With the absurd variety out there on the market place for all things weights, buying a women’s weight set in 2020 can seem more like searching for a needle in a haystack (or a weight in a weight stack?).
While you might not need special weights for your gender, it can be helpful to narrow down your search, because picking up a dumbbell set with 50+ pound weights may be a little much. Additionally, if you don’t want to grow calluses, finding weight sets without aggressive knurling may also be on your list of priorities.
For these reasons, and more, here is the comprehensive guide on all things women’s weight sets.
You shouldn’t have any more trouble searching through the proverbial haystack for a decent set of dumbbells. All of these dumbbells below are available on Amazon as it is the best place to buy dumbbells and weight sets.
Dumbbells For Women: Your Guide To Picking The Best Weight Sets
As a woman myself (girlfriend of guy who runs this blog) it can be hard to find a suitable choice. Good news is I have sorted out the best most cost effective dumbbells for us ladies down below.
WF Athletic 56 LB Neoprene Dumbbells – Best Women’s Dumbbell Weight Set
- Comes with a convenient rack for storage
- Variety of options
- Good selection of weights
- Loads of excellent reviews
If you are looking for one of the more complete women’s weight sets out there, WF Athletic Supply delivers a weight set of up to 56 total pounds of neoprene covered dumbbells with a rack to organize them all.
The dumbbells themselves have a very sturdy iron core, so it’s not all just bright colors, and are made in a hex shape to prevent rolling. All in an easily identifiable set of colors, with their own rack to match. The mentioned rack is of steel construction with rubber covers for damage protection, and on top of all that, you don’t have to worry about any special tool to put it together because it comes put together!
Furthermore, in case you aren’t satisfied with a certain material, the company offers a wide variety of other options and selections of weights and styles, in case you want something a little different.
Unipack Neoprene Womens Dumbbells – Best Value Women’s Weight Set
- Tons of pairing options to choose from
- Sturdy construction
- Almost 150 ratings with an average of 4.8
Looking for something a little cheaper, a little smaller and more manageable? Unipack’s smaller sets are a great choice for easing yourself into owning your own workout equipment.
This specific set comes with three sets of neoprene coated weights, all shaped slightly in a hexagonal form like the last set to prevent rolling. While not dirt cheap, the weights are priced reasonably enough so that you can know you aren’t buying anything too flimsy.
Bowflex Adjustable Dumbbells – Best Women’s Adjustable Weight Set
- Versatile and efficient
- Low cost-per-weight when compared to regular dumbbells
- Over 5,500 ratings with an average of 4.7
Interested in saving space, while not cutting down on the variety of exercises you can do? Introduce the Bowflex SelectTech Adjustable Weights. Going all the way from 5 to 52.5 lbs, these dumbbells use an advanced system that I won’t pretend to understand for easily selecting and locking in place your desired weight into the base handle, offering 15 sets of dumbbells into just 1.
On top of all this, the product comes with a two-year warranty, so if something does go wrong, you can have the peace of mind that it will be taken care of.
Plus, if you care about these sorts of things, Bowflex has a free app out there on exercises and workouts, so you can stay on-brand with your fitness.
AmazonBasics Neoprene Dumbbells – Best Cheap Dumbbells for Women
- Inexpensively priced
- Amazon-backed one year warranty
- Always great neoprene coating for grip and comfort
- Sturdy steel stand that will last
- Over 6,000 ratings with an average of 4.6
Okay, so we just looked at a rather expensive set of dumbbells, let’s reel it back in and take a look at the cheaper options out there. AmazonBasics consistently manages to deliver cheap products that are of decent quality, and they do so again with this tidy set.
Keeping it clean and simple, this dumbbell set is great for casual or quick workouts where you really don’t need a big gym to handle. Coming color-coded, with hex-shaped heads on the weights, and number named on the ends – they are pretty standard in their simple, quality design (with or without the alliteration).
BalanceFrom GoFit All-Purpose Dumbbells – Excellent Budget Option
- 2-year satisfaction support
- Included tool for stand assembly (unlike some others that don’t)
- Over 2,000 ratings with an average of 4.4
Coming in neck-and-neck with Amazon’s affordable set, comes Balancefrom’s dumbbell sets. Offered in pairs or with accompanying stands, this certainly is more than a mere mimic.
It’s simple, convenient, and there seems to be constant coupons and deals out there to reduce the already low price tag of this product. The biggest difference between this set, and Amazon’s offering, is that BalanceFrom’s stand is made from plastic, rather than steel, but it is still sturdy enough to withstand serious abuse.
You know, something often not mentioned about these sorts of light dumbbells is versatility when it comes to rehab. Having weights in the three-pound range may seem too low for some, but it can become very useful if you need to work on your rotator cuff or ease into a new exercise carefully!
- Colorful vinyl exterior
- Very competitive pricing
- Thick grip for improving grip strength while you hit other muscle groups
- Over 450 ratings with an average of 4.7
Looking for another cheap, single pair of dumbbells rather than a set? AmazonBasics drives down the prices once again with their wide range of 2-20 lb vinyl-coated dumbbells. Certainly some of the cheapest online, these even underprice Amazon’s own neoprene dumbbells by quite a few dollars, likely due to the cheaper-to-manufacture vinyl coating.
Great for easy cleaning and the aesthetic appeal, these dumbbells have a smoother finish that, while providing less grip, does look a lot more polished and cleaner than the neoprene options out there.
- Grippy neoprene exterior over a strong iron core
- Solid prices for the higher quality coating
- Thick grip for improving grip strength while you hit other muscle groups
- Over 500 ratings with an average of 4.7
Utilizing attention-grabbing weight-coded colors and a sleek design, these neoprene coated, cast iron dumbbells get the job done.
Priced around the range of Amazon’s neoprene dumbbells, you know you are getting the best quality for a fair price. They make it easy to upgrade to heavier weights as you progress on your fitness journey.
Just keep in mind, with these, and the last pair, the grip can be a little large for some (especially with heavier dumbbells). This factor can be excellent for those of us who want to hit our forearms with most exercises, but not so much for others that prefer smaller handles.
Dumbbells For Women: How To Pick Right Ones
There are a few things that you should consider when trying to find the best weight set or dumbbell set up for your needs and future goals.
How Much Weight Will You Need Both Now & in the Future?
My recommendation: If you plan on sticking with your fitness goals, plan on doing more than a couple exercises, and want to use your weights for a while, then you need to grab a weight set like any of the ones in our list above, and not just a single pair of dumbbells.
The most obvious choice when analyzing which weight set to invest in. This depends the most on you, and your level of fitness. But if you have no idea what weight to get started with, it is always better to go lower than overshoot and buy something you can’t use with good form.
But think for a second, do not get a super light single pair of dumbbells because if you plan on getting any use out of these or plan on sticking to working out, as you should, then you need to be getting a weight set that goes up and has variety of weights rather than just a pair of dumbbells.
Most sets will come in the 2-10 pound weight range, which, in all honesty, isn’t going to help out with much muscle growth. If you desire a more rigorous level of intensity, you need to be looking into heavier sets. Or if you plan on getting into exercises to build that bubble butt then I would actually recommend looking into getting a cheap barbell with some weights as this will allow you to squat correctly.
But in general, you shouldn’t worry too much about buying anything too heavy with most women’s weights as all of the weights sets above will be a perfect fit for 99% of the women out there.
What Type of Dumbbell Material Do You Want?
By this I mean the outer material.
There are many types of materials from neoprene, to rubber, to chrome, to cast iron, to vinyl dipped, to you name it.
My recommendation: stick with neoprene or vinyl dumbbells like the ones I have listed above.
Making this easy for you, I will just briefly discuss the main attributes of each, so you can decide which is best for you.
Neoprene Dumbbells – Easy on the hands
likely the most common type of women weight coverings, neoprene is easy on the hands but doesn’t sacrifice on the texture that helps with grip. So, you can avoid building calluses, while simultaneously never having to be afraid of it slipping out of your hands. This is my favorite option on this list of women’s dumbbells.
Vinyl Dipped Dumbbells – Easy on the hands
Many dumbbells seen in gyms will have rubber ends with a metal handle, and you may see this option come up when looking for your own. Typically, metal handles will lead to knurling, which might not be an issue at lower weights, still, you might want to avoid these if you lean towards comfort overgrip.
Chrome dumbbells have no texture for grip, typically, and so all you have to hold on to is a very smooth metal – not ideal for grip. It is aesthetic, though, so if that does appeal to you, and you want one of those picturesque home gyms with long mirrors and other futuristic, chromy things, then don’t let my trepidations stop you.
Cast iron Dumbbells
The classic iron, underneath nearly every dumbbell covering is an iron core, and the only thing that makes these different from the rest is that they don’t waste time with coverings. In general, cast iron is great because there is hardly ever any wear and tear to them, unlike some of the other options, additionally, they are usually the cheapest due to lack of materials, but like the rubber option, the grip will likely have knurling.
Type of Dumbbell
As shown by the Bowflex adjustable dumbbell, not all weights are the same (plus, some are heavier than others).
You could invest in an adjustable set that reduces the overall footprint of your weights to the size of just two large dumbbells, or you could throw your individual dumbbells on a rack or stack them in a corner.
Somewhat falling in the same category is the shape of the ends of the dumbbell. Most dumbbells have a hex-shaped head to prevent rolling and make stacking easy, but some still opt for the rounder finish. I would usually suggest a more hexagonal option because nothing is more annoying than dropping your weight and having to chase it across the floor.
Grip size - Often Overlooked, Big Dumbbell Grips Suck
Some of the dumbbells on this list and in the market have thicker handles, keep this fact in mind when purchasing. You might even want to pull the details of the sizes of each to get an idea of how big they will be.
A thick grip is fantastic for building bigger hands, forearm and finger strength, but can sometimes detract from the exercises you are focusing on. All in all, this is up to your discretion and fitness goals.
Is There a Dumbbell Stand Included?
Many sets offer a stand to hold the dumbbells, it may be plastic or steel, foldable or solid, pre-constructed or needing special tools to be put together. Again, this depends on how you want your weights to look, and more so, how organized you want to be.
I'm not the cleanest and most organized of girls when it comes to my home gym so a stand is not a must for me, but for most it will be.
I have never had an issue just stacking my weights on top of each other along the wall, but if you are more of the type of person to throw up a “live laugh love” decal on your wall, then you might be more interested in the organizationally aesthetic appeals of a stand included.
There certainly is more than meets the eye with dumbbells. While they can tend to blend together as a sort of colorful mess, the options that make them unique are important to consider, even if they seem minimal at first.
Women’s Dumbbell Exercises
You’ve got the weights, now it’s just time to actually get moving, but with so many exercises out there, how do you start? Honestly, the key is just to get started, and not trying to build the perfect workout, because consistency and intensity beat optimization almost every time.
So, here are some simple, yet effective, exercise you can perform with nothing but your dumbbells and some space in your room (aaaand maybe one or two more things):
Dumbbell Chest Press
Push-ups are great for the chest, don’t get me wrong, but nothing beats the effectiveness of the chest press. Though a bench does increase the range of motion and help to hit the pecs even better, doing the chest press from the floor is still quite viable.
I like to start sitting, with the weights resting on my legs, then laying back and pushing them up over my chest with my arms fully extended – this is the setup.
From there, you simply perform a standard chest press but stop as your elbows hit the ground, then push back up to complete a rep.
Dumbbell Bent-Over Rows
With both weights in hand, bend over and hang your arms out in front of your bent legs, then pull towards your chest, engaging your lats along the way. Make sure to keep your back tight and braced to avoid any discomfort through improper technique.
This is a fantastic exercise for your back and can be performed at any level of experience for great gains.
Dumbbell Shoulder Press
Standing or sitting, hold the dumbbells at shoulder height, and while keeping your core rigid, push straight up. You want the range of motion to be fluid and clean, without any wobbliness or instability. This hits your front delts primarily, with your triceps and lateral delts as secondary muscle groups.
Start as you would in a bent-over row, except your legs are nearly locked out (another deadlift variation calls for completely locked-out legs for a maximal stretch in the hamstrings). Then, slowly lower the weight as far as you can without sacrificing core stability, shifting your hips back as you do so, and stand back up once you reach the lowest you can get.
I’ve used these for years to build the posterior chain that makes (actual) or smith machine deadlifting a breeze.
Bulgarian Split Squats
Remember how I said you needed nothing but space and your weights, I lied about that for this one. Bulgarian split squats are one of the fitness world’s best-kept secret for a great leg workout.
Start like a standard split squat (with or without your dumbbells as necessary), but perch the rear leg up on a weight bench or chair (really anything at or below knee height) and squat down. With this form, you will be able to get much more work in per leg as compared to a standard split squat, it’s fantastic.
Some other great exercises for women with dumbbells:
- Bicep curl
- Overhead tricep extension
- Tricep kickbacks
- Dumbbell skull crushers
- Upright rows
- Russian twists
- Goblet squats (a personal favorite for an after-workout burn)
- Dumbbell calf raise
- Farmers’ walks
- One arm swing
FAQ about Women’s Dumbbells
Do you need a single dumbbell or do you need a weight set?
While it may be appealing to buy less than a full weight set, a singular dumbbell is going to be very limiting if you intend to really try to get an actual workout in.
Exercises will vary in their levels of resistance needed, you aren’t going to curl the same weight that you can goblet squat with, or chest press, for example. So, trying to use the same weight (and especially only one of the same weight) to do everything it just not going to work out.
What dumbbell material is best for women?
Neoprene is my favorite material for dumbbells for women. Not only is it easy on the hands, but they are textured enough to provide some level of grip. Plus they also plain just look clean and high quality!
WF Athletic Supply Dumbbell Set is my favorite for neoprene-covered dumbbells, the price is competitive but that doesn’t take away from the quality of the weights themselves, or the steel, pre-assembled rack.
Are Women’s Dumbbells Different than Men’s?
There are a few differences that separate men’s and women’s dumbbells from each other.
Typically, most women’s dumbbells are going to be covered with neoprene or some form of material as most women want to avoid the callouses that knurling causes.
Grip size should also differ, as most women’s dumbbells should have a smaller handle to accommodate the smaller hand size, but, for some reason, some manufacturers don’t do this, and make the handle size way too big.
Finally, a range of weights starting at a lower weight. Because of the difference in strength, upper body strength specifically, getting a set of 15-pound dumbbells and up is a little impractical for most women. So, shopping for weights in the lower range of the spectrum can be especially important.
Are Dumbbells Essential to Strength Training and Working Out?
Okay, I’ll be honest, as someone who has been dedicated to lifting heavy for years, I am a little biased. But the answer is a resounding yes! In fact, and while this might be sacrilege, but I am inclined to say that dumbbells are more essential than barbells for most individuals for strength training and working out in general.
As you progress, adding resistance to make an exercise more difficult becomes a simple fact of working out, and there is only so far you can get without weights (unless you are one of those calisthenic bar-monkies, then more power to you).
Dumbbells are a great way to introduce external resistance in a safe, balanced way, forcing the lifter to stabilize as they perform the movement, a task less vital when using a barbell.
Overall, a set of dumbbells can get you places, and is one of the best starting points for fitness and building your inventory of crucial at-home gym gear & equipment.
Will Using Heavy Weights Make Me Bulk Up? - No
One of the biggest myths in the world of fitness is that of ‘toning’ and it’s opposite ‘bulking up’. There are two things you will likely want to do: lose fat and gain muscle. Losing fat is obviously a good thing, so that leaves building muscle. There is no ‘toning’ option here, just gaining muscle, which is what you should want to do!
Trust me, even if you were to lift like a bodybuilder for years, you wouldn’t gain enough muscle to look unnatural and ‘bulky’.
So, don’t hesitate to exercise with weights, and heavier weights for fewer reps, because it will only help you reach your fitness goals all the better!
How Should I Use Weight Training In My Routine?
If your immediate reaction to the idea of weight training is to wonder how to include it into what you’re already doing… great! Weight training is just another tool in your toolbox for fitness.
I would recommend including it alongside some bodyweight movements and, especially, cardio, to get a well-balanced workout in.
Buying a Women’s Weight Set? Here’s My Recommendation
A good set of dumbbells is a must if you want to take your exercise plan to the next level, whether they be a set of two to slowly build your collection or a power rack filled with different weights.
So, I hope you’ve found a set here you’re interested in, because nothing is quite as satisfying as pumping iron, even if the iron is covered in pink neoprene.