- Choosing the Best Dumbbells
- Comparing the Best Adjustable Dumbbells of 2020
- 1. Bowflex SelectTech 552 – Dominating the Market Since 2008
- Merax Deluxe 71.5 Pounds Adjustable Dial Dumbbells
- 2. PowerBlock Elite – Most Popular Heavy Weight & High Quality Adjustable Dumbbells
- 3. StairMaster TwistLock – Mid-Range, Efficient and Classically Shaped
- 4. Bayou Fitness Adjustable Dumbbells – Best Weight Set for Beginners
- 5. Yes4All Adjustable Dumbbells – Budget Friendly and Simple
- 6. Core Fitness Dumbbells – Best for Quiet and Pleasant Use
- 7. Unipack Pair of Adjustable Dumbbells – Straightforward, No Frills, Heavyweight Dumbbells
- 8. Ringstar’s Dumbbells – Back to Basics
- 9. CAP Barbell Dumbbell Set – Super Cheap Starter Set
- 10. Lion Roar InfiDeals – Worth it, If you Can Get them
- A Complete Buying Guide for Adjustable Dumbbells
The best adjustable dumbbells and free weights are no doubt one of the best ways to build your body strength and fine muscle definition. And, the same set of dumbbells can provide a wide variety of great fitness workouts to improve your overall health, stamina and physical power.
Of course as you keep on getting stronger, you will need additional weights to support your intense workout. This makes buying a full set of dumbbells very costly for you. You need heavier sets to challenge yourself to higher levels, and it’s hard to go back to lightweight models once we’ve crossed a specific weight threshold.
Choosing the Best Dumbbells
When shopping for the finest adjustable dumbbells, you will notice that there is a wide range of prices for each set. The key thing to remember is that price isn’t everything.
It is true that if you want the top-notch quality you will need to pay more, but beyond a certain threshold more money doesn’t always equate to higher quality.
Not all adjustable dumbbells are created equal in terms of quality and overall workout capacity. During each review, I will highlight important features such as available weight range, the system used to change out and adjust weights, grips, ergonomics, and other key points as we find them relevant to discuss.
I will also mention the disadvantages or drawbacks associated with each top rated weight, as no product is perfect. If the locking mechanism isn’t good, or the handling is uncomfortable, I will not forget to mention these issues within my unbiased review.
Comparing the Best Adjustable Dumbbells of 2020
|Product||Adjustable Weights||Free Shipping||Pricing|
|1. Bowflex SelectTech 552|
|5 to 52.5 pounds per hand||Yes||Check Price|
|2. PowerBlock Elite Dumbbells|
|5 to 90 lbs per hand||Yes||Check Price|
|3. StairMaster TwistLock Adjustable Dumbbells||5 to 50 pounds per hand||Yes||Check Price|
|4. Bayou Fitness Adjustable Dumbbell||5 to 50 lbs per hand||Yes||Check Price|
|5. Yes4All Adjustable Dumbbells||20 lbs to 100 lbs per hand||Yes||Check Price|
|6. Core Fitness Adjustable Dumbbells||5 to 50 pounds per hand||No||Check Price |
|7. Unipack Pair of Adjustable Dumbbells||5 to 100 lbs per hand||Yes||Check Price|
|8. Ringstar's Adjustable Dumbbells||5 to 100 lbs per hand||Yes||Check Price|
|9. CAP Barbell Adjustable Dumbbell Set||up to 40 lbs||Yes||Check Price|
|10. Lion Roar InfiDeals Adjustable Dumbbells||20 to 30 lbs per hand||-||Check Price|
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 great features packed into a reasonably compact frame.
There’s no getting around this point, because Bowflex tends to offer premium adjustable dumbbells designs. They use high quality materials and intelligent design choices, putting many flexible options into their products.
The Bowflex SelectTech 552 start at the base weight of 5 pounds, with a maximum cap of 52.5 pounds. However, this isn’t the best part.
The top manufacturer made a solid compromise between precision and compact design by setting the weight increments at a very sensible 2.5 pounds per weight piece for the first 25 pounds.
You can increase the weight using the adjustable dial system to the maximum of 52.5 lbs without physically adding or removing anything. This helps save time and effort, while you completely focus on your fitness workout. With passage of time, you can challenge yourself to more advanced levels as your muscles get bigger and better.
Bowflex was the first company to introduce the top of the line dial adjusting system to their dumbbells. And, this is what makes the 552 model our top rated choice among other products in our comparison chart. With the adjustable dial mechanism, you just need to set the weight you want, turn a dial to lock the dumbbell, and you’re good to go. The dial based systems are one of my favorites, as they speed up the process of weight adjustments without stopping your workout.
The grips on the Bowflex SelectTech 552 are very well-shaped and comfortable for the hand. The contoured rubber grip handle really help improve grip quality of the dumbbells. This is definitely a step up from the “metal rasp” style of textured grip commonly found on the free weights. The rubber handles are comfortable to use for prolonged periods and just more safe when compared to traditional options. This special grip makes a significant difference during a long workout when your hands get tired, or you grip is not much stronger in a specific exercise.
- Weight Range: Adjustable from 5 to 52.5 Pounds per dumbbell
- Weight can be increased or decreased by 2.5 lbs
- Number of Available Weight Settings: 15
- Shipping weight: 150 Pounds (each order is a set of 2)
- Dimensions: 24″ x 23″ x 14″
- Comes with a Bonus Workout DVD
- Ergonomic and comfortable rubber handle grips
- Premium feel due to superior build-quality and stylish looks
- Flexible and modern design to easily adjust weight settings
- Extremely simple weight change mechanism with 2.5 lbs increments
- Shaped very much like traditional dumbbells, making the switch easy and intuitive
- Continuous workout saves time without any need to change the weights
- Adjustable Dial System and Weight Brackets can break if dropped too often
- Weight Range is capped at 52.5 lbs
- Can take some time to get used to the larger size of the 552
Read more: Bowflex SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells
Merax Deluxe 71.5 Pounds Adjustable Dial Dumbbells
One of the best alternative for Bowflex are “Merax Deluxe 71.5 Pounds Adjustable Dial Dumbbell”.
They offer almost the same functionality as Bowflex and almost look the same.
Merax adjustable dumbbells are currently new in the market and offer very high quality.
2. PowerBlock Elite – Most Popular Heavy Weight & High Quality Adjustable Dumbbells
When you search for top 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 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 these good 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 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 adjustable dumbbells makes them much more convenient to store than traditional shapes, and they’re astonishingly compact for their weight.
The Specs of these dumbbells 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 adjustable 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 adjustable 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 – 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 weights go with the classic dumbbell design; a central bar is capped with rounded weights.
As I said before, I enjoy working with a traditional 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 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 amazing dumbbells, which is more than the SelectTech 552, for reduced functionality.
- Comfortable to Use
- Respectable Weight Range
- Compact at slightly over 1 foot long each
- Very easy adjustable dial mechanism
- Overpriced compared to some competitors with better functionality
- Poor Grip Texturing Choices
4. Bayou Fitness Adjustable Dumbbells – Best Weight 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 are quite well made designs, they’re just priced at a very affordable level for what they offer.
The Bayou Fitness uses 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 dumbbell 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 are really 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.
- 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 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.
They 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 are no exception.
In their base form, these 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.
Yes4All are the high quality adjustable dumbbells for the price.
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
- Good weight range and options
- Very, very noisy
- Uncomfortable grip
- Somewhat counterintuitive weight increment choices
6. Core Fitness Dumbbells – Best for Quiet and Pleasant Use
This is another set in the classic design style. They’re 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 design. The 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 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 them 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.
- Reasonably Priced
- Simple To Use Locking System
- Good adjustable weight increments
- VERY quiet
- 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 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 this one 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 best 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 come at a suitable price. 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 Dumbbells – Back to Basics
These are another of the straightforward designs, in a very back to basics approach. They 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 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:
- Sensibly Priced
- Very flexible in weight increments
- Durable, with all iron construction
- Uncomfortable grip
9. CAP Barbell Dumbbell Set – Super Cheap Starter Set
This is a very stripped down, simple, and straightforward system for people interested in getting into free weights. This system 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. 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 cheap adjustable dumbbells 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 adjustable dumbbell set worth your attention?
- Great Price
- Very limited with the starting options
- More uncomfortable to use than necessary
10. Lion Roar InfiDeals – Worth it, If you Can Get them
So why are they #10 on our list? Well, let’s go over the salient points briefly, and we’ll come to that.
First things first, these are surprisingly quiet compared to models like the CAP system. The dumbbells are squared off and surprisingly snug against eachother 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 adjustable dumbbells are priced quite sensibly too. 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 adjustable dumbbell set rated higher? Well, it does come with its own set of flaws.
First, as said the cost of adjustable dumbbell 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 adjustable dumbbell 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 adjustable dumbbell model is that it is currently unavailable on Amazon.
I liked working out with this 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
I would like to reiterate that these are all systems 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. 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.
A Complete Buying Guide for Adjustable Dumbbells
The reason I wrote these best adjustable dumbbells reviews is that I wanted to go over the tools I found most interesting and exciting coming into 2019. 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 a top-notch adjustable dumbbell free weight system in your home.
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 system, 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, nice 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 dumbbells 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 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 article has helped you find it.
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