Dumbbells are an integral part of any gym setup. Whether you work out from home or own a gym, dumbbells can be an expensive investment. When deciding on which kind to invest in, your needs should be carefully considered before you part with your hard-earned cash.

You’re going to need to negotiate the hundreds of different kinds of dumbbells available on the market. But with so many options, how do you decided which ones work best for your gym?

Two of the most popular dumbbell materials are Urethane and Rubber. We’ve put together a short comparison to help you weigh up your options and make the best decision for you and your business.


What’s the difference between Urethane and Rubber?

Before we jump straight to comparisons, it’s great to know the main differences between the two materials.

Polyurethane was invented in the 1930’s by Dr Otto Bayer and became more commonly used during World War II as an alternative to rubber, which was expensive and hard to come by. Its use continued to increase, and by the 1950’s this material was being used in a huge variety of products.

Today, Polyurethane is used in hundreds and thousands of everyday items including roller skates, dumbbells, cars and refrigerators which are now 60% more efficient than they were 15 years ago with polyurethane. Harder than rubber with a higher resistance to degradation, this material is perfect for long lasting use.

Styrene-butadiene rubber, or SBR, was also developed in the 1930’s by German Chemists Eduard Tschunkur and Walter Bock. This synthetic rubber has great abrasion resistance and is the most widely used rubber on the planet.

Similar in appearance to natural rubber but more flexible, water/abrasion resistant and slower to degrade, this material is used in hundreds and thousands of products that you might not even consider, such as shoes and chewing gum.

How Long do Rubber/ Urethane Dumbbells last?

Quality is the most important factor when you’re investing in dumbbells, so you’re going to want to opt for something that lasts!

Urethane is very resistant to deterioration. The material itself isn’t prone to breaking down over time. These dumbbells can last for years with very little maintenance, justifying the higher upfront cost. That’s why our Premium Urethane dumbbells come with a 5-year warranty against manufacturing defects.

On the other hand, our Classic Rubber Dumbbells come with a 2-year warranty against manufacturing defects. They’re stylish, waterproof, resilient and with the right care can last just as long as Urethane.

Rubber does deteriorate over time, so they need a little maintenance. Rubber dumbbells last longer when kept out of direct sunlight and cleaned with non-acidic chemicals. Using a rubber conditioner is a great way to maintain your rubber dumbbells and prevent the natural deterioration often seen with rubber products.  

Where are they being used?

Where you plan to use your dumbbells can have an impact on the type of material you should consider...

High-use gyms and busy centres benefit from the stronger, more durable urethane dumbbells. Their tough exterior means they’re less likely to sustain scuffs or denting damage when dropped.

We don’t recommend dropping your dumbbells, yet we know you won’t be able to watch users all the time. Our Urethane Dumbbells give you peace of mind that your investment will be imperfection-free for as long as possible.

If you have a home gym or have a quieter gym environment, rubber dumbbells are a wonderful addition. They are of excellent quality if you buy from a reputable brand such as Jordan Fitness, and they’re going to look great on your rack.

Rubber absorbs vibrations, so when dropped, they make less of a clatter than Urethane. That's great news for your neighbours!


When it comes to purchasing new dumbbells, knowing how much you can (or would like) to spend is essential.

Urethane is the option that comes with a higher upfront cost, although they end up being more cost effective in the long term, especially in commercial environments due to the strength of material and it's premium finish.

Although urethane seems like the best choice, it doesn’t mean rubber isn't a fantastic addition. Although they’re not as extremely durable, rubber dumbbells can look and feel as attractive, with a lower price tag.

Budget-wise, rubber is a lot kinder to your wallet. They're ideal for new gyms, home workouts, and work perfectly in commercial gym environments. The quality of rubber is fantastic, and they can last as long as urethane with the right maintenance.

Ultimately it comes down to how much money you can push into your dumbbell purchases.

Consider whether investing in a more expensive option works for your environment. What kind of use are they likely to get and how do they match with the rest of your kit?


There is one thing that Urethane has that rubber can’t compete with and that’s custom branding. The option to have your own brand added to the face of your dumbbells is something that gives Urethane a clear edge.

Rubber dumbbells aren’t suitable for the kind of intricate designs that can be included on Urethane.

Custom Branding is a brilliant promotional tool for your business. Having your personal logo on your dumbbells gives your business a premium, sleek, and luxurious feel, as well as ensuring your brand image is all over your space for customers to see.

If a fully customised gym design is what you’re looking for, then investing Custom Branded Urethane Dumbbells should be seriously considered!

Main Features of Urethane and Rubber Dumbbells



  • Sleek and Stylish
  • No Odour
  • Resistant to damage
  • Waterproof
  • Resistance to degrading
  • Option to custom brand


  • Impact Resilience
  • Elastic
  • Quieter when dropped
  • Waterproof
  • High-end look
  • More affordable



  • Higher upfront cost
  • Louder when dropped


  • Needs more maintenance
  • May deteriorate over time
  • Not UV Resistant


So... which one to pick?

When it comes to choosing the right dumbbells, there are many factors to consider including budget, the type of environment you’re going to be using them in, and how they fit in with your gym.

There is a difference between the two materials but ultimately both products are fantastic additions to your gym - if you purchase them from a reputable brand and take good care of them, both can last for many years.

Shop our entire Dumbbell collection!


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