Commercial dumbbells - what does that mean?

Commercial dumbbells - what does that mean?

Commercial Dumbbells

Commercial dumbbells are manufactured to a higher level of quality as they need to withstand high frequency use cases such as public membership gyms, schools, and professional and collegiate sports team training facilities. These dumbbells can be used hundreds of times a day, 365 days a year. In these types of facilities, the users are less careful in the way they treat the dumbbells which presents the opportunity for the dumbbells to get damaged.

damaged dumbbells

Damaged Dumbbells

Bench pressing heavy dumbbells is great, but it is normal for the dumbbells to be dropped after the last rep, and this inevitably could cause damage to the dumbbell, particularly if this happens multiple times a day. People working out in these types of facilities tend to be less conscious of how they use or abuse the equipment as it is not their own personal property.

If an individual home gym owner worked out extensively for lets say, 4 hours a day, everyday, a set of dumbbells would only be used a percentage of the time as the owner would inevitably have other pieces of equipment such as barbells, a smith machine, maybe some cardio equipment, etc., all of which would be utilized in their workout. The amount of abuse the individual would subject their own equipment to would be a lot less as they have invested a considerable amount of money into building their own gym and they would want to take care of their gym equipment.

So you can see, commercial dumbbells are meant to be used in a commercial environment as they are built to last and withstand the abuse the users throw at them.

What does light commercial dumbbells mean?

Commercial dumbbells come in different styles and are manufactured from different materials, but what they are not is rubber hex dumbbells manufactured from recycled rubber.

At a minimum, the material used from light commercial applications would be virgin rubber where there is no recycled rubber used in the manufacturing process. These light commercial dumbbells could be virgin rubber hex, but more likely be a minimum of eight sided octagon shaped heads with a high tensile steel handle.

Eight sided virgin rubber dumbbells

Eight sided virgin rubber dumbbells

 

Dumbbells manufactured using virgin rubber are suitable for commercial facilities like hotel gyms and community condominium gyms where the quantity of people working out is far less than membership gyms. These light commercial facilities do not need to purchase the higher priced premium grade commercial dumbbells because they will not be subjected to the same level of use or abuse, but they do need to be a better grade than the cheaper recycled rubber hex dumbbells found in the average garage gym.

Premium grade commercial dumbbells

The premium level of commercial dumbbells are a necessity for professional sports teams, strength gyms, cross fit boxes, personal trainers and to some extent, upgraded home gyms. These dumbbells would be manufactured from either urethane or steel, sometimes both. These are materials that can withstand the high use, high abuse situations encountered in the type of facilities we are talking about.

Urethane commercial dumbbells

Urethane is a synthetic polymer that can be manufactured to specific specifications like the degree of hardness, which is a key attribute for commercial grade dumbbells. Urethane dumbbells generally come in ten or twelve sided shaped heads or in a round head configuration. The surface of a urethane dumbbell is high gloss and the quality is first class. They usually look great, too. They also have the added feature of being able to have high definition logos printed on the ends, this allows for individual clubs, gyms departments, units and teams to have their dumbbells branded.
Urethane dumbbells normally come with a solid manufacturer’s warranty, depending upon the supplier, but could often be as long as ten years. So with these urethane commercial dumbbells you get an awesome looking set which could go from 5 lb to 150 lbs as well as a complete set of dumbbells that will last a long time that are capable of withstand all the use and abuse of a high traffic high use gym.

Classic style commercial dumbbells

The classic style commercial dumbbell is often referred to as the ‘pro-style’ dumbbell. This pro-style dumbbell is manufactured with a high tensile tough steel handle which has steel plates fixed to either end of the handle. The plates are fixed to the handle with end caps that are bolted on. These bolts are meant to be permanently fixed and therefore, they are assembled with an impact torque wrench that tightens the bolt to 200 ft. lbs to 400 ft. lbs of torque.
Pro-style commercial dumbbells
Pro-style commercial dumbbells

The handles are different lengths depending upon how many plates are needed to make up the weight configuration. These pro-style commercial dumbbells can range from 5 lb to 150 lb and in some cases 200 lb or more.

The pro-style commercial dumbbell is a round steel head coated with a protective paint, however, some manufacturers coat their steel plates in urethane for added protection. The main issue with the urethane coating is the added thickness to each plate which makes the heavier dumbbells a lot bulkier than those without urethane coating.

Urethane coated pro-style commercial dumbbells

Urethane coated pro-style commercial dumbbells

 

You will find the classic “old school” pro-style commercial dumbbells in most public membership gyms, schools, and professional sports club training facilities. These are also the go-to style dumbbell for local fire stations, police force gyms and the majority of the armed forces gym facilities.

Conclusion

Commercial dumbbells are manufactured from premium materials that are designed to withstand high traffic, high use and high abuse environments. If the dumbbell heads are rubber encased, the rubber needs to be virgin rubber and these dumbbells should ideally be used in light commercial facilities like hotel and condominium gyms, rather than high-traffic gyms. We generally avoid recommending rubber in the most extreme and demanding high-use environments and use cases.

Urethane commercial dumbbells are available in 8 sided, 10 sided, 12 sided or round heads and have a very tough and durable quality about them. The urethane dumbbells would come with a warranty of five to ten years and are suitable for all high traffic, high use and abuse scenarios that a typical public membership gym would throw at them.

12 sided urethane commercial dumbbells

12 sided urethane commercial dumbbells



Pro-style dumbbells have an “old school” look to them and are constructed from round plates that are permanently bolted onto a high tensile steel handle. These commercial dumbbells can withstand a tremendous amount of abuse and should last a lifetime.

Old School pro-style dumbbells

Old School pro-style dumbbells



For more information on commercial dumbbells, we discuss this in our dumbbell buyer’s guide here.