Working with free weights allows you to craft more versatile workouts and also engage more muscle groups than the standard bar. When you bench press with a standard bar, you are training your muscles to adapt to only one range of motion.
When you swap out a bar for dumbbells, it feels like a completely different lift! What I love most about Rogue Dumbbells is that they hail from one of the most trusted names in the weight lifting arena.
Rogue make two different types of free weights which include a basic rubber-coated hex design and sleek Urethane dumbbells. For this review, I’ll focus on the hex design because it’s better suited for home gyms while the urethane design is more suited for commercial gyms.
Below, I wanted to take a deep dive into all features that make Rogue Dumbbells your best choice when building your home gym.
Comfortable yet strong knurled grip
Compatible with most accessories
Hex design won’t roll away
Great for close grips or overhead tricep extension
More affordable than urethane dumbbells
Cannot be bundled
Hard a strong rubber odor
Rubber is slightly slippery
In my home gym, I have one pair of 30 pound Rogue weights with the rubber coating, and the rest are exposed iron. I find myself more drawn to the 30 pounds weights than any of the other weights in my gym for a few reasons.
First of all, the rubber casing on these weights allows you to drop them on the ground at the end of a brutal set without damaging your floor. I found when I drop these weights, they even have a bit of bounce to them.
The rubber casing also makes accessories lift a bit more comfortable. When I bonk myself on the head while doing overhead tricep extensions, it doesn’t hurt quite as much. It’s also great for exercises when you need to rest the weight on your body, such as weighted bridges.
The downside to rubber is that it initially carries a strong odor, but that odor will fade over time. Personally, I like the smell of rubber, but I realize that I’m one of the very few that do.
Rogue did not skimp on the grip of these free weights. I’ve used older free weights before that have very shallow and simple knurling that always feel like they will slip right out of my hands. The knurling on this grip is strong, but won’t dig into your paws. The handle is constructed with a chrome-plated finish that looks sharp and holds up well over time.
Overall, this design provides lifters with one of the best overall grips on the market. It’s not too aggressive, and it’s not too shallow. Rogue knows what lifters need in their lifting equipment and it really shows in the construction of these free weights.
The grip also measures to be 25MM for weights that are under 10 pounds, and 35 mm for anything over 10 pounds. This grip is pretty standard when compared to other options out there on the market, and it will be compatible with most accessories even if you opt for accessory brands outside of Rogue.
Overall, there are two different designs of free weights out there on the market- rounded and hex-shaped. This design from Rogue offers a hex-shaped design. Both designs have their distinct benefits and disadvantages, but I’m more inclined to use weights that are hex-shaped. If you have an uneven floor, these weights won’t run away from you after you have set them down.
The shape of this option also makes close-grip dumbbell bench presses a little bit easier because the flat ends of the dumbbell essentially lock into place and won’t shift around as you engage in your lift. This design of the head is easier to wield and also easier to rack.
One of the things that I love most about Rogue Dumbbells is that they come in a wide variety of weight options that range from newbies to advanced powerlifting. This design is offered in adorable 2.5 pounds weights (which are surprisingly hard to find- most brands start at 5 pounds) and max out at an impressive 125 pounds.
Many of your budget-friendly free weights break down to around 1-2 dollars per pound, but this option from Rogue is slightly more expensive. I did the math, and these weights break down to just shy of 3 dollars per pound. You may be able to find a cheaper option second-hand, but unfortunately, second-hand Rogue free weights are hard to come by (trust me- I’ve looked!).
The downside to this design is that Rogue doesn’t bundle these weights together. If you want to purchase a set of 5 pounds through 50 pounds, you will need to add each individual set to your cart. While other brands offer you a slight discount when bundling weights together, this option isn’t available in the hex weight design.
The grip on this design is fairly standard, which means that it is compatible with a wide variety of accessories. Personally, I love the kettlebell attachment grip that is offered from the Rogue store. This additional grip loops over the handle of the dumbbell and transform it into a kettlebell for double-handed lifts.
I like to use this additional grip for kettlebell swings (duh) or overhead tricep extensions. It’s also great to use for standing rows or the dreaded Bulgarian split squat!
The size of the grip is also compatible with more Gorilla grip accessories. This accessory slips over the handles to make it wider, which is perfect for grip work. Personally, I hate grip work because it feels so awkward and weird, but it is a necessary evil if you are working to strengthen your deadlifts.
These grips aren’t offered at the Rogue store, but you can pick them up at most sporting good stores for an affordable price point and they will work just fine on your Rogue Dumbbells.
When compared to other dumbbells out there on the market, this design from Rogue is one of the more expensive options. Budget-friendly options break down to about 1 dollar per pound, but they don’t quite offer the same level of durability and additional features as this option from Rogue.
These budget-friendly options are composed of exposed iron (which is noisy and may damage your floor if you drop them) and don’t have as firm knurling on the grip. This design breaks down to about 3 dollars per pound, which is a little pricey.
However, this design is much more affordable when compared to the Rogue Urethane dumbbells. These dumbbells clock in at a price point that is just over 6 dollars per pound! If you are in the market for affordable Rogue Dumbbells, the rubber hex design is your best option.
Comparison to Urethane Dumbbells
The reason why Urethane is more expensive than its rubber counterpart is that this raw material is a lot more durable than rubber. After years of continued use, the Urethane shows little signs of wear and tear, while rubber weights may start to flake over time.
Unless you are running a commercial gym, the Rogue Urethane option just isn’t worth the insane jump in price. Rubber may not be quite as durable and also comes with that rubbery odor, but it’s better suited for home gyms (and also home budgets)!
What I love most about Rogue dumbbells is that they are made from quality materials that will hold up well over the years. The reason you can’t find them at any second-hand shop is that users just won’t get rid of them because they are the perfect workout tool that doesn’t take up that much space.
I realize that they aren’t the most affordable dumbbells out there on the market, but they are well worth it. I once opted for a budget-friendly set of dumbbells, and I had the back end of the weight break off in the middle of a set.
I was fine, but it could have been a lot worse if I was doing bench presses or close grips! Investing in good quality free weights may sting your bank account a bit, but it is well worth it in the long run!