Dumbbell Comparison: Hex vs Rubber vs Pro Style

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

hex dumbbells They are made with solid chrome-plated steel handles and welded cast iron heads with a 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 coated in rubber, 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 handle ends are precisely length to fit an exact number of plates, are screw-in to make them semi-permanent, and typically have end caps to further smooth the edges.

Professional style rubber dumbbells. They are the above with rubber coating on the attached weight plates instead of paint. Again, for short, we call them rubber instead of rubber coated. Note that regular pro-style dumbbells can also be made with just rubber tops.

All of the above types can have contoured shanks instead of straight ones. 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 increase as much as the weight increases. Rubber hex and hex dumbbells are generally priced fairly per pound, although smaller and larger sizes may be priced adjusted 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 – 1.5 to 11 times the price of hex dumbbells.


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

#1: Professional Gum Styling

#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 are banged around a lot. Rubber dumbbells are made to take a beating. However, rubber exposed to the heat of the sun will expand as it warms up, and repeated exposure can cause the rubber to start to crack from 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 out on top.

Pro-style dumbbell plates have a flatter finish that is more resistant to chipping than the finish on hex dumbbells. If you’ve ever piled up old hex dumbbells at the top of a repeat bench press and smeared paint on your face, you know how important this is. Of course, a rubber coating will prevent this, and non-rubber professional dumbbells can be mounted with rubber end caps.

Hex dumbbells are welded together, and while the welds are usually very good, you have to recognize the small risk of a bad weld, especially with dumbbells that don’t go through quality control with one of the major manufacturers of hex dumbbells. The US way to break a dumbbell is to drop it from high up at an angle, so a head hits first and puts a lot of torsional stress on the handle. When a weld fails, the head usually won’t come off, but it can become a bit loose and wobble. The risk of this isn’t really a safety issue, because it’s pretty obvious when a head is loose or has broken enough to fall off.

On pro-style dumbbells, the plates are secured in place with an Allen bolt that comes pretty tight from the factory. It’s pretty obvious when it starts to get loose after a lot of use, and it’s a simple matter of tightening it down.

#1: Professional Gum Styling

#3: Rubber Hex

#4: Professional Style

#5: Hex


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

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

The clincher here will be that pro-style dumbbells tend to roll and are often used on racks with individual mounts for each dumbbell rather than one flat rack. This looks great and keeps them organized, but it takes up a lot of space. In that case, the rubber prostyle would take up the same space as the normal pro style.

#1: Hex

#2: Rubber Hex

#3: Professional Style

#4: Professional Gum Styling


Recycled rubber stinks. It varies, and it’s usually not too bad, and you may not even notice it unless you touch it, and it fades over time. However, virgin rubber, such as Troy TSD Rubber Hex Dumbbells, as well as all professional-style Troy Rubber Dumbbells, is odorless.

#1/#2: hexagonal, professional style

#3: Professional Gum Styling

#4: Rubber Hex


The worst that can happen is that your dumbbells roll and cause a bystander to trip and crack their head on a machine. But it’s also annoying when you’re trying to prepare for an exercise with heavy dumbbells and they keep rolling across the uneven garage gym floor. Garage gyms are always angled towards the entrance. And you want the dumbbells to stay in place on the rack so they don’t get mixed up.

As far as pro styling goes, rubber is a bit ahead here, only because the softer rubber surface creates more stability and may not roll around when regular irons do. In reality, the rubber hex is more likely to keep rolling downhill once you get going, 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. Racks with curved mounts are made to hold a pro-style dumbbell on each mount, and they take up a considerable amount of floor space.

#1: Hex

#2: Rubber Hex

#3: Professional Gum Styling

#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, injuries, disrespect for the team, you name it, it’s going to happen with a lot of use. When a dumbbell hits the floor at an angle, too much stress can be put on the end of the handle and it can bend. A hex dumbbell instantly becomes junk, and you have to buy a new one, and the heavy ones aren’t cheap to ship either.

When a professional-style dumbbell is dropped and breaks, the handle or weight plates can be disassembled and replaced at minimal cost.

Durability is covered in a previous category, but when considering maintenance, we need to consider the likelihood of a dumbbell breaking or becoming 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 the head chipping off from being dropped on bare concrete, as most people have more common sense than that, but the handle bending from being left on. fall bad So I give the non-rubber dumbbells a higher rating considering the higher cost of replacing rubber dumbbells or rubber pro-style plates.

#1: Professional Style

#2: Professional Gum Styling

#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 dumbbells under 10 pounds. Neoprene dumbbells are popular for those sizes. So I’m going to ignore the bottom end and look at the top 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 weights in small 1.25 or 2.5 increments to dumbbells, do not stick to a rubber coating. Another micro-loading method is to use wrist weights, so you’re not entirely out of luck, and you may even find that you prefer wrist weights to magnets, but non-rubber dumbbells take the cake here for being more versatile.

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

#1: Professional Style

#2: Hex

#3: Professional Gum Styling

#4: Rubber Hex

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