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While dropping dumbbells is never ideal, there are certain times where you can’t just set them down gently. For example, if you just performed a set of heavy dumbbell bench presses to failure or you’re exhausted at the end of a CrossFit WOD, it can be difficult to bring the dumbbells back down to the floor gently.
However, not all dumbbells are meant to be dropped. It can be challenging to find dumbbells that won’t get damaged when you drop them, but there are dumbbells on the market that can withstand the impact of being dropped.
So what are the best dumbbells you can drop without damaging them? The best dumbbells that you can drop without damaging them are the Fringe Sport hex dumbbells. They’re made out of a combination of solid cast iron, steel, and virgin rubber that won’t chip or crack when they’re dropped. They’re pricey, but the cost is worth it if you’ll be dropping them frequently.
In this article, I’ll review the best dumbbells on the market that can be dropped. I’ll also discuss the factors that determine whether or not you can drop a pair of dumbbells, which types of dumbbells you should avoid if you want to drop them, and whether or not it’s safe to drop adjustable dumbbells.
Factors That Allow You To Drop Dumbbells Without Damaging Them
The materials your dumbbells are made out of will determine how durable they’ll be when they’re dropped. Cheap or flimsy materials are much more likely to break than dumbbells that are made with high-quality cast iron or high tensile steel.
2. Overall Construction
Many dumbbells aren’t constructed as one single unit — they feature separate parts that are glued or welded together. Dumbbells with parts that are simply glued on are more susceptible to damage, but dumbbells with pieces that are welded together tend to be more durable.
To reduce the chances of your dumbbells breaking when they’re dropped, you can also look for dumbbells with heads that are pinned to the handles, which makes them less likely to fall apart.
3. What Kind of Floor You Work Out On
If you work out on a rubber floor or horse stall mats, the shock-absorbing material will help protect the integrity of the dumbbells. But a harder surface like concrete won’t be as forgiving and is more likely to cause your dumbbells to break.
4. How Far You Drop Your Dumbbells
Dropping dumbbells from overhead can do a lot more damage than dropping them from your knees or even your waist. Dropping dumbbells from your shoulders when you’re lying on a bench is also better than dropping them from over your head.
5. The Thickness of the Handles
Dumbbells with thin or hollow handles are more likely to crack or break when they’re dropping them. Most heavier dumbbells have handles that are thick enough to support the heads when they’re dropped, but you’ll still want to make sure that the dumbbells you choose have thick, sturdy handles that can survive the impact of being dropped.
6. The Angle at Which the Dumbbells Are Dropped
Dropping dumbbells vertically so they land flat on one of their heads or dropping them so they’re horizontal to the floor will cause less damage than dropping them on an angle. It’s not always easy to control this when you’ve just maxed out, but you should do your best to be mindful of dropping them in a way that won’t cause them to break.
7 Dumbbells You Can Drop Without Damaging Them
The 7 dumbbells you can drop without damaging them are:
- Fringe Sport Hex Dumbbells – Best Overall Choice For Dumbbells That Can Be Dropped
- Snode Cast Iron Adjustable Dumbbells – Best Adjustable Dumbbells That Can Be Dropped
- Fringe Sport Loadable Dumbbells – Best Dumbbells For Bodybuilders That Can Be Dropped Without Breaking
- SDX Cast Iron Hex Dumbbells – Best Cast Iron Dumbbells That Can Be Dropped
- Power Systems Deluxe Vinyl Dumbbell Prime – Best Vinyl Dumbbells That Can Be Dropped
- Rogue Urethane Dumbbells – Most Durable Dumbbells That Can Be Dropped
- YES4ALL Rubber Grip Dumbbell – Best Budget-Friendly Urethane Dumbbells That Can Be Dropped
1. Fringe Sport Hex Dumbbells – Best Overall Choice For Dumbbells That Can Be Dropped Without Breaking
The Fringe Sport Hex Dumbbells are some of the most durable dumbbells on the market. They have a steel handle and cast iron heads that are encased in thick virgin rubber. The rubber helps absorb shock when they’re dropped so they won’t crack or fall apart.
The heads are secured to the dumbbell handles with specialized pins that won’t loosen even if the dumbbells are dropped repeatedly, so you can drop them repeatedly from various weights without worrying about them falling apart.
The handles have an ergonomic design that makes them comfortable to hold for a high amount of reps, and the knurling prevents your hands from slipping.
The amount of rubber that surrounds the dumbbell heads also helps reduce the amount of noise the dumbbells make when dropped, which makes these a good choice if you live in an apartment or like to work out when the people you live with are sleeping.
One drawback of these dumbbells is that they only go up to 100lbs, so they’re not ideal for some powerlifters, bodybuilders, or Strongman competitors.
They’re also more expensive per pound than other similar dumbbells, but since you likely won’t have to replace them often, the extra cost is worth it.
- Durable construction
- Rubber heads won’t chip or crack easily
- Don’t make a lot of noise when dropped
- Ergonomic handle makes them comfortable to hold
- More expensive per pound than other dumbbell sets
- Only available up to 100lbs
2. Snode Cast Iron Adjustable Dumbbells – Best Adjustable Dumbbells That Can Be Dropped
Adjustable dumbbells are great options for people with small home gyms because you only need one set of dumbbells to have access to a variety of different weights. However, most adjustable dumbbells can’t be dropped — although there is one exception to that rule in the Snode Cast Iron Adjustable Dumbbells.
Unlike other adjustable dumbbells, these dumbbells don’t have any plastic parts or small metal pins that can come apart if they’re dropped. They’re also designed so that most of the impact from the fall is absorbed by the first weight plate, which doesn’t affect the adjustment system in any way.
Another attractive feature of these dumbbells is that there is no notch in the weight plates, which means that the weight is evenly distributed. Most adjustable dumbbells have notched plates which can affect how the dumbbells feel as you’re holding them.
These dumbbells are sold individually, and they’re pretty expensive, which isn’t ideal if you’re on a budget. They also only go up to 50lbs, so they’re better suited for casual lifters.
- No notches in the weight plates allows for more even weight distribution
- Knurled handle for better gripability
- Adjustment system won’t get damaged when dropped
- Not sold in pairs
- Only goes up to 50lbs
3. Fringe Sport Loadable Dumbbells – Best Dumbbells For Bodybuilders That Can Be Dropped Without Breaking
The easiest way to describe loadable dumbbells is that they’re like mini barbells and weight plates. The handles and plates are separate, and you slide the plates on the bars and secure them with a collar to get your desired weight.
Many loadable dumbbells can’t be dropped because the collars can come undone upon impact, which can send them and the plates flying. However, when loaded with dumbbell bumpers, the Fringe Sport Loadable Dumbbells can be dropped since the bumper plates will absorb much of the impact.
My favorite thing about these dumbbells is that the handles are the same size as the sleeves on a barbell. If you already have change plates or small 5lb plates for your barbell, you can use them on the Fringe Sport loadable dumbbell handles.
However, the handles don’t come with any plates. If you don’t already have plates that are suitable for dumbbells, you’ll have to purchase dumbbell bumper plates such as these from Rogue. The collars are also sold separately, so you’ll have to buy them on your own if you don’t already have a pair or want an extra set.
- Can load each handle up to 220lbs
- Can use them with any other plate with a 2in diameter
- Good amount of knurling for better gripability
- Have to purchase dumbbell bumpers and collars separately
- Unloaded handles weigh 15lbs each
4. Body Solid SDX Cast Iron Hex Dumbbells – Best Budget-Friendly Dumbbell Sets That Can Be Dropped
The Body Solid SDX cast iron dumbbells are some of the most affordable dumbbells per pound, especially considering the high quality of their materials. They’re made out of ASTM grade 20 cast iron, which doesn’t have high tensile strength but is known for its shock-absorbing and wear-resistant properties.
Combined with the dumbbells’ high carbon roll pins that are embedded into the handles, these properties make them durable enough to withstand being dropped from various heights.
The dumbbells also have knurled handles, which makes them easier to grip.
And even though they have a hex shape, the edges are smooth, so you won’t get abrasions if they rub against your shins or shoulders.
- Reasonable per-pound price
- Shock-absorbing and wear-resistant properties
- Knurled handles provides better gripability
- Smooth edges prevent cuts and scrapes
- Having to buy multiple pairs of dumbbells isn’t ideal for people with small home gyms
5. Power Systems Deluxe Vinyl Dumbbell Prime – Best Vinyl Dumbbells That Can Be Dropped
While the majority of powerlifters, bodybuilders, CrossFitters, and other strength athletes won’t have a need for vinyl dumbbells, they’re ideal for people who like to use weights when taking fitness classes or doing HIIT workouts.
Although you may never max out to the point where you have to drop your dumbbells when they’re used for those purposes, there’s a possibility that they can slip out of your hands.
The Power Systems Deluxe Vinyl Dumbbells are made from sturdy cast iron and covered with a vinyl coating. They can not only withstand being dropped but won’t ruin your floors if you drop them from about knee height.
Another benefit of these dumbbells is that they’re smaller than other types of dumbbells. If you want to buy multiple pairs but don’t have room for a large storage rack, you can easily fit them on a smaller rack or in the corner of your home gym.
- Don’t take up a lot of space
- Vinyl material won’t degrade easily
- Ergonomic handles for added comfort
- Sold individually
- Weights are too light for strength athletes
6. Rogue Urethane Dumbbells – Most Durable Dumbbells That Can Be Dropped
The Rogue Urethane Dumbbells come at a premium price per pound, but these dumbbells are some of the most durable ones you can find that won’t break when they’re dropped. They’re an excellent option for people who work out outside on pavement or on concrete garage floors.
Urethane is more durable than rubber and better able to withstand impacts from repeated drops. As their name implies, the Rogue Urethane Dumbbells have a shock-absorbent urethane plating that will hold up even when dropped on hard surfaces.
Furthermore, the heads are welded to the handles, which means they can hold up to impacts better than dumbbells that are glued together.
Because these dumbbells are round, they’re more likely to roll a lot after you drop them. The lack of flat edges also makes it challenging to do movements like devils presses or renegade rows. However, the round heads aren’t as bulky as hex-shaped dumbbell heads, so even at higher weights, the Rogue Urethane Dumbbells are easier to store.
- More compact than hex-shaped dumbbells
- Dumbbell heads are welded to handles for more durability
- Medium-grade knurling provides good gripability
- May roll around a lot due to the round shape
7. YES4ALL Rubber Grip Dumbbell – Best Budget-Friendly Urethane Dumbbells That Can Be Dropped
If you like the idea of urethane dumbbells but the Rogue option above is out of your budget, consider the YES4ALL Rubber Grip Dumbbell. The YES4ALL dumbbells are also made out of durable urethane but are available at a lower price point.
These dumbbells have a 6” ergonomic handle with soft knurling that will allow you to maintain a good grip on the bar without tearing up your hands.
The biggest drawback of these dumbbells is that the weights aren’t 100% accurate. Some of them are off by about 0.5lbs. They also have the same issues with rolling that the Rogue urethane dumbbells do, so you’ll need to do your best to drop them in an area where there aren’t a lot of breakable items around.
- Affordable urethane dumbbell option
- Doesn’t make loud noises when dropped
- Ergonomic handle is comfortable to hold
- Sold individually
- Only available up to 50lbs
- Weights may be off by up to 0.5lbs
Dumbbells You Can Drop Without Damaging Them: Buyer’s Guide
Dumbbell Materials That Will Survive Being Dropped
Any dumbbells that are made with plastic or flimsy metal parts will be more likely to crack when they’re dropped. Neoprene and vinyl dumbbells also tend to break easily when they’re dropped because the exterior materials aren’t always sturdy enough to protect their cores.
But dumbbells made with thick steel and solid cast iron are more durable than dumbbells made out of other materials. If you’re shopping for hex dumbbells, you should also look for ones that are made out of urethane instead of rubber. Urethane is more durable and can withstand impact better than rubber.
Dumbbells You Should Not Get (If You're Dropping Them)
If you know that you will definitely be dropping your dumbbells, there are a few kinds of dumbbells you shouldn’t get. These include:
- Most adjustable dumbbells
- Loadable dumbbells
- Hex dumbbells that are glued together
These types of dumbbells are either poorly made or include components that can break and make the dumbbells unusable. It’s also dangerous if broken pieces fly away as they can injure you and other people around you.
Can Adjustable Dumbbells Be Dropped?
Most adjustable dumbbells cannot be dropped. They are built with pins and locking mechanisms that can break if they’re dropped. If that happens, the pieces of the dumbbells can go flying, which not only makes the dumbbells unusable but can hurt you or other people.
Even most loadable dumbbells that come with separate plates and collars shouldn’t be dropped because the impact can cause the collars to come off and the plates to crack.
Furthermore, any warranties that they come with will be voided if the dumbbells are dropped.
Related Article: Hex Dumbbells vs Round Dumbbells: Which Are Better?
Frequently Asked Questions
Can You Drop Powerblock Dumbbells?
PowerBlock dumbbells should not be dropped. The plastic pin that locks the weights into place can crack if the dumbbell is dropped. If that pin breaks upon impact, the different components of the dumbbell can fall apart and hit you, causing injuries.
Can You Drop Bowflex Dumbbells?
Bowflex dumbbells cannot be dropped. In fact, certain models like the SelectTech 552’s have warnings on them stating that they shouldn’t be dropped. Dropping them can crack the plastic parts or cause the adjustable dials to break. It’s also possible for some of the plates to break if the dumbbells are dropped.
Can You Drop Ironmaster Dumbbells?
Ironmaster dumbbells can be dropped. They don’t have any plastic parts that will break easily. However, you should avoid dropping them on the corners and, if possible, try to drop them on the flat edges to improve their lifespan.
Dropping dumbbells isn’t always ideal, but it’s sometimes necessary after you’ve just completed a challenging set of shoulder presses or you don’t have someone around to help you lower 100+lb dumbbells in a controlled manner.
If you’re looking for dumbbells for your home gym that can be dropped, I recommend the Fringe Sport Hex Dumbbells. They’re made from a combination of steel, cast iron, and high-quality virgin rubber that can withstand the impact of being dropped.
If you don’t have room for multiple sets of dumbbells but you can lift a lot of weight, I recommend the loadable dumbbells from Fringe Sport. You can put up to 220lbs of weight on them. The only drawback is that you have to buy dumbbell bumper plates and collars separately.
Other Barbell & Dumbbell Reviews
- 8 Different Types of Squat Bars & Their Uses
- 7 Different Types of Bench Press Bars & Their Uses
- 5 Different Types of Deadlift Bars & Their Uses
- Deadlift Bar vs Stiff Bar: Are They Really THAT Different?
- How To Store Dumbbells At Home (My Top 4 Favorite Ways)
- Cheap vs Expensive Dumbbells: Is There REALLY a Difference?
About The Author
Amanda is a writer and editor in the fitness and nutrition industries. Growing up in a family that loved sports, she learned the importance of staying active from a young age. She started CrossFit in 2015, which led to her interest in powerlifting and weightlifting. She's passionate about helping women overcome their fear of lifting weights and teaching them how to fuel their bodies properly. When she's not training in her garage gym or working, you can find her drinking coffee, walking her dog, or indulging in one too many pieces of chocolate.