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