colours that you can use to step your fitness routine up a few notches. The dumbbells are ergonomically designed, comfortable and sturdy.
Xn8 Neoprene Dumbbells
If you are looking for a set of dumbbells that will not rub or put pressure on your hands, this is the set for you. These weights have a thick neoprene coating that will not only stay firmly gripped in your hand but will do so comfortably. Set over solid cast iron to ensure their durability, the collection comes in a range of colours and weights ranging from 1 to 5kg. The dumbbells are offered as pairs.
USA Pro Hand Weight
For a classic, no-fuss set of dumbbells, this set from USA Pro is a good quality buy. It has a minimalistic design with a bright colourway and a strong, no-slip grip. Sold as a single dumbbell.
Reebok dumbbell set
This sleek blue and grey set from Reebok, including two weights each at 1, 2 and 3kg, is the perfect option for anyone looking to add additional weight to a pilates routine. The square shape means they can be used for curls as well as plank to upright rows and won’t annoyingly roll away when placed on the floor. They come with a simple and compact storage case that means you can easily stow them away under a bed or in a drawer, but the unusually trend-ticking colour scheme means they will look statement and stylish if you forget to tidy them away.
Everlast 12kg set - Sports Direct
If you’re a total beginner that’s looking for to incorporate some light resistance training into your morning routine, Everlast’s colourful rack of light dumbbells is a great place to get started. There are three weight options included, coming in at 1, 2 and 3kg per weight, and each pair is handily colour-coded for quick identification. Unlike a lot of the other hand weights on the market, this nifty set neatly slot onto a rack that isn’t too heavy to lift and can be easily stored away in a cupboard after use. An excellent and affordable option for anyone who’s on a tight budget.
Body Revolution Hex Dumbbells
Easily our favourite for dumbbell push ups, the hexagonal design on these individually sold weights means you’ll feel safe and stable while performing rows in a pushup position (even when your arms are wobbling under the pressure).
The handles are contoured for an easy grip, while the encasing is made from a durable, rubber material that feels robust to the touch and stops the weights from sliding under your bodyweight. Weights are offered in 1 to 40kg and can stored in a trendy industrial steel rack sold separately - great for anyone who has the space to have their dumbbells on display.
The Everlast Adjustable Dumbbell earns our Best Pick due to its versatility. The must-have piece of equipment offers one of the largest weight ranges on the market in one space-saving design.
If you're looking for a beginners set, the PROIRON Neoprene Dumbbell Home Exercise is a pretty value for money buy.