Vinyl vs. Cast Iron vs. Rubber & Neoprene vs. Wood Steel

There is a vast number of dumbbells on the market, and you may find them vary in design, weight and material. What are dumbbells made of? Here Speck picks up 4 most prevalent dumbbell materials and introduces them in turn. They are vinyl (plastic) dumbbells, rubber & neoprene dumbbells, cast iron dumbbells and wood steel dumbbells. At the end of the brief introduction of each one, Speck lists the pros and cons accordingly and offers you some tips about how to choose them.

Dumbbell exercise is a simple sport that needs less professional training & equipment and is beneficial for people to build up muscles, grow strong body, and obtain extra strength.

As mentioned above, people nowadays are exposed to a variety of dumbbells and they prefer to pick up the one that appeals to their aesthetics or buy them based on the price. The truth is that they seldom consider the feature of materials, which is actually vital and deserves your attention. Most of the dumbbells on the market are made of vinyl, rubber, cast iron and wood steel. These materials boast different strengths and also have several shortcomings respectively.

So, let’s move on and finish reading this article about What Are Dumbbells Made Of?

I. Vinyl Dumbbell

What is the vinyl dumbbell?

The vinyl dumbbell is also named the plastic dumbbell. This material is only used in fixed-weight (solid) dumbbells, and just like dumbbells made by other materials, the vinyl dumbbell is mainly composed of two parts, namely, the weights on both sides and a handlebar connects them. Actually, this kind of dumbbell is not entirely made of plastics, instead, the inner part of it is usually made by concrete or sand. And it is the outer shell that is indeed made of vinyl.

Vinyl Dumbbell

Vinyl plastic dumbbell

Pros of vinyl dumbbells

  • The price of vinyl dumbbells is cheaper than that of other dumbbells.
  • The vinyl material presents an appealing, bright, colorful appearance of the dumbbell.
  • When exposed to moisture or vapour, this material ensures that the dumbbell does not get rust.
  • The comfortable gripping allows easier exercises.

Cons of vinyl dumbbells

  • Although the material is anti-rust, it is not durable and you may need to buy a new one frequently.
  • It is not adjustable and the ultimate weight is only 10 lb.
  • You can not do full body dumbbell exercise due to limited weight options.
  • Susceptible to sun and heat.

What are the vinyl dumbbells used for?

The plastic dumbbells offer a perfect option for dumbbell exercise beginners and women. The weight is not heavy and these target groups will not get hurt due to improper use. The cheap vinyl dumbbells are also suitable for warm-ups and bicep workouts.

How to choose the plastic dumbbell

Here are some points that you should pay attention to when buying the plastic dumbbell:

  • Pick up a thick and smooth vinyl dumbbell. Avoid buying a one that is brittle, fragile and easy puncture after a certain time of exercise.
  • Choose the one that is made by cement/concrete inside. Sand plastic dumbbell is acceptable but if the sand falls out, the balance of the dumbbell will be broken, making it unsuitable for you to use.
  • If you are a beginner, remember to buy a lightweight vinyl dumbbell at first, you can increase the weight after you are accustomed to it.
  • A big handlebar may be difficult to grip and hold, while a small one will generate in you a feeling of uncertainty. So choose the handlebar that is of proper width and features strong grip & friction.
  • Make sure that your plastic dumbbell is bought from a reliable and reputable fitness brand/supplier.

II. Cast Iron Dumbbell

What is the cast iron dumbbell?

Being the oldest dumbbell material in history, cast iron has been adopted in the manufacturing of dumbbells for generations and is still widely used both at home and in the gym. As the name has told you, cast iron dumbbells are produced through the casting process where the raw cast iron material is melted firstly and then poured into the mold to create the solid castings. There are two kinds of cast iron dumbbells: one is dumbbell with one-piece handlebar and adjustable weights, and the other is fixed weight cast iron dumbbell.

cast iron dumbbell

Solid cast iron dumbbells

Pros of cast iron dumbbells

  • Cast iron dumbbells offer you various weights, types and designs for your consideration.
  • Cast iron dumbbells are perfect for full body dumbbell exercises.
  • The heavy weight can improve your using experience.
  • This dumbbell is durable and is of a reasonable price.
  • High-end appearance and anti-slip surface.

Cons of cast iron dumbbells

  • Improper use of cast iron dumbbells may cause damage to your facilities & floor and even hurt yourself.
  • They look not so fashionable.

What exercises are cast iron dumbbells suitable for?

custom dumbbells

You can use cast iron dumbbells to train your shoulder, back, bicep, and other muscle groups. The cast iron dumbbells can greatly build up your muscles by offering you adequate weights. If you are a beginner or are not familiar with dumbbell exercise, you can start from 5 lb and gradually break in it. Here we provide you with three notes that deserve your attention:

  • You must do exercises absorbedly because the heavy cast iron dumbbells may hurt you.
  • You need a workout carpet or a mat to protect both you and your floor.
  • Wearing gloves is recommended, which safeguards your hands.

How to choose cast iron dumbbells for your exercise

Since cast iron dumbbells vary in design, model and grip, it may be difficult for you to make a choice. So here Speck lists three points about how to choose cast iron dumbbells. Let’s us move on and finish reading it!

1. Solid cast iron dumbbell Vs. Adjustable cast iron dumbbell

Solid dumbbell vs adjustable dumbbell

Solid dumbbell vs adjustable dumbbell

Some people think that the solid dumbbells or the so called fixed weight dumbbells are better than the adjustable ones, while others hold different opinions. As for the opponents, they believe that buying adjustable dumbbells paves the way for better exercising. So which one is better?

In general, purchasing adjustable dumbbells is economical in the long run. You don’t have to pay extra money for weights and it seems to be an once-and-for-all option. You can gradually increment the weight plates without buying a new dumbbell. However, it will cost you a lot to buy a full set of adjustable dumbbells. If you are not a regular exerciser, you can just buy one solid cast iron dumbbell, which is cheaper. Therefore, you have to take into consideration both your budget and your passion for dumbbell exercises before buying cast iron dumbbells.

2. Round cast iron dumbbell Vs. Hex cast iron dumbbell

Round dumbbell vs hex dumbbell

Round dumbbell vs hex dumbbell

We highly recommend you to buy the hex cast iron dumbbell. For one thing, the round dumbbell will roll over your feet if the floor is not even and bends toward your direction. When this happens, you will feel extremely painful and the weight plates may even bring you soft tissue contusion. For another, the hex cast iron weight plates are stable when put on the floor, and can be used to do push-ups, featuring better versatility. The hex ones are also easier to be collected and stored.

3. Polished grip Vs. Knurling grip

Polished handlebar dumbbell vs knurling handlebar dumbbell

Polished handlebar vs knurling handlebar

Cast iron dumbbells with the knurling handlebar can offer you stronger grip, enabling you to hold the dumbbells in a stable and secure manner. The knurling design also prevents dumbbells from slipping out of your hands even if you think that you are losing the control of the heavy ones. We recommend you to wear groves so that you can hold dumbbells comfortably and safely.

III. Rubber & Neoprene Dumbbell

easy use dumbbells

What are the rubber & neoprene dumbbells?

The rubber dumbbells (neoprene dumbbells) are also called rubber-coated dumbbells. Like vinyl dumbbells, this kind of dumbbell is also made of cast iron and steel internally and is coated with layers of rubber externally. The neoprene dumbbell is prevalent in the gym as it is good-looking and can protect many facilities due to its cushioning shell.

Pros of rubber dumbbells

  • Rubber dumbbells boast their high-end appearance.
  • They can protect both the floor and your body while doing dumbbell exercise.
  • The dumbbell itself is safety-secured, anti-rust and water-proof.
  • This kind of dumbbell can eliminate unpleasant noises due to the rubber-coated layer.

Cons of rubber dumbbells

  • Rubber dumbbells are a little bit pricy and are thus not suitable for everyone.
  • The smell of the rubber is unavoidable after a certain time of exercise.

IV. Wood Steel Dumbbell

What is the wood steel dumbbell?

The wood steel dumbbells are usually adjustable ones due to the high price. In fact, no one wants to spend a large amount of money on several solid/fixed weight wood steel dumbbells. The handlebar of this kind of dumbbell is made by upscale walnut wood, presenting its exalted status. Compared with dumbbells made of other materials, wood steel dumbbell has complicated manufacturing process and natural patterns, which is also partly the reason why this type is so expensive.

wood steel dumbbell

Wood steel dumbbell

Pros of wood steel dumbbells

  • Smooth and unique touching offered by premium walnut wood
  • Both attractive and practical
  • Distinctive and natural patterns exclusive for you
  • No unpleasant smell

Cons of wood steel dumbbells

  • Extremely high price
  • Susceptible to insects due to the wood material

How to import all these dumbbells?

If you are seeking for an OEM dumbbell manufacturer, then you are at the right place. We Speck can offer you premium quality dumbbells with agreeable price in bulk. Speck is a manufacturer and exporter specializing in a wide variety of yoga & fitness products on the international market for over 20 years. Our product range includes dumbbells, barbells, kettlebells, and related accessories. The materials available are compliant with European and American standards and passed third party tests. Our high quality goods are competitively priced and feature prompt worldwide delivery. So just contact us and let’s make a difference together!