Best dumbbells for women: the best accessory to tone up at home

This selection of the best dumbbells for women will suit all goals and wallets

Best dumbells for women
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The number one piece of kit worth investing in if you're working out at home? A set of dumbbells - which is why we tried and tested the best dumbbells for women that are available on the market.

Let’s face facts: the gym scene is facing a precarious year. As much as we may want to work out at our favourite studios, we just don’t know what’s going to happen with the coronavirus pandemic - so you’re far better off creating a home workout space before everyone tries to buy up all the equipment (again). 

You use these handheld weights to work every part of the body. Want to sculpt a strong upper body? Get going with some dumbbell bicep curls and shoulder presses. Looking to improve core strength? Have a go at an overhead tricep dip using one heavy dumbbell. Our glutes, hamstrings and quads love a good old dumbbell Romanian deadlift or Bulgarian split squat. 

There’s a reason why so many gyms stock Technogym and that’s because their weights are super user friendly and come in a wide range of weights. If you don’t have a spare £200 to drop on a pair, Eleiko is just as good. Its rubber hex dumbbells are easy to hold, are coated in "anti roll" ends and most importantly, come in a wide range of weights - from 1.25KG to 25KG. Oh, and they’re about half the price.

How to choose the best dumbbells for you

Ideally, you want to own a few sets - a lighter pair for the smaller muscles, something heavy for the lower body and a medium set that you can use for endurance or progression. The great thing about home workouts is that you can’t compare yourself to anyone else and there’s plenty of opportunity to progress at your own pace. 

Weight is probably the most important element when it comes to buying dumbbells; you want to make sure that the brand has the kind of weights that you’re looking to lift. Then it’s a case of materials and size. Some dumbbells can be slippery or too wide in the middle which can make it hard to get a proper hold. Women don’t need different weights to men but some of us might have smaller hands so you want something that’s easy to handle and lift without compromising on heaviness. 

Remember, weights can only do so much - the results come from correct form, carefully planned regimes and perseverance. To some degree, it doesn’t really matter what your weights look like, so long as you’re using them correctly. That doesn’t mean, however, that you can’t get a few pairs to suit you - and in some cases, your interiors!

The best dumbbells for women you can buy right now

Best dumbbells for everyone

Cloud Fitness

(Image credit: Cloud Fitness)

Cloud Fitness XTR Neoprene Hex pair

The perfect at-home weights for an effective but not intimidating workout

Specifications
Weight range: 3KG-5KG
Reasons to buy
+Great grip from neoprene material+Attractive colours
Reasons to avoid
-Limited weight selection

Cloud Fitness was founded by two mums from Hertfordshire, in the UK, who started supplying friends, family and the local community with gym equipment, and they now specialise in producing all kinds of smaller bits of home workout kit - including these anti-roll, hexagon dumbbells. Not only are they attractive, but they feel really solid and grip-able; because they’re made from one solid piece of iron core, the weights feel balanced as you lift. If you’re working out on wood or tiled flooring, you don’t have to worry about leaving scuffs or marks from dragging the weights either: the neoprene covering protects both the weights and their surroundings! 

Best premium dumbbells

Eleiko

(Image credit: Eleiko)

Eleiko XF Dumbbells

Easy to grip, stack and progress - the perfect weights to into serious shape

Specifications
Weight range: 1KG-40KG
Reasons to buy
+Great range of weights+Easy grip
Reasons to avoid
-Quite pricey, even for lighter weights 

Eleiko’s dumbbells are the closest you’re going to get to premium gym-standard equipment at home. These weights range from 1KG to 40KG, meaning that you can progress to your heart’s content and target specific muscles with specific weights. Like the Cloud Fitness pair, the ends are hexagonal which stops them from rolling away. Having those sorts of ends also means that you can use these weights as handles for lots of exercise like renegade rows. Again, rubber ends mean that you can throw them down without making too much of a racket or doing any damage, while the handles are slightly curved and engraved to help you get a proper grip. Serious weights for a serious workout. A set of 10KG comes to £82, with each pair costing approximately £20 more as you rise through the weights.

Best budget dumbbells

Opti

(Image credit: Argos)

Opti dumbbell tree set

You can’t really go wrong with a three pairs of weights for under £20

Specifications
Weight range: 1.1kg - 4.5kg
Reasons to buy
+Cheap and accessible
Reasons to avoid
-Light weight selection-Slippery surface material

If you’re new to training and want a few pairs of light dumbbells, this Opti tree set from Argos is a steal. It holds three pairs weighing 1.1KG, 2.3Kg and 4.5KG, which can be neatly stored away after use. The vinyl design makes them softer and easier to hold so you won’t feel as though you’re lugging around whopping bits of iron, although they may be liable to rolling away if you’re training on uncarpeted flooring. While these probably won’t cut the mustard for anyone looking for a heavy workout, they’re great for beginners and for anyone who wants to get toning smaller muscles without breaking the bank.

York Fitness

(Image credit: York Fitness)

York Fitness adjustable gold vinyl

Progress using just one pair of weights rather than umpteen sets

Specifications
Weight range: Adjustable - 8 1.25 kg vinyl plates
Reasons to buy
+Multiple weights in one package+Easy to progress
Reasons to avoid
-Less comfortable to lift-Takes longer to swap between weights

If you can’t be bothered with having umpteen pairs of weights littering your home, why not get yourself a pair of adjustable weights instead? This York Fitness model looks pretty old school but it’s effective. It comes with eight 1.25KG plates and two spinlock bars; all you have to do is add however many plates you need to the bars and away you go. You might find that adjustable weights are a bit of a faff - you can’t move between exercises quickly without changing the ends - but they are convenient in terms of having a lot of kit in one little package. The vinyl covering may also make it harder to grip or see the weights potentially rolling away but at least the plates are easy to load and secure onto the bar. Lift up to 15KG.

Origin UD2

(Image credit: Origin)

Origin Fitness UD2 Urethane dumbbells

Impact resistant and made from odourless material

Specifications
Weight range: 1kg-40kg
Reasons to buy
+Odorless+Durable+Sleek
Reasons to avoid
-Normally expensive outside of sale season

Origin Fitness’ dumbbells, like Eleiko, go up to 40KG. They’re a little expensive but the brand is having a massive sale at the moment which means that a pair of 7KG has been reduced from £132.30 to £60.64. The thick urethane end coverings are shock resistant, impact-resistant and ultra-durable, while the knurled handle improves grip (even when your hands are mega-sweaty). If you’re worried about sweaty, smelly weights stinking up your workout space, don’t - these are made with odourless material. Again, these are gym-standard weights that are also available for home fitness, so they’re aimed at people who are serious about toning up and getting strong. All of these urethane dumbbells are covered by a 36 month warranty against manufacturer's defects, excluding wear and tear.