When it comes to choosing the best dumbbell, it is really tough when there are many options available. That’s exactly why, I have compiled the Top 10 list of Best Adjustable Dumbbells 2018.
Dumbbells and free weights are without a doubt one of the best ways to build muscular strength and definition. The same set of dumbbells can supply a wide variety of workouts, providing near infinite flexibility and utility.
Of course as people get stronger, they need more weight to work with. This makes investing in a full set of dumbbells expensive in both money and opportunity. People need higher weights to challenge ourselves, and it’s rare to go back to lower weights once we’ve gotten past a weight threshold.
- Best Adjustable Dumbbells 2018
- Our Top 10 Best Adjustable Dumbbells List
- 1. Bowflex SelectTech 552 – Dominating the Market Since 2008
- 2. PowerBlock Elite Dumbbells – Most Popular Heavy Weight & High Quality Adjustable Dumbbells
- 3. StairMaster TwistLock Adjustable Dumbbells – Mid-Range, Efficient and Classically Shaped
- 4. Bayou Fitness Adjustable Dumbbell – Best Set for Beginners
- 5. Yes4All Adjustable Dumbbells – Budget Friendly and Simple
- 6. Core Fitness Adjustable Dumbbells – Best for Quiet and Pleasant Use
- 7. Unipack Pair of Adjustable Dumbbells – Straightforward, No Frills, Heavyweight Dumbbells
- 8. Ringstar’s Adjustable Dumbbells – Back to Basics Dumbbells
- 9. CAP Barbell Adjustable Dumbbell Set – Super Cheap (Under $50) Starter Set
- 10. Lion Roar InfiDeals Adjustable Dumbbells – Worth it, If you Can Get them
- Conclusions: So, Choosing the Best Adjustable Dumbbells is Really Difficult?
- Best Adjustable Dumbbells Buyer’s Guide
Best Adjustable Dumbbells 2018
The first thing you might notice is that there are a wide range of prices for adjustable dumbbells in the available choices I’m showing you here. The key thing to take away is that price isn’t everything. It is true that if you want quality you tend to have to pay more, but beyond a certain minimum threshold more money doesn’t always equate to higher quality.
As I said, the price isn’t a matter of quality in itself, but it does factor in. Is the price point of the dumbbell in question a sensible one for the features and benefits offer? Is the price a bad call due to other concerns?
Not all adjustable free weights are created equal in capacity. I will go over relevant features such as weight range, the system used to change out and adjust weight, grip, ergonomics, and other concerns as we find them relevant.
I will also go into the cons of each product, as no product is perfect. If a locking system isn’t ideal, or if the handling is less than ideal, I will let you know.
Our Top 10 Best Adjustable Dumbbells List
|Dumbbells Name||Adjustable Weights||Free Shipping||Pricing|
|Bowflex SelectTech 552|
|5 to 52.5 pounds per hand||Yes|
|PowerBlock Elite Dumbbells|
|5 to 90 lbs per hand||Yes|
|StairMaster TwistLock Adjustable Dumbbells||5 to 50 pounds per hand||Yes|
|Bayou Fitness Adjustable Dumbbell||5 to 50 lbs per hand||Yes|
|Yes4All Adjustable Dumbbells||20 lbs to 100 lbs per hand||Yes|
|Core Fitness Adjustable Dumbbells||5 to 50 pounds per hand||No|
|Unipack Pair of Adjustable Dumbbells||5 to 100 lbs per hand||Yes|
|Ringstar's Adjustable Dumbbells||5 to 100 lbs per hand||Yes|
|CAP Barbell Adjustable Dumbbell Set||up to 40 lbs||Yes|
|Lion Roar InfiDeals Adjustable Dumbbells||20 to 30 lbs per hand||-|
Now, let’s have a look at the top 10 Best Adjustable Dumbbells list for 2018.
1. Bowflex SelectTech 552 – Dominating the Market Since 2008
Make no mistake, Bowflex Selecttech 552 are the best adjustable dumbbells I’ve worked with. They offer a variety of features packed into a reasonably compact frame.
There’s no getting around this point, because Bowflex tends to offer premium designs. They use high quality materials and clever design choices, putting many flexible options into their products. Bowflex Dumbbells does come back in the price range though, as this beauty does come in at $249.99 at the minimum level, and can rise as high as $499.99. In this case, due to the quality and flexibility, I feel this is actually more than worth it.
The Bowflex 552 starts at a base, unloaded weight of 5 pounds, with a maximum cap of 52.5 pounds. That isn’t the best part, however. The manufacturer made a solid compromise between precision and compact design by setting the weight increments at a very sane 2.5 pounds per weight piece for the first 25 pounds of weight. This is a great level of advancement, as it results in a consistent challenge increase as you work out.
The 552 adjusting system is excellently done as compared to other adjustable dumbells in our list. Set the weight you want, turn a dial to lock the dumbbell, and you’re good to go. Dial based systems are some of my favorites, as they speed the process of adjustment up and don’t require fiddling with catches and latches.
The grip of Bowflex 552 is both very well shaped for the hand, and lined with studded ridges to improve grip quality. This is a step up from the “metal rasp” style of textured grip, as it’s simultaneously more comfortable to use for prolonged periods and just as secure as the more traditional option. It makes a significant difference during a long workout when my grip tires, or if I’m doing an exercise where my grip isn’t quite as strong.
Weight: Adjustable from 5 to 52.5 Pounds
Available Weight Settings: 15
Shipping weight: 150 Pounds (each order is a set of 2)
Size: 24″ x 23″ x 14″
- Ergonomic, comfortable grips
- Flexible variable weight settings
- Extremely simple weight swap mechanism
- Shaped very much like traditional dumbbells, making the switch easy and intuitive
- Definitely trending toward the high price point. Worth it, but still a hard hit to the wallet
- Surprisingly fragile in some ways
- Rattle a lot
2. PowerBlock Elite Dumbbells – Most Popular Heavy Weight & High Quality Adjustable Dumbbells
When you research adjustable dumbbells, you’ll often see SelectTech vs Powerblock as one of the first comparison choices. The reasoning is clear, because while I love my first choice, Powerblock dumbbells is definitely a worthy pair of free weights.
The first thing that strikes me is the heavy weight you can put on the PowerBlock adjustable dumbbells. Each free weight is adjustable from a starting 5 pounds to an impressive 130 pounds, per hand. This is more than double the weight range of the SelectTech, and when you want to train seriously, serious consideration has to be given to the maximum capacity you can get out of your equipment.
Powerblock Elite are also very versatile adjustable dumbbells, as the Elites can be combined with the Urethane EZ Curl Bar. Simply put the amount of weight you want into each dumbbell, then attach one to each end of the bar, and you have a curling bar to work with. Part of the major advantage of adjustable weights is the space savings, so this turns your free weights into a three part home gym with very little work.
The adjusting system of Powerblock dumbbells isn’t quite as simple as a dial based one, and it takes a little getting used to at first. However, once I did get used to it, it takes about 20 seconds to adjust to the weight I want for a particular workout, so it isn’t a huge flaw.
The squared off shape of these free weights makes them much more convenient to store than traditional dumbbell shapes, and they’re astonishingly compact for their weight.
This is interesting, as Powerblock weights have a much wider price range. They start at $129 for the base set, with the full weight set costing approximately $500. This makes them easier to get into, but still a significant investment for the total package.
The Specs are harder to go into, as they will vary based on whether you get the elite 50, elite 90, or even higher end sets.
- Nice high weight to challenge yourself with
- Extremely flexible, especially with the Urethene EZ Curl Bar addon
- Compact and convenient for storage
- Inexpensive to start with
- Relatively high price for the full dumbbell set, though still cheaper than an equivalent set of individual free weights
- Shape and weight adjusting system both take time to get used to
3. StairMaster TwistLock Adjustable Dumbbells – Mid-Range, Efficient and Classically Shaped
StairMaster isn’t exactly a name you might associate out of the box with free weight work, but their pair of TwistLock Adjustable Dumbbells are genuinely one of the best products I’ve had the pleasure of using.
Weight range of 5-50 lbs per dumbbell
Adjustable in 5 lb increments
10 different weight settings
Dimensions: 14.5″ x 7.9″ x 7.5″
Once again, these adjustable dumbbells go with the classic dumbbell design; a central bar is capped with rounded weights. As I said before, I enjoy working with a traditional dumbbell shape. It’s comfortable and familiar, and doesn’t feel quite like I’m sliding my hands into two car batteries to work out with.
This is what pulled Stairmaster adjustable dumbbells down the most relative to the SelectTech. They offer reduced weight range and a less well thought out grip, at a higher price point. A set of two is $499, which is a good $100 more than the SelectTechs, for reduced functionality.
- Comfortable to Use
- Respectable Weight Range
- Compact at slightly over 1 foot long each
- Very easy dial mechanism
- Overpriced compared to some competitors with better functionality
- Poor Grip Texturing Choices
4. Bayou Fitness Adjustable Dumbbell – Best Set for Beginners
Let me put one thing out there, when I say “cheap adjustable dumbbells” I am not referring to poor quality. Bayou fitness adjustable dumbbell are quite well made designs, they’re just priced at a very affordable level for what they offer.
The Bayou Fitness models use a 5 pound plate that can be added to either side of the dumbbell. The official approach is to use a 5 pound plate on each side for each increase, as this balances the weight. However, I found that you can easily increase weight with one plate, and the balance shift is actually fairly minimal. Some grip adjustment and the unbalanced weight doesn’t even register, so you can up your weight by 5 or 10 pounds as you like.
Dimensions: 14″ length by 7.24″ diameter
Weight Range: 5 Pound Bar, adjustable weight to 50 pounds per dumbbell
Weight Increments: 5 pound plates, for 5 or 10 pound increments
These really are quite compact, and they have that classic shape that I love. However, the grips are the “metal rasp” style of grip that I’m not particularly fond of. These are ones that do demand using a set of gloves with, as they will chafe and irritate the palms over time.
This is where they come in, as Bayou fitness adjustable dumbbell are some of the more affordably priced options out there. A single 50 pound range dumbbell will cost $152, but the price drops when you purchase two, only coming to $288 instead of $310. For the ultra budget-conscious, you can even purchase a pair of 25-pound models for $155 total. You won’t get as much threshold work out of them, but they will serve as a low-cost starter set for new free weight trainers.
- Very sensible pricing for what they offer
- Easy to use
- Conventionally shaped
- Sturdy Overall
- Tempermental knob system – you shouldn’t have to add WD-40 to your equipment before using it.
- Limited weight threshold
- Uncomfortable Grip
5. Yes4All Adjustable Dumbbells – Budget Friendly and Simple
This set is very much what most people think of when they think of adjustable dumbbells. The Yes4All system couldn’t be more straightforward. The core bar is bracketed by a pair of star shaped knobs that are spun off like a nut from a bolt, weight plates similar to traditional chest press weights are added, then the knob is spun back on. Yes4All adjustable dumbbells are simple and effective, giving you classic dumbbell performance in an adjustable package.
This does come with some quirks, of course. I’ve talked about how noisy adjustable weights can get, and Yes4All Dumbbells are no exception. In their base form, they rattle significantly when working out. This can be muffled with some simple cloths, but nothing is going to eliminate it entirely. These are noisy, and it does get obnoxious.
Dimensions: 14″ L x 7″ diameter
Weight Range: Starts at 15 pounds per bar, scales to 100 pounds max depending on model
Weight Increments: Variable, with plates in the 3 and 7.5 pound ranges
- Straightforward weight addition system
- Extremely affordable (That make Yes4All the Best Adjustable Dumbbells 2018 for price)
- Good weight range and options
- Very, very noisy
- Uncomfortable grip
- Somewhat counterintuitive weight increment choices
6. Core Fitness Adjustable Dumbbells – Best for Quiet and Pleasant Use
This is another set in the classic design style. Core Fitness Adjustable Dumbbells are actually very similar in design and aesthetic to the StairMasters, but are priced far more sensibly for their ability range.
Dimensions: 14.5″ Long x 7.75″ diameter (with plates)
Stand cradle: 16″ x 9″
Weight Increments: 5 lbs
Weight Range: 5 lb bar, 50 lb max weight
The mounting system for the plates is very similar to the StairMaster adjustable dumbbells design. The Core Fitness dumbbells are inserted into the stand, you turn the dial to the desired setting, and the weights you want lift straight out while leaving behind the remaining weights in the cradle. This makes them straightforward and safe to adjust for the weight, and they don’t require you to remove your hand to fiddle plates and straps into place.
The Core Fitness dumbbells grip comes with very similar problems to those of the StairMaster as well, unfortunately, with a lightly-textured soft and smooth gripping surface. I’ve discussed the issue already so I won’t rehash it too much. It’s just that there are so many excellent options, and with so much money saved on this model versus others, one would think some could have gone into a better grip that will be less slick with extended use.
One design choice I do like is that the plates are covered with a plastic shielding coating. This makes Core Fitness dumbbell set less likely to do scuff damage to surfaces, although a hard drop will still damage certain floors. Where it really shines is that the plates are not particularly loud in terms of rattling. This is a very quiet, comfortable system to use.
The ergonomics of the grip are also exceedingly comfortable in the hand. These are pleasant to hold and use, despite the potential slickness issues. If used with gloves, there is very little that isn’t to recommend about these weights in terms of grip comfort.
These dumbbells start at a very sensible $289 price range. This puts them a hair under 3/4 the price of the StairMaster design, with a similar functionality at 50 pounds per dumbbell.
- Reasonably Priced
- Simple To Use Locking System
- Good weight increments
- VERY quiet (Best Adjustable Dumbbells for Noise Reduction)
- Good weight range for the price
- Slick Grip with extended use
- Limited options for upper weight limits
- Perhaps not the highest quality for the price
7. Unipack Pair of Adjustable Dumbbells – Straightforward, No Frills, Heavyweight Dumbbells
Much like the Bayou models, Unipack’s adjustable dumbbells are in the archetype of “modified bench press bar” design. They feature a chrome central bar, a star-lock screw on retaining system, and big, black metal plates.
I won’t go into the specific dimensions of this adjustable dumbbells model, because they are somewhat variable due to the emphasis on plate additions. They still come in at under a foot and a half, so they remain compact and sensible as a choice for limited gym space.
The weight increments on Unipack dumbbells offer a modest degree of flexibility, with 2.5, 5, and 10 pound plates. The set offers eight 10 pound plates, and 2 each of the 2.5 and 5 pound plates. This is a bit more limited, as after you train with the initial bar + 2×2.5 pound plates, you will be jumping 10 pounds by adding 2×5 pound plates. This isn’t awful, as many trainers like to challenge themselves quickly. It will limit options for those who prefer a more gradual increase in their exercise routine, however.
I know I keep stressing it, but comfort is key when working out with any adjustable dumbbell set, and this one has the classic rough-textured plain metal grip of many weight systems. I won’t go into the whys all over again, simply know this one will be rough on your hands if you don’t use gloves, and rough on your gloves if you do.
Unipack adjustable dumbbells from come in at $193.99, putting them in a very middle of the road price point. For the functionality they offer, this isn’t bad at all. It isn’t particularly low-ball, but also doesn’t overwhelm the wallet. If you want a simple set and don’t mind restrictive weight brackets, these are a very decently priced option.
- Simple to use
- Good max weight per hand at 100 pounds
- Minor paint flaking issues
- Uneven weight increments
- Uncomfortable grip design
8. Ringstar’s Adjustable Dumbbells – Back to Basics Dumbbells
These are another of the straightforward adjustable dumbbells designs, in a very back to basics approach. Ringstar’s have a similar setup to multiple other designs, with a chrome handle, star-bracket locking system, and black metal plates.
Again, and essentially from this point forward, we’ll disregard the specifics of the specs.
What we will talk about is how many plates this dumbbell set offers, as it is a substantial number of choices and offers some good flexibility.
This design, as noted, comes in 65, 105, and 200 lbs adjustable sets of weight. This breaks down into the following plate numbers and weights:
Ringstar’s dumbbells have a very flexible price range to go with their plate flexibility. The 65 lb set starts at $96.99, with the 200 lbs set pricing in at $259.92. Even at the higher end, this makes the 200 lbs set very competitive in terms of pricing versus the higher end, more precisely engineered designs.
- Sensibly Priced
- Very flexible in weight increments
- Durable, with all iron construction
- Uncomfortable grip
9. CAP Barbell Adjustable Dumbbell Set – Super Cheap (Under $50) Starter Set
CAP Barbell dumbbell set comes with 4 x 5 lb plates, 4 x 2.5 lb plates, 2 dumbbells, and of course 4 spin-lock collars.
The thing about this system is that it is not particularly fancy adjustable dumbbells. It doesn’t have a unique dial lock; you screw on the star-shaped collars once you have the plates on. The plates aren’t covered in impact-resistant plastic; they’re plain black painted metal. The grips are big and thick, and covered in that old school raspy surfacing common to dumbbells everywhere. They have a pretty limited selection of plates, with just 4 available per dumbbell.
So what makes this CAP Barbell dumbbell set worth your attention?
- Great Price
- Very limited with the starting options
- More uncomfortable to use than necessary
10. Lion Roar InfiDeals Adjustable Dumbbells – Worth it, If you Can Get them
These adjustable dumbbells are a great example of what the CAP system could have been. Lion Roar Fitness dumbbells are priced as an entry-level point. They’re simple and robust. They’re accessible and classically designed.
So why are they #10 on our best adjustable dumbbells list? Well, let’s go over the salient points briefly, and we’ll come to that.
First things first, these adjustable dumbbells are surprisingly quiet compared to models like the CAP system. The dumbbells are squared off and surprisingly snug against each other when properly secured, meaning that rattle is greatly reduced. The system also offers a greater array of starting plates, with 8 x 5 lb plates, 2 x 2.5 lb plates, and 2 x 1.25 lb plates. This totals out to a max weight of 47.5 lbs of plates, with a wider array of weight increments to work with.
Lion Roar Fitness dumbbells are priced quite sensibly too, at $51.99 per dumbbell. This puts it at about double the cost of the CAP set, but offering far more than twice the flexibility.
So why isn’t this dumbbell set rated higher? Well, it does come with its own set of flaws.
First, as said the cost is per unit. Most users don’t want a single adjustable dumbbell, they want a pair so they can work out equally on both sides. Some exercises do use one portion of the body, but most free weights exercises are symmetrical, requiring the use of both hands. Neglecting this to sell single units just seems downright odd.
The second problem is that the grip is once again a heavily textured metal grip. As ever it isn’t an earth-shattering problem and can be easily corrected, but it remains a choice Lion Roar Fitness made and I will not neglect to mention it.
However, the biggest problem with this model is that it is currently unavailable on Amazon.
I liked working out with these adjustable dumbbells model, once I had my gloves on. It’s easy to use, it’s relatively quiet, it’s decently affordable; I have every reason to like it, and few reasons not to. But I can’t very well give it a higher place than 10 on my top 10 if it isn’t presently available.
- Reasonable price
- Simple design
- Pleasant to Use
- That textured grip again
- Sold as Single Units
- Currently unavailable on Amazon
Conclusions: So, Choosing the Best Adjustable Dumbbells is Really Difficult?
I would like to reiterate that these are all adjustable dumbbells, I find very positive to use. I’m very critical of my workout gear, and I can come across as harsh even in what is supposed to be my top ten adjustable dumbbells. The reason for this is that I absolutely want to be honest, and give you clear and detailed information that you can use when making a decision.
Best Adjustable Dumbbells Buyer’s Guide
The reason I wrote these adjustable dumbbells reviews is that I wanted to go over the tools I found most interesting and exciting coming into 2018. The reasons I found them so agreeable is because they worked with my routines and my style of working out.
That’s why you should take everything I’ve said, and filter it through what you need, and what you want to accomplish. There are very good reasons to have an adjustable dumbbell free weight system in your home. So, let’s continue further with our adjustable dumbbells buying guide.
Adjustable dumbbells aren’t “better” at working your muscles than traditional free weights, or even kettlebells. They provide the same basic mechanism as all weights; heavy resistance as you work your muscles. What they offer is a way to make that training compact.
With an adjustable dumbbell set, you can take your workout on the road with you. When I visit my family, I go to rural Illinois. There isn’t a gym for nearly 100 miles in any direction. A good set of simple, adjustable weights can go in the back of my car and let me work out.
When I was in college, I had a very compact dorm room. My choices were to use the campus gym, or give up far too much space in order to have free weights to use. I didn’t have access to adjustable free weights at the time, but I could easily have fit a set of Bowflex adjustable dumbbells under my dorm bed.
That’s the flexibility Bowflex offer. They help provide accessibility to the huge variety of exercises possible with freeweight dumbbells, but do so in a compact and adaptable package that doesn’t require a massive expenditure or a huge gym space.
I definitely recommend you take the time to look over each of these top 10 best adjustable dumbbells choices and see which ones fit into your budget and your style of working out. There is plenty of benefit here, and choices that range from the simple and cheap to the premium, high tech option. There’s definitely an adjustable dumbbell out there for you, and I hope this review has helped you find it.