Some links in this article are affiliate links, which means I earn from qualifying purchases.
Storing dumbbells properly not only keeps them safe from damage but helps you keep your home gym neat and organized. But how you store dumbbells depends on what kind of dumbbells you have, how many you have, and how much space you have available.
The best dumbbell storage solution is a rack or stand that keeps your dumbbells off the floor but makes it easy for you to take them out and put them away. You can use a storage rack made specifically for dumbbells or look for another rack that also enables you to store other equipment like kettlebells and plates.
As someone with a garage gym, I understand the importance of protecting dumbbells from damage, especially with all of the other stuff I have to keep in my garage. Below, I’ll discuss various ways to store your dumbbells so you can find a solution that works best for your home gym.
4 Things to Consider When Storing Your Dumbbells
Before you decide on a dumbbell storage rack solution, there are a few things you need to consider:
- How much space you have
- What kind of dumbbells you have
- How many dumbbells you have
- How heavy your dumbbells are
- How versatile you want your rack to be
1. How Much Space You Have
Obviously, you can’t fit a gigantic dumbbell storage rack in a 100 square foot home gym if you also have a squat rack and/or a piece of cardio equipment. But in a larger home gym, you have more flexibility to add a larger storage rack.
A storage rack’s dimensions are easy to find online on the product listing page, so be sure to measure out the space where you envision it going before you make a purchase. This will save you a lot of frustration and potentially save you money on return shipping costs.
2. What Kind of Dumbbells You Have
The types of dumbbells you have will dictate which type of storage rack is best for you.
If you have hex dumbbells, nearly any kind of storage rack will work. You can store them on a vertical rack or a horizontal rack with flat shelves since their flat edges will prevent them from rolling.
If you have round dumbbells, a vertical rack or a horizontal rack with angled shelves is best to keep them from rolling around. You can store them on a rack with flat shelves, but you may need to keep them surrounded with other objects if you don’t want them to roll.
As well, some adjustable dumbbells like PowerBlock dumbbells won’t stay on an angled storage rack unless there’s a lip at the end. They’re flat all the way around, so they’ll just slide off an angled shelf if there’s nothing to hold them in place. You also don’t want to store them in such a way that makes it too difficult to adjust the weight.
3. How Many Dumbbells You Have
This may seem obvious, but you’ll need to get a storage rack that can hold the number of dumbbells you have in your home gym. Some storage racks can only hold 3-4 pairs of dumbbells, but others can hold much more than that.
It’s also a good idea to consider whether or not you’ll be adding more dumbbells in the future. You don’t want to buy a storage rack now that holds 4 pairs of dumbbells and then have to spend even more money on another one in the future if you add more dumbbells later on.
Additionally, hex dumbbells tend to take up more space than round dumbbells, so you’ll need to take that into consideration when trying to figure out how many pairs you can fit on your storage rack.
To learn more about the differences between hex dumbbells and round dumbbells, check out my article Hex Dumbbells vs Round Dumbbells: Which Are Better?
4. How Heavy Your Dumbbells Are
Most dumbbell storage racks have weight capacities for both the rack itself and the heaviest dumbbell it could safely hold. You’ll usually see that racks will have a total weight capacity of, say, 70lbs, but can only hold individual dumbbells up to 35lbs.
And here again, you should consider your future goals. You may only be using 15lb dumbbells right now, but after a few months you’ll be up to 35lb dumbbells. If you’re looking for a long-term, cost-effective solution, get a storage rack that you can grow into.
How To Store Dumbbells With Limited Space: 4 Ways
There are so many different types of dumbbells available, and everyone’s home gym has a different size and layout. The options below are all ideal for individuals with small home gyms or those who want to maximize every bit of space they have available for storage.
1. Compact Dumbbell Storage Racks
If you’re looking for a small storage rack that’s just for dumbbells and only have a few pairs of light dumbbells, your best bet is a compact storage rack like a vertical rack or an A-frame storage rack.
While each rack is different, these types of racks can hold 5-10 pairs of dumbbells and have 200-300lb weight capacities. These racks don’t have large footprints and can even fit into a corner, which is ideal for small home gyms.
If you have more than 10 pairs of dumbbells, you should look for a multi-tiered horizontal rack like the Marcy 3-tier dumbbell storage rack. While horizontal racks are wider than vertical racks, you can still find ones that are only about 4 feet wide. Some of them have 1,000lb weight capacities and can hold 85lb+ dumbbells.
As well, brands like Rogue and Titan Fitness make storage systems with relatively small base models. For example, the Rogue 43″ 2-tier mass storage system is a good place to start because it’s only 49” wide and 48” tall. You can build upon it by adding plate storage posts, flat shelves, and additional racks if you ever need more storage or get more space.
2. Dumbbell Trays/Columns
Dumbbell trays are made for storing adjustable dumbbells like PowerBlock dumbbells. Adjustable dumbbell brands make their own storage racks that are compatible with their products (like this storage column for PowerBlock dumbbells) but you can also get similar ones from other brands.
I have a PowerBlock dumbbell tray for my PowerBlock dumbbells, which is similar to the storage column but a little less bulky. It makes it super easy to adjust the weights quickly, and I also like that it has holders for the adder weights.
If you have loadable dumbbells, you’ll want a stand that can hold the dumbbell handles as well as the plates and collars, like this dumbbell column stand from Titan Fitness. This stand can hold up to 260lbs, which is plenty sufficient for most home gym owners.
You could also use this stand for PowerBlock dumbbells or dial-adjustable dumbbells and use the posts to store small plates for your barbell.
3. Multi-Purpose Dumbbell Storage Racks
If you’re looking for a storage rack for a small home gym, you may need one that can be used to store other equipment in addition to dumbbells. But a lot of dumbbell-specific storage racks aren’t ideal for also storing plates, wall balls, kettlebells, and other gear because they have slotted and/or angled shelves.
Many brands sell replaceable flat shelves that are compatible with their storage racks. These shelves can be expensive, but they make your storage rack more versatile. They’ll also enable you to save space since you won’t have to buy multiple storage racks (for example, one for dumbbells, one for plates, and one for kettlebells).
The Rogue mass storage system I mentioned above is a good example of a multi-purpose dumbbell storage rack. You can customize it with shelves that can also be used for kettlebells and wall balls, and you can even store plates on it.
The Rogue storage system is expensive, but Titan Fitness makes a similar mass storage system that’s more affordable. Like Rogue, Titan also sells replaceable shelves and other add-ons so you can customize your storage rack.
If you’re also looking for the best barbell storage solution, check out some of my favorite ways to store a barbell.
4. Industrial Storage Racks
If you can’t find what you’re looking for from the typical fitness brands like Rogue, consider a heavy-duty storage rack from a local hardware store or a rack like this industrial storage rack from Amazon.
I’ve looked into industrial racks myself to store some of my dumbbells as I’m in the midst of reorganizing my garage. They could be a solution for you as well if you need a large storage rack or multiple storage racks to hold other equipemnt but don’t want to spend a lot of money on racks from brands like Rogue.These types of storage racks can cost up to 40% less than fitness-specific racks.
Many industrial racks also have shelves with 1,000lb weight capacities each, as opposed to the entire rack having a certain weight limit.
One thing to watch out for, though, is that these types of storage racks typically have wire shelves, which your dumbbells can get stuck on. But you can put plywood or pieces of horse stall mats on them to prevent this from happening. You can also contact the manufacturer to see if they make composite storage shelves that you can swap out for the wire ones.
Another thing to keep in mind is that this type of storage rack isn’t ideal for round dumbbells, which can roll around on flat composite shelves. But it would work well for adjustable dumbbells or loadable dumbbells if you don’t store them with the plates on them.
Is it safe to drop dumbbells? I cover this in my article 7 Best Dumbbells That You Can Drop Without Damaging Them.
Dumbbell Storage Options If You Have A Bit More Space
If you have a large garage gym, you have more options for dumbbell storage. Not a lot of brands make large storage racks for home gym use, but you can always buy multiple smaller racks if you have the space and budget available and need the extra storage.
I also mentioned earlier that brands like Rogue make mass storage solutions for home gyms. You can buy a smaller rack to start with and expand on it in the future or buy a larger rack with a bunch of add-ons all at once.
For example, if you need a lot of storage, you could get a 3-tier system with 70” shelves. You’d likely be set for a while with a rack like this, but you could still add additional storage racks onto it or even get crossmembers and rail mount hangers to store resistance bands or lifting belts.
As well, you can get a corner storage rack to connect two racks together and utilize an unused corner of your home gym.
How NOT To Store Dumbbells: 3 Rules To Follow
Three rules to keep in mind when storing dumbbells are:
- Don’t put the heaviest weights on the top
- Wipe them down when you’re done
- Don’t store them on a very high shelf
1. Don’t Put the Heaviest Weights on the Top
Regardless of what kind of dumbbell storage rack you get, you shouldn’t put the heaviest ones at the top.
It may be harder to pick them up from the bottom of the rack, but it will help keep the entire rack more stable and prevent it from tipping over.
2. Wipe Them Down When You’re Done
Just like barbells, dumbbells are more prone to rust if sweat and chalk accumulate on them. Wipe the handles down with a towel and/or use a stiff nylon brush to get the sweat and chalk off of them when you’re done working out.
3. Don’t Store Them on a Very High Shelf
Dumbbells should be easy to take off and put back on the shelves of your storage rack, especially if they’re heavy. Ideally, they’ll be at or slightly above waist height.
This will prevent you from having to exert a lot of extra energy to get them off the rack and put them back before and after your workout.
Can You Store Dumbbells On The Floor?
You’re probably aware that you shouldn’t store your barbell on the floor, but dumbbells are a bit different. They’re smaller and easier to keep out of the way when you’re not using them. For example, you can leave them inside your squat rack or in the corner of the room. Barbells take up much more space when they’re lying on the floor.
As well, it’s not recommended to store barbells on the floor because dirt and dust can get stuck under the bushings or bearings and affect the spin, but that’s not really an issue with dumbbells.
I contacted the Rogue Fitness team to ask about the best way to store their dumbbells. Right away, they tried to push their dumbbell storage racks on me. When I asked if there were any disadvantages to storing their dumbbells on the floor, they didn’t provide any strong arguments against it.
I have a couple pairs of rubber hex dumbbells that I’ve been leaving on my garage floor because I don’t have another way to store them at the moment. I may find the occasional spider web on them if I don’t use them for a while, but I haven’t had any other damage to the handles or dumbbell heads.
But whether or not your dumbbells will survive being stored on the floor will depend on their materials and the temperature of your garage. I’ve been fortunate that mine haven’t rusted even though my garage gets quite humid in the summer, but you may have a different outcome.
If you have round dumbbells, I wouldn’t recommend storing them on the floor because they can easily roll away. But if your floor is completely flat or you can put other things around them to keep them from rolling (like a heavy kettlebell with a flat bottom), you shouldn’t have any issues keeping them on the floor.
Of course, if your home gym is set up in a room that’s prone to flooding or water damage, leaving your dumbbells on the floor isn’t the best idea unless you’re willing to bring them indoors when a storm is approaching.
As well, leaving dumbbells on the floor isn’t a viable option if you have several pairs because they’ll just take up valuable floor space.
Can You Store Dumbbells Outside?
I don’t recommend storing dumbbells outside, especially if you live in a coastal area or in a region with extreme weather. Rain, snow, morning dew, and humidity can all cause them to rust and wear down the materials faster. You also never know what kind of critters may crawl over them, exposing you to germs and bacteria.
If you must store your dumbbells outdoors, try to keep them underneath an awning of some sort or covered with a tarp. Keep them away from any areas that are prone to puddles if you leave them on the ground.
It’s also best to get open shelves or drill holes into composite shelves if you use a storage rack outdoors so water doesn’t pool on them. If the shelves get wet, remove the dumbbells and dry everything off as soon as you can.
Another thing to keep in mind is that dumbbell handles can get very hot if they’re in direct sunlight or very cold if you leave them outside in the winter. You may want to wear lifting gloves to prevent your hands from having to touch hot or cold metal.
Additional Home Gym Resources
- Cheap vs Expensive Dumbbells: Is There REALLY a Difference?
- Best Cable Attachments (10 Options For Home Gyms)
- Best Gym Clocks & Timers (Bought & Tested 7 Different Types)
- 9 Best Speakers for Garage Gym (Tried and Tested)
- 6 Best Heaters for Garage Gyms (Tried and Tested)
- How Do I Warm-Up My Garage Gym (10 Tips That Actually Work)
About The Author
Amanda Dvorak is a freelance writer and powerlifting enthusiast. Amanda played softball for 12 years and discovered her passion for fitness when she was in college. It wasn’t until she started CrossFit in 2015 that she became interested in powerlifting and realized how much she loves lifting heavy weights. In addition to powerlifting, Amanda also enjoys running and cycling.