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You’ve come to the right place if you’re in the market for some great free weights to kickstart your home gym. The pandemic has revolutionised the way we work, socialise and even train, with more and more people opting to kit out their garage or spare room instead of hitting the regular gym. Whatever your reasons or preferences, having the right material is crucial if you’re serious about training at home. For us, the overriding best option for cost, versatility and quality is the Amonax Cast Iron Dumbbell set available in different weight ranges. But before we get into that, let’s address a few important issues.
What Equipment is Best for a Home Gym?
If you want to train effectively at home, you need to invest in decent equipment. What you’ll need will depend on your training style, budget, and preferences. Whether you want to curl your biceps into ringlets or hit some high-intensity full body workouts, you’ll need some free weights in your gym.
The myth that the only way to gain strength is by lifting heavy loads on a daily basis has long been busted. CrossFit and other high-intensity training methods have proven that high-rep, low-weight workouts can be just as, or even more, effective in toning and strengthening your body.
Unless you want to do Olympic lifts, the most cost effective way to ensure you can have varied strength-based workouts at home is by investing in some decent dumbbells. They’re significantly cheaper, take up less space, and provide infinitely more options than a barbell and set of disks, plus you don’t have to invest in a rack to hold them. Just don’t forget about safety, get a pair of elbow sleeves. Some users also like training with kettlebells, so we’ve reviewed the market’s best and put together a ranking for you. Here are the best free weights you can buy to set up a home gym that’s really worth its salt.
A sturdy, versatile weightlifting set allows for a large weight range at an excellent price.
- Includes a variety of 2.5kg, 1.25kg and 0.5kg disks to achieve a combined total weight of 20 or 30kg (according to the set you pick)
- Stainless steel bars and anti-rust cast iron plates
- Rubber-coated dumbbell handle for enhanced grip
- Includes steel connector pipe to make a barbell
- Best value for money
- Wide range of weights
- Can be used as dumbbells or barbells thanks to the connector
- Rubber handle for more comfortable grip
- 2 year warranty
- Doesn’t come with a carry case
- Have to change weights manually
- Cast iron plates can be noisy or scratch wooden floors
All things considered, we believe this dumbbell set is the best all-rounder, which ticks the most boxes and doesn’t leave a dent in your bank account! Whether you’re just starting out or you’re a seasoned lifter, this set is a great asset to any home gym.
You can choose between the 20 or 30kg set, allowing you a broad weight range to add diversity and progression to your training. You can also use the connector pipe to create a barbell for more comfortable squatting or deadlifting. We would highly recommend this set to those who want to do conventional lifting sets as the variety of disks allows you to increase the weight periodically as you progress without having to splash out on another set of weights.
On the other hand, this option isn’t as convincing for high-intensity high-rep workouts as the spinlock collars have been known to come loose during dynamic movements and could fly off.
The main competitive edge of this product is its rubber coated handle which many users praise. No one wants to cut their hand open on coarse steel, so this extra cushioning is much appreciated!
All in all, this is a great piece of kit to kickstart your home gym venture, and you’ll probably find that you want for nothing more.
Provides great versatility but at a significant cost. Ideal for those wanting a compact solution for a large weight variety, especially if the upfront cost isn’t an issue!
- Comes as single or pair of dumbbells
- Two weight ranges available: 2 – 24kg or 4.5 – 41kg
- Combines 15 weights into one dumbbell with a dial system
- Each dumbbell is 40 x 20 x 23 cm
- Has its own fitness App called JNRY, which offers trainer-led classes for Strength, Core, Yoga and Pilates.
- Dial system makes switching between weights during a workout very simple
- Compact design perfect for those with limited space
- 12 month access to fitness App included
- Compares favourably in terms of price if you need large weight range
- Most expensive option upfront
- Compares unfavourably in terms of price if you need small weight range
- Made of aluminium and plastic, noisy on floors and can scratch
Superficially, these dumbbells appear wildly expensive compared to other weights sold in singular units. However, you have to bear in mind that the price includes a very broad weight range, effectively giving you the experience of having 15 different pairs of dumbbells in your gym. For this reason, though the upfront cost is greater, it still works out miles cheaper than buying all those weights individually. That’s why this is our number one pick in the premium price category.
The best thing about these dumbbells is the ease with which you can switch the weight during your workout. This means you can keep the intensity high and don’t have to waste time stopping to change disks as you do with conventional loadable dumbbells.
It’s also a smart solution for space problems. Most of us don’t have room to set up a full-size gym at home, and some of you may even repurpose another room for your training. The great thing about these dumbbells is that you can pack them away into their case and forget all about them!
Having said that, some people regularly use the same weight for their workouts and might not need such a range, in which case these dumbbells are definitely not worth the price markup.
A solid hexagonal dumbbell that’s suitable for all types of movement and training. Recommended for those who don’t need a large weight range or if you perform many dynamic movements in your training.
- Hexagonal dumbbell made of cast iron and rubber
- Anti-roll weights
- Ergonomic steel handle with knurled grip design
- Best value for money if you don’t need a large weight range
- Sold as a pair or individually
- Perfect for high-intensity workouts and WODs where weight is usually fixed
- Great stability and support for dynamic movements
- Don’t scratch wooden floors
- Quieter than cast iron disks
- Not cost-effective if you need a large weight range
- Bulky and take up more room if you get several weights
If your training style is oriented towards CrossFit or other high-intensity training methods where there’s usually a fixed men’s and women’s weight, this could be the perfect option for you. A well-made set of hexagonal dumbbells that will prove versatile enough to allow hundreds of movement options.
The hexagonal shape means the weights don’t roll, so you can renegade row to your heart’s content without worrying about face planting the floor! The rubber weight also means you don’t have to worry about damaging your floors if you have parquet, or annoying your neighbours with noisy iron disks!
These dumbbells are great for those wanting just one or two weight options. However, if you’re looking to train with a variety of weights, it soon becomes a very costly and bulky option. All in all, the quality and robustness of these weights is praised endlessly by users, and that’s why we believe they deserve one of the top spots in our ranking.
A solid loadable dumbbell that has a weight range of up to 20kg. A great low-cost option for those who don’t mind changing disks during their workout.
- Set includes two handles, four 0.5kg plates, four 1.25kg plates, four 2.5kg plates, 4 collars, and an extended bar.
- Comes with a connection tube to change the dumbbell to a barbell to add more weight.
- Cast iron plates.
- Knurled handle grip.
- The 143mm-wide handle makes the grip more comfortable.
- Loadable and extendible dumbbells are great for saving space
- Set packs away neatly into a box
- Reasonable price tag
- Can purchase additional weights
- Have to change plates manually
- Screw on fasteners come loose during dynamic workouts
- Round plates are not as stable for some exercises
- Only goes up to 20kg
- Knurled handle can be coarse and painful
Similar to the Amonax Loadable dumbbells, Proiron brings us another budget option for those not in need of very heavyweights. This set is only available up to 20kg, so it’s not the best kit for heavy squatting or deadlifting, but it is a solid option for those looking to get started on the movements and begin a strength and conditioning programme.
Having said that, you can purchase extra weights from Proiron if you progress quickly and find yourself wanting more kilos on the bar, but this, of course, comes at an extra cost.
Though this set is similar to the Amonax dumbbell in most of its features, the greatest downside is that the steel handle is coarse and rough, and many users complain of calluses and painful grip after use.
Another common complaint is the noise. If you have hardwood or parquet floors, you should bear in mind that the iron disks are noisy when they come into contact with it, and can also scratch the wood.
In summary, this is a great set of loadable dumbbells which can also be converted into a barbell to add more possibilities to your training.
The best-value kettlebell you’ll find to add complexity and diversity to your training.
- Available from 4 – 24kg
- Cast iron with no welds, weak spots or seams
- Solid finish to prevent corrosion
- Flat bottom for easy storage and stability
- Smooth, rounded handle for better grip
- Extremely durable
- Not as versatile for training
We know some people just love training with a kettlebell and who are we to make you do otherwise! This is our top choice for those kettlebell fanatics. Proiron once again offers us a very reasonably priced product that can add new dimensions to your training. This is a robust and solid piece of material that is guaranteed to stand the test of time.
Whilst we don’t recommend kettlebells as startup kit (favouring dumbbells for their versatility), we do think it’s a great piece of equipment to add to a stagnating fitness routine. Kettlebell swings, snatches and cleans are all great, full-body movements you can incorporate into your training to spice things up and raise your heart rate. So, if you feel like your training is on a plateau, and you want to pull your body out of its comfort zone, this could be a great addition to your home gym!
Now you’ve seen the highest-rated products, here’s a lowdown of our top picks by feature. The best free weights for your home gym for:
Low budgets – Amonax Loadable Dumbbells
Beginners looking to increase weight – Bowflex
CrossFitters – Body Revolution Dumbbells
Exercise Plateau – ProIron Cast Iron Kettlebell
These are our top picks for anyone looking to set up or expand their home gym. Whilst our favourite is the Amonax set, thanks to its balance between features and price, you should choose the best kit for you based on your training style and the space you have available. With the right kit to hand, there’ll be no excuse to keep you away from your fitness goals!