A home gym is incomplete without a pair of adjustable dumbbells. If you are looking to buy one, you have come to right place. We have tested several models in the market and narrowed down to Top 6. There is a dumbbell for everyone, find out which one is for you?
If you are looking for the absolute best regarding durability, convenience, and overall usability, then Bowflex SelectTech 552 are the clear winners. These bad boys can be used for all kinds of workouts from strength training to conditioning.
But if you are just starting out, and don’t want to spend a fortune, then the Yes4All Adjustable Dumbbells are the clear winners.
Adjustable dumbbells have a distinct advantage over the regular ones (especially for a home gym). But the market is crowded with different variants and different mechanism, and this makes it difficult to pick one.
We tested out different models out there, considered what are they best suited for and took reviews into account. So let’s get into our top recommendations –
Best Adjustable Dumbbells for Heavy Lifters
- Bowflex SelectTech 552 – This is a true power performer. With a sturdy build, fastest weight adjustment and multiple options, this is suited for all kinds of workouts including CrossFit and Strength Training.
- PowerBlock Elite Dumbbells – However, if you are inclined towards strength training, then this dumbbell by PowerBlock gives incredible value.
Best Adjustable Dumbbells for Beginners
- Yes4All Adjustable Dumbbells – This comes with several weight options and combines that with solid build and secure locking.
|Metric||Ironmaster 75lb Dumbbell||PowerBlock Elite||Yes4All Dumbbells||Bowflex SelectTech 552||Bayou Fitness|
|Range||5-75 lbs||5 -50 lbs (Expandable)||40 – 200 lbs.(Separate)||5 – 52.5 lbs||10-50 lbs|
|Suited For||Strength Training||Strength Training + CrossFit||Strength Training||CrossFit + Strength Training||All
#1 Recommendation – Bowflex SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells
Build – 5/5
Convenience – 5/5
Durability – 4.5/5
The Bowflex SelectTech 552 is an international bestseller and happens to be the go-to choice for trainers and fitness enthusiasts. It is a complete package with a sturdy build and easy to use mechanism. Here is our review of the SelectTech 552 –
- Super Easy to use and to change the weights you simply have to turn the dial. (Helpful while doing CrossFit).
- Smaller increments of 2.5 lbs. up to 25 lbs. and 5lbs increments beyond that.
- Offset weight Settings – With the dial, you can keep one side at a heavier weight while the other can be kept at a lighter weight. (Helpful while working on stabilisation and balance).
- Sturdy Build – The weights are firmly attached to the handle and there is no movement while exercising.
- The SelectTech is longer in length and the pairs can collide while doing curls or bench presses.
- Weight is not evenly distrusted and is heavier at the bottom. (A tad more effort is required to lift)
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Gets you Started
Most people who are on the verge of setting up a home gym are worried about incorrect posture and possible injury that could stem from that. Furthermore, it is likely that you’ll be using adjustable dumbbells for a host of exercises.
Well, if you are worried about posture and safety, then Bowflex has you covered. You get a full DVD set that basically is a complete guide for this. The videos guide you through postures, safety features and with 30 detailed exercises, you have every resource that will help you to get started.
So, if information (or the lack of it) was holding you from a buying a pair, then the Bowflex has everything you’ll need.
Super Easy to Use
The best feature of the BowFlex SelectTech 552 has to be its ease of use. To adjusts the weights, you simply have to turn the dial and you are done. This ease is particularly helpful when you are doing CrossFit (conditioning) workouts where you have to do multiple reps and change weights after every exercise.
With a wider range (and increments) of weights, the 552 is suitable for standalone strength or muscle training exercises too. You can go from 5 to 25 pounds in 2.5 lbs. increments and 25 to 50 in 5 lbs. increments. Next up, if you are into stabilisation, then the ‘offset weight’ feature of the 552, proves to be extremely helpful.
Basically, you can set different weights on the dials on both sides which result in one side being heavier. This ‘uneven weight distribution’ gives you greater strength to lift day to day objects which don’t have even weight distribution. (Not bad at all!)
Finally, the SelectTech 552 is heavier on the bottom. This again tends to give you an edge in strength training exercises. To lift a particular weight, you’ll have to put in more effort. If you are lifting 40 pounds on a Bowflex then your muscles will be working more compared to lifting the same weight on a fixed dumbbell.
Overall, the Bowflex 552 is suited for CrossFit with the absolute ease in changing weights but with a wide range of weights and features, you can get a pretty badass strength training workout too.
The biggest issue with this is its length. You are stuck with 15.75 inches at all weight settings. This can cause inconvenience while doing curls or bench presses. Having said that, most users get a hang of it after some time and this is something you can live with.
Secondly, the dumbbells rest on a small tray and when you pick them up, the tray also gets lifted. This is particular a problem when you are at a higher weight. The obvious solution would be to keep one hand on the tray and lift the dumbbell with the other. However, getting a stand makes more sense. It not only eliminates this problem but safeguards the weights from the usual wear and tear.
Overall, the Bowflex is an absolute beast. It combines convenience, durability and a solid build to give you a complete package. If budget is not an issue, then this is the best you can get right now.
#2 Recommendation – PowerBlock Elite Dumbbells
Convenience – 4.5/5
Durability – 5/5
Build – 4.5/5
If space and a wider range is what got you interested in adjustable dumbbells, then the PowerBlock Elite might just be what you are looking for. It is one of the toughest dumbbells out there and with relatively easy to use mechanism it is suited for multiple exercises. Here is more –
- Compact – The smaller size not only helps you to store a wider range of weights in a smaller space but you can easily manoeuvre them while doing heavy exercises like curls and presses.
- Easy Adjustment – It works on a pin mechanism, and to change the weights you simply have to remove the pin and place it at the desired weight settings. (Should not take more than 5 seconds)
- Wider Range – With the standard set you get the maximum range of 50 pounds but with expansion kits, you can go all the way up to 90.
- Built Like a Tank – It is one of the toughest dumbbells out there and can even handle an occasional drop. (You also get a 10-year limited warranty with every set).
- The latch extends on the edges and can brush your body while working. (However, you get used to this).
- Comparatively, it will take longer to change weights on a PowerBlock when compared to BowFlex.
Design and Build
First things first, the Powerblock elite is one of the most compact dumbbells out there. This gives you the ability to store a larger range of weights in a smaller footprint. (Which is not possible in fixed dumbbells).
Next up, with the smaller size, you can do heavy exercises with relative ease. The pairs don’t collide with each other and you are able to achieve a faster motion. (Something which gives it an advantage over Bowflex dumbbells)
The Elite also has a more balanced design and at heavier weights, you have an even weight distribution.
In terms of build, PowerBlock has not made any compromises. It is built to last for years but if something goes wrong you are covered with a 10-year limited warranty. (Which is insane and speaks volumes about the trust the company has on the quality).
The Powerblock Elite has a pin mechanism to adjust weights. So basically you have to pull out the U-Shaped pin and place it in the desired range. The colour codes scale at the bottom will guide you through this.
It is not that convenient when compared to Bowflex where you just have to turn the dial, but it takes about 5 seconds to change weights, which is not that bad either.
There are also four bars on the edges. The upper bars are there to give more support to the user (while resting) but the bottom ones have 2.5 lbs. bars inside. You can take them out and this allows you to make minor weight adjustments. Apart from that, you get a 5 lbs. increment with PowerBlock Elite.
This is not a con, but weight adjustment settings are slower compared to the Bowflex 552, especially when you have to add/remove 2.5 pounds’ bars. This gives the Bowflex an advantage when it comes to CrossFit Exercises.
Secondly, there is a latch which protrudes out of the edges and can come in contact with your body while exercising.
Overall (BowFlex SelectTech 552 Vs PowerBlock Elite)
Most people are confused when it comes to the above two choices. Well, we have a simple answer for that.
If you are going to do more of CrossFit exercises with occasional Strength Training then get a BowFlex SelectTech 552 (LINK IT) but if you’ll be doing more of strength training, then getting a PowerBlock will make more sense.
Link to PowerBlock Elite
#3 Recommendation – Ironmaster Quick-Lock Adjustable Dumbbell System
Build – 5/5
Durability – 4.5/5
Convenience – 3.5/5
If you are into pumping iron and lifting heavy, then the Ironmaster dumbbell system is what you should get. This bad boy, has the best construction, excellent grip and fastest spin lock mechanism. Here is everything you need to know about it –
- Solid Build – This is built to be used for a lifetime and has the best finish among adjustable dumbbells.
- Can go all the way to 120 lbs. and is suited for standalone exercises.
- Ergonomic Grip – Comes with a beautiful diamond shaped grip, which gives you a firm hold even at higher weights.
- Fast Adjustment – With the patented screw-pin technology, changing plates is fast and easy.
- Storage is an issue as you have to deal with multiple weight plates.
Build and Grip
Bodybuilders and fitness enthusiast around the world appreciate the premium heavy duty build of the Ironmaster Dumbbells. This one joins the bandwagon and has hands down ‘the best build’ in our list. This will handle all the drops and wear & tear that comes with regular use. If something goes wrong, you are covered by the lifetime limited warranty.
The craftsmanship is also impressive. This can be seen when you are changing plates. There is little sound and the plates move in and out of the handle in a breeze.
Finally, the diamond grip is ergonomic and you will have no problems while lifting heavier weights.
Overall, the Ironmaster proves to be an investment for the lifetime, and as long as you are lifting, you’ll be using this.
Mechanism and Use
Unlike regular adjustable dumbbells changing plates on the Ironmaster is fast and efficient. To add or remove weight plates you have to make a quarter turn with the locking screw. This is the done with the help of patented screw-pin technology. Among spinlock-lock dumbbells, this is by far the fastest when it comes to changing plates.
The number of plates depends on the model you get. (45 lbs. or 75 lbs.). With the 75lbs. variant, you get a set of 24 plates of 5 lbs. and 4 plates of 2.5 pounds. You can get an expansion kit that’ll take the weight range all the way to 120 pounds.
The weight distribution is also quite uniform and the length is also acceptable. We found no difficulty while doing multiple reps of curls or bench presses.
The obvious con with this is storage. They are multiple weight plates and they take up space. If you get the 75 lbs. version, then you get a stand where all the weights can be stacked.
Also, this is not recommended for CrossFit workout as changing weights between reps takes time.
The Ironmaster Quick-Lock Adjustable Dumbell is on the expensive side and we will recommend this only if you are into heavy lfiting and strength training.
If you are starting out you can go for the 45 lb. model (Link This – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00CPSMTPO/) but a more recommended choice would be to go for the 75 lb. model. As a bonus, you get a stand and if you buy this on Amazon, you’ll incur zero shipping cost.
#4 Recommendation – Yes4All Adjustable Dumbbells
Build – 4/5
Durability – 3.5/5
Convenience – 3/5
If you are new to lifting and want to start small, then this inexpensive pair from Yes4All might just be what you are looking for –
- For the price, the build is impressive and will be able to handle the occasional drop.
- The plates are locked security and there is zero movement while lifting.
- The threaded grip is ergonomic and nice to hold.
- Multiple weight options and you can start with 40-pound dumbbell set and go up all the way to 200 pounds.
- The weight plates are prone to scratches.
- Changing and adjusting weights takes time.
- Storage is a problem as you have to deal with multiple plates.
First up, we were impressed with the build. The handle is made of durable chrome and is quite durable. The weight plates are also made of heavy duty cast iron. They are able to handle drops but we won’t recommend doing too much of that. Also, the plates are prone to scratches and with regular use, you’ll have to deal with the wear and tear.
We were also pleased with the grip. The diamond-knurled texture helps you to hold heavy weights without any slip. The weight is also balanced and you can easily perform strength training exercises using this.
Talking about the mechanism, you have to add or remove plates of different weights. The plates are completely secure and we were impressed with the star-lock collars. Changing weight takes time and we won’t recommend this for CrossFit exercises.
Finally, you get a lot of options to choose from in terms of the weight range. You can get 40 lb. set and go all the way up to 200 lbs set. You get multiple plates of different weights, but you get smaller plates of 1.5 lbs. and even 1.25 lbs. This is a sure shot bonus especially if you just stating out.
If you are just staring out and looking for your very first pair of adjustable dumbbells, then you can’t go for the YES4all dumbbells. For beginners, we recommend the 52.5 pounds set as it 4 plates of smaller weight.
#5 Recommendation – Bayou Fitness Adjustable Dumbbell
Build – 3/5
Durability – 2.5/5
Convenience – 4/5
If you are looking for a single dumbbell or need an additional unit for your home gym, then this dumbbell by Bayou Fitness can be considered as an option. Here is more –
You can lift from 10-50 lbs. with this dumbbell and it offers 10 pounds’ increments. To change the weights there is a lever and you have to place it at desired range. It is easy and you are able to adjust the weight quickly.
However, other than the easy to use mechanism, there isn’t much utility to this dumbbell. With just 10 pound increments you are limited and even the build quality is not that great. The plates tend to move and this keeps on getting worse with regular use.
The weight is also not uniformly distributed and overall the build and durability of Bayou Fitness Dumbbell are disappointing.
If you need an additional dumbbell for you’re your cross fit exercises, then you can get this. Other than that we won’t recommend this.
The pair of Bowflex SelectTech 552 costs almost the same but offers way better build and durability.
Ultimate Guide for Buying a Pair of Adjustable Dumbbells
In the past, when we had regular dumbbells, you didn’t have many options in terms of versatility. They came is standard sizes and with a fixed weight. They are not suited for home gyms, as for multiple weights you have to buy multiple pairs and they occupy a lot of space.
With adjustable dumbbells, you basically get a range of weights stacked to a single bar. They are also super convenient to use, especially for conditioning exercises, as you can change the weights in seconds.
But, they are different mechanisms out there, which makes it difficult to choose the one that’ll work for you.
So, we decided to publish the ‘go-to’ guide for you which can help you pick the perfect pair. And by the way, this is the exact same method which we used to make our recommendations.
Step 1 – Deciding the Budget
Before you go on searching for your favourite pair, decide how much you are willing to spend on it. Adjustable dumbbells start from 50 bucks and go all the way up to 500$. The higher cost brings in a host of features too. If you are looking to set up a home gym, then we will recommend going for Bowflex or PowerBlock dumbbells. They are on the expensive side but last for years giving you a pretty solid workout too.
Beginners, however, can get a decent pair for under 100 dollars.
Step 2 – What are you looking for?
The are majorly three mechanisms when it comes to adjustable dumbbells. And the one you should go for depends on the kind of workout you are looking for.
If you are looking for a CrossFit kind of workout you are better of with Dial Adjustable Dumbbells. You can change the weights in seconds and if you train a lot of muscles in a single workout, these are hands down the best you can get. (Recommendation – Bowflex SelectTech 552).
However, if you want to train your muscles individually and strength is what you are gunning for, then the Spin to lock dumbbells will do the trick. However, the more weights you add to the equation, the more money you have to shell out from your pocket. (Recommendation – Ironmaster 75lb dumbbells)
Finally, if you would like to do a bit of both (i.e. conditioning and strength training), then you can buy Pin Selector Dumbbells. They have better weight distribution, are shorter in length but take a bit more time changing weights, compared to Dial Lock Dumbbells. (Recommendation – PowerBlock Elite)
Step 3 – Space
Space is always an issue while setting up home gyms. With both dial lock and Pin Selector dumbbells, you can store a bigger range of weights in a smaller space.
However, with the Spin-To-lock dumbbells, you’ll need more space to accommodate multiple weight plates.
Now, that you have picked the kind of dumbbells you want, lets’ have a quick run-through of the features you need to keep an eye on –
- The BuildAdjustable dumbbells need to have a good build all around. This helps in better weight distribution. A better build will also be able to withstand the wear and tear that comes along with regular use.
We also consider the grip as part of the build and for daily use an ergonomic grip is vital.
It is also closely related to build. Generally, rubber based dumbbells tend to be more durable in the long run. Also, the locking mechanism needs to stand the test of time, otherwise your weights may start to move and that can lead to severe injuries.
All our recommendations score high in terms of durability, and they will easily last for years.
The final metric we take into account is the usability and convenience of the dumbbell. In the case of adjustable dumbbells, it all boils down to how easily (and quickly) you are able to change the weight. The dial adjustable dumbbells are the quickest, however, nothing comes close to spin and lock when it comes to weight distribution and security.
This basically is everything you need to know about adjustable dumbbells. We hope our resource helps you find a better dumbbell. If you have any further queries, drop a comment below and we will assist you with the same.
Go Train those muscles!