One of the best ways of working out at home is getting a pair of the best adjustable dumbbells. They don’t take up too much room and provide you with serious amounts of weight that allows you to exercise both the upper and lower body parts.
Whether your fitness goal is to get that six pack abs, get strong or build muscle mass, lifting weights is one of the best ways to get there. With dumbbells there you’ll be able to perform different exercises from the most basic ones like bicep curls all the way to squats and lunges.
These are the best adjustable dumbbells around that are easy to use and offer a wide range of weight capabilities to suit your training needs. Our comparison chart will give you a good idea of the different features each of the products offer.
Best Adjustable Dumbbells Comparison Chart
|Bowflex SelectTech 552||Ironmaster Quick-Lock Dumbbell System||PowerBlock Classic Set||Weider SpeedWeight 120||PowerBlock Elite 90 Set||Universal Power-Pak 445||Bowflex SelectTech 1090||StairMaster TwistLock Adjustable Dumbbells|
|Number of Dumbbells||2||2||2||2||2||2||1||2|
|Maximum Weight (per dumbbell)||52.5 pounds||75 pounds||45 pounds||60 pounds||90 pounds||45 pounds||90 pounds||50 pounds|
|Weight Range (in pounds)||5 to 52.5||5 to 75||5 to 45||5 to 60||5 to 90||4 to 45||10 to 90||5 to 50|
|Weight Increments (in pounds)||2.5 / 5 *||2.5||5||5||5||5||5||5|
|Number of Weight Settings||15||9||10||9||17||10|
|Dimensions (L x W x H)||15.75” x 8″ x 9″||14.5” x 6.5” x 6.5”||12” x 6″ x 6″||18” x 6” x 6″||16” x 6” x 6”||14” x 15” x 7”||17.5” x 10” x 10”||14.5″ x 7.9” x 7.5″|
|Warranty||2 years||Lifetime||10 years||90 days||10 years||1 year||2 years||2 years|
* Bowflex SelectTech 552 weight increments are 2.5 pound until 25 pounds, and switch to 5 pound increments above 25 pounds
Best Adjustable Dumbbell Reviews
Bowflex SelectTech 552
One of the most popular adjustable dumbbells available, the Bowflex SelectTech 552 offers a unique weight selection technology combined with a stylish black and red exterior. It has 15 weight settings starting out at a low five pounds making it viable for beginners and those who want to work on stabilizer muscles.
The dual dial locking mechanisms are located on both sides of each of the dumbbells and are labeled with the weights. Users simply turn each dial to the desired amount and lift the handle out of the plastic base to start lifting. An instructional workout DVD containing 30 exercises is included to help you find the best exercise for each body part.
Ironmaster Quick-Lock Dumbbell System
The Ironmaster Quick-Lock adjustable dumbbells offer a maximum weight limit of 75 pounds on each side that can be increased to 120 pounds using an optional add on kit. The high limit and ability to scale up removes the need to buy a new pair once you are able to lift fifty pounds per arm. The Square shaped with rounded edges, it has a solid metal construction that lets you to drop the weights without damaging it after an exhausting set.
Designed similar to non-selectorized adjustable dumbbells, it requires users to unlock the collars at each end of the dumbbells to change the metal plates. The entire package includes a 26 inch high stand that holds both dumbbells and space to store the unused plates. It also comes with a lifetime manufacturer’s warranty.
PowerBlock Classic Set
The PowerBlock Classic 45 supports a unique square shape that prevents it from rolling on surfaces. It is the smallest of all the adjustable dumbbells in our comparison chart at 12 inches long, and 6 inches each in both height and width.
Unlike majority of the adjustable models which use a variation of the dialing system to switch weights, the PowerBlock Classic implements a removable pin similar to those seen in health club equipment. Sticking the pin into the desired weight sets the amount, allowing the user to remove only that much from the base holder. Backed by a ten year warranty, they are easy to set up and you have peace of mind that the product is backed by the manufacturer in case anything happens.
Weider SpeedWeight 120
Backed by one of the most well known names in the fitness industry, the Weider SpeedWeight is made to let users quickly shift from one exercise to another without taking more than fifteen seconds changing the load. It has a high starting weight at 15 lbs. and reaches 60 lbs. for leg exercises and those who have strong upper bodies.
Shaped similar to regular dumbbells it is 6 inches in diameter around though considerably long at 18 inches, making it the longest product we feature in this review. Its dial selection mechanisms is distinct from those used in similar products in that one twists the handle to change the amount of weight. The SpeedWeight 120 comes with a V-shaped heavy duty steel stand making storage organized and visually appealing.
PowerBlock Elite 90 Set
If you plan on making weight training a long term pursuit or are already an intermediate to advanced lifter, investing a set like the PowerBlock Elite 90 makes sense. Instead of the more standard fifty pound limit, the Elite 90 is able to accommodate up to ninety pounds per arm with intervals of 5 lbs.
This replaces close to thirty pairs of weights that could fill up any room in the home. The exterior is powder coated to protect it from rust. It also offers users the ability to expand to 130 lbs. per side once their training outgrows the product’s current limit. Similar to the lighter PowerBlock Classic, it is square shaped with six inch sides. The main difference physically is the Elite 90 is 4 inches longer due to the extra plates.
Universal Power-Pak 445
Designed to mimic the shape of hex dumbbells, the Universal Power-Pak 445 are hexagonal in shape with six flat edges. The selection system is very similar to the Bowflex with large dials at the ends of each bar. The Power-Pak however, synchronizes the weight changing process so you need not adjust both sides of each dumbbell.
It has a handle that is covered with durable thermoplastic rubber that protects the components from sweat and reduces the risk of slipping from one’s hand during workouts. It is one of only three products in our reviews that include a weight rack to hold the item.
Bowflex SelectTech 1090 Single and Pair
If you’re looking for heavy adjustable dumbbells the Bowflex SelectTech 1090 are a higher version of the SelectTech 552s. They go up to 90 lbs. making them useful for even those who go to the gym regularly. Built for the more advanced lifter, they offer a good alternative to going to the gym or purchasing a large space consuming barbell. The ability to move from a low of 10 lbs. to the maximum offers both an economical and space saving way to get stronger and bigger through home workouts.
StairMaster TwistLock Adjustable Dumbbells
Among those in our reviews, the StairMaster TwistLock adjustable dumbbells resemble regular dumbbells most. The major difference between the TwistLock and other adjustable models is that the length of the handle changes depending on how much weight you choose to lift. For a light poundage like 10 lbs. for example, it only takes with it the length of the handle needed to fit 10 lbs., nothing more.
As opposed to other similar products where the handle length remains the same whether you pull out five pounds or forty pounds. As a result, at its smallest it is 9.5 inches long by 3.5 inches wide and 3.5 inches high. And at its maximum weight of fifty pounds, it has dimensions of 14.5” x 7.9” by 7.5”.
Choosing Adjustable Dumbbells
Adjustable dumbbells, like most exercise equipment are a major investment. So before committing to any of the different types of dumbbell sets it is important to consider the different factors that make a good set that’s worth your money.
For most people price will dictate what product they eventually decide to purchase. This is one reason that among the most popular adjustable dumbbells are those with the lower price tags. One thing to consider with adjustable dumbbells is that you have a few options available to you. The prices of adjustable dumbbells vary significantly depending on quality, build and the weight they can accommodate. One the cheap side you’ll find those that cost just above $100. While the high end models cost above $600.
One of the major factors in price difference is the amount of weight they provide, which we’ll tackle below. Many of the cheaper adjustable dumbbells max out at 24 or 25 pounds (priced $225 and below). As a gauge, most standard models have maximum weights between 45 and 60 lbs (priced $250 to $400). On the high end, you have those with 90 lb. limits per hand. The maximum amount of weight allowed for each product makes the comparison a difficult to do from an objective standpoint since the items aren’t exactly similar. So the best way to go about this is to compare the prices of those that fall under the same weight classes.
A final consideration must be made for the fact that some of these adjustable dumbbells come with a weight stand while others don’t. The average dumbbell stands when purchased separately cost upwards of $100 which can make a big difference if you choose to get one.
The weights are the core of most gym equipment including dumbbells, barbells and kettlebells. In the case of adjustable dumbbells, there are a few items to factor in before making a decision.
A. Weight Range
The weight range of a particular product specifies the minimum and maximum amount of weight that dumbbell can be loaded with. Both figures are important as you will be working both large (legs, chest, etc.) and small muscles (forearms, shoulders, etc.) to achieve a balanced physique. The minimum weight is also more important for beginners as you’ll want to build a solid foundation with good lifting form when starting out.
How much weight you choose largely depends on your current fitness and the goals you have. For general fitness, weights of between 40 to 50 lbs. for men, and 20 to 30 lbs. for most women will be sufficient. Bodybuilders, those who want to gain mass and strength, or want to have weight sets at home for days they can’t get to the gym, may require heavier weights to achieve and maintain gains. Using small amounts of weights relative to what you usually lift may cause your progression to regress if done too often.
If you fall under the latter group, getting a pair that has the ability to expand as you progress will help you avoid plateaus both in strength and size. Some models, like the Ironmaster above, which has a standard maximum weight of 75 pounds, have expansion sets that let you increase the limit once you’ve outgrown them. In the case of the Ironmaster it lets you add a few more pounds to reach a total 120 pounds per side, more than enough for any serious lifter.
Another option available is the ability to convert the dumbbells to larger pieces of gym equipment should you hope to expand your home gym later on. An example would be the PowerBlock products, which offer ways for their customers to convert their dumbbells into a barbell by purchasing their EZ curl bar or straight bars which have containment units to insert the PowerBlock weights.
B. Weight increments
Depending on your level of fitness weight increments may play a large role on how effective a workout you get. Beginners and intermediate lifters will benefit from models the offer smaller weight increments of 2.5 pounds.
These allow for small increases as one progresses. Jumping to higher weights without the ability to completely control them can not only stifle gains but also make you lift with bad form which may cause you to work the wrong muscles or at worst result in injury. Most of the items chosen above begin at five pounds and have increments of either 2.5 or 5 pounds.
C. Selector Mechanism
What differentiates these dumbbells from those that use collars as locking mechanisms is their selectrorized system. This method simplifies the process of changing the amount of weight in the bar. Instead of unscrewing the lock, removing the plates and inserting new ones, all you need to do is turn a dial or insert a selector pin into the correct slot to select the weight.
This advancement not only speeds up the changing process but also reduces the need to have racks of dumbbells just to get a full body workout. For workouts that require quick transition between sets or exercises, like those for fat loss, these let you change the weight inside of 10 seconds.
All adjustable dumbbells are not created equal. Unlike fixed dumbbells which are often metal with some form of chrome plating, these modern dumbbells are built differently. To breakdown the different aspects of their built consider these factors.
The material the product is made of often gives you an idea of how durable it is. In the case of free weights, you have to go a step further specially if you’re one of those people who like to throw the weights down after a heavy set. Some adjustable dumbbells have hard plastic exteriors, as in the case of the Bowflex SelectTech models. You won’t want to thrown those around. The Ironmaster Quick Lock on the hand, being steel plated can withstand that type of abuse as mentioned by its manufacturer.
The handle is where our palms will often hold the dumbbells, except for a few exercises like the overhead tricep extension. This makes it vital that our grip on the handle is comfortable for two reasons. One, only when they feel right will you be able to lift at your best and get the best benefit of weightlifting. Two, a good grip ensures that you are working out in a safe manner.
A slip of the grip or inability to hold on to the weights during exercises where the bells are position over you can lead to serious injury. The best grips are those that are knurled (with metal crisscross patterns), where the texture of the steel prevents slipping. Other types of handles include those that are rubberized and contoured to ergonomically fit the human hand. Never get a pair that feels painful when you lift. If you have issues with the grip, try lifting gloves or get a wrap to place over the handles to get more comfort.
C. Shape and Size
Most of the items featured have either round or hexagonal shapes. Round dumbbells were how the original weights looked, but the main problem they posed is they often rolled around when left on the floor. Hexagonal shaped models like the Universal PowerPak don’t have this problem. PowerBlocks are square in shape making them easy to lay on any side. If you’re only of those lifters who likes to rest the weights on their lap between heavy reps or sets, those with flat sides will also let you do this.
One of the major distinctions between regular dumbbells and adjustable dumbbells is their size. All of those featured in our best adjustable dumbbells list above are at least twelve inches in length, which are the PowerBlock Classic 45′s. Most fall between 15 and 16 inches. For majority of the exercises, these dimensions don’t pose a problem. But they do in some pressing exercises where the weights need to be lined up and using a pronated (hands are facing away from you) grip.
The chest and shoulder press are two examples where the ends of the dumbbells can hit one another during reps due to their length. A couple of solutions include positioning them so they aren’t on the same plane or turning the ends a few degrees diagonally. Alternatively, one could use a neutral or reverse grip though keep in mind these also affect which muscles are targeted.
Reading product reviews is an important part of knowing the tiny details that you may experience once you begin using the item. Make sure you look at the insights of people specially those that offer it in great detail. Don’t just read the positive one but also take note of the negative things to expect.
Because adjustable dumbbells are expensive. The manufacturer’s warranty is essential. You want to have a long warranty so in case anything happens you’ll be able to get a replacement. With regards to this feature, the Ironmaster Quick Lock pair offers a lifetime warranty which virtually guarantees you’ll have a good pair as long as you use them. PowerBlock also offers a very good 10 year warranty, while most have between one and two years.