Dumbbell Comparison: Hex Style vs Rubber vs Pro Style

These types of dumbbells are the most common for home and commercial gyms. This guide will help you navigate between the pros and cons of each.

Hex dumbbells They are made with solid chromed steel handles and welded cast iron heads with painted finish. They are usually found in home gyms and some smaller fitness establishments.

Rubber Hex Dumbbells They are the same as the previous ones, with steel handles and iron heads, but with a rubber coating instead of paint. So while they’re really just rubberized, we call them rubber dumbbells for simplicity.

Professional style dumbbells they are found in most commercial gyms. They are made with solid steel handles and standard “pancake” style weight plates. They differ from standard adjustable dumbbells in that the ends of the handle are precisely length to fit an exact number of plates, are screwed in to be semi-permanent, and usually have end caps to further smooth the edges.

Professional Style Rubber Dumbbells They are the ones above with rubber coating on the attached weight plates instead of paint. Again for short we call them rubber instead of rubberized. Note that regular pro-style dumbbells can also be made with just rubber end caps.

All of the above types may have contoured rather than straight handles. The contoured handles are thicker in the center than at the edges, allowing for a wider, more ergonomic grip.


The relative difference in cost varies widely by weight, because professional-style dumbbells start at a higher price, but the price doesn’t go up as much as the weight goes up. Rubber Hex and Hex Dumbbells are generally priced by the pound, although the smaller and larger sizes may be priced for minimal retail margins or to account for skewed shipping costs.

# 1: hex

# 2: Rubber Hex: 1.5 to 2 times the price of Hex Dumbbells.

# 3: Pro Style – 1.5 to 8 times the price of Hex Dumbbells.

# 4: Rubber Pro Style: Between 1.5 and 11 times the price of Hex Dumbbells.


Rubber dumbbells are softer and won’t scratch the floor. The winner here is the professional rubber style due to the smooth edges of the heads. Even rubber can be a bit stiff, and the comparatively sharper edges of rubber hex dumbbells can dig into a sensitive floor if you’re not careful. But that can come because the edges are actually not very sharp. Painted iron is the biggest threat to a sensitive floor, so hexagonal dumbbells with their sharpest edges and roughest surface come last.

# 1: Rubber Pro style

# 2: Rubber Hex

# 3: professional style

# 4: hex


Even the high quality baked finish on modern iron hex dumbbells will eventually chip when the dumbbells get hit a lot. Rubber dumbbells are made to be hit. However, rubber exposed to hot sun will expand as it heats up, and repeated exposure can cause the rubber to start cracking due to all the expansion and contraction, so if you are in a hot climate, it would be better. keep them away. Sun. Assuming you can handle that, the rubber comes through.

Professional style dumbbell plates have a flatter finish that is more resistant to chipping than the finish on hex dumbbells. If you’ve ever hit old hex dumbbells on top of a bench press rep and gotten paint stains on your face, you know how important this is. Of course, a rubber liner will prevent this, and professional non-rubber dumbbells can be assembled with rubber end caps.

Hex dumbbells are welded together, and while the welds are usually very good, the small risk of a bad weld must be recognized here, especially for dumbbells that don’t go through quality control from a major US manufacturer. The way to break a dumbbell is to drop it from the top at an angle so that one head hits first and exerts a lot of twisting force on the handle. When a weld fails, the head doesn’t usually come off, but it can loosen a bit and wobble. The risk of this is not really a safety issue, because it is quite obvious when a head is loose or if it has been broken enough to fall off.

On professional style dumbbells, the plates are secured in place by an allen bolt that is fairly tightened from the factory. It’s pretty obvious when it starts to loosen after a lot of use, and it’s a simple matter of adjusting it.

# 1: Rubber Pro style

# 3: Rubber Hex

# 4: professional style

# 5: hex


Smaller hex dumbbells take up minimal space, while larger ones have a larger diameter than pro-style dumbbells and will consume more shelf space. The size of the professional style dumbbells reaches a maximum diameter (the size of a 10 pound plate) and you keep adding more plates at the end. So for larger sizes the pros are actually the most space conscious.

The rubber lining of the rubber hex dumbbells is thick enough that the rubber hex dumbbells take up most of the space on a shelf in larger sizes.

The deciding factor here will be that professional-style dumbbells tend to roll and are often used on racks with individual saddles for each dumbbell rather than on a flat rack. This looks great and keeps them organized, but takes up a lot of space. In that case, the rubber prosthesis would occupy the same space as the normal professional style.

# 1: hex

# 2: Rubber Hex

# 3: professional style

# 4: Rubber Pro style


Recycled rubber sucks. It varies, and it’s usually not that bad, and you might not even notice it unless you put your nose to it and it fades over time. However, virgin rubber, like that in Troy TSD rubber hex dumbbells, as well as all Troy rubber pro-style dumbbells, is odorless.

# 1 / # 2: Hex, professional style

# 3: Rubber Pro style

# 4: Rubber Hex


The worst that can happen is your dumbbells moving, causing a passerby to trip and smash his head against a machine. But it’s also annoying when you try to prepare for a workout with heavy weights and they keep rolling on the uneven floor of the garage gym. Garage gyms are always sloped towards the entrance. And you want the dumbbells to stay in place on the stand so they don’t get mixed up.

As for pro styling, rubber is a bit ahead here, just because the softer rubber surface creates more stability and may not slide when regular iron ones will. In reality, the rubber hex is more likely to keep rolling downhill once it is started, due to the friction that prevents it from sliding and stopping, and the fact that it will bounce better.

This can also affect the type of rack you get. Curved saddle racks are made to have a professional-style dumbbell on each saddle and take up a considerable amount of floor space.

# 1: hex

# 2: Rubber Hex

# 3: Rubber Pro style

# 4: professional style


For higher weights, the maintenance of damaged hex dumbbells is considerably higher. If you’re not the only one using the equipment, you can bet people are going to lose weight. Clumsiness, injury, lack of respect for the team, whatever, it’s going to happen with enough use. When a dumbbell hits the floor at an angle, it can put too much stress on the end of the handle and it can bend. A hex dumbbell instantly turns to junk, and you have to buy a new one, and heavy ones aren’t cheap to ship either.

When a professional-style dumbbell falls and breaks, the handle or any weight plate can be disassembled and replaced at minimal cost.

Durability is covered in one of the categories above, but when considering maintenance, we must consider the likelihood of a dumbbell breaking or being damaged. Rubber is much less likely to break than bare iron when dropped on concrete, but it is also more expensive to replace. However, the most common damage to a dumbbell is not chipping of the head from a fall onto bare concrete, as most people make more sense than that, but bending of the handle from a serious fall. So I’m giving non-rubber dumbbells a higher rating here, considering the higher cost of replacing rubber dumbbells or professional-style rubber plates.

# 1: professional style

# 2: Rubber Pro style

# 3: hex

# 4: Rubber Hex


Hex dumbbells start at just 1 pound, while pro-style dumbbells start at 5 pounds. But really when you’re reading an article like this to decide between these dumbbells, you probably don’t worry too much about having so many weights under 10 pounds. Neoprene dumbbells are popular for those sizes. So I’m going to ignore the lower end and look at the higher end. Prostyle dumbbells go up to 150 pounds or even more, while hex dumbbells may not exceed 100 pounds.

The popular PlateMate magnets, used to add weight in small increments of 1.25 or 2.5 to the dumbbells, do not adhere to a rubber coating. Another microloading method is using wrist weights, so you’re not totally out of luck, and you may even find that you prefer wrist weights over magnets, but non-rubber dumbbells take the cake here for being more. versatile.

Some people also like the cheap method of buying dumbbells in 10 pound increments and using PlateMates to fill in the 5 pound weight gaps, and in that case any iron dumbbell set is an even better deal.

# 1: professional style

# 2: hex

# 3: Rubber Pro style

# 4: Rubber Hex

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