In this guide we look at a range of different fixed dumbbells to help you find a set that is perfect for you.
Our list is organised in descending price order, so you can limit your search to dumbbells within your budget.
|Dumbbell||Price||Handle diameter||Weight increment||Max weight|
|Rogue Urethane Dumbbells||$2.9 per lb||31-35mm||5lb||150lb per dumbbell|
|Hampton Fitness Pro-Style Dumbbells||$2.55 per lb||30-35mm||5lb||50lb per dumbbell|
|York Hex Dumbbells||$1.2 per lb||25-35mm||5lb (to confirm)||125lb per dumbbell|
|CAP Hex Dumbbells||$0.95 per lb||unknown||5lb||50lb per dumbbell|
What are fixed dumbbells?
Fixed dumbbells are dumbbells that have a set weight which cannot be adjusted. Simply put, they are one solid lump and do not have parts that can be removed and/or added (at least, easily). For an explanation of the different types of dumbbells, see our detailed guide.
Fixed weights are very common in commercial gyms where users can select dumbbells pairs from a large range of different weights.
Generally speaking, fixed dumbbells are less popular than adjustable dumbbells for home gyms, as they are more expensive and take up more room. However, fixed dumbbells are far superior to adjustable dumbbells in terms of durability and ease of use. So if you have the budget and space for fixed dumbbells, I would strongly recommend buying a set for your home gym.
What’s more, as will be seen in this guide, the price of fixed dumbbells is actually surprisingly low if you look in the right places, which is one less reason to avoid them.
Even if you do not have the space or budget to buy a complete set of fixed dumbbells, it can be a good idea to buy a few pairs at the weights that you tend you use the most. These sets should complement your adjustable set of dumbbells. That way you will be able to perform super-sets and can avoid constant adding/removing of weights. It is almost always possible to buy individual pairs separately; however, you won’t benefit from the discount applied to complete sets.
As fixed dumbbells have such a simple function and purpose you might not expect them to vary much. However, there are a whole range of considerations you should bear in mind when shopping for a set:
Broadly, you will have two choices when it comes to the shape of fixed dumbbells: circular or hexagon.
This largely comes down to personal preference.
Hex dumbbells have been designed to minimize rolling, so your dumbbells don’t get away from you when you set them down after exercising. However, I personally prefer circular dumbbells so I can roll them into place before a set, as it can be tiring positioning heavy weights.
The shape of a dumbbell’s handle can vary.
Some dumbbells have a straight handle, which is uniform in thickness from end to end. However, others have a handle which is thicker in the center and narrower at the edges.
Again, the choice comes down to personal preference.
Typically, fixed dumbbells should have knurling on the handles to make gripping easier – you might want to give thought to whether you prefer harsher or subtler knurling. However, this is not something that is always advertised and so you may need to handle the dumbbell in person.
The handles of fixed dumbbells are sometimes narrower in thickness for lighter weights than heavier weights. As an example, Rogue’s fixed dumbbells have a 25mm diameter handle up to 10 LB and a 35mm diameter handle for those 12.5 LB and heavier.
No coating (enamel/paint)
Some fixed dumbbells do not have any substantive coating.
Typically these will consist of a solid piece of cast iron. Such dumbbells will either be coated in a grey paint or have a baked on enamel finish.
The lack of coating means that the dumbbells are not well protected and so should not be dropped, not least because of the damage they could do to your floors.
However, a baked on enamel finish does have some advantages in that it tends to holds up better than rubber, which degrades over time. A good quality enamel finish will takes many years to wear away, at least to a significant extent.
Many lower-range fixed dumbbells are coated in rubber to protect the dumbbells themselves, as well as your rack and floors.
The dumbbells will be made out of iron but the heads are coated with rubber. You might often see the rubber coming away on dumbbell sets at your local gym. This is because the rubber used on dumbbells will degrade after a while. In particular, rubber does not hold up well when exposed to sunlight, as it will soften and then crack as it hardens again. As such, if you buy rubber coated dumbbells for your home gym, be sure to keep them away from direct sunlight and other sources of direct heat.
Rubber coated dumbbells are popular because you can be less delicate with them. For example, you don’t need to worry when the dumbbells collide during exercises such as chest flies. In addition, they are quieter than pure iron cast dumbbells.
One downside, is that rubber dumbbells will retain a distinct rubber smell for a while. This tends to go away after a few weeks but could be unpleasant in an ventilated environment.
Urethane dumbbells are a step above rubber dumbbells. These should be your pick if money is no object.
Urethane coated dumbbells looks almost identical to rubber dumbbells. However, urethane is a far superior coating. It is more durable, odorless, and does not degrade as much under sunlight.
Further, urethane has a higher tear strength than rubber. In is unlikely to chip off in the same way as a rubber coating and lasts longer. As urethane coated dumbbells are so durable, they are a better long term investment, as you are unlikely to need to replace them. The only downside is that they are more expensive than rubber coated dumbbells.
Some gyms use chrome plated dumbbells, which look very stylish but are not as durable as rubber or urethane coated dumbbells.
Typically such dumbbells will be made from anti chip chrome which does not flake easily. However, they will still have the same downsides as painted or enamel baked dumbbells.
When buying fixed dumbbells, check whether the pairs are sold in the weight increments you need.
Often the pairs will go up in increments of 5lb per pair. However, sometimes they go up in increments of 10lb per pair or even higher, or the increments widen as the pairs get heavier.
You will ideally want the increments to be low so that linear progression is achievable.
Pro-style dumbbells are fixed weight dumbbells but are comprised of cast iron plates that are secured to a handle to achieve the desired weight. In a sense, they are a permanent, non-adjustable version of plated loaded dumbbells.
Typically, pro-style dumbbells are made up of multiple standard weight plates from 2.5, 5, 7.5, and 10 lbs. The plates are bolted to the handle but can be removed or replaced if necessary.
Pro dumbbells generally have more give to them than those constructed out of one piece of iron. Therefore, such dumbbells are able to withstand more stress. A further advantage of pro-style dumbbells is that if you break them, you can simply take the dumbbell apart and replace the broken part (whether it is a plate or the handle).
Fixed Dumbbell Comparison
1. Rogue Urethane Dumbbells
PRICE: $2.9 per lb (based on a set)
Rogue’s Urethane dumbbells are a premium product with a price tag to match. They would absolutely be my pick from this list, as they look slick, are likely to last a lifetime and I prefer the circular design and uniform handle thickness.
Rogue’s Urethane dumbbells are are sold in 5lb increments up to 150LB.
They are constructed from solid steel heads and are coated in a durable urethane plating with a black matte finish. You couldn’t hope for a more durable and easier to maintain dumbbell.
The handles are constructed out of 6” hardened chrome and have a medium-grade knurling for a firm but comfortable grip. The handle diameter is 31mm for dumbbells up to 45lb and 34mm for dumbbells 50lb and up.
2. Hampton Fitness Pro-Style Dumbbells
PRICE: $2.55 per lb (based on a full set as advertised on Amazon) – I haven’t been able to find a definitive price on Hampton Fitness’ website, so have based the price per pound on the set being sold by Ironcompany on Amazon:
The set includes pairs of dumbbells from 5 to 50 lb in increments of 5lb (10 Pairs, 550 lbs total set weight).
All Hampton Fitness pro-style dumbbells feature a twice-baked gray enamel finish and offer three handle options:
- urethane snug grip,
- deluxe contoured chrome-plated steel, and
- straight chrome-plated steel handles.
The contoured handles measure 35mm in diameter at the center and 30mm in diameter at the tapered edge.
3. York Dumbbells
PRICE: $1.2 per lb (based on a set)
York dumbbells are a good mid-range option for your home gym. However, they only go up to 125lb (rather than 150lb like Rogue’s urethane dumbbells).
They are hex shaped to prevent rolling and have ergonomic contoured chrome handles. The dumbbell heads are covered in durable rubber to protect your dumbbell rack and floors, as well as diminish noise.
The heads are torque-threaded and permanently affixed to a thick 35 mm solid steel shaft improving the strength of the head/handle joint.
The dumbbell handles have a 25mm grip for up to 20lb and a 35mm grip for 20lb to 125lb.
4. CAP Hex Dumbbells
PRICE: $0.95 per lb (approx. – varies per pair)
CAP hex dumbbells are available in pairs from 5lb to 50lb (per dumbbell) in increments of 5lb (per dumbbell).
They might not be as high in quality as some of the other dumbbells on this list but they are outstanding value for money.
Each dumbbell is made from solid cast iron and is coated in rubber. The handles are made from contoured chrome.