As the world grows at an unprecedented pace, convenience drives needs. We can buy anything from the comfort of our homes, and the health and fitness industry is no exception.
With more and more people taking advantage of that convenience, the days of going to the gym are no longer essential.
We all know that working out has benefits, and studies from Harvard Medical School have even demonstrated that working out regularly has been proven to improve memory, thinking skills, and the body’s health to a great extent.
However, many people still seem confused about the right and wrong way to work out. And, with the rise of social media fitness “experts,” how do you know who to listen to?
Fortunately, there’s one piece of exercise equipment that is always a staple — dumbbells. Better yet, adjustable dumbbells.
In this complete buying guide, we’re going to evaluate the following dumbbells:
|Best Overall||Bowflex SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells|
|Best Ergonomic Design||PowerBlock Elite Dumbbells|
|Professional Gym Quality||PowerBlock Personal Trainer Set|
|Best for Beginners||PowerBlock Sport 24 Pound Dumbbell Set|
|Most Durable||Bayou Fitness Adjustable Dumbbells|
|Compact & Space Saving||XMark Adjustable Dumbbells|
|Hard-Core Lifters||Ironmaster 75 lb Quick-Lock Adjustable Dumbbell System with Stand|
|Basic Dumbbells||Unipack Adjustable Dumbbells|
|Most Versatile Options||Yes4All Adjustable Dumbbells|
If you’re looking to burn calories and build muscle, exercising with dumbbells is a great option. Dumbbells can be relatively inexpensive, and you can use them for a variety of at-home workouts.
Using dumbbells is not only for those looking to grow their muscles. There are many other benefits, as well. Tufts University put together an excellent guide for older adults called Growing Stronger. Dumbbells provide you with countless advantages. Not only do they help you build strength, but they also help maintain bone density and improve coordination.
Equally, younger people can use dumbbells to start their journey into physical fitness. Dumbbells work for everyone, and adjustable dumbbells are that much better.
In this buying guide, we’ll give you a brief background on dumbbells, specifically adjustable dumbbells, and the best ones to check out.
But first, let’s review some general information on dumbbells and why you should use them.
What are Dumbbells?
A dumbbell is a popular type of free weight — that is, a piece of workout equipment not connected to anything else that you can move freely. Dumbbells are made up of two equal masses, one on either side, and connected by a handle or grips in the middle. They’re usually made of cast iron or rubber, and they can be used individually or as a set of two when working out.
A “traditional” dumbbell, where the weight cannot be changed, is known as a fixed-weight dumbbell. You can find this type in gyms and other fitness clubs around the country; typically, they’re in a stack and available in various weights, from lighter (think, a couple of pounds) to the 100-lb. range.
How Popular are Dumbbells in the Fitness Space?
They’re a standard in gyms and fitness spaces across the country. Dumbbells are popular for many reasons: they’re beginner-friendly, readily available, and generally inexpensive.
As far as equipment goes, they provide a low bar of entry to working out.
What Are Some Health Benefits to Using Dumbbells?
Depending on how much weight you use, and hard you go, dumbbell exercises can help you lose weight, improve your cardiovascular fitness, and enhance your endurance.
Muscle & Fitness shared 11 of their favorite dumbbell exercises, focusing on one for each major body part. If you’re a newer weightlifter in need of more instruction, Men’s Health highlighted 10 dumbbell exercises and included moving graphics so you can follow along.
Moreover, studies have also demonstrated countless benefits for both men and women. Science has also shown that more than 20% of the women using dumbbells and other strength training workouts increased their physical appearance with the help of toned muscles, enabling them to look younger and smarter, defying their age.
According to the studies issued by the center for disease control and other relevant institutions, they have confirmed that strength training is NOT only meant for bodybuilders. It is vital for everyone. Strength training is crucial in enabling you to live a healthier and longer life.
Not only does strength training optimize your body, but it also increases your immune system while maintaining the energy levels your body requires. With the help of strength training exercises, you can control yourself mentally, physically, and emotionally in a much better way. It even acts as an anti-depressant.
Why Should I Purchase Dumbbells?
You’ve committed to lifting weights! But now you’re wondering — should I purchase a set of my own? Here are several reasons to consider it:
- You don’t want to pay for an expensive gym membership
- You’re just getting started and don’t want to spend a lot of money
- You like to work out in the privacy of your own home
- You’re looking to invest in equipment that won’t take up a lot of space
- You want to buy something that can work out more than one area of your body
- You’re looking for flexibility in where you exercise — whether it’s a fitness club or at home
If you’ve nodded along to more than one point on this list, dumbbells are a low-cost and low-risk option. You don’t have to drop thousands of dollars or lose a weekend building a complex workout system to get started.
Can Dumbbells Replace Going to the Gym?
If you’re looking to gain lean muscle mass in specific areas, then maybe. You can work out a variety of muscles — your arms, shoulders, calves, and more — using dumbbells, depending on the exercises you choose to do.
With that said, dumbbells are not a one-size-fits-all solution to a full-body workout. If you’re looking to incorporate heavier weight lifting or cardio, you’ll want to hold on to your gym membership to access other equipment. Dumbbells are a solid, readily available option to work out at home — no back-breaking assembly required.
There are a few options for choosing the right dumbbells for you. In this complete buying guide, we will focus on adjustable dumbbells.
What are Adjustable Dumbbells?
As the name implies, adjustable dumbbells can be altered to match your needs or workout. They may have removable weight plates on either side or a stackable pin that you can move to change the weight.
Adjustable dumbbells are great for two main reasons:
- They can offer you variety in your workout without relying on multiple dumbbells
- They can save you a lot of room (clutter-free workout space, FTW)
Bonus: Today’s models are generally less clunky and noisy and easier to use than adjustable dumbbells of the past.
How to Choose the Best Adjustable Dumbbell?
There are many adjustable dumbbells on the market to choose from, depending on your wants and budget. With a growing demand for top-notch adjustable dumbbells, companies have exploded in the fitness market with quality equipment.
We chose the best adjustable dumbbells primarily based on brand name, quality of reviews, and availability online. We then tighten down the list based on features, durability, overall value, and pricing.
With the help of this comparison guide, we hope to make the buying decision easier for you.
These top-notch dumbbells listed below will provide you with remarkable advantages to increase your health and strength. Plus, dumbbells will work their magic in other areas of your body, such as physical competency, weight loss, balance, and stamina.
Choosing the right set of adjustable dumbbells is the key to achieving your fitness goals. Once you are comfortable with the dumbbells and incorporate an exercise program, you would start noticing positive effects on your physical appearance and overall well-being.
This buying guide will break down the different options to choose from to give you the best dumbbells for your home or office.
Let’s get started!
Best Overall: Bowflex SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells
Bowflex has been around since 1986, and this brand is highly-known in the fitness industry.
With a total of 4700 reviews (at the time of this writing), these dumbbells rise to the top of the list. Having a 4.7/5 star rating is quite impressive. Besides this, exceeding 4000 verified purchases were used to review these adjustable dumbbells. These dumbbells have been considered the “best for short and quick workouts,” as well as an “Excellent alternative for P90X and for saving space.”
The Bowflex SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells allow you to change weight with the turn of a dial. You can change the resistance from 5 lbs. to 52.5 lbs. of weight in no time flat. These adjustable dumbbells can potentially change any setting into a productive and more efficient place to train.
These dumbbells are a high-quality choice for everyday use. We also like that the metal plates are covered with durable molding to help soften any noise.
What else does the Bowflex SelectTech 552 provide?
Two durable and sleek adjustable dumbbells appear right in front of you as soon as you open the box. All they require of you is to turn the dial to adjust the weight resistance. That user-friendly and super-easy adjustment allows users to maximize their strength training and advance their workouts.
These adjustable dumbbells have the potential to change any setting into a productive and more efficient place to train. They have an aesthetic, sleek, and eye-catching look, making working on your arms, chest, back, abs, legs, and shoulders a walk in the park.
Weight increments: 5 lbs. to 52.5 lbs. with 2.5-lb. increments
Dimensions: 15.8 x 7.9 x 9.1 in.
Total Weight: 118 lbs.
Warranty: Two-year warranty on weight plates and parts
- Combines 15 weight sets into one
- There’s a free Bowflex SelectTech app for iOs and Android to log your workouts - with trainer-led sessions
- Easy to hold
- Beautiful and sleek design
- The plates can wobble
- Can be difficult to adjust weight and plates can lock up
- Plastic mechanism holding the plates has been reported to jam
Best Ergonomic Design: PowerBlock Elite Dumbbells
This incredible pair of adjustable dumbbells got its name because of its square design, and its unique design differentiates them from all the other models available in the industry.
Based on over 1,000 reviews (during this writing) and the vast majority of reviews give this product a 5/5 star rating. The PowerBlock Elite Dumbbells have been described as “Versatile and compact,” “Amazingly designed and easily adjustable,” and “Well worthy.”
This set by PowerBlock Elite Dumbbells goes from 5 lbs to 50 lbs. Several expansion kits are also available if you want to add weight — up to 70 lbs. or 90 lbs. per hand. To adjust the weight, you’ll move the pin. There is also an option to purchase a stand.
Their flat design provides you with the extra perk of placing them down and makes them extremely easy to adjust the weight. This pair is coated with rubber, which makes them and their handles more comfortable to use and get a firm grip.
We like that these dumbbells have a padded handle and offer the option to add more weight. An added bonus: This PowerBlock Elite set is made in the U.S. and provides a great warranty.
Weight increments: 5 lbs. to 50 lbs. with 2.5-lb. increments
Dimensions: 12 x 6.5 x 6 in.
Total Weight: 50 lbs.
Warranty: 10-year home-use warranty
- Made in the USA
- Combines 16 weight sets into one
- Padded handle
- Add-ons are available to increase weight
- Takes some users longer to adjust the weight
- The weight can be a little off
Professional Gym Quality: PowerBlock Personal Trainer Set
The PowerBlock Personal Trainer Set is a solid step up from the Elite series. These dumbbells have a selector pin — like a weight stack at the gym — that you can use to change weights. Just move the pin, and you’re good to go.
According to the manufacturer, “PowerBlocks act just like a weight stack at the gym, with a weighted handle that fits inside the first weight, which fits inside the second, which fits inside the third, etc.,” and they truly deliver.
With a modest review count of barely over 200 (at the time of this writing), these dumbbells have been credited with outstanding remarks such as “Freaking Awesome,” “Simply Love these Dumbbells,” and “Space-saving has never been easier before.”
Customers love the PowerBlock Personal Trainer Set, as it allows them to change the weights in the blink of an eye. In addition to having a decent grip and many other amazing features, we like how compact this set is and easy to store.
Weight increments: 5 lbs. to 50 lbs. with 2.5-lb. increments
Dimensions: 15 x 10 x 9 in.
Total Weight: 48.5 lbs.
Warranty: 10-year warranty
- Comfortable padding and grips
- Compact and balanced
- Compatible with the Elite/Pro-weight stand
- Weight isn’t expandable
- The “pin” is U-shaped and plastic - which can be flimsy
- Plates can be hard to change
Best for Beginners: PowerBlock Sport 24 Pound Dumbbell Set
This dumbbell set is relatively smaller in weight as compared to others we have listed before on our list. This pair is designed mainly for beginners and a great option for women (or men) who might want to utilize higher reps with relatively lighter weights.
Unlike other sets that increase their weight by 2.5-lb increments, the PowerBlock Sport 24-Pound Dumbbell Set goes up by 3 lbs. Increments vary from 3 lbs. to 24 lbs overall. Like the previous PowerBlock series, you can adjust the weights by using the selector pin.
With over 700 reviews nearing the end of 2019, and an average rating of 4.8 stars, this dumbbell set has been showered with positive feedback, such as, “More weights and Less Real-Estate,” said one of the customers about their space-saving structure. Other responses included “Simply Love Them” and “Greatest Adjustable weights.”
We like the grip and how easy it is to tell the different weights apart. This pair is a good option if you’re looking for cost-effective weight training.
Just as you open the box, you’ll find a compact set of dumbbells, perfect for any space. They are equipped with one of the best, most innovative, and space-saving designs that “all most” kills the need to have any other dumbbells set.
One of the distinguishing factors about this dumbbell set is the color-coded adjustable dial, which makes adjusting the weights a walk in the park. They are sturdy, robustly built, and provide you with a great warranty.
Weight increments: 3 lbs. to 24 lbs. with 3-lb. increments
Dimensions: 10 x 5.2 x 5 in.
Total Weight: 26 lbs.
Warranty: Limited 10-year warranty
- Combines eight sets into one
- Colors on the side make it easy to distinguish the weight
- Comfortable rubber grip
- Weight isn’t expandable
- Can be difficult to change the pin
- The different parts can make noise when rubbing together
Most Durable: Bayou Fitness Adjustable Dumbbells
These dumbbells are designed for those who are ready to sculpt, strengthen, and increase their strength without much hassle. The chrome-plated look is clean, and you will love their innovative swift-slide system.
The Bayou Fitness Adjustable Dumbbells are a 25-lb. set, and they come with a storage tray. They’re constructed with sleek-looking chrome-plated steel, ranging from 5 lbs. to 25 lbs. Bayou Fitness also offers a 50 lb. pair.
Overall, users are happy with reviews such as “The Best Adjustable dumbbells,” “Great quality,” and “I have been looking for this.”
This set is no match for the rest in terms of ease of use and performance. You can strengthen your muscles with numerous exercises using this pair of adjustable dumbbells. Their only drawback might be their size for those having small sizes or hands.
We like that these dumbbells are easy to use and relatively affordable.
Weight increments: 5 lbs. to 25 lbs. with 5-lb. increments
Dimensions: 18 x 15 x 10 in.
Total Weight: 24.2 lbs.
Warranty: One-year warranty
- Easy to adjust
- Less bulky than other weights
- Compact and easy to use design
- Some consider the grips to be wider than usual
- Large gaps between weight increments
Compact & Space Saving: XMark Adjustable Dumbbells
This chrome-plated steel pair from XMark Adjustable Dumbbell comes with two 50-lb. weights and storage trays. You can go from 10 lbs. to 50 lbs. and adjust the weight by moving the adjustment knob.
There are a lot of positive reviews about the XMark Adjustable Dumbbells, such as “Comfortable Grip,” “Awesome product,” and “Amazing customer service,” being some of the top remarks.
According to the manufacturer, “XMark dumbbells are ideal for shaping your arms, chest, shoulders, back, abs and legs. Perform everything from bicep curls and shoulder presses to lunges and squats and much more. Sculpt, build and enhance your body with XMark, the mark of excellence.”
Their advanced design saves you time and space. The unique slide adjustment system makes it extremely handy for use and weight adjustment.
They are sold as a pair as well as single dumbbell units are also available. We like these dumbbells for their sturdy construction.
Weight increments: 10 lbs. to 50 lbs. with 10-lb. increments
Dimensions: 18 x 18 x 9 in.
Total Weight: 55 lbs.
Warranty: One year
- Comfortable grips
- Durable and sturdy
- The adjustable part can get stuck and be difficult to move
- Considered bulky by some
For Hard-Core Lifters: Ironmaster 75 lb Quick-Lock Adjustable Dumbbell System with Stand
The Ironmaster (75 pounds) Quick-lock Adjustable Dumbbells System contains two adjustable dumbbells plus a dumbbell stand. Each dumbbell is made with welded steel and has chrome-plated handles, and maxes out at 75 lbs. for a total of 150 lbs.
It’s one of the most expensive sets on our list. It might also be one of the best sets around!
Nearing only 200 reviews (at the time of this writing), you would think them to have many more. Some of their stellar reviews are “Highly recommended” and “the best of the best.”
Unlike many other dumbbell sets, this set has no fragile parts, which makes it more durable. This is one of the main reasons they can offer a limited lifetime warranty (the longest so far).
These dumbbells leave the others behind in terms of weight capabilities, durability, and countless features. They also have the highest weight capacity of dumbbells. They are one of the most rugged, durable, and sturdy sets of dumbbells.
We appreciate that these dumbbells don’t make a lot of noise like their competitors. You can also add additional weight.
Weight increments: 5 lbs. to 75 lbs., with 2.5-lb. increments
Construction: Heavy-duty construction with welded steel and chrome-plated handles
Dimensions: (dumbbell) 6.7 x 14.5 in. (stand) 4.5 x 19 x 26 in.
Total Weight: 150 lbs.
Warranty: Limited lifetime warranty
- Add-on kits are available to add weight
- No rattling or loud noise
- Limited lifetime warranty
- The locking pin can be tricky to operate
- The price of add-on weights is high
Basic Dumbbells: Unipack Adjustable Dumbbells
Nearing the end of our list is the Unipack Adjustable Dumbbells kit. With solid chrome handles and spin-lock star collars, this old-school set has a simple design.
If you’re looking to stay around the $100 mark, this might be the set for you. The Unipack Adjustable Dumbbells are made of high-quality cast iron and have solid chrome handles and spin-lock star collars.
Most customers who have stepped up their in-home workout routines have considered this dumbbell set a viable and affordable option. They are quite happy with the cast-iron design as well.
You can assemble the dumbbells quickly and work your way up to 52.5 lbs.
While the grips can be rough (you’ll want to wear weightlifting gloves with these), you can’t beat the price. If you’re looking to test the waters with adjustable dumbbells, try this set.
Weight increments: 5 lbs. to 52.5 lbs. with 5-lb. increments
Dimensions: Not stated
Total Weight: 105 lbs.
Warranty: Ninety days
- Easy to set up, no tools required
- The weighted plates don’t make much noise
- No padding on the handles
- The screw-on clamps can become loose
Most Versatile Options: Yes4All Adjustable Dumbbells
Last but not least, Yes4all adjustable dumbbells are one of the most versatile dumbbells on the market. This carefully crafted dumbbell set allows you to perform exercises and optimize your fitness routine with many purchase options.
For the weightlifter on a budget, there are Yes4All Adjustable Dumbbells. The total weight options for this set start with a 40 lb. pair and go all the way up to a 200 lb. pair. You can also purchase a single-locking dumbbell, perfect for a bedroom or dorm room.
With over 2,000 reviews (during this writing), this brand has out-shined many other adjustable dumbbell sets available in the market. It’s one of the most affordable collections yet exclusively designed for strength training and quality workouts.
The 100% cast iron dumbbells use star-lock collars to keep the weights from spinning.
We love the solid plates and construction. People love this dumbbell for its fantastic durability.
Weight increments: 5 lbs. to 52.5 lbs. with 2.5-lb. increments
Dimensions: 15 x 12.5 x 4 in.; 52.5 lbs.
Total Weight: Depends on the selected option
Warranty: One year
- Pretty inexpensive
- Comfortable grips
- Adjusting the weight is easy
- Paint may chip and peel
- Some users reported that the weights had a smell
When purchasing adjustable dumbbells, you have lots of options. Ultimately, it comes down to you: your budget, must-have features, and your fitness goals.
If you’re a beginner with no brand affinity, you may want to stick with a more affordable option. And if you decide on a well-known brand, you may also want to check them out in person — try a specialty or sporting goods store where you can get a feel for them (test those grips!) — before making your decision.
If you’ve been working out for a while and have a clearer idea of what you’re looking for, go with the set that best meets your needs.
Good luck with your purchase!