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Dumbbells are some of the most popular upper body strength training accessories, whether at the gym or at home. They take up very little storage space and you can perform a range of motions when using them. While you may decide to buy a starter pair of dumbbells and then buy another heavier pair later once you are ready to move to a more challenging weight, it’s not the most practical thing to do. Not only do they start to take up space, but you may eventually abandon the earlier lighter weights completely. If you invest in the best adjustable dumbbells that you can afford, you’ll see that regular dumbbells don’t even come close when it comes to serious workouts. You’ll also find that they’re the best for a home gym because they take up very little space.
If you’re looking to exercise your lat muscles in the back more or want more guided plane motion strengthening, then a lat pulldown machine might be better suited.
Even if you buy the best dumbbell set that comes with maybe 5 different pairs of fixed weights, you still won’t get a wide range of weights to allow you to get the maximum out of your upper body workout without jumping in increments that are two big to safely handle. For beginners, a safe increment for lighter weights is rarely more than 2.5 lbs per hand. That can increase to increments of 5 lbs per hand when you reach heavy weights. Adjustable weight dumbbells solves this problem because you can use a combination of various weight rods or plates to add to each dumbbell to steadily increase totals weights over time. The storage space remains the same no matter how much weight you add to each dumbbell.
Our adjustable dumbbells reviews further down should help you pick the right one for your needs but first we’ll tell you about the three types available so you know just what kind is good for you. Of course, these are just a subset of all the types of dumbbells available, including fixed types. If you want to build leg muscles as well as arms, then consider resistance bands instead, and if you have the space and budget, a compact home gym is even better!
If you’re not satisfied with our picks for adjustable weight dumbbells, see what others Amazon has to offer in the 4 to 5 star range.
Table of Contents
- 1 Compare the Best Adjustable Dumbbell Sets
- 2 Types of Adjustable Dumbbells
- 3 Round Adjustable Dumbbell Weights
- 4 Block Type Adjustable Dumbbells
- 5 Basic Adjustable Dumbbells
Compare the Best Adjustable Dumbbell Sets
|Product||Rating (out of 5)||Min & Max weight per hand||No. of different weight steps||Single dumbbell dimensions (inches)|
|Bowflex SelectTech 552||4.7||5-52.5 lbs||15||16 x 8 x 9|
|Bayou Fitness||4.3||5-25 lbs, 10-50 lbs||5||14 x 7.5 x 7.5|
|PowerBlock Elite||4.7||5-50 lbs, 5-70 lbs, 5-90 lbs||16, 22, 28||12 x 6 x 6, 14 x 6.25 x 6, 16 x 6 x 6|
|PowerBlock Sport 24 Pound||4.5||3-24 lbs||8||10.5 x 5.25 x 5|
|Ironmaster 75 lb Quick-Lock with Stand||4.7||5-75 lbs||14||14.5 x 6.5 x 6.5|
|Yes4All||4.4||3-20 lbs, 3-25 lbs, 5-30 lbs, 2.5-52.5 lbs, 2.5-100 lbs||6, 6, 7, 6, 14, 14||16 x 6.5 x 6.5|
|CAP Barbell RSWB-40TP 40 lb||4.4||4-20 lbs||6||20 x 9 x 8|
Types of Adjustable Dumbbells
The most basic multi weight dumbbells come with a rod that itself has some weight to it. You then add small weights to both ends to build up its total weight and secure them with the help of a collar. This type is the most common and least expensive adjustable dumbbell set to buy because its design is so simple. Nothing much can go wrong with them, so these should do fine for most people. However, it is also the least space saving for this reason. Unless the set comes with its own storage stand, you’ll have to have a place to keep the plates that are not in use. This is also the most time consuming to switch between plates.
Then you have round adjustable dumbbells. These come with a stand and a dial on each dumbbell that you use to select the weight you want. A mechanism on the dumbbell secures only the weight plates you need for the selected weight and leaves the remaining in the stand, so when you pick up the dumbbell, you’ll see that you pick up exactly the weight you dialled in. It’s quick and easy to change between weights on this type of adjustable weight set and it is quite a compact one. However, the inner parts that make up the weight selection and locking mechanism must be strong and durable, otherwise there is a risk that a plate could fall out. A good rule of thumb here is to stay away from cheap dumbbells of this kind.
The final type is the block dumbbell. Instead of the plates being round, they’re square and instead of a dial, you select your desired weight by inserting a u-shaped pin into the correct place in the block to pick up the correct set of weights while leaving the rest behind in the dumbbell stand. This is the most expensive type of variable weight dumbbells but the design makes it the most compact and therefore keeps you feeling very stable as you workout. And, you can do overhead arm reps without banging the dumbbells into each other. While you may fumble a bit initially when changing weight, it can be quick once you get the hang of it. This is the most preferred type with serious bodybuilders because the dumbbells are short and compact even at very high weights. However, a good set is very pricey.
Round Adjustable Dumbbell Weights
Bowflex SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells
If you want the most popular set of changeable weight dumbbells, this is the one. Bowflex has designed a set whose weight users can adjust with just the click of a dial. By selecting your desired weight, only the necessary weight plates are selected and locked into the dumbbell. This set is designed to go from 5 to 52.5 pounds in each hand and this can be adjusted in 2.5 pound increments up to 25 pounds and 5 lb increments thereafter, giving you 15 different steps of increment. This is perfect for someone who may be building up gradually.
This dialing system allows users to adjust weights quickly and the set comes with a stand to make the dumbbells easier to store. Each metal plate is encased in molding that makes lifting the dumbbells in and out of their stands smooth, and workouts are quiet. The space efficiency is great for those living in a small apartment or house.
Some customers have complained about the weight locks breaking or getting stuck and weights themselves rattling a little when used. Some were also upset by the fact that the outer plastic portions of these weights can be damaged if the weights are accidentally dropped. However, most customers have commented favorably on the product’s durability and on features like a comfortable, ergonomic handle to make the exercises easier on the hands. In short, these should definitely be considered by those wanting to build up a home gym, as they are probably the best adjustable dumbbells for the price.
Bayou Fitness Adjustable Dumbbell
The adjustable dumbbells produced by Bayou Fitness come in a lighter weight set and a heavier weight set, so are perfect for those who want a lighter-weight product or those who are just beginning to lift weights and like the round dial selection type dumbbell. These weights are small enough that they can fit easily into any size of apartment or home, and features like their ergonomic handles and sturdy, chrome-plated steel construction also make for an attractive product. The weights are designed to fit between 5 and 25 pounds per hand or 10 and 50 pounds per hand and come in 10-pound increments. Each can be adjusted for 5 different weight levels. You can also buy a single 50 lb dumbbell if you want.
One of the most appreciated features of these dumbbells is their weight selection slide system, which allows users to adjust the weight with the turn of dial, making this transition incredibly easy, although a few have said that their set wasn’t easy to adjust. Most customers also appreciate the heavy-duty construction and the fact that the price is reasonable. While there have been some complaints about the fact that the weights rattle or clank a little when in use, most feel like this product is good value for the money. If the 10 lb increments seem too much for you, you can try adding a 5 lb plate only to one end and adjust your grip to compensate.
Block Type Adjustable Dumbbells
PowerBlock Elite Dumbbells
While these dumbbells may not look traditional, PowerBlock’s Elite design for this product has become popular with many bodybuilders and home gym enthusiasts for features like its sturdy construction, comfortable hand grips, and the large storage stand (sold separately). You can choose from one of three different sets. The dumbbells can adjust to between 5-50 pounds, 5-70 pounds or 5-90 pounds per hand in 2.5 or 5-pound increments, giving users plenty of flexibility when they exercise. Expansion sets can also be purchased to increase the range of choice even more.
The weight selection mechanism is just like that of a weight stack at the gym. There’s a pin that you insert into the correct position to select your desired weight. It’s a simple and durable type of selector and all the parts are hardy and not prone to breaking. The handle comes with two 2.5 lb rods inside, so you each dumbbell starts off with 5 lbs.
While this set is more expensive than comparable products from other brands and does not come with the storage stand included, most customers reported liking the quietness of the weights and the fact that it is possible to change or add weights easily, with the entire process taking a matter of seconds. Perhaps the biggest advantage here is that this is the most compact set of the bunch, which makes it the most comfortable of the bunch, along with the exceptionally comfortable hand grips. For people with the extra money to spend, this is our pick for top adjustable dumbbells.
PowerBlock Sport 24 Pound Dumbbell Set
For those who like to keep physically fit but are limited in their home space, this set of dumbbells with a stand takes up only two square feet. These dumbbells will take 3 to 24 pounds in each hand and adjust in 3-pound increments, perfect for someone who is interested in lighter weights and/or wants to start off slowly. The padded handles are contoured for comfort and the weights make noise only when being changed, adding to an overall positive customer experience.
The weight selection works just like in the PowerBlock Elite above, i.e. you insert a plastic pin into the block to select your desired weight.
The one thing that some customers complained about was the fact that the magnets in the pins holding the weights seemed weak and that it was easy to insert the pins in the wrong way. Apart from minor pin issues, however, most reviews on this product have been positive, focusing in on the compactness of the weights which can allow for a wide range of exercises, as well as their durability and good use of space. Unfortunately, no expansion sets are available for this product but again, it is an excellent choice for someone looking for a light set of dumbbells.
Basic Adjustable Dumbbells
Ironmaster 75 lb Quick-Lock Adjustable Dumbbell System with Stand
For those who value a set of adjustable dumbbells that has a traditional plate switch design and can go quickly from one weight to another, this might just be the perfect set. This product is virtually noiseless and accommodates between 5 and 75 pounds in each hand, adjustable in 2.5-pound increments. You can add a single weight to one end of a dumbbell and it will still feel balanced. Best of all, the quick-lock design makes changing the weight on these dumbbells fast and efficient. A space-saving storage stand is included but each set of weights is very compact too.
Customers overall liked that the dumbbells have a traditional configuration and appearance. They also appreciated the fact that this product makes good use of space and that the handle is extremely comfortable to use. It is important to note, however, that some users complained that the dumbbells can be easily damaged if they are dropped and also that they felt a little unsteady when used at higher weight levels. However, for those who want a quick-changing set of dumbbells that won’t use up a lot of space, this might be a product to look at more closely.
Yes4All Adjustable Dumbbells
If you’re looking for a 200lb adjustable dumbbell set, this is the only one in our list that goes that high. The first thing that strikes many weight-lifting enthusiasts about these dumbbells is their “old school” style and construction. Each dumbbell has a handle with round plates and collars on each end to lock the selected plates in. These solid metals weights are coated with a black paint finish to help prevent rust or corrosion, and yet their grips are ergonomic and designed for maximum comfort while lifting. There are a number of weights available, including 40, 50, 52, 60, 100, 105, and 200-pound sets. As an example, the 40 pound set allows for a maximum of 40 pounds in each hand and customers can adjust these in either 3 or 5-pound increments. Other sets have different increments, so you can choose the one that has the best combination of plates for you.
In customer reviews, the most frequent compliments were on the traditional style and feel of the weights, as well as the wide range of weights that were offered and the very reasonable cost of this product. While some people who bought these weights complained that they could rattle and that changing the weights was time-consuming, most were pleasantly surprised by this product and for those who are on more of a budget but still want low or high total weights, the price can make Yes4All an attractive option.
CAP Barbell RSWB-40TP 40 lb. Dumbbell Set
For someone just starting to lift weights, the CAP 40-Pound Dumbbell Set is a good and inexpensive product to consider. It works well for anyone looking to just tone their arms rather than build a lot of muscle. It comes with 2 handles as well as four 2.5-pound plates and four 5-pound plates, along with 4 collars and a plastic case for storage. The comfortable, contoured handles and the Star-Lock system for quick weight changes make these a very user-friendly product. These dumbbells are also incredibly sturdy and made of cast iron with a satin-gloss finish.
Customers commented favorably on the price; many also liked the comfort of the handles and the fact that the dumbbells come with their own storage case. The most frequent complaints were in regards to the odor from the satin-finish gloss (though some customers solved this problem by washing the dumbbells with soap and water and letting them dry in the sunlight), and a discrepancy in weight. Overall customers felt that these make an ideal “starter set” for those just beginning to lift.