Dumbbells are some of the best fitness tools money can buy. If you’re decking out your home gym, you can’t really afford to miss them out – they are a complete must have.
They are incredibly versatile, for starters.
I use them a lot for both compound and isolation work, for main movements and accessories, for strength training, hypertrophy, and conditioning. I will use heavy ones for chest presses, rows and overhead presses, for example, followed by lighter ones for things like lateral raises, biceps curls and French presses. Then I will use them for front squats, squat thrusts, renegade rows and lunges as part of a circuit. All in one session.
I always favour hex dumbbells. I use them whenever I have the option (which is often, as I chose my usual gym in part for their great collection of heavy, professional hex dumbbells).
Today, I’ll run you through some of my personal favourites.
Hex Dumbbells Vs Other Dumbbells
Dumbbells are dumbbells, surely? If you’re using a 30kg, handheld weight, surely any type will do?
Well, kind of. Your muscles won’t really know much of a difference – strength and hypertrophy gains will be much the same. Who cares if they are hex shaped or rounded?
However, there is a great difference in utility between the two, with each having their own merits and their own downsides.
First off, I just want to point out that hex dumbbells can indeed be used for everything for which you would use regular pro or circular dumbbells, including all of the movements mentioned in my intro. Your muscles will get the same workout either way!
However, hex dumbbells are perfect for ground-based work, for anything performed from a plank or push up position. They are more stable, as they have a flat edge, so if you’re performing push ups or planks, using them as handles, you’ll be solid. The same is true of things like manmakers and renegade rows.
There will be no roll at all for you to control, so you can simply get on with focussing on the movements themselves.
The lack of roll is useful when you’re skipping through weights quite quickly. If you’re using three or four sets, you want to make sure they stay in place so they’re easier to find and pick up as you change. This makes them perfect for drop-, super-, and giant- sets.
Hex dumbbells are often also a lot cheaper than round ones (as round ones can be a lot more professional in quality).
Obviously, this will have a downside. Round dumbbells are generally rubberised where hex dumbbells usually aren’t, which will stop them from chipping or from marking your floors. Round dumbbells will also often have more handle options – rounded, fat grip, contoured, and so on.
However, if you’re looking to deck out your home gym with cheaper options that give a lot more utility, then hex dumbbells really are the way to go.
- They are usually a fair amount cheaper
- They have a lot more utility, as they can be used for floor exercises like push ups and rows
- They don’t roll, which means that you can skip between them quickly, between sets
- They sometimes aren’t rubberised, meaning that paint can chip and floors can be marked (most of the items in our list are, however, so there’s no need to fear!)
- They can be hard to find with straight handles
Our Top 6 Hex Dumbbells
These hex dumbbells are all fantastic. They are well worth the money, are robust enough to withstand a decent amount of punishment (I really play tested them on this one!) and are lovely to use. Whichever set you pick, if they are from this list, you really won’t go far wrong.
Whether you’re looking at maxing out with heavyweight dumbbells in the 30kg+ category, or looking for more slimline, lightweight options, beginning as low as a kilogram or two, you should find something to suit you below. You will also be able to choose from smooth and knurled handles (both with their plusses and minuses – I personally prefer knurled) and from a few different materials.
Whatever you need from your workout, the hex dumbbells below should be able to cater to it.
JTX Hex Dumbbells
JTX are one of the biggest providers going for well-priced, decent quality home gym equipment. Their cross trainers, spin bikes, treadmills and rowing machines are all good – I’ve reviewed quite a few of their models over the years and would always recommend anybody visit JTX as a solid option for their gear.
Their hex dumbbells are no different. They are well-made and feel robust. They are balanced, firm, and nicely weighed – everything you would want from a set of hex dumbbells. You can buy them in pairs, beginning at 2kg and going up to 18kg.
This is a little on the low side, though not uncommonly so. You will be able to get good isolation work out of these, no matter your level. I struggle to maintain strict form on my curls and lateral raises with their heavier sets. Lower body volume work is also achievable – I used these for step ups and leg raises and they worked a treat.
However, mid-to top-tier lifters won’t really get much mileage out of these for their upper bodies. 18kg simply isn’t enough for some lifters with their overhead and chest presses.
This being said, these are hex dumbbells. They are for floor stability. Manmakers, renegade rows, and all things circuit-based will be more than doable with any set of these (even I get tired overhead pressing 18kg in each arm when I’m doing it as part of a circuit!).
Mirafit Hex Dumbbells
Mirafit’s Hex Dumbbells are another set that are perfect for all-comers, for all body parts. They come heavy, so they will be good for large scale compound exercises like chest presses, overhead presses, rows, and squats. They are also available light, so that anybody can buy a pair and begin training with no previous experience.
In fact, Mirafit’s Hex Dumbbells start at 1kg pairs. The first couple of jumps are in 2kg stages, at 3kg and5 kg, after which the jumps get larger, at 2.5kg. This is perfect – absolutely perfect – for catering to all levels.
Then they go all the way up to 35kg, which is on the heavy side even for me. I struggled to get too many overhead press reps out of these, and even managed to tire myself out pretty quickly working rows and chest presses. Then there were the mid-range weights, around the 15-20kg mark, which were perfect for circuits.
They are all rubber coated, which will help to keep them and your floor safe and are solid steel with a contoured grip. Heavier ones may rip your hands up a little, but your skin will soon toughen up. Then you’ll have a measure of control over them with which smooth grips simply cannot compete.
Mirafit’s Hex Dumbbells are sold in pairs. However, do note that if you order anything above 15kg, they will be mailed separately (to save the poor postie’s back from giving out!) Allow a couple of days between deliveries.
Motion Hex Dumbbells
I really like the engineering behind Motion’s Hex Dumbbells.
On the face of it, they are similar to any other hex dumbbell going. They have a decent rubber coating to protect themselves and the surface on which you’re training, giving them longevity and making them nice and quiet. They have the shaping you would want, so that they don’t roll during use – if anything, they are actually more stable than many other designs, which I found particularly useful during a hard set of slow-motion mountain climbers!
However, they are built for hand comfort, with an ergonomic design that works really well. This goes against what I would usually look for, and if it was my money, I’d probably go with something rougher and readier. But if you like comfort and clever design, these are great.
The cast iron core seems particularly well balanced, too (and goes a long way to guaranteeing their longevity.) The shaping and weight distribution work together very well to give you a smooth set of movement patterns, easily and incredibly safely executed time after time.
They aren’t cheap, but the quality speaks for itself (and then some!).
They are lightweight, however. They begin low, at 1kg pairs, which is good for beginners looking to make the most of isolation exercises and higher rep work. They then jump up in low increments, making progression easy and natural. However, the heaviest you can get them is 15kg. This really isn’t good enough, as far as I’m concerned.
I really don’t think I’ve ever used such a smooth set of dumbbells, whether hex or any other kind. They are wonderfully designed and made. However, they just need to go up another 10kg on each side and you’d have my interest.
If you want a really nice few sets of dumbbells and need lighter weights for your training regime, go for these. However, don’t expect to ever go heavy.
York Fitness Hex Dumbbells
York Fitness are one of the biggest names in fitness equipment. If you’ve ever spent any amount of time training in a gym or leisure centre, there is a very good chance that you have used something they have made.
Their hex dumbbells are very nice to use. They are contoured ergonomically with a well knurled grip – they may feel a little rough to start with, but the callouses you will develop, and the strength and control you will find using them, will all be very much to the better.
You can buy York’s hex dumbbells as pairs, beginning at 1.25kg and jumping in even, small amounts up to 12.5kg. This should serve a lot of people very well and will be a pretty cost-effective way of doing things.
You can buy them as singles ranging all the way up to 25kg. Though far from the heaviest on this list, that’s still a very respectable amount. They will suit most purposes very ably – I certainly managed to get a decent, explosive, well-weighted workout from them!
They are rubber coated for safety and durability, meaning that you shouldn’t scuff them or your floors up too badly, and are built to last.
VitalGym Hex Dumbbells
VitalGym’s Hex Dumbbells are particularly durable.
They come with a good quality outer rubber coating that gives a great deal of protection. It also means that they are far less likely to scuff any floor surfaces and are pretty quiet when dropped.
Smooth cast iron handles mean that they are also very comfortable to use. I admit that I like a little bit more grip as I train – I have thick callouses and I like to put them to good use! If you don’t mind sacrificing comfort for control, I would advise going with something a little grippier. However, if you like comfort, these are a very solid option.
They look and feel great, and you can really throw them around – what’s not to love?
VitalGym’s Hex Dumbbells are sold in pairs, ranging from 5kg to 20kg, in increments of 2.5kg. This suits me well – I like heavier weight options, and the large jumps in weight, and the large starting weight, are perfect for my level.
However, many people will find that 5kg isn’t particularly accessible, especially at first. It will rule out many isolation exercises. 2.5kg is a large jump indeed – if you are finding 7.5kg too easy, there is no guarantee that jumping straight in at 10kg will work for you.
Realistically, I would suggest that stronger, more experienced athletes look at VitalGym’s Hex Dumbbells – especially if they like a little comfort and durability.
Body Revolution Hex Dumbbells
Let’s end with some chunky boys. Body Revolution’s hex dumbbells begin at 1kg pairs, but then go all the way up to 40kg! This is enough for pretty much any athlete going.
Such a wide range of weights really is magnificent. Absolute beginners can jump in on them straight away, with just a few kilos in each hand, but true strength lifters will also be able to get a good workout from them. Their hex design coupled with their hefty upper weights meant that I personally got a really good single arm clean and press going – they start and end on the floor, stable as anything, but then at the apex you’re push pressing and locking out 40kg above your head.
They aren’t just hefty, however. They are smart, well-designed, and very well-made. They have ergonomic steel handles for a comfortable grip, with enough traction that you won’t be letting go anytime soon, no matter how much you throw them around. The durable cast iron and rubber coating keeps everything well-balanced and hard-wearing (these will last longer than you will, every time).
They are great. I would recommend them to any stronger lifters, though all-comers will be able to find something to suit them.
Why go with hex dumbbells over any other?
As above, hex dumbbells have their own positives, alongside their own negatives. I favour them as I like explosive, ground based circuits, and I like working through large circuits and drop sets. This means I need to be able to use dumbbells that are stable on the ground and that won’t roll anywhere.
Hex dumbbells are far more stable on the floor as their flat edges keep them from rolling anywhere.
Where’s the best place to buy hex dumbbells online?
Online shopping is the main way many of us buy fitness equipment, so naturally you want a trusted retailer. All of the links used in our list above are tried and tested – the vendors they take you to are all top-notch.
Other than these, it’s always worth either going with a large scale vendor with good warranties and supply chains, like Amazon, or going direct to seller, on York’s own website, for example.
Are used hex dumbbells any good?
They absolutely can be. I’ve bought many second hand and they generally work well.
However, do note that they don’t last as well as rounded dumbbells, as they are generally not rubberised. This is mainly an aesthetic concern, as you will likely end up getting sets with chipped paint that nevertheless weigh as much and perform as well as they should.
Also, hygiene is obviously a thing. Remember to wash anything you buy second hand, as we all tend to sweat heavily when we train hard enough!
Why are dumbbells so expensive?
Shipping costs factor into dumbbells’ high prices. They are obviously heavy, so they are harder and more expensive to ship than many other items. The heavier they are (and hopefully we’re all going for progressively heavier sets as we progress) the more this plays into it.
Other than this, most dumbbells will be made from good-quality iron or similar metals. This costs a fair amount to source and produce.
What exercises benefit most from using hex dumbbells?
All standing exercises benefit from using hex dumbbells, as they are easier to work with as you pick them up from, and put them down on, the floor.
Circuits and larger sets, alongside drop sets, especially, stand to benefit from hex dumbbell use, as you can use multiple weights without worrying about them rolling away.
The biggest area of benefit is in grounded exercises performed from a plank position, as the increased stability from the hex dumbbells’ flat edges will be very important. If you’re using them as handles, this means planks and push ups. It also includes exercises like renegade rows, grounded rows and manmakers, where stability is key.