Types of Dumbbells

Dumbbells, along with barbells and other weights, should be familiar pieces of exercise equipment for anyone who practices any sort of weight lifting workout on a regular basis. While those who are interested in serious bodybuilding and power lifting may have to use heavier weights provided by a gym, everyone including those who are just interested in a light weight lifting workouts can benefit from buying their own dumbbell set to use at home.

It doesn’t take loads of time and effort to properly maintain them, but every piece of workout equipment—even a simple dumbbell—will need some form of maintenance and a little bit of cleaning every now and then.

First of all, as the owner of your very own dumbbell set you should keep in mind that they also need to be properly handled. Just because they seem to be quite strong and durable doesn’t mean that you can use them in any haphazard manner. Never clank them together, and don’t just toss them around to the floor when you’re done using them as that would damage them and your floor may suffer some damage as well.

There are several types of dumbbells, depending on the materials used to make them. Some are made from metal, some from rubber, and others may be made from a combination of the two materials. Some may come with a urethane coating. Each type of dumbbell will have its own set of special maintenance requirements, and you’re well-advised to follow the requirements conscientiously if you want to be able to use them for a long time.

Here are some maintenance suggestions for several common types of dumbbells:

The Cast Iron Dumbbell

The cast Iron dumbbell is perhaps the most popular among fitness enthusiasts. It is typically covered in a coating of superior quality semi-flat enamel paint or powder coating. This enamel does tend to fade over time, and as it becomes more worn, oxidation may result. To help prevent or delay this from happening, here’s what you need to do to clean it:

  1. Prepare a gallon of water and mix in several drops of dish soap.
  2. Dampen a cloth with the mixture and use it to wipe your iron dumbbell clean.
  3. Get another cloth and use it to wipe the iron dumbbell dry to prevent the onset of rust.

The Steel Dumbbell

The steel dumbbell is also among the more popular types of dumbbells. They’re very affordable, and they look impressively heavy.

The maintenance requirements of a steel dumbbell are similar to that of an iron one. Just remember to keep it dry so that it won’t rust. As much as possible you should keep your steel dumbbell indoors; if you have to store it outdoors you should keep it covered to keep moisture from building up and causing your equipment to rust.

The Chrome Dumbbell

Some dumbbells are covered with chrome plating to give it a splendidly shiny metal finish. If you want the chrome to look beautiful for a long time, you should wipe your chrome equipment down with a reliable protectant or moisture inhibitor such as WD-40.

Here’s how you should care for your chrome dumbbell set:

  1. Apply a thin layer of high-quality moisture inhibitor or protectant (WD-40) to each chrome dumbbell.
  2. Wipe the dumbbell down.
  3. Then wipe it again with a soft dry cloth.

The Rubber Dumbbell

A dumbbell made of rubber does tend to have a rather unpleasant smell, especially when they’re brand new. The passage of time is the only real way of totally eliminating the smell of the rubber, but there are some things you can do to alleviate the problem.

  • Expose it to direct sunlight for several hours.
  • Mix a solution of a gallon of water and an ounce of pure vegetable oil soap (such as Murphy Oil Soap) and dampen a piece of cloth to clean the dumbbell.
  • Make sure you have ample ventilation when you use a new rubber dumbbell.

A rubber dumbbell may be totally covered in rubber or the ends may be covered in rubber while the handle is made of metal. The rubber may be synthetic or natural, but both will make the dumbbell waterproof. However, direct sunlight and other UV ray sources can damage the rubber, so you need to keep it indoors or covered to keep the rubber from rotting.

Here’s how you clean it:

  1. Put several drops of dish soap in a gallon of water.
  2. Wet a clean cloth with the mixture and make sure to wring the cloth.
  3. Wipe the rubber down.
  4. It’s up to you if you want to wipe it dry.


The Urethane Dumbbell

Instead of rubber, a dumbbell may be encased in urethane or vinyl. There are several advantages to a vinyl dumbbell set:

  1. Urethane is stronger and more durable than rubber.
  2. It won’t tear, peel, chip, flake, or delaminate.
  3. This type of dumbbell is also resistant to impact, and the urethane absorbs shock so that the floors are protected should you accidentally drop one.
  4. A urethane dumbbell doesn’t require as much care. Just use a clean damp cloth to wipe it down. Make sure you don’t use ammonia, acetone, or alcohol-based cleaners like Windex, as they will cause the surface to dull.


The majority of fitness equipment comes with a limited warranty. However, the warranty may be voided if you don’t take care of your dumbbells properly.