With so many dumbbell models out there, which is the best? Choosing the right (or wrong!) dumbbell as a beginner can make or break your success in reaching your final training goal. Below, I share 9 of the best dumbbells for beginners.
Adjustable dumbbells are generally the best for beginners. They contain multiple weight increments in a single unit and this helps the user to save space and money. It’s also important for a beginner to consider their overall training goal when picking a suitable dumbbell weight.
Whether your goal is to burn fat, tone muscle, or build muscle, I got a recommendation for you.
My choices are cherry-picked from over 2 dozen models.
These choices are based on my own 10-year dumbbell training experience.
Along the way, I’ve had experience using cheap and premium dumbbells, as well as those in between!
I hope this list can help you pick the ideal dumbbell as a beginner!
Overview: Best Dumbbells For Beginners
Here is a quick summary of the best dumbbells for beginners:
|Beginners Dumbbell||Max Weight||# Weight Settings||Weight Increments||Price||Reviews >4*|
|Balance From 40lb Plastic Spinlock Dumbbell||20lb (10kg)||5||2.5lbs (1kg)||$||83%|
|Yaheetech 66lb Plastic Spinlock Dumbbell||30lb (15kg)||8||5.5lb (2.5kg)||$$||78%|
|Hola Hatha 60lb Mini Dumbbell Set||15lb (7.5kg)||3||5lbs (2.5kg)||$$$||96%|
|Papababe 150lb Hex Dumbbell Set||25lb (12.5kg)||5||5lbs (2.5kg)||$$$||83%|
|Yes4All 60lb Iron Spinlock Dumbbell||30lb (15kg)||5+||5lbs (2.5kg)||$$||89%|
|Flybird 25lb Selectorized Dumbbell||25lb (12.5kg)||5||5lbs (2.5kg)||$$$||93%|
|Core Home Fitness Selectorized Dumbbell||50lb (25kg)||10||5lbs (2.5kg)||$$$$$||91%|
|Bowflex Selectech 552 Adjustable Dumbbell||52.5lb (25kg)||15||2.5-5lbs |
|Powerblock Elite 50lb Adjustable Dumbbell||50lb (25kg)||16||2.5-5lbs |
And here’s how much each of these dumbbells will cost you:
- $ = $0-50
- $$ = $50-150
- $$$ = $150-250
- $$$$ = $250-350
- $$$$$ = $400+
These prices are accurate to the time of writing.
Each of these beginner dumbbells has different features that make them suitable for different training goals.
What These Beginner Dumbbells Are Best Used For
Dumbbells in general are very versatile pieces of weight lifting equipment. As such, most of these dumbbell models can be used for multiple training goals.
At the end of this post, you can learn about the specific features of a dumbbell that make it suitable for general fitness, fat-burning, muscle toning, and muscle building.
But for now, here is what each of these beginner dumbbells is best used for:
|Beginners Dumbbell||Primary Training Goal||Secondary Training Goal|
|Balance From 40lb Plastic Spinlock Dumbbell||General fitness (women)||N/A|
|Yaheetech 66lb Plastic Spinlock Dumbbell||General fitness (men)||N/A|
|Hola Hatha 60lb Mini Dumbbell Set||Fat-burning HIIT (women)||General fitness (women)|
|Papababe 150lb Hex Dumbbell Set||Fat-burning HIIT (men)||General fitness (men)|
|Yes4All 60lb Iron Spinlock Dumbbell||Tone muscle||Fat-burning HIIT|
|Flybird 25lb Selectorized Dumbbell||Tone muscle||Fat-burning HIIT|
|Core Home Fitness Selectorized Dumbbell||Build muscle||All-purpose|
|Bowflex Selectech 552 Adjustable Dumbbell||Build muscle||All-purpose|
|Powerblock Elite 50lb Adjustable Dumbbell||Build muscle||All-purpose|
Next, I’ll explain why each of these dumbbells is great for beginners to reach the specified training goals!
1) Balance From 40lb Plastic Spinlock Dumbbell
The Balance From spinlock is one of the best dumbbells for female beginners to perform general fitness workouts at home. Each dumbbell can be adjusted from 5-20lbs. This makes them ideal for light resistance training exercises such as bicep curls, tricep extensions, ab crunches, and squats.
Here are some of the pros and cons of the Bance From dumbbells for a novice lifter:
|Extremely affordable for a beginner||Plastic weight plates can crack|
|Space-saving spinlock design||Very limited weight|
|Cheap way to increase bodyweight training intensity||Slow weight adjustment mechanism|
These are good entry-level dumbbells for women to start with.
Mainly because of their price tag. They don’t cost a lot of money compared to some of the premium dumbbell models on the market.
Additionally, the spinlock adjustment mechanism replaces 5 pairs of fixed-weight dumbbells and this saves you space as well as money.
Just be aware of their limitations.
“These are good starter dumbbells. Perfect for beginners. Easy to assemble. Easy to store.”AJG, Amazon
Whilst cheap, they aren’t the best quality dumbbells (even for a first-time beginner).
Depending on how well you look after them, the plastic weight casing can crack within 2-4 years of heavy use.
And all spinlock dumbbells are inherently cumbersome to adjust weight (you need to manually add/remove each weight plate to change the weight).
But overall, it’s a cheap and effective way to add extra resistance to home bodyweight exercises.
You can also go to my other post to find out what beginners can do with 10lbs (5kg) dumbbells
2) Yaheetech 66lb Plastic Spinlock Dumbbell
The Yaheetech spinlock is one of the best dumbbells for male beginners to improve general fitness at home. They are also suitable for casual lifters to do weight training workouts. Each dumbbell can be adjusted from 6-33lbs, making them great for men to use for light resistance training.
Here are some of the pros and cons of the Yaheetech dumbbells for a novice lifter:
|Cheap beginners dumbbell||Least durable dumbbell on the market|
|Spinlock design is suitable for small spaces||Does not provide a lot of weight|
|Affordable way for beginners to maintain fitness at home||Weight adjustment mechanism is cumbersome|
These are the male equivalent of the Balance From dumbbells for female beginners (see above #1).
As such, they come with similar pros and cons.
“Might not be the nicest set on the market but it does what it needs to do. Try to use them every day and haven’t had a problem yet. Great starter set.”Brooke, Amazon
They’re heavier than the Balance From dumbbells, making them more suitable for men.
This type of plastic spinlock dumbbell is the first dumbbell I ever bought.
I bought these during my skint college days when I would use them in my dorm to do exercises like bicep curls and squats.
But as with all cheap plastic spinlock dumbbells, beginners should know that they won’t last forever.
Here’s what I mean:
You can see that the plastic casing is susceptible to cracks!
But overall, their cheap price tag and space-saving design make them great for novice men to start weight training at home.
3) Hola Hatha 60lb Mini Dumbbell Set
The Hola Hatha is one of the best dumbbells for female beginners to do HIIT-style fat-burning workouts at home. They are also suitable for women to maintain general fitness. This hand weight set comes with 3 fixed-weight dumbbells at 5, 10, and 15lbs.
Here are some of the pros and cons of the Hola Hatha dumbbells for a novice lifter:
|Single cast-iron mold is very durable||Limited weight means it’s not ideal for building muscle|
|Neoprene coating protects dumbbells and property||Rack gets the job done but can be too small and awkward|
|Comes with a space-saving rack||Limited to fat-burning workouts|
These dumbbells don’t offer a lot in terms of weight, but they are good entry-level dumbbells for beginners to do HIIT workouts at home.
The cast-iron mold makes them pretty impervious to most knocks and bumps.
“Great beginner weights! No complaints.”KJ, Amazon
And the neoprene coating protects your floor if you accidentally drop or scrape your dumbbells. The synthetic coating also makes them quieter when they hit your floor, compared to bare metal.
This is nice during HIIT since these workouts often feature dynamic movements where your dumbbells are moving between the floor and air.
The rack is not the best and these dumbbells are not suitable for building a lot of muscle.
But for women looking to burn belly fat or fix flabby arms, these will do the job!
You can also check out my other post to learn how to use dumbbells to reduce arm fat.
4) Papababe 150lb Hex Dumbbell Set
The Papababe is one of the best dumbbells for male beginners to do HIIT and burn fat at home. They can also be used by casual lifters to improve general fitness through dumbbell bodyweight training. This dumbbell set comes with 5 fixed-weight dumbbells at 5, 10, 15, 20, and 25lbs.
Here are some of the pros and cons of the Papapbabe dumbbells for a novice lifter:
|One-piece cast-iron dumbbells are resistant to knocks||Paint can chip|
|Comes with a rack which saves floor space||Bare iron grip can cause hand calluses in beginners|
|25lbs is great for men to start weight training with||25lb weight limitation means it’s only good for beginners|
These are beefier versions of the Hola Hatha hand weights.
As such, they are more suitable for men (who need heavier weights) to do HIIT at home.
“Great starting set for a gym and a good price.”Amazon review
They are great for guys who are looking to burn some belly fat whilst adding some tone to their biceps and triceps.
These dumbbells are also great for light compound movements like bench pressing, shoulder pressing, rows, etc to build some muscle.
Just be aware that they have an “industrial” feel.
In other words, the build quality is nothing to shout home about.
The bare metal knurling (etched gripping on the handle) will probably cause calluses on your hands if you perform intense workouts without wearing gloves.
Most people don’t mind this, but it’s something you should be aware of.
Ultimately, these dumbbells do offer a good amount of weight for beginner men to get fit at home.
And they will last a long time if cared for properly!
You might also be interested in my other post for the best dumbbells for men!
5) Yes4All 60lb Iron Spinlock Dumbbell
The Yes4All spinlock dumbbells are one of the best dumbbells for a beginner to tone muscle and lose weight at home. Each dumbbell adjusts from 5-30lbs. The lighter settings are ideal for dumbbell-weighted bodyweight circuits, whilst the heavier settings are great for toning the arms and shoulders.
Here are some of the pros and cons of the Yes4All iron spinlock dumbbells for a novice lifter:
|Iron plates and steel handles are extremely durable||Bare metal can be abrasive to properly|
|Offer a good weight to build muscle and tone in small muscle groups like the arms, shoulders, and abs||Bare iron can exude a metallic smell after a while|
|Can also be used for HIIT to burn fat||Not great for beginners looking to build a lot of muscle|
These old-school-style dumbbells are cheap and versatile for beginners (men and women) to add definition to their upper bodies.
They’re good for building small amounts of muscle and burning fat.
The materials are basic, but you can expect most iron spinlock dumbbells to last you forever (my father passed a set down to me from 20 years ago and they’re still working perfectly!).
“I’m a beginner- not looking to get jacked up or spend hundreds on equipment . This kit was perfect for what I needed.”Stebon, Amazon
These dumbbells offer a beginner enough weight to train small muscles like the biceps with isolation-type movements (e.g. dumbbell curls, lateral raises, and tricep extensions).
But you should consider something heavier if your goal is to get jacked and transform a skinny physique!
You may also be interested in my other post to learn what dumbbell weight a beginner needs to build muscle.
6) Flybird 25lb Selectorized Dumbbell
The Flybird 25 is one of the best entry-level selectorized dumbbells for beginners to lose weight and tone muscle at home. Each dumbbell can be rapidly adjusted from 5-25lbs, making for fast and efficient workouts. They are suitable for light isolation lifts like bicep curls and tricep extensions.
Here are some of the pros and cons of the Flybird dumbbells for a novice lifter:
|Rapid handle-turn weight selection mechanism reduces workout time||Cannot be dropped because the selector mechanism can be fragile|
|25lb weight capacity is great for beginners to tone and build small muscles||25lb limitation is not great for building large amounts of muscle.|
|Replaces 5 pairs of dumbbells to save space||Need to properly align the weight plates with the cradle to prevent damage|
Selectorized dumbbells are a good option for beginners to start weight training with.
They are intuitive to use, save space, and replace multiple pairs of dumbbells in a neat little unit.
The weight on this Flybird can be adjusted by turning the handle.
Once you’ve selected you’re desired weight, the dumbbell pulls away from the cradle, leaving behind the remaining weight.
“Weight range may not be good forexperienced lifters, but I think it’s a nice range for beginners.”Joleme, Amazon
Whilst the 25lb is perfect for beginners to start doing small exercises like the curls, you’ll want a heavy dumbbell if you want to perform some of the larger compound lifts to build muscle.
You should also be aware that the dumbbell needs to be aligned properly when you insert it back into its cradle.
The last thing you want is to force the weight plates into a misaligned position.
This can break the dumbbell (not looking after your dumbbells properly can also reduce its lifespan).
Nevertheless, if you’re a beginner looking for a good entry-level selectorized dumbbell that’s also well priced, then this is a great choice!
Or you can also check out my other post to find out the ideal dumbbell kg for biceps training.
7) Core Home Fitness Selectorized Dumbbell
The Core Home Fitness is one of the best mid-range selectorized dumbbells for beginners to start weight training with. The handle-turn adjustment mechanism allows weight to be quickly selected. And the 50lb maximum capacity is ideal for a novice to perform both compound and isolation-type movements.
Here are some of the pros and cons of the Core Home Fitness dumbbells for a novice lifter:
|Handle-turn mechanism is slick and intuitive||Expensive upfront investment for a beginner|
|50lb capacity is great for men and women to build muscle at a beginner-intermediate level||Cost more than the market-leading Bowflex and Powerblock dumbbells|
|10x weight settings are ideal for small exercises like the curl as well as large exercises like the bench press||Cannot be dropped|
This premium dumbbell is a great option for beginners who are looking to make significant physique improvements.
They are extremely versatile.
You can use them to build muscle, burn flabby arm fat, and tone your muscles.
That’s because they contain 10 different weight settings. And the combined selection allows a beginner to satisfy any training goal.
The 50lb capacity will give the average beginner 2-3 years or more of strength gains (depending on your exercise choice).
“Core Home Fitness even went so far as to put in good dumbbell workout plan for beginners in the box.”Todd, Amazon
Just be aware that they can’t be dropped (just like most selectorized dumbbells).
Additionally, they cost more than the Bowflex and Powerblock dumbbells (see below #8 and #9) which are the best in the business.
However, the handle-turn weight adjustment on the Core Home Fitness feels slicker than the Bowflex and Powerblock dumbbells in my opinion.
So if this appeals to you, then go for Core Home Fitness!
You can also check out my other post to find out the best dumbbell weight for beginners to start weight training with.
8) Bowflex Selectech 552 Adjustable Dumbbell
The Bowflex 552 is one of the best premium dumbbells for beginners to build muscle, get lean, and tone their muscles at home. The adjustment mechanism allows weight to be rapidly chosen from 5-52.5lbs. It’s a good dumbbell for beginners to reach the intermediate stages of dumbbell training.
Here are some of the pros and cons of the Bowflex dumbbells for a novice lifter:
|Dial-a-weight adjustment is slick and easy to use||Dumbell unit is bulky|
|52.5lb max weight is suitable for male/female beginners to build muscle to an intermediate level.||Weight cannot be upgraded unlike the Powerblock dumbbells|
|Small 2.5lb weight increments are ideal for progressive overload||Cannot be dropped and needs to be carefully inserted into the cradle to prevent damage.|
These were the dumbbells I upgraded to when my cheap spinlock dumbbells just weren’t cutting it anymore.
They are a great dumbbell for a beginner to start weight training with.
The Bowflex dumbbells have all the weight features of an intermediate dumbbell (heavy weight capacity and small weight increments).
But the lighter settings are also suitable for beginners.
This means they will last a beginner 2-3 years or more of strength gains, taking them to the intermediate stages of dumbbell training.
“I recommend this to anyone who is a beginner to intermediate lifter.”Knreynolds, Amazon
I used these dumbbells to do:
- Bench press
- Shoulder press.
- Bicep curl.
- Tricep extensions.
- Lateral raises.
And it handled these exercises very well.
The main drawback of these dumbbells is their bulkiness. It can feel a bit awkward for someone who has never lifted selectorized dumbbells before.
But it doesn’t take long to get accustomed to them!
9) Powerblock Elite 50lb Adjustable Dumbbell
The Powerblock Elites are the best dumbbells for a beginner to start weight training with. They have a heavy weight capacity and small weight increments make them ideal for building muscle and performing HIIT workouts to burn fat. They can also be upgraded to 90lbs using addon kits.
Here are some of the pros and cons of the Powerblock Elite dumbbells for a novice lifter:
|Most durable selectorized dumbbell in my opinion||Pin-selector mechanism is slightly slower than the Bowflex dial-a-weight|
|Can be upgraded to 90lbs at any time||Paint coating is could be better quality|
|Heavy weight capacity and small increments are ideal for progressive overload to build muscle||Doesn’t have a cradle so it can damage laminate and tiled floors.|
I eventually upgraded my Bowflex 552 dumbbells to the Powerblock Elites.
The Powerblocks have everything the Bowflex has and more.
It has heavy weight capacity, lots of weight settings, and a fast weight adjustment mechanism.
This makes the Powerblocks a great dumbbell for a beginner to start with, but also gives you the flexibility to upgrade when you become stronger.
This is what I love most about the Powerblocks.
They don’t pigeonhole you as a beginner.
Instead, they give you the option to upgrade as you progress.
“Beginner user and thought these were a great option vs purchasing multiple dumbbells”Boonechev, Amazon
Powerblocks are also the only selectorized dumbbells to feature 2.5lb increments from 5-90lbs.
This is great for progressive overload (adding weight over time to build strength) because it’s easier to add a small amount of weight to a lift than it is to add a large amount of weight.
Just be careful about where you keep these dumbbells.
They don’t have a cradle so they can scratch laminate floors. I keep mine on a stand.
You can also check out my other post for a beginner’s dumbbell workout to build muscle at home!
What Makes A Good Dumbbell For Beginners To Burn Fat?
A good dumbbell for beginners to burn fat should provide at least 5-10lbs of resistance. This allows the user to increase exercises intensity on bodyweight movements such as squats, lunges, and crunches. Light weights can also be used for HIIT-style dumbbell workouts to lose weight.
To effectively burn fat, you don’t actually need weights.
Bodyweight exercises and cardio are sufficient to put you in the required calorie deficit to lose fat.
But dumbbells can intensify your workout by adding more weight and making the movements harder to perform.
And this can help you burn fat faster as well as decrease workout duration.
You don’t need many weight increments either.
2 or 3 different dumbbell weight settings are sufficient for beginners to do a fat-burning HIIT dumbbell workout.
My recommendation for a beginner’s dumbbell to burn fat is Hola Hatha mini dumbbell set (link for the cheapest price).
How to make sure you are actually burning fat from your dumbbell workout:
To make sure you’re shedding fat and not aimlessly training with no result, you should keep an eye on your heart rate.
You know you’re working hard enough if you’re heart rate is at least 60% of your maximum heart rate.
You can get your maximum heart rate by subtracting your age from 220.
For example- a 25-year-old has a maximum heart rate of around 195 beats per minute (220-25).
I use a fitness watch like this Fitbit Versa (link for the cheapest price) to allow me to effortlessly keep track of my heart rate during a workout.
But you can also use the good old-fashioned finger pulse method.
For more information, you can check out my other post for a beginner’s guide to burning fat with HIIT dumbbell workouts.
What Makes A Good Dumbbell For Beginners To Tone Muscle?
A good dumbbell for beginners to increase muscle tone should provide at least 20lbs of resistance. This allows the user to lift weights that challenge them for 10-15 reps per set in any given exercise. However, people with higher strength levels should use a heavier weight.
Moderate weight dumbbells are generally enough for a beginner to tone small muscles like the biceps, triceps, deltoids, and pecs.
You don’t need that many weight settings.
5 different weight increments are fine.
But the more weight increments you have, the longer your biceps will last in terms of strength progression.
If you max out on your current dumbbell weight and the exercises become too easy, you can apply a principle called time under tension training.
This requires you to decrease the lifting tempo of your exercises.
For example- count for 3 seconds on the upward and another 3 seconds on the downward phase of a bicep curl.
It’s challenging, but it is a great way to add definition and visibly tone the arms as a beginner!
My personal beginner’s dumbbell recommendation for muscle toning is the Flybird selectorized dumbbell (link for the cheapest price).
You may also be interested in my other article to find out what size dumbbells you should use to tone your arms.
What Makes A Good Dumbbell For Beginners To Build Muscle?
A good dumbbell for beginners to build muscle should provide at least 40lbs of resistance. This allows a beginner to lift a weight that challenges them for 8-12 reps in a variety of isolation and compound-type movements. Generally speaking, the heavier the dumbbell, the more muscle can be gained.
Heavy adjustable dumbbells are the best for building muscle.
The lighter settings are perfect for isolation-type lifts that target specific muscles (e.g. the bicep curl and lateral raise).
Conversely, the heavier settings are great for compound-type movements that target multiple muscles at once (e.g. the bench press, row, and squat).
Additionally, the more increments you have, the easier it will be to apply progressive overload (increasing weight overtime to drive muscle gains).
If you think about it, it’s easier to add 2.5lbs to a bicep curl than it is to add 10lbs right?
Therefore, choose a heavy dumbbell with lots of increments if you want to gain serious muscle.
But you also need to consider the price.
Most beginners aren’t willing to spend more than $500 on a dumbbell.
That’s why the Powerblock Elites (link for the cheapest price) are my recommendation.
They are affordable and offer a lot of weight settings for a beginner to build muscle, tone, AND burn fat.
You might also be interested in my other article for a beginner’s guide to dumbbell bodybuilding.
I’ve shared 9 of the best dumbbells for beginners.
These recommendations have been cherry-picked from over 2 dozen dumbbell models.
The choices in this list are based on my personal 10-year weight training journey that has allowed me to experiment with budget dumbbells, premium dumbbells, and those in between!
I’ve made recommendations based on different training goals.
Everyone is different and wants to achieve different outcomes.
So you should also pick a suitable dumbbell accordingly!
Did my list help you choose the perfect dumbbell as a beginner?
Let me know in the comments!
You may also be interested in the downloadable Kalibre Blueprint PDF which details exactly how I gained 40lbs of lean muscle (it’s 100% free!). It details the exact exercises and nutrition I used to go from skinny to ripped!
Thanks for reading guys!
(Biochemistry BSc, Biomedical Sciences MSc, Ex-Skinny Guy)