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Rubber Grip Hex Dumbbells – Vulcan vs Rep Fitness

Rubber-coated handled dumbbells - Rep Fitness versus Vulcan Strength

About a year ago, Vulcan released a new version of the black rubber-coated hex dumbbell; an innovative new dumbbell that abandoned the partially knurled steel handle found on the vast majority of hex dumbbells, and replaced it with a textured, highly tactile, rubber-coated handle.

These rubber-grip handles not only offer a far superior grip to classic steel handles (even in high humidity, or with sweaty hands), they are also infinitely more comfortable to hold on to; especially if you’re sporting calluses. And with no exposed metal they’ll also never rust.

The textured rubber handles of the Vulcan and Rep Rubber Grip Hex Dumbbells

I reviewed Vulcan’s Rubber Grip Pro Dumbbells back in November 2017 so I won’t totally re-review them here, but you can read that review here if you want to learn about more of this product’s perks (and there are more of them.)

Enter Rep Fitness

As it turns out Rep Fitness recently released their own take on this very same product, and a few of you have asked me how their rubber grip dumbbells stack up against the originals from Vulcan. Well since I own pairs from both vendors I thought I’d take a minute to answer that very question. Are you ready for it?

They are exactly the same product.

Vulcan Strength Rubber Grip Dumbbells versus Rep Fitness'

That’s right, these two hex dumbbells are absolutely identical. Their handles have the same textured “knurl” pattern, the heads have the same soft, rounded edges and the same layout & font where the weight of the dumbbell is molded in, and they are both more compact than their standard, metal-handled counterparts.  They are even both assembled using the same method (heat interference.) The only difference is the brand name stamped on the heads.

Incidentally, the Vulcan review I linked to above would apply just as well to Rep’s version of this product – everything except for the pricing, of course.

So which one do you buy?

So if they’re the exact same product why pick one over the other? Well there are a number of factors that may impact where you choose to buy. Here’s a list of the most noteable:

  • Price, of course (see the chart below for pricing specifics.)
  • Availability. Neither Rep or Vulcan ever seem to be fully stocked, so you may be forced to use one over the other depending on when you need/want your dumbbells.
  • Set variety. Both Rep and Vulcan each offer a set configuration that the other does not.
  • Dumbbells over 100 pounds. Vulcan offers 105 lb – 120 lb dumbbells; Rep does not.

Rubber Grip Dumbbell Pricing – Rep & Vulcan

Rep Fitness Vulcan Strength
 5 lb – 50 lb set $649 $648
 5 lb – 75 lb set $1459 $1397
 5 lb – 100 lb set $2459
 55 lb – 100 lb set $1790
 105 lb – 120 lb set $1016
 25 lb pair $75 $84*
 50 lb pair $140 $194*
 100 lb pair $260 $347*

 

* Comparing prices on pairs using retail prices alone won’t work because Vulcan includes shipping in their pair prices while Rep does not. You are going to need to get a quote from Rep using your zip code to see how pair prices compare. You can do this simply by adding pairs to the cart and using the shipping quote feature found on the shopping cart page.

Pre-shipped set prices are pretty close between these two, with Vulcan being just a tad less expensive. That having been said, Vulcan is on the East Coast while Rep is in the Midwest, so your best price is probably going to be based nearly entirely on which vendor is closer to you. Those of you who do happen to live on the East Coast will likely get the best set prices overall because you benefit from both a lower retail price, and from being relatively close to Vulcan’s distribution center.

Whether you’re interested in pairs or sets, you should always price both manufacturers out regardless of where you live because you never know who’ll give you the best price to your door.  And remember, embedded shipping is not always the most cost-effective way to pay for shipping, so avoid making any assumptions (see this article on shipping.)

At the end of the day…

Since the Vulcan and Rep rubber grip dumbbells are precisely the same product, and since most of you won’t be after 105lb+ hex dumbbells, it’s going to come down to price in almost all situations with the decision maybe sometimes coming down to availability. This is a good situation for us to be in as customers.

You really can’t go wrong either way though.  Both vendors are reputable and both offer a warranty. Just get those shipping quotes, and before you know it you’ll have the best home and garage gym dumbbells on the market.


 

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{ 12 comments… add one }
  • Tony September 11, 2018, 6:36 pm

    Great comparison. I was told that there is only ONE year warranty on the Reps. Not sure why.

    • jburgeson September 12, 2018, 9:35 am

      Oh no kidding? I had to ask a lot of questions of Rep directly since their product description page is not thorough in this case. They chose to talk up the benefit of having “warm” dumbbells in the morning on that page rather than how they are more compact, more comfortably, grippy, durable, and all of that other far more important stuff. Looking at that response again I notice they did not clarify about the warranty. I’ll have to follow up again.

  • Tony September 12, 2018, 3:27 pm

    Yeah, I spoke directly with one of the managers, and I was informed that they are only going the one year warranty on those. I asked if they had the same type of friction welding as the regular straight-handle dumbbells and he said yes. I also asked if there is any chance of the rubber on the handles separating from the shaft, and I didn’t get a definitive answer. He said he did not have any other information he could provide on the dumbbells, but did reiterate the lifetime warranty on the straight-handle ones.

    I really wish that Rep would clearly outline the BENEFITS of the product better…. like what you said about them being more grippy, durable, no chance of ever separating from the shaft, compact etc.

    If these are the same product as the Vulcans, then why not offer a full lifetime warranty on them as well? As time goes by, I’m becoming much more anal about ensuring what I buy will last me for a long, long time. That’s why I stick with companies like Rogue. I have not bought, nor will I ever buy, anything from Titan. The same with any other cheap box-store type of manufacturer. I don’t understand why some people STILL choose to buy crap from those companies. To save money? To get more for less? You get what you pay for. I’d rather spend more up front and get something that will last me forever (well, almost) than get a cheap deal only to have to buy it again.

    My motto: buy quality, buy once. Period.

    • jburgeson September 12, 2018, 3:58 pm

      That is odd about the warranty. Maybe I’ll get a better answer on that.

      I’m in total agreement. I don’t play around with that cheap stuff. I’m not even willing to buy a Titan rack for comparison purposes. Everyone already knows the verdict. The people who would buy that kind of product despite a bad, revealing review are just going to ignore me, think I’m ignorant, or even call me a shill – and then they’ll buy it anyway. Can’t save everyone. /shrug

    • jburgeson September 12, 2018, 9:57 pm

      My contact says that you were misinformed by a fellow employee. It’s lifetime on home use, 1-year on commercial. So that’s good news.

  • Tony September 13, 2018, 1:45 pm

    Hmmm…. the person I spoke with at Rep probably wasn’t specific enough about what the year was for. Obviously for commercial use. I’m glad to know that it’s a lifetime warranty for in-home use.

    I have 7.5, 10, 12.5, 15, 20, 25, and 30 lb. straight-handle Rep dumbbells. I’m going to get more. Do you prefer those, or the rubber handle Rep dumbbells you compared with the Vulcan Pros? I’m just trying to decide if I should get more straight handle ones or buy some rubber handle ones. Your opinion matters :)

    • jburgeson September 13, 2018, 2:05 pm

      I prefer the rubber-handled dumbbells. I still have mostly standard ergo pairs and honestly I’m just happy to have the variety, but if I could choose a whole set again from the start I’d definitely go rubber grip.

  • Jake September 13, 2018, 6:11 pm

    Thanks for comparing these. I have been wondering about the differences too.

    Vulcan’s website says theirs have a Lifetime Commercial warranty vs Rep saying theirs has a 1 Year Commercial warranty. This initially made be believe the dumbbells were made differently, but maybe it’s just a business practice? I’d use them for my home gym so they’re equal from a home warranty perspective.

    Seems to be some conflicting information however from Rep related to temperature interference fit vs friction welding construction.

    • jburgeson September 13, 2018, 6:49 pm

      If you look into interference fitting you’ll see that it basically is friction welding. Friction welding is old news, but interference fit sounds new and exciting =P

      Vulcan may more aggressively be seeking commercial/military/school orders and has to offer a lifetime warranty to get those sales, I don’t know. Rep actually has a commercial dumbbell option already – the urethanes. Who knows though.

      • Jake September 13, 2018, 7:15 pm

        In terms of end result / quality, agreed.

        Did Rep mention anything about the weight accuracy for their rubber handle dumbbells? Vulcan’s page says 1% for their Vulcan Pros. On Reps Amazon page for their straight, metal handle dumbbells, they claim this: “Weight is accurate to within 3% for 25 lb and under, 2% for 30 lb and above.”

        Thanks again for your great site and responding to comments / questions.

        • jburgeson September 13, 2018, 8:47 pm

          They did not. They updated the product page but did not include accuracy levels.

          I didn’t discuss that at all in the article did I? I didn’t even think of it for some reason haha. I’m bad at my job.

  • Jeremy September 21, 2018, 6:59 pm

    Speaking of REP urethanes…they look identical to ROGUEs urethanes.

    Besides looking the same, you guys think they are the same?

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