Knowledge & Advice

Cheap vs Expensive Dumbbells: Is It Worth It?

Cheap vs Expensive Dumbbells: Is It Worth It?

When deciding if you need to add dumbbells to your home or commercial gym facility, you will likely have come across a wide variety of options available. With so many to choose from it can make the prospect of picking the right dumbbell seem a daunting task.

One of the main considerations whether this is your first time buying or you have done it before, is the potential price. This can lead to questions such as should I buy cheap dumbbells, why should I purchase expensive dumbbells and what factors should I consider when choosing my next set of dumbbells.

But fear not, here at Origin Fitness we wanted to make this process as simple as we can, so read on below for our opinion on whether a cheap or expensive dumbbell is right for you. We also included a neat summary at the end for those of you short on time.


hex dumbbells

Why Are Dumbbells So Expensive?

There are numerous reasons why dumbbells are expensive, we will discuss this in detail for both cheap and expensive options, but 3 of the main factors influencing cost can be seen in the following areas:

  • Weight: The heavier the dumbbell the more expensive it will be, due to more material being required to manufacture it.

  • Materials: Dumbbells are made from various quality materials such as rubber, iron and urethane with each impacting price.

  • Built To Last: Unless you are a commercial facility, buying dumbbells is likely a one time purchase. This means fitness equipment manufacturers are less likely to see frequent purchases from customers for these products. These products are built to last which means prices have to be set appropriately to make it profitable.

dumbbells on rack

Cheap Dumbbells

When first looking at the various dumbbell options available to you, the price can sometimes be shocking. Depending on your needs, a cheaper dumbbell option may be more suitable for your gym requirements.

Whether you are new to weight training, or an expert, dumbbells are perfect as a full-body conditioning tool. They can be used to target a wide range of muscle groups, help you build strength and muscle, and as part of a Circuit or Cross Training workout, they can also increase stamina and endurance.

There are many different brands out there, but our Gym Division Hex Dumbbells are a great cheaper alternative to the popular more expensive urethane and rubber dumbbells.

This rubber hex dumbbell offers durability as well as protection against flooring damage and noise levels. They also have have a steel curved handle, have a hexagonal shape offering an anti-roll feature and are easy to store, making them the perfect addition to any home or commercial gym.

Speaking with our product development team, here's what they had to say regarding cheap dumbbells:

"One of the classic functional products, hex dumbbells are great for home and PT use as they are an extremely versatile bit of kit. For higher traffic sites, it is worth bearing in mind that their internal structure is cast iron and the rubber surface coating can show dirt and wear over prolonged use" - Sean McGhee (Product Development Manager)

Origin Fitness Hex Dumbbells

Pros & Cons For Cheap Dumbbells

When it comes to weighing up your options with cheaper dumbbells there are a few things to consider:


Budget: If you don’t have a large budget, then cheap dumbbells can be a great option if budgets are tight and you need a cost convenient solution.
Occasional Workout: If you only plan to use dumbbells for the occasional at home workout then buying a cheaper version could be a better option for you.
Lightweight Dumbbells: If you only plan to use lightweights, then it may not be worthwhile investing in a expensive set of dumbbells. In this weight category, you wont see much variance between the quality of these products. If this is what you are looking for, we have a range of Origin Vinyl Studio Dumbbells which will do the trick.


Quality: With cheaper dumbbells you can occasionally run into quality issues, depending on where you buy from. Quality measures are not always as stringent with these types of dumbbells.
Durability: Typically lower quality materials are used at this price point which has the potential to reduce the life of a dumbbell. This can become a problem for home or commercial gyms where they will see a lot of daily use from users.
Accuracy of Weights: In some instance, weights can be off by 1lb or more depending on the manufacturer, this is something to consider with your next set.

Workout with Origin Hex Dumbbells

Mid-Range Dumbbells

The next range you will likely come across are mid-range dumbbells. These can be a great addition to any home or commercial gym, as they tend to be slightly more durable and have modern designs to suit all environments. Due to the weights being a single pieces of rubber, they are less likely to be damaged and therefore are able to withstand the busiest studios and facilities.

One of the best options is our Series 3 Rubber Dumbbells which are suitable for users of all abilities due to the small incremental jumps between weight sizes. The natural virgin rubber protects the weight itself, your flooring and reduces noise making them a great step up from the cheaper options.

The knurled handles also means you are less likely to lose your grip during sets, allowing you to push for PB's. The handle length is the same across all sizes making it easier for users to progress up weight ranges during supersets. The simplistic design gives the rubber dumbbells a more uniformed look for your facility making it suitable in a wide variety of gym facilities.

Speaking with our product development team, here's what they had to say about mid-range dumbbells:

"RD3 is the entry level product to solid-steel construction in our dumbbell range. The rubber surface coating is 100% virgin rubber, giving good durability along with a clean aesthetic. The internal steel construction offers greater durability and improved overall strength vs the cast iron of Hex Rubber Dumbbells" - Sean McGhee (Product Development Manager)

dumbbells on rack

Pros & Cons For Mid-Range Dumbbells

When it comes to mid-range options there are a few points to consider:


Durability: Whether it's for a home or commercial gym, mid-range dumbbells can be a great option due to their increased durability.
Budget Friendly: They can also provide a budget friendly price point when compared with some of the more expensive options out there.


Versatility: While these dumbbells will have improved build quality compared to cheaper dumbbells, reduced quality knurling on the grips can sometimes be seen compared with expensive dumbbells. This may be only be an issue in commercial gym settings where the dumbbells will see heavy use by lots of users on a regular basis.

Expensive Dumbbells

After looking at cheap and mid-range options you, may be wondering why you would choose an expensive set of dumbbells. There are a number of benefits to consider which can make paying a bit more worthwhile.

As an example, our Series 3 UD3 Urethane Dumbbells are manufactured with solid steel heads and are surrounded by a thick, shock absorbent impact resistant layer of urethane. This can make them more versatile as they can suit a variety of different users from beginner's to experts.

The urethane layer makes this dumbbell especially durable in the busiest of gym facilities. This type of dumbbell also has additional features such as weight identification on the top, bottom and end of dumbbell, making it easier to identify on the rack. It also has the added bonus of an anti-roll feature which means these dumbbells can be securely stored and maximise safety for users in all gym environments.

Furthermore the handles on this type of dumbbell tend to have superior knurling, which improves grip and increase comfort throughout a workout. If you are looking to truly get your moneys worth, it's well worth investing in an expensive set of dumbbells.

Speaking with our product development team, here's what they had to say about mid-range dumbbells:

"Combining the functional benefits of a hex dumbbell with the steel construction of RD3, then coating the entire product in durable polyurethane, UD3 offers the best performance in all categories from the Origin range.

4 flat sides allow floor work to be performed, the multiple numbered surfaces allow easy identification when stored, and the polyurethane coating will stand up to the heaviest of uses in a commercial site." - Sean McGhee (Product Development Manager)

Origin UD3 Urethane Dumbbells

Pros & Cons For Expensive Dumbbells

When looking at expensive options there are a few things to consider:


Quality: Investing extra money on dumbbells typically means you will be receiving a product which is made from the highest quality materials. Urethane is a common material in this category as it provides an exceptional thick shock absorbent layer. Additionally, these dumbbells will also have better knurling for improved grip and additional anti-roll features.
Durability: Expensive dumbbells are typically built with durability in mind which is necessary if they will be seeing a lot of heavy use. The quality of the materials directly correlates with the level of durability which is why urethane is common in these dumbbells.
Versatility: Expensive dumbbells tend to have better build quality and versatility to suit a wide range of users from beginners to professional athletes. They will usually have greater levels of knurling, better weight identification and options for personal embossing.


Price: The only real reason that puts people off purchasing expensive dumbbells tends to be the price, however we believe over the long term its well worth investing early. If price is still a sticking point then you can always look out for deals such as black Friday and new years, when fitness equipment can come online at a reduced rate.

gym group dumbbells

What Are The Main Differences Between Each Type Of Dumbbell?

What Materials Are Used

Depending on what material is used during manufacturing, it can increase the price significantly, based on whether it is made of cast iron, rubber or urethane materials. The type of material can also influence the quality of the product and the level of durability over its lifetime.

Where It Is Made

If a dumbbell is produced in countries such as the UK or USA, it can be more expensive than overseas in China. This can be due to cheaper material sourcing costs, as materials don't need to be imported and production facilities also tend to be closer to the coastline, resulting in reduced travel time for products before being shipped.

Where The Materials Come From

Depending on where materials are sourced, it can make it cheap or expensive. If the dumbbell is manufactured in the UK, but requires materials which need to be shipped from overseas, this can also increase the costs.

Accuracy Of Weight

If you are a serious about the weight of your dumbbells, then a more expensive option may be a better purchase. Cheaper dumbbells may potentially be off by a pound or more in weight, this can be due to lack of quality control from certain manufacturers. Expensive dumbbells will typically go through more stringent quality procedures and control checks to ensure these issues don't occur.

Dumbbell Workout

Are There Any Similarities Between Each Type Of Dumbbell?

Whilst there are differences between the price point of each type of dumbbell, similarities are more related to the benefits of using the equipment overall such as:

Identify And Help With Strength Imbalances

As dumbbells force the body to work on one side, they can clearly highlight where weaknesses in the body may be. Compensation cannot occur, making them an effective tool when trying to effectively target strength imbalances.

Increased Range Of Motion

When looking to build strength or muscle, increasing your range of motion is an effective method to target hard to reach muscle groups. In fixed compound movements such as the bench press, limited range of motion can sometimes occur. Utilising dumbbells in addition to compound movements, can be an efficient way to effectively overload muscles groups not targeted during your workouts.

Intensify Your Workouts With Variation

If you solely focus on using barbells for your training, then you are missing out big time. Dumbbells offer the option to a variety of exercises including drop sets, super sets and rack and run sets. Complimenting your compound movements with these additional set types, is an effective way to add high intensity training into your workout sessions.

Origin RD3 Rubber Dumbbells

Comment From The Experts

So, what's the general consensus when it comes to looking at if cheap or expensive dumbbells are worth it? Here's what our product development team had to say:

"When shopping for dumbbells, it is important to consider that in most gyms the dumbbell set is one of, if the not the singular, highest traffic equipment pieces in your space. To buy the perfect set for your facility, careful consideration of budget and the traffic through your site must be undertaken.

If bought correctly, a good set of commercial quality dumbbells will give you many years of reliable usage, but it is key to select the correct product for this to occur. In our collective experience, the sites who get the most out of their dumbbells are the ones that buy the very best set they can afford as an investment in their future growth" - Sean McGhee (Product Development Manager)

Dumbbell press origin fitness

To Sum Up...

Is a cheap, mid-range or expensive dumbbell the right option for you? If you only plan to use them infrequently then a cheaper option might be best, but for long term use in home or commercial gym facilities we would recommend spending that bit extra and investing in expensive dumbbells.

Here's a summary of the content in this guide:

Dumbbell Type Cheap Mid Level Expensive
Recommended Hex Dumbbells RD3 UD3
Pros Low Cost Budget Friendly step up from cheaper options Quality, Durability & Versatility
Cons Durability & Accuracy of Weights Versatility Price


Are Expensive Dumbbells Worth It?

Depending on your requirements expensive dumbbells are a worthwhile purchase, as you will receive a product which uses better quality materials, has higher levels of durability and increased knurling for improved grip and comfort when working out.

Why Are Some Dumbbells So Expensive?

This can be due to a variety of factors including the materials used, weight of the dumbbell and they are typically not a repeat purchase.

How Much Should I Pay For A Set Of Dumbbells?

Prices can vary depending on if you are buying a single dumbbell or are purchasing a set. This means prices can vary from £2 to £1,500.

Is There A Difference Between Cheap vs Expensive Dumbbells?

Yes, typically this will come down to the quality of materials used, level of durability and accuracy of the weight itself.

Is It worth It To Buy Dumbbells?

Yes, dumbbells provide a full body workout and can target a wide variety of muscle groups. If you want a deep dive on the different types out there then see our dumbbell buying guide.

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