If you have plans to work out at home, then you’ll need to invest in gym equipment.
One of the basic necessities you’ll need to build muscle is dumbbells.
While shopping for dumbbells, you may find that their prices are expensive.
Considering their simple design, it may surprise you to see how expensive dumbbells can become.
Here are 10 reasons dumbbells are so expensive.
Why Are Dumbbells So Expensive? (Top 10 Reasons)
1. Shipping Costs
The main reason behind increased costs is shipping.
Shipping costs relate to weight.
The heavier a package is, the more expensive it will be to ship.
That’s because heavier items require more fuel.
They weigh the delivery vehicle down, making it drag against the road rather than glide over it.
As a result, the vehicle needs to put more effort into pushing itself forward along the road.
That costs gas.
The further you are from the warehouse from which the dumbbell ships, the more expensive the shipping is going to be.
That’s because the delivery vehicle is going to need to use more fuel to arrive at your location.
Even if the package is passed off to another vehicle, they’re going to use the same amount of fuel between them to get the package to you.
Heavier packages also put more wear and tear on the delivery vehicle.
To accommodate for the depreciation of the vehicle, they need to factor it into the shipping cost.
The further you are from the origin of the dumbbell’s manufacture, the more expensive it’s going to be to buy.
2. Iron Content
A few different materials make up dumbbells.
The cheapest material is plastic.
Plastic dumbbells use sand as their base to give it its weight.
While it’s the cheapest type of dumbbell, it also doesn’t perform well.
The sand can shift inside of the dumbbell which changes its weight composition.
When lifting with them, one side of the dumbbell may be heavier than the other, which can impact your performance.
It may also increase your risk of injury since you’re putting a lot of strain on one side of your wrist.
The next type of dumbbell is cast iron.
This is more expensive than plastic dumbbells but still not the most expensive.
Cast iron is a good budget dumbbell for those who want quality dumbbells without blowing their budget.
The weight of the cast iron determines the weight of each dumbbell.
They’re hollow on the inside.
While they’re still not the perfect set of dumbbells, they’re ideal for beginners or those who aren’t sure if they want to continue using dumbbells.
The final main type of dumbbell is pure iron or steel.
These types of dumbbells use steel to determine their weight.
The iron goes through processing and then takes the form of the particular dumbbell design that the company produces.
That means the dumbbells may be hexagonal or round.
This type of dumbbell is the most expensive because it requires a large amount of iron.
Iron ore is one of the most plentiful minerals on the planet.
Despite its abundance, it still takes a lot of money to mine and process it.
Those costs add up and are reflected in the price of the dumbbell.
Although it will take a long time before iron ore becomes scarce, eventually, when the mineral starts to run out, iron scarcity may drive up the price of dumbbells even more.
3. High-Quality Product
Dumbbells need to be a high-quality product.
They can be dangerous if they’re low in quality.
A low-quality dumbbell can break while you’re using it.
When that happens, it may fall on you, ricochet and injure you, or even damage your home.
To ensure their products limit injuries, manufacturers invest heavily in the processes used to create dumbbells.
They use the best materials at their disposal.
They invest in machines and other processes to ensure their dumbbells come off of the line without any defects.
Those investments and quality assurance procedures cost money.
That drives up the price of a dumbbell.
4. Foreign Tariffs And Taxes
A lot of dumbbells come from China.
As a result, they’re subject to tariffs and taxes when they’re imported to the country.
Tariffs can become costly during certain situations.
A tariff is a tax that’s placed on goods from another country.
They’re instituted for several reasons.
The first is to help the country recover a small amount of money it lost.
Since another country was responsible for producing and shipping a product, those workers and businesses are the ones who received the money.
Workers and companies in the native country missed out which means the government missed out on collecting taxes from the purchase.
They make up the difference through a tariff.
Another reason countries use tariffs is during an economic war or political move.
To punish another country, a government body may decide to raise the amount of a tariff.
This makes it difficult for the foreign country to earn much of a profit since the tax bites into their revenue.
Trading with the country may no longer be profitable for them.
They may need to find a new trading partner or attempt to solve the political issue between the two countries to lower the tariff.
A final reason the government may raise a tariff is to dissuade its own citizens from buying foreign goods.
If the tax is too high, then a citizen may look for goods produced within their own country.
This can stimulate the country’s economy and make it less reliant on imported goods.
If something political is occurring with China, in particular, then you can expect prices to rise.
Increasing tariffs is one of the most common power moves that the US performs.
To ensure they’re still able to make a profit, the company selling the dumbbell will need to increase its selling price.
Unfortunately, that means your dumbbell may become more expensive if a trade war is occurring.
5. Supply And Demand
Supply and demand play an integral role in the price of a dumbbell.
An old economic philosophy that still rings true today is that when there’s a low supply and high demand, then the prices rise.
The opposite is also true.
When there’s plentiful supply but the demand isn’t as high, then prices plummet.
This applies to dumbbells as well.
When there’s a shortage of dumbbells, then the price skyrockets.
An example of this was during the recent COVID-19 pandemic.
Since most workers had to work from home, they had to seek other means of working out.
With gyms across the country closed, everyone had to invest in their own gym equipment to keep fit.
The problem is that one of the go-to pieces of equipment, dumbbells, was in short supply.
One of the reasons is that the people who produced dumbbells were also at home.
No one was able to work in factories or mines.
With a limited supply available, prices soared.
The concept applies outside of a pandemic, too.
Whenever there’s a shortage of dumbbells, the price is going to be expensive.
The holidays also contribute to the price of dumbbells.
New Year’s Day is famous for its New Year Resolutions.
It’s when people make plans and goals to better themselves and their lives.
The goal is to complete those resolutions or stay true to them until the next year or when they complete the goal.
One of the most common resolutions is to lose weight.
To do so, many people buy dumbbells to work out at home.
They’re often uncomfortable about the idea of working out in a gym to start out with, so they work out at home first.
The problem is that because so many are looking to lose weight after the holidays, they buy all the dumbbells available.
With fewer dumbbells on the market, the price for them increases.
The supply stays the same, but the demand increases around the holidays.
Even with holiday sales going on, dumbbells remain some of the most expensive purchases.
The worst part is many people give up on their resolutions and never use their expensive dumbbells again.
Dumbbells are a one-time purchase.
They don’t wear out like other products.
You don’t need to replace them unless you’re moving up or down in weights.
In that case, you only need to buy adjustable dumbbells once.
Since most consumers only buy dumbbells once, companies need to price their products accordingly.
They can’t make a profit if they’re relying on repeat sales.
To ensure they receive enough revenue to keep the lights on, they need to make the price of the product high.
The price needs to cover the cost of its manufacture and shipping as well as bring the company plenty of profit to continue to fund other investments.
It’s important to understand that when you’re buying a dumbbell, it’s going to last for years.
Dumbbells do not erode or deteriorate over the years.
They’re made out of steel.
They’ll last for centuries.
The company won’t keep producing the dumbbell if the revenue they receive from the one-off sales isn’t worth it.
One of the driving costs of dumbbells is resellers.
Thanks to the global pandemic, the massive shortage of dumbbells allows resellers to thrive.
Resellers purchase dumbbells at their original price from a manufacturer.
Then they increase the price by seven or even 10 times the original amount.
Not only do they rake in a massive amount of profit, but it also enables them to buy up more dumbbells from the manufacturer before others can.
This means they’re able to continue to add to their supply and ask for extremely expensive prices because consumers are unable to buy dumbbells elsewhere.
Resellers aren’t restricted to only dumbbells either.
They’re also notorious for buying up graphics cards, video game consoles, and even toilet paper.
By increasing the price several times its original amount, they rake in the money and continue to suffocate the market.
The problem with resellers is that because they keep buying up the original merchandise, consumers have nowhere else to turn.
The manufacturers aren’t at full capacity either.
They’re only able to release a limited number of dumbbells.
Until they’re back at full capacity, they won’t be able to release a high enough number of goods to outsell resellers.
It could take several months, if not a couple of years, for the market to return to normal.
If you see a dumbbell going for an extremely high price on eBay, Facebook Marketplace, or even on Craigslist, then it’s likely a reseller.
9. Paying For Double
The problem with buying a dumbbell is that you usually need two of them.
You can get by with buying one.
However, it makes working out take longer since you’re unable to work both arms at the same time.
That’s why most consumers buy them in pairs.
The problem with buying two dumbbells is that also means you’re doubling your cost.
You have to pay for twice the amount of iron, twice the amount of manufacturing costs, and twice the amount of shipping costs.
Dumbbells are expensive because you’re not buying a single product.
You’re buying double the product.
10. Smart Technology
In the tech world, more and more manufacturers are looking into implementing smart technology in gym equipment.
It makes sense.
You want to know how many calories you’re burning, how the equipment is impacting your body, and what you should do to make the most of the equipment.
Smart technology isn’t only for treadmills and other big pieces of gym equipment either.
Some dumbbells also use smart technology.
One example is the SelectTech series from Bowflex.
The dumbbells have tech installed in them.
It relays information to your iPhone or Android.
The tech can tell you about your current condition and how you can improve your workout with the dumbbell set.
You can also log your workout.
Smart technology is a luxury feature that not everyone needs.
Those who do want to make the most of their workout, however, may have an interest in using the equipment.
It comes at a high price.
That’s because the dumbbells not only go through the same processing as other dumbbells, but they also undergo even more.
Computer chips need to be installed and the dumbbell needs to go through several tests to ensure the tech is working properly.
Since dumbbells take a lot of abuse, they also need to ensure the chip isn’t destroyed or damaged while the dumbbell is in use.
The smarter something becomes, the more expensive it is.
The average price for the dumbbell set from Bowflex is around $500.
Since the tech can replace a trainer, the cost may be worth it for some individuals.
For others, it’s too expensive for a set of dumbbells.
How To Save Money On Dumbbells
Dumbbells can be seriously expensive on the market.
Here are a few ways you can save money on a great pair of dumbbells.
1. Buy After The Holidays
One of the worst times that you can buy dumbbells is during the holidays.
Even with any holiday sales applied to the dumbbells, the price is still going to be more expensive than if you waited.
That’s because suppliers know that people are looking to lose weight after the holidays.
They usually buy dumbbells for themselves as a gift, or someone buys them for them.
During the holidays, dumbbells tend to get scarce because so many people are buying them.
If you can wait a few months after the holidays, then you’re going to find cheap dumbbells everywhere.
The suppliers will take down the price for a few months because they have more products than sales.
You can also often find people selling their dumbbells after giving up on their resolutions.
You can buy practically new dumbbells for a fraction of the price if you can wait.
2. Choose Cast Iron Over Steel
Since there are several types of dumbbells, you may not be sure which you should buy.
If you want to save money, then you’ll want to buy cast iron dumbbells over steel ones.
The cast iron dumbbells don’t use as much material as steel dumbbells.
Since there’s less material, the price is lower.
Despite being hollow, cast iron dumbbells still provide a great workout.
They’re a large improvement over plastic dumbbells.
Buying cast iron dumbbells can save you a good amount of money, especially on shipping costs, compared to steel dumbbells.
3. Find Used Dumbbells
Since dumbbells rarely take damage or deteriorate, any used dumbbell will be practically new.
You’ll want to avoid buying plastic dumbbells, however.
Those can wear down with time.
You’ll also want to thoroughly clean any used dumbbell that you buy.
You can find used dumbbells at garage sales, estate sales, or even on local listings.
Speaking to other people at the gym may also help you find a lead.
Used dumbbells often go for cheap because sellers are desperate to get rid of them.
Keep an eye out after the holidays.
This is when most of the used dumbbells are for sale.
You can also find used dumbbells at thrift stores.
You’ll be able to buy them very cheaply there.
Finally, cruise around your local streets.
Many people put them out for trash pick-up because they don’t know what to do with them.
You can pick them up for free.
4. Ask Friends
If you have friends who work out, then you can also ask them about their equipment.
They may not need their dumbbells anymore.
Some friends may give them to you for free.
Others may ask for a steep discount on them.
If you know your friends work out, then there’s a good chance they may have an extra set of unused dumbbells lying around.
Dumbbells are expensive because they’re so heavy and drive up shipping costs.
They’re also limited in supply which makes the price soar when demand for them increases.
There are a few ways you can make buying dumbbells cheaper like looking for used sets and buying them after the holidays.