Dumbbells are very useful and versatile pieces of workout equipment. For any weightlifting, they’re gym staples. So you’ve decided to buy some to supplement your training and the prices are ten times higher than you thought. So why are dumbbells so expensive?
Dumbbells’ costs get passed onto the consumer. They are heavy which increases shipping and storage costs. Production costs are not cheap either. The peculiar features of the dumbbell market also push up the price.
I’ll explain the reasons for these expensive prices in detail including some surprising facts about why the prices are unlikely to fall. We’ll also look at ways to get cheaper dumbbells and what to look out for to get the best dumbbells.
Why Do Dumbbells Cost So Much?
Dumbbells have always been more expensive than they look. This is because of the materials they’re made of and where they’re manufactured. China produces a vast amount of dumbbells, upwards of 80% of the worldwide supply.
To get to their destination they must be transported and weight is the prime factor in shipping costs. To ship mass amounts of dumbbell stock will not only take up a lot of space but also be extremely heavy. These freight costs are going to be passed straight onto the consumer.
The other key is that dumbbells are made of expensive materials. You can find dumbbells made of cast iron, stainless steel, certain types of rubber, and other materials like urethane. These can be quiet materials and they are also very dense metals.
In order to make such a product, you will require expensive specialized manufacturing equipment. Not only will this capital investment be passed to the consumers, but the logistics of getting the heavy raw materials to the factory will increase production costs as well.
The other huge factor is supply and demand. While gyms and fitness centers may occasionally buy large shipments of dumbbells this is not going to be an ongoing concern once that business has a full set.
There is also the issue that dumbbells are going to be extremely sturdy and long lasting. While this is great for the consumer, it means that very few people or businesses need to purchase new dumbbells because their previous ones broke.
The actual volume of dumbbells sold is relatively small. Manufacturers need to get more margin in order to make a profit. This means the price goes up given the limited demand. Virtually nobody is purchasing an all-new set every year.
This demand is further fueled by the growth in the workout and fitness industry. More people than ever are working out or doing gym training as well as the dual rise with the home gym workout trend.
Technology is also unlikely to improve much to warrant new versions of dumbbells. The laws of gravity being what they are are going to mean dumbbell technology is going to stay much the same.
However, more expensive weight sets or products aimed at businesses will have different features. For example, a urethane coating will help improve durability and make them more waterproof.
This can help protect your floors as well as prolong their life, as water and rust are not a dumbbell’s best friend. Rubber dumbbells are useful when you perform certain exercises as you can easily drop them to the floor if you fail a set and can’t lift them.
There are also different kinds of handles that will change the price. On the cheaper models, the knurling or the grip might either be nonexistent so that it is almost impossible to hold on.
Nicer sets will have better knurling that’s a good medium between grip and not causing damage to your hands.
Dumbbells will often have tapered handles which help the wrist getting strained. Tapered handles distribute pressure over the tendons.
Gyms won’t tend to mind paying the premium price for these features due to the increased durability and because they look better than plain iron.
Given the potential for injury, many consumers prioritize safety with workout equipment. Thus effective branding and creating a trusted name will add to the price, not to mention warranties inflating the price further.
Heavier dumbbells are likely to be cheaper than several smaller dumbbells. This comes directly from a lower production cost per unit. To reduce shipping fees, buying in bulk is generally better but this can be a lot harder with dumbbells given their cost.
It may seem counterintuitive but lighter weights can be more expensive. Lighter weight sets are needed as most people can’t lift heavier weights so this higher demand pushes up their price.
Alternatives To Dumbbells?
The issue with the price of dumbbells is that there are not good substitutes that can give consumers an alternative.
Kettlebells are similar but not quite as versatile.
Dumbbells are generally in one piece however you can purchase adjustable sets or plate sets.
Adjustable dumbbells allow you to add or remove weights in set amounts, whereas plate sets require you to get the bar, and then individual plates can be added or removed and held on with clips.
Dumbbells made out of different materials can be quite a lot cheaper. Sometimes referred to as studio dumbbells, they are coated with neoprene or rubber and generally involve much lower weights. Their lower production costs mean they’re cheaper.
What Dumbbells Should I Buy?
Dumbbells are one of the most useful pieces of equipment you can get. The cheapest way to get dumbbells is likely to purchase a used set of iron dumbbells.
Extras like the rubber coating or adjustable sets are going to cost you extra. Straight handles will likely work just fine as tapered. These are nice additional extras rather than being required for effective workouts.
Browsing your local marketplaces for sales of dumbbells near you is a great way to get a bargain. As shipping costs can be really expensive, if you can pick up the dumbbells from the seller directly you can save significant amounts.
Also, you can get away with just getting three sets of weights of dumbbells. By getting yourself a light, medium and heavy weight you can do chest work to squats. It’s not even necessary to buy a pair, single-arm exercise variations are great too.