I own hex dumbbells and adjustable dumbbells—this is which one you should buy this Cyber Monday

While adjustable dumbbells can save you some space, hex dumbbells are the king of versatility. You can currently get great deals on both, thanks to the Cyber Monday sales

Man holding hex dumbbells by shoulders in the gym
(Image credit: Alamy)

If you're looking to buy your first set of weights, the ever-versatile dumbbell is the obvious choice.

But should you pick a set of fixed-weight hex dumbbells or a more expensive pair of adjustable dumbbells? As someone who owns both, I'm here to help you make that decision and find the best Cyber Monday deals on both types.

Hex dumbbells are like the Swiss army knife of the exercise equipment world. Whether you're tackling a strength training workout, a cardio session or even mobility-boosting moves, these sturdy weights are up to the job. That's why I use them in my own CrossFit-style training on a near-daily basis. 

However, they don't offer the same multiple weight options that the best adjustable dumbbells do. Steadily increasing the load on your adjustable dumbbell will help you build strength—but you can't do this with a fixed-weight hex 'bell. 

As you can see, both dumbbells have their merits. If you're still undecided on which one to go for, read through the advantages of each training tool below. 

Today's best hex dumbbell deals

Amazon Basics rubber encased hex dumbbell 20lb: was $29.67, now $25.22 at Amazon

Amazon Basics rubber encased hex dumbbell 20lb: was $29.67, now $25.22 at Amazon

Save $4.45 Ah, good old Amazon Basics. Just like the brand's kettlebell, this is a solid, affordable strength and conditioning training option with a cast iron body and rubber casing for added longevity. 

CAP Barbell Black Cast Iron Hex Dumbbell: was $57.99, now $33.27 at Amazon

CAP Barbell Black Cast Iron Hex Dumbbell: was $57.99, now $33.27 at Amazon

Save $24.72 This CAP dumbbell ditches the usual rubber casing for a more traditional look, and I'm a big fan. These sleek and stylish free weights are up to 43% cheaper on Amazon over Cyber Monday, with weight options from 5lb to 105lb. 

Living.Fit Hex Dumbbell 10lb pair: was $54.99, now $39.99 at Living.Fit

Living.Fit Hex Dumbbell 10lb pair: was $54.99, now $39.99 at Living.Fit

Save 20% Fixed weight dumbbells (like this 10lb set from Living.Fit) are a favorite weight training tool of mine because you can use them for everything from muscle-building strength training exercises like squats and curls to heart-pumping dynamic moves such as snatches. These cast iron customers are robust too, so you can expect them to stand the test of time. 

Today's best adjustable dumbbell deals

Bowflex SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbell Pair: was $429, now $349 at Bowflex

Bowflex SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbell Pair: was $429, now $349 at Bowflex

Save $80 There are some great deals on offer over at Bowflex, including the product occupying the top spot on our best adjustable dumbbells roundup: A pair of Bowflex SelectTech 552s. With 15 weight options from 5lb to 52.5lb, these are my go-to training option for doing muscle-building movements at home. 

Amazon Basics Adjustable Dumbbell Set: was $53.46, now $45.44 at Amazon

Amazon Basics Adjustable Dumbbell Set: was $53.46, now $45.44 at Amazon

Save $8.02 OK, so they don't have the fancy weight-changing dials of the Bowflex adjustable dumbbells above, and it'll take longer to change the weight as a result, but this Amazon Basics spinlock set still offers multiple weight options thanks to its interchangeable plates. It's much, much cheaper than its premium rivals too. 

Image

PowerBlock Elite EXP Adjustable Dumbbells 5-50lb Pair: was $499.00, now $299.98 at Amazon

Save 33% These PowerBlock dumbbells each have a maximum weight of 50lb, climbing from 5lb in 2.5-5lb increments.  You can also purchase an expansion kit to bring these dumbbells up to 70lb-90lb per hand. 

Advantages of hex dumbbells

Man doing renegade rows with hex dumbbells

(Image credit: Getty Images)

1. Versatility

You can use hex dumbbells for a wider range of workouts than adjustable dumbbells, which are best kept for strength training. 

I find hex dumbbells are ideal for CrossFit, circuit workouts, high-intensity interval training (HIIT) routines, HIRT sessions or any similar exercise style characterized by more dynamic movements like the dumbbell snatch.

This is because they have grooved handles for great grip and a solid cast iron design that can handle being chucked around and bounced on the ground between reps.

Adjustable dumbbells, on the other hand, have interchangeable plates which can rattle, clang and move. They're less sturdy too, so most manufacturers say you need to avoid treating them too roughly. 

2. Robust 

The cast iron body of most hex dumbbells means that they're very sturdy. I've owned pairs for years and, bar a few scuffs, they still look pretty similar to the day I bought them. 

If you're planning to use these dumbbells at home, you may also want to seek out a set with a rubber casing around the heads. This acts as an extra layer of protection, while also saving your floor from unwanted marks. 

3. Cheaper 

Adjustable dumbbells can be excellent value for money in the long run (see below for a full explanation of why). But the initial investment can be eye-watering, with premium sets usually costing more than $400.

If you're just looking for a more affordable way to start training at home, a set of hex dumbbells can be picked up for a fraction of this price, particularly over the Cyber Monday period.

4. More practical shape 

Hex dumbbells take their name from the six-sided heads that sit on either end of their central grips. 

The six flat sides don't just make them easier to stack than their round counterparts, they also won't roll away when you place them on the floor between sets.

The shape contributes to their versatility too. The flat edges make them a stable base for exercises like the renegade rows and devil press. You can even use them as push-up stands, or for performing L-sit holds if you want a serious core challenge. 

Advantages of adjustable dumbbells

Man standing next to adjustable dumbbell

(Image credit: Getty Images)

1. Progression

One of the most effective and widely-used ways to build strength and muscle is the progressive overload principle. 

In strength training terms, this means gradually making your workouts more difficult over time. So, as you grow stronger, your body continues to be challenged, providing the stimulus needed to continue making progress. 

And what's the most obvious way to make your strength training workouts more difficult? Increasing the weight you're lifting. 

You can do easily do this with adjustable options, but not hex dumbbells. 

However, increasing the amount of weight you're lifting isn't the only way to make an exercise more challenging. You can also up the number of sets or repetitions you perform of the exercise, or perform the lift with a slower tempo to increase your working muscles' time under tension. 

You can also perform a more advanced variation of the exercise. For example, swapping goblet squats for a unilateral (single-sided) move like weighted split squats will place more load on each leg. 

2. Space

A set of hex dumbbells will be slightly smaller than a set of most adjustable dumbbells. However, with some adjustable dumbbells doing the equivalent role of a whole rack of weights, the latter suddenly becomes the more space-savyy option. 

If you enjoy strength training and want to avoid the clutter of umpteen hex dumbbells strewn about your home gym set-up, adjustable dumbbells are the way to go. 

3. Value for money in the long run 

Adjustable dumbbells are expensive at first, but they represent good value for money in the long run. 

Take the Bowflex SelectTech 552s for example. Each dumbbell has 15 different weight options from 5lb to 52.5lb, and you can pick a pair up for $349 in the brand's Cyber Monday sale

If you wanted to buy 15 pairs of hex dumbbells mirroring the Bowflex's many weight options, it would cost you considerably more. 

Which type of dumbbell should you buy?

Now we've weighed up the pros and cons it's time to decide which type of dumbbell is right for you. 

If you've set a bit of money aside for some weights and their primary use will be for strength training, I would recommend adjustable dumbbells. 

The multiple weight options are excellent for progressing your training as you grow stronger, and the ability to switch between them in seconds with the twist of a dial on premium sets is especially handy during workouts containing supersets. 

On the other hand, if you want a more affordable and versatile at-home training option, you should make a beeline for a pair of hex dumbbells. 

These will allow you to strengthen your muscles, as well as your heart and lungs, with a wider variety of exercise styles like HIIT. 

Harry Bullmore
Fitness Writer

Harry Bullmore is a Fitness Writer for Fit&Well and its sister site Coach, covering accessible home workouts, strength training session, and yoga routines. He joined the team from Hearst, where he reviewed products for Men's Health, Women's Health, and Runner's World. He is passionate about the physical and mental benefits of exercise, and splits his time between weightlifting, CrossFit, and gymnastics, which he does to build strength, boost his wellbeing, and have fun.


Harry is a NCTJ-qualified journalist, and has written for Vice, Learning Disability Today, and The Argus, where he was a crime, politics, and sports reporter for several UK regional and national newspapers.