Let me start this post off by saying you’re not alone – I wear a child’s size large glove and my small grip can make it difficult to get a good handle on certain weights!
This guide to the best dumbbells for small hands is written by someone who’s been there.
I had a heck of a time finding weights that were heavy enough to give me the type of workout I crave and were comfortable enough to grip that I wasn’t worried about dropping them on my head or feet!
Keep reading to find out:
- what size dumbbells to start with
- what size dumbbells to use for arms and legs
- neoprene vs steel weights
- which weights I can lift comfortably with my small hands
- styles and brands I recommend
Disclosure: Affiliate links are used throughout this post. You can read our full disclosure here.
5 Best Dumbbells for Small Hands: Types + Brands
If you’re new to strength training or are looking to find something more comfortable for your workouts, this list is for you.
I measured the dumbbells I have at home to give you an idea of the perfect handle diameter for those of us with small grips.
Please forgive the backward math though.
I only had a body measuring tape that skipped the first 15″ so I started at 60″ and worked my way back.
Taking each handle’s circumference led me to the measurements you’ll find below because apparently, some handle diameters aren’t available anywhere online.
That’s right – this is one of those situations where I’m thrilled to remember high school math – hahaha!
Let’s start with some basics for beginners.
What size dumbbells should I start with?
If you’re new to weightlifting, I’d recommend starting with a lightweight set like this one that features 3, 5, and 8-pound sets in it.
If this seems too light to you though, this slightly heavier set with 5, 8, and 12 pounds might be a better way to go.
When I started with my Peloton bike weights, I found the 2-pound weights way too light from the get-go (don’t make my mistake – get a cheap set of 3-pound weights!) but doing floor work with a 5-pound weight was challenging!
I had zero practice strength training before this point.
More fitness tips:
- Honest + Lolë Yoga Mat Review: How Does This Mat Under $40 Hold Up?
- Lululemon Align Leggings Review: Are They Really Worth It?
- The Easiest Ways to Get Peloton Classes on Your TV
Best Dumbbells for Women with Small Hands
My top picks for dumbbells are:
- Rubber Encased Hex Dumbbells
- Amazon Basics Cast Iron Dumbbells
- Peloton Cast Iron Dumbbells
- Neoprene Dumbbells
- Adjustable Dumbbells
Now, for what I like and don’t like about each of these ideal dumbbells for small hands.
1. Rubber Encased Hex Dumbbells
I found the handle diameter of 1.24″ (3.2 cm) to fit very comfortably in my small hands and love the texture of this dumbbell.
It feels solid whether you hold it from one of the ends or the handle and you know it’s going to last a VERY long time!
You can get basic Hex dumbbells for a reasonable price at Walmart or Amazon.
Wearing weight lifting gloves is also a good idea to prevent calluses.
2. Cast Iron Dumbbells
These definitely aren’t the prettiest dumbbells on this list but they’re easy for small hands to get a grip on in a wide variety of weights.
These CAP dumbbells have a slim and consistent handle diameter of 1.16″ (2.9 cm) up to 45 pounds – WOW!
I also like how smooth the bar texture is on these.
Here are my dad’s – pretty sure he’s had these for as long as I’ve been alive, haha!
Cast iron is built to last!
3. Peloton Cast Iron Dumbbells
I bought my first set of these because they were heavily discounted on Facebook Marketplace.
And WOW – I love the design!
The bar between the two sides of the weight is so slim, it makes it easy for me to lift 25-pound weights above my head.
But I don’t like how prickly they feel in my hands.
GoZone and Amazon Basics dumbbells feel a lot smoother than these do so I’d definitely wouldn’t recommend them without investing in a set of lifting gloves.
Lululemon makes a cute pair available in size XS/S!
You can check out my full review of Peloton’s dumbbells for more on these weights.
Here’s one of my 20-pound Peloton weights next to my 10-pound neoprene weight.
At 1.22″ (3.1 cm), the diameter of Peloton’s dumbbells handles is slightly slimmer than the Hex dumbbells above.
4. Neoprene Dumbbells
Okay, I actually wish my entire dumbbell collection was neoprene and up to a certain point, they are AMAZING for those of us with small hands!
Neoprene weights feel more comfortable and less slippery when you’re sweating up a storm during a workout.
I also find them more pleasant to switch between than other dumbbell styles – I love the soft smooth texture in comparison to the more traditional rubber encased hex and cast iron dumbbells that can cause calluses.
But you’ll notice from the get-go that neoprene weights require a larger grip than Hex dumbbells do.
The next three photos are measurements I took of the diameters of my 3, 5, and 8-pound neoprene dumbbells.
The three-pound set measures 1.31″ (3.3 cm) in diameter.
As you go up, you’ll notice that the diameter continues to get larger too.
Here’s my 5-pound set that comes in at 1.35″ (3.4 cm).
And last but not least, my lovely 8-pound Gaiam dumbbells – isn’t this color just adorable?!
They have a diameter of 1.47″ (3.7 cm).
That said, I found neoprene dumbells beyond 15 pounds to be super uncomfortable for my small grip.
Here’s what it looks like with my size small hands.
Now, if you don’t see yourself ever lifting more than 15 pounds, these are in my opinion, 100% the way to go.
As I said before, I still find neoprene weights to be the most comfortable small hand weights around and bonus – they even come in a variety of cute and fun colors!
But since I’d probably need two hands to grip a single 25-pound neoprene weight (the largest neoprene dumbbell size I’ve ever come across), sadly, this style just didn’t fit my lifestyle.
This light set that I used to work out with lives at my mom’s house now.
And for her fitness level, these are just perfect!
She has a small grip like mine, is in her 60’s, and lifts a maximum of 8 pounds.
5. Adjustable Dumbbells
Personally, I don’t like adjustable dumbbells at all.
They never feel as solid as regular dumbbells do and switching the amount of weight in the midst of a fast-paced workout is next to impossible.
That said, adjustable dumbells do have a purpose. They’re great for when:
- your space is limited
- you do workouts at your own pace
- you prefer to do exercises in sets according to weight
If any of the above sounds familiar, this adjustable dumbbell set could be worth a shot though!
The weight range is very wide at between 5 to 25 pounds.
Best Dumbbells for Small Hands: Final Thoughts
Strength training is a wonderful way to build muscle and feel healthier every day.
I credit a lot of my weight loss success to weight lifting and actually really enjoy doing it now!
I hope you found this guide to small hand weights helpful and can’t wait to hear which style you chose.
Let me know in the comments below 🙂
Happy lifting, friend!