Best Adjustable Dumbbells

Weights are convenient work out equipment to have for every level of workout regimen. Whether you are looking to tone certain muscles, want to lose weight or increase your overall health, an adjustable dumbbell system can accomplish this for an affordable price without requiring a lot of room. Selecting from so many options trying to determine the best one that will be actively uses can be overwhelming with so many options available.

Best Adjustable Dumbbells
12 mins to read
20 products considered
10 products reviewed
72 hours reviewing

1. Bow Flex

Best Overall Adjustable Dumbbells

5/5 Product Rating
The Bowflex Select Tech 552 is an adjustable pair of dumbbells that features a unique dialing system. The dialing system method of adjusting the weights on adjustable dumbbells is the latest feature that has caught consumer’s attention. It speeds the transition between weights providing an easy way to adjust weights quickly.

The Tech 552 model is for a pair of dumbbells and the Tech 1090 is a single dumbbell in the same style with the same dialing adjustment features. These two adjustable weights will replace up to 15 sets of individual dumbbells. The weights can be changed from 5 pounds to 52.5 pounds in weight increments of 2.5 pounds each. This product is good for all levels of training. Whether you are lifting 5 pounds per bar or 50 pounds, the dumbbells can provide you with the workout you are looking for.

The “dialing” design provides an easy way to adjust the weights between exercises. There is a cradle that the weights sit in. Determine the weight you want and then move the dial to that weight. Once the weights are adjusted, any remaining weights stay in the cradle as you lift the bar. You are immediately ready for your next set of repetitions.

Prior to 2009 customers had complained about the plastic tabs that held the weights together during training. They would sometimes break, causing the weights to come lose. In 2009, the company corrected this problem and all newer designs contain upgraded metal tabs to keep the weights lock in. The tabs have a molding around them so the weights do not clang together. This change has nearly eliminated customer complaints.

The Bowflex Select Tech 552 replaces up to 30 weights, which saves both time and room that is required when using traditional dumbbell weights. The handle on the bar is larger than a traditional dumbbell and has an ergonomic design providing a better and more comfortable grip.

There is a 2 year warranty on the Bowflex Select Tech 552 which includes the weights and parts. The company also offers a 6 week satisfaction guarantee. If you are unhappy with the product for any reason it can be returned for a full refund. An optional weight stand is available for an additional charge. The Bowflex Select Tech 552 is made in the USA.

“I love how it’s so easy to change weights,” one customer proclaims. “A Huge space saver,” says another. These are the two most commonly talked about features among reviews. With a simple turn of the knob they are ready to move onto the next exercise. The size of the weights is very balanced regardless of the weight being used.

Jonathan Maxwell

2. IronMaster

Best Overall Adjustable Dumbbells – Runner Up

4.7/5 Product Rating
The Ironmaster Quick Lock system is a patented design and one of the few companies that has a range of patents for their products. The company prides itself in designs that are made and engineered by weightlifters. The weights range from 5 pounds to 75 pounds and is expandable up to 120 pounds on each dumbbell. This provides a complete workout system for either beginners or advanced weight lifters. The heavy duty system includes one pair of dumbbells along with a stand. The stand only takes up 2 square feet of space creating a very compact storage system.

The weights are adjustable in 2 .5 pound increments and are constructed of heavy steel and chrome plated handles. The handles are about as wide as traditional barbells and form a comfortable grip for holding the weights.

The system is known for its tight locks. The quick locking system locks from the outside. Adjust the weight is a matter of partially turning the locking screws. It is necessary to manually add the weights that are needed for the exercise and then tighten the locking screws for a secure fit. There are a total of 4 locking screws provided, one for each side of the weight. The weight system has plates that are both 2.5 and 5 pounds for easy adjusting. While there are 2.5 pound increments, since the weight is added to each side of the bar, if you do not adjust the weights in 5 pound increments then the bars can be off balanced.

The Ironmaster Quick Lock provides both secure and tight adjustments. The stand is included with the purchase, where most competitors sell the stand separately. This accounts for the higher initial cost of the dumbbells. They also have a lifetime warranty, which is the best in the industry. All of their products are designed and engineered in the USA.

Customer service is very responsive and attentive to customer needs and they do a stellar job of honoring the warranty. The dumbbells act and feel like traditional dumbbells with all of the benefits of an adjustable.

Jonathan Maxwell

3. Powerblock

Best Budget Adjustable Dumbbells

4.3/5 Product Rating
The Powerblock Elite Adjustable Dumbbell system allows weight adjustments from 5 to 50 pounds per weight, with 2.5 pound increments. For larger weight lifting needs 70, 90 and 130 pound weight options are available in the same style. This product is good for lightweight workouts as well as professional level routines.

One of the unique features of the Powerblock Elite is that you can start with the 50 pound weight system and then purchase an expansion kit if larger weights are needed at a later time. Each set is expandable to 130 pounds. The expansion kits will fit directly onto the current 50 pound weight set. The adjustable dumbbell set will replace up to 16 sets of traditional dumbbells.

The adjustable weight system of the Powerblock Elite has no moving parts to break and works a lot like a weight machine adjustment. Move the pin selector to the desired weight and lift the weights to begin working out. Changing weight sizes is simply a matter of readjusting the pin selector. Another unique feature of the Powerblock Elite is the ability to use the adjustable weights on a weight bar, allowing them to serve double duty in a complete workout. A stand and workout bench are optional pieces to create a complete space saving home gym.

The Powerblock Elite Adjustable Dumbbell set comes with a 10 year warranty. The company has a strong reputation for excellent customer service and fast responses to any customer requests. The product is made in the USA.

The square design gives a balanced feel to the weights and the handles are comfortable to lift. In addition to loving the product customers also rave about the customer service and fast response times.

Jonathan Maxwell

Adjustable Dumbbells Comparison










5.00 – 52.50 5.00 – 75.00 5.00 – 50.00 5.00 – 40.00 5.00 – 105.00 11.00 – 71.50 5.00 – 28.00 10.00 – 50.00 5.00 – 200.00 10.00 – 50.00
Count 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 1 2 1
Set 15 14 16 4 12 12 4 4 12 8
24 Limited
120 1 60 24 12 24 60 12


Adjustable Dumbbells Buying Guide

Adjustable Dumbbells Buying Guide

What are Adjustable Dumbbells?

Adjustable dumbbells compare to regular dumbbells mostly in the size and convenience. With traditional dumbbells you must have a bar and weights for each weight size you want to use. Not only can this be very costly but it takes up a great deal of room to store a set up to 50 pounds on each dumbbell. With the traditional set this would mean storing up to 36 weights, two of each size.

The adjustable dumbbells offer the convenience of having all of the weights on one bar. The adjustments are simple to make and allows you the flexibility of moving from one exercise to the next very quickly and efficiently.

Then there is the issue of storage space. Each of the adjustable dumbbells has a rocker or storage to keep all of the weights in. This takes up very little room. Even the Ironmaster which includes a stand only takes up 2 square feet of space. Traditional weights are typically stored on racks that take up substantially more room.

Benefits of Using Adjustable Dumbbells

Compact. By design they are compact and take up less space than traditional dumbbells, weight machines and nearly every other form of weight training. This provides a piece of work out equipment that does not require large amounts of space to store and is very portable. The weight system will support dozens of exercises giving a complete workout with only one piece of compact equipment.

Affordable. Adjustable weight systems are affordable for nearly every perspective. Gym memberships are expensive and payments are required every month. This can result in hundreds of dollars in costs each year. The cost is ongoing and you must travel to the gym for any benefit.

Weight equipment systems can cost thousands of dollars to create a home gym that will provide weight training for all muscle groups. These pieces can be large and cumbersome and require a dedicated space to store and use. Buying traditional dumbbells becomes more costly than an adjustable set because so many dumbbells must be purchased to obtain the same amount of benefit.

The adjustable weight systems provide up to 75 pounds on each weight, depending on which product is purchased. This provides all weights needed in one compact and single purchase design. If additional weights are needed, some systems allow for expansion up to 130 pounds per dumbbell. This can be added to the existing system, thus keeping costs to a minimum.

Convenient. Work out in the comfort of home. The adjustable dumbbells can be used for workouts ranging from casual to intense. They can be used for strength training or conditioning. Both men and women, old and young can benefit from the adjustable weight bars because of the large weight range that is available. They adjust down to 5 or 10 pounds depending on the set chosen and then increase in small increments. Workout while watching TV or carry them with you during vacations and travel. They are small enough to be used anywhere.

Customizable. The adjustable dumbbells can be used at both small and heavy weights. Adjustments can be accomplished with the turning of a knob, spin or moving a selector pin to a different weight. Use different weights for different exercises creating a truly custom workout. This provides the ability to adjust weights between each exercise quickly. Generally adjustments can be made in a matter of seconds from one weight to the next.

Three Major Types of Adjustable Dumbbells

weightliftingAdjustable dumbbells come in one of three major styles. The styles focus on the ability to adjust the weight of the dumbbell during a workout.

Dial-a-Weight. This is the latest design among adjustable weights. The system is simple to use and you simply turn the dial to the required weight and pick up the dumbbell. Only the weights that reach the desired weight will remain on the bar, the rest will remain in the storage cradle. These are considered the easiest and fastest adjustments and are often among the most expensive options.

Spin-Lock. This adjustable weight contains a spinning lock that holds the plates together and locks into place ensuring the weights do not move during an exercise. The weights are manually put in place and then the lock spins the weights tightly together so there is no movement. This takes more time to adjust the weight and is not as convenient as the dialing options. Generally these are more affordable.

Selector Pin. Adjustable weights that use the selector pin work much like weight machines found in the gym. Instead of manually moving each weight to the correct amount, the weights are stacked, and you move the pin to the desired weight. When the dumbbell bar is lifted and the chosen weight is what is left on the bar, with the remaining weights are left in the cradle. The selector pin option is the middle ground between the dialing options and the spin lock.

Features of Adjustable Dumbbells

Adjustable dumbbells come with a number of features that will affect the long term use of the product. The features also have a significant impact on the cost and the longevity. Consider the workout routines and how the dumbbells will be used when determining which features are most important.

Weight and Expandability. Purchasing adjustable dumbbells will come with an established maximum weight for each bar. Typical maximums will range will be anywhere from 25 pounds to 150 pounds and many options in between. Some systems offer expansion kits which will add weight to the existing system without requiring a completely new set. If building to a higher weight is important than expandability becomes an attractive feature. For general workouts the 50 pound maximums are the most common weight maximums on the market. This is the weight that each dumbbell with hold.

Weight Increments are generally offered in 1.5, 2.5, 5 or 10 pound increments. The smaller the increments the more actual weights will be a part of the system. However, balancing the increased weights and increasing the weights on a single bar is a key benefit of adjustable dumbbells. Consider the weights that will be needed for various exercises when choosing which will offer the greatest flexibility. The cradles that are used for storage will keep all of the weights together during a workout and in between sets.

Size of the weights. Adjustable dumbbells offer a compact solution to weight lifting. Putting a wide range of sizes onto one bar can create a cumbersome weightlifting workout. Size is impacted in two major areas. First is the distance of the bar between the weights. How much space is there for gripping? If smaller weights are used will that space challenge the balance of the weight bars? Will the grip be too wide?

The other consideration is the actual size of the weights. Sometimes weights that are designed for larger increments, say 5 or 10 pounds, but can still be adjusted in smaller increments, but with unbalanced weights. Some of the designs like the Bowflex spread the weights across the bar, even for the lighter weights. The Powerblock only carries the weights that are needed with no gaps or extensions regardless of how much weight is lifted. The Ironmaster adds the weights to the end of the bar so there are no gaps.

Shape. The shapes of the adjustable dumbbells tend to be either round or rectangular. There is no significant benefit to any particular shape outside of personal preference. Because they come with a cradle for storage you do not have the issue of the weights rolling like traditional dumbbells.

Material and Cost. Much of the cost of weights is due to the material that is used in the construction. The more intricate the dumbbell system and the higher quality materials, the higher the cost will be. If the weights will be used regularly, money will be saved by purchasing a higher quality set even if the cost is a little more than a less expensive brand. Also consider how much weight you need as higher maximum weights come with higher price tags.

Adjustments. One of the key benefits of the adjustable dumbbells is the ability to use one bar and adjust the weights during a workout. This means consideration should be made for the ease or difficulty of making adjustments to the weights. How many times during a session will the weights be adjusted? If each muscle group requires an adjustment selecting the dial a weight, which can reduce the adjustment time to a few seconds may be more valuable than the spin lock system that might take up to 30 seconds to adjust.

Storage Options. The adjustable dumbbells are compact enough to be stored anywhere. If they are used daily a stand may add to storage convenience. Most systems sell a stand separately. Each set has a cradle that is included providing convenient storage even without a stand. This keeps the weights together. The stand serves two purposes. It creates a convenience place to store the weights, but also provides height when lifting and changing the size used.

Warranty and Satisfaction Guarantees. Warranties range from 90 days to a lifetime depending on the brand and construction. Some companies also offer a satisfaction guarantee. This provides a way to try the weights and if they do not meet expectations they can be returned. With warranties and guarantees it is important to read the promises made by the company. Sometimes shipping is not covered both ways. Sometimes lack of proper storage and care can void the warranty, making it so a lifetime warranty does not have as much value as it first appears. This is where the quality of the brand matters. A top brand will be much more concerned about customer service than less expensive brands, thus making the warranty stronger.

Types of Weight Lifting

Most people are familiar with weight lifting. Exercising with weights generally comes in two forms, strength training and conditioning.

Strength Training is high intensity weight lifting. The goal of strength training is to increase the physical strength of the muscles being exercised. This is accomplished by lifting the highest possible weight for 1 to 6 repetitions. Putting a large amount of stress on the muscles forces them to strengthen. Over time this will build muscle mass and bone mass while reducing fat.

Strength training will help to accomplish to goal of a leaner body better than conditioning. It will increase the amount of energy the body uses, even during periods of inactivity by increasing metabolism. Strength training is better for weight loss than conditioning. High intensity training will result in faster fat burning.

Conditioning is lower intensity weight lifting with a goal of increasing cardio. The muscles are still being worked but at lower weights. A weight is selected that will provide more repetitions. The weight should feel heavy but will allow sets of 15 to 25 repetitions per set. Because the muscle tension is not consistent you are not building the muscle mass like in strength training. Conditioning provides muscle strengthening the real benefits are for the heart. The repetitions should be at a lighter weight and completed with higher reps and at a faster temp than strength training. This gets the heart rate up and provides a cardio workout.

Conditioning will help lower blood pressure and cholesterol. This is considered a cardio form of exercise and will improve overall fitness and health. Even if strength training will meet your objectives, adding conditioning sessions will improve heart health, flexibility, and an overall sense of wellbeing.

Safety Guidelines for Using Weights

  • Form is more important than weight. Having proper alignment of the body and smooth movements will prevent injuries. Ascents and descents should be controlled. Counting is a good strategy for building a consistent tempo.
  • Warm up and cool down. Warming up muscles before stressing them will prevent injuries. Walking or stretching are great ways to accomplish this.
  • Breathing is important. Exhale during resistance and inhale upon release.
  • Slowly increase weight and resistance while maintaining good form.
  • Establish a reliable routine that will build all muscle groups.
  • Take a break. Giving your muscles time to recover is an important part of muscle growth. This means taking at least one day a week with no training.

Benefits of Weight Lifting

  • Burns fat faster burning more calories
  • Reduces stress
  • Build stronger bones and a healthier heart


Weight lifting and weight training can be enjoyed by the young and old alike. Rather than just purchasing a random set of barbells, take the time to review your needs and what a workout will look like. Then you can determine which set will best meet those needs.

Weight training has so many health and heart benefits and with the compact design of adjustable weights these can be enjoyed in any home setting. They do not require much space to store and can accommodate low levels of weight lifting along with higher weight sizes as the training progresses. Whether this is the only piece of gym equipment you own or it supplements a larger set of work out devices, adjustable dumbbells can add significantly to any workout routine.


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