Dumbbells FAQs

Dumbbells FAQs

Finding good dumbbells is hard. It’s important to know what to look for. Hopefully, we can help with the following Frequently Asked Questions.


Buying dumbbells online? 

Dumbbells are an investment for your health and future. Not just money at stake here – a good set of well-designed dumbbells can inspire you to work out often. It is necessary to feel some kind of attachment when you hold a dumbbell. The grip, the materials, and overall quality are important. If you must buy dumbbells online, try to take a closer look at all the materials used in making the dumbbell. Will any part of the dumbbells rust? Are there any bolts or welding used? Which material is used for the bolts? Are there any coatings or plating to make dumbbells shine? Coatings or plating looks fine for a few months but may lose its charm in a few months. Try to get a sample before you invest in an entire set. If you cannot get a sample, try to look at some real images. 3D-rendered images of dumbbells look perfect. However, the real dumbbells often do not live up to the expectations. Try to get some real images.

Is it worth buying cheap dumbbells?

Cheap or expensive is quite a relative term and may depend on the material used for the dumbbells. However, it is necessary to buy a well-designed dumbbell as a dumbbell that is not so well designed may make you lose interest in exercise. A dumbbell with rust all over is uninspiring. Rust on the handles is unhygienic and may cause health problems. Get well-designed dumbbells that will not rust. If you are looking for affordable dumbbells, vinyl or rubber with Stainless steel handles is often the best choice. If you can invest a bit more, Stainless steel (rust-free) is a good choice. Hantlar dumbbells are made from Stainless steel, brass, and copper. Brass and Copper are non-ferrous metals (they do not contain iron) and therefore, never rust. Copper and Brass also have antimicrobial properties and are ideal for handles. Check out our Pro-style dumbbells.

I live near the sea, which dumbbells should I choose? 

Some background info: Sea weather is corrosive. Iron rusts and corrodes in a few weeks in sea weather. If your iron dumbbells are exposed to water, they may rust. Coatings or plating (like nickel plating, paint, zinc coating, etc) may delay the rust by a few months. However, the iron bolts will rust and corrode on many pro-style dumbbells. If the dumbbells are welded together, the welds may rust, etc.

Solution: If you are going to be anywhere near the sea, choose Stainless steel 316. If you are going to use dumbbells on yachts, cruises, gyms on the beach, near your swimming pool, on your balcony facing the sea, etc, you should choose dumbbells made from Stainless steel 316. Our Marine-grade dumbbells are perfect for such applications. Also, you should make sure all the materials used in the dumbbells (including the bolts) are made from Stainless steel. Any material which contains iron will rust and corrode. A stainless steel dumbbell with mild steel bolts is not suitable.

Which is the best dumbbell in the world?

The dumbbell which motivates you for a workout is the best dumbbell in the world for you. Consider the following points while choosing your dumbbells: 1) Do they make me look good? 2) Do they feel right when I hold them – is the grip right? 3)Will they rust? 4) Can I throw them around a little? 5) Do I like the design?

What is knurling? What is volcano knurling?

Knurling is the process of cold pressing or cutting metal to increase grip. Handles are knurled. In barbells and dumbbells, three types of knurling is observed – hill type, volcano, and mountain. 

Types of knurling

You will find many videos about this. Many people believe volcano knurling is the best choice as it does not poke/hurt much but provides a solid grip. Mountain-type knurling is the most aggressive type of knurling – it hurts but provides the maximum grip. Hill-type is quite flat – it feels soft but does not provide a good grip. It is tempting to select the volcano knurl. However, there is great detail in how the volcano knurling is formed. Volcano knurling can also be good or bad! In our opinion, the grip should feel rough (hurt a little) and be extremely grippy (stick to your hand). The grip should provide confidence that the dumbbell will never slip. It is necessary to make deeper knurls without forming poking mountains to achieve this. Deeper knurls need powerful machines and tougher tools (while knurling on stainless steel). Many dumbbells have shallow knurls (about 0.25mm/0.30mm deep). These are easier to achieve but may not provide the best possible grip. Our special volcano knurling is 1.2mm deep on Stainless steel! It feels very grippy but does not poke.

Are rubber or metal dumbbells better?

Rubber hex dumbbells won’t roll and are softer on the floor. They serve the purpose well. However, well-made pro-style metal dumbbells make you fall in love with weight training. Once you lift pro-style, you won’t touch the rubber again!

Which is better? Hex or Round dumbbells?

Hex dumbbells are often cheaper, which makes them attractive to home gym owners. They don’t roll on the ground. Round dumbbells can be more expensive, but they’re often more well-made, making them a better option for pro users and gyms. Rolling dumbbells is actually an advantage – especially for heavier dumbbells. Also, round dumbbells do not roll by themselves on rubber floors – they need a push.

Are thick grips better than thin grips?

Some manufacturers have started experimenting with making slightly fatter grips for more forearm pumps. Having fat grips (max 2 inches) makes lifting dumbbells a bit difficult. If you have heard about the famous Thomas Inch dumbbells (they had 2-inch grips) which made them impossible to lift. A thinner grip makes lifting heavier weights possible without hurting the forearm. It is best to have a grip that is not too thin but not too fat either. A little more than 1 inch to about 1.4 inches feels good (between 26mm to 36mm feels good). A fat grip may feel good at times but not all the time. A silicone fat grip accessory that slips over the dumbbell handle can make a grip fat temporarily. This serves the purpose well.

Should dumbbell handles be straight or contoured? Which grip is best?

Dumbbell handles are available in straight and contoured. Contour handles are thicker in the middle and thinner on the sides. Fat handles are less forgiving on the joints. Our experience with dumbbell design is that contour handles work best (if at all) on lighter dumbbells. Fat handles are almost exclusively suitable for lighter dumbbells. We machine handles in 4 shapes – 1)Regular and straight – this handle has a diameter of a little more than 1 inch and is straight and knurled. In our opinion, this is the best handle design. 2)Fat and straight – this feels good when you hold it initially for a few reps. Heavier weights and more reps are tough on the joints. This grip is best for pumping the forearms. 3)Regular and contoured – This grip feels good but is for amateurs – it does not distribute weight evenly across the palm. 4)Fat and contoured – This grip feels good for a few reps with a lighter weight. It is also for amateurs. At Hantlar, we make a variety of grips for our lighter studio dumbbells. Our pro-style dumbbells have regular straight-knurled grips.

Dumbbells for commercial gyms – which brand is best?

Many commercial gyms have dumbbells up to 120 lbs. Few have up to 150 lbs. Only some gyms have heavier dumbbells up to 200 lbs. A good well-designed pro-style dumbbell set adds invaluable motivation to any commercial gym. Some obvious but important aspects are that the dumbbells should have a long service life and should not rust or fall apart. It is very important to look at finer details, design, materials, etc while choosing the best set of dumbbells for your gym. Customized good-looking well-designed pro-style dumbbells will add value to a commercial gym. Also, having heavier dumbbells will invite pro weight lifters. Pro weight lifters motivate others by their presence. This fact makes it necessary to have a full set of dumbbells in a commercial gym. The best brand for commercial gyms is the one that manufactures a full set of pro-style dumbbells and can customize the dumbbells for you.  

Can I build muscle with just dumbbells? 

Yes. In fact, dumbbells are one of the best ways to build muscle. You should keep increasing the weight you lift by 5 lbs every few weeks to keep gaining muscle.