Best Cast Iron Dumbbell Sets

Updated October 2019
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
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We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

31 Models Considered
9 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
412 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.

Buying guide for best cast iron dumbbell sets

Last Updated October 2019

For many of us, cardio, aerobics, stretching, and eating right are all part of our fitness regimen, but for one reason or another, lifting weights hasn't made it into our routine yet. If you want to get in the best shape of your life, weights need to be part of the plan, and a cast iron dumbbell set is the easiest way to incorporate that element.

If you've never lifted weights before, figuring out which kind to get might be a bit overwhelming. There are so many shapes and sizes to choose from, how do you know which is best for you?

Don't worry. That's why we created this page. By reading this article, you can learn everything you need to know about cast iron dumbbells and how to effectively slip them into your workout routine. However, if you only stopped by for a recommendation on which models are the most highly rated, check out the sets that we've spotlighted in this guide.

Don't be afraid to spend a little extra on the best weight set. There's a good chance you’ll only need to purchase one set of cast iron dumbbells.

Key considerations

A dumbbell is basically a bar that is equally weighted at each end to provide balance. Before you start looking at details such as shape and coating, however, there are two main features you need to consider first: fixed or adjustable and the total weight.

Fixed vs. adjustable

Fixed weight: Purchasing a set of cast iron dumbbells with fixed weights means you’ll have a separate pair of dumbbells for each weight. For instance, one pair of dumbbells may weigh 5 pounds while another weighs 10 pounds. These dumbbells are typically one piece, so they’re durable, and you can quickly increase or decrease weight just by picking up a different pair. The downside to fixed-weight dumbbells is that they take up more room.

Adjustable weight: For adjustable dumbbell sets, you typically get two bars, four collars, and a variety of weight plates. No matter how easy it is to add or remove plates, it will never be as fast as simply picking up a fixed weight dumbbell in the middle of a workout. You must also be certain to fully tighten the plates onto the bars whenever you’re adding or removing weights to be sure they’re secure during your workout. The big advantage to having adjustable weights is they take up considerably less room to store.

Total weight

The other key consideration is the total weight of the set. For a fixed-weight set, this means the weight of the largest dumbbell, because you can only hold one at a time in each hand. For an adjustable set, it means the number of plates you can fit on one bar. You don't want to purchase a set of cast iron dumbbells that’s too light to be of any use. You also don’t want a set that’s so heavy you could injure yourself. One thing you need to watch out for is that adjustable sets usually list the weight of the entire set. If you purchase a 50-pound set, for example, that means 25 pounds on each bar.

EXPERT TIP

Hex-shaped cast iron dumbbells won't roll away.


Staff  | BestReviews

Cast iron dumbbell set features

After you’ve considered the main points, you can focus on the details that can enhance the user experience.

Shape

Cast iron dumbbells come in many shapes. Disk-shaped plates are the norm in adjustable sets, but fixed weights can be round, square, or hexagonal. The main benefit to square and hexagonal weights is that they’ll stay in place when you set them down.

Coating

Cast iron is prone to rust and corrosion, so most weight sets are coated.

Paint: Painted sets are the most affordable, and they can be repainted if the coating starts to chip.

Chrome: Chrome-coated sets look more impressive, but when they chip, it's much harder to repair.

Soft: Soft coatings such as rubber or neoprene will help with grip and protect both your dumbbells and floor from damage, but those coatings are typically only found on fixed-weight sets. Additionally, the coating is often colored to make it easy to quickly identify the weight you want to grab. On the downside, these coatings can also wear away, and on some of the less-expensive brands they may actually begin to deteriorate or melt and damage your floor or furniture.

Grip

A textured grip is best, especially once you begin sweating. The main area of concern is that textured bars can have a few stray shards of metal, which can deliver painful splinters. It's best to wipe these bars down and be careful during the first few workouts to lessen the chance of injury.

Storage

Some sets come with a stand, while others may come with a case or tray. If the set you’re considering doesn’t include any means of storage, you might want to consider purchasing something separately to help keep your cast iron dumbbells better organized.

Purchase fixed-weight dumbbells in pairs.

Cast iron dumbbell set prices

When considering the price of a cast iron dumbbell set, in general, the more weights there are in the set or the heavier those weights are, the more the set costs.

Inexpensive: A set of two dumbbells weighing a couple pounds each costs less than $10. For under $50, you can find a lighter-weight set of three or four pairs of colored neoprene-coated, fixed-weight dumbbells. The heaviest weight will be 10 pounds or less. Some of these lower-priced sets include a stand.

Mid-range: In the $50 to $100 price range, you can find adjustable sets of cast iron dumbbells featuring two handles, four collars, and a variety of weight plates that total less than 100 pounds.

Expensive: Spend more than $100, and you'll find mostly the same materials as in the lower-priced sets, but these sets have more or heavier weight plates.

EXPERT TIP

The one drawback to cast iron dumbbell sets is that they can take up a great deal of space. A dumbbell rack can help you keep your weights organized.


Staff  | BestReviews

Tips

  • Consult your doctor before you exercise. Before starting any kind of exercise routine, it’s best to get the approval of your doctor. Weight training, in particular, can put a great deal of stress and strain on your body, so you want to be certain it’s safe for you before beginning.
  • Do some dynamic stretches before lifting. Stretching while moving improves your mobility through the range of motion and helps prepare you for strenuous activity.
  • Use proper form. Always execute exercises with proper form. If you can’t, it means that the dumbbells you’re using are too heavy.
  • Pay attention. If something hurts or doesn't feel right, stop. No pain. Period. Pain is your body's way of telling you something is wrong. Listen to it.
  • Pace yourself. You need to be able to finish your entire workout routine. Burning out in the first five minutes won't help you. In fact, it could cause you to perform movements in a sloppy manner, which can lead to injuries.
  • Recover between workouts.  Fitness happens in two stages: tear it down and build it back up. If you do hard workouts seven days a week, your muscles won’t have a chance to recover.
  • Stretch again. After working out, it’s advantageous to perform some static stretches. These will help prevent fatigue and lessen any muscle soreness.

Other products we considered

Whether you want more weights, fewer weights, a different type of bar, or something else, a large part of finding the best set of cast iron dumbbells comes down to personal preference. In order to be certain that we've got you covered, here are a few more options that you may find desirable. The AmazonBasics Adjustable Weight Set includes four 2.5-pound plates and four 5.0-pound plates. The bars feature a textured grip, and the set comes with a case. For a little more weight, you might want to consider the Omnie Adjustable Dumbbell Set, which comes with 16 weight plates ranging from 1.25 to 5.0 pounds. If you'd like to take it up to the next level, the Ringstar Adjustable Dumbbells include an impressive 95 pounds of painted cast iron weight plates.

If you purchase a hex-shaped set of cast iron dumbbells, you can use them for push-ups, too. It’s easier on your wrists and allows for a greater range of motion.

FAQ

Q. What are the benefits of weight training?
A.
If you’re doing a cardio-heavy workout and think that you don’t need weight training, you're wrong. Cardio, at best, is only half of the equation. When you add weights to your exercise routine (in the right way), you’ll experience such obvious benefits as increased strength and better ability to handle day-to-day tasks. Weight training also burns calories, strengthens connective tissue, and can even increase bone density, which can reduce the risk of osteoporosis.

Q. I don't want to bulk up. Are weights really for me?
A.
Yes! Lifting weights alone, even heavy weights, isn’t going to turn you into a bulked-up beast. The type of fuel you put into your body plays a critical role in how big you get. Additionally, if you don’t wish to add bulk, focus on exercising your slow-twitch muscles, the muscles that provide endurance.

Q. What weight should I start with?
A.
Although many guides offer a set rule like starting with a certain weight, that isn’t the best approach. As with any physical endeavor, you need to pay attention to your body. You want to start with a weight that’s heavy enough to make you feel it after ten repetitions but not so heavy that you have to strain, shake, or lose form. If that happens, you need to use a lighter weight. By the end of your third set (with only 30 to 60 seconds of rest between sets), you should be struggling to finish, but it’s still important to not break form or jerk the weights in order to complete that last rep. If it’s too easy to do three sets of ten, you can gradually increase the weight until you discover your ideal.

The team that worked on this review
  • Allen
    Allen
    Writer
  • Bronwyn
    Bronwyn
    Editor
  • Eliza
    Eliza
    Production Manager
  • Enid
    Enid
    Editor
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer

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