A cornerstone of fitness since the times of Ancient Greece, dumbbells are an integral piece of every trainer’s, gym’s, and workout enthusiast’s tool kit. However, technology has come a long way in the past couple of thousand years. (1)
Today, most dumbbells are made in pieces, for one, with the handle and the weights often being sold separately.
Today’s dumbbell handles are crafted by pouring molten hot metals (and/or other materials) into laser-precision molds to ensure every handle sold is exact in its size, weight, length, and other dimensions.
Want to learn more about Olympic Dumbbell Handles and find out which handles are right for your workout? Keep reading for our Olympic Dumbbell Handles Buying Guide and stay tuned for our picks for the Top 5 Best Olympic Dumbbell Handles currently on the market.
Buying Guide: Olympic Dumbbell Handles
Materials & Durability
When it comes to Olympic Dumbbell Handles, steel is king. And while there are cheaper, alternative materials for dumbbell handles like cast iron, rubber-coated metals, and urethane-coated metals. These tend to be less durable and to have shorter lifespans when compared to steel constructed handles.
NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) conducted a study about the proportions of the human body and found that the average breadth of an adult man’s hand is 3.5 inches and the average breadth of an adult woman’s hand 3.1 inches. (2)
Keep this in mind when looking for the right Olympic dumbbell handles for you, as the length of the handle and the dumbbell as a whole should be able to accommodate the breadth of your hand comfortably with a bit of space on either side of your grip.
Depending on how you plan on using your Olympic dumbbell handles, you may also want to consider how weight is distributed across the handle and the weight of the handle itself.
Olympic handles should evenly spread the dumbbells’ weight across the bar to prevent strain on the user’s wrist and provide the greatest possible range of motion. (3)
Have you ever noticed how some dumbbell handles have crosshatched engravings across the length of them?
That engraving is called Knurling, and it serves an important purpose. Knurling helps to improve your grip on your dumbbell handles by reducing slippage, thus enabling you to maintain a proper hold for longer.
Conversely, an Olympic dumbbell handle with poor quality knurling can injure your palms and make it more difficult to work through your exercise properly. (3)
You may also want to consider the ergonomics of the handle. This might mean looking to see if the handle is tapered, has divets or indents for your fingers, and even includes how the knurling feels against your skin. Each of these aspects plays into the ergonomics of the handle and can differentiate between a comfortable workout and a painful one. (3)
Top 5 Best Olympic Dumbbell Handles
1. TITAN LOADABLE OLYMPIC DUMBBELL HANDLES
Description: Titan Loadable Olympic Dumbbell Handles are made to meet every need that may arise in strength training, Olympic lifting, and weight training. Titan offers two versions of their Titan Loadable Olympic Dumbbell Handles, so you get to choose between a 3.5-in loadable sleeve or a 6.5-in loadable sleeve to ensure your handle is perfectly suited to your workout. (4, 5)
- Available in 15-inch and 20-inch lengths to accommodate different hand sizes
- 15-inch has a 6.5-inch handle length when loaded; 20-inch has a 5.75-inch handle length when loaded
- Made to last with steel construction with a chrome finish
- Huge 500lb weight capacity lets you increase weight loads as you improve (4, 5)
Pros and Cons:
Amazon Link: Click here to check out the Titan Loadable 15″ Olympic Dumbbell Handle on Amazon.
2. PR Lifting OLYMPIC DUMBBELL HANDLE
Description: While PR Lifting may be a relatively unknown brand to the average consumer, they’ve certainly made a name for themselves in the fitness equipment industry. The Olympic Dumbbell Handle from PR Lifting has a total length of 19.5″ and a shaft diameter of 28.5mm to accommodate an average-sized grip. (6)
- 6.25-inch loadable sleeve length and 5.25-inch open handle length
- Medium-Sharp knurled handles for a desirable feel without cutting into your hands
- 12.5lb handle provides extra weight for your lifts (6, 7)
Pros and Cons:
- Pro: Steel construction with chrome finish
- Pro: Super affordable price point
- Con: No weight limit provided, so you’ll have to contact the company directly to find out
- Con: Only available on the PR Lifting website, and they’re currently sold out(6, 7)
Amazon Link: Not available on Amazon, only on PR Lifting official website here.
3. Strength Shop Olympic Dumbbell Handle
Description: Strength Shop’s ultra-lightweight Olympic Dumbbell Handle feels just as sturdy in hand as it looks, which is no easy feat. According to one review, “Put simply these are like holding small barbells.” Additionally, Strength Shop is currently offering a special promotion for free shipping on orders over $100. (8, 9, 10)
- 5lb handle is 25 inches long
- 50mm thick knurled handles with 9-inch sleeves
- Designed to hold Olympic plates with a diameter of 2 inches (8, 9, 10)
Pros and Cons:
- Pro: Sold in Canada, Europe, the US, and the UK
- Pro: Strong, high-grade steel construction with sleek black painted finish
- Con: Each handle is sold individually, so you’ll have to buy them separately
- Con: Specific collars have to be bought separately for safe usage (8, 9, 10)
Amazon Link: Check out Strength Shop’s Olympic Dumbbell Handle here on Amazon.
Description: If you’ve used the dumbbells at your local gym, you may already be familiar with Cap Olympic Dumbbell Handles. CAP’s super popular handles feature a shiny chrome finish over solid steel to prevent oxidizing despite extended use. And, at only 9.5lbs per handle, they’re one of the lighter options on this list. (11, 12)
- 150lb weight capacity per handle
- 20 inches long, 10.23lbs each
- Unique, diamond-patterned, medium-depth knurling (11, 12)
Pros and Cons:
- Pro: Rotating sleeves swivel to prevent warping and reduce the pressure on your wrists
- Pro: Comes with collars included, so you just have to add the weights
- Pro: Accommodates all 2-inch weight plates
- Con: You have to make an account to see prices or order directly from CAP’s official website (11, 12)
Amazon Link: Get your Cap Olympic Dumbbell Handle with free shipping from Amazon by clicking here.
5. Fitness Equipment Ireland Olympic Dumbbell Handle
Description: The final spot on our list is another little known brand that packs a whole lot of punch, Fitness Equipment Ireland, and their Olympic Dumbbell Handles are a force to be reckoned with. Designed for professionals and built to last. (14)
- 20 inches long, 3 inches depth from front to back
- Compatible with all standard professional Olympic plates
- Matte chrome, cross-hatch knurling looks and feels greats (14)
Pros and Cons:
- Pro: Ships worldwide from Ireland; $75 flat-rate shipping to the U.S.
- Pro: High-quality steel construction with scratch-resistant chrome finish
- Pro: Fitness Equipment Ireland offers a 7-Day Return/ Refund Policy, so if you’re not happy with the handles, you just sent them back with the receipt, no questions asked
- Con: 8.9kg, approximately 19.6lb, each, so they’re a bit on the heavier side (14, 15, 16)
Amazon Link: The product is sold via this link.
Frequently Asked Questions: Olympic Dumbbell Handles
What factors should I be looking at when buying Olympic dumbbell handles?
As with most fitness equipment, you need to consider some things to make sure you’re buying the right product for you. The same goes for Olympic dumbbell handles. The main points to consider include:
- Weight distribution
You want your Olympic dumbbell handles to last a long time. This is why you must think about their durability. The more durable the handles are, the fewer injuries you should suffer too as they will stay in shape and not break easily or at all.
Those made from steel are highly durable yet a little more expensive than metals such as cast-iron or urethane metals. Cheaper metals are less durable but may be the better option if you want to train with lighter weights. Otherwise, steel is the best option.
The whole length of an Olympic dumbbell handle should be taken into consideration as well. The length should be more than the breadth of your hand. The average length of a hand for males is around 3.5 inches while it is 3.1 inches for females. Therefore, ensure the handle is longer than these numbers.
The weight distribution is important as you need to make sure the handles can distribute weight equally on either side. The best-quality Olympic dumbbell handles have an even distribution of weight on the whole bar for a wider range of motion. This equal weight distribution helps prevent injuries in your wrists, especially with heavier weights.
Knurling is critical in helping to improve the grip you have on the handle. If knurling isn’t right, the handle can easily slip from your hands resulting in potential injuries. Therefore, you must find Olympic dumbbell handles with sufficient knurled markings but don’t invest in ones where the knurling can be sharp enough to rip off your skin.
Are Olympic dumbbell handles any good?
There have been many negative remarks about Olympic dumbbell handles over the years. These have ranged from people believing they are too big and awkward when they are loaded as well as being hard to place weights on to. However, there are many benefits from using these handles.
Olympic dumbbell handles are not as difficult to kick up or throw around as fixed dumbbells. While kicking Olympic dumbbell handles up to a benching position with your knees is quite hard, it is not impossible as many would have you believe.
With knee sleeves on, you may not even notice the slight discomfort and over time, you could grow stronger from using these handles.
If you hold Olympic dumbbell handles at around a 45 -degree angle for overhead pressing, it can ease a lot of possible stress on your shoulders. Olympic dumbbell handles tend to save space and cost less than many other options and, while they may not be to everyone’s taste, you never know until you’ve tried them.
It’s all a matter of personal preference and whether they suit your weight training regime.
The Verdict: Which One Should You Buy?
You’ve done the research, compared Handles from all over the world, and weighed your options. Now that you know all there is to know, it’s time to choose the best Olympic dumbbell handle for your everyday weight and strength training routine.
When it comes to your money and your workout, the Olympic Dumbbell Handle from Fitness Equipment Ireland is beyond worth the investment. Their Olympic Dumbbell Handle is by far the most long-lasting, durable, and surprisingly comfortable option from our picks of the Top 5 Best Olympic Dumbbell Handles.