A dumbbell set is one of the centerpieces of any home gym. Investing in one can be a decades-long decision and is a common right of passage for many lifting enthusiasts. So whether you are just getting started on your fitness journey or looking to step up your game, our guide will give you the top five best dumbbell sets with racks available in 2021.
Before we get started, if you’re just looking for the bottom line, our choice for the best overall dumbbell set with a rack is the CAP Barbell 150-lb Rubber Hex Dumbbell Weight Set.
It’s a great weightlifting set for light to medium-level lifters and is versatile and stylish. The CAP Dumbbell Weight Set has the best combination of materials, weight, and value for most home gyms and a small footprint.
The Top Dumbbell Set With Rack Reviewed
|Product's name||Type||Structure||More Info|
CAP Barbell 150-lb Hex Dumbbell Weight Set with Vertical Rack
|5-25lbs set of 10 standard hex shaped dumbbells on V-rack||Chrome-plated handles with cast iron weights covered in rubber||See latest price|
|Best value overal|
BalanceFrom Colored Neoprene Coated Dumbbell Set with Stand, multi
|5-12lbs set of 6 hex-shaped dumbbells on mini V-rack||Neoprene coated cast iron weights||See latest price|
|Best budget option|
Amazon Basics Neoprene Workout Dumbbell Hand Weights, 60 Pounds Total,...
|5-15lbs set of 6 hex-shaped dumbbells on mini V-rack||Neoprene coated cast iron weights||See latest price|
|Best adjustable weights|
POWERBLOCK Elite EXP Adjustable Dumbbell (2020 Model)
|5-50lbs set of adjustable dumbbells in a rectangular block||Steel construction||See latest price|
|Best high-end option|
Rep 5-50 lb Rubber Hex Dumbbell Set with Rack
|5-50lbs set of 20 hex-shaped dumbbells on a wall rack||Chrome-plated handles with cast iron weights covered in rubber||See latest price|
Find the right Dumbbell Set with Rack for You
#1- CAP Barbell 150-lb Hex Dumbbell Weight Set with Vertical RackSee latest price
The CAP Barbell 150-lb Rubber Hex Dumbbell Weight Set is, simply put, the best overall dumbbell set on the list. It has everything you need for a fair price and checks all the boxes in our buying guide (see below).
First, it goes all the way up to two 25lbs dumbbells, which is perfect for most beginner to average lifters. The design also looks great, takes up minimal space, and is a rubber-coated hex shape. Also, the rack features a rubber lining to help minimize scratching and to lower annoying noises. The grips are also nice, with chrome-plating and an etched design, making them both easy to hold onto and resistant to rust.
The main drawback is the price, which is slightly higher than other similar sets. However, Because CAP’s products are verified to be high quality, I think it’s worth the expense if you’re already looking for a set in this price range.
The combination of steel grips, meaning no rust, with cast-iron weights with rubber caps is the absolute best of all worlds.
Best value overall
#2- BalanceFrom Colored Neoprene Coated Dumbbell Set with Stand, multiSee latest price
A nice, lighter weight set that still manages to get into the middle weight range at 12lbs, the BalanceFrom Colored Neoprene Coated Dumbbell Set with Stand is perfect for those looking for an easy to grip rubber set.
These are perfect for adding weight to your aerobics and similar lightweight exercise. Again, we’ve got the critical hexagonal shape, and with the thickness of the neoprene, the chance of floor damage is very low.
Compared with steel or cast iron, fully rubberized weights like these don’t make annoying noises when touching the ground or being taken on and off the rack. It also prevents any kind of scratching. They are also more comfortable to grip than metal, plus they don’t leave that metallic smell on one’s hands.
The only drawback of a rubber coating is the lack of durability. It can wear away over time and cause problems. Lastly, this set takes up very little storage area.
Best budget option
#3- Amazon Basics Neoprene Workout Dumbbell Hand Weights, 60 Pounds Total, Green/Blue/Grey - 3 Pairs...See latest price
Amazon Basics products are often hit or miss, especially when it comes to their tech. However, because dumbbells are essentially just made of simple materials with little chance of manufacturing projects, you are relatively safe getting Amazon Basics for them.
These function just as well as the BalanceFrom set but come at a much better value. They have a similar rubber coating, and while there are a bit more quality issues when it comes to the rack, it still functions well.
These dumbbells are by far the best value deal on this list. They are hex-shaped, rubber-coated, and go up to 15lbs each, which isn’t bad for lighter weight workouts. You’re getting a very similar deal to the BalanceForm set, for less.
Best adjustable weights
#4- POWERBLOCK Elite EXP Adjustable Dumbbell (2020 Model)See latest price
The POWERBLOCK Elite EXP Adjustable Dumbbell is perhaps the strangest dumbbell set on this list but is quite highly functional.
The Russian doll-like design allows for many different adjustable weight options in a minimal footprint.
The only drawback is that it can be awkward to pick up the different weight sizes with the handle. Overall, for how weird you expect them to be, picking them up is a different story. They actually handle pretty well and feel good on the grip.
For the price and the small footprint, these are a fantastic deal. In addition, you get such a large adjustable weight range for the price. I highly recommend trying it, even if it is a bit unconventional.
High end option
#3- 5.11 Tactical Hard Case 36 Foam Hc 36 F, Double Tap, One SizeSee latest price
Best high-end option
#5- Rep 5-50 lb Rubber Hex Dumbbell Set with RackSee latest price
REP FITNESS is a top brand for dumbbells, and while the CAP heavyweight set is also a solid option, the REP FITNESS Rubber Hex Dumbbell Set with Racks is our choice for best overall heavyweight set.
These are rubber-coated hex dumbbells, which cover all our desired traits for a dumbbell. They grip well, and the storage rack, while large, is precisely the kind that makes sense for this number of dumbbells.
REP has also made their rubber “low odor,” which means less of that awful processed rubber smell. They’re also exceptionally quiet weights for their size when being placed down.
The handles are chrome-plated and fully knurled, which is optimal for grip and keeping rust away.
The only significant drawback is the price, which is much higher than anything else on this list. This is necessary for any dumbbell rack of this size – there’s simply no way to get this much weight without a decent price tag.
Dumbbell Set With Rack Buying Guide
What to Look for When Buying A Dumbbell Set
If you are just starting out with weight lifting, a solid dumbbell set is a must-buy. Usually, you’ll want to start with a standard set with weights around 5-50lbs. For many people, even 5-25lbs is enough. Only if you are quite a bit more advanced is up to 70lbs useful.
Beyond weight range, however, there are quite a few other considerations, and that’s what this buying guide is here for. Your best choices are going to depend on whether you are training for stamina or strength, the general feel and look of the dumbbells, the size and space of storing them, and finally your budget.
Weight range and adjustability go hand in hand, but essentially, you’ll want options from 5 to 50 pounds, and then it’ll be up to your fitness goals whether you want to go up to 70lbs and whether adjustable weights would be more beneficial for you in that case.
Rubberized weights are best for beginner lifters. They’re easier on the hands and the floor. The difference between a round and a hex design is whether the weights will roll away on a hard surface, so generally speaking, a hex design is safer.
The reason to go for a steel set is durability – rubber will fall apart with constant use, whereas a metal set of dumbbells will easily last decades. However, because they are more uncomfortable and harder to grip, full metal dumbbells are not recommended for beginners.
Steel and cast iron are also noisier to workout with. Regardless of which you choose, a good grip is essential. It can be hard to tell how well you’ll be able to grip while sweaty, so keep that in mind.
Cast iron is the most durable material, followed by chrome-plated steel. Cast iron is also less expensive, but it rusts and therefore doesn’t last as long in great condition. Steel stays stable and is the second most durable, but it’s very expensive.
Today’s sets tend to mix the materials effectively to get the best benefits from each. Try going for one of these mixed material sets.
For most beginners and amateur lifters, rubber will be best. Yes, it’s less durable than metal, but it’s easy to grip, comfortable, and inexpensive. Unless you plan on lifting consistently for decades with a set, the rubber will last you a decent while as well.
The rack will usually come with the dumbbell set, and the main considerations are size, design, and quality.
Some adjustable sets are very helpful in terms of size and storage, as they take up less room for the amount of versatility you get. However, for standard dumbbells with racks, you’ll mostly be looking for a vertical design to take up less floor space.
Dumbbells can get very expensive due to a supply and demand problem where many of the biggest manufacturers can run low when demand spikes. During these times, it’s important not to fall for buying a cheap set just because it’s one of the only options available. Dumbbells can last decades, so invest in a decent set when the time is right.
Beyond supply and demand considerations, value for dumbbells comes to a comparison of materials, rack quality and design, and sometimes special design features.
Working Out with Dumbbells
How to properly use dumbbells
The primary use of dumbbells is to have a set of increasing resistance to the repetitions you’ll be making on your muscles.
Generally, you’ll want to keep increasing your total weight volume over time. For example, for 10 reps of 50lbs, you’ll get 500 pounds volume in a set. You can either increase the reps or the weight to increase total volume.
Generally speaking, higher reps lean towards more aerobic exercise that focuses on weight loss, whereas higher weight leans towards more anaerobic exercise that focuses on muscle gain.
The ability to switch between exercises and weights is also important, as this adds muscle confusion to your workout. Muscle confusion forces unworked muscles to become activated and is generally thought to increase overall gains.
Beginner Dumbbell Exercises
Perhaps the most famous dumbbell exercise, it’s straightforward to do as well.
Begin with your arms relaxed at your sides, a dumbbell in each hand. Next, turn your hands outward so that your palms face forward. Then, lift both arms at the elbow until the dumbbells nearly reach your shoulders and slowly bring them back down.
Be careful to keep your elbows from moving, or else you won’t target the right muscles. The more your elbows move, the more the exercise works on your shoulders.
Hold a pair of dumbbells relaxed at your sides. Then, raise both arms laterally until they form a T-shape with your body. Then slowly bring your arms back down to your sides.
The lateral raise is great for beginners because you don’t need a lot of core strength. It exercises your shoulders, also called deltoid muscles and is very easy to do.
The lunge with dumbbells is no different than a regular lunge except holding a dumbbell in each arm relaxed at one’s sides.
A full lunge begins at a standing position before taking one big step forward and leaning down with the step. Your front leg should be at a 90-degree angle and with your back leg move the knee as close to the ground as possible.
Alternate legs between reps.
The lunge allows you to build glute and leg muscles with dumbbells, which you might not have expected to be able to do.
The Overhead Press begins with your arms bent at 90-degree angles at your sides, a dumbbell in each hand. Then, lift your arms overhead so that they are both as high as you can go without stretching them. Finally, bring that back down to the 90-degree position.
This exercise adds serious strength to your deltoid muscles.
The triceps kickback is an isolation exercise that lets you get at a generally neglected muscle. It’s a little more complicated than the others too.
First, put one hand and the same side knee and shin onto a bench. Leave your other foot on the ground and lift a dumbbell in your other arm. Hold the dumbbell at a 90-degree angle with your upper arm parallel to your body and your forearm going down.
From this position, straighten your arm so that the dumbbell goes back up past your hips. Afterward, come back down again with your arm to the original position.
Repeat for both sides.
FAQs for Dumbbell Set With Rack
Why are dumbbells so expensive?
The main reason is shipping. The materials and production costs to make dumbbells are cheapest abroad, but their weight leads to very expensive shipping costs. Unfortunately, it doesn’t help to get the raw materials shipped here to be manufactured, as the shipping weight ends up the same.
What is PVC hex?
PVC is a durable plastic made out of vinyl. It is lighter and less expensive than rubber. Hex simply refers to the shape, which keeps the dumbbells from rolling away. A PVC hex dumbbell set is a solid choice for a beginner looking for the best budget option.
Which is better: PVC or rubber?
PVC is a durable plastic that is less expensive than rubber. However, it doesn’t look as good as rubber, and requires more size for the same weight. It is also harder to get the grip right with it. However, PVC weights can be a great option if you are just looking for a better value for the amount of weight.
After reviewing many different dumbbell sets and their various racks, we came up with a good variety of the best ones for different purposes.
Best overall is the CAP Barbell 150-lb Rubber Hex Dumbbell Weight Set, which has great versatility and will work for almost any lifter and any home gym situation. If you need something less expensive but with similar functionality, the POWERBLOCK is perfect for an adjustable weight set. The BalanceForm only goes up to 12lbs but is great on a budget and for light weight lifting.
Finally, for a serious weightlifting set, the REP FITNESS set is just magnificent, with everything you could need in a great package.