The Best Adjustable Dumbbells (2017 Review)
Looking for a decent set of dumbbells for working out from home? Or need some adjustable dumbbells for your training circuits? Read on!
I’ve tried and tested the top adjustable dumbbells and reviewed the best sets you can buy today. You'll find them all below!
What to consider when buying adjustable dumbbells
You might be imaging adjustable dumbbells as a simple bar where weight plates are added to either side by spinning them on, similar to a screw. Thesedays there’s not many like that, technology has come on a lot, and there’s a range of different methods to adjust the weight of the dumbbell, which vastly improves the speed at which you can change the weight. The better dumbbells in the market are very innovative, such as simply moving a dial to change the weight, or inserting/removing rods. I’ve detailed the exact method of each dumbbell below.
You should also bear in mind the weight increment sizes when changing the weight, do they go up in weight in 2.5lb, 5lb or 10lb? Depending on what your training plan is it can be a big issue, for instance if you are on a body toning plan, you may need small increments such as 2.5lb. If you are a bodybuilder it probably won’t matter too much and 5-10lb increments is fine.
Maximum weight size
This is a very important factor, some adjustable dumbbells can only go up to a certain weight and don’t offer an extension set to increase the weight, this can be a big issue for people strength training or bodybuilding, not so much for toning or circuit training. Make sure you check out what maximum weight they offer and match it to you what you might need in the future after you start getting those gains.
Quality is a big factor as dumbbells can be a sizeable investment so you don’t want them breaking after a few uses. You want to assess what the dumbbells are made out of, the better ones are normally steel with a chrome finish so they look nice and shiny, and so they don’t break when you drop them, plus they are super durable and can literally last a lifetime.
You also want to factor in the quality of the adjusting parts, these can often break or misalign if you drop them or don’t place them down properly, meaning you need to re-order replacement parts or sometimes a whole new set.
To re-iterate what I’ve stated above, the adjustable parts can break quite easily if you drop them or sometimes simply through use, so you want a dumbbell set that offers a decent warranty, such as a few years or even lifetime warranty (there’s a set below with a lifetime warranty), so you don’t have to pay for replacement parts or a new set just incase something does happen.
The Best Adjustable Dumbbells
1) BowFlex SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells (Pair)
“The best-selling adjustable dumbbells of all time”
The 552 SelectTech adjustable dumbbells are without doubt, brilliant. The ‘dial-a-weight’ system dominates the old-school way of manually adding and taking off weights on either side of the bar to create the weight you want. You just decide your preferred weight whilst the dumbbell is in the holder and the system will adjust the dumbbell to that weight automatically, pretty cool huh?
It might be easier to check out this short video below by Bowflex, which gives a visual demonstration of the system:
As well as adjusting the weight for you automatically, a side benefit is you have a much bigger choice of weight, as the weights are in 2.5lb increments, starting at 5lb all the way to 52.5lb per dumbbell.
Design wise, they look pretty cool, kind of futuristic. They also have textured rubber grips, which greatly improves your grip on the dumbbells compared to regular grips.
- Weight range: 5 to 52.5lb per dumbell.
- Weight settings: Increases in 2.5lb increments (for the first 25lb).
- Dimensions: 15.75" x 8" x 9".
- Warranty: 2 years.
- Extras: Workout guide.
- Dial weight selection system.
- 2 year warranty.
- Look cool.
- Comes in a set of 2 dumbbells.
- The maximum weight is 52.5lb which is good, but bodybuilders may need bigger than this for certain exercises (you can purchase a bigger version here).
- You can’t drop them like you might dumbbells in the gym as the dial system can be damaged.
A really innovative solution to reducing the time it takes to adjust the weight and built with exceptional quality. These are mid-range price-wise and so provide excellent value for money and definitely worth the investment, especially as there is a 2 year warranty.
Like these but want more weight?
Check out the SelectTech 1090 which starts from 10lb and goes all the way to 90lb per dumbbell. Find it here.
2) PowerBlock Elite Dumbbells (Pair)
The PowerBlock Elite dumbbells are pretty cool, they are a bit different, in that they are square instead of your typical rounded dumbbells. You expand the weight set through selector pins, instead of a dial like the BowFlex dumbbells. The pins make it quite straight forward and very fast to switch up the weight, they also go up in 2.5lb increments all the way up to 90lbs.
Outstanding bonus: The PowerBlock Elite comes with a massive 10 year warranty.
Note: You will need to purchase an expansion kit to get 90lb on each dumbbell. You can buy this after you buy the set which is quite handy.
Made in the USA.
- 50lb dumbbell set.
- 70lb dumbbell set.
- 90lb dumbbell set.
- 50-70lb expansion kit.
- 70-90lb expansion kit.
- Weight range: 2.5lb to 90lb (with expansion pack).
- Weight settings: 2.5lb increments.
- Dimensions: 12.75" x 6.25" x 6.5".
- Warranty: 10 years.
- 10 year warranty.
- Very high quality (Made in USA).
- Weight expansion pack allows for 90lb per dumbbell.
- Square style takes a little bit of getting used to.
I really like the PowerBlock Elite dumbbells, once you get over the square style, or maybe you like it to begin with, they are a dream to work with, very quick weight adjustability and they go all the way up to 90lb. Worth checking out.
3) Ironmaster Quick-Lock Adjustable Dumbbell System (Pair)
The ironmaster dumbbells are a solid bit of kit. They are more of your traditional dumbbell style, made from steel which means they are super heavy duty, and to prove this, Ironmaster offer a lifetime warranty. They also have a ‘quick-lock’ system that changes the weight in around 15 seconds, which is very good but not quite as fast the BowFlex dial system.
The weight goes up to 75lb in increments of 2.5lb but you can purchase an add-on kit that takes the weight up to 120lb per dumbbell.
It also comes with a stand which is pretty decent, and great for compact storage, it’s around 2 square feet.
- Weight range: 5lb to 120lb (with add-on kit).
- Weight settings: 2.5lb increments.
- Dimensions: 14.5" x 6.5" x 6.5"
- Warranty: Lifetime.
- Lifetime warranty.
- Free stand.
- Heavy duty quality.
- Need to purchase an add-on kit for weight over 75lb, however this does then make the weight 120lb which is enough for most people, and bigger than some of the others in this list.
Ideal for moderate to heavy weight lifters, super durable due to their heavy duty quality; you can throw them around without a problem, and it comes with a lifetime warranty. If you’re not too bothered about instant weight changes, but still fast, these are for you.
4) Bayou Fitness Adjustable Dumbbell (Pair)
These are more of your classic adjustable dumbbells with rounded plates, more of a style you might find in a gym. They are a decent set however and on the lower end of the pricing scale. Very good quality heavy duty steel and provide a smooth and quick process of changing the weight.
Due to their design, they only go up to 50lb per dumbbell, which is enough for most people but not bodybuilders.
Comes with 2 dumbbell carriers.
Only 180 days warranty.
- 25lb pair.
- 50lb pair.
- 50lb single.
- Weight range: 10lb to 50lb.
- Weight settings: 5lb increments.
- Dimensions: 14" x 7.25"
- Warranty: 180 days.
- Heavy duty quality.
- Good value for money.
- Heavy duty quality.
- Only 180 days warranty.
- No stand available.
- Moves around a lot unless anchored against a stationary object.
- No weight add-on option possible, so maximum 50lb.
Great if you’re looking for a decent set of dumbbells for a circuit type workout, such as P90X, as they are fairly cheap and go up to 50lb per dumbbell. If you are looking to increase strength and do more gym type workouts, these are not for you.
The dumbbells listed here are the best of the best when it comes to adjustable dumbbells, and you can't go wrong buying any of them.
It was a tough decision to call just one the winner, but I have to go for the BowFlex 552 SelectTech adjustable dumbbells as the weight-change system is just fantastic, twisting a dial makes it so simple and fast, alongside this, they are just incredible value for money.
If you need more weight than 52.5lb you can buy the BowFlex SelectTech 1090 which goes up to 90lb per dumbbell.
I hope you enjoyed this review. Please share with your friends if you think it would come in handy for them!