Although dumbbells appear to be simple and basic gym equipment, yet buying them isn’t that simple. There are numerous types of dumbbells depending on their material, performance, and durability.
Those who have been buying fitness equipment from China have the knowledge of buying quality products. We have compiled this guide by including their experience.
Here, we will share with you the most effective tips for buying a commercial dumbbell.
(Note: Dumbbells have different names. These include weights, weight set, hand weight, free weight, and gym weight. However, in this commercial dumbbell-buying guide, we will refer to them as dumbbells.)
Table of Contents
Dumbbell Industry Region in China
China is a well-known name when it comes to a reliable source for top-rated and affordable dumbbells. Given below are the Chinese provinces where you can find the largest dumbbell manufacturers.
- Nantong city in Jiangsu province
- Hebei Province (cast iron)
- Qingdao City in Shandong Province
The companies located in Nantong City offer a wide range of finished products. However, the quality of such products varies from company to company. The fitness equipment manufactured in Hebei are of low quality, yet they are relatively cheaper.
The Types of Dumbbells
- Painted Dumbbell
- Chrome Dumbbell
- Rubber Dumbbell
- Vinyl Dumbbell
- PU Dumbbell
Type #1: Painted Dumbbell
Mostly, manufacturers use cast iron for making painted dumbbells. The dumbbells are rust-resistant, as paint provides a protective covering against the rust.
However, the paint starts to peel off due to regular wear and tear. These types of dumbbells are relatively more popular in commercial gyms.
On the contrary, most of the industrial-grade gyms won’t prefer using painted dumbbells. This is so, as the painted dumbbells show early signs of damage. The paint peels off even after a month or so.
Besides, painted cast-iron dumbbells are noisy and they tend to damage the gym floor.
Type #2: Chrome Dumbbell
These dumbbells come with a high-end chrome finish. Hence, they offer a perfect look. The chrome dumbbell is available in different weight capacities including 1-10 kg.
Therefore, these dumbbells prove to be an ideal option for women and beginners. The process of electroplating creates a thin layer of chrome, which is more durable than paint.
No doubt, scratches also start to appear on chrome dumbbells but only after long-term use. Therefore, make sure to use gym floor mats to protect both the floor and your chrome dumbbells.
Both the handle and head of a chrome dumbbell consist of stainless steel. The dumbbell head and handle can lose their connection after improper and extensive use.
Type #3: Rubber Dumbbell
If you are looking for the most popular type of dumbbells, this is the option for you. The rubber dumbbells are highly durable, as they neither damage the floor nor make a noise.
Besides, these dumbbells offer additional protection as well as a comfortable grip. Although rubber is a sturdy and durable material, it also starts to show signs of damage after extensive use.
Different Rubber Materials
Generally, manufacturers use three types of rubbers when manufacturing rubber dumbbells:
- recycled rubber
- styrene-butadiene rubber (synthetic)
- natural rubber
Talking about the quality of rubber, it depends largely on the mixing ratio. Recycled rubber and Calcium Carbonate are the major constituents of the mixture.
The mixing ratio of both these materials influences the fluidity and elasticity of the rubber. Hence, not every manufacturer discloses such a ratio, as it is a business secret.
The construction of rubber involves the expertise of highly skilled and experienced workers. There are certain manufacturers who claim to use 100% original rubber.
However, this isn’t the case. Almost every manufacturer uses a particular amount of recycled rubber or styrene-butadiene rubber.
It is possible to distinguish between different types of rubber. The most commonly seen types of recycled rubber include sole rubber or tire rubber. Nevertheless, sole rubber is much inferior to tire rubber.
Apart from this, all rubbers have one thing in common and that is the rubbery odor. However, low-quality rubber has a strong odor as compared to superior quality rubber.
Structure of Rubber Dumbbell
Basically, rubber dumbbells consist of different materials. The handle consists of steel while the head is made of cast iron. Due to the different properties of both these materials, it is challenging to weld them.
Hence, the quality and strength of such weld will definitely influence the sturdiness of a dumbbell. Usually, dumbbells over 10 kg of weight require special attention.
For this purpose, manufacturers create raised points on the handle and use a hydraulic press to attach it with the dumbbell.
Shape of Rubber Dumbbell
When it comes to the shape of a rubber dumbbell, it is available in a wide range of designs. These dumbbells are available in hexagonal, round, and 12-sided shapes.
The round dumbbell tends to be a classic shape. However, this type of dumbbell has a tendency to roll around on the gym floor.
In addition, round dumbbells are not capable of adapting to the requirements of different workouts. For instance, professionals prefer hexagonal dumbbells when performing push-ups.
Type #4: Vinyl Dumbbell
Vinyl dumbbells are normally fixed-weight dumbbells with a weight capacity ranging from 1-10kg. Mostly, female athletes and workout enthusiasts prefer these dumbbells.
Vinyl dumbbells are highly durable and wear-resistant. These dumbbells are available in a variety of styles and designs.
Apart from some common shapes like round head and hex dumbbells, vinyl dumbbells are also available in other shapes. These shapes include flowers, bones, and apples.
The major purpose of creating dumbbells of such design is to appeal to the female exercisers. Since they are made of vinyl, these dumbbells are odorless.
In addition to vinyl, neoprene is also a perfect material for making dumbbells. For instance, vinyl dumbbells become slippery during sweaty conditions.
On the other hand, neoprene offers a secure and anti-slip grip in all types of situations. However, neoprene dumbbells are hard to clean.
Type #5: PU Dumbbell
No doubt, PU is among the safest and advanced types of materials used for making dumbbells. Hence, PU dumbbells are the most expensive ones. Apart from being odorless, these dumbbells are durable, sturdy, and safe to use.
However, PU dumbbells prove to be cost-effective when used for an extended period. PU dumbbell is available in two categories:
- TPU dumbbell
- CPU dumbbell
Both these dumbbells are different in terms of their quality, price, durability, and similar other features. Manufacturers use the CPU after melting it and putting it in the mold. On the contrary, TPU dumbbells are made through the injection molding method.
CPU happens to be more durable and can serve for over 8 years. TPU dumbbells are less durable as they remain in good shape for 4 years. Due to additional durability, CPU dumbbells are relatively expensive.
- Since CPU is a non-recyclable material, we can’t term it as environmentally friendly.
- CPU is better as compared to TPU in various aspects. These include tear-resistant, wear impact, and hydrolysis resistant.
- CPU processing requires more time. For instance, 1 piece of 1.25kg/2.5kg/5kg takes 50 minutes for its construction. Similarly, it takes 80 minutes to construct a 10kg/20kg piece.
- The molding procedure of CPU costs less when compared to TPU.
- The head of a CPU dumbbell consists of stainless steel.
- A CPU dumbbell is costlier than its TPU counterpart
- TPU material is recyclable, making it an environmentally friendly material.
- TPU is less impressive than CPU in various aspects. These include resistant, strength, tear-resistant and hydrolysis resistant.
- The production of TPU dumbbells relies on the injection molding process. It enhances the production speed, ensuring much faster delivery. It only takes 2 to 3 minutes to create a 10kg/20kg dumbbell.
- TPU tends to be expensive in terms of molding fees.
- The dumbbells made of TPU material don’t have a water flow mark.
- The head of a TPU dumbbell consists of cast iron.
- TPU dumbbells are quite cheaper than CPU dumbbells.
Dumbbell Manufacturing Process
The process of making a rubber dumbbell is simple. Hence, it doesn’t need hi-tech machines or technical knowledge. If a supplier offers a price that is even lower than the market prices, you need to avoid such products.
Industry Insider Information
- As per industrial standards, dumbbells can be within a 3% error range. Normally, manufacturers meet the -3% error range other than the +3%. They do this to increase their profit ratio. On the contrary, brands like Rogue Fitness, Life Fitness, and other international companies allow just a 1% error range. This enhances the quality as well as the price of such dumbbells.
- The rubber dumbbells have a quality problem, which relates to the firmness of their handle. Usually, the manufacturers shorten the handles to make the dumbbells more cost-effective. It affects the sturdiness of the connection between the handle and the dumbbell head. Such dumbbells are a safety hazard.
- Rubber dumbbells have a rubbery smell. This is so, as the original rubber isn’t fit for the purpose and the manufacturers add styrene-butadiene rubber. Hence, no dumbbell consists of 100% original rubber.
- Low quality and cheaper dumbbells are made of just recycled rubber. Meaning thereby, there is no styrene-butadiene rubber or original rubber added to these dumbbells. Hence, these dumbbells are of extremely low quality.
- The vinyl dumbbells and TPU dumbbells (injection-molded) contain tiny holes on their surfaces. These are not the faults, yet these holes appear due to the manufacturing process.
- Normally, round dumbbells come with a straight handle. Besides, the hexagonal dumbbell contains an arched handle. However, you can also request the manufacturer for fitting a straight handle with the hex dumbbell.
Best Buying Tips
Weight: Make sure to compare the marked weight with that of actual weight. The error range shouldn’t exceed 3 %.
Smell: Low-quality dumbbells made with recycled rubber will have a strong odor.
Finish: A top-quality dumbbell has a flat and smooth surface with a seamless finish. Furthermore, the thicker the rubber or surface coating means you are dealing with a durable product.
We have compiled this commercial dumbbell with a view to assist you while buying the most suitable dumbbells for you. Besides, this guide also provides you with an ample amount of information about the manufacturing process of a dumbbell.
If you still have some other queries in mind, just feel free to contact us.