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BEST USE OF SPACE  The smallest hex dumbbells take up minimal space, while the largest ones have a larger diameter than pro-style dumbbells and will consume more rack space. The size of pro style dumbbells reaches a maximum diameter (the size of a 10lb plate) and it just keeps adding more plates onto the end. So for larger sizes the pro are actually the most space-conscious.

The rubber coating of rubber hex dumbbells is thick enough that rubber hex dumbbells take up the most space on a rack at larger sizes.

The deciding factor here is going to be that pro style dumbbells tend to roll around and are often used on racks with individual saddles for each dumbbell rather than a flat rack. This looks extremely nice and keeps them organized, but it takes up so much space. In that case, rubber prostyle would take up the same space as regular professional style.

#1: Hex
#2: Rubber Hex
#3: Pro Style
#4: Rubber Pro Style

ODOR

Recycled rubber stinks. It varies, and it usually isn’t too bad, and you might not even notice it unless you put your nose up to it, and it fades over time. However, virgin rubber, like the Troy TSD rubber hex dumbbells are made from, as well as all Troy rubber pro-style dumbbells, has no odor.

#1/#2: Hex, Pro Style
#3: Rubber Pro Style
#4: Rubber Hex

DON’T ROLL AWAY!

The worst thing that can happen is your dumbbells roll away, causing a passer by to trip and smash their head open on a machine. But it’s also annoying when you’re trying to set up for an exercise with heavy dumbbells and they keep rolling away on your uneven garage gym floor. Garage gyms are always sloped towards the entrance. And you want dumbbells to stay in place on the rack so they don’t get mixed up.

As far as pro style, rubber is slightly ahead here, just because the softer rubber surface creates more stability and might not roll away when regular iron ones will. Rubber hex is actually more likely than hex to keep rolling downhill once it gets going, due to friction preventing it from sliding and stopping, and the fact it’s going to bounce better.

This also may affect the type of rack you get. Racks with curved saddles are made to have one professional style dumbbell sit in each saddle, and they take up a considerable amount of floor space.

#1: Hex
#2: Rubber Hex
#3: Rubber Pro Style
#4: Pro Style

MAINTENANCE COST

For higher weights, the maintenance on damaged hex dumbbells is considerably higher. If you aren’t the only one using the equipment, you can bet that people are going to drop weights. Clumsiness, injury, no respect for equipment, whatever, it’s going to happen with enough use. When a dumbbell hits the floor at an angle, too much stress can be put on the end of the handle, and it can bend. A hex dumbbell instantly becomes trash, and you have to buy a new one, and heavy ones aren’t cheap to ship, either.

When a pro-style dumbbell is dropped and breaks, it can be disassembled and the handle or any weight plates can be replaced at minimal cost.

Durability is covered in an above category, but in considering maintenance we have to consider how likely a dumbbell is to break or become damaged. Rubber is far less likely to break than bare iron when dropped on concrete, but it’s also more expensive to replace. However, the most common damage on a dumbbell is not chipping of the head due to being dropped on bare concrete, as most people have more sense than that, but bending of the handle due to being dropped badly. So I’m giving higher rankings to the non-rubber dumbbells here considering the higher cost of replacing rubber dumbbells or rubber pro-style plates.

#1: Pro Style
#2: Rubber Pro Style
#3: Hex
#4: Rubber Hex

WEIGHT RANGE

Hex dumbbells start at just 1lb, whereas pro style dumbbells start at 5lbs. But really when you’re reading an article like this to decide among these dumbbells, you probably won’t be too concerned about having so many weights under 10lbs. Neoprene dumbbells are popular for those sizes.  So I’m going to kind of ignore the lower end and look at the higher end. Prostyle dumbbells go up to 150lbs or even higher, while hex dumbbells might not go over 100lbs.

The popular PlateMate magnets, which are used to add weights in small 1.25 or 2.5 increments to dumbbells, won’t stick to a rubber coating. Another method of microloading is using wrist weights, so you aren’t totally out of luck, and you might even find that you prefer wrist weights over magnets, but the non-rubber dumbbells take the cake here for being more versatile.

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