Are Gym Weights Accurate?

Most gym weights are partially accurate. Inaccurate gym weights are specific to cheap brands. However, even inaccurate gym weights such as dumbbells and plates are close to the real printed weight.

Most weights that are inaccurate are cheaply made. Many have plastic or rubber coating which either makes them heavier or lighter compared to their expected weights.

Serious gym weight brands always take coating into account. This is why the number you see on the weights (10, 15, 20, 50 pounds, etc.) is what the weight weighs.

There’s a 5% difference in weight in many cheap weights, mostly those made for home gyms. They can be up to 5% heavier or up to 5% lighter than their official weight.

Are dumbbell weights accurate?

Dumbbells weights are accurate almost always. Dumbbells are the most popular free weights which mean they’re always in high demand.

Dumbbells are in short supply currently. They are almost always out of stock which proves their popularity.

However, dumbbells can also be inaccurate. The web shows plenty of examples in which adjustable weights are mildly inaccurate. The problem with adjustable weights is that they can feel confusing.

However, fixed weight dumbbells or regular dumbbells are most accurate when they’re simply made from iron. The rubber coating is normally lightweight or is part of the actual weight of the dumbbell.

Weighing a dumbbell should show the same weight printed on it. Any other weight would mean that your dumbbells have inaccurate weights.

Are gym plates accurate?

Gym plates are some of the most notorious weights to be inaccurate. Bumper plates in most gyms are inaccurate. 20-pound bumper plates sometimes weigh 20.15 pounds. 45-pound bumper plates sometimes weigh 45.1 pounds. These are all weights that can be weighed at the gym since most have a scale to use.

Gym weights are often believed to be very accurate, which isn’t the case. While some weights can be accurate, they are generally off even if they’re used in commercial gyms.

Correctly weighing gym weights

One of the easiest ways to test out the accuracy of your gym weights is to weigh them. You can use an electronic scale to see if the actual weight is the weight printed on the weight plates, dumbbells, or kettlebells.

How to train when gym weights aren’t accurate

Why is gym weight accuracy important? Inaccurate gym weights can slow down your progress. Those training with progressive overload where they add weights from one month to another might not be adding any weight when the weights have inaccurate weight.

  • Always train with the same weights

If you’re training at the gym it might be smart to use the same weights from the same brand every time you train. This way you remain consistent, even if the actual weight accuracy is off.

  • Buy your weights and invest in a home gym

A way to partially eliminate gym weight inaccuracy is to train at home in your home gym. You will only use the same weights every time you train. While a 45-pound weight might not be 45-pounds, it will still be the same weight every training session.

In other words, using the same set of weights is the best method of dealing with inaccurate gym weights. Home gyms can be populated with weight plates, dumbbells, barbells, and kettlebells.

Commercial gyms often have weights from different brands which rarely have the same weight. Others might be using your preferred weights at the gym which means you need to train with other weights which are either heavier or lighter. Unlike in commercial gyms, your home gym always has free weights that are ideal for training with the same intensity.


Do weights feel heavier at different gyms?

Weights can feel heavier at different gyms because they have different weights. Actual weight accuracy for commercial gym weights can differ from the expected or printed weight numbers. This is why some weights can feel heavier or lighter at other gyms.

Are dumbbell weights accurate?

Dumbbell weights can sometimes be inaccurate. Inaccuracies are typically found in the 5% range. Dumbbells can have an exact weight, be up to 5% heavier, or be up to 5% lighter.

How accurate are commercial gym weights?

Commercial gym weights are generally accurate within a 5% range. Most commercial gym weights are a bit off. They can be up to 5% heavier or up to 5% lighter.

Are gym weights exact?

Gym weights are rarely exact. Most affordable weights aren’t known for weighing exactly as much as you expect. Premium balanced weights are the only ones to be truly accurate.